Imatges de pàgina
[ocr errors]

possible when not acquainted with the lessons, the student has now the extreme satisfaction of knowing it is all “fair play;' that confidence is now to be reposed entirely in his own attainments, and that he must promulgate for his own especial benefit alone whatever knowledge he possesses of the subject before him, without receiving any from or imparting it to his neighbors. The conveniences for this arrangement are admirably prepared, and at the commencement of the task, each one finds himself on his own hook,' “ to live or die, survive or perish,” as the case may be. The studies of the first year are generally pretty familiar to our hero, and with a happy heart and smiling countenance he hands in his work, approved by his conscience for having uprightly, manfully and cheerfully performed his task! But the sickness of the Sophomore year and a habit which then came upon him of recollecting the old adage in regard to sleep, seven hours for a man, eight for a woman, and nine for a fool,” now so sadly impede his progress that he is almost ready to exclaim in the words of the poet,

“ Biennials are a bore." Should he be fortunate enough to pass through the fiery ordeal, by the help of the wonderful dreamer and cool calculating guesser, he may thank his stars he has not been sacrificed for his inattention and neglect of study.

This year is sometimes noted more particularly for the correspondence carried on by particular friends at College with those at a distance, and frequently the state of the Sophomore's health is so precarious that a change of air is deemed worth a fair trial in his particular case." Change of pasture' is said to make fat calves,' and change of air has been known to arouse stupid students to a better appreciation of their duties.

Among other things not enjoined, but, on the contrary, expressly forbidden, which however give variety to the Sophomore, is the custom of performing the mock ceremonial, entitled the Burial of Euclid.' To one who never participated in such a ceremony, it might perhaps seem decidedly agreeable to don the many-colored coat of Joseph, the mask of a Polyphemus, and other similar accoutrements, too numerous to mention, and, brandishing the club of a Hercules, while vowing vengeance on spies and death to traitors, to expose one's self to the inclemency of the weather during the worst seasons of mud, and to the chances of detection and punishment, and all this for the purpose of breaking the laws of College, and bidding defiance to the officers of the Institution ; while those who have participated may tell you, what glorious sport it is, and how, as Time in his onward course brings back the ever memorable night of



their fright, fun and folly they gather round the same old spot and celebrate the anniversary of this important event of their College course. Glorious sport it may be, but the sufferings which are occasioned by this one dereliction from duty often continue through a life-time. It sometimes happens that one who is the most innocent must be sacrificed to expiate the guilt of the real sinners.

A striking peculiarity must not be unnoticed, which is, the supreme selfimportance of the Sophomore, like that of the Miss just entered upon her teens. He feels his oats, to use his expression about some favorite fasť horse, and desires to sow the wild oats while he is


The great trouble he often occasions himself is "that he is sometimes obliged to harrow them in."

The third year is as little marked in its character, except in one or two particulars, as any in the course. A change of mental diet is here found necessary, and supplies are dealt out in proportion to the vacuum to be filled. At present the Class which occupy the least important position in College History are in a great measure obliged to travel the rough road by their own conveyances, and cannot trust so much as heretofore to the chance of getting a ride. And now warnings and admonitions having failed to produce the desired result, it has been thought proper to act as did the farmer in the fable, and try what virtue there is in something more substantial. The kindness and the pleasantness of this treatment, are appreciated, or at least should be, and certainly would be by an intelligent class. The exceptions particularly referred to, are, first, the announcing a graduated scale of appointments from colloquy up to Greek Oration, and then, the creditable performance of the several acts of the interesting drama at Junior Exhibition. These furnish pleasant and agreeable topics for conversation, and more especially acquaint the class with the degree of estimation, as scholars, in which the instructors hold each individual, at this stage of the course. There is a great diversity of opinion in regard to the real benefit of these distinctions, and the subject has often been debated with much earnestness “whether the present system of conferring College honors is, on the whole, beneficial.” Arguments are adduced both for and against it, they being, as it were, six of one and half a dozen of the other. Sometimes it happens that the Junior Class, with their known generosity and magnanimity, think it proper to have a rival exhibition on the evening previous to that in the College Chapela This takes place at some Hall in the city, and when it has been properly managed, has received the patronage of the beauty, talent, and worth of the city. The exercises are intended to afford pleasure and variety, and an opportunity for all superfluous gas to be vacated, thereby preventing the explosion which might ensue after the proclamation of appointments. We imagine that those who are not 'posted up,' err in their opinions regarding the appointment lists. Those who take Valedictories are not always the men of the most genius, but they receive their reward for constant application to nothing but studies, and that degree of incessant exertion sometimes, perhaps ill-naturedly, called “digging." This exhibition is one of those duties which are neither enjoined nor forbidden, and, in fact, some of the powers that be' have attended then and expressed themselves gratified with the various exercises, since they give a fair sample of the native oratory of the Class. At the close of the performance, a Wooden Spoon' is presented to some fortunate individual, and the prize is generally esteemed by him who receives it as a far greater one than the Valedictory.

