Commencements 269
with the production of the historians and the prophets, which
introduced an element into the Wake Forest commencement,
borrowed indeed from institutions where class day had already been
instituted, but so unexpected in references to the mannerisms, quirks,
peculiarities and so on of members of the faculty and fellow students
and even of members of the class as to cause them to sit up and take
notice. Like Eupolis and Cratinas, and Aristophanes, the poets, these
class functionaries used much liberty in bringing forward anything
that they thought would add to the delight of the audience and
convince the members of the faculty that if given a chance their
hitherto submissive students also could tell jokes. For once these
privileged dignitaries could see themselves as others saw them. While
some of those represented inwardly enjoyed the fun, others of
tenderer feelings felt outraged and were ready after the first class day
to vote against its continuance; but by promising to make amends
each succeeding class until and including that of 1896 was allowed to
have its day. Until that time all the fun had been goodnatured or was
considered such, but in the class day of 1896 the jibes of members of
one faction of the class directed publicly at members of the other
faction were unmistakably malevolent, and there were other public
exhibitions of enmity, person against person, group against group.
Accordingly, there was no protest when for the next year the faculty
no longer allowed class day but put in its place on Monday night an
address before the School of Law.
The addresses before the School of Law, beginning with the
commencement of 1897 and ending with that of 1903 brought to
Wake Forest seven able lawyers, each of them with an interesting and
instructive address. The first, in 1897, was by Walter Clark, then
Associate Justice and after 1902 Chief Justice of the North Carolina
Supreme Court, who discussed "The Right of the Commonwealth to
Control Freight Rates." In 1898 the speaker was Associate Justice W.
A. Montgomery, who in a somewhat informal way discussed the
ethics of the legal profession. In 1899, Judge M. H. Justice of the
State Superior Court was more
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