A Collection of College Words and Customs
Benjamin Homer Hall
Part 11 out of 12
SWEEP, SWEEPER. The name given at Yale and other colleges to the
person whose occupation it is to sweep the students' rooms, make
their beds, &c.
Then how welcome the entrance of the _sweep_, and how cutely we
fling jokes at each other through the dust!--_Yale Lit. Mag._,
Vol. XIV. p. 223.
Knocking down the _sweep_, in clearing the stairs, we described a
circle to our room.--_The Yale Banger_, Nov. 10, 1846.
A Freshman by the faithful _sweep_
Was found half buried in soft sleep.
_Ibid._, Nov. 10, 1846.
With fingers dirty and black,
From lower to upper room,
A College _Sweep_ went dustily round,
Plying his yellow broom.
_Songs of Yale_, 1853, p. 12.
In the Yale Literary Magazine, Vol. III. p. 144, is "A tribute to
certain Members of the Faculty, whose names are omitted in the
Catalogue," in which appropriate praise is awarded to these useful
The Steward ... engages _sweepers_ for the College.--_Laws Harv.
Coll._, 1816, p. 48.
One of the _sweepers_ finding a parcel of wood,... the defendant,
in the absence of the owner of the wood, authorizes the _sweeper_
to carry it away.--_Scenes and Characters in College_, p. 98.
SWELL BLOCK. In the University of Virginia, a sobriquet applied to
dandies and vain pretenders.
SWING. At several American colleges, the word _swing_ is used for
coming out with a secret society badge; 1st, of the society, to
_swing out_ the new men; and, 2d, of the men, intransitively, to
_swing_, or to _swing out_, i.e. to appear with the badge of a
secret society. Generally, _to swing out_ signifies to appear in
The new members have "_swung out_," and all again is
harmony.--_Sophomore Independent_, Union College, Nov. 1854.
SYNDIC. Latin, _syndicus_; Greek, [Greek: sundikos; sun], _with_,
and [Greek: dikae], _justice_.
An officer of government, invested with different powers in
different countries. Almost all the companies in Paris, the
University, &c., have their _syndics_. The University of Cambridge
has its _syndics_, who are chosen from the Senate to transact
special business, as the regulation of fees, forming of laws,
inspecting the library, buildings, printing, &c.--_Webster. Cam.
SYNDICATE. A council or body of syndics.
The state of instruction in and encouragement to the study of
Theology were thus set forth in the report of a _syndicate_
appointed to consider the subject in 1842.--_Bristed's Five Years
in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 293.
TADS. At Centre College, Ky., there is "a society," says a
correspondent, "composed of the very best fellows of the College,
calling themselves _Tads_, who are generally associated together,
for the object of electing, by the additional votes of their
members, any of their friends who are brought forward as
candidates for any honor or appointment in the literary societies
to which they belong."
TAKE UP. To call on a student to rehearse a lesson.
Professor _took_ him _up_ on Greek;
He tried to talk, but couldn't speak.
TAKE UP ONE'S CONNECTIONS. In students' phrase, to leave college.
Used in American institutions.
TARDES. At the older American colleges, when charges were made and
excuses rendered in Latin, the student who had come late to any
religious service was addressed by the proper officer with the
word _Tardes_, a kind of barbarous second person singular of some
unknown verb, signifying, probably, "You are or were late."
Much absence, _tardes_ and egresses,
The college-evil on him seizes.
_Trumbull's Progress of Dullness_, Part I.
TARDY. In colleges, late in attendance on a public
TAVERN. At Harvard College, the rooms No. 24 Massachusetts Hall,
and No. 8 Hollis Hall, were occupied from the year 1789 to 1793 by
Mr. Charles Angier. His table was always supplied with wine,
brandy, crackers, etc., of which his friends were at liberty to
partake at any time. From this circumstance his rooms were called
_the Tavern_ for nearly twenty years after his graduation.
In connection with this incident, it may not be uninteresting to
state, that the cellars of the two buildings above mentioned were
divided each into thirty-two compartments, corresponding with the
number of rooms. In these the students and tutors stored their
liquors, sometimes in no inconsiderable quantities. Frequent
entries are met with in the records of the Faculty, in which the
students are charged with pilfering wine, brandy, or eatables from
the tutors' _bins_.
TAXOR. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., an officer appointed
to regulate the assize of bread, the true gauge of weights,
TEAM. In the English universities, the pupils of a private tutor
No man who has not taken a good degree expects or pretends to take
good men into his _team_.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng.
Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 69.
It frequently, indeed usually happens, that a "coach" of
reputation declines taking men into his _team_ before they have
made time in public.--_Ibid._, p. 85.
TEAR. At Princeton College, a _perfect tear_ is a very extra
recitation, superior to a _rowl_.
TEMPLE. At Bowdoin College, a privy is thus designated.
TEN-STRIKE. At Hamilton College, a perfect recitation, ten being
the mark given for a perfect recitation.
TEN-YEAR MEN. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., these are
allowed to take the degree of Bachelor in Divinity without having
been B.A. or M.A., by the statute of 9th Queen Elizabeth, which
permits persons, who are admitted at any college when twenty-four
years of age and upwards, to take the degree of B.D. after their
names have remained on the _boards_ ten years or more. After the
first eight years, they must reside in the University the greater
part of three several terms, and perform the exercises which are
required by the statutes.--_Cam. Cal._
TERM. In universities and colleges, the time during which
instruction is regularly given to students, who are obliged by the
statutes and laws of the institution to attend to the recitations,
lectures, and other exercises.--_Webster_.
In the University of Cambridge, Eng., there are three terms during
each year, which are fixed by invariable rules. October or
Michaelmas term begins on the 10th of October, and ends on the
16th of December. Lent or January term begins on the 13th of
January, and ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday. Easter or
Midsummer term, begins on the eleventh day (the Wednesday
sennight) after Easter-day, and ends on the Friday after
Commencement day. Commencement is always on the first Tuesday in
At Oxford University, there are four terms in the year. Michaelmas
term begins on the 10th of October, and ends on the 17th of
December. Hilary term begins on the 14th of January, and ends the
day before Palm Sunday. But if the Saturday before Palm Sunday
should be a festival, the term does not end till the Monday
following. Easter term begins on the tenth day after Easter
Sunday, and ends on the day before Whitsunday. Trinity term begins
on the Wednesday after Whitsunday, and ends the Saturday after the
Act, which is always on the first Tuesday in July.
At the Dublin University, the terms in each year are four in
number. Hilary term begins on the Monday after Epiphany, and ends
the day before Palm Sunday. Easter term begins on the eighth day
after Easter Sunday, and ends on Whitsun-eve. Trinity term begins
on Trinity Monday, and ends on the 8th of July. Michaelmas term
begins on the 1st of October (or on the 2d, if the 1st should be
Sunday), and ends on December 16th.
TERRAE FILIUS. Latin; _son of earth_.
Formerly, one appointed to write a satirical Latin poem at the
public Acts in the University of Oxford; not unlike the
prevaricator at Cambridge, Eng.--_Webster_.
Full accounts of the compositions written on these occasions may
be found in a work in two volumes, entitled "Terrae-Filius; or the
Secret History of the University of Oxford," printed in the year
See TRIPOS PAPER.
TESTAMUR. Latin; literally, _we testify_. In the English
universities, a certificate of proficiency, without which a person
is not able to take his degree. So called from the first word in
There is not one out of twenty of my pupils who can look forward
with unmixed pleasure to a _testamur_.--_Collegian's Guide_, p.
Every _testamur_ must be signed by three out of the four
examiners, at least.--_Ibid._, p. 282.
THEATRE. At Oxford, a building in which are held the annual
commemoration of benefactors, the recitation of prize
compositions, and the occasional ceremony of conferring degrees on
distinguished personages.--_Oxford Guide_.
THEME. In college phrase, a short dissertation composed by a
It is the practice at Cambridge [Mass.] for the Professor of
Rhetoric and the English Language, commencing in the first or
second quarter of the student's Sophomore year, to give the class
a text; generally some brief moral quotation from some of the
ancient or modern poets, from which the students write a short
essay, usually denominated a _theme_.--_Works of R.T. Paine_, p.
Far be it from me to enter into competition with students who have
been practising the sublime art of _theme_ and forensic writing
for two years.--_Harvardiana_, Vol. III. p. 316.
But on the sleepy day of _themes_,
May doze away a dozen reams.
_Ibid._, p. 283.
Nimrod holds his "first _theme_" in one hand, and is leaning his
head on the other.--_Ibid._, p. 253.
