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The Story of the Mountain
Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary

Mary E. Meline & Edward F.X. McSween

Published by the Emmitsburg Chronicle, 1911

Chapter 69 | Chapter Index

Chapter 70: 1895-1896

Right Rev. John J. Collins, S. L., D. D. Titular Bishop of Antiphellos Vicar-Apostolic of Jamaica, W. I. Consecrated October 28, 1907.

April 30, 1895. Bishop Keane, Rector of the University, visited us and discoursed on the institution he represented. As a result some students entered on advanced courses there, amongst others Messrs. Brown and McGovern, seminarians, who afterwards joined our Faculty.

On the 26th of June, 1895, Commencement was held and the "Junior glee club," composed of boys from the minim department, added interest to the occasion.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Byrne, V. G., of Boston, ex-President, proposed that special literary exercises be held in connection with the athletic events of Barbecue week. Speaking of his experience with Harvard, the Rt. Rev. prelate said that seldom did the literary merit of the Harvard commencement orations surpass those at the Mountain, and often it was the contrary. Father Byrne was at the Commencement whenever possible and always showed the deepest and warmest interest. The same day the annual election took place, the same officers being elected. Father McSweeney was chosen Prefect of Studies but he did not act as it was practically impossible for another than the President properly to fulfill the duties, so Father Alien continued to bear the triple burden, which indeed had brought him so low the previous summer that his life was almost despaired of.

October 6. Prof. Burgess, an elocutionist of Baltimore, was engaged to come up once a week and teach. He arrived at 11.30 and went away at 3.40. This continued for two years. We tried to make an arrangement with Gettysburg, but they had no specialist. However in our own Faculty we found capable instructors in elocution.

October 15th, '95. The first recorded meeting of the alumni association at the college (unless we count that in 1875), was held to-day. The present society was founded in 1890 and this was its sixth reunion, the previous ones having been held in New York, Washington, Baltimore, Pittsburg, etc. There were present one Bishop, McGovern, '59, twenty-two priests and thirty laymen. They were nearly all accommodated in the house and entertained with a play, etc., by the boys. The meeting was homelike and delightful in the judgment of all.

On November 3, classes in typewriting were formed, and instruments for the orchestra as well as a chapel-organ purchased. The introduction of water necessitated more ample drainage and this gave the thought and trouble that usually accompany these advances in civilization.

December 4, Dr. (Capt.) William Seton, 3rd, LL.D. ex'55 lectured to the boys on University Education in Germany. The doctor was much of a natural-scientist, and continued to lecture for us annually until his death in 1905.

In the year 1895 we note that on January 5 the extension of the Chapel over the site of the Hermitage being completed was used for the first time.

A. V. D. Watterson, '75, president of the alumni association, published a Mass by Dr. Dielman, and with it the Christmas hymn "Glory to God." Rev. Dr. Ganss, of Carlisle, said the Mass had more than ordinary inspirational power.

As showing the precarious condition of our Faculty, we read that in February of this year two members at once were called home by their Bishop.

Rev. Edward Boursaud, S. J. '62, became a secretary to the General of the Jesuits. Rev. Thomas McLoughlin, '73, gave five hundred dollars to the College in memory of his sister. John Lafarge, "53, received very high honor in Paris for his art-work, and his plans were adopted for the Episcopalian Cathedral in New York.

Rev. Daniel Quinn, '83, took the Doctorship in Philosophy magna cum laude at Athens. A dinner at the Phaleron with Greek speeches followed.

March 29. One morning about this date a farmer at Clairvaux, came across a newly formed hole in his wheat field nineteen feet deep, and four feet across, with the beginning of a tunnel running east five feet at the bottom. Harry Manning with a rope around his waist was let down to examine, but nothing developed. Perhaps a cave was forming under the hummock in which the hole was found. In a few weeks the farmer filled it up, to the regret of the students who hoped that a cave like those so common to the west of the Blue Ridge would be discovered, and add to the attractions of the " Mountain."

President Alien was amongst those mentioned as likely to succeed Bishop Keane in the Rectorship of the University.

A Catholic paper stands up for the "cranky" president of a college who will not permit the boys under his charge to leave the house and travel around playing the national games with other institutions ....."Parents will in the end at least support this man. They tire of reading in the sporting columns alongside of prize-fights and horse races that John is away with the College team; that to-day he is here, tomorrow there, God knows in what kind of company, or how his evenings are being passed ..... The pride of the College should be its high standard of education ... Its laurels should be won in the class-room, on the field of literature and science ..." The Mountain tried to resist this passing and perhaps somewhat unprofessional craze of the period, and doubtless lost in numbers, but doubtless also gained in esteem on this account. The practice of allowing College Glee Clubs to travel for weeks seemed to many very questionable indeed.

