German Universities: A Narrative of Personal Experience

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German Universities: A Narrative of Personal Experience

Table of contents :
PART I. PERSONAL NARRATIVE.
CHAPTER. PACK.
I. First Impressions of Gottingen, i
II. Attacking German, 19
in. Matriculation and Lectures, - - - - 35
IV. Auf der Mensur, ------ 65
v. Daylight in German, ..... 84
vi. Idlesse, -------- 100
vn. Removal to Berlin Umsatteln, ... 104
viii. Wiesbaden The Institutes, ... 122
ix. Anniversary of Battle of Leipsic Commers, - 137
x. The Pandects, 149
xi. The American Colony Birthdays, - - 158
XII.
"
Spurting," ------- 172
xin. The Final Agony of Preparation, - - - 192
xiv. Examination, ------ 217
PART II. GENERAL REMARKS.
I. What is a University?----- 249
II. Professors, ------- 264
ill. Privatdocenten, ------- 276
iv. Students, ------- 287
v. Discipline, ------- 313
vi. Comparison with English Universities, 321
vn. Comparison with American Colleges, - - 338
vin. Statistics of German Universities, - - 356
IX. Practical Hints - - - - - - - 383

Citation preview

5

GERMAN UNIVERSITIES:

NARRATIVE OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCE TOGETHER WITH

RECENT STATISTICAL INFORMATION, PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS, AND A- COMPARISON OF THE GERMAN ENGLISH AND AMERICAN SYSTEMS OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

BY

JAMES MORGAN HART

NEW YORK AND LONDON G. P.

PUTNAM'S SONS

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year eighteen hundred and seventy-four,

BY G. P.

PUTNAM'S SONS,

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Press of

G. P. Putnam's. Sons

New York

TO

GEORGE HAVEN PUTNAM, WHOSE STEADFAST WISH HAS BEEN FATHER TO THE AUTHOR'S THOUGHT, THIS BOOK

IS

INSCRIBED, IN FRIENDLY

REMEMBRANCE OF THE

GEORGIA AUGUSTA,

1861-2.

PREFACE Much

has been published in a fugitive form upon the fruitful topic of university life in Germany. One man has taken up the lecture-system, another the dueling, a third the manners and customs of the instructors or of the students.

But no one,

I

be-

lieve, has told, in a plain, straightforward narrative, how he himself passed his time at the university,

what he studied, and what he accomplished. It seemed to me, therefore, that I might do the cause of education in America some service, by offering my own experience as a sample of German student-

Had my career in Gottingen been an extraordinary one, full of exciting episodes, I should have hesitated to make it public. But in the average.

life

was so uneventful, so like the associates, I have deemed it fit to serve

precisely because lives

of

my

model

as a

it

for illustration, not imitation,

have had throughout but one to communicate facts and impressions from

basis for digression.

aim

:

and as a

I

which the reader might draw

his

own

inferences.

Even those portions of the Personal Narrative which assume the form of argument are intended to remove prejudices, not to state final conclusions.

PREFACE.

vi

The General Remarks must they stand.

If

abide the verdict as

they contain aught that is erroneous is not the place for correc-

or distorted, the present

can only say that I have striven faithfully Should the to make them both accurate and just. tion.

I

my

reader be disposed to regard

German

estimate of the

Universities as extravagant, of the English

as too unfavorable, I

delivered

would

by von Sybel,

Foreign Universities." entitled

Vortr'age

refer

in 1868,

him to an oration

upon

"

German and

forms part of a volume

It

und Aufsatze,

recently published

under the auspices of the Allgemeiner Verein fur deutsche Literatur. is

certainly the last

The renowned historian, who man to be taxed with blind, un-

reasoning patriotism, approaches the subject from a different side, yet his views bear such close resemblance, both in form and in spirit, to those set forth in the present

work, that, to escape the imputation

of unfair borrowing, tnat

I

I feel

bound

to state explicitly

did not read the oration, in fact was not

aware of

its

existence, until

my own

manuscript had

passed entirely into the hands of the printer. After all, there can be but one opinion as to the merits of the several university systems of England, France

and Germany. It

work

may is

not be superfluous to add that the present

not an attack upon the American College.

Although holding that the

German method of

PREFACE. Higher Education

is

far

be very sorry to see

vii

above our own,

that

I

should

method adopted

at

and in the lump. Before taking decided towards the expansion of our colleges into steps quasi universities, it will be advisable for us to cononce,

sider thoroughly

what a university

really

accomplishes, what

it

upon which

the relations that

it

rests,

nation at large.

it

what

upon

all

these

clear

be only tinkering, not reform.

have succeeded

in

my wish

is

If I

throwing any light upon the sub-

abundantly

realized. J.

NEW

and

points, "innova-

tion, I fear, will

ject,

it

holds to the

we have formed

Until

stable conceptions

is,

does not accomplish, the basis

YORK, August,

1874.

M. H.

CONTENTS. PART

PERSONAL NARRATIVE.

I.

PACK.

CHAPTER. I.

II.

in. IV. v. vi.

vn. viii.

ix.

x. xi. XII.

First Impressions of Gottingen,

Attacking German, Matriculation and Lectures,

Auf der

-----..... -------... in

The Pandects, The American Colony

xiv.

Examination,

PART

ill.

iv.

v.

vi.

vn. vin. IX.

What

is

Commers,

-

-

-

-

-

Privatdocenten,

Students, Discipline,

Comparison with English Universities, Comparison with American Colleges, Statistics of

German

Practical Hints

84 100

104 137

149 158 172

192

217

GENERAL REMARKS.

II.

a University

Professors,

35

65

122 -

-----------?----------------------------Birthdays,

Spurting," Final Agony of Preparation,

The

I.

...

Anniversary of Battle of Leipsic

xin.

II.

-

German,

Removal to Berlin Umsatteln, The Institutes, Wiesbaden

"

-

-

-

Mensur,

Daylight Idlesse,

i

19

-

-

-

-

-

276 287

313 321

-

Universities,

249 264

-

-

338 356

-

383

GERMAN

UNIVERSITIES.

CHAPTER

I.

First Impressions of G'bttingen. the last, if I a quiet Saturday afternoon in the month of August, 1861, remember aright took my first stroll " around the wall " of the town of

ON I

Gottingen.

I little

imagined that the quaint group of

rather scraggy looking houses then unrolling itself

before

my

for three

eyes for the

long years.

I

first

time was to be

my home

had reached Gottingen

late the

preceding night, having traveled through by the express from Basel, Switzerland. been, of course, a fatiguing one. before

I

had been able

prolonged

refreshing me,

to get to bed,

had done something

rest I

still

felt

day

The journey had It was midnight and although a in

the

disposed to take

way

of

life easily.

The weather was suited to my mood. The summer of 1 86 r was very hot and dry throughout Europe, causing the foliage to turn and

mon

fall

much sooner than com-

on that particular afternoon, a cool breeze rustled among the fast withering linden tops, and ;

whispered already of autumn and early winter. The sober colors of the houses and garden walls, the gen-

GERMAN

UNIVERSITIES.

tameness of the North German landscape visible

eral

from the summit of the wall, the comparative insignificance of the surrounding hills, the entire atmosphere of the place to which transplanted, disposed

me

I

had been suddenly

My

to reflection.

sense of

was not wounded by the perception ugliness, nor was there any thing in the

the picturesque

of positive state of

my

personal affairs to call forth a feeling of

was simply in a mood for revery. My first year abroad had been passed in Geneva, on the borders of the glorious lake, and in sight of the still more sadness

I

;

Mont Blanc;

glorious

I

had just finished a pedestrian

many weeks through the Upper Alps, had seen the beauties of Chamounix, the Bernese Oberland

tour of all

and Zermatt, had risked my neck more than once on Small wonder, then, that the conglacier and arete.

was

trast

that

I

striking, not to say oppressive

was accustomed

warm glow

of

ance, the rocks, I

was

Switzerland

my in

;

I

missed

all

eyes upon, the rich, its

summer

radi-

and eternal snows, and blue waters.

to adjust

surroundings,

to feast

my

my faculties

of perception to novel

habits of thought to a fresh phase

The very walk over which I directed my footsteps was something wholly strange and unexof

life.

pected, something without an analogy in

experience.

town

of

my previous Gottingen was, in the Middle Ages, a

some importance, and

strongly fortified, for those days,

This

wall,

erected

before

in

consequence earth wall. an by

the era of artillery,

is

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF GOTTINGEN.

?

nothing more than a rampart of earth completely encircling the town, deflecting here and there from the line of the circle because of inequalities in the

ground, but without any of those salient and

re-

entering angles which are the characteristic features of

modern

artillery walls.

It is

useless for the pur-

The Hanoverian troops, on their retreat through from Hanover to Langensalza, in 1866, did not even make an attempt to hold the poses of defense.

town, although it lay directly in the line of the Prussian advance from the north, and although

checking that advance for only a few hours might have enabled them to break through the intercepting force on the south. The wall is simply a promenade, about twenty-five or thirty feet wide at the top, and

averaging fifteen lindens on each

feet in

height.

side, the

There

winter, the wall, being high

under

foot.

its

row

summer;

of

in

and exposed to the rays

entire length,

is always dry the walk by eminence of Gottingen asks another to take a walk, he means,

It is

when one man

a

branches of which over-

arch so as to form a shaded avenue in

of the sun throughout

is

;

"around the wall," unless he some excursion into the country. The wall

as a matter of course, specifies

been broken through in five places for the entrance of the country roads. The quondam ditch or moat running around the wall outside is entirely

has

dry, except for a short distance,

enlarged into a sort of pond, and

where is

it

has been

used for vege-

GERMAN table

park.

and

fruit

UNIVERSITIES.

gardens, or converted into a public the town do not abut against

The houses of

the wall, but stand back, generally at

the intervening space

The time occupied

in

is

some

up making the

circuit of the wall

forty-five minutes of average walking.

is

distance;

into house gardens.

cut

Go when

you will, morning, afternoon, or evening, by rain or by shine, in the nipping frost of winter or the oppressive heat

of

summer, you may be sure of

meeting promenaders out for a stroll grave professors snatching a few minutes of relaxation from theii :

manuscripts, and looking as meek and helpless out in the open air as a policeman off duty; schoolboys tumbling one another down the sloping grassy sides of the wall

;

gay

Corps-studenten, in

knots of three or

four, gaudy with top-boots and Cerevis-mutzen (bee* caps), each carrying the inevitable cane, with which

himself in

he keeps

fencing

practice

by cutting

graceful Lufthiebe (blows in the air) at an imaginary antagonist; maidens of the intensest German type, plain featured but erect and hearty, stepping briskly, and looking neither to right nor to left ; or, perhaps,

an entire family mit Kind

dog and Philistia

ztnd Kegel, that is to say,

"the

and father and mother," escaped from the of rickety stairs and low-ceilinged shops to

I

inhale the free breath of nature.

1

Although thirteen eventful years have since elapsed, have still a vivid impression of my first walk around

the wall

There were very few

strollers out, for

it

was

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF GOTTINGEN.

5

the middle of the long vacation and all the students and many of the professors were away. My companion, the landlady to whom I was recommended by a

kinsman who had recently left Gottingen to return home, chatted away volubly in the purest Hanoverian.

Is there

any thing, by the way, so exasper-

ating as one's first attempt at conversation in a foreign

language, the abortive, frantic efforts to convey one's ideas, the utter inability to follow the thread of

own

the simplest narrative

Is there

?

any thing so humiliyour com-

ating as the consciousness that, although

panion is evidently using the shortest phrases and most every-day words, in fact a sort of baby talk adapted to your undeveloped mental capacities, you, in spite of all your book-learning and private lessons at so

much an

in ten?

hour, cannot catch

Yet, tyro as

detected a difference a Saxon,

was

I

;

my

in

more than one

German

teacher in

idea

conversation,

I

Geneva had been

and he had certainly not spoken as

my land-

lady was then speaking, while the contrast to the jargon of Switzerland, and to the broad sing-song of the Rhini;

region through which

was full,

still

more

I

evident.

had hurried the day previous, The vowels were clear and

the Umlauts pure, the consonants sharp

;

there

was no apocope of letters and syllables, no running of words together the general intonation of the voice ;

was graciously modulated. tinguishing each word as

I it

had no

was

difficulty in dis-

uttered, although

might not have the faintest conception of

its

I

meaning

GERMAN

UNIVERSITIES.

had gathered from various sources, that Hanover in which to begin one's study of Ger-

I

was the prov nce :

man to

the best advantage.

