Puslapio vaizdai


flagrant violation of the Decalogue, it is a Unless one has taken the Northern Farmlife-appointment. The salary is small, but er's thrifty advice, and “gone where what there is of it is tolerably certain to be money is "when he married, his outlook as paid; one can marry on it if he has the he faces old age is not reassuring. Pencourage to live plainly. Your life-long sions are extremely rare; college trustees associates will be gentlemen. Your chosen are forced in most cases to be as ungratefield of work, in science or philosophy or ful as republics. The cost of living has literature, stretches before you in tempting steadily risen in college towns, keeping vistas. One-third of the year will be vaca- pace with the general increase of luxury tion time, and hence all your own—for throughout the older communities. Here labor, if your ambition holds; for rest, if and there, particularly in the West, there you find it flagging. You have the oppor- are exceptions, but upon the whole the tunity to impress the best there is in your- scale of necessary expenditure for a man self upon a perpetually renewed stream of fulfilling the various social duties required youthful and more or less ardent minds, by his position is constantly growing and in this thought what satisfaction for greater. The professor's incidental income the didactic instinct, for the ineradicable from books and lectures is ordinarily inschoolmaster that is lurking in us all! significant. When he has paid his bills he Can any profession offer a programme half finds no margin left for champagne and so certain, under normal conditions, of a terrapin. If he smokes at all, he invents fair fulfilment ? Surely, the candle burns ingenious reasons for preferring a pipe. He brightly at the beginning of the game. sees the light-hearted tutors sail for Europe

As the years go by, does the college every summer, but as for himself he deprofessor regret his choice? I know a few cides annually that it will be wiser to wait who would gladly change their calling, but just one year more.

Once in awhile he only a few, and these are mainly men of will yield to the temptation to pick up a energetic, practical cast, who now recog- first edition or a good print, but Aldines nize that by entering another profession and Rembrandt proofs are toys he may not they might have quadrupled their income. dally with. In short, his tastes are cultiMen of strong literary and scholarly bent vated beyond his income, and his sole comare less likely to question the wisdom of fort is in the Pharisaical reflection that this their choice; and, indeed, of those outside is better, after all, than to have more inthe college circle, it seems to be the “liter- come than taste. If his meditations upon ary fellows" who speak with most envy of quaternions or Descartes or the lyric cry the professor's lot. Aside from lazy mid- are liable to be interrupted by an insulting summer guesses at what one might have cook, strikingfor another dollar that he can been—and who does not hazard these at ill


it is doubtless a device of Provitimes?-I find college teachers peculiarly dence to keep him in healthy touch with contented.

actualities. It were a pity that in the colTo turn to the material side of things, leges, of all places, high thinking and plain the assurance of a fixed income is a source living should be quite divorced, and that the of permanent satisfaction, however dispro- men whose duty it is to train American portionate the income to the service that boys in citizenship as well as in letters is rendered. To be sure, the salary of a full should themselves have no need to practise professor, the country over, is little if at all the stern virtues of industry and thrift

. in excess of $2,000. In the larger univer- No man's satisfaction or dissatisfaction sities it may rise to $3,000 or something with his salary, however, affords a commore, but the men who receive above plete indication of his attitude toward his $4,000 are so few as scarcely to affect the work. A more subtle arithmetic makes up general average. Aside from the bare pos- the sum of failure or success.

After ten, sibility of a call to a richer institution, the twenty, or thirty years of experience, the college professor is not likely to be earn- college professor may be analyst enough ing more at fifty than at thirty. Unlike to pass verdict upon the result of his own most other professions, there is here no efforts, but an outsider's estimate may even gradual increase of income, to give tan- then be more accurate than his own. Begible evidence of a man's growth in power. sides, many a man's point of view be


comes insensibly but increasingly modified him to think or helped him to feel, and
after he has entered upon his vocation, so thrilled him with a new horizon !
that it is difficult for him to decide whether Sometimes it happens that the great
his early ambitions have been realized. teacher is also a great investigator, but

There are two professional types, as- that is a miracle. For a man to be either suredly, that are admirably adjusted to one or the other—not to speak of being their environment: the born investigator both requires singular vitality. Outsidand the born teacher. Men belonging to ers usually underestimate the obstacles to the first of these classes find in research successful professorial work. With regard itself a sufficient recompense; their happi- to one's own scholarly ambitions, particuness is in widening the bounds of knowl- larly, the steady term-time strain, the thankedge, and undermining stoutly intrenched less and idle sessions of committees, the stupidities, and adding to the effectiveness variety of demands upon one's time and of human energy. Almost every college energy, combine to make one pay a heavy has one or more of these men. The larger price for winning distinction.