THEME-BEARER. At Harvard College, until within a few years, a
student was chosen once in a term by his classmates to perform the
duties of _theme-bearer_. He received the subjects for themes and
forensics from the Professors of Rhetoric and of Moral Philosophy,
and posted them up in convenient places, usually in the entries of
the buildings and on, the bulletin-boards. He also distributed the
corrected themes, at first giving them to the students after
evening prayers, and, when this had been forbidden by the
President, carrying them to their rooms. For these services he
received seventy-five cents per term from each member of the
THEME-PAPER. In American colleges, a kind of paper on which
students write their themes or composition. It is of the size of
an ordinary letter-sheet, contains eighteen or nineteen lines
placed at wide intervals, and is ruled in red ink with a margin a
little less than an inch in width.
Shoe-strings, lucifers, omnibus-tickets, _theme-paper_,
postage-stamps, and the nutriment of pipes.--_Harv. Mag._, Vol. I.
THEOLOGUE. A cant name among collegians for a student in theology.
The hardened hearts of Freshmen and _Theologues_ burned with
righteous indignation.--_Yale Tomahawk_, May, 1852.
The _Theologs_ are not so wicked as the Medics.--_Burlesque
Catalogue, Yale Coll._, 1852-53, p. 30.
THESES-COLLECTOR. One who collects or prepares _theses_. The
following extract from the laws of Harvard College will explain
further what is meant by this term. "The President, Professors,
and Tutors, annually, some time in the third term, shall select
from the Junior Class a number of _Theses-Collectors_, to prepare
theses for the next year; from which selection they shall appoint
so many divisions as shall be equal to the number of branches they
may assign. And each one shall, in the particular branch assigned
him, collect so many theses as the government may judge expedient;
and all the theses, thus collected, shall be delivered to the
President, by the Saturday immediately succeeding the end of the
Spring vacation in the Senior year, at furthest, from which the
President, Professors, and Tutors shall select such as they shall
judge proper to be published. But if the theses delivered to the
President, in any particular branch, should not afford a
sufficient number suitable for publication, a further number shall
be required. The name of the student who collected any set or
number of theses shall be annexed to the theses collected by him,
in every publication. Should any one neglect to collect the theses
required of him, he shall be liable to lose his degree."--1814, p.
The Theses-Collectors were formerly chosen by the class, as the
following extract from a MS. Journal will show.
"March 27th, 1792. My Class assembled in the chapel to choose
theses-collectors, a valedictory orator, and poet. Jackson was
chosen to deliver the Latin oration, and Cutler to deliver the
poem. Ellis was almost unanimously chosen a collector of the
grammatical theses. Prince was chosen metaphysical
theses-collector, with considerable opposition. Lowell was chosen
mathematical theses-collector, though not unanimously. Chamberlain
was chosen physical theses-collector."
THESIS. A position or proposition which a person advances and
offers to maintain, or which is actually maintained by argument; a
theme; a subject; particularly, a subject or proposition for a
school or university exercise, or the exercise itself.--_Webster_.
In the older American colleges, the _theses_ held a prominent
place in the exercises of Commencement. At Harvard College the
earliest theses extant bear the date of the year 1687. They were
Theses Technological, Logical, Grammatical, Rhetorical,
Mathematical, and Physical. The last theses were presented in the
year 1820. The earliest theses extant belonging to Yale College
are of 1714, and the last were printed in 1797.
THIRDING. In England, "a custom practised at the universities,
where two _thirds_ of the original price is allowed by
upholsterers to the students for household goods returned them
within the year."--_Grose's Dict._
On this subject De Quincey says: "The Oxford rule is, that, if you
take the rooms (which is at your own option), in that case you
_third_ the furniture and the embellishments; i.e. you succeed to
the total cost diminished by one third. You pay, therefore, two
guineas out of each three to your _immediate_ predecessor."--_Life
and Manners_, p. 250.
THIRD-YEAR MEN. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., the title of
Third-Year Men, or Senior Sophs or Sophisters, is given to
students during the third year of their residence at the
THUNDERING BOLUS. See INTONITANS BOLUS.
TICK. A recitation made by one who does not know of what he is
_Ticks_, screws, and deads were all put under contribution.--_A
Tour through College_, Boston, 1832, p. 25.
TICKER. One who recites without knowing what he is talking about;
one entirely independent of any book-knowledge.
If any "_Ticker_" dare to look
A stealthy moment on his book.
_Harvardiana_, Vol. III. p. 123.
TICKING. The act of reciting without knowing anything about the
And what with _ticking_, screwing, and deading, am candidate for a
piece of parchment to-morrow.--_Harv. Reg._, p. 194.
TIGHT. A common slang term among students; the comparative, of
which _drunk_ is the superlative.
Some twenty of as jolly chaps as e'er got jolly _tight_.
_Poem before Y.H._, 1849.
Hast spent the livelong night
In smoking Esculapios,--in getting jolly _tight_?
_Poem before Iadma_, 1850.
He clenched his fist as fain for fight,
Sank back, and gently murmured "_tight_."
_MS. Poem_, W.F. Allen, 1848.
While fathers, are bursting with rage and spite,
And old ladies vow that the students are _tight_.
_Yale Gallinipper_, Nov. 1848.
Speaking of the word "drunk," the Burlington Sentinel remarks:
"The last synonyme that we have observed is '_tight_,' a term, it
strikes us, rather inappropriate, since a 'tight' man, in the cant
use of the word, is almost always a 'loose character.' We give a
list of a few of the various words and phrases which have been in
use, at one time or another, to signify some stage of inebriation:
Over the bay, half seas over, hot, high, corned, cut, cocked,
shaved, disguised, jammed, damaged, sleepy, tired, discouraged,
snuffy, whipped, how come ye so, breezy, smoked, top-heavy,
fuddled, groggy, tipsy, smashed, swipy, slewed, cronk, salted
down, how fare ye, on the lee lurch, all sails set, three sheets
in the wind, well under way, battered, blowing, snubbed, sawed,
boosy, bruised, screwed, soaked, comfortable, stimulated,
jug-steamed, tangle-legged, fogmatic, blue-eyed, a passenger in
the Cape Ann stage, striped, faint, shot in the neck, bamboozled,
weak-jointed, got a brick in his hat, got a turkey on his back."
Dr. Franklin, in speaking of the intemperate drinker, says, he
will never, or seldom, allow that he is drunk; he may be "boosy,
cosey, foxed, merry, mellow, fuddled, groatable, confoundedly cut,
may see two moons, be among the Philistines, in a very good humor,
have been in the sun, is a little feverish, pretty well entered,
&c., but _never drunk_."
A highly entertaining list of the phrases which the Germans employ
"to clothe in a tolerable garb of decorum that dreamy condition
into which Bacchus frequently throws his votaries," is given in
_Howitt's Student Life of Germany_, Am. ed., pp. 296, 297.
2. At Williams College, this word is sometimes used as an
exclamation; e.g. "O _tight_!"
TIGHT FIT. At the University of Vermont, a good joke is
denominated by the students a _tight fit_, and the jokee is said
to be "hard up."
TILE. A hat. Evidently suggested by the meaning of the word, a
covering for the roof of buildings.
Then, taking it from off his head, began to brush his "_tile_."
_Poem before the Iadma_, 1850.
TOADY. A fawning, obsequious parasite; a toad-eater. In college
cant, one who seeks or gains favor with an instructor or
popularity with his classmates by mean and sycophantic actions.
TOADY. To flatter any one for gain.--_Halliwell_.
TOM. The great bell of Christ Church, Oxford, which formerly
belonged to Osney Abbey.
"This bell," says the Oxford Guide, "was recast in 1680, its
weight being about 17,000 pounds; more than double the weight of
the great bell in St. Paul's, London. This bell has always been
represented as one of the finest in England, but even at the risk
of dispelling an illusion under which most Oxford men have
labored, and which every member of Christ Church has indulged in
from 1680 to the present time, touching the fancied superiority of
mighty Tom, it must be confessed that it is neither an accurate
nor a musical bell. The note, as we are assured by the learned in
these matters, ought to be B flat, but is not so. On the contrary,
the bell is imperfect and inharmonious, and requires, in the
opinion of those best informed, and of most experience, to be
recast. It is, however, still a great curiosity, and may be seen
by applying to the porter at Tom-Gate lodge."--Ed. 1847, p. 5,
TO THE _n(-th.)_, TO THE _n + 1(-th.)_ Among English Cantabs
these algebraic expressions are used as intensives to denote the
most energetic way of doing anything.--_Bristed_.
TOWNEY. The name by which a student in an American college is
accustomed to designate any young man residing in the town in
which the college is situated, who is not a collegian.
And _Towneys_ left when she showed fight.
_Pow-wow of Class of '58, Yale Coll._
TRANSLATION. The act of turning one language into another.
At the University of Cambridge, Eng., this word is applied more
particularly to the turning of Greek or Latin into English.