My very first day's experi-

ence only corroborated the belief, which has not been shaken by years of subsequent study and travel. The cultivated classes throughout

Germany speak

sub-

same language. Even in Vienna, the professors and men of letters do not differ much, either in their choice of words or in their accent, from stantially the

^heir colleagues in Berlin or in Heidelberg. difference

exists,

and

is

plainly

perceptible to the classes, the

But among the uncultivated variations of speech and accent amount trained ear.

Along the Rhine, folk speaks in a

when

first

in Suabia, Bavaria,

language

Still the

to dialects.

and Austria, the

that is almost unintelligible

The grounds upon which I base my Hanover are briefly these. In the first

heard.

preference for

Hanoverian pronunciation conforms more any other to the printed form of the word, more precise, it does not confound e.g., Feuerwiih

place, the

closely than it is

Worter with

Peter,

Warter, Thur with Thier.

I

do

not pretend, of course, to settle in this off-hand way the competing claims of the various German dialects ;

there are grave reasons

the

why we may,

Saxon pronunciation as This

perhaps, regard

historically the

most cor-

a matter for the professed philologist but the foreigner, who has to grope his way the best

rect.

he can,

who

sounds, and

is

;

has to train both ear and throat to strange to derive the greater part of his knowl-

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF GOTTINGEN. edge from books, will find to begin his studies

among

than any other, speaks as

it

it

7

a decided advantage

a population that, more writes and writes as it

speaks.

In the next place, the Hanoverians generally use good grammar. There are, of course, uneducated

persons

who make an

occasional slip;

but in the

main, the foreigner may take for granted that whatever he hears he can repeat with safety. We, of the

English-speaking race, are apt to overlook the importance of this point our own language is so bare of grammatical inflections, that we have really lost ;

an adequate sense of their significance. A few very gross vulgarisms aside, such as went for gone, done for did, there is almost no bad grammar in English, how-

much we may be plagued with bad

But style. German, the importance of a correct knowledge of words, cases, government of prepositions, agreement of adjective and noun, is ten times as great. To the ever in

foreigner in

Germany,

then,

w ho has r

were, to struggle with dictionary

thing at once, as

it

and grammar,

makes a material

or not he

it

to learn every

resides in a

difference whether

community whose utterances he

may look upon, for practical purposes, as infallible, whether or not he has to unlearn in his room what he has learned on the street.

It

is

a mistake to imagine

that one's dealings in a foreign country are exclu

sively with the cultivated classes; tact

one comes in con

with shopkeepers, waiters, servants of

all

kinds,

GERMAN

UNIVERSITIES.

communications are corrupt, one's own manners will suffer. In Berlin, for instance, one

and

if

their

often hears

some such expression as, Ich hale Ihnen The advanced student of German will

nicht gesehen.

not be misled by such a gross blunder; but the tyro, has not yet fully unraveled the perplexities ot

who

the dative

and accusative

bewilderment. of every help

;

cases, could scarcely escape In learning a language, one has need it is no small comfort, then, to con-

verse with even a servant girl or a boot-black and feel

a

reasonable

grammar sentence.

is

degree of assurance

that

one's

not becoming infected at every other all in all, there is no section of

Taken

Germany where

the foreigner can converse so safely

with any and every body as he can in the kingdom (now province) of Hanover. Mr. Bristed,* in his introductory chapter, entitled "First Impressions of Cambridge," has suggested rather than described the general features of an English university town. The reader can construct

from them a tolerably clear picture of what Cambridge or Oxford must be, the grandiose character of its architecture, the half-monkish official garb of the students and dons, the pervading tone of scholasticism.

Both Cambridge and Oxford are simply con-

geries or clusters of colleges, each college doing about

the same

work

;

neither

sense of the term.

is

a university in the true

But reserving the discussion

* Five Years in an English University.

of

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF GOTTINGEN.

9

another place, I shall deal for the pres^ ent exclusively with externals, with buildings, if the this point for

reader prefer this expression.

No two

same species can be imagined more diverse than an English and a Ger-

man

institutions of the

Were

to

push the antithesis to its extreme limits, I might say that the former was all body, all bricks and mortar the latter, no body and university.

I

;

The Englishman German university town

all soul.

or American

scarcely realize the fact that

He

institution of learning.

no

the

for it

is

we

call

visits a

time

will

the seat of a great

can see nothing

;

there

is

no chapel, no huge

visible sign of the university,

buildings, whether

who

first

them dormitories or quad-

rangles, no campus. There is no rallying place oi professors and students, where he can stand and, letting his

This life

is

in the

fessors I

eye sweep around on every side, say: He may even pass his entire

the university.

town and never once

and students assembled

body of

see the in

one

dwell upon this distinction, because

important one.

The reader who wishes

notion of the character of a dismiss from his

mind

all

German

prejudices,

pro-

place. it

is

an

to get a just

university

must

any expectation may have led

of finding what his early associations

him

to consider as the

of learning. tingen for the

my mind

As first

I

conspicuous features in a seat

walked around the wall of Got-

time, the predominating thought in

was: Where

is

the university

?

I

could find

GERMAN

ro

UNIVERSITIES.

no tangible evidences of

its

existence,

its

reality.

what questions I could in my imperfect German, and paying strict attention to the answers,

Putting

I

could make out that the

dome

starting-place of our walk, by the

an observatory;

to the

left,

near the

Geismar Gate, was

considerably farther on,

in

close

proximity to the railway station, was a large building the inscription

bearing

"Theatrum Anatomicum,"

evidently the medical school

moat by the

side of the wall,

was no

glass-houses, that

This was

garden. detect

in

my

all

first

still

;

further on, in the

was an arrangement

of

evidently a botanical of the university that I could

tour

less

of the

great

Gottingen

promenade.

Having come plan beyond

to

Germany without any

that of learning the

somewhat with

iarizing myself

afford to take things as

future explanations.

I

definite

language and famil-

the literature,

I

could

found them and await

The Americans

at

that time

studying at Gottingen were all absent on one or another summer excursion, so that I was a stranger in a strange land. What with puzzling over German

Grammar and in the county,

taking short walks every afternoon time did not hang too heavy on my

week an Englishman same house returned unexpectedly, having cut short his trip. Those who have never

hands.

Fortunately, in about a

residing in the

tried the

experiment of settling in a foreign country and among utter strangers, with the most imperfect

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF GOTTINGEN.

II

knowledge of the language and the ways of the people, can scarcely appreciate the discomforts of the

few days. My landlady was the most obliging and attentive one in the world, and had had more than one first

American lish first

and

I

in her friendly care.

knew very

little

Still,

German,

she

knew no Eng-

so that

life

for the

week was a half-amusing, half-provoking comedy The return of Mr. E then, was for me

of errors.

,

a bit of good luck; I had at last some one with whom to converse freely and from whom to get need-

Having already passed four or five semesters in the place, he was thoroughly familiar with shops, and streets, and university life, and had leisure to pilot me around and tell me what to do. The university lectures, I learned, would not be resumed until the third week in October, so that I

ful information.

had

fully a

German.

month and a

We worked

lectures for the

I

up my

together over the catalogue of

coming term,

out one or more that

attempt to hear.

half in which to get

it

in the attempt to pick

might be worth

learned a good

my

many

while to

peculiari-

university language for instance, that a pro" " or " lectures," he " reads fessor never " instructs " hear." I do not "

ties of

;

;

the students

learned

study," they

also that instruction

in

a

German

E

university runs

was studysharply ing chemistry, consequently he could give me no information about lectures or professors in other departments; he did not even know half of them by

in

defined

channels.

GERMAN

12

UNIVERSITIES.

name, and could not venture an opinion as to theii " Wait respective merits. All that he could say was,

H

He's a Philolog, and can perhaps tell you what you wish to know." At all events, E 's guidance enabled me to until

gets back.

myself with the general aspects of the

familiarize

town and the location of the university buildings. university town.

The population

The

neither

are

streets

and

crooked,

German

serve as the type of the

may

Gottingen

very

is

about

12,000.

nor very

straight

no one runs directly through the

in general, they are tolerably wide. The houses are plain and poorly built. The frame work is of wood, the outer walls being filled in with a sort

town;

of

mud

that

is

mixed with a good deal of straw after the

it

consistency; painted. For a cheap better than might be give

mode

tory, built

since

town

(or

was

small.

my

in

it

is

it

to is

much

The number of The handsomest day) the Labora-

under the supervision of Wohler himself,

deceased.

light blue stone, is

is

is

has dried,

of building,

supposed.

stone and brick buildings

building in

mud

It

is

a

large

and perfectly

structure, built

fire-proof.

the centre of the university, so far as

said to have a centre.

of

The Aula it

can be

a small but not inelegant looking building, somewhat after the Grecian order, standing on a small open place or square not far

from

It is

the centre of the town.

In

this

Aula new

students are matriculated and the University Court

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF GOTTINGEN.^ holds

its

sessions

it

;

13

also contains the general offices

of the university, such as the treasurer's, and, last

but not

least,

the Career, where unruly students are

confined for a fortnight or

less, for

minor

offenses

;

graver ones are punished by relegation or by expulsion.

Lectures on chemistry were delivered in the laboratory; those on medicine, in the Theatrum Anatomi-

cum

;

all

the others, including theology, law and

philosophy, in the university sense of that term, were held in the so-called Collegten-haus, a short row ot

buildings that had once been private dwellings, but had been converted into lecture rooms.

new

In 1865 the

Collegien-haus

was opened, a large

and elegant building constructed for the especial purpose, just out of the cal

Garden.

By

separated from

it

Wende

Gate, near the Botani-

the side of the old Collegien-haus>

by an arched way, stands the

cele

brated university library, one of the best in Europe the building is nothing more than an old church, ;

adapted to secular uses and enlarged here and there by irregular extensions or wings. In the arched way between the lecture rooms and the library stood the Schwarzes Brett (black board), a long board painted black and having a wire screen in front. On this

board were posted

university instruction,

all

announcements relating

announcements of lectures

changes in lectures, of degrees conferred upon dents, and the like.

to

01

stu-

GERMAN

14

UNIVERSITIES.

Besides the buildings that are other,

minor ones

I

have described, there over the town

sea ttered

;

the

headquarters of the agricultural department are even located about two miles out of town, on a model farm near the village of Wende. It is needless to go deeper into details; said already

a

German

enough

to

make

it

have

I

clear to the reader that

and out-

university, as far as buildings

ward show are concerned, is made up of disjecta memThere is a bond of vital union, a very strong

bra.

one

too,

but

it is

to the senses.

wholly spiritual

;

it

does not appeal

In architectural display,

I

am

confi-

dent that the most unimportant college at Oxford or

Cambridge will surpass any university in Germany. The new life that I was leading dawned upon me very

pleasantly.

many weeks,

The weather continued

permitting E

fine

for

and myself to take long Sometimes our landlady,

walks every afternoon. Frau H accompanied us sometimes, even, she made up a small party of her friends for our benefit. ,

;

The Germans are very fond of walking, but look upon it much more sensibly than the English do they ;

regard it as a pleasure, a relaxation, not as so many miles to be covered, so many ditches to be leaped in an hour. Old and young, men and women, go out for a stroll

whenever they can

able weather.

