A Collection of College Words and Customs
by Benjamin Homer Hall
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MOUTH. To recite in an affected manner, as if one knew the lesson, when in reality he does not.

Never shall you allow yourself to think of going into the recitation-room, and there trust to "skinning," as it is called in some colleges, or "phrasing," as in others, or "mouthing it," as in others.—Todd's Student's Manual, p. 115.

MRS. GOFF. Formerly a cant phrase for any woman.

But cease the touching chords to sweep, For Mrs. Goff has deigned to weep. Rebelliad, p. 21.

MUFF. A foolish fellow.

Many affected to sneer at him, as a "muff" who would have been exceedingly flattered by his personal acquaintance.—Blackwood's Mag., Eng. ed., Vol. LX. p. 147.

MULE. In Germany, a student during the vacation between the time of his quitting the gymnasium and entering the university, is known as a mule.

MUS.B. An abbreviation for Musicae Baccalaureus, Bachelor of Music. In the English universities, a Bachelor of Music must enter his name at some college, and compose and perform a solemn piece of music, as an exercise before the University.

MUS.D. An abbreviation for Musicae Doctor, Doctor of Music. A Mus.D. is generally a Mus.B., and his exercise is the same.

MUSES. A college or university is often designated the Temple, Retreat, Seat, &c. of the Muses.

Having passed this outer court of the Temple of the Muses, you are ushered into the Sanctum Sanctorum itself.—Alma Mater, Vol. I. p. 87.

Inviting ... such distinguished visitors as happen then to be on a tour to this attractive retreat of the Muses.—Ibid., Vol. I, p. 156.

My instructor ventured to offer me as a candidate for admission into that renowned seat of the Muses, Harvard College.—New England Mag., Vol. III. p. 237.

A student at a college or university is sometimes called a Son of the Muses.

It might perhaps suit some inveterate idlers, smokers, and drinkers, but no true son of the Muses.—Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XV. p. 3.

While it was his earnest desire that the beloved sons of the Muses might leave the institutions enriched with the erudition, &c.—Judge Kent's Address before [Greek: Phi Beta Kappa] of Yale Coll., p. 39, 1831.


NAVY CLUB. The Navy Club, or the Navy, as it was formerly called, originated among the students of Harvard College about the year 1796, but did not reach its full perfection until several years after. What the primary design of the association was is not known, nor can the causes be ascertained which led to its formation. At a later period its object seems to have been to imitate, as far as possible, the customs and discipline peculiar to the flag-ship of a navy, and to afford some consolation to those who received no appointments at Commencement, as such were always chosen its officers. The Lord High Admiral was appointed by the admiral of the preceding class, but his election was not known to any of the members of his class until within six weeks of Commencement, when the parts for that occasion were assigned. It was generally understood that this officer was to be one of the poorest in point of scholarship, yet the jolliest of all the "Jolly Blades." At the time designated, he broke the seal of a package which had been given him by his predecessor in office, the contents of which were known only to himself; but these were supposed to be the insignia of his office, and the instructions pertaining to the admiralty. He then appointed his assistant officers, a vice-admiral, rear-admiral, captain, sailing-master, boatswain, &c. To the boatswain a whistle was given, transmitted, like the admiral's package, from class to class.

The Flag-ship for the year 1815 was a large marquee, called "The Good Ship Harvard," which was moored in the woods, near the place where the residence of the Hon. John G. Palfrey now stands. The floor was arranged like the deck of a man-of-war, being divided into the main and quarter decks. The latter was occupied by the admiral, and no one was allowed to be there with him without special order or permission. In his sway he was very despotic, and on board ship might often have been seen reclining on his couch, attended by two of his subordinates (classmates), who made his slumbers pleasant by guarding his sacred person from the visits of any stray mosquito, and kept him cool by the vibrations of a fan. The marquee stood for several weeks, during which time meetings were frequently held in it. At the command of the admiral, the boatswain would sound his whistle in front of Holworthy Hall, the building where the Seniors then, as now, resided, and the student sailors, issuing forth, would form in procession, and march to the place of meeting, there to await further orders. If the members of the Navy remained on board ship over night, those who had received appointments at Commencement, then called the "Marines," were obliged to keep guard while the members slept or caroused.

The operations of the Navy were usually closed with an excursion down the harbor. A vessel well stocked with certain kinds of provisions afforded, with some assistance from the stores of old Ocean, the requisites for a grand clam-bake or a mammoth chowder. The spot usually selected for this entertainment was the shores of Cape Cod. On the third day the party usually returned from their voyage, and their entry into Cambridge was generally accompanied with no little noise and disorder. The Admiral then appointed privately his successor, and the Navy was disbanded for the year.

The exercises of the association varied from year to year. Many of the old customs gradually went out of fashion, until finally but little of the original Navy remained. The officers were, as usual, appointed yearly, but the power of appointing them was transferred to the class, and a public parade was substituted for the forms and ceremonies once peculiar to the society. The excursion down the harbor was omitted for the first time the present year,[57] and the last procession made its appearance in the year 1846.

At present the Navy Club is organized after the parts for the last Senior Exhibition have been assigned. It is composed of three classes of persons; namely, the true NAVY, which consists of those who have never had parts; the MARINES, those who have had a major or second part in the Senior year, but no minor or first part in the Junior; and the HORSE-MARINES, those who have had a minor or first part in the Junior year, but have subsequently fallen off, so as not to get a major or second part in the Senior. Of the Navy officers, the Lord High Admiral is usually he who has been sent from College the greatest number of times; the Vice-Admiral is the poorest scholar in the class; the Rear-Admiral the laziest fellow in the class; the Commodore, one addicted to boating; the Captain, a jolly blade; the Lieutenant and Midshipman, fellows of the same description; the Chaplain, the most profane; the Surgeon, a dabbler in surgery, or in medicine, or anything else; the Ensign, the tallest member of the class; the Boatswain, one most inclined to obscenity; the Drum Major, the most aristocratic, and his assistants, fellows of the same character. These constitute the Band. Such are the general rules of choice, but they are not always followed. The remainder of the class who have had no parts and are not officers of the Navy Club are members, under the name of Privates. On the morning when the parts for Commencement are assigned, the members who receive appointments resign the stations which they have held in the Navy Club. This resignation takes place immediately after the parts have been read to the class. The door-way of the middle entry of Holworthy Hall is the place usually chosen for this affecting scene. The performance is carried on in the mock-oratorical style, a person concealed under a white sheet being placed behind the speaker to make the gestures for him. The names of those members who, having received Commencement appointments, have refused to resign their trusts in the Navy Club, are then read by the Lord High Admiral, and by his authority they are expelled from the society. This closes the exercises of the Club.

The following entertaining account of the last procession, in 1846, has been furnished by a graduate of that year:—

"The class had nearly all assembled, and the procession, which extended through the rooms of the Natural History Society, began to move. The principal officers, as also the whole band, were dressed in full uniform. The Rear-Admiral brought up the rear, as was fitting. He was borne in a sort of triumphal car, composed of something like a couch, elevated upon wheels, and drawn by a white horse. On this his excellency, dressed in uniform, and enveloped in his cloak, reclined at full length. One of the Marines played the part of driver. Behind the car walked a colored man, with a most fantastic head-dress, whose duty it was to carry his Honor the Rear-Admiral's pipe. Immediately before the car walked the other two Marines, with guns on their shoulders. The 'Digs'[58] came immediately before the Marines, preceded by the tallest of their number, carrying a white satin banner, bearing on it, in gold letters, the word 'HARVARD,' with a spade of gold paper fastened beneath. The Digs were all dressed in black, with Oxford caps on their heads, and small iron spades over their shoulders. They walked two and two, except in one instance, namely, that of the first three scholars, who walked together, the last of their brethren, immediately preceding the Marines. The second and third scholars did not carry spades, but pointed shovels, much larger and heavier; while the first scholar, who walked between the other two, carried an enormously great square shovel,—such as is often seen hung out at hardware-stores for a sign,—with 'SPADES AND SHOVELS,' or some such thing, painted on one side, and 'ALL SIZES' on the other. This shovel was about two feet square. The idea of carrying real, bona fide spades and shovels originated wholly in our class. It has always been the custom before to wear a spade, cut out of white paper, on the lapel of the coat. The Navy Privates were dressed in blue shirts, monkey-jackets, &c., and presented a very sailor-like appearance. Two of them carried small kedges over their shoulders. The Ensign bore an old and tattered flag, the same which was originally presented by Miss Mellen of Cambridge to the Harvard Washington Corps. The Chaplain was dressed in a black gown, with an old-fashioned curly white wig on his head, which, with a powdered face, gave him a very sanctimonious look. He carried a large French Bible, which by much use had lost its covers. The Surgeon rode a beast which might well have been taken for the Rosinante of the world-renowned Don Quixote. This worthy AEsculapius had an infinite number of brown-paper bags attached to his person. He was enveloped in an old plaid cloak, with a huge sign for pills fastened upon his shoulders, and carried before him a skull on a staff. His nag was very spirited, so much so as to leap over the chains, posts, &c., and put to flight the crowd assembled to see the fun. The procession, after having cheered all the College buildings, and the houses of the Professors, separated about seven o'clock, P.M."