In composition and cram I was yet untried, and the _translations_
in lecture-room were not difficult to acquit one's self on
respectably.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p.
TRANSMITTENDUM, _pl._ TRANSMITTENDA or TRANSMITTENDUMS. Anything
transmitted, or handed down from one to another.
Students, on withdrawing from college, often leave in the room
which they last occupied, pictures, looking-glasses, chairs, &c.,
there to remain, and to be handed down to the latest posterity.
Articles thus left are called _transmittenda_.
The Great Mathematical Slate was a _transmittendum_ to the best
mathematical scholar in each class.--_MS. note in Cat. Med. Fac.
Soc._, 1833, p. 16.
TRENCHER-CAP. A-name, sometimes given to the square head-covering
worn by students in the English universities. Used figuratively to
denote collegiate power.
The _trencher-cap_ has claimed a right to take its part in the
movements which make or mar the destinies of nations, by the side
of plumed casque and priestly tiara.--_The English Universities
and their Reforms_, in _Blackwood's Mag._, Feb. 1849.
TRIANGLE. At Union College, a urinal, so called from its shape.
TRIENNIAL, or TRIENNIAL CATALOGUE. In American colleges, a
catalogue issued once in three years. This catalogue contains the
names of the officers and students, arranged according to the
years in which they were connected with the college, an account of
the high public offices which they have filled, degrees which they
have received, time of death, &c.
The _Triennial Catalogue_ becomes increasingly a mournful
record--it should be monitory, as well as mournful--to survivors,
looking at the stars thickening on it, from one date to
another.--_Scenes and Characters in College_, p. 198.
Our tale shall be told by a silent star,
On the page of some future _Triennial_.
_Class Poem, Harv. Coll._, 1849, p. 4.
TRIMESTER. Latin _trimestris_; _tres_, three, and _mensis_, month.
In the German universities, a term or period of three
TRINITARIAN. The popular name of a member of Trinity College in
the University of Cambridge, Eng.
TRIPOS, _pl._ TRIPOSES. At Cambridge, Eng., any university
examination for honors, of questionists or men who have just taken
their B.A. The university scholarship examinations are not called
The Classical Tripos is generally spoken of as _the Tripos_, the
Mathematical one as the Degree Examination.--_Ibid._, p. 170.
2. A tripos paper.
3. One who prepares a tripos paper.--_Webster_.
TRIPOS PAPER. At the University of Cambridge, England, a printed
list of the successful candidates for mathematical honors,
accompanied by a piece in Latin verse. There are two of these,
designed to commemorate the two Tripos days. The first contains
the names of the Wranglers and Senior Optimes, and the second the
names of the Junior Optimes. The word _tripos_ is supposed to
refer to the three-legged stool formerly used at the examinations
for these honors, though some derive it from the three _brackets_
formerly printed on the back of the paper.
_Classical Tripos Examination_. The final university examination
for classical honors, optional to all who have taken the
mathematical honors.--_C.A. Bristed_, in _Webster's Dict._
The Tripos Paper is more fully described in the annexed extract.
"The names of the Bachelors who were highest in the list
(Wranglers and Senior Optimes, _Baccalaurei quibus sua reservatur
senioritas Comitiis prioribus_, and Junior Optimes, _Comitiis
posterioribus_) were written on slips of paper; and on the back of
these papers, probably with a view of making them less fugitive
and more entertaining, was given a copy of Latin verses. These
verses were written by one of the new Bachelors, and the exuberant
spirits and enlarged freedom arising from the termination of the
Undergraduate restrictions often gave to these effusions a
character of buffoonery and satire. The writer was termed _Terrae
Filius_, or _Tripos_, probably from some circumstance in the mode
of his making his appearance and delivering his verses; and took
considerable liberties. On some occasions, we find that these went
so far as to incur the censure of the authorities. Even now, the
Tripos verses often aim at satire and humor. [It is customary to
have one serious and one humorous copy of verses.] The writer does
not now appear in person, but the Tripos Paper, the list of honors
with its verses, still comes forth at its due season, and the list
itself has now taken the name of the Tripos. This being the case
with the list of mathematical honors, the same name has been
extended to the list of classical honors, though unaccompanied by
its classical verses."--_Whewell on Cambridge Education_, Preface
to Part II., quoted in _Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._,
Ed. 2d, p. 25.
TRUMP. A jolly blade; a merry fellow; one who occupies among his
companions a position similar to that which trumps hold to the
other cards in the pack. Not confined in its use to collegians,
but much in vogue among them.
But soon he treads this classic ground,
Where knowledge dwells and _trumps_ abound.
TRUSTEE. A person to whom property is legally committed in
_trust_, to be applied either for the benefit of specified
individuals, or for public uses.--_Webster_.
In many American colleges the general government is vested in a
board of _trustees_, appointed differently in different colleges.
See CORPORATION and OVERSEER.
TUFT-HUNTER. A cant term, in the English universities, for a
hanger-on to noblemen and persons of quality. So called from the
_tuft_ in the cap of the latter.--_Halliwell_.
There are few such thorough _tuft-hunters_ as your genuine Oxford
Don.--_Blackwood's Mag._, Eng. ed., Vol. LVI. p. 572.
TUITION. In universities, colleges, schools, &c., the money paid
for instruction. In American colleges, the tuition is from thirty
to seventy dollars a year.
TUTE. Abbreviation for Tutor.
TUTOR. Latin; from _tueor_, to defend; French, _tuteur_.
In English universities and colleges, an officer or member of some
hall, who has the charge of hearing the lessons of the students,
and otherwise giving them instruction in the sciences and various
branches of learning.
In the American colleges, tutors are graduates selected by the
trustees, for the instruction of undergraduates of the first three
years. They are usually officers of the institution, who have a
share, with the president and professors, in the government of the
TUTORAGE. In the English universities, the guardianship exerted by
a tutor; the care of a pupil.
The next item which I shall notice is that which in college bills
is expressed by the word _Tutorage_.--_De Quincey's Life and
Manners_, p. 251.
TUTOR, CLASS. At some of the colleges in the United States, each
of the four classes is assigned to the care of a particular tutor,
who acts as the ordinary medium of communication between the
members of the class and the Faculty, and who may be consulted by
the students concerning their studies, or on any other subject
interesting to them in their relations to the college.
At Harvard College, in addition to these offices, the Class Tutors
grant leave of absence from church and from town for Sunday,
including Saturday night, on the presentation of a satisfactory
reason, and administer all warnings and private admonitions
ordered by the Faculty for misconduct or neglect of duty.--_Orders
and Regulations of the Faculty of Harv. Coll._, July, 1853, pp. 1,
Of this regulation as it obtained at Harvard during the latter
part of the last century, Professor Sidney Willard says: "Each of
the Tutors had one class, of which he was charged with a certain
oversight, and of which he was called the particular Tutor. The
several Tutors in Latin successively sustained this relation to my
class. Warnings of various kinds, private admonitions for
negligence or minor offences, and, in general, intercommunication
between his class and the Immediate Government, were the duties
belonging to this relation."--_Memories of Youth and Manhood_,
Vol. I. p. 266, note.
TUTOR, COLLEGE. At the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, an
officer connected with a college, whose duties are described in
the annexed extracts.
With reference to Oxford, De Quincey remarks: "Each college takes
upon itself the regular instruction of its separate inmates,--of
these and of no others; and for this office it appoints, after
careful selection, trial, and probation, the best qualified
amongst those of its senior members who choose to undertake a
trust of such heavy responsibility. These officers are called
Tutors; and they are connected by duties and by accountability,
not with the University at all, but with their own private
colleges. The public tutors appointed in each college [are] on the
scale of one to each dozen or score of students."--_Life and
Manners_, Boston, 1851, p. 252.
Bristed, writing of Cambridge, says: "When, therefore, a boy, or,
as we should call him, a young man, leaves his school, public or
private, at the age of eighteen or nineteen, and 'goes up' to the
University, he necessarily goes up to some particular college, and
the first academical authority he makes acquaintance with in the
regular order of things is the College Tutor. This gentleman has
usually taken high honors either in classics or mathematics, and
one of his duties is naturally to lecture. But this by no means
constitutes the whole, or forms the most important part, of his
functions. He is the medium of all the students' pecuniary
relations with the College. He sends in their accounts every term,
and receives the money through his banker; nay, more, he takes in
the bills of their tradesmen, and settles them also. Further, he
has the disposal of the college rooms, and assigns them to their
respective occupants. When I speak of the College _Tutor_, it must
not be supposed that one man is equal to all this work in a large
college,--Trinity, for instance, which usually numbers four
hundred Undergraduates in residence. A large college has usually
two Tutors,--Trinity has three,--and the students are equally
divided among them,--_on their sides_, the phrase is,--without
distinction of year, or, as we should call it, of _class_. The
jurisdiction of the rooms is divided in like manner. The Tutor is
supposed to stand _in loco parentis_; but having sometimes more
than a hundred young men under him, he cannot discharge his duties
in this respect very thoroughly, nor is it generally expected that
he should."--_Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, pp. 10, 11.
