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Chapter 4: Class of 1890
from Sabrina, The Class Goddess of Amherst College by Max Shoop 1910

Duffey and Ingalls, the men to whom Sabrina appeared in a dream, were not "disobedient unto the vision."  They were living in their Freshmen year at Guernsey's on the road to old Blake Field.  They learned from these people the previous history of Sabrina and were told that because of the frequent abuse of the statue the college had caused it to be removed, and that rumor held that Professor Charlie still had it in his house down the road.  Duffey and Ingalls told the news to Raymond '90 --- and the three planned a raid on Prof. Charlie's house.  As it happened, E. B. Child, also of the class of '90, learned the same story at about the same time from some town-folk who hung about the blacksmith's shop in town, and according to them suspicion pointed strongly to Professor Charlie as the man who had the statue, so Child, Duffey, Raymond and Ingalls planned a raid.

The stealing occurred Sunday night, June 19, 1887, which was '90's Freshman year.  It was at the time that the Central Massachusetts Railroad from Amherst to Northampton was in process of construction.  Near Prof. Charlie's house there was a camp of Italian workmen.  A couple of the '90 men went down comparatively early to look over the ground.  As they neared the house, Prof. Charlie appeared on the scene.  There was consternation for a minute till one of the boys conceived the idea of asking Charlie to direct them to the Italian camp.  This excuse passed as an explanation for the presence of the boys in that part of town at that hour.  At any rate it allayed Charlie's suspicions, if he had any, and he went on his way to the village to prayer meeting.

After dark, Duffey, Durgin, Ingalls, Child and Raymond, gathered at Charlie's house, and no one being at home, they searched the house.  It was first assumed that the barn could not be the hiding place of Sabrina, since rumor had it that the old darky had secluded her safely in the house.  They got into the house through the cellar and searched the entire place, to no avail of course.  They then tried the barn.  Unfastening the doors, one of the men struck a match.  At the first glimmer of light Ingalls noticed a piece of white cloth which appeared to have been thrown over an image of some kind.  They quickly shifted the pieces of harness which hung near, pulled off the cloth, and three or four grasped the statue, and carried it as quietly and quickly as possible from the barn.  Avoiding the house they started off through the fields and got into freshly plowed ground.  They were soon winded, especially the man who was carrying the head end all alone, he "will never forget that as long as he lives."  The statue weighs at least 300 pounds.  Ingalls hurried off to get Guernsey's wheelbarrow, and after that the going was much easier.  With Sabrina in the wheelbarrow, they quickly took her to Guernsey's house, where they left her in the cellar over night.

That night, or rather the early morning of June 20th, a big celebration had been planned.  '90 had nailed its class pennant to the flag pole on Chapel Tower, and had effectually barricaded the stairway.  Funds had been collected for an elaborate reintroduction of Sabrina to the college at that time.  '89, however, discovered the plans too soon, and the affair dissolved itself into a free-for-all fight for the possession of Chapel Tower and the flag.  It was a fierce contest, and the stairway leading to the top was destroyed.  Harrison had his leg broken in jumping from a window, subsequent to the report that the Faculty were coming.  The possibility of a surprise appearance of Sabrina was eliminated.  Consequently, early that morning, the statue was taken to the old attic in Guernsey's house, and there it remained until Commencement time of their Sophomore year, 1888.

