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Parties are constantly coming in and filling up the stalls, leading pale and forlorn hoodwinked freshmen, and, giving them here a respite from blindness by removing their bandages, compel them to stand treat.' A scene of festive gaiety follows, the mulcted freshman sitting submissively by, staring at his masked companions, and deriving some consolation from the sight of his classmates here and there undergoing a similar tax to himself. He is glad enough to buy a moment's peace and eyesight on any terms; so he makes no objection even to the proposal for a supper of champagne and partridges, though such fare is far more costly in America than in the mother-country. The restaurant revel over, 'fresh' is once more bandaged, and now the inquisitors, hilarious with wine, hasten with him to the principal ceremony of the night. Let us enter the State House basement before them, and with our eyes open. At the door we are confronted by two Titanic collegians, their features concealed by grotesque black masks and false beards, their figures covered by a gaudy dress, and opposing the entrance of the unentitled by naked swords crossed before the door. A small printed ticket, however, furnished by the committee of the Initiation, serves as a charm to withdraw the swords, and in another moment we find ourselves in a large, dimly-lighted, dampish subterranean hall, where there is a very pandemonium of shouting and yelling, loud laughter, and frantic rushing hither and thither. Out of this hall we pass into numerous apartments right and left, prepared in a variety of ways for the business of the night. The whole space is swarming with hundreds of disguised and fantastically-dressed students, with here and there a privileged townsman or 'friend from a distance' gazing, unmasked, with great glee on the performances which are proceeding. The disguises are of great variety, and of the most elaborate character-some amusing, others designed to inspire terror in the already frightened freshman, others wholly unique and
curious-the student's mind being very inventive in this direction. In one of the longer rooms the 'Initiation' has already begun. A party of masked students have got behind a poor, hoodwinked fresh,' and are rushing him backward and forward with tremendous speed. The neophyte endeavours to hold back, being a victim to that sensation one always has when blindfolded, of running against or over something. In another corner of the room some of the maskers have got a huge blanket, and, holding it horizontally by its ends and sides, are tossing two blindfolded freshmen, so that with every lurch they touch the wall. But these tortures seem but trifling when we turn to some of the other rooms. Here in a low, dark passage way, several maskers, dressed in the deepest and deadest black, are grouped around an upright skeleton, whose sockets glisten with a dull, phosphorescent light. A freshman, having gone through the previous trials, is brought up face to face with this ghastly figure, and his bandage removed. A student with some power as a ventriloquist stationed behind the skeleton, addresses the victim as if through the skeleton's mouth. The figure seems to command him, in a hollow and cavernous voice, to shake it by the hand. The freshman, after some resistance, yields and obeys. Instantly a thrill and quiver shoots over his frame, and he becomes as ghastly pale as the skeleton itself. Master freshman will learn the secret of all this hereafter in the recitation hall-he has to thank electricity for this ill turn. Nearly all the further trials hint of the grave and grim death. Next he is brought to a room where stands a masked figure dressed as a headsman. Beside him stands a guillotine, in perfect working order; and the victim, again permitted to see for what he is destined, is laid upon the floor, and his head inserted beneath the fatal and glittering axe. As he stoops for this purpose, he turns white to see, lying beside the guillotine, a blood-stained cloth. The executioner sets the deadly invention of the quiet old French
doctor in motion, and it descends with a whiz upon the neck of the freshman-stopping short, however, within an inch or two of it. We, as spectators, however, know that the guillotine axe is of harmless pine, painted a shining steel colour; and we have had time to perceive, which our freshman is too flurried to do, that there are firm steps above where his head is placed. This test over, he is led to a cold, damp, cellar-like apartment, with no floor -only the damp ground for footing
-and where he is hastily enveloped in a particularly damp and uncomfortable shroud. There is a long narrow hole in the ground, in the middle of the room; beside it, a coffin. The neophyte receives a solemn lecture from a grim-looking fellow who stands with folded arms above the grave, and then is compelled to step into the coffin and lie flat and still on his back. The ropes which pass under it are grasped the coffin is swungand then with a slow, swaying motion, it descends into the grave. All of a sudden there is total darkness-then a board is placed over the top of the hole, and our poor freshman, for the first and last time in his life, experiences what it is to be buried alive. If he has in his childhood been unhappily the victim of nurse's and governess's ghost stories, and is afraid of the dark, his situation is really terrible. It lasts, however, but a moment; he is drawn up again, and passes on to other trials of his courage and presence of mind. The next thing is to take him into a room brightly illuminated by torches, where a kind of high court has been organised. raised platform, and disguised with much effect, sits the judge who is to 'put him to the question.'