TUTORIAL. Belonging to or exercised by a tutor or instructor.
Even while he is engaged in his "_tutorial_" duties, &c.--_Am.
Lit. Mag._, Vol. IV. p. 409.
TUTORIC. Pertaining to a tutor.
A collection of two was not then considered a sure prognostic of
rebellion, and spied out vigilantly by _tutoric_
eyes.--_Harvardiana_, Vol. III. p. 314.
TUTORIFIC. The same as _tutoric_.
While thus in doubt they hesitating stand,
Approaches near the _Tutorific_ band.
_Yale Tomahawk_, May, 1852.
"Old Yale," of thee we sing, thou art our theme,
Of thee with all thy _Tutorific_ host.--_Ibid._
TUTORING FRESHMEN. Of the various means used by Sophomores to
trouble Freshmen, that of _tutoring_ them, as described in the
following extract from the Sketches of Yale College, is not at all
peculiar to that institution, except in so far as the name is
"The ancient customs of subordination among the classes, though
long since abrogated, still preserve a part of their power over
the students, not only of this, but of almost every similar
institution. The recently exalted Sophomore, the dignified Junior,
and the venerable Senior, look back with equal humor at the
'greenness' of their first year. The former of these classes,
however, is chiefly notorious in the annals of Freshman capers. To
them is allotted the duty of fumigating the room of the new-comer,
and preparing him, by a due induction into the mysteries of Yale,
for the duties of his new situation. Of these performances, the
most systematic is commonly styled _Tutoring_, from the character
assumed by the officiating Sophomore. Seated solemnly in his chair
of state, arrayed in a pompous gown, with specs and powdered hair,
he awaits the approach of the awe-struck subject, who has been
duly warned to attend his pleasure, and fitly instructed to make a
low reverence and stand speechless until addressed by his
illustrious superior. A becoming impression has also been conveyed
of the dignity, talents, and profound learning and influence into
the congregated presence of which he is summoned. Everything, in
short, which can increase his sufficiently reverent emotions, or
produce a readier or more humble obedience, is carefully set
forth, till he is prepared to approach the door with no little
degree of that terror with which the superstitious inquirer enters
the mystic circle of the magician. A shaded light gleams dimly out
into the room, and pours its fuller radiance upon a ponderous
volume of Hebrew; a huge pile of folios rests on the table, and
the eye of the fearful Freshman half ventures to discover that
they are tomes of the dead languages.
"But first he has, in obedience to his careful monitor, bowed
lowly before the dignified presence; and, hardly raising his eyes,
he stands abashed at his awful situation, waiting the supreme
pleasure of the supposed officer. A benignant smile lights up the
tutor's grave countenance; he enters strangely enough into
familiar talk with the recently admitted collegiate; in pathetic
terms he describes the temptations of this _great_ city, the
thousand dangers to which he will be exposed, the vortex of ruin
into which, if he walks unwarily, he will be surely plunged. He
fires the youthful ambition with glowing descriptions of the
honors that await the successful, and opens to his eager view the
dazzling prospect of college fame. Nor does he fail to please the
youthful aspirant with assurances of the kindly notice of the
Faculty; he informs him of the satisfactory examination he has
passed, and the gratification of the President at his uncommon
proficiency; and having thus filled the buoyant imagination of his
dupe with the most glowing college air-castles, dismisses him from
his august presence, after having given him especial permission to
call on any important occasion hereafter."--pp. 159-162.
TUTOR, PRIVATE. At the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, an
instructor, whose position and studies are set forth in the
"Besides the public tutors appointed in each college," says De
Quincey, writing of Oxford, "there are also tutors strictly
private, who attend any students in search of special and
extraordinary aid, on terms settled privately by themselves. Of
these persons, or their existence, the college takes no
cognizance." "These are the working agents in the Oxford system."
"The _Tutors_ of Oxford correspond to the _Professors_ of other
universities."--_Life and Manners_, Boston, 1851, pp. 252, 253.
Referring to Cambridge, Bristed remarks: "The private tutor at an
English university corresponds, as has been already observed, in
many respects, to the _professor_ at a German. The German
professor is not _necessarily_ attached to any specific chair; he
receives no _fixed_ stipend, and has not public lecture-rooms; he
teaches at his own house, and the number of his pupils depends on
his reputation. The Cambridge private tutor is also a graduate,
who takes pupils at his rooms in numbers proportionate to his
reputation and ability. And although while the German professor is
regularly licensed as such by his university, and the existence of
the private tutor _as such_ is not even officially recognized by
his, still this difference is more apparent than real; for the
English university has _virtually_ licensed the tutor to instruct
in a particular branch by the standing she has given him in her
examinations." "Students come up to the University with all
degrees of preparation.... To make up for former deficiences, and
to direct study so that it may not be wasted, are two _desiderata_
which probably led to the introduction of private tutors, once a
partial, now a general appliance."--_Five Years in an Eng. Univ._,
Ed. 2d, pp. 146-148.
TUTORSHIP. The office of a tutor.--_Hooker_.
In the following passage, this word is used as a titulary
compellation, like the word _lordship_.
One morning, as the story goes,
Before his _tutorship_ arose.--_Rebelliad_, p. 73.
TUTORS' PASTURE. In 1645, John Bulkley, the "first Master of Arts
in Harvard College," by a deed, gave to Mr. Dunster, the President
of that institution, two acres of land in Cambridge, during his
life. The deed then proceeds: "If at any time he shall leave the
Presidency, or shall decease, I then desire the College to
appropriate the same to itself for ever, as a small gift from an
alumnus, bearing towards it the greatest good-will." "After
President Dunster's resignation," says Quincy, "the Corporation
gave the income of Bulkley's donation to the tutors, who received
it for many years, and hence the enclosure obtained the name of
'_Tutors' Pasture_,' or '_Fellows' Orchard_.'" In the Donation
Book of the College, the deed is introduced as "Extractum Doni
Pomarii Sociorum per Johannem Bulkleium."--_Quincy's Hist. Harv.
Univ._, Vol. I. pp. 269, 270.
For further remarks on this subject, see Peirce's "History of
Harvard University," pp. 15, 81, 113, also Chap. XIII., and
"Memorial of John S. Popkin, D.D.," pp. 390, 391.
TWITCH A TWELVE. At Middlebury College, to make a perfect
recitation; twelve being the maximum mark for scholarship.
UGLY KNIFE. See JACK-KNIFE.
UNDERGRADUATE. A student, or member of a university or college,
who has not taken his first degree.--_Webster_.
UNDERGRADUATE. Noting or pertaining to a student of a college who
has not taken his first degree.
The _undergraduate_ students shall be divided into four distinct
classes.--_Laws Yale Coll._, 1837, p. 11.
With these the _undergraduate_ course is not intended to
interfere.--_Yale Coll. Cat._, 1850-51, p. 33.
UNDERGRADUATESHIP. The state of being an undergraduate.--_Life of
UNIVERSITY. An assemblage of colleges established in any place,
with professors for instructing students in the sciences and other
branches of learning, and where degrees are conferred. A
_university_ is properly a universal school, in which are taught
all branches of learning, or the four faculties of theology,
medicine, law, and the sciences and arts.--_Cyclopaedia_.
2. At some American colleges, a name given to a university
student. The regulation in reference to this class at Union
College is as follows:--"Students, not regular members of college,
are allowed, as university students, to prosecute any branches for
which they are qualified, provided they attend three recitations
daily, and conform in all other respects to the laws of College.
On leaving College, they receive certificates of character and
scholarship."--_Union Coll. Cat._, 1850.
The eyes of several Freshmen and _Universities_ shone with a
watery lustre.--_The Parthenon_, Vol. I. p. 20.
UP. To be _up_ in a subject, is to be informed in regard to it.
_Posted_ expresses a similar idea. The use of this word, although
common among collegians, is by no means confined to them.
In our past history, short as it is, we would hardly expect them
to be well _up_.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d,
He is well _up_ in metaphysics.--_Ibid._, p. 53.
UPPER HOUSE. See SENATE.
VACATION. The intermission of the regular studies and exercises of
a college or other seminary, when the students have a
In the University of Cambridge, Eng., there are three vacations
during each year. Christmas vacation begins on the 16th of
December, and ends on the 13th of January. Easter vacation begins
on the Friday before Palm Sunday, and ends on the eleventh day
after Easter-day. The Long vacation begins on the Friday
succeeding the first Tuesday in July, and ends on the 10th of
October. At the University of Oxford there are four vacations in
each year. At Dublin University there are also four vacations,
which correspond nearly with the vacations of Oxford.