At first like a badger the Freshman dug, Fed on Latin and Greek, in his room kept snug; And he fondly hoped that on Navy Club day The highest spade he might bear away. MS. Poem, F.E. Felton, Harv. Coll.

NECK. To run one's neck, at Williams College, to trust to luck for the success of any undertaking.

NESCIO. Latin; literally, I do not know. At the University of Cambridge, England, to sport a nescio, to shake the head, a signal that one does not understand or is ignorant of the subject. "After the Senate-House examination for degrees," says Grose, in his Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, "the students proceed to the schools, to be questioned by the proctor. According to custom immemorial, the answers must be Nescio. The following is a translated specimen:—

"Ques. What is your, name? Ans. I do not know.

"Ques. What is the name of this University? Ans. I do not know.

"Ques. Who was your father? Ans. I do not know.

"The last is probably the only true answer of the three!"

NEWLING. In the German universities, a Freshman; one in his first half-year.

NEWY. At Princeton College, a fresh arrival.

NIGHTGOWN. A dressing-gown; a deshabille.

No student shall appear within the limits of the College, or town of Cambridge, in any other dress than in the uniform belonging to his respective class, unless he shall have on a nightgown, or such an outside garment as may be necessary over a coat.—Laws Harv. Coll., 1790.

NOBLEMAN. In the English universities, among the Undergraduates, the nobleman enjoys privileges and exemptions not accorded to others. At Oxford he wears a black-silk gown with full sleeves "couped" at the elbows, and a velvet cap with gold tassel, except on full-dress occasions, when his habit is of violet-figured damask silk, richly bedight with gold lace. At Cambridge he wears the plain black-silk gown and the hat of an M.A., except on feast days and state occasions, when he appears in a gown still more gorgeous than that of a Fellow-Commoner.—Oxford Guide. Bristed.

NO END OF. Bristed records this phrase as an intensive peculiar to the English Cantabs. Its import is obvious "They have no end of tin; i.e. a great deal of money. He is no end of a fool; i.e. the greatest fool possible."—Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 24.

The use of this expression, with a similar signification, is common in some portions of the United States.

NON ENS. Latin; literally not being. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., one who has not been matriculated, though he has resided some time at the University; consequently is not considered as having any being. A Freshman in embryo.—Grad. ad Cantab.

NON PARAVI. Latin; literally, I have not prepared. When Latin was spoken in the American colleges, this excuse was commonly given by scholars not prepared for recitation.

With sleepy eyes and countenance heavy, With much excuse of non paravi. Trumbull's Progress of Dullness, 1794, p. 8.

The same excuse is now frequently given in English.

The same individuals were also observed to be "not prepared" for the morning's recitation.—Harvardiana, Vol. II. p. 261.

I hear you whispering, with white lips, "Not prepared, sir."—Burial of Euclid, 1850, p. 9.

NON PLACET. Latin; literally, It is not pleasing. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., the term in which a negative vote is given in the Senate-House.

To non-placet, with the meaning of the verb to reject, is sometimes used in familiar language.

A classical examiner, having marked two candidates belonging to his own College much higher than the other three examiners did, was suspected of partiality to them, and non-placeted (rejected) next year when he came up for approval.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 231.


The result of the May decides whether he will go out in honors or not,—that is, whether he will be a reading or a non-reading man.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 85.

NON-REGENT. In the English universities, a term applied to those Masters of Arts whose regency has ceased.—Webster.


NON-TERM. "When any member of the Senate," says the Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, "dies within the University during term, on application to the Vice-Chancellor, the University bell rings an hour; from which period Non-Term, as to public lectures and disputations, commences for three days."

NON VALUI. Latin; literally, I was sick. At Harvard College, when the students were obliged to speak Latin, it was usual for them to give the excuse non valui for almost every absence or omission. The President called upon delinquents for their excuses in the chapel, after morning prayers, and these words were often pronounced so broadly as to sound like non volui, I did not wish [to go]. The quibble was not perceived for a long time, and was heartily enjoyed, as may be well supposed, by those who made use of it.

[Greek: Nous]. Greek; sense. A word adopted by, and in use among, students.

He is a lad of more [Greek: nous], and keeps better company.—Pref. to Grad. ad Cantab.

Getting the better of them in anything which required the smallest exertion of [Greek: nous], was like being first in a donkey-race. —Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 30.

NUMBER FIFTY, NUMBER FORTY-NINE. At Trinity College, Hartford, the privies are known by these names. Jarvis Hall contains forty-eight rooms, and the numbers forty-nine and fifty follow in numerical continuation, but with a different application.

NUMBER TEN. At the Wesleyan University, the names "No. 10, and, as a sort of derivative, No. 1001, are applied to the privy." The former title is used also at the University of Vermont, and at Dartmouth College.

NUTS. A correspondent from Williams College says, "We speak of a person whom we despise as being a nuts." This word is used in the Yorkshire dialect with the meaning of a "silly fellow." Mr. Halliwell, in his Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, remarks: "It is not applied to an idiot, but to one who has been doing a foolish action."


OAK. In the English universities, the outer door of a student's room.

No man has a right to attack the rooms of one with whom he is not in the habit of intimacy. From ignorance of this axiom I had near got a horse-whipping, and was kicked down stairs for going to a wrong oak, whose tenant was not in the habit of taking jokes of this kind.—The Etonian, Vol. II. p. 287.

A pecker, I must explain, is a heavy pointed hammer for splitting large coals; an instrument often put into requisition to force open an oak (an outer door), when the key of the spring latch happens to be left inside, and the scout has gone away.—The Collegian's Guide, p. 119.

Every set of rooms is provided with an oak or outer door, with a spring lock, of which the master has one latch-key, and the servant another.—Ibid., p. 141.

"To sport oak, or a door," says the Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, "is, in the modern phrase, to exclude duns, or other unpleasant intruders." It generally signifies, however, nothing more than locking or fastening one's door for safety or convenience.

I always "sported my oak" whenever I went out; and if ever I found any article removed from its usual place, I inquired for it; and thus showed I knew where everything was last placed.—Collegian's Guide, p. 141.

If you persist, and say you cannot join them, you must sport your oak, and shut yourself into your room, and all intruders out.—Ibid., p. 340.

Used also in some American colleges.

And little did they dream who knocked hard and often at his oak in vain, &c.—Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. X. p. 47.

OATHS. At Yale College, those who were engaged in the government were formerly required to take the oaths of allegiance and abjuration appointed by the Parliament of England. In his Discourse before the Graduates of Yale College, President Woolsey gives the following account of this obligation:—

"The charter of 1745 imposed another test in the form of a political oath upon all governing officers in the College. They were required before they undertook the execution of their trusts, or within three months after, 'publicly in the College hall [to] take the oaths, and subscribe the declaration, appointed by an act of Parliament made in the first year of George the First, entitled, An Act for the further security of his Majesty's person and government, and the succession of the Crown in the heirs of the late Princess Sophia, being Protestants, and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales, and his open and secret abettors.' We cannot find the motive for prescribing this oath of allegiance and abjuration in the Protestant zeal which was enkindled by the second Pretender's movements in England,—for, although belonging to this same year 1745, these movements were subsequent to the charter,—but rather in the desire of removing suspicion of disloyalty, and conforming the practice in the College to that required by the law in the English universities. This oath was taken until it became an unlawful one, when the State assumed complete sovereignty at the Revolution. For some years afterwards, the officers took the oath of fidelity to the State of Connecticut, and I believe that the last instance of this occurred at the very end of the eighteenth century."—p. 40.

