Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ones.

is true enough; but it is not true that man selected his mate; but Bedlow apthey make a niggardly use of their propriated all three rooms to himself, wealth when they have acquired it. by the simple process of buying-out his They spend it as freely as they make it room mate, who had previously agreed rapidly. If alieni appetens, the Ameri- with him to have his lodgings paid can is sui profusus. It may help you elsewhere—no very immense outlay, to correct the popular notion, if you something like £6 for the whole year. consider that Americans are notorious These Yale College apartments were not speculators, and that, so far from a specu- quite up to Trinity or Christ Church lator being necessarily a mean man, standard, as you may suppose. They the chances are that he turns out just rather resembled continental barracks. the opposite. Also it is worth ob- Carpets, though not so rare as at a serving, that the most striking examples German hotel, were by no means de on record in America of men approach- rigeur. Bill, however, had furnished ing to the conventional type of the his sitting-room comfortably, and even miser, have been foreigners, or sons of elegantly; in the one article of lookingforeigners. Throughout the list of glass, I fancy it was stronger than most avaricious millionaires, you will find English rooms. Likewise, our bully with difficulty an American name; if did not clean his own boots-a rare and you do find any, they are New England aristocratic luxury, which shows you

In public charity and private how primitive our habits were, nothospitality, the Americans are far ahead withstanding our propensity to flash of any European nation ; indeed, all toilettes. European nations seem mean to them There were no female servants emin these respects, particularly in the ployed about the college, unless there latter. The early New Englanders, may have been two or three in the however, formed a marked exception to kitchen. The beneficiaries waited in this national trait; they certainly were hall as I have already told you; close-fisted—which was owing, in a great the rooms were supposed to be taken measure, to sheer necessity, and the care of by three or four men called poverty of their country. City New “sweepers," whose duty extended only Englanders have got pretty well over to making the beds daily, and sweeping this; but the thing still exists in some the rooms occasionally. But there of the country towns, and the name of were some half-dozen servants, who, the thing has stuck to all New Eng- though unattached to, and unrecoglanders, and diminished the popularity nised by, the college, were virtually to which their enterprise and other the scouts or gyps thereof; each of virtues would else have entitled them. them served eight or ten masters, brushThis I believe to be the true reason why ing their clothes and boots, lighting so many middle-state men prefer the their fires, &c. These servants were Southerners as associates, though it may mostly “persons of colour," and found not be the one usually assigned.

their patrons chiefly among the SouthBedlow, being a swell, was better erners and the law-students. lodged than most of us.

When a

Many of us “boarded,” ¿.e. took our student “roomed” out of college, his meals out of college. The price was apartments generally consisted of one little more at a boarding house, the large room, which served both for bed- provender decidedly better; we could room and study. The arrangement for form our own set, and there was a those who occupied the college buildings sprinkling of ladies' society. Bill was was that each two had three rooms in his glory at our boarding-house. between them-a bedroom a-piece, and Thus far I have said nothing about one sitting-room in common. The Bedlow's sports and exercises. The freshmen were “chummed” together at chapter of them would be as short as random; in the subsequent years every the traveller's account of the snakes in A good

was

even

Iceland. According to your idea of a game of ball, or endangering his fine exercise and recreation, he, we, all of us, new pantaloons by jumping a fence ! could scarcely be said to take any at all. Still, if he did not take exercise, he Most of us could ride tolerably ; yet we required some amusement. scarcely ever mounted a horse ; indeed, deal of that he took at the secret there were very few in New Haven to societies, where eating and drinking mount. As to walking, I doubt if you occasionally relieved the feast of reason. would consider Bill's swaggering saunter, A little of it he took in ladies' society at with his hands in his pockets and his his boarding house, or in families that cap on his left ear, from the college to he knew; it was a great provocation to the boarding house, and from the board- dress, and Bill had an easy flowing style ing-house to the post-office, worthy of of conversation, nor was he averse to an that name. It was more to show off

occasional dance after the mild manner himself and his clothes than for any permitted in New Haven--for the polka other purpose.

