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What it was was Football!

Georgetown Magazine

GeorgeTown College October 7th 1830

Dear Emmy

It is with great difficulty I can steal a few moments to pen these lines to you, and as my time as well as subject is limited I hope you will excuse the brevity of this...The cold north winds begin to warn us of the approach of his majesty old Jack Frost and of Christmas, also imagine to yourself only for a moment a darkum nitum, all starrorum, I mean by this very early in the morning, that I wake and proceed with slow steps you may be sure to the pump, for the sleep is not yet extracted from my eyes, to wash and then to go to hard study. I lay my head on it, you do not go through this up your way. I cannot complain of this because it is entirely at my own option. Papa was here lately to see us but did not stay long. He brought little Eddy with him and when he had got once into the carriage it was impossible to get him out of it, for if I attempted to move him he would "holler" so loud as to disturb the boys in studies.

We play football at present, what I mean by football is that it is a kind of leather bag in which is placed a bladder filled with air which causes it to bounce up very high and is kicked about by the boys. I have had my feet skinned and bruised by it very often. I am lame with one I have received today. Tell me in return all the news up your way, how you like your situation, how you go on in your studies, all these will be alike gratifying and amusing to me. Make a watch guard for me if you please, although I have not a watch at present, it is no sign that I never will have one. Excuse this bad writing as I am pressed for time, have a bad pen, and am surrounded with noise. Write to me soon, as I am very anxious to hear from you. All friends join with me in sending their best love to you - and believe me to be.

Your affectionate brother

John C. Brent

Miss Emily C. Brent
St. Joseph's Valley
Near Emmitsbourg, Maryland

John Carroll Brent was born in Washington July 25, 1814. He entered Georgetown in 1830, and was graduated in 1833. In addition to his football exploits, he was a charter member of the Philodemic Society, and the first reader in the then new Mulledy refectory. He practiced law in Washington, and his influence with Dr. Johnson Eliot is said to have led the founders of the Medical School to join Georgetown College. In 1843, he published the first biography of Archbishop John Carroll, our founder, and his great-uncle. He died in Washington February 10, 1876. According to his obituary in the College Journal, "Had he possessed more than a modest competence, he would doubtless have perpetuated his own name with it, by liberal gifts. He honored his Alma Mater, however, ny what she regards as of more worth than gifts, on the part of her children,—a spotless life." We trust he got his watch.

University Archivist Jon Reynolds always preferred basketball and golf because of the skinning and bruising mentioned by young Mr. Brent.