In the Diary of President Stiles, under the date of July 8, 1778, is the annexed entry, in which is given the formula of the oath required by the State:—

"The oath of fidelity administered to me by the Hon. Col. Hamlin, one of the Council of the State of Connecticut, at my inauguration.

"'You, Ezra Stiles, do swear by the name of the ever-living God, that you will be true and faithful to the State of Connecticut, as a free and independent State, and in all things do your duty as a good and faithful subject of the said State, in supporting the rights, liberties, and privileges of the same. So help you God.'

"This oath, substituted instead of that of allegiance to the King by the Assembly of Connecticut, May, 1777, to be taken by all in this State; and so it comes into use in Yale College."—Woolsey's Hist. Discourse, Appendix, p. 117.

[Greek: Hoi Aristoi.] Greek; literally, the bravest. At Princeton College, the aristocrats, or would-be aristocrats, are so called.

[Greek: Hoi Polloi.] Greek; literally, the many.


OLD BURSCH. A name given in the German universities to a student during his fourth term. Students of this term are also designated Old Ones.

As they came forward, they were obliged to pass under a pair of naked swords, held crosswise by two Old Ones.—Longfellow's Hyperion, p. 110.

OLD HOUSE. A name given in the German universities to a student during his fifth term.

OPPONENCY. The opening of an academical disputation; the proposition of objections to a tenet; an exercise for a degree.—Todd.

Mr. Webster remarks, "I believe not used in America."

In the old times, the university discharged this duty [teaching] by means of the public readings or lectures,... and by the keeping of acts and opponencies—being certain viva voce disputations —by the students.—The English Universities and their Reforms, in Blackwood's Magazine, Feb. 1849.

OPPONENT. In universities and colleges, where disputations are carried on, the opponent is, in technical application, the person who begins the dispute by raising objections to some tenet or doctrine.

OPTIME. The title of those who stand in the second and third ranks of honors, immediately after the Wranglers, in the University of Cambridge, Eng. They are called respectively Senior and Junior Optimes.


OPTIONAL. At some American colleges, the student is obliged to pursue during a part of the course such studies as are prescribed. During another portion of the course, he is allowed to select from certain branches those which he desires to follow. The latter are called optional studies. In familiar conversation and writing, the word optional is used alone.

For optional will come our way, And lectures furnish time to play, 'Neath elm-tree shade to smoke all day. Songs, Biennial Jubilee, Yale Coll., 1855.

ORIGINAL COMPOSITION. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., an essay or theme written by a student in Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, is termed original composition.

Composition there is of course, but more Latin than Greek, and some original Composition.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 137.

Original Composition—that is, Composition in the true sense of the word—in the dead languages is not much practised.—Ibid., p. 185.

OVERSEER. The general government of the colleges in the United States is vested in some instances in a Corporation, in others in a Board of Trustees or Overseers, or, as in the case of Harvard College, in the two combined. The duties of the Overseers are, generally, to pass such orders and statutes as seem to them necessary for the prosperity of the college whose affairs they oversee, to dispose of its funds in such a manner as will be most advantageous, to appoint committees to visit it and examine the students connected with it, to ratify the appointment of instructors, and to hear such reports of the proceedings of the college government as require their concurrence.

OXFORD. The cap worn by the members of the University of Oxford, England, is called an Oxford or Oxford cap. The same is worn at some American colleges on Exhibition and Commencement Days. In shape, it is square and flat, covered with black cloth; from the centre depends a tassel of black cord. It is further described in the following passage.

My back equipped, it was not fair My head should 'scape, and so, as square As chessboard, A cap I bought, my skull to screen, Of cloth without, and all within Of pasteboard. Terrae-Filius, Vol. II. p. 225.

Thunders of clapping!—As he bows, on high "Praeses" his "Oxford" doffs, and bows reply. Childe Harvard, p. 36.

It is sometimes called a trencher cap, from its shape.

See CAP.

OXFORD-MIXED. Cloth such as is worn at the University of Oxford, England. The students in Harvard College were formerly required to wear this kind of cloth as their uniform. The color is given in the following passage: "By black-mixed (called also Oxford-mixed) is understood, black with a mixture of not more than one twentieth, nor less than one twenty-fifth, part of white."—Laws of Harv. Coll., 1826, p. 25.

He generally dresses in Oxford-mixed pantaloons, and a brown surtout.—Collegian, p. 240.

It has disappeared along with Commons, the servility of Freshmen and brutality of Sophomores, the Oxford-mixed uniform and buttons of the same color.—Harv. Mag., Vol. I. p. 263.

OXONIAN. A student or graduate of the University of Oxford, England.


PANDOWDY BAND. A correspondent writing from Bowdoin College says: "We use the word pandowdy, and we have a custom of pandowdying. The Pandowdy Band, as it is called, has no regular place nor time of meeting. The number of performers varies from half a dozen and less to fifty or more. The instruments used are commonly horns, drums, tin-kettles, tongs, shovels, triangles, pumpkin-vines, &c. The object of the band is serenading Professors who have rendered themselves obnoxious to students; and sometimes others,—frequently tutors are entertained by 'heavenly music' under their windows, at dead of night. This is regarded on all hands as an unequivocal expression of the feelings of the students.

"The band corresponds to the Calliathump of Yale. Its name is a burlesque on the Pandean Band which formerly existed in this college."


PAPE. Abbreviated from PAPER, q.v.

Old Hamlen, the printer, he got out the papes. Presentation Day Songs, Yale Coll., June 14, 1854.

But Soph'more "papes," and Soph'more scrapes, Have long since passed away.—Ibid.

PAPER. In the English Universities, a sheet containing certain questions, to which answers are to be given, is called a paper.

To beat a paper, is to get more than full marks for it. In explanation of this "apparent Hibernicism," Bristed remarks: "The ordinary text-books are taken as the standard of excellence, and a very good man will sometimes express the operations more neatly and cleverly than they are worded in these books, in which case he is entitled to extra marks for style."—Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 238.

2. This name is applied at Yale College to the printed scheme which is used at the Biennial Examinations. Also, at Harvard College, to the printed sheet by means of which the examination for entrance is conducted.

PARCHMENT. A diploma, from the substance on which it is usually printed, is in familiar language sometimes called a parchment.

There are some, who, relying not upon the "parchment and seal" as a passport to favor, bear that with them which shall challenge notice and admiration.—Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. III. p. 365.

The passer-by, unskilled in ancient lore, Whose hands the ribboned parchment never bore. Class Poem at Harv. Coll., 1835, p. 7.


PARIETAL. From Latin paries, a wall; properly, a partition-wall, from the root of part or pare. Pertaining to a wall.—Webster.

At Harvard College the officers resident within the College walls constitute a permanent standing committee, called the Parietal Committee. They have particular cognizance of all tardinesses at prayers and Sabbath services, and of all offences against good order and decorum. They are allowed to deduct from the rank of a student, not exceeding one hundred for one offence. In case any offence seems to them to require a higher punishment than deduction, it is reported to the Faculty.—Laws, 1850, App.

Had I forgotten, alas! the stern parietal monitions? Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 98.

The chairman of the Parietal Committee is often called the Parietal Tutor.

I see them shaking their fists in the face of the parietal tutor.—Oration before H.L. of I.O. of O.F., 1849.

The members of the committee are called, in common parlance, Parietals.

Four rash and inconsiderate proctors, two tutors, and five parietals, each with a mug and pail in his hand, in their great haste to arrive at the scene of conflagration, ran over the Devil, and knocked him down stairs.—Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 124.

And at the loud laugh of thy gurgling throat, The parietals would forget themselves. Ibid., Vol. III. p. 399 et passim.

Did not thy starting eyeballs think to see Some goblin parietal grin at thee? Ibid., Vol. IV. p. 197.

The deductions made by the Parietal Committee are also called Parietals.

How now, ye secret, dark, and tuneless chanters, What is 't ye do? Beware the parietals. Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 44.

Reckon on the fingers of your mind the reprimands, deductions, parietals, and privates in store for you.—Orat. H.L. of I.O. of O.F., 1848.

The accent of this word is on the antepenult; by poetic license, in four of the passages above quoted, it is placed on the penult.

