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Chapter 15: Class of 1910
from Sabrina, The Class Goddess of Amherst College by Max Shoop 1910

[Sabrina at the sophomore banquet of the class of 1910]On March 4th, 1908, Read, '08, turned Sabrina over to the class of 1910 at their Sophomore banquet, held at the Hotel Astor, New York City, Max Shoop acting as guardian for '10.  Sabrina in all her glory was kissed and toasted by the banqueters with more than usual fervor. She was then quickly taken out into the darkness --- and eventually to the little cabin on the Connecticut River, north of Holyoke, where she remained until the spring of 1909.

The class of 1910, as represented by Fink, President, and the appointed guardian, decided to stir up a little excitement by bringing Sabrina into Amherst and showing her to the public at the Williams game, during the 1910 Junior Prom week.  This was in May, 1909.  Every detail was carefully worked out and every possible emergency prepared for.  The week before the Prom, Hal Greene, '12, brought his big seven seater Royal Tourist up to College and rode around with Juniors and Freshmen so that the machine might not, on the appointed day, excite too much suspicion.  On Monday night, May 24th, at about midnight, the Royal Tourist, with Fink, Francis, Henry and Shoop, '10, and Corwin and Greene, '12, with the latter at the wheel, sped rapidly down the river road to Read's cottage and brought Sabrina, covered with burlap, back into Amherst about two o'clock in the morning.  The town was quiet, and no one saw the big machine as it passed noiselessly down Pleasant Street to the home of John Henry, '10, on North Pleasant Street.  Here, with bated breath, the men tenderly carried Sabrina into the cellar of the house and left her in an out-of-the-way corner until the next day.

That afternoon, which was Tuesday, word was passed round to all the Juniors, that is, the class of 1910, to leave quietly that night after fraternity meetings and come by twos or threes to Henry's barn.

[Sabrina and her suitors in Henry's barn]No further information was given except that nothing was to be said to any other persons whatsoever.  About ten o'clock that night the above-mentioned men gathered in Henry's cellar and after careful consultation over all details carried Sabrina into the adjoining barn.  At 10:30 that night, the class of 1910 gathered by candle light in this little barn on North Pleasant Street and gazed on the radiant form of Sabrina while a "flashlight" was taken.  Then in awed silence every man in turn kissed the Goddess and passed quietly out into the darkness, with a parting injunction from the guardian to say absolutely nothing to other people of the night's doings until Sabrina was at a safe distance.  It had been a complete surprise to practically the entire class, and the suppressed whispers and pleased, anxious faces showed that they realized their privilege in the fact that Sabrina had not been in Amherst for fifteen years.

When all had gone, the sextette above mentioned, trembling from fear lest the odd classmen might discover Sabrina's presence before they got away, made all haste to get Sabrina into the tonneau of the big Royal Tourist and take her quickly from Henry's barn to the cellar of the home of Mr. Toole, a farmer living way out on the North Road, on the way to Sunderland.  There Sabrina was left until the next day at noon.  This was Wednesday, the day of the Prom Game with Williams.  By two o'clock the college had marched in procession behind the band to Pratt Field and as soon as the coast was clear the big machine, this time containing Francis, Fink, and Shoop, '10, and Madden, Corwin, and Greene, '12, stole from the precincts of the town of Amherst to the farmhouse on the North Road.  Sabrina was carefully placed in the tonneau and the stunt of lifting her high in the air while the machine was going at a good speed was practised on the way in.  A supply of clubs lay in the bottom of the car, ready for instant defense, and the machine started for Amherst.

Every detail had been arranged for at the field.  Two parties of men were detailed to watch each gate, the plan being to run Sabrina onto the field and off again during one of the innings of the game.  One man was detailed to smash the telephone in the grandstand.  Two others were detailed to follow the machine in motor cycles as it left the field, and to head off possible pursuers.  Two others were instructed to put all odd classmen's motor cycles out of business, and a number of others were told to tackle any of the crowd that might make a quick start to head off the machine.  Each man had been told that the machine would swing in on the field at exactly 4:05, immediately after the Northampton car had gone out.  Avery, '10, was to have a second machine just outside the fence to follow in the wake of the big car, to block pursuit or to carry the statue if anything should happen to the Royal Tourist.  New locks and chains were secured with which to fasten the gates after the machine had left the field, to hinder possible pursuit by other autos.  At the underpass on Northampton Road preparations had been made to block the road if necessary.

[Sabrina just before her appearance on Pratt Field]At the appointed hour everything at the field was in readiness, and the men in their positions. At exactly 4 P.M., the big machine, with Sabrina covered with heavy robes in the tonneau, drove into town, down Pleasant Street and around the Common, daringly exultant over the secret it held. As soon as the Hamp car had left, the Royal Tourist ran down Amity Street and out Lincoln Avenue, and swung into the "Hamp Road" very near the field. It was five minutes after four and the watchers who met the machine said it was the fifth inning with Amherst in the field. This was the most propitious time and the machine with the six excited men, their hearts literally in their mouths, sped onto the field and around the track. This certainly was bearding the lion in his den. Little did those intent stands, as they casually noticed the big machine coming onto the field, realize its precious burden. Not even the class of 1910, who had seen Sabrina the night before, knew that she was to appear before them on the field. No suspicions had yet been aroused, and the machine quietly took its place alongside the last of the long line of autos in front of the tennis courts. There happened to be some odd classmen in the next car. They, however, noticed nothing strange in the pile of blankets in the tonneau of the Royal Tourist, and they waved a merry recognition. Before Greene found it necessary to stop his engines to avoid suspicion, a pop fly closed the inning, and the big car with Sabrina started with a jump for the diamond and bore down the second base line at about thirty miles an hour before the astounded multitude. The baseball men rapidly fell away from in front of the machine. Absolute silence reigned, for the people thought that the occupants of the machine must be drunk. At the moment the car passed over the first base, the men in the back quickly lifted Sabrina high above their heads to the gaze of the many people gathered in the stands. For a few seconds nothing broke the stillness but the chug chug of the two motor bikes which, according to instructions, shot out from near the bleachers and followed the receding car in which Sabrina was still raised exultingly on high. After a moment's dazed paralysis a wild cheer broke from the many Sabrina men in the stands and a strenuous time ensued as some of the odd classmen tried to follow the machine, and some of them with motor bikes were swearing because they could not get them to go. Every man in the scheme had done his duty faithfully, and as the gates were quickly shut and locked after the flying car, pursuit was practically useless. It was some time before the game was resumed, but when it was Amherst took hold with such a will that McClure, our Sabrina pitcher, won a no-hit 2 to 0 victory over Williams. It was a big day all around.

Meanwhile, the Royal Tourist had disappeared down the Hamp hill at sixty miles an hour, with Avery's car following in the rear, and Bedford and Ladd on motor bikes following in a whirl of dust.

At the crossroads in Hadley the machine stopped for a moment, the occupants finding that they were not pursued, and Avery's car was instructed to proceed on over to Hamp "to throw off suspicion, while Bedford and Ladd rode back to Amherst. The men guarding Sabrina proceeded in their machine on down the river road and secreted Sabrina in the cellar of a jewelry store on High Street, in Holyoke, Mass. The affair had been a complete success, and the six men who had been in the machine all the time were weak with the nervous excitement of that thrilling hour. Pursuit had been very scattered and proved futile. The odd classmen had been thrown completely off the track.

There was just one time on that eventful day when it looked as if plans were going to be seriously upset. It seems that Sanderson, a tradesman in town, lives opposite Henry's house on Pleasant Street, and the night before, as he was sitting on his veranda, he had noticed the gathering of the class in Henry's barn and later saw Sabrina taken away in a machine. A vivid imagination had led him next day to say to an Amherst man who had dropped into his store, "I hear you are going to have Sabrina at the game to-day." This was at 1.30. As luck would have it, this Amherst man happened to be a Junior and a Sabrina man, and as soon as he left the store he hunted up one of the men who had charge of Sabrina and told him what Sanderson had said. Filled with alarm, this individual hastened to Sanderson's store and told him to keep still and say nothing until after the game at least. Sanderson acquiesced willingly, and this danger was safely passed.

[Sabrina on Pratt Field]