The roads

in

the by-paths easy to follow.

find the time and favor-

Germany are good, and Around every town in

the land, at distances varying from one mile to

two

01

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF GOTTINGEN. three, lie scattered here

15

and there ten or a dozen

vil-

lages or gardens where the pedestrian can sit down to in most rest and refresh himself with beer or coffee ;

warm supper even can be

of these places a

any

fine

On

had.

day in spring, summer, or autumn, one can

see an entire

German

family, parents, grandparents

wending their way to some Garten or Muhle> where they will meet other likeminded families ancj pass the afternoon and part of perhaps, children,

all

the evening in recreation

pins

),

the

women

;

the

men

roll

Kegel (nine-

knit and gossip over their coffee,

roam through the fields. Enjoyment is and unrestrained; there are no "roughs" in simple Germany. Now and then one reads in the newspapers of a murder or a robbery in the neighborhood of the children

Berlin or Vienna

but such deeds are perpetrated only obscure, degraded localities. Such a thing as very the breaking up of a pleasure party by wanton, mali;

in

"roughs" is an unheard-of occurrence. The scenery around Gottingen is not grand nor very

cious

beautiful, but

it is

enough, coming

pleasant.

as

I

At

first I

thought

it

did direct from the Alps.

tame This

feeling of disappointment, however, soon wore away, and I began to conceive a decided liking for my new home. Gottingen lies in a broad, fertile valley the ;

hill to

the east, called the Rhons or the

Kehr

(

both

proper names of men who formerly lived there), stands quite near the town, and slopes away to z height of three or four hundred feet

;

the hill to the

GERMAN west, crossed in is

much

farther

Leine, a narrow,

UNIVERSITIES. by the

zig-zag

away and much

muddy

so covered

although

it is

that

visible only in a

The

valley

is

higher.

up by

from Cassel,

The

little

river

would be called

stream, that

America a creek, flows through

it is

railroad

in

-the

middle of the town,

mills

and other buildings

few places.

uncommonly

and, in the neigh-

level,

borhood of the town, rather marshy. A small branch of the Leine flows around the town in a detour. The water in this branch land,

and

fertilize

the

soil,

for

opportunity

Gottingen

is

The

feet

higher than

the

partly

skating.

to

the

give

The land

Gottingese an

in the district of

both Grossgutsbesitz and Kleingut, that

say, there are ings.

a few

is

allowed to overflow in winter, partly to

is

is to

both large estates and small peasant-hold-

peasantry, Bauern, as a class, are industrious

and wealthy, although by no means as wealthy as their In the immefamous brethren of Sachsen-Altenburg. diate vicinity of the town, the land farther out, there are

rye and barley.

One

cultivation impressed as

immense

is

fields of

feature of the

me

given up to grass

German method

prevails also in France.

I

mean

;

the

the total

absence of fences, those wretched snake-like black that disfigure

of

as being not only practical but

enhancing materially the beauty of the landscape

same feature

;

wheat, buckwheat,

trails

the face of the country in America.

I

have walked for miles in every direction from Gottingen, over meadows, through fields of wheat and rye, but I cannot remember once encountering a fence.

Some

of

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF GOTTINGEN.

town are surrounded by them behind him, the

the gardens just outside of the

high walls

;

but after he has

17

left

pedestrian finds that he has an unobstructed sweep of vision.

The boundary

marked

at

In this

way

the the

lines of farms

and

estates

are

stones sunk in the

ground. by Germans not only save themselves the

angles

trouble and expense of building fences, but they preserve the

horses, will

aspect of the terrain.

natural

when put out

Cattle, sheep

to graze, are not allowed to

but are kept in herds by

men and

enclosed by a slight temporary fence.

and

roam

at

dogs, or else

Not even along

the great royal chaussee that follows the valley of the

Leine from Witzenhausen through Gottingen and Nord-

heim

to the city of

rate the road

Hanover,

from the

fields

;

is

there any thing to sepa-

only a small shallow ditch

side, and two rows of monotonous Lombardy poplars blending into one in the dim distance. The valley of the Leine has always been a thorough-

on each

fare

between the region of the Weser and the region of Germany, Franconia and Thuringia. During the

central

Middle Ages, when the castles raised their

"

fist-law

"

was

in force,

numerous

frowning battlements along the

hills

that line the valley, principally along the eastern ridge.

The remains

of two of these knightly burgs, or robber exist in the

neighborhood of Gottingen, namely the Gleichen and the Plesse. The former is

strongholds,

five

by

still

or six miles to the south of the town; far

the

more frequented of the two,

is

the latter,

about four

miles in the opposite direction, near the village of

Wende,

GERMAN

IS

The

UNIVERSITIES.

ruins are on a detached spur of the eastern ridge,

and overlook the plain from an elevation of several hundred feet. The path leads up from the small concert garden at Marise Spring, through a charming grove of

The

beeches and maples. in

most

places,

still

outer walls of the castle are,

standing,

plan can be easily recognized. intact. if I

It

and the general ground-

The

old tower

is

was roofed-in with a stained-glass roof

remember

rightly.

The

almost in 1862,

platform of the castle

is

a

on a warm summer afternoon, and affords an extensive view of the smiling plains below and the

cosy retreat

long, high western ridge directly opposite.

CHAPTER

II.

Attacking German.

WAS

I

now ready

for the winter's work, namely, the

formal investment of that Gibraltar ycleped

German

On

language.

reaching Gottingen,

enough of German to

The

nothing.

three

book-work, that

I

knew

the just

practically

months' instruction, exclusively

had received

I

that

realize

knew

I

at

Geneva was

scattered

winds during a long pedestrian tour through the Alps; scarcely any thing remained of the lessons but the uncertain remembrance of a few paradigms of nouns to the

The

and verbs.

unknown

to

me

;

spirit

I

the average American in Otto,

Woodbury

of

the

language was wholly

was neither better nor worse graduate

off

than

who has been passed

or Comfort, and has read an act or

twoofWilhelmTell.

As weeks

do

the opening of the off, I

in the

had a

fair

fall

term was

still

six or

seven

opportunity of trying what I could

way of preparation

for understanding lectures.

But before beginning the account, it will be advisable to Bay a few words about my novel abode. Continuing the plan which had worked so well in Geneva, I determined to live, for the first few months at least, in a family

where

I

should have the privilege of speaking

GERMAN

20

UNIVERSITIES.

The landlady, Frau and hearing German continually. was the only one who pretended to give what we

H

,

call

German

"boarding."

board

his breakfast,

that

was not merely

I

led

and

my

during

strictly that

rolls

observed, never

lives by himself, in his own room, takes and generally his supper, there, but dines

at the table d'h6te of a hotel or

then,

it

man

each

;

students, be

of a

coffee,

German

life,

winter in Gottingen

My

student.

was brought

dinner and supper, we,

The

restaurant.

first

to

breakfast,

my room by

the

myself and the other boarders, two Americans and an Englishman, had ir servant

;

i. e.

the dining-room with our landlady. month for " full board," while the

a

his

room by

We

much

paid so

German student

hires

the semester, and keeps a book-account for

whatever he orders, paying up at the end of every week or month.

Yet the rooms that we had were other student.

more

typical than

was a

ence.

It

facing

on the

wall as

it

mar road

like those of every

The one occupied by E

my

own,

I

.

being rather

shall describe

it

in prefer-

large square room, the two front street,

sloped

down

the side to

into the town.

windows

window overlooking

make an entrance

the

for the Geis-

Off to one side was the sleep-

Neither room ing-room, one half the size of the study. was carpeted. In one corner of the room, near the door, stood the inevitable

Ofen,

ing almost to the ceiling. is

to

a big stove of porcelain reach-

The German

theory of heating

have a large stove of massive porcelain, in which

your servant makes a rousing

fire in

the morning

;

after

A TTA CKING GERMAN.

2

1

and nothing is left but the glimthe door and the clapper are made fast.

the blaze has died out,

mering

The

coals,

stove

then supposed to hold

is

its

a uniform temperature in the room. generally is

wood

;

heat and maintain

The

used

fuel

dear and coal comparatively cheap, the former

room and

ferred for

has

its

is

even in Leipsic and Berlin, where wood

parlor stoves.

advantages and

its

is

pre-

This plan of heating

drawbacks.

eco-

It is rather

nomical, and

it

certain time

besides saving one the trouble of raking

;

secures a uniform temperature for a

and adding fresh fuel every few Hours, it dispenses with dust and ashes. The disadvantages are that the air in the room is not properly renewed, and also that the stove cools

down

so gradually that, before the inmate

is

aware,

On

the temperature has dropped several degrees.

the

whole, I prefer the American base-burner.

Another indispensable dent's

room

is

of three parts

article of furniture

This consists

the Secretar, or secretary. :

the lower, a set

middle, a sort of door that can be

in a stu-

of drawers let

in

;

the

down, disclosing

a

fascinating arrangement of pigeon-holes and very small

drawers for storing away

letters

up above, a cupboard. The ceiling of E 's room was scored

generally

"

and papers and

';

traps

;

direction.

These marks,

I

of old sabre-wounds, that had been

former inmate.

As

in reaching out for

top of the

left

there

the ceiling was rather low, a

Hochquart would be apt

room with

in

every

was informed, were the scars

by the tall

man

to graze the

the point of his sabre or his Schl'd-

GERMAN

22

The former

ger.

UNIVERSITIES.

inmate, judged by the

tokens of his existence that he had himself and

his

visitors

in

left,

pretty

number of

must have kept

thorough practice.

Against the wall, in the corner opposite the stove,

In a third corner was the equally inevi-

and gloves.

upon 'which the student lies off to enjoy after-dinner pipe and coffee. Over the sofa hung

table his

hung

instruments of destruction, with masks

a pair of the

sofa,

a picture of the Brunswick Corps, representing, in lithograph, the

Commers perhaps

members of

at

(celebration)

Mariae

the corps holding their annual

Spring.

some place

Some

are

in

the

sitting

country,

around a

grouped picturesquely on the grass, others again are standing; but every one has a long pipe in one hand, and a Deckel-schoppen (large beer-glass with a table, others are

cover) in the other.

E

was not a member of the

corps, but he had been for some time a Conkneipant,

i.

e.,

one who attends the weekly meetings when he feels disposed, and joins in the revelry the picture, then, was a ;

souvenir of his old friends.

Around

this large picture

were grouped many smaller ones, all likenesses of German and American students. Scattered around the room were "

"

pipe-bowls, stems, ash-cups,

stoppers

(curious

little

arms and legs of porcelain for plugging the pipes), and the other paraphernalia of smoking. articles

ents, will

by

were

gifts.

the way,

is

The German plan a curious one.

Nearly

all

these

of making pres-

Jones and Smith, we

suppose, agree to dedicate (dedicireti) to each other.

They

select

two

articles of

exactly the same kind and

ATTACKING GERMAN. value, say

two porcelain pipe-bowls

;

23

each pays for the

and has the inscription put on Jones to his dear In. S.) sm. The Smith, or Smith to his dear Jones (J.

other,

:

advantage of the system

you get a keepsake of you have put yourself

that

is

your friend without feeling that

Each man

under obligations. What books E

gives as

good

as

he

gets.

possessed were stacked up in a E of shelves under the sabres.

rather rickety set

was an industrious student, but, being a chemist, was not supposed to have need of a large library. His helps to study were in the laboratory, in the shape of apparatus. in a university

Every student

I

town occupies a room

The room may be

the one that I have described.

or smaller,

may be

may be more or not vary. The

its

larger

furniture

but the general features do

less elegant,

point to which

I

desire to call especial

every student, no matter how straitened circumstances, has a study and a sleeping room exclu-

attention in

located front or back,

like

is

this

:

sively to himself

" ;

chumming

" is

unknown

except occasionally in the large cities, Berlin

in

Germany, and Vienna,

where the disproportionately high rents force a few of But the poorer students to take apartments in common. even in Berlin and Vienna, chumming

The

a last resort.

superiority of the

looked upon German system

is

as is

more manly, it conduces to indepenincalculable dence of study and prevents much waste of time. One who shares his room with a chum is often at the mercy ;

it

is

of bores ; he can turn

not his chum's.

away

Besides,

his

if

own

visitors perhaps, but

two or more students wish

GERMAN

UNIVERSITIES.

any time to work up a subject

at

Germans frequently

fashion, as the

the cooperative

after

do, they can accom-

plish the object by simply meeting at each other's rooms.

But

thorough research, study that

really independent,

to tell in after

life,

own sanctum.

one's

There

no royal road

is

to learning, at least to learning

a living language.

