84 History of Wake Forest College
some empty-handed, all in a thick crowd. You must now imagine that you see Mr.
Wait in one place, Mr. Armstrong in another, and Mr. Dockery in another. Mr.
Dockery, though a student, frequently takes the lead of one company. Now the roll
is called, when as their names are called off, the students take their appropriate
stations around their respective leaders, axes with axes, hoes with hoes, and then we
start, each one following his chief. Those with axes make for the woods, where they
fell the sturdy oaks and divide them into rails; the grubbers take the field, and sweat
with heavy blows over the roots and shrubs that have been encroaching upon their
clear land. Those with weeding hoes find much variety in their employment;
sometimes they cut down cornstalks, sometimes they take up leaves, and now you
may see them in the barn yard piling up manure. We students engage in everything
here, that an honest farmer is not ashamed to do. If we should draw back from
anything here that is called work, we should feel that we had disgraced ourselves.
Those who are empty-handed make up the fences, and harden their shoulders
under heavy rails. The fact is we are always busy –always ready for recitation, and
always ready for work. We are cheerful and happy-merry in a joke and hard to beat
in a hearty laugh. We are sometimes tired when we quit work, but never so bad off
that we cannot outstrip a common fellow when the supper bell rings. I am attached
to the mauling corps and know but little about the other companies. Mr. Wait leads
out our company-when we reach the woods our coats are laid off, and we set to with
a good will and hard blows. Our chief sets the example:
"Nee non Aeneas opera inter talia primus
Hortatur socios, paribusque accingitur armis."
Blistered hands we consider here as scars of honor, and we show them with as
much pride as Marius exhibited his scars to the wondering multitude.46 That you
may form some idea of our execution, I will state that two of our corps yesterday
mauled one hundred and twenty seven rails in two hours and a half, and that the
fence corps led on by Mr. Armstrong, in two evenings, made a fence and staked it
near a half mile in length, and most of the rails were carried on the shoulders at least
three hundred yards. You now see that we are not afraid of hard work. A little bell
calls from the field-we enter the chapel for prayers, and immediately after take
supper. We now have
46 In describing the first examination, Major Ingram, Wake Forest Student, XIII,
198, says, "The Trustees examined our hands to see whether we had the scars of
honor or not."