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r games, their individual haunts;--we watched them at football or cricket; had our favorites and our aversions; waited anxiously for the time when, once or twice a year, the professor of chemistry gave many of them exhilarating gas, as it was called, on the triangle then known as the Delta, and they gesticulated, made speeches, or recited poetry, as unconscious of their self-revelation as an autobiographer. Sometimes in summer evenings — for the college term then lasted until the middle of July--we would amuse ourselves by selecting in the street some single student, and trailing him from place to place, like the Indians of whom we had read in Cooper's novels; following wherever he went, watching, waiting, often losing and then finding him again, and perhaps delaying our own early bedtime that we might see him through some prolonged evening call, though he was all unconscious of our watchful care. I can still breathe the aroma of the lilac-bushes among which we ensconced ourselves
December 31st (search for this): chapter 4
tion for his grave. Thaxter was about my age, though he was, like Perkins, two years younger in college; he was not a high scholar, but he was an ardent student of literature, and came much under the influence of his cousin, Maria White, and of Lowell, her betrothed. Thaxter first led me to Emerson and to Hazlitt; the latter being for both of us a temporary and the former a lifelong source of influence. We were both lovers of Longfellow, also, and used to sit at the open window every New Year's Eve and read aloud his Midnight Mass to the dying year. Thaxter was an enthusiastic naturalist, which was another bond of union, and he bequeathed this taste to his youngest son, now an assistant professor of botany in Harvard University. To Thaxter I owe, finally, the great privilege of borrowing from Maria White the first thin volumes of Tennyson's poems, which seemed to us, as was once said of Keats, to double the value of words; and we both became, a few years later, subscribers to the
r the early drinking habits of society still flourished, and the modern temperance agitation was but beginning. When Allston, the painter, kept the records of the Hasty Pudding Club, in rhyme, he thus described the close of the annual dinner of that frugal body:--And each one to evince his spunk Vied with his neighbor to get drunk; Nor tedious was the mighty strife With these true-blooded blades of life, For less than hours two had gone When roaring mad was every one. Allston left college in 1800, forty years before my day; yet it was in my own time that the Rev. Dr. John Pierce recorded in his Diary that he had seen men intoxicated at · B K dinners — this society being composed only of the best scholars in each class — who were never seen in this condition at any other time. We boys used to watch the Harvard Washington Corps on its return from the dinner at Porter's, quite secure that some of our acquaintances would stagger out of the ranks and find lodgment in the gutter. The reg
nto a kind of privacy, except that three days of Exhibition --a sort of minor Commencement, with public exercises — were distributed through the terms, and brought together many strangers. At ordinary times the external status of the college was more like that of some country academy than that of an embryo university. There were but seven buildings inside the college yard, and but one outside. There are now about 3000 students, of various grades and departments, registered in Cambridge; in 1837, when I entered college, there were but 305 such students; and in 1841, when I graduated, but 366. In like manner, Cambridge is now a city of some 85,000 inhabitants, whereas in 1840 it had but 8409, distributed among three villages, of which Old Cambridge, grouped round the college buildings, had less than half. Yet, after all, these figures make little difference to the boy; a crowd is a crowd, whether it be counted by hundreds or thousands, since you see at the most only those immediate
ers. At ordinary times the external status of the college was more like that of some country academy than that of an embryo university. There were but seven buildings inside the college yard, and but one outside. There are now about 3000 students, of various grades and departments, registered in Cambridge; in 1837, when I entered college, there were but 305 such students; and in 1841, when I graduated, but 366. In like manner, Cambridge is now a city of some 85,000 inhabitants, whereas in 1840 it had but 8409, distributed among three villages, of which Old Cambridge, grouped round the college buildings, had less than half. Yet, after all, these figures make little difference to the boy; a crowd is a crowd, whether it be counted by hundreds or thousands, since you see at the most only those immediately pressing round you. For us, I repeat, the college was a world; whether larger or smaller on the outskirts was of secondary importance. It is mistakenly assumed by clergymen and e
