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I found I met my betters—and e'en there
One specimen of female humour more, and we have done with Old Maids :
Lady Blanche. I could fight. I'd like
Lady Anne. What! has he chafed you ?
Lady Blanche. Mortally! Of my beauty made as light
him for with love, instead of hate.
Lady Anne. You loved the 'prentice boy!-you thought not that
Lady Blanche. Because it seemed too slight for thought.
Lady Anne. Well, make confession to him.
Lady Blanche. Make my will
At sight of which it burst with such a glare
Lady Anne. Thou dost not weep.
Lady Blanche. To be sure I am. Oh! never women more
but love as I do..
Art. VII.— The Student Life of Germany. By William Howitt, from
the unpublished MS. of Dr. CORNELIUS. The college life of German students has often been the theme of remark and anecdote by English tourists; and political movements have often been connected with the wild and sentimental character of the Burschen. The very aspect of German student-life, externally and as may be marked by strangers, is so picturesque that it was natural for William Howitt, when he was on his first visit to the country in question, to desire to have a peep behind the curtain, and into the mysteries of the interior. He therefore inquired for a book which should enlighten him on the subject, when he learned that no such thing existed. Upon this, he applied to his German acquaintance to supply him with the curious information required; and at length prevailed on "one of the most gifted,” and an accomplished scholar, to undertake the task. The result is now before us,"containing nearly forty of the most famous student-songs with the original music, adapted to the pianoforte by the Herr Winkelmeyer ; illustrated by engravings by Sergeant, Woods, and other eminent artists."
Two remarks seem to apply forcibly to the German student-life. The first is that the English reader who only regards the peculiari
ties of that style of university training in its several and separate phases of smoking, drinking, duelling, and the like, will declare it to be little better than consisting of a series of vulgar and blackguard pranks, often in spite of a costume which is intended to be picturesque, but which appears to be grossly absurd-fitter for beggars and ruffians than persons professing to be culturing their intellectual and moral capacities.
But when the whole of German life and character is viewed in combination; and when with the college frolics of the students one not only regards eagerly their real and profound sentimentalism,their poetry and their patriotism, but may obtain a good conception of the national mind, and of the transitions to which it has been, as well as those to which it may be, subjected,—the regions to which its flight may reach, call it that of eccentricity or mysticism,the subject acquires a new and deeper interest.
The volume before us takes a wide and minute glance of the student-life of Germany. It gives a description of a university, a sketch of education, and a general as well as a closer account of studentship, as these exist in Burschendom. There appears to be no desire to conceal or to embellish the truth ; although it is evident, as it is natural, that Dr. Cornelius regards with a national as well as a collegian sympathy the scenes and the sprees he records ; cherishing, perhaps, much more fondly than he has a right to do, the idea that the regeneration of Germany is mixed up with the Chores or unions, the Commerses and the sacred feasts, the marchings forth, the duels with beer and rapier, the New Year eves, &c. of the students.
Notices of the lives of particular persons are introduced into the volume with the design to help out the minuter pictures of the entertainments and amusements of the students, including their songs. Even fictions are used to impress the whole more perfectly. The result of all is much that is curious and novel. The translation has a mannerism about it that induces us to believe it to be true to the original.
With regard to the songs, and just as with the engraved illustrations, truth and suitableness in respect of subject and occasion have been consulted. The deficiency of poetry in the former, and of finish in the latter, does not affect their propriety and due adaptation.
Our first extract contains the writer's national views of the German universities as contrasted with the ancient ones of England :
“Oxford and Cambridge, the two most ancient universities of England, have remained true to the old institutions, to the old mode of living altogether in colleges, which the German public has long abandoned as not answering the purpose. They have a greater self-dependence and independence than the German ones, which are submitted to the superintend
ence of the state. Yet the German institutions in this respect reap many advantages, so long as the government is no despotism. Through such high-standing Boards, boards which respect the interests and claims of all parties, and administer to them all justice with strict impartiality, the chairs of science are preserved from incapacity ; the meritorious are made known and elevated ; obstructions are removed, help is duly administered, morals are protected, defects are remedied, better and more effectually than can be done by a corporation alone, and without such a well-disposed and wise superintendence of their interests; and which places the university in a condition to exercise a fresher and more unimpaired strength in the great pursuit of science and of accomplishment, and with more decisive effect; and to remain mistress of the great movement of inquiry and of knowledge."