German, for ure-house from which each one

with

tilled

making the

truth

is

first

volume might

for the natives

approaches to German

there

;

is

my

it

"

be

The

easier.

easy, not even

and eludes the

Speaking with the experience of thirteen years,

grasp.

ses

easily

a subtle, lurking spirit in the

language that always baffles the vision

feel

much

sensible, others absurd,

German never can be made

that

a vast treas-

carries off only so

some

the schemes,

all

is

instance,

A

as his shoulders will bear.

lor

is

can be done only in the privacy of

duty to warn the reader against

or works entitled

out a Master." smattering of

man who

I

"

German

in Thirty

all

"

I

easy cour-

Lessons With-

doubt whether such a thing as a is desirable or even possible. The

German

thinks that he can

"

"

get

up

German

in a

month

or so, as he might French, will speedily discover his mis-

Permit

take.

me

to

quote, with reference to this very

view of the case, one of Klopstock's Odes which well

known

as

it

should be

is

not so

:

Dass Keine, welche lebt, mit Deutschlands Sprache sicb In den zu kiihnen Wettstreit wage !

damit

mit ihrer Kraft es sage,

Sie

ist

An

mannigfalt'ge: Uranlage.

ich's kurz,

A TTA CKING GERMAN.

25

Zu immer neuer und doch deutscher Wendung was wir

reich

;

selbst in jenen

grauen Jahren, Da Tacitus uns torschte, waren Gesondert, ungemischt, und nur sich selber gleich. 1st,

:

Nothing

is

farther

dissertation either

way

of learning

namely

from

the language or

upon

it.

After

to set about the

:

purpose than to write a

my

there

all

work

best

upon the

only one way,

is

resolutely, to take plenty

of time, and never to grow weary, especially of writing exercises.

many Americans who

Scarcely one of the

were contemporary with myself in Gottingen seemed to

German grammar.

devote enough time to the study of

The common mar was

belief

was that one

quite sufficient

Woodbury, for mar and trust

;

instance,

after

set of lessons in

you had

you might

lay aside your

to reading for further progress.

the general feeling of impatience, there

motive that prompts to such a course

;

gram-

finished Otto or

is

gram-

Besides

a practical

nine of every ten

Americans who study in Germany regard a knowledge of the language as only the

means

to

some

ulteridr object,

generally a knowlege of chemistry or medicine.

It is

not

surprising, then, that they reduce their preliminary study

to a

minimum,

in order that they

may

begin what they

consider their real work as soon as possible. satisfied with learning

enough grammar

connection of words in a sentence their science,

they

know by

unimportant. 3

;

the technical

which are to them the actual practice

;

They read a play

all

all

They

are

to recognize the

words of

important ones,

others are relatively

or two of Schiller,

some

GERMAN

26

UNIVERSITIES.

of Goethe's poems, perhaps a few of Uhland's or Heine's.

Of

the language as an entirety, of

German

literature as a

body of thought, they have but a very inadequate conception. It

seems to

me

that this

ber of Americans

who

is

to

The num-

be regretted.

finish their studies in

Germany

is

Is it asking already large, and grows from year to year. too much to expect from them, on their return, sound

general notions of

German

and thought, some Germany has been

literature

familiarity with the steps by which

conducted to her present pinnacle of greatness? At all events, is it not a shame that many a Ph. D., who has passed two or three years in the land of Lessing, should be beaten by his stay-at-home brother or sister in

attempting to explain the mysteries of an easy play by Kotzebue or Benedix ?

As

for myself, I took a serious view of the question,

and resolved to master the language as far as in me lay. In one respect, certainly, my plan differed from that of every one before me,

else.

Knowing

was

that there

at least a

year

decided to spend six months with the grammar, before venturing upon any course of reading. This

may seem

I

strange, if not paradoxical

a language without reading

its

;

ho\v can

authors?

one learn

Easily enough.

Text-books of grammar, phrase-books give models of forms and sentences

;

the beginner, for

whom

the form

every thing, can learn more from a good grammar than from the best reading that is to say, he will get, in a

is

;

condensed and a more available shape, what

lies scat-

ATTACKING GERMAN. tered over

many pages

exercises constructed

of an ordinary book.

By

writing

the express purpose, he can

for

train himself in the use of the very in

27

modes of expression

which he may be weakest. Let me give an example The most perplexing features of the German

or two.

language are the so called passive voice, the government of the prepositions, the separable and inseparable verbs, the use of the particles of motion, kin and her.

It is

not

so difficult to glide over these peculiarities as they arise in reading;

the beginner can translate after a fashion,

making out the meaning by the aid of the context. But it is a much more serious undertaking to master them so as to use them, five

and

as

it

is

consecutive sentences in

not be involved, the shortest

them once

to learn

to

for

all,

impossible to put together

German way

in

which they

will

out of the difficulty

is

by writing and committing

a great number of model sentences in which

memory

the same principles are applied again and again. It is

of

guage, to

little

German, or indeed

avail in

commit

rules to

memory,

in

any lan-

unless the student has

an example for every rule and every modification of a rule at his tongue's end, ready for use at any

and

This result can be attained only

in every place.

through a generous

moment

outlay of

time and patience, and

incessant drill in certain standard forms, what a French-

man might

call cadres

of expression.

It is

a

common

mistake to suppose that the beginner must acquire a large less,

stock of will

words;

answer

for

hundred, perhaps even ordinary conversation and

fifteen all

GERMAN

28

The

writing.

first

UNIVERSITIES.

and chief thing

is

to learn

how

to

hundred words together, to assign each proper place in the sentence and to show its

put these fifteen

one to

its

grammatical relations to other words. not sooner, the student

may

That done, but vocab-

begin to enlarge his

ulary.

Another point has been too much overlooked, namely, the importance, not to say the necessity, of translating

copiously from the mother

There

is

of a foreign language.

The

labor, I

the

foreign.

seizing the spirit

am

aware,

is

im-

be found to yield the largest returns. one thing to be able, grammar and dictionary in

mense, but It is

into

tongue

probably no other means of

it

will

hand, to pick your way through a quite another to read

German book

;

it

is

looking out a word here and

it off,

there perhaps, but feeling that

all

the idioms, the forms

of thought, are familiar to you, that you yourself might

have expressed your own ideas after very nearly the same fashion.

It is the

final stage

and when he has reached

of the student's progress,

he may well exult, for he is in possession of a new power. But this cheering result is not the work of a week or a month it can be attained it

;

only by unremitting and well directed efforts. The way to it leads through composition and translation from the

mother tongue.

On many

lation will coincide

;

points composition and trans-

they both have the advantage of

breaking up one's habits of thinking and forcing them into

new

would

By attempting to write .as a German we acquire the habit of using German words

channels.

write,

ATTACKING GERMAN.

29

with the exactest knowledge of their meaning,

tom ourselves

we

accus-

do

to the use of particles of thought that

not exist in English, but which cannot be omitted from

German

the

we

phrase,

are

made

to feel the

importance

of correct grammar, not as something foreign to selves,

The advantage of translaEach man's range of

of connecting single words. tion over free composition

words and ideas

is

this.

is

When we

limited.

our mother tongue, we are liable to If

we

our-

but as the only tolerable or even intelligible way

fall

compose, even

in

into a sort of rut.

write in a foreign language, this natural tendency

is only increased by the constant temptation to use the most familiar words and phrases we are apt to say what we have to say in the shortest and easiest way possible, ;

so as to avoid trouble.

from which

it

we undertake

is

to

We

fall

into a school-boy style

almost impossible to escape.

But when

we

translate the writings of a stranger,

have before us work of a higher order we are held to reproduce, to the best of our ability, words, ideas and ;

sentiments

that

lie

our own

outside

narrow sphere.

Instead of merely working up old material,

we

enlarge

our capacity of expression in both languages. I trust that

the reader does not take

pleaching than just

given him

But he can is

at practising.

may sound

The

strange

rest assured that

it

is

me

six

*3

at

and impracticable. and

my own personal experience. months of my stay in Gottingen, I

that could

be better

sincerely meant,

the fruit of

first

to

advice that I have

be called a German book.

It

During the read nothing

seemed

to

me

GERMAN

30

profanation, as

it

UNIVERSITIES.

were, to stumble through Goethe or

hunting up every other word in the dictionary,

Schiller,

succumb-

striving to seize the poetry of the original yet

ing to every paltry irregular verb or preposition governing different cases.

dise Lost."

was too much

It

like parsing the

persuaded that

I felt

it

"

Para-

would be better

in

the long run to wait until I had developed myself into

somewhat of a German, before intruding precincts

German

of

The

art.

into the sacred

reader will have the

opportunity, in a subsequent place, of judging

whether

the experiment succeeded.

So

down

I settled

long months

I

all

many

in Ollendorf, until this last

ous,

the exercises in

and then mastered Plate.

known

in

cipal of the

six

grammar and grammars. I Woodbury and Otto, and a good

wrote

well

For

to an unmerciful "grind."

toiled over

America

as

grew insufferably tediThis work is not so

should be

it

;

the author, prin-

Commercial Academy of Bremen,

thor-

is

oughly familiar with both languages, and has treated certain voice,

subjects, e.

the separable verbs, the passive

and the German

phrase, better ians.*

tion

g.,

and more

Woodbury

I

substitutes

for

prepositions.

grammars, which 1 also

participial

found chiefly valuable for the collec-

of idiomatic phrases illustrating

German

the

fully than the other grammar-

Besides

I literally

"

the use

these

swallowed

of

the

English-German "

word

for

word,

consulted incessantly Heyse's Schulgrammatik der

*It was not until my return that I became acquainted with Dr. Arnold's German Exercises. They are the best of the kind in existence.

ATTACKING GERMAN. book written

deutschen Sprache, a in the

31

for the use of pupils

upper classes of the gymnasia. But my hardest in translating from English into German.

work was Here

I tried

my hand

from Hawthorne's

London

Times.

"

at

all

sorts of books and styles, " to leaders from the

Marble Faun

plan was to translate a few passages

My

from one book, enough to seize the peculiarities of the author's style and diction, and then pass to another. In

my old copy-books and manuscripts, blurred and corrected in places so as to be scarcely legible, it is

looking over

easy for

me now

to see that, notwithstanding the help of

grammar and teacher, I wrote a good deal of rubbish, clumsy, un-German sentences that no native would think of putting on paper.

But with

all their

these exercises answered their purpose

;

imperfections,

they gave

me

a

better insight into the peculiarities of the language than

could have got in any other way. There was scarcely an English idiom that I did not attempt to "upset" into I

German

after a fashion.

Permit

me

English text

one amusing incident. In the happened to be working upon

to narrate

that

I

occurred the phrase "he said, by the way." The expres" " I had left blank, not finding any sion by the way equivalent in the dictionary.

"why

don't you translate:

"But," said

my

auf dem Wege?"

It

teacher,

was

in

vain I tried to convey the idea of the English, how the " " word " way was not used in a literal sense, like road,"

but in a figurative sense, to denote something thrown as

it

were,

something

incidental.

What

misled

in,

the

GERMAN

32

UNIVERSITIES.

teacher was the circumstance that the person speaking

was actually

in

motion

then, the phrase

at the time described

must be auf dem Wege.

of course,

;

I felt instinc-

was wrong but how hit upon a word or We an idiom that would convey the idea exactly?

tively that he

;

talked to and

fro, I

exhausted

teacher his patience, until

we

vocabulary and the

my

sat confronting

as disconcerted as a bridal couple after their

All at once a light, as the "

a

tallow-light,"

German

each other

first

quarrel.

students would say,

dawned upon me.

I

bethought

me

of

the French phrase en passant, and flourished it in triumph " Ach so ! (with the delicate sneer that at my teacher. so

can be made to suggest in German).

En passant ! Na

nun, naturlich j BEILAUFIG wollen Sie sagen sulted

my

one word.

watch

A

there,

way

as insured

The

we had spent

and furthermore

my

its

"

English scholar.

I

con-

but then the word

had been got

never being forgotten

losing sight of

teacher,

it

"

ten minutes in finding

liberal outlay of time,

was

danger of

;

/

;

in such a

there was

no

beil'dufig.

by the way," was not a particularly good At that time -in his third or fourth

good philologist, but had read very little English and had never had an opportunity of hearSo far from regarding ing or of speaking the language. semester, he was a

this as

sider

it

a disadvantage,

of talking

my

I

a positive gain.