This summer the class-rooms received steel ceilings, neatly frescoed, and new desks. Professor Mitchell discovered this summer certain footprints of fossil birds in the Jura Trias near Emmitsburg. Dr. Gilman, President of Johns Hopkins University, said they were a most valuable addition to our collection of Maryland geology, and to the geological science of this region. Dr. Mitchell went on a geological expedition in the State with some Harvard men this summer.

The Mountain football team this fall claimed the title, " C. C. C.," Champions of Catholic Colleges. It had defeated all comers of this class for three successive years.

From an article in the Mountaineer, February, 1895, by Aloysius Malone, '95, we learn the names and subjects of the chief paintings in our possession.

The first mentioned is the " Doubting Thomas," by Guido Reni, a very fine picture, the fellow of one in St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York. When it came to us or whence, we know not.

The "Adoration of the Golden Calf," is a large painting twelve feet by eight, the work of Matteo Eoselli of Florence, who died in 1650. The drapery is much admired by critics. Carroll Spence '37, of Baltimore, bought the picture in Florence and gave it to us. It is interesting to note how the original character of this painting is assured by the fact shown by investigation that the artist had at first represented the hands of the principal figure as stretched out, but afterwards made them cross on the breast. A copier would of course never have done this.

"Raphael and Tobias" was painted in Rome about 1750, and is also the gift of Mr. Spence.

"The Assumption" is "thought to be by Carlo Cignani of Bologna." It seems to be very old and its characteristic is "the flower of radiance and glory diffused over it."

A "Holy Family" is "a very fine copy of one of the great masters."

The "Visitation" by Allori of Florence (he died in 1607) was painted by order of Cosimo dei Medici, and the painter, who, as Lanzi remarks, " had the bad taste to introduce portraits of living persons into his religious pictures," presents us with those of the Medici. Mr. Spence gave it to us.

"The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence," or rather of St. Vincent of Spain, is a panel picture on oak by an unknown artist.

"Sts. Philip Neri and Antoninus" is by O. Fidani, a Florentine, 1610.

"The Killing of Abel" is very noteworthy. It is a life-size work by Baldaseare Franceschini, a scholar of Rosselli's. Mr. Spence gave this as well as several other pictures out of his great collection.

"Saint Jerome" by Salvatore Rosa "was formerly owned by King Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte who resided at Bordentown, New Jersey, where this picture was bought after his death."

A "Crucifixion " is by Lorenzo Lippi, an artist of the 17th century.

" David with Goliath's Head" is from Guide's original by one of his pupils, and is considered little inferior to the great master's work. This was bought by Mr. Spence in Florence about 1857.

The "Annunciation," which now (1908) graces the altar of the chapel on the back terrace, is claimed to be " by Peter Paul Rubens, the renowned Fleming."

Another noteworthy picture is a copy of Raphael's "Transfiguration," the first painting, perhaps, in excellence, of all the world, executed by the artist " to redeem his reputation which had suffered from the numerous works whose execution he had entrusted to his pupils. Death however overtook him before he was able to finish his work, and the painting was placed over the head of his coffin while the last touches of his master-hand were yet wet on the canvas."

There are other oil paintings, and in addition we have two panel pictures of the school of Albrecht Durer, 15th century, which despite the vicissitudes of time and clime, show yet wonderful freshness of color.

To turn from art to nature, the minor beauties of the local scenery suggested to some youthful bard

The Mountain Brook.

My mountain brook How quiet through these woods Thou lovest to flow! How many are thy moods? Yet all I know; They mind me of my poet's book That has its bright and shady nook.

In the dim light Where murmur gray old trees Thou hear'st the tales they tell The listening breeze; And to the vale Their wild, weird voices bring And all their wondrous music sing.

Upon thy bank The flowers that seem to me Most sweet bloom fair; There pale anemone, Arbutus rare, And bluest violets modest hide And coyly peep into thy tide.

Whene'er Iíve mused Beside thy peaceful stream Something Iíve heard That comes but when we dream.

Me thinks 'twas heard By those good men who prayerful trod Thy bank e'er they found rest in God, And sacred made By those old college days I am real friend ' Midst all thy changeful ways. Those old times lend A charm to make thy waters tell Of beauty which was loved so well.

Our Lady smiles From out her grotto-shrine On thee below: Then leap and brighter shine Since thou may'st flow Where our kind mother's gentle face Sheds glory o' er thy humble place.

And tho I leave These scenes whose voice thou art Thou'lt stay with me, And live within my heart, A blessed memory. To lead up to our Lady's feet My life like thee, e'er pure and sweet.

Chapter 71 | Chapter Index


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