Boating was unknown; not yet invented, and such games of ball as once existed had the old triple-time waltz would have fallen into disuse. The national ten-pin

been too much for New England proalley was doubly illegal, municipally as priety. The American students are well as academically ; billiards, of which almost as fond of singing as the German Americans are nearly as fond as French- students; on moonlight nights, small men, lay under the same law. Even parties of us would ramble out to those great institutions of the country, serenade with our most sweet voices the “ fast crab ” and the trotting waggon, the young ladies' schools, of which there had not penetrated into our academic were several in different parts of the seclusion.

town. If we could catch the outline of One cause of this state of things was some white draperies flitting about in undoubtedly the sour, anti-jovial, puri- the unlit bedrooms, our innocent vanity tanic spirit, which regards all liveliness, was highly gratified. When we felt and noise, and romping, as positively hungry after these excursions (which wicked. If I were to tell you that, the might very well happen with our one evening after Bedlow's elevation to what o'clock dinners and six o'clock teas), we he had chosen to term the office of supped at one of the half-grocer, halfdictator, some of his friends assembled confectioner establishments with which under his window, and gave "three the place abounded, on oyster stews, cheers for our new bully!” in good old poached eggs, and similar unexpensive Anglo-Saxon style, and that, at a prayer

viands. We could not have had supper meeting then going on in a neighbouring in our rooms, unless we had cooked it recitation-room, a special prayer was

ourselves a feat for which our stoves immediately put up for the cheerers, the were not precisely adapted. We did proof of their lost and desperate condi- have certain convivialities in our rooms tion being that they had cheered as however ; the greatest possible “spree aforesaid, you might be inclined to was to brew punch (hot or cold, accordsuspect me of exaggeration ; yet such ing to the season), and play long whist is the simple and unvarnished fact. To without stakes. Perhaps the knowledge i be sure, a large number of the students, that we were doing something utterly perhaps a majority, would certainly not forbidden supplied the requisite zest. refrain from any practice, but rather the There was not much ready money reverse, because it was forbidden by the among us, to be sure-very little in pro“blues," as the religious portion were portion to our swell attire : but I supsometimes called. But then came in pose there never was a collegiate town that absurd idea of sham dignity. These in the world where the great institution youths of eighteen were men, and men of Tick did not exist to some extent. must now play like boys! Catch Mr. And here, while I am touching on the

that, as the actual necessaries of life, religion," and the “unconverted” in two board, lodging, and fuel, were cheap at hostile camps, tended to drive every New Haven, the tuition far from dear, student into one of the extremes, fanatiand the temptations few, it was hardly cism or infidelity. The no

The non-professors possible to spend a great deal of money charged the “blues” (very unjustly, I if one tried. Bill managed to see the end believe) with being spies for the faculty ; of 700 dollars(£140) every year; his father the " professors” charged the "impenigrumbled at the allowance, and I have tent” (of whose actual mode of life they no doubt many of his fellow-students had an extremely vague and limited thought it monstrous. To return to the knowledge) with all things horrible and cards; though not over-burdened with awful. Religious considerations embitchange, we certainly might have played tered the college politics. When we sixpenny and shilling points without elected Bedlow first president of our serious damage to our finances, but we literary society (by a majority of only never felt any inclination to play for six votes out of a hundred and twenty) money.

all the members of the college church Since that day, young America has belonging to the society voted against grown wiser in some things, and wilder him in a body. There were some half in others. I am afraid young America dozen of us, episcopalians, who mixed gambles occasionally, possibly to a very with both parties, and, though we were mischievous extent. On the other hand, the lowest kind of Church, our congrehe has learned that it is not unmanly, gational fellow-Christians regarded us but the reverse, to play ball and patronise with much suspicion and many misgivthe gymnasium.

ings, because we were known to eat If Bedlow had any other amusements suppers occasionally and did not join in the vacations of a more exceptionable the tee-totallers. character than the above-mentioned, I Of course Bedlow and I had numerous never knew anything about it; and he theological discussions. We were altook care never to tell me. Young ways discussing something, and I fancy Americans, perhaps all Americans, have religion, after politics, was what we a reputation for bragging, and they do argued most about.