PART. A literary appointment assigned to a student to be kept at an Exhibition or Commencement. In Harvard College as soon as the parts for an Exhibition or Commencement are assigned, the subjects and the names of the performers are given to some member of one of the higher classes, who proceeds to read them to the students from a window of one of the buildings, after proposing the usual "three cheers" for each of the classes, designating them by the years in which they are to graduate. As the name of each person who has a part assigned him is read, the students respond with cheers. This over, the classes are again cheered, the reader of the parts is applauded, and the crowd disperses except when the mock parts are read, or the officers of the Navy Club resign their trusts.

Referring to the proceedings consequent upon the announcement of appointments, Professor Sidney Willard, in his late work, entitled "Memories of Youth and Manhood," says of Harvard College: "The distribution of parts to be performed at public exhibitions by the students was, particularly for the Commencement exhibition, more than fifty years ago, as it still is, one of the most exciting events of College life among those immediately interested, in which parents and near friends also deeply sympathized with them. These parts were communicated to the individuals appointed to perform them by the President, who gave to them, severally, a paper with the name of the person and of the part assigned, and the subject to be written upon. But they were not then, as in recent times, after being thus communicated by the President, proclaimed by a voluntary herald of stentorian lungs, mounted on the steps of one of the College halls, to the assembled crowd of students. Curiosity, however, was all alive. Each one's part was soon ascertained; the comparative merits of those who obtained the prizes were discussed in groups; prompt judgments were pronounced, that A had received a higher prize than he could rightfully claim, and that B was cruelly wronged; that some were unjustly passed over, and others raised above them through partiality. But at whatever length their discussion might have been prolonged, they would have found it difficult in solemn conclave to adjust the distribution to their own satisfaction, while severally they deemed themselves competent to measure the degree in the scale of merit to which each was entitled."—Vol. I. pp. 328, 329.

I took but little pains with these exercises myself, lest I should appear to be anxious for "parts."—Monthly Anthology, Boston, 1804, Vol. I. p. 154.

Often, too, the qualifications for a part ... are discussed in the fireside circles so peculiar to college.—Harv. Reg., p. 378.

The refusal of a student to perform the part assigned him will be regarded as a high offence.—Laws Univ. at Cam., Mass., 1848, p. 19.

Young men within the College walls are incited to good conduct and diligence, by the system of awarding parts, as they are called, at the exhibitions which take place each year, and at the annual Commencement.—Eliot's Sketch of Hist. Harv. Coll., pp. 114, 115.

It is very common to speak of getting parts.

Here Are acres of orations, and so forth, The glorious nonsense that enchants young hearts With all the humdrumology of "getting parts." Our Chronicle of '26, Boston, 1827, p. 28.

See under MOCK-PART and NAVY CLUB.

PASS. At Oxford, permission to receive the degree of B.A. after passing the necessary examinations.

The good news of the pass will be a set-off against the few small debts.—Collegian's Guide, p. 254.

PASS EXAMINATION. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., an examination which is required for the B.A. degree. Of these examinations there are three during a student's undergraduateship.

Even the examinations which are disparagingly known as "pass" ones, the Previous, the Poll, and (since the new regulations) the Junior Optime, require more than half marks on their papers.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 319.

PASSMAN. At Oxford, one who merely passes his examination, and obtains testimonials for a degree, but is not able to obtain any honors or distinctions. Opposed to CLASSMAN, q.v.

"Have the passmen done their paper work yet?" asked Whitbread. "However, the schools, I dare say, will not be open to the classmen till Monday."—Collegian's Guide, p. 309.

PATRON. At some of the Colleges in the United States, the patron is appointed to take charge of the funds, and to regulate the expenses, of students who reside at a distance. Formerly, students who came within this provision were obliged to conform to the laws in reference to the patron; it is now left optional.

P.D. An abbreviation of Philosophiae Doctor, Doctor of Philosophy. "In the German universities," says Brande, "the title 'Doctor Philosophiae' has long been substituted for Baccalaureus Artium or Literarium."

PEACH. To inform against; to communicate facts by way of accusation.

It being rather advisable to enter college before twelve, or to stay out all night, bribing the bed-maker next morning not to peach.—Alma Mater, Vol. I. p. 190.

When, by a little spying, I can reach The height of my ambition, I must peach. The Gallinipper, Dec. 1849.

PEMBROKER. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., a member of Pembroke College.

The Pembroker was booked to lead the Tripos.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 158.

PENE. Latin, almost, nearly. A candidate for admission to the Freshman Class is called a Pene, that is, almost a Freshman.

PENNILESS BENCH. Archdeacon Nares, in his Glossary, says of this phrase: "A cant term for a state of poverty. There was a public seat so called in Oxford; but I fancy it was rather named from the common saying, than that derived from it."

Bid him bear up, he shall not Sit long on penniless bench. Mass. City Mad., IV. 1.

That everie stool he sate on was pennilesse bench, that his robes were rags.—Euphues and his Engl., D. 3.

PENSIONER. French, pensionnaire, one who pays for his board. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., and in that of Dublin, a student of the second rank, who is not dependent on the foundation for support, but pays for his board and other charges. Equivalent to COMMONER at Oxford, or OPPIDANT of Eton school.—Brande. Gent. Mag., 1795.

PERUVIAN. At the University of Vermont, a name by which the students designate a lady; e.g., "There are two hundred Peruvians at the Seminary"; or, "The Peruvians are in the observatory." As illustrative of the use of this word, a correspondent observes: "If John Smith has a particular regard for any one of the Burlington ladies, and Tom Brown happens to meet the said lady in his town peregrinations, when he returns to College, if he meets John Smith, he (Tom) says to John, 'In yonder village I espied a Peruvian'; by which John understands that Tom has had the very great pleasure of meeting John's Dulcinea."

PETTY COMPOUNDER. At Oxford, one who pays more than ordinary fees for his degree.

"A Petty Compounder," says the Oxford University Calendar, "must possess ecclesiastical income of the annual value of five shillings, or property of any other description amounting in all to the sum of five pounds, per annum."—Ed. 1832, p. 92.

PHEEZE, or FEEZE. At the University of Vermont, to pledge. If a student is pledged to join any secret society, he is said to be pheezed or feezed.

PHI BETA KAPPA. The fraternity of the [Greek: Phi Beta Kappa] "was imported," says Allyn in his Ritual, "into this country from France, in the year 1776; and, as it is said, by Thomas Jefferson, late President of the United States." It was originally chartered as a society in William and Mary College, in Virginia, and was organized at Yale College, Nov. 13th, 1780. By virtue of a charter formally executed by the president, officers, and members of the original society, it was established soon after at Harvard College, through the influence of Mr. Elisha Parmele, a graduate of the year 1778. The first meeting in Cambridge was held Sept. 5th, 1781. The original Alpha of Virginia is now extinct.

"Its objects," says Mr. Quincy, in his History of Harvard University, "were the 'promotion of literature and friendly intercourse among scholars'; and its name and motto indicate, that 'philosophy, including therein religion as well as ethics, is worthy of cultivation as the guide of life.' This society took an early and a deep root in the University; its exercises became public, and admittance into it an object of ambition; but the 'discrimination' which its selection of members made among students, became an early subject of question and discontent. In October, 1789, a committee of the Overseers, of which John Hancock was chairman, reported to that board, 'that there is an institution in the University, with the nature of which the government is not acquainted, which tends to make a discrimination among the students'; and submitted to the board 'the propriety of inquiring into its nature and designs.' The subject occasioned considerable debate, and a petition, of the nature of a complaint against the society, by a number of the members of the Senior Class, having been presented, its consideration was postponed, and it was committed; but it does not appear from the records, that any further notice was taken of the petition. The influence of the society was upon the whole deemed salutary, since literary merit was assumed as the principle on which its members were selected; and, so far, its influence harmonized with the honorable motives to exertion which have ever been held out to the students by the laws and usages of the College. In process of time, its catalogue included almost every member of the Immediate Government, and fairness in the selection of members has been in a great degree secured by the practice it has adopted, of ascertaining those in every class who stand the highest, in point of conduct and scholarship, according to the estimates of the Faculty of the College, and of generally regarding those estimates. Having gradually increased in numbers, popularity, and importance, the day after Commencement was adopted for its annual celebration. These occasions have uniformly attracted a highly intelligent and cultivated audience, having been marked by a display of learning and eloquence, and having enriched the literature of the country with some of its brightest gems."—Vol. II. p. 398.

