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fenders all wanted to be officers, strangely enougb, and even showed a mutinous spirit in case such and such were not elected to office along with themselves. The result was a heated and personal debate, ending shortly with a general break-up: and thus, when on the eve of doing something, the whole thing went absolutely to nothing. Here was patriotism, pure, native, and unalloyed. This too, among men who had individually and forcibly asserted, and reasserted, that they wanted and would take no office ! But such is human nature. We believe in original depravity, deceit, and all similar doctrines. Rural neighborhoods are the seats of extraordinary purity.
On hearing of this last turn of affairs, we packed our truuks and, instead of rendezvousing at Nấn with cooked rations, our patriotic intentions being utterly thwarted, we turned our face toward New Haven. Such, reader was our first and, up to the present time, last attempt at playing soldier. We are not without confidence, as before stated, that our action bad due effect in turning back the ruthless invaders that threatened our soil. It
to say-what we afterward learned by letter,—that one solitary man of the company betook himself with blanket and rations to the appointed rendezvous, but he looked in vain for his comrades. As the evening shades settled over the house he had that morning left to take up a more sacred duty, he was received again into the arms of his weeping spouse, and rejoicing in his safe return from the service of fiery Mars, he proceeded to burn up the Will, which, as becometh a prudent man in like situation, he had made and sealed the preceding night.
D. E. W.
Is this to be an elaborate argument in favor of the innocent amusement, or a fierce attack on the vile habit. This is the only question, when an article appears under this old title, and each one sits down to read, firmly resolved to give to every word either an unqualified assent or a flat denial, as the argument may be, pro or con. So much
has been said on both sides, that every one has firmly made up his mind on the subject, and words, aimed at changing such a fixed opinion, are worse than useless. The first claim for originality, then, in this essay, is fully established, when it is announced, at the very commencement, that we are to travel by neither of the old beaten roads. I lay particular stress on this first claim, for it will be seen that it is the only one of which the article can boast. Already the old warriors, who would gladly have seen the contest, so often raged, renewed again, throw aside the article in disgust. This is as it should be-for this very purpose the confession was made—now for the excuse. Tbe title seems to have been chosen with some show of justice, for if “smoking" is not the subject, it is the cause, or rather the atmosphere in which the following thoughts were brought to light.
When a man sits down to smoke, it is to think also; for just as the body becomes, under the soothing influence, more hopelessly indolent, so the mind grows more thoughtfully active. On this rock might be founded a most powerful argument for the smoking; but we will forbear. I am about to write, from recollection, the results of one of these smoke reveries; the thoughts not rising in logical order, perhaps, but still, just as they occurred so they shall be written.
As it is impossible to smoke and not think, so it is at least natural, that one just on the eve of graduation, should often find his mind occupied with one theme-College; the days now passed away forever, and the very few which yet remained.
College is a humbug,” is so often grumbled out, that it has now almost the semblance of a truth, when spoken out in so many words; when the same idea is glossed over, it meets with almost universal belief. It would hardly be urged, even by the most cynical, that the faithful student does not gain a vast amount of information, but objection is raised on the ground, that the major part of every class is made up from the idlers, and that they gain nothing, but even lose ground. Thus it becomes a vital question to the majority, whether they are wasting four years from the best part of their life, or not.
In the first place, it is well to consider what the course of study at College is, and what object it has in view. There is a marked difference between the studies at school and College, and a difference yet more marked in the manner of pursuing them. The books chosen at school are those which contain all the minutiæ of the subjects to be followed out hereafter ; the groundwork of all knowledge. Now, in order that such knowedge should be of the least value, it is absolutely necessary that continual and undivided attention should be given to
every little point, as it occurs. In this, I think, lies the great difference, and here is the strength of argument for the idlers. The books chosen in College are of a more general and comprehensive nature, and hence it is not a study of small points, but of great principles. It would be absurd to attempt to prove that the diligent student does not gain much more than the idler ; but I only wish to show that the four years even of the latter are not wasted. If a man should spend these few years in merely listening to the lessons, as they are recited, I doubt if it could be proved that his time was not well occupied; how much less, when he has given to the lessons some previous preparation. So, the veriest idler has gained some advantage; has retained many of the great principles, has, in a great measure, profited by a
, course of study admirably selected and apportioned. So much he has gained, and what has be lost ? Nothing. I shall take it for granted that the object for which we come to College, the education and training of the mind, is a worthy one; so that it remains to prove that the idler does much to forward the object.
