Much of the work of the day of judgment will be with the authors of anonymous letters. The majority of other crimes against society were found out, but these creatures so disguised their handwriting in the main text of the letter, or so willfully misspelled the direction on the envelope, and put it in such a distant post-office, and looked so innocent when you met them, that it shall be for the most part a dead secret till the books are opened; and when that is done, we do not think these abandoned souls will wait to have their condemnation read, but, ashamed to meet the announcement, will leap pell-mell into the pit, crying, “We wrote them.”
If, since the world stood, there have been composed and sent off by mail or private postmen 1,600,378 anonymous letters derogatory of character, then 1,600,378 were vicious and damnable. If you are compelled to choose between writing a letter with false signature vitriolic of any man’s integrity or any woman’s honor on the one hand, and the writing a letter with a red-hot nail dipped in adder’s poison on a sheet woven of leper scales, choose the latter. It were healthier, nobler, and could better endure the test of man’s review and God’s scrutiny.
Brawn or brain.
Governor Wiseman (our oracular friend who talked in the style of an oration) was with us this evening at the tea-table, and we were mentioning the fact that about thirty colleges last summer in the United States contested for the championship in boat-racing. About two hundred thousand young ladies could not sleep nights, so anxious were they to know whether Yale or Williams would be the winner. The newspapers gave three and four columns to the particulars, the telegraph wires thrilled the victory to all parts of the land. Some of the religions papers condemned the whole affair, enlarging upon the strained wrists, broken blood-vessels and barbaric animalism of men who ought to have been rowing their race with the Binomial Theorem for one oar and Kames’ Elements of Criticism for the other.
For the most part, we sympathized with the boys, and confess that at our hotel we kept careful watch of the bulletin to see whose boat came in ahead. We are disposed to applaud anything that will give our young men muscular development. Students have such a tendency to lounge, and mope, and chew, and eat almond-nuts at midnight, and read novels after they go to bed, the candlestick set up on Webster’s dictionary or the Bible, that we prize anything that makes them cautious about their health, as they must be if they would enter the list of contestants. How many of our country boys enter the freshman class of college in robust health, which lasts them about a twelvemonth; then in the sophomore they lose their liver; in the junior they lose their stomach; in the senior they lose their back bone; graduating skeletons, more fit for an anatomical museum than the bar or pulpit.