Precaution Primarily
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The scene is a paint box. Large green and whites form the back, a blue leans against the side and many small greens edged with orange are scattered around artistically. As the curtain rises music is falling gently from the strange melancholy individuals who sit in front dressed in their blacks and whites. They all look sadly at the stage which is now filled with people dressed in purple splotched with mauve sitting on pale violets.

The chorus can be heard to remark vaguely in the old English in which all opening choruses are written.

Oh gleeumph wax wash ich
Vil na wan in bun oh
Il bur lee burly.
Oh Gish Bush!

They accompany this by the appropriate dance. The audience lean back wearily and wait for the play to begin.

(Enter the football team disguised as chorus men and the Prom committee in pink tights.)

Cue: “Look back in your score books; look at Hank O'Day.”


Henry O'Day, Henry O'Day,
King of the neutrals were you;
Kaisers or Kings, Hughie Jennings
All were impartially blue.
Called a ball
When you meant a strike;
Heard them call
“For the love of Mike,” etc.


(Enter two mere striplings, stripped, boiled in grease paint and decorated in Hawaiian straw.)


Junior, shave your mustache, you're souring all the milk.

(At the back of the Casino the long-haired authors walk up and down feeling about as comfortable as the Kaiser's own before another offensive.)

FIRST AUTHOR—How do you think the thing's going?

SECOND DITTO—Fine! not two minutes ago I heard a laugh in the eighteenth row. It was my joke about the—

FIRST AUTHOR—Your joke, Ha-Ha! you make me laugh—Did my line about—, etc.

FIRST MUSIC WRITER (aside)As if anyone listened to the dialogue.

SECOND MUSIC WRITER—How my songs do stand out.

LYRICIST—Remarkable how a good lyric redeems a bad tune. (Listens to the silent audience and wishes the senior in the front row would control his whooping-cough until the dialogue begins again.)

(Behind the scenes.)

CORINNE—Knockout girl in the front row.


CORINNE—She likes my eyes.

CHLORINE—Wait till she sees your legs in the next chorus.

FLUORINE (the leading lady)Don't spoil my entrance.

BROMINE—Grab on, freshman—one—two—pull! (Blankety-blank! dash! dash!)

IODINE—All right, everybody—Hurry up! Get your pink silk over­coats.


A bas with the pony ballet,
Ha-Ha to the pony ballet,
Their faces are phoney,
On places they're bony,
Scorn chases the pony ballet.

ENTHUSIASTIC YOUNG PRECEPTOR—Progressive! Ah! After the true Washington Square manner.

AVERAGE STUDENT (who doesn't know what he wants and kicks when he gets it)Where's the plot?

Moral of the show: You can't please all of the people all of the time.


F. S. F.

Published in The Princeton Tiger magazine (XXVIII, February 3, 1917)).

Not iIllustrated.