Page images
PDF
EPUB

ing, but studied the pictures, and filled up the rest with his imagination. He had the most comic way of studying a comic picture I ever saw. He would scrutinize it in the closest manner, and trace out every line and figure, all the while preserving the most staid and sober visage imaginable. But like the jar of a battery, which changeth not in appearance while being charged, (here's a scientific figure with a vengeance,) so also did chum maintain his gravity, till he had taken in every ludicrous and grotesque feature, when he would burst into one long, loud, prodigious roar. I always shut my book for the next ten minutes, when Jerry began to laugh. His laugh was always contagious. No one could hear that jolly cachinnation of his, or see that round oily face all luminous with the intensity of his mirth, with the merriest twinkle of the eye, and the drollest sort of a jerking about the corners of his mouth, without joining heartily in his merriment. Chum never laughed in any other way. What he would call a smile, might be heard half the length of Chapel street.

We roomed directly under Tutor K., one of the most nervous men I ever saw, who had as lief hear it thunder as hear one laugh in study hours. I believe he thought laughing wicked—one of the vain and sinful trifles of this world. He used to come down when Jerry had got up one of his regular peals, dash into the room and confront him face to face, and with the most threatening gestures and horror-stricken countenance, command him, “in the name of the Faculty,” to “ stop disturbing the entry.” But Jerry was constitutionally unable to stop, uniil he had his laugh out. He would keep on roaring in the face of the Tutor, shaking his sides and catching for breath, until Tutor K. would get as furious as a mad bull with half a score of red shawls before his eyes. Once, however, a different result followed. Some unusually droll expression on Jerry's face caught the Tutor's eye; and he burst out laughing in the midst of his wrath. He rushed out, and hastened back to his room. I verily believe he repented on his knees for that involuntary sin. At any rate, he never ventured to enter our room, and expose himself to the same temptation afterward.

Jerry would peruse his mirth-moving pictures, until half an hour before recitation, when he would ask me to reach him his text-book-still keeping his angular position of body.

“I say, chum,” he would then break out, before he had looked over the first line of his Memorabilia, “ this is a devil of a long lesson. What a bore Tutor 0. is! Blast him! hope he won't call me up. There's a confounded long lesson in grammar, too." Little difference did it make with Jerry, as to the length of those Greek Grammar lessons; for he was never guilty of looking at one of them.

He would then glance along the lines of his book, and when he saw a word for which he could not possibly hatch out the meaning, he would ask it. If it occurred to me, I told him; if not, it made no sort of difference. He was just as well satisfied, and would go on to the next sentence. Thus he would sit till about five minutes after the bell had rung, when he would start up and hurry out, upsetting chairs, table, &c., come into the recitation room with a rush, the only sort of a rush he ever made there, and plump down on his seat before you had

time to look

up.

Those were the only times he was ever known to run.

But Jerry always kept his Sabbaths most religiously. There was no danger of his infringing in the least upon that statute in the “ Laws of Yale College,” which forbids students to walk on the Sabbath. He had been bred up in the good old puritanical way : and one of the parting gifts of his mother was a huge family Bible, thickly interspersed with plates. After breakfast on Sunday morning, he would take down that big Bible, seat himself in his customary position, and learn what he could of the contents in his usual method of reading. There were two large pictures, that used to engross much of his attention: the creation of the world, exhibiting Adam surrounded by every beast and bird and creeping thing, and the entrance of Noah into the ark, with the animals two and two of every kind. Jerry would study these by the hour together, stopping ever and anon to make some sagacious remark on the probable size and number of the stables in the ark ; how long it took to feed the animals ; and wondering how Noah ever managed to “bow up” a beast, with “ such a devil of a long neck," as the Giraffe has. There were several other pictures, which shared his attention; and he took special delight in contemplating that of Jacob, at the well of Laban the Syrian.

“ That Rachel was a devil of a pretty girl, I suppose,” said he," and Jacob was lucky in falling in with her as he did. But to have to take that blear-eyed, wrinkled old maid of a Leah into the bargain, it was too bad. I'd have pitched old Laban into his own well first.”

Jerry applied his passion for pictures to practice. He could sketch the best caricature of any man in the class; and he usually spent his hour of recitation in that employment. How often have I seen our fellows, wriggling on their seats, and vainly endeavoring to smother their mirth, at some grotesque representation of our Tutor, with an almighty long augur, and some poor wight of us writhing on the end of it!

The doors and walls of our room bore numerous proofs of Jerry's talent. Every term bill of ours had a huge item of - individual damages," for defacing the room.

Alas, for poor Jerry! His fate was the fate of many, who enter our Alma Mater. It was at the close of our last Sophomore examina. tion, that I sat by my window, musing on the events of my

half-completed course. Jerry entered. His merry eye twinkled not, as it was wont to do. I saw at a glance that his course was run. His companions had been apprehensive of such a result, for weeks before the examination. Jerry said not a word, but opening his trunk began to pack in his books.