We used to go at brag about many things; but, unless they it hammer and tongs for hours together have lived long in France, they do not —the old school of course ; neither of habitually boast of their profligacy. us knew anything about the Germans ;

And this brings us to the most im- it was Paley and Watson on one side, portant matter of all.

You may be cu- Paine and Volney on the other. We rious by this time to know what were left off generally about where we began, Bedlow's ideas and opinions on the and began next time where we had left off. subject of religion. Here I cannot give Bill looked upon me as a very good you a favourable report ; indeed, to tell fellow, only a little weak in that par. the truth, Bill was an avowed infidel. ticular point. If he had possessed all I do not mean that he professed him- the learning and ability of Mr. Mill, Mr. self such on the green in front of the Buckle, and two or three continental college, or in any other place whence it philosophers combined, he could not might come to the ears of the "faculty.” have talked in a more patronising, pityHad he done so, he would have been ing way of Christianity and Christians. expelled as certainly as if it had been

And now that we have pretty well known that he kept playing-cards in his sketched Mr. Bedlow's antecedents, it

There was an express clause in may be time to inform you that he the college code to that effect. But is no longer an undergraduate. He and among his friends he made no secret of

his friend your humble servant are his unbelief, and he was far from being bachelors of some nine months' standing, the only sceptic. The thrice-unfortunate and members of the law school. An system which arrayed the “ professors of American A.B. is not still considered

room.

reason.

an undergraduate, like an English B.A., reading-rooms) of the Tontine Hotel. although so much younger.

As the Time, ten in the evening, or thereabouts. Master's degree confers no vote or pri- Besides some outsiders from the town, vilege, and is of no possible use that a knot of students are assembled there. I am aware of, except to the college They are all members of the law-school. treasury, many, probably the majority, You will rarely see an undergraduate in never take it, though the fees are not the hotel. Dining there is expressly very terrifying, somewhere about £2.

prohibited to them by the college laws, I positively do not recollect whether I but there is another and a more potent ever took my A.M. at Yale or not; if I

Class distinctions, that is to did, it certainly was not at the regular say, distinctions of seniority, are strangetime. After the student's first degree, ly and strongly marked. Seniors conhis connexion with alma mater may sort with seniors, juniors with juniors, generally be considered as terminated, sophomores with sophomores, graduates unless he remains one, two, or three with graduates. It is decidedly infra years in one of the professional de- dig. to mix with the years below partments. We may here remark that,

you. though Yale has always been called Some of the party have been drinking a college, it is a complete university at the bar, several of them are smoking, according to the American acceptation most of them talking. The staple of of the term.? The American idea of their conversation is politics, with an a university is a preparatory college, occasional interlude of tailory. connected with, and completed by its “You say you have all the intellithree professional schools”-that is, gence and education of the county. departments or faculties. The general Why, we have more of the literary department is one and undivided; for, men on our side. There's Cooper and though you hear different colleges spoken Bancroft, and Willis and Irving—" of at Yale-North College, South, Mid- “Washington Irving isn't a Locofoco." dle, &c.—these merely correspond to the “What did he write that article in different courts of an English college. the Knickerbocker for then ?"

The professional students, in virtue “I don't care. I know him, and I of their graduateship, are released from know he isn't a Locofoco.” all undergraduate discipline. They “Oh! you know him. What does have only a couple of lectures to attend he say about the slavery question ?” daily, and even at these their presence “He says it's a black business, and is not very rigorously exacted. Chapel he washes his hands of it.” 1 has no more terrors for them ; if they “Hollo! here's Clark! Why, where lodge near enough to be awakened by have you been this last age? Anticithe once formidable bell, they turn over pating the vacation ?" and go to sleep again with a very suave “Yes, I went to New York for two mari magno feeling. It is hardly ne- weeks.” (An American never says a cessary to say that their tendencies fortnight.) are more oratorical and argumentative