German even

wants in

my own

considered It

forced

in

my

then and

still

con-

into the position

lessons, of explaining

phraseology.

cult passage or peculiar

it

me

Whenever any

all

diffi-

idiom occurred, as the above,

I

A TTA CKING GERMAN: had

33

to give the sense of the entire context

by "beating

around the bush," by stating what the thing was not, until the teacher could gather from my broken utterances what it

really

was /

when

then,

rect rendering

when

the answer came,

was reached,

it

made

its

the corIt

impression.

did not go in by one ear and out by the other, the mind was ready to receive and retain it. Judging from the experiences of "

crack

the

"

first

my

friends, I

teachers in

am

disposed to look upon

Germany with some

lish at the

In

mistrust.

place, they are apt to cultivate their

expense of the pupil's German.

own Eng-

In the next

place, the pupil, finding the teacher thoroughly prepared

on

all

he

is

points, lapses into a state altogether too passive

content to

sit

and

;

listen to explanations, to take

every thing for granted, to rely upon the teacher to do .

After

the thinking. to train

all,

the chief result to be aimed at

and develop the

faculties, to acquire the

German mem-

of expressing one's self in German, to get a

ory and turn of thought, as

it

were.

This accomplished,

the rest will follow as a matter of course, in

with patience

week or the

The more The

;

but whether a certain word

next,

is

haste at

is

habit

due time and is

learned one

a matter of comparative indifference.

first,

the less speed at

last.

reader need not infer from the above account that

I

read absolutely no

I

skimmed

German

German during

the

first

six

the papers every day for news from

leaders were too heavy for

are so at the present day

!

my

months

home

taste, in fact

-

they

and read short pieces of

poetry and an occasional story in the

Gartenlaube or

GERMAN

34 Ueber

Land und Meer.

whatever looked like

UNIVERSITIES. But

kept carefully in abeyance

I

literature.

This plan of devoting one's

self exclusively to

grammar

by Matthew Arnold * upon the aim and methods of linguistic study, opinions moreover with which I heartily agree.

may seem

to conflict with the opinions expressed

Matthew Arnold

"

An immense development of and an immense use of Latin and

says

grammatical studies,

:

Greek composition, take so much of the in nine cases out of ten

Greek and Latin

he has not any sense at all of and ends his

literature as literature,

His verbal scholarship and life to drop, ard

studies without getting any.

composition he

his

then

all

would have been

is

lost.

Greek and Laun

far

more

likely to stick

by him."

But

was apparent rather than real. I regarded studies and translations strictly as a

this conflict

my

pretty sure in after

he had ever caught the notion of them,

if

literature,

is

Greek and Latin

his

pupil's time, that

grammatical

means

to

an end, and merely crowded them into a period

of six months instead of letting them prolong themselves

over a year and a

half.

It

seemed

to me,

and

to me, that such a plan after all saves time.

still

No

seems

sooner,

however, did translation and grammar threaten to become a mere drudgery, a mere tread-mill round without progress,

than

I

dropped them

forever, as

any thing more

than incidental work, and took up reading, literature

Mr. Arnold's sense of the term, as the reader

will

in the sequel. *

Higher Schools and Universities in Germany,

p. 183.

in

learn

(Edition of 1874).

CHAPTER Matriculation

Deeming

III. j

and

Lectures.

advisable to preserve a certain unity of sub-

it

remarks upon the study of German grammar into the preceding chapter, in order to dispose ject, I

have thrown

all

of them, although thereby making that chapter overlap

my

was not through with early spring, but I was matricu-

by several months.

the present

grammar-travail until

I

lated in October.

A German has

that

university

university

for is

is

the one institution in the world

motto:

its

a law unto

Time

itself,

himself, each student revolves

own

is

NOT money.

each professor

on

his

own

is

axis

The

a law unto

and

at his

English and Americans have formed

rate of speed.

not a few queer notions of university picture to themselves a

town

life

in

Germany. They

like Gottingen, for instance,

where everybody is running a break-neck race scholarly fame, where days are months and hours

as a place for

days, where minutes are emphatically the gold-dust of time.

The

truth

is

that

no one hurries or gets

into a

feaze over any thing, the university itself setting a

example.

The academic

called the winter

year

is

good

divided into two terms,

and the summer semesters.

The

winter

semester covers nominally five months, from October

GERMAN

36

March

i5th to

are whittled

weeks

at

5th

is

off,

reality,

so to speak,

both beginning and end

and there

is

a pause of two

Christmas, so that the actual working time

over four months.

is little 1

In

i5th.

UNIVERSITIES.

the spring vacation.

From March The summer

i5th to April

semester then

runs to August i5th, but practically the work the

first

over by

is

of that month.

Supposing yourself to be a tyro in such matters, and 1 5th of October to be drawing near, you are naturally But you will impatient to be matriculated and at work. the

discover that the older students are not yet back, and, on consulting the "Black Board," you see no

There

of lectures. 1 5th,

is

no hurry.

A

day or two

perhaps, a general announcement

candidates

that

effect

for

announcement after the

affixed, to the

is

matriculation

may present themselves at the Aula on such and such days of the The ceremony

week, at certain hours. In the

first

place,

is

a simple one.

you proceed to the secretary's " " documents entitling you

deposit there your

For a German,

sion.

tance

;

he

is

this is

not ^admitted unless he

is

able to produce

examen\

is

final

examination {Abiturienten-

the "university holds no extrance-examina-

tion, this is the

only guarantee

it

can have that those

seeking admission are properly qualified.

*Or

a certificate

gymnasium or Realschule and has

passed satisfactorily the

As

and

a matter of some impor-

certain papers, the principal one of which that he has attended a

office

to admis-

But

in the

admitted only under very grave conditions and restrictions.

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES. case of a foreigner, the utmost liberality

is

%

Ten

37

displayed.

years ago, while Gottingen was a Hanoverian uni-

versity, the only It

his passport.

document required of a foreigner was is the same to this day in Leipsic,

Heidelberg, and the South Prussian universities are a

German

universities.

stricter

trifle

;

The

in the case of

Americans, they generally expect a diploma of Bachelor of Arts or the like, but they can scarcely be said to exact I

it.

doubt whether any German university would refuse

admit any foreign candidate who showed by his siz and bearing that he was really a young man able to loci t after himself, and not a mere boy. Besides, it would b* to

easy to evade the Prussian requirements,

if

they

wer>*

by first entering a non-Prussian univerand after remaining there a semester 01 sity, say Leipsic, an honorable dismissal (Abgangszeugniss) two, procuring and then removing to Berlin or Bonn. By virtue of the strictly enforced,

parity

existing

among

the

universities of

student in good standing in one

is

Germany, a

entitled to admission

But the Germans know perfectly well that any they can afford to be liberal toward foreigners. They other.

to

when a young man puts himself and to the trouble expense of a visit to Germany, the chances are that he means to do well. The mere fact of take

his

it

for granted that

coming

cate

is

a compliment to them, which they recipro-

by making things easy

for him.

Foreigners do not

interfere with the course of instruction, while they

lend eclat to the university and help to swell

There

is

nothing

4

selfish

its

do

income.

or exclusive about the higher ;

.

GERMAN

38

UNIVERSITIES.

Germany although intended for Germans, it is open to all who choose to avail themselves of it, capacious enough to accommodate every type of mind, education in

;

and absolutely

from dwarfing

free

restrictions.

The

made

to feel

newly matriculated student, the Fuchs, from the ^

But

start that

he

is

his

am digressing.

I

own

The next

to visit the treasurer (Quaestor)

step in matriculation

is

and pay the matriculation

These vary somewhat with the

fees.

but are nowhere excessive.

is

master.*

different universities,

In Gottingen they amounted

In exchange for your fees you get two weighty documents, the a b c of student life your The former Anmeldungs-buch) and your student card. to

about

five dollars.

:

varies in size

and shape

dungs-bogen

as

(in Berlin they

distinguished from

book or merely folded

sheet,

buch\ but whether

answers the same purpose

it

be your record of work done.

it is

to

self

a large, stout book,

like

used the Anmel-

a copy-book

;

each page

for a semester, and there are eight or ten pages in

being the estimated

you

will

book.

remain

;

The page

if is

maximum number

for

the

of semesters that

you hear, another you have paid the

lectures that

treasurer's certificate

tificates that

all,

is

that

you study longer, you can get a fresh ruled in vertical columns, one for the

names of the courses of lecture-fees, a third

;

Imagine to your-

that

and a fourth

for the professor's cer-

you have attended the course, entered

the beginning and at the end of the semesters. * The applicant has also to sign a pledge that he will not of any secret political society.

at

The

become a member

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES. modus operand* tures

the

you

will hear,

you yourself write the

You

column.

left-hand

After deciding what lec-

as follows.

is

then

get

official title in

the

you

and

if

Quaestor

This

to affix his teste in the second column. to a seat,

39

entitles

the course happens to be a popular

one, attended by large numbers, the sooner you secure

your seat the better.

you make your some hour in

visit

engagement.

If

the

After

upon

"

"

hearing

a week or two,

the professor himself, selecting

forenoon when he has no

official

you wish to conform rigorously to

eti-

you must appear in grand toilet, i. e., in dress and kid-gloves, although the chances are ninety-nine

|uette,

:oat in a

hundred that

in so

sor himself in wrapper

ing a long pipe.

doing you

and

will

slippers,

Your appearance

catch the profes-

unshaven and smok-

in

grand

toilet is

an

intimation that you not merely wish to have your attend-

ance at lectures

what

"

but that you

certified,

and take the

know

"

what

is

liberty of presenting yourself to him.

as gentleman to gentleman.

Whether you remain to chat book for certifi-

for a few minutes or simply present your

depend upon the manner of the professor some instructors make it a point to detain the

cation, will

himself

;

student for about ten minutes, others regard the

affair as

be disposed of in the quickest manner something possible, and scarcely even ask the student to sit down. to

With regard to the second

certification, given at the close

no

any time not too long before the end of the semester will do you can even wait until the next semester or still later, in fact of the lecture course, there

is

fixed rule

;

;

GERMAN

40

you need not go

by

UNIVERSITIES.

in person, but

can send the book around

your servant-girl or your boot-black.

The

certifying to attendance at lectures has lapsed into

Every now and then a professor, inspired

in empty form. '.i/ith

unwonted

zeal for his vocation, tries to

make

it

a

means of enforcing attendance, of preventing " cutting." But such isolated attempts speedily die out and are foryou show yourself two or three times at the a dozen times at the end of the semester, and beginning gotten

if

;

attendance

your

is

although you may have

"

cut

"

a matter

as

certified

of

As an item of my own personal

experience, I can state

that Professor Gneist of Berlin certified to

ance at his lectures on the Institutes,

had not been

The sor's

attend-

{flrissig besucht),

if

proof of a student's diligence is not the profescertificate but ability to pass a searching examination.

real

In a large call

inside his

my

he knew anything, that lecture-room within a month.

although he must have known, I

course,

the entire intervening time*

city, like Berlin, it is

upon your professor; the

not even necessary to

latter

remains for a few

minutes after every lecture during the first week or two, so as to give the students an opportunity of coming for-

ward and presenting

The

student-card,

peculiarly

German

lated, not only is sity register,

their Anmeldungs-bucher. like

the

institution.

your name entered

is

a

are matricu-

in the general univer-

but you must be inscribed under some one of

the four general faculties, viz.

philosophy,

Anmeldungs-buch,

When you

You

:

theology, law, medicine,

then receive a card, not

much

larger

MA TRICULA TION AND

LECTURES.

41

On

than an ordinary visiting card, of stout pasteboard. the face of the card

is

placed your name, Herr N. N., au\

(from) such and such a place, student in such a faculty.

On

the reverse

"is

a printed announcement, couched in

German

the knottiest of

none but the

sentences, that

accomplished scholar of both English and

German can

you are always to carry this card about you on your person, and produce it whenever it may be demanded by the university or town police, under untie, to the effect that

penalty of a fine of twenty Silver Groschen (50 cents).

This simple card

is

has, at least did

own, as Gottingen

its

have in the days of which

I write,

pro-

card secures you against all municipal arrest. are member of a special corporation, and as such are this

ducing

You

In a university

your Legitimation.

that has a complete jurisdiction of

amenable only to the university court neither civil nor criminal action can be brought against you in the ordinary courts, but must be laid before the university court in ;

the

first

instance.