VALEDICTION. A farewell; a bidding farewell. Used sometimes with
the meaning of _valedictory_ or _valedictory oration_.
Two publick Orations, by the Candidates: the one to give a
specimen of their Knowledge, &c., and the other to give a grateful
and pathetick _Valediction_ to all the Officers and Members of the
Society.--_Clap's Hist. Yale Coll._, p. 87.
VALEDICTORIAN. The student of a college who pronounces the
valedictory oration at the annual Commencement.--_Webster_.
VALEDICTORY. In American colleges, a farewell oration or address
spoken at Commencement, by a member of the class which receive the
degree of Bachelor of Arts, and take their leave of college and of
VARMINT. At Cambridge, England, and also among the whip gentry,
this word signifies natty, spruce, dashing; e.g. he is quite
_varmint_; he sports a _varmint_ hat, coat, &c.
A _varmint_ man spurns a scholarship, would consider it a
degradation to be a fellow.--_Gradus ad Cantab._, p. 122.
The handsome man, my friend and pupil, was naturally enough a bit
of a swell, or _varmint_ man.--_Alma Mater_, Vol. II. p. 118.
VERGER. At the University of Oxford, an officer who walks first in
processions, and carries a silver rod.
VICE-CHANCELLOR. An officer in a university, in England, a
distinguished member, who is annually elected to manage the
affairs in the absence of the Chancellor. He must be the head of a
college, and during his continuance in office he acts as a
magistrate for the university, town, and county.--_Cam. Cal._
At Oxford, the Vice-Chancellor holds a court, in which suits may
be brought against any member of the University. He never walks
out, without being preceded by a Yeoman-Bedel with his silver
staff. At Cambridge, the Mayor and Bailiffs of the town are
obliged, at their election, to take certain oaths before the
Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor has the sole right of
licensing wine and ale-houses in Cambridge, and of _discommuning_
any tradesman or inhabitant who has violated the University
privileges or regulations. In both universities, the
Vice-Chancellor is nominated by the Heads of Houses, from among
VICE-MASTER. An officer of a college in the English universities
who performs the duties of the Master in his absence.
VISITATION. The act of a superior or superintending officer, who
visits a corporation, college, church, or other house, to examine
into the manner in which it is conducted, and see that its laws
and regulations are duly observed and executed.--_Cyc._
In July, 1766, a law was formally enacted, "that twice in the
year, viz. at the semiannual _visitation_ of the committee of the
Overseers, some of the scholars, at the direction of the President
and Tutors, shall publicly exhibit specimens of their
proficiency," &c.--_Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ._, Vol. II. p. 132.
VIVA VOCE. Latin; literally, _with the living voice_. In the
English universities, that part of an examination which is carried
The examination involves a little _viva voce_, and it was said,
that, if a man did his _viva voce_ well, none of his papers were
looked at but the Paley.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._,
Ed. 2d, p. 92.
In Combination Room, where once I sat at _viva voce_, wretched,
ignorant, the wine goes round, and wit, and pleasant
talk.--_Household Words_, Am. ed., Vol. XI. p. 521.
WALLING. At the University of Oxford, the punishment of _walling_,
as it is popularly denominated, consists in confining a student to
the walls of his college for a certain period.
WARDEN. The master or president of a college.--_England_.
WARNING. In many colleges, when it is ascertained that a student
is not living in accordance with the laws of the institution, he
is usually informed of the fact by a _warning_, as it is called,
from one of the faculty, which consists merely of friendly caution
and advice, thus giving him an opportunity, by correcting his
faults, to escape punishment.
Sadly I feel I should have been saved by numerous _warnings_.
_Harvardiana_, Vol. III. p. 98.
No more shall "_warnings_" in their hearing ring,
Nor "admonitions" haunt their aching head.
_Yale Lit. Mag._, Vol. XV. p. 210.
WEDGE. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., the man whose name is
the last on the list of honors in the voluntary classical
examination, which follows the last examination required by
statute, is called the _wedge_. "The last man is called the
_wedge_" says Bristed, "corresponding to the Spoon in Mathematics.
This name originated in that of the man who was last on the first
Tripos list (in 1824), _Wedgewood_. Some one suggested that the
_wooden wedge_ was a good counterpart to the _wooden spoon_, and
the appellation stuck."--_Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p.
WET. To christen a new garment by treating one's friends when one
first appears in it; e.g.:--A. "Have you _wet_ that new coat yet?"
B. "No." A. "Well, then, I should recommend to you the propriety
of so doing." B. "What will you drink?" This word, although much
used among students, is by no means confined to them.
WHINNICK. At Hamilton College, to refuse to fulfil a promise or
engagement; to retreat from a difficulty; to back out.
WHITE-HOOD HOUSE. See SENATE.
WIGS. The custom of wearing wigs was, perhaps, observed nowhere in
America during the last century with so much particularity as at
the older colleges. Of this the following incident is
illustrative. Mr. Joseph Palmer, who graduated at Harvard in the
year 1747, entered college at the age of fourteen; but, although
so young, was required immediately after admission to cut off his
long, flowing hair, and to cover his head with an unsightly
bag-wig. At the beginning of the present century, wigs were not
wholly discarded, although the fashion of wearing the hair in a
queue was more in vogue. From a record of curious facts, it
appears that the last wig which appeared at Commencement in
Harvard College was worn by Mr. John Marsh, in the year 1819.
WILL. At Harvard College, it was at one time the mode for the
student to whom had been given the JACK-KNIFE in consequence of
his ugliness, to transmit the inheritance, when he left, to some
one of equal pretensions in the class next below him. At one
period, this transmission was effected by a _will_, in which not
only the knife, but other articles, were bequeathed. As the 21st
of June was, till of late years, the day on which the members of
the Senior Class closed their collegiate studies, and retired to
make preparations for the ensuing Commencement, Wills were usually
dated at that time. The first will of this nature of which mention
is made is that of Mr. William Biglow, a member of the class of
1794, and the recipient for that year of the knife. It appeared in
the department entitled "Omnium Gatherum" of the Federal Orrery,
published at Boston, April 27, 1795, in these words:--
BEING THE LAST WORDS OF CHARLES CHATTERBOX, ESQ., LATE WORTHY AND
MUCH LAMENTED MEMBER OF THE LAUGHING CLUB OF HARVARD UNIVERSITT,
WHO DEPARTED COLLEGE LIFE, JUNE 21, 1794, IN THE TWENTY-FIRST YEAR
OF HIS AGE.
"I, CHARLEY CHATTER, sound of mind,
To making fun am much inclined;
So, having cause to apprehend
My college life is near its end,
All future quarrels to prevent,
I seal this will and testament.
"My soul and body, while together,
I send the storms of life to weather;
To steer as safely as they can,
To honor GOD, and profit man.
"_Imprimis_, then, my bed and bedding,
My only chattels worth the sledding,
Consisting of a maple stead,
A counterpane, and coverlet,
Two cases with the pillows in,
A blanket, cord, a winch and pin,
Two sheets, a feather bed and hay-tick,
I order sledded up to _Natick_,
And that with care the sledder save them
For those kind parents, first who gave them.
"_Item_. The Laughing Club, so blest,
Who think this life what 't is,--a jest,--
Collect its flowers from every spray,
And laugh its goading thorns away;
From whom to-morrow I dissever,
Take one sweet grin, and leave for ever;
My chest, and all that in it is,
I give and I bequeath them, viz.:
Westminster grammar, old and poor,
Another one, compiled by Moor;
A bunch of pamphlets pro and con
The doctrine of salva-ti-on;
The college laws, I'm freed from minding,
A Hebrew psalter, stripped from binding.
A Hebrew Bible, too, lies nigh it,
Unsold--because no one would buy it.
"My manuscripts, in prose and verse,
They take for better and for worse;
Their minds enlighten with the best,
And pipes and candles with the rest;
Provided that from them they cull
My college exercises dull,
On threadbare theme, with mind unwilling,
Strained out through fear of fine one shilling,
To teachers paid t' avert an evil,
Like Indian worship to the Devil.
The above-named manuscripts, I say.
To club aforesaid I convey,
Provided that said themes, so given,
Full proofs that _genius won't be driven_,
To our physicians be presented,
As the best opiates yet invented.
"_Item_. The government of college,
Those liberal _helluos_ of knowledge,
Who, e'en in these degenerate days,
Deserve the world's unceasing praise;
Who, friends of science and of men,
Stand forth Gomorrah's righteous ten;
On them I naught but thanks bestow,
For, like my cash, my credit's low;
So I can give nor clothes nor wines,
But bid them welcome to my fines.
