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Leaving the church we ascended the hill still further, where we observed a masonic hall, that appeared to be used, also, as a school house. Still higher, on the very summit of the hill, is a buryingground: an appropriate spot, indeed, as though they would place the very bodies of their dead, as near to heaven as possible.
To-morrow morning, we intend visiting the Table rock, on which Jefferson is said to have lain whilst writing his most eloquent description of this place, contained in his Notes on Virginia. Lest you may not have read it, I will transcribe it; if you have not, though no other part of the letter prove interesting, this I think will repay you for the time that you have devoted to its perusal.
“The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge,” says the philosopher, “is one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. You stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain an hundred miles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Potomac in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder and pass off to the sea. * * * But the distant finishing which nature has given to the picture, is of a very different character. It is a true contrast to the fore-ground. It is as placid and delightful, as that is wild and tremendous. For the mountain being cloven asunder, she presents to your eye, through the cleft, a small catch of smooth blue horizon, at an infinite distance in the plain country, inviting you, as it were, from the riot and tumult roaring around, to pass through the breach and participate of the calm below.”
My next letter will probably be written from Staunton, Augusta County, which we hope to reach this week.
Your sincere friend,
MANY and strange events have transpired, dear reader, and divers changes have taken place, since thy perusal of the last number of the Yale Literary Magazine. Not a few of these are worthy of thy notice as facts connected with college history, and these we shall briefly enumerate. “Be it remembered” then, by thyself and all concerned, “that on the twenty fifth day of April, A. D. 1837, and in the sixty first year of the independence of the United States of America,” the doors of the college chapel were opened agreeably to notice, at eight o'clock, A. M. for the Junior exhibition. The audience presented an array of beauty and intelligence well fitted to inspire those who should make their début on this interesting occasion; in fact, the exhibition audience (gráces à son gout !) is always uite select. The exercises of the day were conducted in the usual orm. After the venerable President had taken his chair, an anthem was sung by the choir with their accustomed taste and skill. Suffice it to say, that in the performance of this and of other anthems during the day, but especially of “Miriam's Song,” the Beethoven Society gained much credit. The instrumental music also, which was performed at intervals, did honor to those concerned in it; thus proving that the fine arts can be cultivated even in college. Orations and dissertations on various subjects, dramatic pieces, colloquies both serious and humorous, and a poem, made an agreeable variety in the exhibition. To enter into particulars here would be invidious; the exhibition in general was creditable. Nor shall we institute a comparison between it and those of former years; lest we might wrong our worthy predecessors, who acquitted themselves so nobly in their turn. One word upon the propriety of such exhibitions. Notwithstanding the many objections urged against them, we regard the fact that the wisdom and experience of the fathers of our institution have established and still sanction them, as a strong argument a priori in their favor. It is true that much time and labor are spent in “getting up” an exhibition, and that these items are seldom duly appreciated; yet the mental discipline gained in preparation, and the advantage of appearing thus early in public, more than compensate for any such expense. The question of college honors refers more properly to Commencements than to Junior exhibitions: we only maintain, that if the former are continued, the latter should be. The general style and character of the pieces is lighter and more entertaining at the Exhibition than at Commencement; at least the sadness of the parting hour, which solemnizes the one occasion, is not felt upon the other. In fine, let not the Junior exhibition be done away with ; it forms, as it were, a resting place in our course, to which we may recur with many grateful remembrances. Reader, thou hast doubtless ere this visited the library room of thy Society. Here too hath been a change. Thou seest,--but hold ! we must explain to those who have no communion within these walls. Know, then, profani, qui procul abestis, that there are in connection with this institution three general literary societies, embracing all the classes. To each of these is attached a library; and the aggregate of the volumes in the three is sixteen thousand, distinct of course from the college library. The respective library rooms have recently been enlarged, and neatly fitted up with alcoves, so that a much greater number of volumes can be accommodated. These improvements, and the libraries themselves, speak well for the enterprise and literary taste of our little community.
Reader, thou hast doubtless marked with us the pleasing change which hath occurred in the appearance of the “city of elms;” how that during our absence
Spring hath his verdant mantle spread
Hast thou stood and admired the arch of overhanging elms which adorns Temple street, and whose rich waving tapestry is so enchanting : Hast thou strolled to East Rock, and rested thee in the “seat of happiness " If so, thou knowest the change of which we speak; if not, thou hadst better hasten to retrieve thine error, lest thou shouldst lose the reputation of having a soul. Complain not then, aster this enumeration, of want of change, even in these times.