The immediate members of the society at Cambridge were formerly accustomed to hold semi-monthly meetings, the exercises of which were such as are usual in literary associations. At present, meetings are seldom held except for the purpose of electing members. Affiliated societies have been established at Dartmouth, Union, and Bowdoin Colleges, at Brown and the Wesleyan Universities, at the Western Reserve College, at the University of Vermont, and at Amherst College, and they number among their members many of the most distinguished men in our country. The letters which constitute the name of the society are the initials of its motto, [Greek: Philosophia, Biou Kubernaetaes], Philosophy, the Guide of Life.

A further account of this society may be found in Allyn's Ritual of Freemasonry, ed. 1831, pp. 296-302.

PHILISTINE. In Germany this name, or what corresponds to it in that country, Philister, is given by the students to tradesmen and others not belonging to the university.

Und hat der Bursch kein Geld im Beutel, So pumpt er die Philister an.

And has the Bursch his cash expended? To sponge the Philistine's his plan. The Crambambuli Song.

Mr. Halliwell, in his Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, says of this word, "a cant term applied to bailiffs, sheriffs' officers, and drunkards." The idea of narrowmindedness, a contracted mode of thinking, and meanness, is usually connected with it, and in some colleges in the United States the name has been given to those whose characters correspond with this description.


PHRASING. Reciting by, or giving the words or phraseology of the book, without understanding their meaning.

Never should you allow yourself to think of going into the recitation-room, and there trust to "skinning it," as it is called in some colleges, or "phrasing," as in others.—Todd's Students Manual, p. 115.

PIECE. "Be it known, at Cambridge the various Commons and other places open for the gymnastic games, and the like public amusements, are usually denominated Pieces."—Alma Mater, London, 1827, Vol. II. p. 49.

PIETAS ET GRATULATIO. On the death of George the Second, and accession of George the Third, Mr. Bernard, Governor of Massachusetts, suggested to Harvard College "the expediency of expressing sympathy and congratulation on these events, in conformity with the practice of the English universities." Accordingly, on Saturday, March 14, 1761, there was placed in the Chapel of Harvard College the following "Proposal for a Celebration of the Death of the late King, and the Accession of his present Majesty, by members of Harvard College."

"Six guineas are given for a prize of a guinea each to the Author of the best composition of the following several kinds:—1. A Latin Oration. 2. A Latin Poem, in hexameters. 3. A Latin Elegy, in hexameters and pentameters. 4 A Latin Ode. 5. An English Poem, in long verse. 6. An English Ode.

"Other Compositions, besides those that obtain the prizes, that are most deserving, will be taken particular notice of.

"The candidates are to be, all, Gentlemen who are now members of said College, or have taken a degree within seven years.

"Any Candidate may deliver two or more compositions of different kinds, but not more than one of the same kind.

"That Gentlemen may be more encouraged to try their talents upon this occasion, it is proposed that the names of the Candidates shall be kept secret, except those who shall be adjudged to deserve the prizes, or to have particular notice taken of their Compositions, and even these shall be kept secret if desired.

"For this purpose, each Candidate is desired to send his Composition to the President, on or before the first day of July next, subscribed at the bottom with, a feigned name or motto, and, in a distinct paper, to write his own name and seal it up, writing the feigned name or motto on the outside. None of the sealed papers containing the real names will be opened, except those that are adjudged to obtain the prizes or to deserve particular notice; the rest will be burned sealed."

This proposal resulted in a work entitled, "Pietas et Gratulatio Collegii Cantabrigiensis apud Novanglos." In January, 1762, the Corporation passed a vote, "that the collections in prose and verse in several languages composed by some of the members of the College, on the motion of his Excellency our Governor, Francis Bernard, Esq., on occasion of the death of his late Majesty, and the accession of his present Majesty, be printed; and that his Excellency be desired to send, if he shall judge it proper, a copy of the same to Great Britain, to be presented to his Majesty, in the name of the Corporation."

Quincy thus speaks of the collection:—"Governor Bernard not only suggested the work, but contributed to it. Five of the thirty-one compositions, of which it consists, were from his pen. The Address to the King is stated to have been written by him, or by Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson. Its style and turn of thought indicate the politician rather than the student, and savor of the senate-chamber more than of the academy. The classical and poetic merits of the work bear a fair comparison with those of European universities on similar occasions, allowance being made for the difference in the state of science and literature in the respective countries; and it is the most creditable specimen extant of the art of printing, at that period, in the Colonies. The work is respectfully noticed by the 'Critical' and 'Monthly' Reviews, and an Ode of the President is pronounced by both to be written in a style truly Horatian. In the address prefixed, the hope is expressed, that, as 'English colleges have had kings for their nursing fathers, and queens for their nursing mothers, this of North America might experience the royal munificence, and look up to the throne for favor and patronage.' In May, 1763, letters were received from Jasper Mauduit, agent of the Province, mentioning 'the presentation to his Majesty of the book of verses from the College,' but the records give no indication of the manner in which it was received. The thoughts of George the Third were occupied, not with patronizing learning in the Colonies, but with deriving revenue from them, and Harvard College was indebted to him for no act of acknowledgment or munificence."—Quincy's Hist. of Harv. Univ., Vol. II. pp. 103-105.

The Charleston Courier, in an article entitled "Literary Sparring," says of this production:—"When, as late as 1761, Harvard University sent forth, in Greek, Latin, and English, its congratulations on the accession of George the Third to the throne, it was called, in England, a curiosity."—Buckingham's Miscellanies from the Public Journals, Vol. I. p. 103.

Mr. Kendall, an English traveller, who visited Cambridge in the year 1807-8, notices this work as follows:—"In the year 1761, on the death of George the Second and the accession of his present Majesty, Harvard College, or, as on this occasion it styles itself, Cambridge College, produced a volume of tributary verses, in English, Latin, and Greek, entitled, Pietas et Gratulatio Collegii Cantabrigiensis apud Novanglos; and this collection, the first received, and, as it has since appeared, the last to be received, from this seminary, by an English king, was cordially welcomed by the critical journals of the time."—Kendall's Travels, Vol. III. p. 12.

For further remarks, consult the Monthly Review, Vol. XXIX. p. 22; Critical Review, Vol. X. p. 284; and the Monthly Anthology, Vol. VI. pp. 422-427; Vol. VII. p. 67.

PILL. In English Cantab parlance, twaddle, platitude.—Bristed.

PIMP. To do little, mean actions for the purpose of gaining favor with a superior, as, in college, with an instructor. The verb with this meaning is derived from the adjective pimping, which signifies little, petty.

Did I not promise those who fished And pimped most, any part they wished. The Rebelliad, p. 33.

PISCATORIAN. From the Latin piscator, a fisherman. One who seeks or gains favor with a teacher by being officious toward him.

This word was much used at Harvard College in the year 1822, and for a few years after; it is now very seldom heard.

See under FISH.

PIT. In the University of Cambridge, the place in St. Mary's Church reserved for the accommodation of Masters of Arts and Fellow-Commoners is jocularly styled the pit.—Grad. ad Cantab.

PLACE. In the older American colleges, the situation of a student in the class of which he was a member was formerly decided, in a measure, by the rank and circumstances of his family; this was called placing. The Hon. Paine Wingate, who graduated at Harvard College in the year 1759, says, in one of his letters to Mr. Peirce:—

"You inquire of me whether any regard was paid to a student on account of the rank of his parent, otherwise than his being arranged or placed in the order of his class?

"The right of precedence on every occasion is an object of importance in the state of society. And there is scarce anything which more sensibly affects the feelings of ambition than the rank which a man is allowed to hold. This excitement was generally called up whenever a class in college was placed. The parents were not wholly free from influence; but the scholars were often enraged beyond bounds for their disappointment in their place, and it was some time before a class could be settled down to an acquiescence in their allotment. The highest and the lowest in the class was often ascertained more easily (though not without some difficulty) than the intermediate members of the class, where there was room for uncertainty whose claim was best, and where partiality, no doubt, was sometimes indulged. But I must add, that, although the honor of a place in the class was chiefly ideal, yet there were some substantial advantages. The higher part of the class had generally the most influential friends, and they commonly had the best chambers in College assigned to them. They had also a right to help themselves first at table in Commons, and I believe generally, wherever there was occasional precedence allowed, it was very freely yielded to the higher of the class by those who were below.