"_Item_. My study desk of pine,
That work-bench, sacred to the nine,
Which oft hath groaned beneath my metre,
I give to pay my debts to PETER.
"_Item_. Two penknives with white handles,
A bunch of quills, and pound of candles,
A lexicon compiled by COLE,
A pewter spoon, and earthen bowl,
A hammer, and two homespun towels,
For which I yearn with tender bowels,
Since I no longer can control them,
I leave to those sly lads who stole them.
"_Item_. A gown much greased in Commons,
A hat between a man's and woman's,
A tattered coat of college blue,
A fustian waistcoat torn in two,
With all my rust, through college carried,
I give to classmate O----, who's _married_.
"_Item_. C------ P------s has my knife,
During his natural college life,--
That knife, which ugliness inherits,
And due to his superior merits;
And when from Harvard he shall steer,
I order him to leave it here,
That 't may from class to class descend,
Till time and ugliness shall end.
"The said C------ P------s, humor's son,
Who long shall stay when I am gone,
The Muses' most successful suitor,
I constitute my executor;
And for his trouble to requite him,
Member of Laughing Club I write him.
"Myself on life's broad sea I throw,
Sail with its joy, or stem its woe,
No other friend to take my part,
Than careless head and honest heart.
My purse is drained, my debts are paid,
My glass is run, my will is made,
To beauteous Cam. I bid adieu,
And with the world begin anew."
Following the example of his friend Biglow, Mr. Prentiss, on
leaving college, prepared a will, which afterwards appeared in one
of the earliest numbers of the Rural Repository, a literary paper,
the publication of which he commenced at Leominster, Mass., in the
autumn of 1795. Thomas Paine, afterwards Robert Treat Paine, Jr.,
immediately transferred it to the columns of the Federal Orrery,
which paper he edited, with these introductory remarks: "Having,
in the second number of 'Omnium Gatherum' presented to our readers
the last will and testament of Charles Chatterbox, Esq., of witty
memory, wherein the said Charles, now deceased, did lawfully
bequeath to Ch----s Pr----s the celebrated 'Ugly Knife,' to be by
him transmitted, at his collegiate demise, to the next succeeding
candidate;... and whereas the said Ch-----s Pr-----s, on the 21st
of June last, departed his aforesaid '_college life_,' thereby
leaving to the inheritance of his successor the valuable legacy,
which his illustrious friend had bequeathed, as an _entailed
estate_, to the poets of the university,--we have thought proper
to insert a full, true, and attested copy of the will of the last
deceased heir, in order that the world may be furnished with a
correct genealogy of this renowned _jack-knife_, whose pedigree
will become as illustrious in after time as the family of the
'ROLLES,' and which will be celebrated by future wits as the most
formidable _weapon_ of modern genius."
BEING THE LAST WORDS OP CH----S PR----S, LATE WORTHY AND MUCH
LAMENTED MEMBER OF THE LAUGHING CLUB OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY, WHO
DEPARTED COLLEGE LIFE ON THE 21ST OF JUNE, 1795.
"I, Pr-----s Ch----s, of judgment sound,
In soul, in limb and wind, now found;
I, since my head is full of wit,
And must be emptied, or must split,
In name of _president_ APOLLO,
And other gentle folks, that follow:
Such as URANIA and CLIO,
To whom my fame poetic I owe;
With the whole drove of rhyming sisters,
For whom my heart with rapture blisters;
Who swim in HELICON uncertain
Whether a petticoat or shirt on,
From vulgar ken their charms do cover,
From every eye but _Muses' lover_;
In name of every ugly GOD;
Whose beauty scarce outshines a toad;
In name of PROSERPINE and PLUTO,
Who board in hell's sublimest grotto;
In name of CERBERUS and FURIES,
Those damned _aristocrats_ and tories;
In presence of two witnesses,
Who are as homely as you please,
Who are in truth, I'd not belie 'em,
Ten times as ugly, faith, as I am;
But being, as most people tell us,
A pair of jolly clever fellows,
And classmates likewise, at this time,
They sha'n't be honored in my rhyme.
I--I say I, now make this will;
Let those whom I assign fulfil.
I give, grant, render, and convey
My goods and chattels thus away:
That _honor of a college life_,
_That celebrated_ UGLY KNIFE,
Which predecessor SAWNEY orders,
Descending to time's utmost borders,
To _noblest bard of homeliest phiz_,
To have and hold and use as his;
I now present C----s P----y S----r,
To keep with his poetic lumber,
To scrape his quid, and make a split,
To point his pen for sharpening wit;
And order that he ne'er abuse
Said Ugly Knife, in dirtier use,
And let said CHARLES, that best of writers,
In prose satiric skilled to bite us,
And equally in verse delight us,
Take special care to keep it clean
From unpoetic hands,--I ween.
And when those walls, the Muses' seat,
Said S----r is obliged to quit,
Let some one of APOLLO'S firing,
To such heroic joys aspiring,
Who long has borne a poet's name,
With said knife cut his way to fame.
"I give to those that fish for parts,
Long sleepless nights, and aching hearts,
A little soul, a fawning spirit,
With half a grain of plodding merit,
Which is, as Heaven I hope will say,
Giving what's not my own away.
"Those _oven baked_ or _goose egg folded_,
Who, though so often I have told it,
With all my documents to show it,
Will scarce believe that I'm a poet,
I give of criticism the lens
With half an ounce of common sense.
"And 't would a breach be of humanity,
Not to bequeath D---n my vanity;
For 'tis a rule direct from Heaven,
_To him that hath, more shall be given_.
"_Item_. Tom M----n, COLLEGE LION,
Who'd ne'er spend cash enough to buy one,
The BOANERGES of a pun,
A man of science and of fun,
That quite uncommon witty elf,
Who darts his bolts and shoots himself,
Who oft hath bled beneath my jokes,
I give my old _tobacco-box_.
"My _Centinels_ for some years past,
So neatly bound with thread and paste,
Exposing Jacobinic tricks,
I give my chum _for politics_.
"My neckcloth, dirty, old, yet _strong_,
That round my neck has lasted long,
I give BIG BOY, for deed of pith,
Namely, to hang himself therewith.
"To those who've parts at exhibition
Obtained by long, unwearied fishing,
I say, to such unlucky wretches,
I give, for wear, a brace of breeches;
Then used; as they're but little tore,
I hope they'll show their tails no more.
"And ere it quite has gone to rot,
I, B---- give my blue great-coat,
With all its rags, and dirt, and tallow,
Because he's such a dirty fellow.
"Now for my books; first, _Bunyan's Pilgrim_,
(As he with thankful pleasure will grin,)
Though dog-leaved, torn, in bad type set in,
'T will do quite well for classmate B----,
And thus, with complaisance to treat her,
'T will answer for another Detur.
"To him that occupies my study,
I give, for use of making toddy,
A bottle full of _white-face_ STINGO,
Another, handy, called a _mingo_.
My wit, as I've enough to spare,
And many much in want there are,
I ne'er intend to keep at _home_,
But give to those that handiest come,
Having due caution, _where_ and _when_,
Never to spatter _gentlemen_.
The world's loud call I can't refuse,
The fine productions of my muse;
If _impudence_ to _fame_ shall waft her,
I'll give the public all, hereafter.
My love-songs, sorrowful, complaining,
(The recollection puts me pain in,)
The last sad groans of deep despair,
That once could all my entrails tear;
My farewell sermon to the ladies;
My satire on a woman's head-dress;
My epigram so full of glee,
Pointed as epigrams should be;
My sonnets soft, and sweet as lasses,
My GEOGRAPHY of MOUNT PARNASSUS;
With all the bards that round it gather,
And variations of the weather;
Containing more true humorous satire,
Than's oft the lot of human nature;
('O dear, what can the matter be!'
I've given away my _vanity_;
The vessel can't so much contain,
It runs o'er and comes back again.)
My blank verse, poems so majestic,
My rhymes heroic, tales agrestic;
The whole, I say, I'll overhaul 'em,
Collect and publish in a volume.
"My heart, which thousand ladies crave,
That I intend my wife shall have.
I'd give my foibles to the wind,
And leave my vices all behind;
But much I fear they'll to me stick,
Where'er I go, through thin and thick.
On WISDOM'S _horse_, oh, might I ride,
Whose steps let PRUDENCE' bridle guide.
Thy loudest voice, O REASON, lend,
And thou, PHILOSOPHY, befriend.
May candor all my actions guide,
And o'er my every thought preside,
And in thy ear, O FORTUNE, one word,
Let thy swelled canvas bear me onward,
Thy favors let me ever see,
And I'll be much obliged to thee;
And come with blooming visage meek,
Come, HEALTH, and ever flush my cheek;
O bid me in the morning rise,
When tinges Sol the eastern skies;
At breakfast, supper-time, or dinner,
Let me against thee be no sinner.