If this

body should find you guilty of it would then surrender

a crime or a grave misdemeanor,

you

to the

or locked

you

is

to

Section, the

German

You cannot be

arrested

Supreme Court, Criminal

equivalent to our Circuit Court.

up by a town policeman

keep you

;

all

he can do with

for a few minutes in custody, until

finds a University Pedell (beadle) to take I

hope

to

be able to speak more

he

in

charge.

at length in

another

you

place of this curious relic of mediaevalism.

Your card in

your

in

hand, in

*4

your pocket and your Anmeldungsbuck

company with

ten or twelve other candi-

GERMAN

42

dates,

UNIVERSITIES.

you are then ushered into the august presence of

the Rector magnificus* or Chancellor of the University.

You

men, only looking a

The in

as othei

uncomfortable in his dress-coat.

trifle

makes a short harangue, of which, if you are the backward condition that I was, you will probably rector

understand one word in is

man much

probably find him to be a

will

that he

men

five,

but the substance of which

rejoiced to see so

is

aspirants to the

many promising young

higher

culture imparted

official

name

by the

of the university),

Georgia Augusta (the and that he hopes you will be good fellows and make the most of your time and opportunities. In token of which, each candidate in turn shakes hands with him. You are

then ushered out, to

have

just got their

make room

for a fresh

squad who

books and cards.

The ceremony is

ove.r; you are a German student, or a Germany, at last, ready to absorb all the knowledge and Bildung that your Alma Mater deals out

student

in

with lavish hand.

If

you happen

to

be of an amiable,

convivial turn of mind, your spirits will be buoyant

;

you

your privilege and duty to celebrate the " " occasion by dedicating a bowl of punch to your elder

will

consider

it

brethren and compatriots the ordeal

You and

by

they

who have helped you through

you where to go and what to do. then make an afternoon of it, driving

telling will

out to the Gleichen or the Plesse to enjoy the scenery,

and indulge

in coffee in the

*Prorector, in universities corporation.

open

air,

where the sovereign

and on your

is

return,

the nominal head of th

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES.

43

you can make a night of it at Fritz's Should you wake up the next or the Universitatskneipe.

if still

unsatisfied,

morning with a headache, a Jammer or a Kater, you can derive consolation from two circumstances first, that it :

is

only what has happened to thousands before you and

happen to thousands after you next, that you have fairly and honorably initiated yourself into student-life.

will

;

You know now what might

felicitously

dam

latin

be a student, as Victor Hugo express it, avant d'avoir crache du it is

to

la boutique (fun professeur.

Having habituated yourself dignity, the next step

whom you

is

are to "hear."

you might suppose.

your new

to the sense of

to decide

This

upon

the professors with

will

not be so easy as

Unless you have come to the uni-

versity with a preconceived plan of study, you will find

yourself embarrassed by the wealth from which you are to

Fortunately the professors give you ample time

choose. for

making a

The the will

1

suitable selection.

university opens nominally,

5th of October.

One

it

may be assumed, on

professor announces that he

begin to read on the i8th, another on the 2oth, in fact, I have known one professor

a third on the 25th

;

to begin his course

on the pth of November.

fessor,

it

has been already observed,

the main point

is

is

Each pro-

a law unto himself;

that he read at least one course of lec-

tures each semester,

on a subject of

his

own

selection, for

which he has properly qualified himself, and that he cover about so

much ground.

stops early,

is

Whether he begins

a matter in his

own

discretion.

late

and

This

is

GERMAN UNIVERSITIES.

44

not indifference or sloth on the part of the professors,

but rather a deliberate forecasting of time and labor.

Where

the

work

is

heavy and the

not waste an hour.

will

wide, the professor

field

Vangerow,

for instance, in lec-

Heidelberg on the Pandects, used to begin on the very first day after the nominal opening day, and conturing at

tinue, averaging three hours daily

two weeks

until

v Each course of lectures prices varying with the

week.

Thus a

throughout the winter,

had nominally

after the semester

closed,

paid for separately, the

is

number of hours occupied

single course, as

four or five hours a week,

it

is

called,

in the

one taking

charged about $5 a double one of ten or a week, would cost $10. twelve hours course,

The

is

;

usual double courses are those on the Pandects, on

Anatomy and Physiology, and on Chemistry. est number of courses (double and single) taken in any one semester (my

fifth)

was

The

high-

that I have

four, aggregating

twenty-five hours a week, for which I paid between $25

and $30, a small

price, in

view of the quantity and

quality of the instruction.

Lecture-fees are paid to the Quaestor, and not to the professor direct, although this latter eventually receives

them, or the greater part of them, from the Quaestor.

The new-comer

will

be

puzzled

at

the

distinction

between lectures publice, privatim, and privatissime. lic

lectures are those held

by a professor

on some minor topic of general sian universities least

each professor

one such lecture a term.

interest.

is

Pub-

gratuitously,

In the Prus-

held to announce at

The

privatim lectures

MA TRICULA TION AND

LECTURES.

45

are the ordinary ones, for which fees are paid and which

A

are regarded as the substance of university teaching. lecture privatissime is nothing more than our private

and times for which are settled by between the professor and the student. The agreement fees for it are not paid to the quaestor, and the lecture lesson, the terms

or lesson, I

not entered in the Anmeldungsbuch. have used more than once the expression ** a course is

of lectures

"

to

guard against misapprehension, it may be advisable to stop and explain at length. By a course of lectures in a German university is meant ;

a series of lectures on one subject, delivered by one

man, during one semester.

A German

university has,

strictly speaking, no course of instruction ; there are

classes, the students are not

standing by

no

arranged according to their

years, there are no recitations, there

is

no

grading, until the candidate presents himself at the end of three or four years for his doctor's degree, when the quality of his attainments is briefly and

roughly indicated by the wording of the diploma. More of this hereafter. For the present it will be suffi-

on a footing of perfect equality in the eye of university, and that theoretically each one is free to select such lectures in cient to say that all students stand

his

case

faculty as he is

somewhat

sees

fit

different.

to hear.

Practically, the

While there

is

no

curri-

culum, no routine of studies and hours, through which all students have to pass, as in our colleges and, to a less extent, in the

English universities,

still

there are

GERMAN

46

UNIVERSITIES.

certain limitations to the freedom of "hearing,"

are occasioned by the nature of

young man

all

attends the university, he

which

When

study. is

supposed have some definite object in view; he wishes to

a tc

fit

himself for becoming a theologian, or a lawyer, or a physician, or an historian, or a teacher in the public In other schools, or a chemist, or a mathematician. words, he

is

to get his professional outfit.

But

this

of itself implies the pursuance of a certain routine or

order in study.

The primary or fundamental branches first, before the student can take up

must be mastered the

more advanced.

In medicine, for instance, he can-

not understand pathology, without

So

anatomy and physiology.

having studied knowl-

in chemistry, a

edge of general organic and inorganic chemistry required before passing to analysis.

is

In law, the rou-

and History of Roman Legislation (Aeussere Rechtsgeschichte], then the Pandects and Doctrine of Inheritance, then Criminal and

tine

is

to take

Ecclesiastical

up the

Institutes

Law, before venturing upon such matand theories

ters as the Practica (practical exercises)

of Procedure.

But

this is

something altogether erent from a curriculum in which mathematics, sics,

metaphysics, history,

pursued simultaneously.

diff-

clas-

and the natural sciences are It

is

nothing more or

less

than conformity to the organic law of development. Furthermore, it is not formally obligatory upon the I do not say student, but left to his own good sense. that a professor of pathology or of chemistry

would

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES.

47

not refuse to admit into his clinique or his analytical laboratory a student who had neglected to qualify

himself in anatomy or in general chemistry. In all probability the professor would, and very properly.

But

in

which

I

the

and

philosophical

am more

familiar,

the utmost freedom

is

I

legal faculties, with

can assert confidently that One can " hear " the

allowed.

Pandects before the Institutes, Criminal Law before Stuthe Law of Inheritance, as I myself have done. dents generally follow a certain routine, but not so

much because

it is

octroye, as

the easiest and best

way

because they find

it

to be

to a right understanding of

the subject.

Not having any

inspirations after medical, theologiat that time, in fact not having attainments or cal, legal any plan of study at all beyond mastering the lan*

guage and

had myself entered in the philas being the one that offered the

literature,

I

osophical faculty, widest range of lectures from which to select. Under a countryman who had been purthe pilotage of H ,

suing classical studies for of what the

German

two

years,

I

went the rounds

students call hospitiren,

dropping into a lecture to see how you like the lecturer. This practice prevails to a considerable extent at the i. e.,

university, at least at the beginning of a semester. is

practically the only,

way

that

It

newly matriculated

students have of deciding between rival lecturers or of selecting some lecture that is not embraced in the

ordinary routine of study.

On

this, as

on so many

GERMAN

48

UNIVERSITIES.

Germans display a great deal of practical The student is free to roam about for two or

points, the sense.

three weeks, but at the end of that time

it is

expected

come to a decision and settle down either to steady work or to steady idleness. Consequently, if you should attend regularly a certain course of him that he

of lectures, occupying a seat and taking notes, without presenting your Anmeldungsbuch to the professor, you would probably be waited upon by the beadle, at

your room, and interrogated as to your studies, what you had paid for, what you intended to pay for, and the like. In other words, your freedom of hospitiren not

will

be

suffered

to

amount

to

unmistakable

"sponging." availed myself pretty thoroughly of the hospitirenprivilege, attending one or two lectures in every I

course delivered upon subjects connected in any way with letters. The philosophical faculty covers every thing

that

is

not law, medicine, or theology.

It

embraces consequently the exact sciences, mathematics,

physics, chemistry,

and the

like,

the descriptive

sciences, botany, physiology, geology, the historical sciences, political history, political

the humanities, that wissenschaft, Oriental

modern and

is,

economy,

finance,

Latin and Greek, Alterthums-

and general philology, and the

languages, as they are taught philologically

critically.

The

field, therefore, is

immense, and

often overlaps those of the other faculties.

Thus the

medical student, being held to a general knowledge

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES.

49

of chemistry, botany, and comparative physiology and anatomy, has to pass at least three semesters under the philosophical faculty, although enrolled in

Hebrew, as a study in

the medical.

linguistics, is not

regarded as a part of theology proper, but the professor of

Hebrew

is

a

Candidates

faculty.

member for

of the philosophical orders, by the way, are

obliged to master the outlines of at the

Hebrew grammar

gymnasium, before entering the university.

the other hand, students

who

On

obtain the degree of

Ph. D. for studies in history and political economy are

examined

in certain legal topics, viz.

:

Institutes,

romische Rechtsgechichte, and deutsche Rechts-und Verfassungsgeschichte, that

tion

is,

the history of

and constitutional forms

in

Roman

Germany.

would cover nearly two semesters in the The German theory is that no one is

become an historian or an grades,

who

legisla-

This

legal faculty.

qualified to

office-holder of the higher

has not an insight at least into the ele-

ments of jurisprudence.

making my selection of lectures, I was determined by one simple consideration which of the many distinguished men whom I heard would be likely I decided upon two, to teach me the most German. about as opposite in manner and substance as can In

:

Ernst Curtius, now professor in well be imagined who lectured on Greek Art, and Ritter, since Berlin, :

deceased,

who

Philosophy. 5

the History of Modern a comparatively young then Curtius,

lectured on

GERMAN

50

UNIVERSITIES.

man, had an energetic and rapid, but very distinct As his lectures were to a large extent enunciation. the analysis and criticism of the remains of Greek art,

such as temples,

friezes, statues, intaglios,

and the

judged that the subject itself would not only be interesting and profitable, but that the prints which

like, I

were passed around the class during the lecture would give me at least a visible image of what the lecturer

was speaking about. I made no attempt to take notes. In fact, had I been even a much better German scholar enough. The auditors generally seemed to listen rather than to write, and to use their pens only for noting down than

I

was,

I

could not have written

leading principles and important

fast

facts.