All sorts of ridiculous queries are put to him, some of which he would fain rather not answer, but finds it best to. Then a cloth is raised just below the judge's chair, a coffin is discovered, and in it a corpse, with a gash across its forehead-a corpse, however, of wax only. The forehead of this ghastly object the freshman is forced to kiss-and that ends his 'initiation.' These performances
are all going on simultaneously in the different apartments, and the effect of passing through the noisy crowds of maskers from one to the other is very curious. The orgy is kept up till long after midnightand the newly initiated find themselves, weary with fright and excitement, back in their rooms time in the neighbourhood of the dawn. As the morning service at chapel is a very early one, many are fain to sit up awaiting it, being fearful, freshman like, of committing the sin of oversleeping, and thus gaining one of the muchdreaded demerit marks. The governments of the various universities, united with a growing public opinion among the students themselves, have succeeded in softening down very much the severity of the tricks to which freshmen were wont to be subjected. Many traditions exist at Yale and Cambridge of the ordeals to which the unfortunate lower classmen used to be put. 'Smoking out' used to be one of the commonest punishments to which freshmen who 'put on airs' were subjected; and, indeed, I believe it is still practised to a degree in some of the American colleges. This process is a very simple one, as its name indicates. A party of students proceed to the swelly' freshman's room late at night, after he has retired; rouse him out of bed; shut down all his windows; and proceed to light pipes all round.' They smoke and smoke and smoke, until the room is filled with the clouds which have issued from their mouths; and they do not usually reckon without their host in thinking that they will make their victim thoroughly ill. Sometimes, however, the 'smokers out' catch a tartar. I was once present on one of these occasions when the tables were completely turned on the would-be persecutors. As soon as they had got to smoking, their involuntary host took a pipe and commenced smoking too. They smoked fast and heavy; he puffed away, and easily kept pace with them. The result was, that after an hour or two of cloud compelling,' in which the fortress at
tacked stood his ground heroically, three of the besieging party themselves capitulated, and were forced to hasten abruptly from the room to avoid a most ignominious exposure. It is a very common trick to rouse the freshman from his slumbers, make him get upon a table, and dance and sing for the amusement of his unwelcome guests. Sometimes a freshman, who has become obnoxious by reason of some attempt at foppishness, is forced to sign a paper, solemnly declaring that he will not use gold eyeglasses, or wax his moustache, or wear baggy trousers or diamond studs, for a year to come-that is, until he has bloomed out into the freedom and glory of Sophomoric dignity. The terrors of further persecution are held over him, and, unless he be unusually resolute, he is fain to keep to his extorted vows. A more cruel custom, now happily fallen quite into disuse, was that of putting a freshman under the pump on a cold night in mid-winter. Such a case once resulted fatally, and that was a warning not likely to be forgotten. At Yale there used to beand may be still for all I know-a Society of wild fellows belonging to the Sophomore class, and handed down from one class to another, which assumed the classical name of 'The Court of the Areopagus.' Its objects were at once festive and inquisitorial. The name of the 'Areopagus' became a terror to all freshmen. The court met in secret in the rooms of its members, and all its doings therefore were invested in the freshmanic mind with the dread which is inspired by mystery and deeds done in the dark. Some morning it would be rumoured that the Areopagus had taken Snagsby, of the freshman class, into training; every freshman would thrill with the fear that his turn would come next. Snagsby's classmates would gather about him, and overwhelm him with questions; but likely as not, Snagsby would maintain an impenetrable silence, having taken the most awful oaths and adjurations not to reveal what he had seen and suffered. It seemed to be the peculiar object of the court to
VOL. XV.-NO. LXXXVII.