1 Verbatim from a letter to the writer of than ever; they begin to write in the

this article. Irving was fond of old jokes, local papers, and to take part in poli- but he introduced them with such a grace tical meetings. The life of the law that they appeared almost original. He was students, in particular, may be defined claimed by all political parties and acknowas a perpetual discussion.

ledged none. Both sides were always ready to

give him diplomatic appointments, when he We will now, if you please, shift the

would accept them. Among the strange perverscene from the public street to the sions of fact recently circulated about America, public parlours (which also serve as none is more striking than the assertion that

literary men are shut out from all political 1 This merits notice also as about the only advancement—the truth being directly the American instance of anything being called reverse, that continual efforts are made to

that, as the actual necessaries of life, religion," and the “unconverted ” in two board, lodging, and fuel, were cheap at hostile camps, tended to drive every New Haven, the tuition far from dear, student into one of the extremes, fanatiand the temptations few, it was hardly cism or infidelity. The non-professors possible to spend a great deal of money charged the “ blues” (very unjustly, I if one tried. Bill managed to see the end believe) with being spies for the faculty ; of 700 dollars (£140)every year; his father the “professors ” charged the “impenigrumbled at the allowance, and I have tent" (of whose actual mode of life they no doubt many of his fellow-students had an extremely vague and limited thought it monstrous. To return to the knowledge) with all things horrible and cards; though not over-burdened with awful. Religious considerations embitchange, we certainly might have played tered the college politics. When we sixpenny and shilling points without elected Bedlow first president of our serious damage to our finances, but we literary society (by a majority of only never felt any inclination to play for six votes out of a hundred and twenty) money.

all the members of the college church Since that day, young America has belonging to the society voted against grown wiser in some things, and wilder him in a body. There were some half in others. I am afraid young America dozen of us, episcopalians, who mixed gambles occasionally, possibly to a very with both parties, and, though we wero mischievous extent. On the other hand, the lowest kind of Church, our congrehe has learned that it is not unmanly, gational fellow-Christians regarded us but the reverse, to play ball and patronise with much suspicion and many misgivthe gymnasium

ings, because we were known to eat If Bedlow had any other amusements suppers occasionally and did not join in the vacations of a more exceptionable the tee-totallers. character than the above-mentioned, I Of course Bedlow and I had numerous never knew anything about it; and he theological discussions. We were altook care never to tell me. Young ways discussing something, and I fancy Americans, perhaps all Americans, have religion, after politics, was what we a reputation for bragging, and they do argued most about.

We used to go at brag about many things; but, unless they it hammer and tongs for hours together have lived long in France, they do not -the old school of course; neither of habitually boast of their profligacy. us knew anything about the Germans ;

And this brings us to the most im- it was Paley and Watson on one side, portant matter of all. You may be cu- Paine and Volney on the other. We rious by this time to know what were left off generally about where we began, Bedlow's ideas and opinions on the and began next time where we had left off. subject of religion. Here I cannot give Bill looked upon me as a very good you a favourable report ; indeed, to tell fellow, only a little weak in that parthe truth, Bill was an avowed infidel. ticular point. If he had possessed all I do not mean that he professed him- the learning and ability of Mr. Mill, Mr. self such on the green in front of the Buckle, and two or three continental college, or in any other place whence it philosophers combined, he could not might come to the ears of the "faculty.” have talked in a more patronising, pityHad he done so, he would have been ing way of Christianity and Christians. expelled as certainly as if it had been

And now that we have pretty well known that he kept playing-cards in his sketched Mr. Bedlow's antecedents, it room. There was an express clause in may be time to inform you that he the college code to that effect. But is no longer an undergraduate. He and among his friends he made no secret of

his friend your humble servant are his unbelief, and he was far from being bachelors of some nine months' standing, the only sceptic. The thrice-unfortunate and members of the law school. An system which arrayed the professors of American A.B. is not still considered

« ZurückWeiter »