egistered in Cambridge; in 1837, when I entered college, there were but 305 such students; and in 1841, when I graduated, but 366. In like manner, Cambridge is now a city of some 85,000 inhabitants, ckily, discontinued in a few years under a more conservative president. Meanwhile, the class of 1841 was one of the very few which enjoyed its benefits. Under the guidance of George Ticknor, the meexpansion. As a matter of fact, the word elective did not appear on the college catalogues until 1841-42, but for two years previous this special announcement about mathematics had been given in a foad reason to think it any new departure as compared with that given by Professor Channing down to 1841 at least. The evidence would seem to be that between that period and 1846, when Professor Child ll my attention to the celebrated stroke, Goldie. The class to which I belonged — the class of 1841--was compact and tolerably well united, though small. It had perhaps more than the usual share o
st experiment was, unluckily, discontinued in a few years under a more conservative president. Meanwhile, the class of 1841 was one of the very few which enjoyed its benefits. Under the guidance of George Ticknor, the method had long been applied to the modern languages; but we were informed one day, to our delight, that it was to be extended also to mathematics, with a prospect of further expansion. As a matter of fact, the word elective did not appear on the college catalogues until 1841-42, but for two years previous this special announcement about mathematics had been given in a footnote. The spirit of a new freedom began at once to make itself felt in other departments; the Latin and Greek professors, for instance, beginning to give lectures, though in an irregular way, in addition to their usual duty of extracting from us what small knowledge we possessed. The reason why the experiment was made with mathematics was understood to be that Professor Peirce had grown weary of d
's teaching came, without question, both in stimulus and in attractions, the English course of Professor Edward Tyrrel Channing. Professor Wendell has lately spoken of the present standard of training in English composition at Harvard as if it were quite a new thing; but with some opportunity of observing it, I have never had reason to think it any new departure as compared with that given by Professor Channing down to 1841 at least. The evidence would seem to be that between that period and 1846, when Professor Child graduated, Professor Channing had in some way lost his hold upon his pupils as his years advanced; so that when Professor Child succeeded to the chair, in 1851, it was with a profound distrust in the whole affair, insomuch that the very department of rhetoric and oratory came near being wiped out of existence, and was saved by the indignant protest of the late Charles Francis Adams. Certain it is that this department was, in my time, by far the most potent influence i
andard of training in English composition at Harvard as if it were quite a new thing; but with some opportunity of observing it, I have never had reason to think it any new departure as compared with that given by Professor Channing down to 1841 at least. The evidence would seem to be that between that period and 1846, when Professor Child graduated, Professor Channing had in some way lost his hold upon his pupils as his years advanced; so that when Professor Child succeeded to the chair, in 1851, it was with a profound distrust in the whole affair, insomuch that the very department of rhetoric and oratory came near being wiped out of existence, and was saved by the indignant protest of the late Charles Francis Adams. Certain it is that this department was, in my time, by far the most potent influence in determining college rank, and therefore in stimulating ambition. We wrote themes every fortnight and forensics once a month; and as these were marked on a scale of 48, and ordina
C. F. Adams (search for this): chapter 4
es equaling --O day of glory!--those of my classmate, Francis Edward Parker, who was easily first; and to have a passage read to the class for praise, even anonymously, was beyond all other laurels, though the satisfaction might be marred occasionally by the knowledge that my elder sister had greatly helped in that particular sentence. When it is considered that Channing's method reared most of the well-known writers whom New England was then producing,that it was he who trained Emerson, C. F. Adams, Hedge, A. P. Peabody, Felton, Hillard, Winthrop, Holmes, Sumner, Motley, Phillips, Bowen, Lovering, Torrey, Dana, Lowell, Thoreau, Hale, Thomas Hill, Child, Fitzedward Hall, Lane, and Norton,--it will be seen that the classic portion of our literature came largely into existence under him. He fulfilled the aspiration attributed to Increase Mather when he wished to become president of Harvard College: to mould not merely the teaching, but the teachers,--non lapides dolare, sed architecto
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