"The Freshman Class was, in my day at college, usually placed (as it was termed) within six or nine months after their admission. The official notice of this was given by having their names written in a large German text, in a handsome style, and placed in a conspicuous part of the College Buttery, where the names of the four classes of undergraduates were kept suspended until they left College. If a scholar was expelled, his name was taken from its place; or if he was degraded (which was considered the next highest punishment to expulsion), it was moved accordingly. As soon as the Freshmen were apprised of their places, each one took his station according to the new arrangement at recitation, and at Commons, and in the Chapel, and on all other occasions. And this arrangement was never afterward altered, either in College or in the Catalogue, however the rank of their parents might be varied. Considering how much dissatisfaction was often excited by placing the classes (and I believe all other colleges had laid aside the practice), I think that it was a judicious expedient in Harvard to conform to the custom of putting the names in alphabetical order, and they have accordingly so remained since the year 1772."—Peirce's Hist. of Harv. Univ., pp. 308-811.

In his "Annals of Yale College," Ebenezer Baldwin observes on the subject: "Doctor Dwight, soon after his election to the Presidency [1795], effected various important alterations in the collegiate laws. The statutes of the institution had been chiefly adopted from those of European universities, where the footsteps of monarchical regulation were discerned even in the walks of science. So difficult was it to divest the minds of wise men of the influence of venerable follies, that the printed catalogues of students, until the year 1768, were arranged according to respectability of parentage."—p. 147.


PLACET. Latin; literally, it is pleasing. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., the term in which an affirmative vote is given in the Senate-House.

PLUCK. In the English universities, a refusal of testimonials for a degree.

The origin of this word is thus stated in the Collegian's Guide: "At the time of conferring a degree, just as the name of each man to be presented to the Vice-Chancellor is read out, a proctor walks once up and down, to give any person who can object to the degree an opportunity of signifying his dissent, which is done by plucking or pulling the proctor's gown. Hence another and more common mode of stopping a degree, by refusing the testamur, or certificate of proficiency, is also called plucking."—p. 203.

On the same word, the author in another place remarks as follows: "As long back as my memory will carry me, down to the present day, there has been scarcely a monosyllable in our language which seemed to convey so stinging a reproach, or to let a man down in the general estimation half as much, as this one word PLUCK."—p. 288.

PLUCKED. A cant term at the English universities, applied to those who, for want of scholarship, are refused their testimonials for a degree.—Oxford Guide.

Who had at length scrambled through the pales and discipline of the Senate-House without being plucked, and miraculously obtained the title of A.B.—Gent. Mag., 1795, p. 19.

O what a misery is it to be plucked! Not long since, an undergraduate was driven mad by it, and committed suicide.—The term itself is contemptible: it is associated with the meanest, the most stupid and spiritless animals of creation. When we hear of a man being plucked, we think he is necessarily a goose.—Collegian's Guide, p. 288.

Poor Lentulus, twice plucked, some happy day Just shuffles through, and dubs himself B.A. The College, in Blackwood's Mag., May, 1849.

POKER. At Oxford, Eng., a cant name for a bedel.

If the visitor see an unusual "state" walking about, in shape of an individual preceded by a quantity of pokers, or, which is the same thing, men, that is bedels, carrying maces, jocularly called pokers, he may be sure that that individual is the Vice-Chancellor. Oxford Guide, 1847, p. xii.

POLE. At Princeton and Union Colleges, to study hard, e.g. to pole out the lesson. To pole on a composition, to take pains with it.

POLER. One who studies hard; a close student. As a boat is impelled with poles, so is the student by poling, and it is perhaps from this analogy that the word poler is applied to a diligent student.

POLING. Close application to study; diligent attention to the specified pursuits of college.

A writer defines poling, "wasting the midnight oil in company with a wine-bottle, box of cigars, a 'deck of eucre,' and three kindred spirits," thus leaving its real meaning to be deduced from its opposite.—Sophomore Independent, Union College, Nov., 1854.

POLL. Abbreviated from POLLOI.

Several declared that they would go out in "the Poll" (among the [Greek: polloi], those not candidates for honors).—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 62.

At Cambridge, those candidates for a degree who do not aspire to honors are said to go out in the poll; this being the abbreviated term to denote those who were classically designated [Greek: hoi polloi].—The English Universities and their Reforms, in Blackwood's Magazine, Feb. 1849.

POLLOI. [Greek: Hoi Polloi], the many. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., those who take their degree without any honor. After residing something more than three years at this University, at the conclusion of the tenth term comes off the final examination in the Senate-House. He who passes this examination in the best manner is called Senior Wrangler. "Then follow about twenty, all called Wranglers, arranged in the order of merit. Two other ranks of honors are there,—Senior Optimes and Junior Optimes, each containing about twenty. The last Junior Optime is termed the Wooden Spoon. Then comes the list of the large majority, called the Hoy Polloi, the first of whom is named the Captain of the Poll, and the twelve last, the Apostles."—Alma Mater, Vol. I. p. 3.

2. Used by students to denote the rabble.

On Learning's sea, his hopes of safety buoy, He sinks for ever lost among the [Greek: hoi polloi]. The Crayon, Yale Coll., 1823, p. 21.


PONY. A translation. So called, it may be, from the fleetness and ease with which a skilful rider is enabled to pass over places which to a common plodder present many obstacles.

One writer jocosely defines this literary nag as "the animal that ambulates so delightfully through all the pleasant paths of knowledge, from whose back the student may look down on the weary pedestrian, and 'thank his stars' that 'he who runs may read.'"—Sophomore Independent, Union College, Nov. 1854

And stick to the law, Tom, without a Pony.—Harv. Reg., p. 194.

And when leaving, leave behind us Ponies for a lower class; Ponies, which perhaps another, Toiling up the College hill, A forlorn, a "younger brother," "Riding," may rise higher still. Poem before the Y.H. Soc., 1849, p. 12.

Their lexicons, ponies, and text-books were strewed round their lamps on the table.—A Tour through College, Boston, 1832, p. 30.

In the way of "pony," or translation, to the Greek of Father Griesbach, the New Testament was wonderfully convenient.—New England Magazine, Vol. III. p. 208.

The notes are just what notes should be; they are not a pony, but a guide.—Southern Lit. Mess.

Instead of plodding on foot along the dusty, well-worn McAdam of learning, why will you take nigh cuts on ponies?—Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XIII. p. 281.

The "board" requests that all who present themselves will bring along the ponies they have used since their first entrance into College.—The Gallinipper, Dec. 1849.

The tutors with ponies their lessons were learning. Yale Banger, Nov. 1850.

We do think, that, with such a team of "ponies" and load of commentators, his instruction might evince more accuracy.—Yale Tomahawk, Feb. 1851.

In knowledge's road ye are but asses, While we on ponies ride before. Songs of Yale, 1853, p. 7.

PONY. To use a translation.

We learn that they do not pony their lessons.—Yale Tomahawk, May, 1852.

If you pony, he will see, And before the Faculty You will surely summoned be. Songs of Yale, 1853, p. 23.

POPPING. At William and Mary College, getting the advantage over another in argument is called popping him.

POPULARITY. In the college use, favor of one's classmates, or of the members of all the classes, generally. Nowhere is this term employed so often, and with so much significance, as among collegians. The first wish of the Freshman is to be popular, and the desire does not leave him during all his college life. For remarks on this subject, see the Literary Miscellany, Vol. II. p. 56; Amherst Indicator, Vol. II. p. 123, et passim.

PORTIONIST. One who has a certain academical allowance or portion. —Webster.


POSTED. Rejected in a college examination. Term used at the University of Cambridge, Eng.—Bristed.

Fifty marks will prevent one from being "posted" but there are always two or three too stupid as well as idle to save their "Post." These drones are posted separately, as "not worthy to be classed," and privately slanged afterwards by the Master and Seniors. Should a man be posted twice in succession, he is generally recommended to try the air of some Small College, or devote his energies to some other walk of life.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 74.

POSTMASTER. In Merton College, Oxford, the scholars who are supported on the foundation are called Postmasters, or Portionists (Portionistae).—Oxf. Guide.

The postmasters anciently performed the duties of choristers, and their payment for this duty was six shillings and fourpence per annum.—Oxford Guide, Ed. 1847, p. 36.

POW-WOW. At Yale College on the evening of Presentation Day, the Seniors being excused from further attendance at prayers, the classes who remain change their seats in the chapel. It was formerly customary for the Freshmen, on taking the Sophomore seats, to signalize the event by appearing at chapel in grotesque dresses. The impropriety of such conduct has abolished this custom, but on the recurrence of the day, a uniformity is sometimes observable in the paper collars or white neck-cloths of the in-coming Sophomores, as they file in at vespers. During the evening, the Freshmen are accustomed to assemble on the steps of the State-House, and celebrate the occasion by speeches, a torch-light procession, and the accompaniment of a band of music.