You must institutions have many of them, and the do, upon the average, as much teaching college community is their rightful place. as your colleagues, and the time for your They deserve their bed and board—and magnum opus must either be stolen from their cakes and ale besides--even if they that due your classes, or you must accomare too absent-minded to remember their plish two days' work in one. It is true lecture hours, or too feebly magnetic to that the number of hours of class-room inhold the attention of undergraduates. An struction required of the professor varies unerring process of differentiation is con- greatly in different institutions. Sometimes stantly at work, marking out the born a schedule of four hours per week is conscholars and scientists from those of their sidered sufficient, in the case of men who colleagues who possess scholarly and scien- have earned the right to devote themselves tific tastes, but who learn by the time they to advanced research. In the smaller colare forty that they are never likely to pro- leges, and for the younger men in the duce anything. These latter men often larger ones, the schedule is often sixteen make noteworthy drill-masters. Their re- or twenty hours. Perhaps twelve would spect for original scholarship grows as they be a fair average for colleges and univercome to recognize that it is beyond their sities the country over. To teach college own reach. Though they discover the fu- boys for two hours a day does not seem tility of “ doing something for ” science like a very severe task to one who has nevor literature themselves, they touch elbows er tried it, but I have observed that most daily with men who can, and they reflect professors who have taught or lectured something of the glory of it, and impart for two hours thoroughly well, putting to their pupils a regard for sound learn- their best powers into the task, are ready ing.

to quit. Few men can rivet the attention Not every teacher, of course, is an in- of fifty or a hundred students for one hour vestigator manqué. Your born teacher is without feeling, five minutes after the end as rare as a poet, and as likely to die of it, that vitality has gone out of them. young. Once in awhile a college gets The emery-wheel that wears out fastest hold of one.

It does not always know cuts the diamond best, and when a man that it has him, and proceeds to ruin him boasts that he teaches without effort and by over - driving the moment he shows weariness he has sufficiently described his power, or to let another college lure him teaching. Every college town has its ow away for a few hundred dollars more a pitiful or tragic stories of professors who year. But while he lasts, and sometimes, have broken down ; they are usually the fortunately, he lasts till the end of a long men whom the college could least afford life, he transforms the lecture-hall as by to lose. It is no wonder that in the face enchantment. Lucky is the alumnus who of all this many professors cease trying to can call the roll of his old instructors, and ride two horses at once ; they either do among the martinets and the pedants and their duty by their classes and let the dust the piously inane can here and there come gather on the leaves of the magnum opus, suddenly upon a man-a man who taught or else they get over their class work with

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


as little expenditure of energy as possible out of a schoolmaster ! Ah, shade of and give to the magnum opus their real Sir Walter, out of a schoolmaster who strength. And the college would not be has survived his illusions and is cheerthe microcosm it is if there were not some fully planting his cabbages there may be professors who abandon both ambitions made the most delightful companion in after a little, becoming quite incurable the world! though often very charming dead-beats; It is because a college faculty exhibits and this, I confess, is the most interesting this surprising range of types, illustrative, type of all.

in little, of almost every variety of success It is a pity that Mark Pattison, whose and failure known to the greater world, Memoirs throw so terribly frank a light that it furnishes so perpetually interesting upon the intellectual side of university life, a spectacle. No man who has returned did not leave behind him an essay upon to his own Alma Mater to teach is likely Academic Sterility. He may have thought to forget the impressions received at those that Amiel's Journal pictured the malady first faculty meetings, where he has met, on for once and all, and certainly Mrs. Hum- terms of absolute equality, the gentlemen phry Ward, whose Langham is an attempt whose corporate action decided so many ed personification of the class, has suc- vital issues—as it then seemed-in his own ceeded only in clothing with an English undergraduate life. What a revelation garb the self-distrust and impotence of will to find that “ the faculty” are very much of the lonely Genevese professor. There like other men ; with prejudices and facan be no reasonable doubt that the aca- vorite animosities; capable of being much demic atmosphere is unfavorable to crea- confused by a motion to amend an amendtive vigor. Few vital books come out of ment, and much relieved by a proposition the universities. One cause, beyond ques- to refer to a committee; the younger ones tion, is the prevalence of the critical spirit

. rigid and the older ones lenient in enforcOur knowledge petrifies our rhymes.” ing the letter of the law; all of them glad

A sophisticated sense that everything to adjourn, and retire to their own toil or has been written, and better than it is their own decorous beer and skittles ! But likely to be written again, is not the stuff what mastery of parliamentary fence on from which literature is bred.