"And when the glass of life is run,
And I behold my setting sun,
May conscience sound be my protection,
And no ungrateful recollection,
No gnawing cares nor tumbling woes,
Disturb the quiet of life's close.
And when Death's gentle feet shall come
To bear me to my endless home,
Oh! may my soul, should Heaven but save it,
Safely return to GOD who gave it."
_Federal Orrery_, Oct. 29, 1795. _Buckingham's Reminiscences_,
Vol. II. pp. 228-231, 268-273.
It is probable that the idea of a "College Will" was suggested to
Biglow by "Father Abbey's Will," portions of which, till the
present generation, were "familiar to nearly all the good
housewives of New England." From the history of this poetical
production, which has been lately printed for private circulation
by the Rev. John Langdon Sibley of Harvard College, the annexed
transcript of the instrument itself, together with the love-letter
which was suggested by it, has been taken. The instances in which
the accepted text differs from a Broadside copy, in the possession
of the editor of this work, are noted at the foot of the page.
"FATHER ABBEY'S WILL:
TO WHICH IS NOW ADDED, A LETTER OF COURTSHIP TO HIS VIRTUOUS AND
"_Cambridge, December_, 1730.
"Some time since died here Mr. Matthew Abbey, in a very advanced
age: He had for a great number of years served the College in
quality of Bedmaker and Sweeper: Having no child, his wife
inherits his whole estate, which he bequeathed to her by his last
will and testament, as follows, viz.:--
"To my dear wife
My joy and life,
I freely now do give her,
My whole estate,
With all my plate,
Being just about to leave her.
"My tub of soap,
A long cart-rope,
A frying pan and kettle,
An ashes pail,
An iron wedge and beetle.
"Two painted chairs,
Nine warden pears,
A large old dripping platter,
This bed of hay
On which I lay,
An old saucepan for butter.
"A little mug,
A two-quart jug,
A bottle full of brandy,
To see your face,
You'll find it very handy.
"A musket true,
As ever flew,
A pound of shot and wallet,
A leather sash,
My powder-horn and bullet.
"An old sword-blade,
A garden spade,
A hoe, a rake, a ladder,
A wooden can,
A close-stool pan,
A clyster-pipe and bladder.
"A greasy hat,
My old ram cat,
A yard and half of linen,
A woollen fleece,
A pot of grease,
In order for your spinning.
"A small tooth comb,
An ashen broom,
A candlestick and hatchet,
Striped down with red,
A bag of rags to patch it.
"A rugged mat,
A tub of fat,
A book put out by Bunyan,
By Robin Cook,
A skein or two of spun-yarn.
"An old black muff,
Some garden stuff,
A quantity of borage,
Some devil's weed,
And burdock seed,
To season well your porridge.
With one salt-fish.
If I am not mistaken,
A leg of pork,
A broken fork,
And half a flitch of bacon.
One peck of meal,
A knife without a handle,
A rusty lamp,
Two quarts of samp,
And half a tallow candle.
"My pouch and pipes,
Two oxen tripes,
An oaken dish well carved,
My little dog,
And spotted hog,
With two young pigs just starved.
"This is my store,
I have no more,
I heartily do give it:
My years are spun,
My days are done,
And so I think to leave it.
"Thus Father Abbey left his spouse,
As rich as church or college mouse,
Which is sufficient invitation
To serve the college in his station."
_Newhaven, January_ 2, 1731.
"Our sweeper having lately buried his spouse, and accidentally
hearing of the death and will of his deceased Cambridge brother,
has conceived a violent passion for the relict. As love softens
the mind and disposes to poetry, he has eased himself in the
following strains, which he transmits to the charming widow, as
the first essay of his love and courtship.
To you I fly,
You only can relieve me;
To you I turn,
For you I burn,
If you will but believe me.
"Then, gentle dame,
Admit my flame,
And grant me my petition;
If you deny,
Alas! I die
In pitiful condition.
"Before the news
Of your dear spouse
Had reached us at New Haven,
My dear wife dy'd,
Who was my bride
In anno eighty-seven.
"Thus being free,
Let's both agree
To join our hands, for I do
Is fittest for a widow.
"You may be sure
'T is not your dower
I make this flowing verse on;
In these smooth lays
I only praise
The glories of your person.
"For the whole that
Was left by _Mat._
Fortune to me has granted
In equal store,
I've one thing more
Which Matthew long had wanted.
"No teeth, 't is true,
You have to shew,
The young think teeth inviting;
But silly youths!
I love those mouths
Where there's no fear of biting.
"A leaky eye,
That's never dry,
These woful times is fitting.
A wrinkled face
Adds solemn grace
To folks devout at meeting.
"[A furrowed brow,
Where corn might grow,
Such fertile soil is seen in 't,
A long hook nose,
Though scorned by foes,
For spectacles convenient.]
"Thus to go on
I would put down
Your charms from head to foot,
Set all your glory
In verse before ye,
But I've no mind to do 't.
"Then haste away,
And make no stay;
For soon as you come hither,
We'll eat and sleep,
Make beds and sweep.
And talk and smoke together.
"But if, my dear,
I must move there,
Tow'rds Cambridge straight I'll set me.
To touse the hay
On which you lay,
If age and you will let me."
The authorship of Father Abbey's Will and the Letter of Courtship
is ascribed to the Rev. John Seccombe, who graduated at Harvard
College in the year 1728. The former production was sent to
England through the hands of Governor Belcher, and in May, 1732,
appeared both in the Gentleman's Magazine and the London Magazine.
The latter was also despatched to England, and was printed in the
Gentleman's Magazine for June, and in the London Magazine for
August, 1732. Both were republished in the Massachusetts Magazine,
November, 1794. A most entertaining account of the author of these
poems, and of those to whom they relate, may be found in the
"Historical and Biographical Notes" of the pamphlet to which
allusion has been already made, and in the "Cambridge [Mass.]
Chronicle" of April 28, 1855.
WINE. To drink wine.
After "wining" to a certain extent, we sallied forth from his
rooms.--_Alma Mater_, Vol. I. p. 14.
Hither they repair each day after dinner "_to wine_."
_Ibid._, Vol. I. p. 95.
After dinner I had the honor of _wining_ with no less a personage
than a fellow of the college.--_Ibid._, Vol. I. p. 114.
In _wining_ with a fair one opposite, a luckless piece of jelly
adhered to the tip of his still more luckless nose.--_The Blank
Book of a Small-Colleger_, New York, 1824, p. 75.
WINE PARTY. Among students at the University of Cambridge, Eng.,
an entertainment after dinner, which is thus described by Bristed:
"Many assemble at _wine parties_ to chat over a frugal dessert of
oranges, biscuits, and cake, and sip a few glasses of not
remarkably good wine. These wine parties are the most common
entertainments, being rather the cheapest and very much the most
convenient, for the preparations required for them are so slight
as not to disturb the studies of the hardest reading man, and they
take place at a time when no one pretends to do any work."--_Five
Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 21.
WIRE. At Harvard College, a trick; an artifice; a stratagem; a
WIRY. Trickish; artful.
WITENAGEMOTE. Saxon, _witan_, to know, and _gemot_, a meeting, a
In the University of Oxford, the weekly meeting of the heads of
the colleges.--_Oxford Guide_.
WOODEN SPOON. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., the scholar
whose name stands last of all on the printed list of honors, at
the Bachelors' Commencement in January, is scoffingly said to gain
the _wooden spoon_. He is also very currently himself called the
A young academic coming into the country immediately after this
great competition, in which he had conspicuously distinguished
himself, was asked by a plain country gentleman, "Pray, Sir, is my
Jack a Wrangler?" "No, Sir." Now Jack had confidently pledged
himself to his uncle that he would take his degree with honor. "A
Senior Optime?" "No, Sir." "Why, what was he then?" "Wooden
Spoon!" "Best suited to his wooden head," said the mortified
inquirer.--_Forby's Vocabulary_, Vol. II. p. 258.
It may not perhaps be improper to mention one very remarkable
personage, I mean "the _Wooden Spoon_." This luckless wight (for
what cause I know not) is annually the universal butt and
laughing-stock of the whole Senate-House. He is the last of those
young men who take honors, in his year, and is called a Junior
Optime; yet, notwithstanding his being in fact superior to them
all, the very lowest of the [Greek: oi polloi], or gregarious
undistinguished bachelors, think themselves entitled to shoot the
pointless arrows of their clumsy wit against the _wooden spoon_;
and to reiterate the stale and perennial remark, that "Wranglers
are born with gold spoons in their mouths, Senior Optimes with
silver, Junior Optimes with _wooden_, and the [Greek: oi polloi]
with leaden ones."--_Gent. Mag._, 1795, p. 19.