try and punish the new comers to the university; it was said that they went through the forms of a criminal trial; that they judged and condemned their prisoners with great mock solemnity and ceremony; and that, thereupon, the judges became the executioners of their own sentences. Tremendous stories were told of the unique costumes, the terror-inspiring disguises of the 'Areopagi;' and it was nearly always found that, somehow or other, they managed to cower their victims into perpetual dumbness as to their doings. Once, however, the awful Court of the Areopagus got hold of an exceptionally bold and fearless freshman. He did all that they commanded; took the oaths under compulsion; submitted with charming meekness to all the ordeals enjoined in his case. The next morning he went straight to the President and Professors of the university, and coolly exposed the whole affair. A number of the redoubtable' Areopagi' including several clergymen's sons were forthwith expelled the university, and the court for a while ceased its operations-to revive again, however, the next year, with all its ancient terrors and activity. A custom which used to prevail at Yale, but which was several years ago successfully put down by the university authorities, was that of the Annual Base Ball Match,' between the Sophomores and the freshmen; this was only one more occasion for the persecution of the latter class by the former. The Sophomores, during their first year, practised base ball constantly with a view to this particular occasion; while the freshmen, many of them never having played the game before, were as verdant and unskilful in that as in other university pastimes, and consequently were pretty roughly handled in the annual game. Another custom, still in vogue, is that of 'rushing' the freshmen. The Sophomores, at the close of the chapel exercises, gather, en musse, in front of the chapel door where the freshmen come out, and make 'a perfect blockade;' the freshmen form in a body, and endeavour to 'rush' the Sophomores away;
and the struggling and scuffling which ensues is very apt to bring the college tutors (who perform also the duties of proctors in America) down upon the offenders. punishments for these and like offences consist of marks of demerit, a certain number of which entail successively letters home,' 'warnings,' and suspension or expulsion;
or if the offence is a very serious one, the latter severe remedy is at once applied. There are many differences between American and English universities, as will be seen by what has already been written and I hope to make the contrast yet more apparent in a second article.
GEO. MAKEPEACE TOWLE.
OFFICERS AND GENTLEMEN;
Or, The Second-class Ball.
JUNGLEPORE was one of the
most charming stations in the North-west provinces of India. It was open to only one objection: it had been burnt down. It had played too serious a part in the drama known as The Mutinies' to escape gome of their most striking effects; and when the piece had at last ceased to run, the place was quite unfit to be seen, and ought to have denied itself to visitors.
There was nothing to object to as far as Nature was concerned. Our ancient friend, in fact, had favoured Junglepore rather more than most parts of the provinces. It was green rather than otherwise, even in the hottest weather, and in compliment to its grass, was made the headquarters of a troop of Horse Artillery. A native proverb says that, in the absence of any other, the castor-oil plant may pass as a tree; but though some dusty, dark hedges here and there indicated the presence of that particularly ugly shrub, there was no occasion for it to do duy in its more dignified capacity; for the spreading peepul was in profusion, while topes of mangoes contributed to make things pleasant to the eye, and to keep the rays of the sun at a respectful distance.