It may be the part of old gentlemen who have been that a mere over-accumulation of mate- making and withdrawing motions for half rial prevents the scholar from ever turning a century! What deep wrath among the his treasures to account; the monumental disciplinarians over that vote to restore the treatise becomes arrested, like Mr. Casau- erring half-back (needed in November) to bon's, in the pigeon-hole stage. Often, too, full standing in his class! What subtle arhe outlives his former intellectual interests, gumentation, pro and con, over Smith's peand his drawers are crammed with various tition to be excused from chapel on the half-completed pieces of work, melancholy ground of his physician's written statement reminders of enthusiasms that have now that Smith's eyelids are liable to inflammagrown cold and long years that have been tion upon sudden exposure to the morning wasted. In morbid self-depreciation or air ! What passionate denunciation of the well-grounded despair of making any con- faculty's past injustice in the famous Robtribution to the world's thought, and dis- inson case, pronounced by some sunnygusted with class-room routine, many a tempered philosopher who has just pergifted man, unwilling or unable to resign suaded himself that whenever the student his chair, turns tramp. Careless of public body differs with the faculty on a moral opinion, he adopts some pet avocation for question the students are surely in the right! his vocation henceforth, makes an opiate ind is it not singular that over that quesout of a hobby, and settles down for the tion of Jones's rank, which any man in the rest of his days into a fly-fisherman, or

ruom could settle satisfactorily enough in amateur photographer, or cross-country two minutes if left to himself, two or three saunterer, or novel reader. It is then that dozen educated and experienced gentlehe is worth knowing. May God forgive men should sit in futile misery for half an me,” cried Sir Walter Scott to his Journal, hour, only at the end of it to follow, sheep" for thinking that anything can be made like, some obstinate motion that takes them


through precisely the wrong hole in the to treat him as a youngster, he straightway wal! ? Until the psychology of mobs gets astonishes you by his maturity ; if you written, there will be no understanding the thereupon make up your mind to consider ways of " faculty action." Even when we him henceforth as a man, he will be guilty shall have learned that the normal powers of prompt and enthusiastic lapses into juof the two or three dozen men are under venility. An American college is half pubsome strange, paralyzing inhibition, shall lic school, half university. Toward prowe be able to explain why the inhibition fessors whom they like, students are finely should proceed from the most thick-headed loyal, though the curious alternations of man in the room ?

popularity which fall to some teachers at To those gentlemen who grow old in the the hands of successive classes are quite sheltered academic life a thousand whim- beyond the reach of analysis. If they do sicalities and petty formalities attach them- not like a professor, and can get the whip selves, like barnacles to the bottom of a hand over him, undergraduates know how ship long at anchor. No man can teach to demonstrate that twenty is the age of ten years without escaping them. Unbe- perfect cruelty. In few college recitation known to himself, he is already on the way rooms, nowadays, is there anything said to becoming a "character," and people are about the whip hand, but it is always there, smiling at him in their sleeves. If he finds on one side or the other. Every lecturehimself at a reception, he buttonholes a hall witnesses a daily though possibly uncolleague and talks shop. The habit of conscious struggle of talent, training, and addressing boys without contradiction character against the crowd. The lecturer leaves him often impotent in the sharp give usually wins, because he knows he must, and-take of talk with men, and many a pro- but many a one who has never experienced fessor who is eloquent in his class-room is defeat invariably rises, like Gough, with helpless on the street or in the club or knees that tremble. Laboratory and semacross the dinner-table. Sometimes he per- inary methods of instruction alter these ceives this, and makes pathetic efforts to conditions, of course, and bring the progrow worldly. Faculty circles have been fessor at once into informal and even inknown to experience strange obsessions of timate relation with his pupils.

Upon the frivolity, and to plunge desperately into whole the contact with college classes is dancing lessons or duplicate whist. Both agreeable to a man of friendly temperathe remedy and the disease have their com- ment. He learns to make allowance for ic aspects, and yet I know of no circles undergraduate conventionalities, and does where the twilight hour of familiar talk is not expect enthusiasm where enthusiasm more delightful, where common instincts would be bad form. On their part, stuand training and old associations touch the dents generously overlook the whims and ordinary courtesies of life with a more pe- crotchets of a favorite professor ; they culiar charm, where mutual pride is so even pardon his amazement at the ways little spoiled by familiarity, and where life- of intercollegiate diplomacy, or his radical long friendships, undisturbed by the acci- scepticism as to the intellectual discipline dents frequent in the greater world, grow involved in foot-ball. so intimate and touching as the evil days In one sense, indeed, he is supposed to draw nigh.

know very little about the men whom he A professor's attitude toward the under- teaches. The in loco parentis theory has graduates is a good test of his personality, long been doomed-at least, in the larger but a still better one may be found in their institutions—and so far as direct observaattitude toward him. They are shrewd tion is concerned the professor is as ignojudges of character, intolerant of shams, rant of what is going on in a student's and demoniacally ingenious in finding the room as if it were in the South Seas. But weak places in a man's armor.