“ Have they dismissed you, Jerry ?" said I, somewhat hesitating!y.

Yes, yes--that devil of a Tutor O. has just advised me to leave college for an indefinite time.' Blast his picture ! Wish he had his Greek themes all stuffed down his throat. Wouldn't have minded it if they had sent me off a year ago : but to wait till we had finished Euclid and Conics, and such an infernal mess of Greek and Latin stuff as we have had these two years, and then send a fellow off when

he has got so far through the wilderness, and in sight of the blessed land of promise, (but one more change to get into Senior seats,) it's too bad. Don't care a straw for myself; but it will kill my mother. She has set her heart on my obtaining a degree. I can't bear to meet her.

I called on Jerry at his home a few months since. He grasped me warmly by the hand, while his face seemed rounder and brighter, and his eye merrier in its twinkle than ever. He has done nothing since leaving College ; for his easy circumstances enable him to go through life laughing like a Democritus, and doing nothing else. Right jollily did we pass a couple of hours together, talking over the roistering scenes we had witnessed in days gone by. At the close of an obstreperous peal of laughter, occasioned by the mention of an old adventure of his with Tutor K., he exclaimed, (at the same time kicking over a bowl of coffee on the top of the stove,)“ Ah! chum, this is a devil of a hard world to live in."

Reader, if you never met with a person of the foregoing description, consider it a shred-and-patch sort of a character, whereof the materials were clipped out of several different pieces. But it's all truth-oh, certainly!

“The course of human life is changeful still,
As is the fickle wind and wand'ring rill ;
Or, like the light dance, which the wild breeze weaves
Amidst the faded race of fallen leaves,
Which now its breath bears down, now tosses high,
Beats to the earth, or wasts to middle sky;
Such, and so various, the precarious play

Of fate with man, frail tenant of a day! We have given you the longest quotation we could think of, for the “printer's devil” swears he must have so many pages, whether the “fit of writing be on one or not,” and the clock is just ready to toll the hour when he must have them. So here goes for something or nothingprobably the latter. But what shall one write about—change? Shall I take you back to the days of waddling infancy, and descant upon what has happened since ? Shall I tell you of

" Other years,

When boyhood had its idle throng

Of guiltless smiles and guileless tears," those days of sportive and joyous innocence, when “kisses were no sin ?" Shall I recount the changes that have "swept over the spirit of my dream,” since first I donned the hat and coat of stripling manhood,? Oh, spare—for Heaven's sake spare the tale—methinks I hear you say! Well, then, if you don't like this small personal stuff, shall I point you to nations that have risen, spread their giant arms to grasp a world, and fallen in an hour to rise no more? Shall I tell you of old and mighty fabrics, that have towered aloft in all the pride and pomp and massive strength of kingly power, and then tottered and crumbled away to mingle with the dust of those that perished ages before ? I'll not do any such thing.

Shall I then moralize upon the changes of our little embryo college world, which might seem quite as natural as any thing else, just at the present moment ? Alas! the theme is one of a saddening though a pleasing kind. There have been many changes among us ; some of them sad ones. From the time we first met in our Freshmen habiliments, which I will not stop to describe, up through the days of Sophomore vanity and Junior pomposity, to the dignity of the staid and sober Senior, it is not strange that many changes should have befallen us. What a different group of countenances do we now present, from those which were first ranged along the seats by the Chapel doors! Some of us became disgusted with this quiet, plodding life, and left for other and more congenial employments; others went, because they couldn't help it.

Their places have been filled with new comers from time to time. We shall leave with the images of many pleasant scenes clinging fondly to our memory. Friendships have been formed, which, God grant, may never be sundered ! Yes, we have spent hours here that are not to be forgotten. In the beautiful words of Praed :

“ There are tones that will haunt us, though lonely

Our path be o'er mountain or sea;
There are looks that will part from us only,

When memory ceases to be."

EDITORS' TABLE.

'Tis true ! reader, true as holy writ, that they had a supper! Who? did you ask ? Why, the Editors of the “ Yale Lit.,"—those self-same “blades" who have so often feasted you! And why should they not? Lean Jack could never fatten upon air, and surely neither Hal, Bardolph, Hotspur, or King Jowl, could live upon their reputation. Then why begrudge to starving men a single feast !

But a feast they did have, whether you will or no, gentle reader, and one prepared by their Chairman, whilst the others were absent. Yes! the table was covered with dishes, and all were there, gazing wistfully upon it, save Lean Jack. A noise-a shout-a heavy tread—a rap—the door flew open, and he too was there. In he camestared around, to be sure that he had not entered the cook's sanctum by mistake-then gave Hal a sly wink, slapped Bardolph on the shoulder, and lastly, swore (in good old Saxon, of course) that it was the best “ Editors Tablehe had seen for a six-month.

Yet where were the new Editors? Not yet come, although it is past the hour when the ceremony should begin! Hotspur was accordingly sent to hunt them up, and act as their usher.