The students are forbidden to occupy the State-House steps on the evening of Presentation Day, since the Faculty design hereafter to have a Pow-wow there, as on the last.—Burlesque Catalogue, Yale Coll., 1852-53, p. 35.

PRAESES. The Latin for President.

"Praeses" his "Oxford" doffs, and bows reply. Childe Harvard, p. 36.

Did not the Praeses himself most kindly and oft reprimand me? Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 98.

—the good old Praeses cries, While the tears stand in his eyes, "You have passed and are classed With the boys of 'Twenty-Nine.'" Knick. Mag., Vol. XLV. p. 195.

PRAYERS. In colleges and universities, the religious exercises performed in the chapel at morning and evening, at which all the students are required to attend.

These exercises in some institutions were formerly much more extended than at present, and must on some occasions have been very onerous. Mr. Quincy, in his History of Harvard University, writing in relation to the customs which were prevalent in the College at the beginning of the last century, says on this subject: "Previous to the accession of Leverett to the Presidency, the practice of obliging the undergraduates to read portions of the Scripture from Latin or English into Greek, at morning and evening service, had been discontinued. But in January and May, 1708, this 'ancient and laudable practice was revived' by the Corporation. At morning prayers all the undergraduates were ordered, beginning with the youngest, to read a verse out of the Old Testament from the Hebrew into Greek, except the Freshmen, who were permitted to use their English Bibles in this exercise; and at evening service, to read from the New Testament out of the English or Latin translation into Greek, whenever the President performed this service in the Hall." In less than twenty years after the revival of these exercises, they were again discontinued. The following was then established as the order of morning and evening worship: "The morning service began with a short prayer; then a chapter of the Old Testament was read, which the President expounded, and concluded with prayer. The evening service was the same, except that the chapter read was from the New Testament, and on Saturday a psalm was sung in the Hall. On Sunday, exposition was omitted; a psalm was sung morning and evening; and one of the scholars, in course, was called upon to repeat, in the evening, the sermons preached on that day."—Vol. I. pp. 439, 440.

The custom of singing at prayers on Sunday evening continued for many years. In a manuscript journal kept during the year 1793, notices to the following effect frequently occur. "Feb. 24th, Sunday. The singing club performed Man's Victory, at evening prayers." "Sund. April 14th, P.M. At prayers the club performed Brandon." "May 19th, Sabbath, P.M. At prayers the club performed Holden's Descend ye nine, etc." Soon after this, prayers were discontinued on Sunday evenings.

The President was required to officiate at prayers, but when unable to attend, the office devolved on one of the Tutors, "they taking their turns by course weekly." Whenever they performed this duty "for any considerable time," they were "suitably rewarded for their service." In one instance, in 1794, all the officers being absent, Mr., afterwards Prof. McKean, then an undergraduate, performed the duties of chaplain. In the journal above referred to, under date of Feb. 22, 1793, is this note: "At prayers, I declaimed in Latin"; which would seem to show, that this season was sometimes made the occasion for exercises of a literary as well as religious character.

In a late work by Professor Sidney Willard, he says of his father, who was President of Harvard College: "In the early period of his Presidency, Mr. Willard not unfrequently delivered a sermon at evening prayers on Sunday. In the year 1794, I remember he preached once or twice on that evening, but in the next year and onward he discontinued the service. His predecessor used to expound passages of Scripture as a part of the religious service. These expositions are frequently spoken of in the diary of Mr. Caleb Gannett when he was a Tutor. On Saturday evening and Sunday morning and evening, generally the College choir sang a hymn or an anthem. When these Sunday services were observed in the Chapel, the Faculty and students worshipped on Lord's day, at the stated hours of meeting, in the Congregational or the Episcopal Church." —Memories of Youth and Manhood, Vol. I. pp. 137, 138.

At Yale College, one of the earliest laws ordains that "all undergraduates shall publicly repeat sermons in the hall in their course, and also bachelors; and be constantly examined on Sabbaths [at] evening prayer."—Pres. Woolsey's Discourse, p. 59.

Prayers at this institution were at one period regulated by the following rule. "The President, or in his Absence, one of the Tutors in their Turn, shall constantly pray in the Chapel every Morning and Evening, and read a Chapter, or some suitable Portion of Scripture, unless a Sermon, or some Theological Discourse shall then be delivered. And every Member of College is obliged to attend, upon the Penalty of one Penny for every Instance of Absence, without a sufficient Reason, and a half Penny for being tardy, i.e. when any one shall come in after the President, or go out before him."—Laws Yale Coll., 1774, p. 5.

A writer in the American Literary Magazine, in noticing some of the evils connected with the American college system, describes very truthfully, in the following question, a scene not at all novel in student life. "But when the young man is compelled to rise at an unusually early hour to attend public prayers, under all kinds of disagreeable circumstances; when he rushes into the chapel breathless, with wet feet, half dressed, and with the prospect of a recitation immediately to succeed the devotions,—is it not natural that he should be listless, or drowsy, or excited about his recitation, during the whole sacred exercise?"—Vol. IV. p. 517.

This season formerly afforded an excellent opportunity, for those who were so disposed, to play off practical jokes on the person officiating. On one occasion, at one of our colleges, a goose was tied to the desk by some of the students, intended as emblematic of the person who was accustomed to occupy that place. But the laugh was artfully turned upon them by the minister, who, seeing the bird with his head directed to the audience, remarked, that he perceived the young gentlemen were for once provided with a parson admirably suited to their capacities, and with these words left them to swallow his well-timed sarcasm. On another occasion, a ram was placed in the pulpit, with his head turned to the door by which the minister usually entered. On opening the door, the animal, diving between the legs of the fat shepherd, bolted down the pulpit stairs, carrying on his back the sacred load, and with it rushed out of the chapel, leaving the assemblage to indulge in the reflections excited by the expressive looks of the astonished beast, and of his more astonished rider.

The Bible was often kept covered, when not in use, with a cloth. It was formerly a very common trick to place under this cloth a pewter plate obtained from the commons hall, which the minister, on uncovering, would, if he were a shrewd man, quietly slide under the desk, and proceed as usual with the exercises.

At Harvard College, about the year 1785, two Indian images were missing from their accustomed place on the top of the gate-posts which stood in front of the dwelling of a gentleman of Cambridge. At the same time the Bible was taken from the Chapel, and another, which was purchased to supply its place, soon followed it, no one knew where. One day, as a tutor was passing by the room of a student, hearing within an uncommonly loud noise, he entered, as was his right and office. There stood the occupant,[59] holding in his hands one of the Chapel Bibles, while before him on the table were placed the images, to which he appeared to be reading, but in reality was vociferating all kinds of senseless gibberish. "What is the meaning of this noise?" inquired the tutor in great anger. "Propagating the Gospel among the Indians, Sir," replied the student calmly.

While Professor Ashur Ware was a tutor in Harvard College, he in his turn, when the President was absent, officiated at prayers. Inclined to be longer in his devotions than was thought necessary by the students, they were often on such occasions seized with violent fits of sneezing, which generally made themselves audible in the word "A-a-shur," "A-a-shur."

The following lines, written by William C. Bradley when an undergraduate at Harvard College, cannot fail to be appreciated by those who have been cognizant of similar scenes and sentiments in their own experience of student life.

"Hark! the morning Bell is pealing Faintly on the drowsy ear, Far abroad the tidings dealing, Now the hour of prayer is near. To the pious Sons of Harvard, Starting from the land of Nod, Loudly comes the rousing summons, Let us run and worship God.

"'T is the hour for deep contrition, 'T is the hour for peaceful thought, 'T is the hour to win the blessing In the early stillness sought; Kneeling in the quiet chamber, On the deck, or on the sod, In the still and early morning, 'T is the hour to worship God.

"But don't you stop to pray in secret, No time for you to worship there, The hour approaches, 'Tempus fugit,' Tear your shirt or miss a prayer. Don't stop to wash, don't stop to button, Go the ways your fathers trod; Leg it, put it, rush it, streak it, Run and worship God.