If he is a for all that he can make skilful guesses shirk or an ignoramus, they know it as from a hundred signs, and when the seniors soon as he-perhaps sooner. Your col- file upon the Commencement platform for lege student is a strange compound of rev- their degrees that silent circle of professors erence and irreverence, conservative and often know them better than their mothers. anarchist, man and boy. If you decide It is pleasant to meet these fellows afterward, either on the old campus, or at some the sleek "

promoter," the sectarian faremote railway junction, or at midnight in natic, the close-mouthed business manaa foreign city, and pick up for a moment ger, the far-sighted educator, the blamethe dropped threads of acquaintance. less clergyman. These types appear and Sometimes one learns in these accidental disappear and blend, but meantime the ways that his instruction counted for more great cause itself goes lumbering steadily than was apparent at the time ; he makes forward. the discovery that someone has taken pains Two generations ago, the place held by to remember words that he himself has long the college professor in the community forgotten. Herein lies half the zest of must have vastly tickled his vanity. Those teaching. One blazes away into the un- rules in vogue in New England, requiring derbrush, left barrel and right barrel, students to doff their hats when four rods vaguely enough as it seems, but some of from a professor (two rods only for a tuthe shots are sure to tell. Young men are, tor, alas!) were emblematic of the univerafter all, so susceptible to impression, so sal homage paid him in a college town. responsive to right feeling, that though the I suppose there is no man of us so great fine reserve of youth may not betray it at nowadays, even on great occasions, as the moment, they nevertheless bear away those old fellows were continuously. Town from their instructor the best he has to and college had then a solidarity of intergive them. This may be poor enough, est that is now unknown, except in a few but it is something.

instances of fortunate survival. The comWhen a professor grows tired of moral- manding position of the professor in the izing about his colleagues or his pupils, he community was often a deserved recognialways has the president to fall back upon. tion of his services to the local public. So have the undergraduates, for that mat- Here and there may still be found a man ter, and their parents, and the alumni, and of the old type, an agitator for all good the trustees, and the general public—and causes, an orator in town meeting, a polithe newspaper reporters. The college tician within the bounds of dignity; but I president who can conduct himself to the find it a common complaint among the satisfaction of this varied body of critics, townspeople in academic communities that and enjoy at the same time the approval your modern professor is a Gallio. He of his own conscience, is a gifted man. may turn out occasionally to manifest his A president must have many qualifications interest in some crisis of the church or for his office—I have heard a cautious ob- school or state, but in general he sticks to server say—but his first need is a thick his library. This criticism is often shortskin. Undoubtedly, by some wise pro- sighted, particularly in reference to polivision of Nature, the skin grows thicker tics. The professor who patiently teaches with exposure, but there is a curiously his classes, week in and week out, to think prevalent impression that a president's straight, to see that two and two make conscience is liable to a corresponding in- four on either side of the Atlantic, and duration. A cynical-minded friend of that "stealing will continue stealing," mine, of large discourse in these matters, serves his country better than a hundred avers that such are the temptations pe- “spell-binders in the last frantic days of culiar to the office, that of all the college a campaign. But upon the whole there presidents he has known, only two re- is ground for the current complaint as to mained Christians. These two- if I may the college teacher's unconcern for public be permitted to say so without discourtesy questions. He remains in one sense a to the others—are both dead.

leading figure in his community; there are Whatever be the foundation for such im- certain things he may not do without losing pious generalizations, no one will deny caste ; the butcher, with a vague feeling that an American college president has a of his importance, charges him a couple task of extraordinary difficulty. His prob- of extra cents per pound, and the suave lems have been met, upon the whole, with Armenian refugee, noting the real Bokconsummate skill. Every type of presi- hara on his floor, pockets the professorial dent has done something to advance the two dollars, and thinks in his Oriental heart cause of higher education in America: that it ought to have been five. Yet in

Vol. XXII.–54

« AnkstesnisTęsti »