Meanwhile the class of '90 had formed the intention of having Sabrina at their class banquet in New London, and to Kimball of that class was assigned a toast on Sabrina.  "Charles Wells, '91, heard through the register of his room several Sophomores talking in a study below, and he managed to gather from the hushed voices that they were going to take something, then in the attic of Guernsey s house, to their class banquet.  Wells waited long enough to hear some of their final arrangements, and then he hurried off to tell two other members of '91, Allen and Hammond, and together they planned a capture.  '90 as a class had already taken the train for the dinner, leaving the care of Sabrina in the hands of only four men.  On the appointed day about ten men of the class of '91 gathered in Wells' room on Woodside Avenue.  Among these were Morris, Hamilton, Crosier, Knight, Woodruff, Ludington, Hammond, and Crocker.  Old Guernsey with two husky Sophs on the seat soon appeared, driving a wagon containing the bulky form of Sabrina wrapped in a gunny sack.  In front of Wells' house, Kimball of '90 and another man of that class joined the expressman.  The '91 men followed under cover of the trees.  At the road leading from Woodside Avenue up to Chapel, the Sophs left the team for some unknown reason and cut across the hill to the Central Vermont Station, thus leaving the statue unprotected."  This was a signal for the '91 men.  As soon as the Sophs were around the corner they sprang out from hiding.  Three of them seized Guernsey and held the horse, while others moved Sabrina into a buggy which Crozier and Morris had found up by "Tip's" Lab, and had brought down the hill in the front of Chapel just in the nick of time, as old Guernsey was being waylaid.  Wells and Allen were soon on the Hamp Road with this 'borrowed team' at a gallop, and the plan of the class of '90 to take Sabrina to their class dinner and resurrect her glorified form in special festivities came to naught.  Some of the fellows wandered down to the Central Vermont Station, and were there when old Guernsey came jogging along with his empty wagon.  Dunham, Fahy, and some other fellows were standing there, and their consternation when they saw the empty wagon is better imagined than described.

"Where is it?" they angrily demanded of the old man.

"They got it," he meekly replied.

"Who got it?"

"I guess they was Freshmen."

The rest of the conversation is better imagined than printed.  It has never been reported what was said in Kimball's toast to Sabrina that night at New London --- but '91 never cared.

"Wells and Allen, '91, meanwhile were fast approaching the Connecticut with their fair burden.  By the time they reached the river the horse was well-nigh exhausted and, fearing pursuit, they drove up stream a little way and dumped Sabrina into the river.  Then they drove back to Amherst only to be met half-way by the irate owner of the rig, who threatened suit for horse-stealing, damages for injury done to the horse, and a whole lot of other disagreeable things.  It is said that he was paid a nominal sum for the unbargained rent of his horse and buggy.  At any rate no suit was brought."

Sabrina slept that summer under the cool waters of the Connecticut "sunken well out of sight."  In the fall, when the excitement had quieted down, Wells fished her out of the Connecticut and took her to his home in Hatfield, where she was boarded up in a room without any doors, there to remain until the Sophomore banquet of the class of '91, at New London, Conn.  The following is a poem descriptive of the preceding episode which was published in the '91 Olio.  It is entitled "Sabrina."

The summer term was closing fast,
When through old Amherst village passed
The Class of Ninety, on the road
To the depot with their precious load,

For now, indeed, 'twas their intent
To add to joy and merriment
By taking, their festive board to grace,
The maiden with the pretty face,


This fact has oft come to our ken,
The best laid plans of mice and men
Do fall.  And this was just the case
With Ninety and that form of grace,

For to the Class of Ninety-One
The knowledge of their plan had come,
And each man solemnly declared
This toast to-night shall not be heard,
So when Old Guernsey, in his cart,
For the New London Northern made a start
With that fair Goddess snug within,
At once the Freshmen howled like sin,
"Deter me not," the old man said,
In mortal terror for his head,
"The power of Ninety is great and wide,"
But loud a clarion voice replied,
And e'en before the dear old man
Had really grasped their wicked plan,
He heard mid sounds of trampling feet
A voice which cried far up the street,
They drove the maid o'er hill and dale
Until they reached a gloomy vale,
And then without a hymn or prayer,
In silence grim, they buried there,
The Sophomores they cussed and swore
Of oaths some ninety gross or more;
But to their supper had to go
Without the girl they'd longed for so,
And if to-day you wish to cloy
Some dainty little Ninety boy,
It always works for reasons clear,
To whisper softly in his ear,


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Page last updated: 21 March 2000
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