Who while he lives must wield the boasted prize,
Whose value all can feel, the weak, the wise;
Displays in triumph his distinguished boon,
The solid honors of the _wooden spoon_.
_Grad. ad Cantab._, p. 119.
2. At Yale College, this title is conferred on the student who
takes the last appointment at the Junior Exhibition. The following
account of the ceremonies incident to the presentation of the
Wooden Spoon has been kindly furnished by a graduate of that
"At Yale College the honors, or, as they are there termed,
appointments, are given to a class twice during the course;--upon
the merits of the two preceding years, at the end of the first
term, Junior; and at the end of the second term, Senior, upon the
merits of the whole college course. There are about eight grades
of appointments, the lowest of which is the Third Colloquy. Each
grade has its own standard, and if a number of students have
attained to the same degree, they receive the same appointment. It
is rarely the case, however, that more than one student can claim
the distinction of a third colloquy; but when there are several,
they draw lots to see which is entitled to be considered properly
_the_ third colloquy man.
"After the Junior appointments are awarded, the members of the
Junior Class hold an exhibition similar to the regular Junior
exhibition, and present a _wooden spoon_ to the man who received
the lowest honor in the gift of the Faculty.
"The exhibition takes place in the evening, at some public hall in
town. Except to those engaged in the arrangements, nothing is
known about it among the students at large, until the evening of
the performances, when notices of the hour and place are quietly
circulated at prayers, in order that it may not reach the ears of
the Faculty, who are ever too ready to participate in the sports
of the students, and to make the result tell unfavorably against
the college welfare of the more prominent characters.
"As the appointed hour approaches, long files of black coats may
be seen emerging from the dark halls, and winding their way
through the classic elms towards the Temple, the favorite scene of
students' exhibitions and secret festivals. When they reach the
door, each man must undergo the searching scrutiny of the
door-keeper, usually disguised as an Indian, to avoid being
recognized by a college officer, should one chance to be in the
crowd, and no one is allowed to enter unless he is known.
"By the time the hour of the exercises has arrived, the hall is
densely packed with undergraduates and professional students. The
President, who is a non-appointment man, and probably the poorest
scholar in the class, sits on a stage with his associate
professors. Appropriate programmes, printed in the college style,
are scattered throughout the house. As the hour strikes, the
President arises with becoming dignity, and, instead of the usual
phrase, 'Musicam audeamus,' restores order among the audience by
'Silentiam audeamus,' and then addresses the band, 'Musica
"Then follow a series of burlesque orations, dissertations, and
disputes, upon scientific and other subjects, from the wittiest
and cleverest men in the class, and the house is kept in a
continual roar of laughter. The highest appointment men frequently
take part in the speeches. From time to time the band play, and
the College choir sing pieces composed for the occasion. In one of
the best, called AUDACIA, composed in imitation of the Crambambuli
song, by a member of the class to which the writer belonged, the
Wooden Spoon is referred to in the following stanza:--
'But do not think our life is aimless;
O no! we crave one blessed boon,
It is the prize of value nameless,
The honored, classic WOODEN SPOON;
But give us this, we'll shout Hurrah!
O nothing like Audacia!'
"After the speeches are concluded and the music has ceased, the
President rises and calls the name of the hero of the evening, who
ascends the stage and stands before the high dignitary. The
President then congratulates him upon having attained to so
eminent a position, and speaks of the pride that he and his
associates feel in conferring upon him the highest honor in their
gift,--the Wooden Spoon. He exhorts him to pursue through life the
noble cruise he has commenced in College,--not seeking glory as
one of the illiterate,--the [Greek: oi polloi],--nor exactly on
the fence, but so near to it that he may safely be said to have
gained the 'happy medium.'
"The President then proceeds to the grand ceremony of the evening,
--the delivery of the Wooden Spoon,--a handsomely finished spoon,
or ladle, with a long handle, on which is carved the name of the
Class, and the rank and honor of the recipient, and the date of
its presentation. The President confers the honor in Latin,
provided he and his associates are able to muster a sufficient
number of sentences.
"When the President resumes his seat, the Third Colloquy man
thanks his eminent instructors for the honor conferred upon him,
and thanks (often with sincerity) the class for the distinction he
enjoys. The exercises close with music by the band, or a burlesque
colloquy. On one occasion, the colloquy was announced upon the
programme as 'A Practical Illustration of Humbugging,' with a long
list of witty men as speakers, to appear in original costumes.
Curiosity was very much excited, and expectation on the tiptoe,
when the colloquy became due. The audience waited and waited until
sufficiently _humbugged_, when they were allowed to retire with
the laugh turned against them.
"Many men prefer the Wooden Spoon to any other college honor or
prize, because it comes directly from their classmates, and hence,
perhaps, the Faculty disapprove of it, considering it as a damper
to ambition and college distinctions."
This account of the Wooden Spoon Exhibition was written in the
year 1851. Since then its privacy has been abolished, and its
exercises are no longer forbidden by the Faculty. Tutors are now
not unfrequently among the spectators at the presentation, and
even ladies lend their presence, attention, and applause, to
beautify, temper, and enliven the occasion.
The "_Wooden Spoon_," tradition says, was in ancient times
presented to the greatest glutton in the class, by his
appreciating classmates. It is now given to the one whose name
comes last on the list of appointees for the Junior Exhibition,
though this rule is not strictly followed. The presentation takes
place during the Summer Term, and in vivacity with respect to the
literary exercises, and brilliance in point of audience, forms a
rather formidable rival to the regularly authorized Junior
Exhibition.--_Songs of Tale_, Preface, 1853, p. 4.
Of the songs which are sung in connection with the wooden spoon
presentation, the following is given as a specimen.
"Come, Juniors, join this jolly tune
Our fathers sang before us;
And praise aloud the wooden spoon
In one long, swelling chorus.
Yes! let us, Juniors, shout and sing
The spoon and all its glory,--
Until the welkin loudly ring
And echo back the story.
"Who would not place this precious boon
Above the Greek Oration?
Who would not choose the wooden spoon
Before a dissertation?
Then, let, &c.
"Some pore o'er classic works jejune,
Through all their life at College,--
I would not pour, but use the spoon
To fill my mind with knowledge.
So let, &c.
"And if I ever have a son
Upon my knee to dandle,
I'll feed him with a wooden spoon
Of elongated handle.
Then let, &c.
"Most college honors vanish soon,
Alas! returning never,
But such a noble wooden spoon
Is tangible for ever.
So let, &c.
"Now give, in honor of the spoon,
Three cheers, long, loud, and hearty,
And three for every honored June
Yes! let us, Juniors, shout and sing
The spoon and all its glory,--
Until the welkin loudly ring
And echo back the story."
_Songs of Yale_, 1853, p. 37.
WRANGLER. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., at the conclusion
of the tenth term, the final examination in the Senate-House takes
place. A certain number of those who pass this examination in the
best manner are called _Wranglers_.
The usual number of _Wranglers_--whatever Wrangler may have meant
once, it now implies a First Class man in Mathematics--is
thirty-seven or thirty-eight. Sometimes it falls to thirty-five,
and occasionally rises above forty.--_Bristed's Five Years in an
Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 227.
See SENIOR WRANGLER.
WRANGLERSHIP. The office of a _Wrangler_.
He may be considered pretty safe for the highest _Wranglership_
out of Trinity.--_Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d,
WRESTLING-MATCH. At Harvard College, it was formerly the custom,
on the first Monday of the term succeeding the Commencement
vacation, for the Sophomores to challenge the Freshmen who had
just entered College to a wrestling-match. A writer in the New
England Magazine, 1832, in an article entitled "Harvard College
Forty Years Ago," remarks as follows on this subject: "Another
custom, not enjoined by the government, had been in vogue from
time immemorial. That was for the Sophomores to challenge the
Freshmen to a wrestling-match. If the Sophomores were thrown, the
Juniors gave a similar challenge. If these were conquered, the
Seniors entered the lists, or treated the victors to as much wine,
punch, &c. as they chose to drink. In my class, there were few who
had either taste, skill, or bodily strength for this exercise, so
that we were easily laid on our backs, and the Sophomores were
acknowledged our superiors, in so far as 'brute force' was
concerned. Being disgusted with these customs, we held a
class-meeting, early in our first quarter, and voted unanimously
that we should never send a Freshman on an errand; and, with but
one dissenting voice, that we would not challenge the next class
that should enter to wrestle. When the latter vote was passed, our
moderator, pointing at the dissenting individual with the finger
of scorn, declared it to be a vote, _nemine contradicente_. We
commenced Sophomores, another Freshman Class entered, the Juniors
challenged them, and were thrown. The Seniors invited them to a
treat, and these barbarous customs were soon after
abolished."--Vol. III. p. 239.
Back to Full Books