In they came at last, as lovely an “awkward squad” as ever delighted the eyes of a militia drill captain. In they came, spinning round like so many tops, scraping and bowing to every chair, stand, table-leg, book-case, and coal-box, in the room, and then huddling together in one corner, there they stood, pulling and tugging at one another's coat-tails, and all looking as demure as possible. After the utmost difficulty, however, King Jowl finally succeeded in arranging them in the order of their beauty, placing the ugliest nearest himself. Here Lean Jack was in his element. “He thought the one who suggested the plan of a supper was worthy of a-donation-eh-adoration, he should have said." “ In fact he always knew that there was more sense in the club than had ever yet been gotten out of it, and he could now swear to it.” “Yes, he thought that he was as good a judge of an idea when he happened to cross one, as any person, and he must say that a finer one he had never yet either seen or heard in that body.” Then too the fancy shown in labeling the dishes was inimitable. That large tureen marked "Genius” he could vouch contained “calf's-head soup;" there stood the bowl of straw-berries, titled “Trash,” and he was willing to bet his last coat that a leg of multon was concealed in that dish of “ First Offerings.” “Yes, yes, he knew it all-could see through it at a glance—and if the gentlemen would not be offended, he would say,”—Here he was cut short by Hotspur's asking him if he could tell why the “Coffin” has “Sham” written on it! " Ha! ha! a motto of your own choosing, I guess," said Lean Jack, as he thrust both hands into his breeches-pocket, as far as they would go, and commenced humming, “Oh take your time, Miss Lucy." King Jowl, who had taken the head of the table,

at length arose in his majesty, and gave the nod. Each one seized his chosen dish-off flew the covers-one was thrown half way across the room another went jingling out of the window, while Lean Jack's went whistling past Bardolph's nose, evidently with “malice a prepense" and intent on injury. But horror of horrors, what was there ? not the savory contents which all had anticipated, but plates and bowls filled with poems, essays, prize compositions, sonnets, tales, sketches, etc. “Blood and thunder,” shouted Lean Jack, as he sprang up from the table.“ And is this the way, Mr. Chairman, that you tamper with a man's affections ? Is this the way that you scout at his first love-his only love, and trample upon his cherished hopes? Do you think, sir, that I'll stand it, sir! What, 1-1, Lean Jack—a student-a Senior-a Poet-an Editor, suffer myself

to be hoaxed, and bear it as tamely as a Freshman? No, sir! I am not the genius you take me for. I am aa-a-(stretching himself to his full length)—a—above that, sir, and I'll not stand it." So down he sat, accordingly, in a puff of rage.

"I say, Jack, d’ye know what “Sham' means ?” cried Hotspur. A muttered “ Blood and thunder!” was the only reply vouchsafed, while Jack scowled upon him with that terrible look of his, which seemed to say, “ Now you have caught a tartar!"

All this while the “new regime” had not altered in the least. They were filled with wonderment at the commencement; they wondered at Lean Jack; they wondered at Hotspur—at the supper—at the coffin—at every thing; and there they sat, with eyes slightly globuler, and mouths which they had opened for the purpose of ealing, and which they had forgotten to shut-wondering still. Here King Jowl increased their wonder by a speech :

Gentlemen and Successors,—It is now my mournful duty to deliver into your hands the Magazine, of which you have doubtless heard too much and seen too little. Its delights you have already tasted, (an angry groan from Lean Jack,) but your labors are yet to come. As you are ignorant, moreover, or at least supposed to be ignorant, of all that Editors should know, it may not be amiss that I should also give you a few suggestions relative to the conduct of that Magazine. As good and true Editors, your first care, then, will be for yourselves—your last, for the beloved offspring which may rise up around you in the shape of " articles.” The principal difficulty which you will have to surmount in reference to yourselves, will be in acquiring the habit of looking like Editors. Nor is this as small a matter as you may at first suppose, for upon your striking and literary appearance greatly depends your subscription-list in the lower classes. Here you cannot do better than model yourselves after your illustrious predecessors." Dress shabbily, and every one will say you either are or ought to be smart. Walk always with your hat well slouched and your head down—it looks like you were thinking, and as no one will ever have the presumption to inquire, you are sure of the credit at all events. Having duly provided for yourselves, your next solicitude, as I before remarked, will be concerning your Magazine. Here your motto should be-not quality, but quantity. Neither will the old adage, "let all things take care of themselves," answer your purpose. This has already been resorted to, and found to fail most lamentably. Articles must be had, and you are appointed to collect them; indeed, you will, at times, even have to go so far as to write one or two yourselves. This, however, is not always necessary, and if you have not time at your disposal, you may choose a half dozen pieces from the "balaam" in the coffin-cut a few paragraphs from each-give it, as a title, whatever word you find in them most frequently repeated, and the composition will be sure to pass muster. All from whom you have made extracts, will be sure to unite in its praise, wondering at their own genius. Such articles have been known to answer admirably.

If you are at a loss for poetry, fix upon some one who was never known to write rose; make him dash you off any number of stanzas; cut them into lengths to suit

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »