Monday. I am now beginning my third winter at West Point. This is the one that will get me. Once upon a time before the government began picking out my clothes, winters had no fears for me. I knew how to cope with winters. Having learned at an early age, when I foolishly made and threw a snowball and thus caught a raging cold, that I was not an outdoor boy, I wisely used to hang around the fireside popping corn and mulling ale while my hardier chums would go out and ski, skate, and romp in the snow. At evening, when they returned home with rosy cheeks and one or more stiffs, I would climb out of the ashes where I had been having a refreshing nap and offer them some excellently popped corn. The poor devils never returned in time to get any ale. Anyway in this manner I happily passed all my winters, and several summers that were cooler than usual. Due to this and a few other factors I do not care to discuss, I have seen mosquitoes bite me, spit, and go away cursing. Because my blood is thin I suffer intensely from the stinking, nasty winters that infest the Hudson Valley and one of these reveilles I am going to up and croak. The only ray of sunshine in the whole black situation is the thought of the excellent haunting opportunities that I shall have. You-know‑who is going to have a phosphorescent Pepys sitting at the foot of his bed, gibbering, every night from that date on.
"used to hang around the fireside popping corn and mulling ale. . ."
Tuesday. Drawing is now over. I feel like dancing in the streets and chanting a Te Deum. Due to circumstances which have control of me, however, I shall have to content myself with a strong phosphate and perhaps some subdued humming. All the while looking apprehensively over my shoulder. But no matter what, I am very, very, very happy as are my wives. All in all, we came through comparatively unscathed. My sane wife has only a few scars to mark the time he jealously broke all the pencils in the first section and my other wife's fault of automatically falling asleep at the sight of a French curve is offset by the fact that he will never see one again if he is lucky. I, of course, am blind, but so were Milton, Homer, and many an eminently successful beggar.
Wednesday. It is getting colder and my corpuscles report the first signs of ice in my upper aorta.
Thursday. The Mechanics Department has finished insulting us with Resistance of Materials and has begun teaching us Fluid Mechanics. My other wife, laboring under a delusion, had been looking forward to this course for weeks. When we explained to him that it was unfortunately not that kind of Fluid he was extremely disappointed and flew into a tantrum, where I joined him. However, with the Mechanics Department's brand of Fluid Mechanics, extra instruction is optional.
Friday. Tomorrow we once more sail for New York. Ah, New York, with its museums, its theaters, and its pitfalls to trap the unwary youth.
Saturday. We are off. Huzza.
Sunday. After that football game I believe that I can die happy. And from the feel of this old body that I shall with as little delay as possible.
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The Collected Works of Ducrot Pepys
History of West Point
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Page updated: 16 Aug 12