To Princeton on Nothing but Feet
Newark, N. J., June 19, 1915.
Editor of The Alumni Weekly,
Dear Sir: It may interest some of the alumni to hear of the feat (business of ducking) performed by Dr. William H. Vail, 70 years young, in walking 50 miles to Princeton to attend the fiftieth reunion of the Class of 1865.
Dr. Vail left Newark at half-past five Friday morning and walked 35 miles to Somerville, where he spent Friday night. He resumed his journey at 7 o’clock Saturday morning, intending to cover the 17 miles to Princeton, with a stop for lunch, by 12 o’clock. Being delayed slightly while nearing Princeton by a notice reading “Slow down to 15 miles per hour,” he reached the front campus at 1 o’clock, in time to march down to and around the field with his classmates.
He was much chagrined, however, at the outcome of the game, as there was no snake dance, in which he would have gladly participated, singing the while, “Yale, Yale you can’t play ball!” On Sunday he spent a quiet day walking about Princeton, covering about fifteen miles, and says he feels no ill effects of his jaunt.
His story is attested by numerous automobilists who offered him a lift at different points along the journey, but Dr. Vail declined any assistance, and even suggested to the owners of several stranded machines that he would help tow them out of the mud.
His companion on the trip, an athletic graduate of the Class of 1912, who is here unnamed, looked longingly at every machine that passed, and finally had to be helped into Princeton by his young companion. Nor was he observed to march in the Alumni Pee-rade.
Dr. Vail made no preparation for his trip-wearing ordinary clothes and low shoes, and carry a stick cut by his father seventy years ago; nor had he trained for it in any way. He ascribes his ability to making this journey without fatigue to the fact that he has always lived the simple life.
J. E. C. ‘01.