I

contented

myself with jotting down now and then a word or a phrase that I could arrest .in the general flow of the language, with a view to studying over it at my rooms. The chief good that the lectures of Professor

Curtius did

me was

to train

my ear

day by day to the

flow of very rapid and very elegant German. This point, it seems to me, has not been sufficiently attended

one thing to read a work in the privacy and of quiet your own room, but it is quite another to an hour to the same author as the words for listen to.

It is

come

fast

and warm from his

not catch at there,

first

Even if you do lips. more than a thought or two here and

and the body of the discourse sounds as the

tangled maze of a

symphony does

in music,

are training your perceptive facul-

still

you

to the uninitiated

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES.

5

1

ties far more than you are apt to suspect. Both ear and brain are on the stretch, you put forth your best in short, efforts to seize and hold the fleeting breath ;

you work under

pressure, whereas in your room you

are apt to dilly-dally over your books, to it

were, for

want of outside stimulus.

course, does not exclude reading

and the one supplements the

;

fall asleep,

as

Hearing, of

both are necessary But I take the

other.

liberty of calling especial attention to the importance

of hearing

German

that only too

many English and Americans

neglect

element of training.

this ^

well delivered, in view of the fact

Professor Ritter was, as

opposite of his colleague. deliberately,

from

have intimated, the exact He spoke very slowly and

full notes,

ing intonation, so that write

I

it

down every word.

with a mild, almost dron-

was

possible, even for me, to

In his lectures, then,

pen industriously, and succeeded

I

used

my making an exThis it was act reproduction of the professor's text.

my

practice to take to

lecture hour,

my room

in

immediately after the

which was from four to

five in the after-

noon, spending the interval to tea time in going over it

again,

grammar and

dictionary in hand, and writing

the translations of words and phrases on the margin

The reader may perhaps doubt of one's writing down correctly expres-

and between the the possibility

lines.

sions which he does not understand at the time.

But

language where the pronunciation conforms so closely to the spelling, and the words are run togethel in a

GERMAN

52

so

little,

as

is

UNIVERSITIES.

the case in

German, the

feat is not at all

difficult, provided the lecturer reads slowly

enough to the ear as a well rounded unit.

each word strike

let

German

emphatically a language of terminations and prefixes, which give the ear a chance to Besides,

rest

is

and the pen a chance

to abbreviate.

,

heit, keit, schaft,

ung, mss, ling, thum,

fach, fait, sam, bar,

called separable

and the

entire

and inseparable

the reader that during the

first

It

will suf-

such syllables as

fice to call the reader's attention to

tg, lich, isch, los,

group of the so

prefixes.

I

two months

can assure certainly

were, between one and two hundred pages by mere sound, generally unable to recognize the connection between two succes-

wrote down, from dictation as

I

sive

it

words, unless they happened to stand in the

simplest grammatical relation, and nearly always unable to follow the transition from sentence to sentence.

My feelings "

during the process were somewhat akin,

suppose, to those of the compositor

I

copy

"

who

sets

up

in a foreign language.

Besides a general knowledge of German, I made one valuable acquisition through Professor Ritter's lectures, to wit, an acquaintance with the vocabulary of abstract and philosophical terms. This, it is well known, is the most difficult part of the language.

Our

abstract terms

are taken from the Latin and

Greek, as they are in French, so that the reader is

familiar with their

easily

recognize them

meaning in

in

who

one language can All that an

the other.

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES.

53

Englishman or an American needs to prepare himself for reading a French treatise on art, or science, or history

is

a slight knowledge of the pronouns and irregIt is only where concrete terms come in

ular verbs. question, house,

names of

dog and the

objects

and things, such as bread, two languages diverge.

like, that the

These concrete terms with the English.

in

German

coincide generally

But the abstract terms have been

developed by means of suffixes and prefixes from German root-forms, and cannot be comprehended without an insight into the genius of the language. I

mean such words

niss

memory,

as Einbildung imagination, Gedacht-

Vernunft

Begriff conception.

reason,

Geschichte

Furthermore, the

history,

German abstract

terms are not always the exact equivalents of the

English words employed to translate them in the dictionary.

Thus the German word

Urtheil,

given in the

vocabularies as denoting judgment, covers only that

word

as

it

may be used

in the sense of opinion, the

product of the faculty of judging; the faculty itself This is only one exis designated by Vrtheilskraft.

The beginner will find himself tripped up continually, by these abstract terms they are hard to understand and harder still to rememample out of thousands.

;

ber and/apply. They really represent more of the genius of the language than any mere inflectional or syntactic peculiarities.

These

latter will

become

of

themselves a matter of routine, but the derivation of words, especially of abstract terms, calls for the most

GERMAN

54

UNIVERSITIES. what the Ger-

delicate appreciation of the formative,

mans

elements of the language. As a means of acquiring this appreciation, I can heartily recommend a course of lectures on the history of call the building

philosophy.

A

course upon pure speculative philbe altogether too difficult for the

osophy would But a course something beginner.

like the

one

delivered by Professor Ritter, beginning with

spersed with short,

Roger Kant and Hegel, intereasy biographical and historical

me

to blend sufficiently the abstract

Bacon and coming down notices,

seems to

and the concrete.

to

The hearer

gets the proper play of

abstract terms, while the very effort of writing

down one by one

them

meaning, or at least the exact shade of meaning, and afterward patiently educing the sense with the help of his dicin ignorance of their

tionary or of his teacher, fixes them firmly in the

At all events, the lecturer should speak memory. and with the clearest articulation. slowly

The lecture-system of Germany has been

extolled

*

and decried with equal injustice. Like every other system of man's invention, it is confessedly imperfect.

One who

attends lectures

is

not necessarily on the

road to knowledge, one who lectures is not necessarily wiser or more interesting than a printed book. But taken the

all in all, I

lecturer

think that

it

works

well.

an opportunity of revising

It

his

gives

own

and incorporating fresh knowledge every course of lectures can be made as it were a new studies

;

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES.

55

which is not usually practicable with a book. It gives the hearer the ripest fruits printed of research direct from the investigator himself, it edition,

quickens the faculties of apprehension and stimulates

subsequent study and collateral reading.

Say what

they will, the devotees of the Socratic method will

never succeed in arguing the personal element in the It is well enough to lecture-system out of existence.

b; made to

feel that

gain to be

made

you are wrong, but some one

to feel that

it

is

a higher

else is right,

you are catching from his lips the thoughts over which he has spent days and years of patient

and

that

toil.

There are as many

Germany all

different styles of lecturing in

as there are different professors.

They can

be reduced, however, under three general cate-

gories

:

the system of dictating everything, the sys-

tem of dictating part and explaining

part, the

system

of rapid delivery. By the first is meant that plan in pursuance of which the professor reads off the entire lecture at a uniform rate of speed, slow

enough

hearers, unless they should be very clumsy writers, to take down every or nearly every word. Under the second system, the professor dic-

to allow his

tates a

paragraph

at a time,

reading so slowly that his it, and even pausing and

hearers cannot help catching repeating,

ence

and

if

he should see that any one in the audi and then proceeds to comment rapidly

is at fault,

in a colloquial tone

upon what has

just been die-

GERMAN

56

Under

tated.

the

the third system, that of rapid delivery,

instructor speaks

to impress his students, to arouse

and stimulate them, than "

they can carry home

more popular

the fashion of our public

after

aiming more

.ecturers,

UNIVERSITIES.

them something

to give

black on white."

on

lecturers

Many

political history or

connected with literary history are delivered

that

of the

on topics

in this style,

especially where the professor can take for granted that his hearers have some previous knowledge, so that his

remarks are as

But

theme.

it

were the novel presentment of an old

in general

it

may be

wherever exact, positive information

safely asserted that is

to

be conveyed, and exact

as for instance in law, or in the descriptive

sciences, there the only systems followed are the first

and

the second.

Lectures are usually delivered with what

is

called tem-

"

on time." Tempus, or pus, which is emphatically not " the academic quarter," as it is otherwise styled, denotes that

a lecture announced,

begun

until ten or fifteen

e.

g.,

for ten o'clock, is not

one.

It

The

minutes after the hour.

reason for this apparent procrastination

is

a practical

not unfrequently happens that the lecturer, to

save the time and trouble of going to and fro between his

home and

the Collegien-haus, will secure two successive

hours for two lectures.

Still, it is

not desirable to read

one hundred and twenty minutes on a stretch; the pause, then,

chance to "

is

very opportune, giving the lecturer a

rest his voice.

academic quarter

" is

But the chief

utility

of the

for the students themselves.

As

MA TRICULA TION AND many

LECTURES.

57

of them have three or four lectures in succession,

perhaps in different buildings, the pause enables them

make

the transition without inconvenience.

Besides,

to

it is

really a blessing in disguise to be able to idle ten minutes

between each two hours.

what

-

One who knows by

actual

to attend lectures every

day in the week, to or even from from nine o'clock one, say eight to one, as I was circumstanced on the Saturdays of my last trial

it is

winter semester (1863-1864), will appreciate the relief

by such brief respites. To fingers grown stiff and numb from constant writing, to brains become hot afforded

and confused, the " quarter comes as a positive boon you put on your hat and hasten into the open air for a "

;

short

meet your friends and acquaintances and chat about every-day matters. Still, not-

stroll, to

have a

little

all its

withstanding

advantages, the academic quarter

not infrequently reduced to very narrow dects are considered the faculty, that

is

"

to say, they

heaviest

"

whom

The Pan-

limits.

lecture in the legal

never occupy

than twelve

less

hours a week through the winter semester. with

Mommsen,*

heard them in Gottingen, began at

I

is

five

minutes past nine, read without interruption until ten minutes past ten, then made a pause of

and continued

until five or ten

five

minutes only,

minutes past eleven.

As

one could do to keep up From the moment he entered the room until

he read rapidly, with him.

it

was

all

that

he rose from his desk to leave, there was not a pause, *

A

cousin of the celebrated historian in Berlin.

GERMAN

58

UNIVERSITIES.

every pen traveled over the paper in feverish haste. "

"

the worst

grind

But

under Vangerow,

at Heidelberg,

This celebrated lecturer was in the

deceased.

since

was

habit of reading

also

on the Pandects

from nine to

half past ten, then making a pause of fifteen minutes, and

reading on until one o'clock, and even lecture

is

later.

opened with the stereotyped formula,

Every Melne Herren (Gentlemen)

!

The

professors have their

private meeting-room, from which they proceed to the lecture-room. In my day, there was the utmost license at

The

Gcttingen with regard to smoking.

on the all

stairs

and

and

times,

even in the lecture-rooms themselves In Berlin, the rule

nntil the entrance of the professor.

was

different

;

students smoked

in the entries of the Collegien-haus at

smoking was not permitted any where

within the University buildings.

As

a rule, a university lecture

ward enunciation of

a simple, straightfor-

is

fact or opinion,

You

at brilliancy of style.

without any attempt

are seated with a dozen or

two or three dozen other young

men

like yourself,

smok-

The ing, perhaps, and chatting with your neighbor. bench on which you sit is hard and uncomfortable, the elevated bench before you

is

inscribed with

all

sorts of

devices and names, the legacy of former generations.

Your pen, ink and paper door opens across the

softly, the

are spread out before you.

form of the lecturer moves quietly

room and ascends the rostrum.

Without pre-

amble, without prelude, the hour's work begins.

Hemn

The

Thomas von Aquino, sah

in

Meim

der vernunftigen

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES. Seele den Jibchsten

Grad

der weltlichen Dinge

broken

The

off the

lecturer has simply

day before.

I

can not truthfully say that could be called is

resumed where he had

have listened to lectures by but

different professors in different universities,

many

sor

(Thomas

as the climax of things

Aquinas regarded the rational soul earthly).

59

not so

much

I

have ever heard one that

The aim

brilliant.

I

of a

German

profes-

even persuade The substance of his dis-

to arouse or interest or

his hearers, as to teach them.

The is the unfolding of truth, grave, solid truth. utmost that he permits himself is an occasional touch of

course

humor, when the subject in his lectures

will

bear

it.

Thus, Zachariae,

on Criminal Law, was rather fond of show-

ing up certain infractions of the criminal code in their

ludicrous aspects, and expatiating upon the comically

quaint nomenclature of the Carolina, or Code of Criminal Procedure century.

of

enacted by Charles V. in the sixteenth

One phrase

rolling

with

out

in particular

gusto

he never grew weary

Idem^

:

so

ein

Weibsbild.

