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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

College Humor

A Pious Remonstrance

From “The Punch-Bowl,” University of Pennsylvania

To the Editor of The Punch-Bowl:
SIR: It seems to me that the attention of the fire inspectors should be called to the University chapel. The condition of the exits is frightful. What would happen if a fire should break out in that death-trap, crowded to the very doors by men, compelled against their will to go? Think of the awful destruction, the men trampled to death, the men burned, roasted, and fried, while vainly beating against the locked doors, which Pomp, blissfully ignorant, does not open? Think of the hundreds of men, urged into the room by threats—the flower of our youth—who would perish in the passing of a moment! It is criminal beyond measure that such a thing should be—that the trustees, the faculty, the dean should allow men to be packed so tightly in such a sepulcher. It is a time to take action. The chapel is crammed full with twenty times the men who want to be there. If the trustees, the faculty, the dean were humane, if they were considerate, if they valued the lives of the men who pay tuition, they would cut down this number four-fifths. Probably this knowledge of the awful danger that lies lurking there is the real cause that keeps them from attending and swelling the list of possible victims. A proper petition might succeed in having them restrict the number as we have suggested. Even this would not be any too small an assembly. It is hardly possible that more than fifty men, in case of fire, could escape from the chapel without loss of life. Therefore, the student body should rise up and say, “No more than fifty men should be allowed in chapel,” and persist until their request is granted. There might be some consolation in being burned up in a theater, because you go of your own free will, but in the chapel— We might take up the cry of half a century ago, and say, “Fifty or fight,” and get justice.
Respectfully yours,