The mind is educated in youth, at least by study and by reading, wbich may be considered a lighter kind of study. The lessons, now, are arranged in such a manner, that the student can pay ample attention to each one, and yet have some time for physical exercise and promiscuous reading. When the lessons are neglected, these hours are all added to the “ spare time.” Thus the idler has a very great deal of spare time, most of which is employed in promiscuous reading, which, next to study, is the most useful training for the mind. I doubt if there can be found any class of young men who are such diligent readers as these same indolent ones, who manifest such an utter recklessness in regard to their studies. Thus, by a course of reading, they are training their minds, even more profitably than in any other place; for they have time enough, and they have the advantage of the literary atmosphere, and of the great facilities for procuring books.
In the next place, the respect which is here granted to excellence in writing and speaking, proves itself a vast power in the education of the mind. The best writer gains far more respect than the best scholar—the “De Forest” shines for the student with a much brighter light than the “ Valedictory.” On this account the number of the inattentive in this branch is much smaller, and many a one will blush to read a poor essay, who would say “not prepared,” with the most utter indifference. I shall not attempt to prove that there are not many who invariably put off writing their essays until the few hours before they are read, for such is often the case; but this neglect is by
no means so general. It will probably be granted, that almost every one makes marked improvement in composing and speaking, before his graduation, and these two accomplishments are requisite to a professional life, and ornaments to any sphere.
If it could be proved that not one word of our studies here was retained in memory; not one step made towards the education of the mind, yet I would advocate a Collegiate course, if only for the training of social qualities.
There is, in the young of our species, (whatever may be the philosophical explanation of it,j a kind of shrinking from strangers, which is in a great measure worn off in College. This is almost a necessity from the facts in the case. A hundred young men enter College, almost all strangers to each other. At first the tendency is to cling closely to the few whom we might have known before ; but gradually the heart warms, the social qualities expand, and one after another is added to the circle of our acquaintance. So it goes on, acquaintances increasing and becoming friends, until the social system is brought almost to the perfection of the family. And yet, valuable as our College friends may be; dearly as we may love each and all of them., yet they are not, themselves, in a worldly point of view, the most valuable acquisitions we have made, but rather, the advantage we have gained, is the facility of making friends. There is now no timidity, no shrinking away from every stranger, but the mind, sharpened by its College training, discerns, at a glance, his true character, and the honest student-heart, on the mind's decision, admits him to the sacred circle of friends, or rejects him with disgust. It is true that our system of friendship is too honest and open for the world, and many a one must turn away with disgust from the interested friendships outside ; but too much sincerity could hardly be called a fault, and this is the only failing in the system. There is a sect of philosophers, who found the entire system of friendship on self-love ; and, indeed, in the world they can find many most powerful argaments in support of this theory. I believe, however, that some friends have motives deeper and more noble, than any feeling of self-love, or self-interest; motives which, in a true business-like view, may seem absurd, but which men will ever respect as a most amiable weakness. College can boast of numbers of such friendships, and for this cultivation, alone, of the noblest qualities of the heart, its utility might justly be defended. Thus it seems to me that even the most inattentive student has, in connexion with College, gained incalculable advantage. In the first place, as the books studied here are not on minor points, but contain the great principles of science, much of what daily passes before the mind must be retained. Next, that the studies are no bar to a complete course of reading, but rather, that everything connected with College would tend to develop the taste and guide the energies. Then, from the unbounded respect which we entertain for our superiors, in composing and speaking, we are led to cultivate our own faculties, and even gain much by a species of induction.
I have said nothing, so far, in reference to the moral training which College gives. It is a point on which little could be said, for wbile, I think, there is no bar to moral improvement, yet there is little which would tend to its peculiar advancement. There is, indeed, little of that hostility and sneering at religion, which is met with in almost every collection of young men; but beyond this kind of negative stimulus, there is no peculiar inducement to religious improvement. A high sense of honor, an unbounded respect for the gentleman, and a thorough disgust of all that is coarse or ill-natured, unite to form a strong bond, to restrain every one within the bounds of decency.
Thus College seems to be the proper preparation for the active scenes of the world—so I was left disposed in my mind, for my cigar was finished.
J. F. K.
At the Chess.
To No. 24 SOUTH COLLEGE.
Do you remember how one night
We sat and pondered at the Chess
In very idleness;
How slowly went the game! but we
Had all our thoughts of happier things,
Nor loved the strife of kings, VOL. XXVIII.