New whom

Gneist, in Berlin, lectured to his students about as a

York lawyer argues a motion before a judge with

on easy terms, feeling confident that he has the court already on his side. Mommsen was always intensely he

is

earnest, speaking

energetically

and almost sharply

at

meaning upon his lecture that I have ever

times, in his anxiety to impress his

hearers.

But by

heard, in

Germany

Vangerow.

far the ablest

or at home, was one delivered by

Happening

October, 1864,

to

I profited

be

in

Heidelberg on a

by the occasion

to

visit in

hospitircn

GERMAN

60

UNIVERSITIES.

The

with the then most prominent jurist in Germany. subject was thoroughly

time in

familiar to me, as I

off a

few weeks

The auditorium was

later.

there could not have been

crowded,

two hundred

at the

examination at Gottingen,

my

preparation for

full

which came

was

much

less

than

but the silence and

students present,

Seated on a small raised plat-

attention were profound.

form near the center of the room, the lecturer spoke for an hour and a half in an easy, clear, sustained voice, without pause and without break, on one of the most

complicated points in

Roman Law.

not even a schedule, only a

slip

He had no

notes,

of paper, on which were

written one or two references to passages to be cited from

the Digest

and

logical

yet the ideas

;

and words came

and well placed

ing from a printed book. the a,

German

y

ft.

were read-

The

spirit delights to style,

forth as clear

as if the lecturer

subject was one which develop after the I, A, i, a

in all sorts of

main and subsidiary

paragraphs, with minor and modifying clauses, exceptions, qualifications,

notes, into

and the

like.

and

reservations, references to foot

But the lecturer had such an insight

and such a grasp of his subject to be nothing less than the

seemed

process of organic evolution

out of his brain.

;

it

"his

discourse

easy, spontaneous

seemed

There was no

eloquence, no outburst of

that

grow of itself brilliancy, no flight of

humor

to

or sarcasm; the lec-

would scarcely have been intelligible to one not But it was a masterly didactic familiar with the study. ture

statement of the clear, crystalline truths of the law, intro-

MA TRICULA TION AND LECTURES.

61

ducing nothing superfluous, omitting nothing necessary

and putting everything arguments of it

men

for sustained

like

in the right place.

Webster and

power and absolute

Only the best

O 'Conor

could equal

logical coherency.

I

heard from Heidelberg students that Vangerow lectured in this fashion from three to four hours daily through the winter,

and from two

term.

If

faculty

we add

to three hours through the

to this his duties as

and president of the Collegium

references, his unremitting activity

regret to say

kind,

A

legal

for

government I as an author, and

domestic troubles of the most painful

we need not wonder

that one of such prodigious

powers should sink into the grave while of

summer

dean of the

still

in the

prime

life.

The paper used for taking notes is of a peculiar German student rarely if ever has what we call a

book or a copy-book.

He

the page varies in

size,

note-

uses the so called Pandecten

Collegienpapier, plain, white

or

kind.

but

writing-paper, unruled; is

generally what book-

publishers designate as lexicon-octavo untrimmed.

Six

or eight sheets (twelve or sixteen pages) are stitched The Heft, before together at the back, making a Heft.

put under a press of which the face is smaller than the face of the page. This blocks out by indentation

it is

sold, is

a sort of inner page, leaving a wide margin.

page alone

is

The

inner

used for writing in the lecture-hour; the

reserved for subsequent corrections and addi-

margin

is

tions.

At the end of the semester, the Hefte of any one

course can be bound up in a volume for preservation.

6

GERMAN

62

The advantages

UNIVERSITIES.

of this paper are that

it

enables the

student to dispense with an armful qf cumbersome note-

books

he has only to carry as many Hefte

at

a time as

and prevents the

he has separate lectures to attend

In buying a note-book, the student

waste of paper.

runs the risk of getting one either too small or too large

;

but with the Pandectenpapier, he has only to add a

Heft from time

to time,

and he can

long as the Hefte are unbound.

me

a matter of surprise to

also intercalate as

has always been

It

that the Pandectenpapier has

not been introduced into our American colleges.

It is

most practical method of taking notes.

The

by

far the

Hefte are carried

in

a small black

leather portfolio

(Mappe), just large enough to hold three or four at a

and

enough to be rolled up and carried The notes are always conveniently under the arm. time,

flexible

written in ink.

The inkstand

bottomed, as with iron,

us,

generally used

in the pocket, the point is protected

A

it.

lecture-room for the

not

flat-

but terminates in a sharp point of

which can be thrust into the desk.

that screws over

is

When

carried

by a capsule of horn

stranger visiting a university

first

time would be puzzled to

account for the innumerable round holes punched in the desks

of the

;

a naturalist might call them fossil foot-prints

Bubo maximus.

The conduct is

propriety

tures

in

of the students during the lecture-hout

itself.

different

One might

attend hundreds of lec-

universities, without

disorder or. whispering.

The

first

witnessing any

attempt to create

MA TRICULA T1ON AND LECTURES.

63

such disturbances as disgrace the halls of our colleges

would be punished by the summary expulsion of

To an American

offenders.

German respect. tutorial

universities will appear

lax in

more than one

There are no chapel-services, no marks, no The student is free to live where supervision.

he pleases, his movements are unfettered. whatever else the university may wink at, it never

and

as

rates disrespect

student

is

and disorder

treated as a

and duty.

If

man

he does not

can hear another versity,

the

all

faculty, the discipline in the

;

if

in the lecture-room.

But tole-

The

having a sense of propriety

like a particular professor,

he does not

he can go elsewhere.

If

like

he

a particular uni-

he does not

feel

disposed

on a particular day, he can stay away. But if he attends, he is expected to conduct himself as in all to attend

respects a man. in

There have been,

some of the German

I

universities.

admit, distuibances

But they were not

mere boyish freaks, but political demonstrations instituted for some special purpose and usually backed up by a clique in the faculty

The most

notable

itself

and by outside sympathy.

instances were

Bohemian demonstrations

the

Anti-German,

at Prague, ten or fifteen years

of two sets of ago, which brought about the appointment the German, professors in all the departments, one for the othei for the Czechish students.

The German

student, however, has one privilege which

the American has not; he can manifest his wishes by

scraping his feet on the

too

fast,

or

fails to

floor.

If a professor lectures

satisexplain a point to the complete

GERMAN

64

UNIVERSITIES.

faction of his hearers, or instantly

good

will

course all

is

hear three or four pairs of shoes at is

know

students

the

that the

a heavy one, in which the professor has need

the time he can get, they are not so apt to inter-

minutes. "

longer, but

"

time of

I

must

the professor

is

me

"

I

have heard

for detaining

Mommsen

much

much

inferior

" talk,"

appearance, are

Even to

in Berlin

and

our recently con-

structed halls, while in places like Halle, Tubingen,

tilation

:

grace.

lecture-rooms, in their general

unattractive, not to say cheerless.

burg

say

you one moment But where

merely indulging in explanatory

Leipsic, they are

five

finish this subject to-day."

usually cut short without

The

should exceed

grace

More than once

Gentlemen, excuse

is

in

to lecturing over the hour, the

Where

varies.

rupt, unless the

he

always taken by the professor

With regard

part.

practice

of

you

This hint

work.

he lectures over the hour,

if

Mar-

the want of venand Gottingen ten years ago is shocking. Still, one soon becomes used to the

minor discomforts of dingy windows, hard benches, and close air, and learns to take comfort in the world of ideas.

CHAPTER

der Mensur.

Auf

ONEroomday

T

,

IV.

New

of

York, dropped into

before dinner, saying

see a first-class

Mensur

this

:

my

Don't you wish to

afternoon

As a graduate

?

of a respectable American college, there was the pre-

must recognize the obvious connection between Mensur and mensuration yet my rushlight of sumption that

I

;

mathematical experience was the

German

term, which,

it

is

to

insufficient

illuminate

perhaps needless to

state,

had not come up my grammatical studies. Did it mean a surveying party, or a mathematical " " I had to a delicious triangles ? concourse of orgie, round of

in the

upon my better initiated countryman for an explanation, and learned that Mensur was the student-word for

call

the dueling ground, that

and hence

is

by extension

ally desirous to

to say, the area for the duel

measured

itself.

off,

Natur-

get a practical insight into the modus

operandi of this peculiar act of student

concerning which

I

had heard so much,

invitation as unceremoniously as

himself was not a

life

member

it

I

in

Germany,

accepted the

was given.

T

of a Corps or Verbindung, but

having spent three or four semesters in Gottingen, was

on terms of easy acquaintance with many corps-students.

GERMAN

66

We

UNIVERSITIES.

arranged to meet in his room immediately after

when

dinner,

I

should be presented to S

"Hanoverians," who was went his way to So T

work on

From

my the

to

,

of the

conduct us to the Mensur.

the Laboratory, and I resumed

translations.

windows of

E

's

room, which faced on the

leading out through the Geismar Gate, I had

street

watched almost every other day students in numbers flocking past with Schl ger daylight,

and

gloves, even in

and learned that they were on

dueling ground. prised me, as I

The openness

their

way

broad to the

of their movements sur-

had seen more than one picture of the by University beadles, and sup-

arrest of dueling parties

posed, before coming to Gottingen, that encounters of the kind were kept as secret as possible.

The

winter

was what might be called a star-season. There has always been a good deal of fighting in Gottingen, o'f 1

86 1

2

perhaps more than at any other university in proportion to the number of students. But this my first winter in the place was a remarkable one.

There was an unusual

number of

veterans, big, heavy, scarred fighting-cocks,

among

the corps, and especially

all

phalians.

The

lishment of a

comers, berg,

chief casus

new

belli,

among

however, was the estab-

corps, the Normans,

among whom

the West-

by some new

were two brothers from Heidel-

named Mendelssohn, relatives, I believe, of the The bantling, as might have been

celebrated composer.

expected, had to undergo a baptism of "blood and iron."

The rowing

at

one time was prodigious.

Whenever the

A UF DER MENSUR. Normans returned from

their

67

Kneipe in the evening, they

were beset by the students of the other corps, chaffed and huffed, all

and challenged

fighting

men,

right

in fact, in

and

a fight," this was no great hardship.

sohn was be

it

said,

But as they were

left.

"

Western parlance,

their leader, their

The

elder Mendels-

Haupthahn, and,

performed his duties manfully.

two or three duels a week

spoiling for

to his credit

After fighting

throughout the winter, and

escaping without a scratch, he got the consilium abeundt

from the University Court and had to shades of private

life,

pleasantnesses

to the

leaving twenty or thirty slight

" still

retire

pending.

"

un-

Others of the Normans

were also relegated, and the corps in consequence was broken up. There were grounds for suspecting that it

:

became too great an eye-sore to the University judge. But all through the winter months the Paukerei was kept up, and one could see dozens of students going

about with bandaged cheeks and noses. On the particular day of which I now write, the event was to tie a duel

between Mendelssohn and

Von

H

,

the leader of the

Bremensians.

At two o'clock found him and

I

made my appearance

at T.'s

room, and

his friend S. quietly discussing coffee

and

by the

cigars after the

approved German fashion.

way, was a

good-looking, bespectacled young man,

tall,

S.,

his manners and anything but a "rower," to judge by

had the pleasure of meeting him by the merest chance in Vienna, during the summer of 1872, actions.

I

GERMAN

68

and learned

that he

UNIVERSITIES.

had become a manufacturer.

At the

university he was a student of chemistry.

When up the

and

the cigars

coffee

Kurze Geismar

at

an end, we strolled

and out of the gate along were preceded and followed by other

We

the chaussee.

were

street

students in knots of three or four, at wide intervals, to

avoid the appearance of a crowd.

After issuing from

the gate, I observed younger students, Fuchse, stationed on each side of the road every hundred feet, acting as

scouts or sentries to give warning in case of the approach

of a Pedell* or other suspicious looking person. S. as

Having

our escort, we passed without exciting comment.

Under ordinary

circumstances, a duel

world, a private affair of the duelists

;

for the outside

no one but the immediate backers

permitted to attend.

is

is,

But a duel fought

under the sanction of the S. C., the Senioren Convent,

/'.