Bear with us, reader, but a little longer, while we discourse to thee of our own humble selves. Who we are, and what are our professions, thou hast doubtless learned from our inaugural address. Or, if thou hast had the presumption to pass it by unheeded, recur to it forthwith, and then for penance recommence this article. Quid cessas’ festinato! ere we knit our editorial brow. * + +
Now that thou knowest thus much of us, we e'en would tell thee more. The solemn ceremonies of our induction to office must not be exposed to public view; yet thou may'st for once intrude into our meeting for business. It was the first time we had assembled in our official capacity, and we proceeded before organization to scrutinize the furniture of our neat domicil. The center table was covered with periodicals, which we inherit by an ancestral claim. The “American Monthly Magazine,” the “Baltimore Monument,” the “New York Mirror,” the “Philadelphia Mirror,” the “Southern Literary Messenger,” the “Maine Monthly Magazine,” the “American Historical Magazine,” and others displaying equal talent, all of recent dates, were in their appropriate places. The “Knickerbocker” and “Harvardiana” have not of late been received; we hope that this delinquence is not the fault of our Magazine. The “Report of the Connecticut Medical Society,” with an able address by Dr. Miner, was also upon our table. Our pleasant examination of these well-conducted periodicals was interrupted by a shout from Caius, who, led by curiosity, had stretched his cane to the top of the secretary—a piece of furniture, not our worthy officer of that name, (i.e. mysels,) who always writes his name with an S— and had disturbed the “great rejected,” who for months had there reposed in dust. Imagine our horror as paper after paper flew down upon us, to the imminent peril of our coats, and demanded immediate publication “Truly,” thought we, “the spirits of the dead are about to visit on us the iniquity of our fathers.” The solemn, “might-hear-a-pin-drop” silence which ensued was at length thus broken by Caius.
“I am not much surprised, gentlemen, at this apparently mysterious visitation, when I reflect that I was about to relate an incident little to the credit of some of the ‘rejected.’ It occurred in a stage coach, and I will read from my note book a brief account of it, which I noted at the time. The principal actors in the scene were a young lady recently from a boarding school, and a pedagogue, who, as we shall see, was a man of ‘considerable function.” It happened very unfortunately for the good name of our college periodical, that each of these personages had acquired somewhat of their knowledge within the limits of this lovely city, and each therefore felt at liberty to speak, as of household things, of whatever was found therein. The conversation was somewhat after this manner. Young Lady. I am surprised that a periodical conducted by the students of Yale College, should exhibit so little talent as is found in the pages of the Magazine. Pedagogue. You need not be surprised. When I was in college, an attempt was made to sustain such a periodical, but I did not find time to write for it, and it went down. Such individuals as myself, at the present time, who are able to give character to such a paper, will not condescend to have their writings criticised by every brainless wit in college. Young Lady. Why then do they suffer it to drag out a miserable existence, when it is evident to every one that the reputation of college is endangered by the foolish trash issued by its students : Editor, incog. Madam, have you any acquaintances in college? Young Lady, (avec hauteur.) I have, sir, many in the Senior class ; none in the lower classes. Editor, incog. Do not their articles in the Magazine give evidence of some talent 2 Young Lady. They have often assured me that they would never condescend to write for the thing. Editor, incog. And, madam, who are these high-minded young men 2 Young Lady. Why, there is — from New York, from Massachusetts, besides — and — from Connecticut. Editor, incog. Well, madam, since they have pursued a course so ungenerous, and injurious not only to the character of the Magazine, but of the college, I feel myself at liberty to say, that by a reserence to the covers of the late numbers of the Magazine, you will discover the cause of their hostility. Now, is it not a matter of justice to all concerned, that those students in whose sight the Magazine does not find favor should frankly acknowledge the cause of their dislike 2 If they do not, let them be shown the ‘Notice to Correspondents.’ “Justice, most righteous justice,” exclaimed Beppo. “Amen,” responded all.
After this narrative Caius assumed the rocking-chair of state, and
Here the president's voice saltered;—Zotoff sighed involuntarily as his thoughts recurred to the march of the French against Moscow;-Nung Boah, seizing the president's cane so as to have at least the insignia of office, paced the room, vainly striving to hide his emotions beneath his editorial dignity;-while the remaining two manifested absolutely no feeling, a stoicism excusable only because they were themselves enveloped in the cloud, not of English, but of their Havana exhalations. Caius was at length somewhat revived by a sip of water, and after wiping his eyes, proceeded with some degree of calmness till the following stanza.
“The burning tear strolled down his cheek,
For his heart so high did beat,
Be astonished all ye that have human sympathies, when ye learn that Alcibiades, with the utmost nonchalance, here proposed to examine “Stewart on the Mind,” in connection with some writer on Anatomy, in order to discover the effect of expectations on the pulsations of the heart. A general burst of indignation at so monstrous a proposal prevented any farther remarks from that gentleman during the evening. How inspiriting was the description of the preparation for battle, which followed. We heard the rolling drum, the trumpet’s call, the “cannon's thundering roar;” but our hearts were doomed to be saddened by a recital of the catastrophe.
“He views his warriors giving way
My wife my children! where are they?
We could endure it no longer; the lid of the “coffin” closed mechanically over “The Indian,” who sell to rise no more. . . .
A sonnet was next announced. We hailed its appearance with joy; but the contrast between it and its predecessor was so harrow