But as regards the works of man, the best friend of Junglepore must have admitted that it looked simply awful. People managed to live in it, but only the grossest flattery could describe it as habitable. A few months before the time of which
I write, everybody not prevented by Sepoys over whom they had no control, ran away; and when some of them came back they might well be excused for not recognizing their former home. The church had no spire to speak of; and though its walls had insisted upon standing, its interior had been very hardly dealt by. As suggestive of other details, I may mention that the pulpit was found in the middle of the road outside. The jail and the public offices were utterly unfit for purposes of punishment or government; and as for the private houses --bungalows for the most part-the mildest damage done to them was the demolition of their roofs, window-frames, and furniture; so you may be sure that a great deal of patching-up was required before & few of them could be made available for shelter.
The society of the place was but as partially restored as the place itself. There was understood to be a judge who occasionally appeared in a ruined kutcherry, supported by ruined clerks; and a magistrate who exercised his functions in a similarly mournful manner, with the support of a blighted police. But of these and other officials little was seen in private life. From force of habit they gave one another dinner-parties now and then; but the effort was melancholy, and sociality evidently did not thrive. Some of the younger men of the station got more together, and tried to give a tone to
amusement, foremost among these being some of the officers of the troop of Horse Artillery before alluded to. But the reader will understand the state of things better if I introduce him to a party of the youth of the station.
It is in a verandah of the Artillery Barracks that our friends are assembled, just as the sun is setting behind the barren hills which bound the peepuls and the mangoes and the castor-oil plants of the immediate vicinity. The building is one of a series of similar ranges, and is appropriated as the officers' quarters. It is a row of single rooms, open both back and front, the doors, made of green jalousies, being windows as well, and having a tiled roof, which will not burn quite so soon as tinder, as is the case with a thatched one. The doors are mostly open, so there is no difficulty in seeing that the furniture within is of a very primitive character, a campbed and a camp-table being the principal items in each. Outside one of the doors is a group of young men, one stretched on a charpoy, which has been brought out for the purpose; another in a rocking chair; and the rest sitting as much at their ease as circumstances will allow. They are mostly smoking -the eternal Manilla, of courseand looking listlessly out upon the open space before them, where the horses of the troop are picketed in a double line, and indicating by obvious impatience as to halters and heel ropes, and a general chorus of neighing, that the time has come for the distribution of their evening gram.
The conversation is intermittent, and in the nature of a sustained growl.
This is certainly the most confounded hole that ever a man was sent to,' remarks one.
'I've seen nobody outside our own mess--counting, of course, the honorary members-for six weeks,' says another.
'Nobody has asked me to dinner
for three months,' is the plaint of a third.
'I heard that the Brig. had some people last night-some of the eivilians and the Staff,' said the first speaker. There was no champagne, and the little claret that there was was boiling.'
'Well, of course wine will be boiling this weather if there's no ice,' was the practical rejoinder; and the speaker added, 'But I should not care so much about that if there was something like society; but what's to be done in the way of fun with only two ladies. It's a thousand pities that we did not begin sooner to make up to the other set. They are the only people who do anything, and I hear they enjoy themselves immensely. I'll wager what you like that we shall not get to this ball of theirs. For my part, I think the Myrtle girls are just as much ladies as anybody I've met in India. If they did not keep that infernal shop-but, however, I'm quite ready to forgive that, as far as I am concerned.'
There was a general expression of opinion that the Myrtles might keep fifty shops if they would only make themselves agreeable. Mrs. Myrtle, it may be here mentioned, was the milliner, or rather one of the milliners, of the station; and her daughters, Flora and Adelaide, the most admired girls, almost, in the provinces. The 'infernal shop' was against them, as we have seen, and kept them out of society proper, otherwise the girls might have made the best matches in India. Even when the station was full, and there were plenty of places to go to, these young ladies always had a following of men who were very handsomely prepared, for the sake of the beaux yeux, to be affable, and forget the claims of their own elevated social position. But Mrs. Myrtle, though a very good-natured person- she was too stout to be otherwise-carried prudence to any extent, and 'did not choose her daughters to mix with people who would not know them upon equal terms, and whose intentions were not to be trusted.' Besides, as she well remembered, some experiments which