It was some time before the excitement of that afternoon's episode died out, though it spent considerable of its force in a fight up town after the game. Only a few days after this, Fink, President of 1910, received a letter from the class of '94 written the day before the appearance of Sabrina on Pratt Field, asking if the Juniors could not bring the Goddess to '94's reunion banquet in Amherst at Commencement time. Fink and Shoop talked it over and believed it rather a risky proposition on top of the Prom episode; but realizing the debt that all Sabrina men owe to '94 for having secured Sabrina for them from '93, it was decided to make a try for it, and if possible bring Sabrina to their banquet. All care and secrecy was used in preparation. The odd classmen were suspicious, however, that some such thing might take place, and several of the men in '10, particularly the two above mentioned, were watched all the time. However, every detail had been arranged for, and at the appointed time, Monday, June 28th, two machines, which had been rented in Springfield, left the rear of the jewelry store in Holyoke with Sabrina and the following men, Francis, Seligman and Shoop, '10, Corwin, Broughton and Johns, '12. The machines proceeded up the river road into Hadley. Fink had been detailed with a number of men to remain in Amherst to keep the coast clear and see that no excitement was aroused. They were to watch particularly Hitchcock Hall, where the '94 banquet was to be held. Arrangements had been made for Shoop to call Fink at 7.30, at 8.00 and at 8.25 P. M., at different points along the line, so that at any one of these points, if the odd classmen were gathering for trouble in Amherst, the machines might turn and flee immediately with their precious burden.

The last call was to be made from the hat factory, by the C. V. R. R. and then, if the coast was clear, the machines were to make a dash for Hitchcock Hall. If between the last call and the time the machines reached the hall any trouble arose, red lights were to be fired by the men on guard at the banquet, so that the machines might sail by without stopping, simply holding Sabrina to the view of the banqueters from the tonneau. If there was no danger from the odd classmen, the machines were to stop and Sabrina was to be taken into the doorway of the banquet room and a flashlight taken of the scene. Everything worked as planned. The 7.30 call was made from a small house in Hadley, and Fink reported everything quiet. The machines then came into Amherst by Northampton Road, and the East Hadley Road, and making a long detour around "D. K. E." Hill, arrived at the hat factory about 8.20. Shoop telephoned Fink while the lights were being lighted on the machines and everything made ready for the final dash. At 8.25 Fink reported everything quiet at the banquet, though '99 was having its dinner on the lawn just across the Common at Davis' Corner. It was decided to make a dash for it immediately. Quickly the machines sped up the oval by Walker Hall and down by Hitchcock Hall. Everything was quiet and the machines stopped long enough for Sabrina to be taken up to the. door, and amid tremendous cheering a flashlight was taken of her, silhouetted in the doorway. She was there but an instant, and then strong arms put Sabrina back into a machine, and with '94 men running wildly across the Common and shouting triumphantly at '99, as they banqueted totally ignorant of what was being done under their very noses, the two machines went at full speed down South Pleasant Street and around by Blake Field and out on Northampton Road again. Clark and Bedford had been doing good work on their motor cycles, and found that the odd classmen had blockaded the Northampton Road in front of Chi Psi with ropes and spiked planks.

The machines had hardly left the '94 banquet when several '11 men came running up with spiked planks to lay in front of the autos, but they were just a minute too late. The machines were by this time speeding fifty miles an hour down Northampton Road with Sabrina safely in keeping.

[Hitchcock Hall]

Coming into Amherst, at the B. & M. underpass on Northampton Road, the fellows with Sabrina had noticed four machines apparently broken down at that one place, and in one of these machines were a couple of odd classmen. It looked a little suspicious that four machines should be broken down at the same time and so close together. But little was thought of it until, as they were flying from Amherst, their machines neared the underpass. The startled men saw a great light just over a small rise in front of them. The thought immediately flashed into their minds that they had been trapped and that the odd classmen had blocked the underpass and built big bonfires all around it. In the excitement, one of the men looked back and mistook a couple of arclights for a machine following them.

The last crossroad had been passed, so there was nothing to do but take a chance and go ahead. The glare was so bright that little could be distinguished until within less than a quarter of a mile of the underpass, when a light separated itself from the general glare and approached in the form of a machine. The men guarding Sabrina grasped their clubs, prepared for a general onslaught, --- but the approaching machine passed quietly. It was one of those that had been broken down. In quick succession the three other autos passed in the same way, and the big glare which had frightened the men was no more. It was indeed a remarkable coincidence that those four machines which had been broken down at that place should have all started up at just the time when the two machines with Sabrina were returning. The men in the machines heaved a great sigh of relief as they shot unmolested through the underpass. They proceeded on, turned off at the River Road, and left Sabrina that night in Holyoke, in the cellar of the jewelry store on High Street.

At Amherst, meanwhile, "the news spread like wildfire, and the many odd classmen, graduate and undergraduate, began to plan with profound thought how they would capture the Goddess. By midnight they were riding wildly in automobiles throughout the surrounding country, trying to find Sabrina, but they found not even a trace of her." And once more, the even classmen, cleverly outwitting the men of the odd classes, had brought Sabrina before their very eyes and escaped with her untouched.

 

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Page last updated: 5 June 1999
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