The particular advantages which the third year possesses over its predecessors, is the privilege it affords of beginning to attend upon instructive lectures and witnessing the many curious and entertaining experiments relating to several departments of science.

The fourth year, however, seems to present to the initiated the “ otium cum dignitateof student-life, and were it not for one or two vexations of perhaps minor importance, such as ante-breakfast recitations, &c., it would be by far the most agreeable year. Not but that all experience great pleasure in attending at all times to these interesting pursuits ; but the cold frosty mornings are regarded by some as detrimental to their health, though this is an erroneous view of the case, inasmuch as such mornings would not have been caused by a wise and benificent Providence, and filled with duties by wise instructors, were they really injurious.

All, however, agree that it is a kind and proper arrangement, that those who have passed three years here, doing honor to themselves and the institution, should have an opportunity of enjoying the society of the ladies and consequently one hour of the middle of each day has been appropriated for this especial purpose. One other topic deserves our notice before we conclude. The monitorial system is particularly beneficial in its results, since it allows to the members of a class, all the privilege of knowing to a fraction the infinitesimal of a tardy mark, how many times their classmates have or have not attended upon the exercises, without the trouble of keeping their own accounts, a matter a little perplexing to a student, although the science of book-keeping is practised to a considerable extent, as unfortunate owners can testify.


[ocr errors]


In conclusion, we may remark in regard to the different classes, that the course pursued, and the course to be pursued, is as follows:

First: Freshmen in their own estimation know everything, both respecting college and the world in general. Their instructors, on the contrary, form a just appreciation of their true situation, and at the outset endeavor to teach them that they know nothing.

Secondly: Sophomores are allowed by themselves to be the wisest and most intelligent of all the body of students, and are permitted by the light of experience to discover their own real ignorance.

Thirdly: By the time they have fully entered upon the Junior year, the folly and ignorance of their former course have become apparent to themselves, and they learn at this time that they have just commenced their probation in college matters, and arrive at the conclusion that a man in order to pass through college to good advantage must necessarily continue eight years, and take two sheepskins, if he desires to carry off the prize of the “golden fleece.”

Lastly: The Senior looking back upon his previous efforts to acquire the reputation of a man of genius, and finding that he is unable to gain the desired end, finally concludes to adapt himself to circumstances, and let the world wag in its own way. It is an easy matter to graduate, unless the “ angel's visit,” just before presentation day, puts a break on the rotary motion of his wheel ; but we fear that two-thirds of every class would find it difficult as graduates to pass examination for admission into the Freshman Class.

We trust that no one, who takes the trouble to read this essay, will consider it a history of our own personal experience, for although it may apply in some respects, in others it is by no means correct. The "apples," however, are as far from reach as when we began, and seem destined to remain in the dim, distant obscure, for a considerable length of time. If we have omitted any of the minor matters from which the student derives pleasure, we have only to allege want of time And as a last topic to be dwelt


that as we see our day and generation drawing to a close, so far as College life is concerned, we have the pleasure of recording for our classmates and their posterity, the many agreeable recollections of their worth, kindness, affability and courtesy. This is one of those gratifications which are expected to endure to the end of time, and we trust many others of a similar nature may be treasured up in the storehouse of memory.

H. C. B.

[ocr errors]

as our excuse.

upon we have to


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


Some months ago, as I was walking by “the Temple,” when it contained a more fashionable shrine of Bacchus than now, I met a rather well dressed man staggering up from the adyta, who said to me, with a slight brogue,

“ Are you a scholar of the College, yonder ?”
I replied that I was, when he immediately asked me,
“Quæ hora est ?”

I saw that I had chanced on a character, rather a drunken one, it was true, but enough of one to excite my curiosity to know more of him; so I mustered the little colloquial Latin I was master of, and we carried on quite an interesting conversation. He said that he had graduated at Maynooth, the famous Catholic University at Dublin, and his volubility in quoting and talking both Latin and Greek, convinced me that his story was true. He complained of ill treatment at the bar, below, because he had no more money for them, and to learn more of him, I asked him to let me pay for him. He thanked me very politely; said that he really was dying for another potation of gin, and so we went together to the bar. Here he drank my health with a gentlemanly and scholarly flourish of words and gestures, and as the good liquor took effect, he became decidedly communicative. His story was that he was a younger son, and had studied for the church, but that he had never taken orders,—if that is the correct expression—but had been a tutor in schools in Dublin and in this country; that he had fallen into the snares of Bacchus and Venus and had lost property and character; that he had done regretting his conduct, as he felt the impossibility of ever reforming. I endeavored to influence him to make another attempt, but he said,

“Let me go my way: it'll be a short path for me to the grave. Yet I was a man once, and a gentleman's son and a scholar, the pride of my college. No one could beat me in the Latin ; here is one of my own sentences, ---see if you can render it—it is difficult, I know, but you will let me boast that it is rhetorically and religiously beautiful; I've but little to boast of, Sir.”

Bita, crucem, ut vivas, hominum, si noscere tendis, quis, quid, cur, cujus amore, passus sit.

Unable to render it, he gave me a translation which was, as he said,


« AnteriorContinua »