538 History of Wake Forest College
might take on any speech. At first this was fifteen minutes in each
Society. To this rule the Philomathesians adhered, and permitted no
one to speak more than twice. The Euzelians however modified this in
May, 1853, allowing three speeches, the first of not more than thirty
minutes, the other two of not more than ten minutes each. If each of
the disputants used the maximum time on the first round, the six had
spoken three hours. At the end of that time the fray had just begun, for
there were usually many who had become interested and were ready
to do battle in defense of their views. Accordingly, no one need be
surprised that the conflict which began at candle-light often did not
end until midnight or after, and that, too in a room in which there was
no heat from fire or stove.
It must not be supposed, however, that every member of the
Societies felt a like interest. There were always some to whom the
regular Society work was irksome. A committee of one of the
Societies appointed to interview a member who did not attend the
meetings reported that the delinquent said that he had no interest in
the Society and got nothing from attending its meetings, that the
debates and other Exercises bored him, and that he had rather do the
hardest physical labor, such as ditching and mauling out rails, than sit
through one of the meetings. So many of the other members absented
themselves that the Euzelians found it difficult to get a majority
quorum as their constitution provided, and in November, 1849, made
the quorum one-third of the members. Both Societies also at times
expelled or suspended members for non-attendance.5 Many whose
will was good and who were faithful to attend all the meetings
sometimes found it impossible to resist the somnific effect of burning
candles and fervid orators; as member after member rose to speak and
hour followed hour, their eyes would become heavy and they would
fall into unconsciousness. For this "indulgence in sleeping" the
Society soon provided a fine of twenty-five cents, which the sufferers
5 Eu. Records, December 8, 1849.
Previous Page Next Page