We can understand how English travellers are put to a non-plus, are conglomerated, are curious with regard to the arcana and the mysteries of German student-life, after such slight initiations as the following:
“ We at length reached the right door; I opened it; the Englishman looked eagerly in; but imagine his amazement as he saw nothing but a monstrous cloud of smoke. Where are we?' he demanded. An instant yell thundered through the smoke towards us—a whip whistled in the air, and a tremendous voice cried, ' Down ! down!' 'We shall get no good here,' said the Englander. Courage, courage,' said I, and we pressed forward into the midst of this smoke-vomiting volcano. In the mean time a portion of the reek had made its escape by the open door; it became tolerably light, and we saw the great spaniel, who had withdrawn himself howling into his basket, and friend Freisleben standing with his ridingwhip in his hand.
". That confounded dog of mine—the uncourteous rascal,' said he, does not understand how he ought to receive a stranger. Mr. Traveller, it rejoices me to see you in my abode. My friend has already made me acquainted with your name.' He requested us to be seated, and offered us each a pipe, which he himself had well supplied with tobacco, in the kindest manner.”
The students attend evening parties in dressing-gowns, a practice which might of itself excite a stranger's curiosity. But in order to convey a fuller picture of their college-life, we now extract an account of the drudgeries, the initiations of the Foxes :
“ The freshman, or Fox, is now bound to perform many little but by no means degrading or injurious services. He must conduct himself discreetly, may not mix forwardly in the conversation of the Old Houses, and his purse is laid under frequent requisitions. Among the students who belong to no union, this is not so much the case, and is restricted principally to this, that the Fox conducts himself not too assumingly, and now and then ponirt something, that is-- to give this slang phrase by an English one-pods down something; that is to say, he gives an excursion
or entertainment to them, a Kneiperei, or occasion of social fellowship and enjoyment. This he can the better do, as the superior experience of the older students in all the regulations of university life, and in particular in the best laying out of his course of study, are of the greatest service to him. In the aristocracy of the Chores, the subordination is, indeed, more despotic. There is quickly heard—Silence, Fox! speak not when old bemossed heads are speaking !
“We have mentioned the general services which the Fox has to perform; but he has also to suffer at the hands of terrible Old Houses. There comes, perhaps, a bemossed head from a distant university, in a shockingly broken-down condition, something like the student in Hauff's story, who travelled with Satan. Already known by his hero deeds, the moment that he arrives he is received with a jubilee of acclamation. • Würger! thou faithful Old House! cry the sons of the muses, and rush down the steps into his arms. The smokers forget to lay down their long pipes, the billiard-players still hold their cues in their hands. They form a bodyguard, singularly armed, around the arriver.'-Hauff's Memoirs of Satan.
“And now, scarcely has the Old House made it understood that his trousers are not the best in the world, or that his boots are no longer waterproof, than it would be taken very ill indeed of a Fox should he hesitate to supply his wants to the very best of his power. He must feel himself particularly honoured if he gets back the borrowed garments in a month or two, just in sufficient condition to be able to make a present of them to his shoeblack.
“For a long time, a terrible swordsman belonged to one of the universities, whose mother resided in the place, and was what the students term a Frass Philister, or eating Philistine, or who, in other words, kept an eating-house for the students, as is very common in the university cities. Her table could promise very little satisfaction even to the least delicate and artistical stomachs; in fact it required a strong dose of active exercise before dinner to enable its frequenters to make an attack upon it, and another as active after dinner to conquer the dyspeptic symptoms that rapidly followed her viands. Yet this table was always crowded. The unhappy Foxes had much rather try their teeth on the culinary productions of the mother than fall under the pitiless sword of the son.
“ The same worthy was also accustomed to borrow ball-dresses, as he by no means approved of swelling the profits of tailors ; and at the end of the season sent them back to their right owner in a condition fit only at the best to be forwarded to the Jew."
The promotion to the degree of the Brand Foxes is ridiculous and mad-like :
“ These have in the mean time made themselves fire-proof. They have put on great wigs of tow, thoroughly saturated with water. The moment that they appear in the hall, they are pursued by the assembled Burschen, who stand with huge spills ready lighted in their hands. Here and there
poor Foxes before their pursuers; who chase them like so many fiends from below with the flaming spills, and without mercy strike them