"On the staircase, stamping, tramping, Bounding, sounding, down you go; Jumping, bumping, crashing, smashing, Jarring, bruising, heel and toe. See your comrades far before you Through the open door-way jam, Heaven and earth! the bell is stopping! Now it dies in silence—d**n!"

PRELECTION. Latin, praelectio. A lecture or discourse read in public or to a select company.

Further explained by Dr. Popkin: "In the introductory schools, I think, Prelections were given by the teachers to the learners. According to the meaning of the word, the Preceptor went before, as I suppose, and explained and probably interpreted the lesson or lection; and the scholar was required to receive it in memory, or in notes, and in due time to render it in recitation."—Memorial of John S. Popkin, D.D., p. 19.

PRELECTOR. Latin, praelector. One who reads an author to others and adds explanations; a reader; a lecturer.

Their so famous a prelectour doth teach.—Sheldon, Mir. of Anti-Christ, p. 38.

If his reproof be private, or with the cathedrated authority of a praelector or public reader.—Whitlock, Mann. of the English, p. 385.

2. Same as FATHER, which see.

PREPOSITOR. Latin. A scholar appointed by the master to overlook the rest.

And when requested for the salt-cellar, I handed it with as much trepidation as a praeposter gives the Doctor a list, when he is conscious of a mistake in the excuses.—The Etonian, Vol. II. p. 281.

PRESENTATION DAY. At Yale College, Presentation Day is the time when the Senior Class, having finished the prescribed course of study, and passed a satisfactory examination, are presented by the examiners to the President, as properly qualified to be admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Arts. A distinguished professor of the institution where this day is observed has kindly furnished the following interesting historical account of this observance.

"This presentation," he writes, "is a ceremony of long standing. It has certainly existed for more than a century. It is very early alluded to, not as a novelty, but as an established custom. There is now less formality on such occasions, but the substantial parts of the exercises are retained. The examination is now begun on Saturday and finished on Tuesday, and the day after, Wednesday, six weeks before the public Commencement, is the day of Presentation. There have sometimes been literary exercises on that day by one or more of the candidates, and sometimes they have been omitted. I have in my possession a Latin Oration, what, I suppose, was called a Cliosophic Oration, pronounced by William Samuel Johnson in 1744, at the presentation of his class. Sometimes a member of the class exhibited an English Oration, which was responded to by some one of the College Faculty, generally by one who had been the principal instructor of the class presented. A case of this kind occurred in 1776, when Mr., afterwards President Dwight, responded to the class orator in an address, which, being delivered the same July in which Independence was declared, drew, from its patriotic allusions, as well as for other reasons, unusual attention. It was published,—a rare thing at that period. Another response was delivered in 1796, by J. Stebbins, Tutor, which was likewise published. There has been no exhibition of the kind since. For a few years past, there have been an oration and a poem exhibited by members of the graduating class, at the time of presentation. The appointments for these exercises are made by the class.

"So much of an exhibition as there was at the presentation in 1778 has not been usual. More was then done, probably, from the fact, that for several years, during the Revolutionary war, there was no public Commencement. Perhaps it should be added, that, so far back as my information extends, after the literary exercises of Presentation Day, there has always been a dinner, or collation, at which the College Faculty, graduates, invited guests, and the Senior Class have been present."

A graduate of the present year[60] writes more particularly in relation to the observances of the day at the present time. "In the morning the Senior Class are met in one of the lecture-rooms by the chairman of the Faculty and the senior Tutor. The latter reads the names of those who have passed a satisfactory examination, and are to be recommended for degrees. The Class then adjourn to the College Chapel, where the President and some of the Professors are waiting to receive them. The senior Tutor reads the names as before, after which Professor Kingsley recommends the Class to the President and Faculty for the degree of B.A., in a Latin discourse. The President then responds in the same tongue, and addresses a few words of counsel to the Class.

"These exercises are followed by the Poem and Oration, delivered by members of the Class chosen for these offices by the Class. Then comes the dinner, given in one of the lecture-rooms. After this the Class meet in the College yard, and spend the afternoon in smoking (the old clay pipe is used, but no cigars) and singing. Thus ends the active life of our college days."

"Presentation Day," says the writer of the preface to the "Songs of Yale," "is the sixth Wednesday of the Summer Term, when the graduating Class, after having passed their second 'Biennial,' are presented to the President as qualified for the first degree, or the B.A. After this 'presentation,' a farewell oration and poem are pronounced by members of the Class, previously elected by their classmates for the purpose. After a public dinner, they seat themselves under the elms before the College, and smoke and sing for the last time together. Each has his pipe, and 'they who never' smoked 'before' now smoke, or seem to. The exercises are closed with a procession about the buildings, bidding each farewell." 1853, p. 4.

This last smoke is referred to in the following lines:—

"Green elms are waving o'er us, Green grass beneath our feet, The ring is round, and on the ground We sit a class complete." Presentation Day Songs, June 14, 1854.

"It is a very jolly thing, Our sitting down in this great ring, To smoke our pipes and loudly sing."—Ibid.

Pleasant reference is had to some of the more modern features of Presentation Day, in the annexed extract from the "Yale Literary Magazine":—

"There is one spot where the elms stretch their long arms, not 'in quest of thought,' but as though they would afford their friendly shade to make pleasant the last scene of the academic life. Seated in a circle in this place, which has been so often trampled by the 'stag-dance' of preceding classes, and made hallowed by associations which will cling around such places, are the present graduates. They have met together for the last time as a body, for they will not all be present at the closing ceremony of Commencement, nor all answer to the muster in the future Class reunions. It is hard to tell whether such a ceremony should be sad or joyous, for, despite the boisterous merriment and exuberance which arises from the prospect of freedom, there is something tender in the thought of meeting for the last time, to break strong ties, and lose individuality as a Class for ever.

"In the centre of the circle are the Class band, with horns, flutes, and violins, braying, piping, or saw-filing, at the option of the owners,—toot,—toot,—bum,—bang,—boo-o-o,—in a most melodious discord. Songs are distributed, pipes filled, and the smoke cloud rises, trembles as the chorus of a hundred voices rings out in a merry cadence, and then, breaking, soars off,—a fit emblem of the separation of those at whose parting it received its birth.

"'Braxton on the history of the Class!'

"'The Class history!—Braxton!—Braxton!'

"'In a moment, gentlemen,'—and our hero mounts upon a cask, and proceeds to give in burlesque a description of Class exploits and the wonderful success of its early graduates. Speeches follow, and the joke, and song, till the lengthening shadows bring a warning, and a preparation for the final ceremony. The ring is spread out, the last pipes smoked in College laid down, and the 'stag-dance,' with its rush, and their destruction ended. Again the ring forms, and each classmate moves around it to grasp each hand for the last time, and exchange a parting blessing.

"The band strike up, and the long procession march around the College, plant their ivy, and return to cheer the buildings."—Vol. XX. p. 228.

The following song was written by Francis Miles Finch of the class of 1849, for the Presentation Day of that year.

"Gather ye smiles from the ocean isles, Warm hearts from river and fountain, A playful chime from the palm-tree clime, From the land of rock and mountain: And roll the song in waves along, For the hours are bright before us, And grand and hale are the elms of Yale, Like fathers, bending o'er us.

"Summon our band from the prairie land, From the granite hills, dark frowning, From the lakelet blue, and the black bayou, From the snows our pine peaks crowning; And pour the song in joy along, For the hours are bright before us, And grand and hale are the towers of Yale, Like giants, watching o'er us.

"Count not the tears of the long-gone years, With their moments of pain and sorrow, But laugh in the light of their memories bright, And treasure them all for the morrow; Then roll the song in waves along, While the hours are bright before us, And high and hale are the spires of Yale, Like guardians, towering o'er us.

"Dream of the days when the rainbow rays Of Hope on our hearts fell lightly, And each fair hour some cheerful flower In our pathway blossomed brightly; And pour the song in joy along, Ere the moments fly before us, While portly and hale the sires of Yale Are kindly gazing o'er us.

"Linger again in memory's glen, 'Mid the tendrilled vines of feeling, Till a voice or a sigh floats softly by, Once more to the glad heart stealing; And roll the song on waves along, For the hours are bright before us, And in cottage and vale are the brides of Yale, Like angels, watching o'er us.

"Clasp ye the hand 'neath the arches grand That with garlands span our greeting, With a silent prayer that an hour as fair May smile on each after meeting; And long may the song, the joyous song, Roll on in the hours before us, And grand and hale may the elms of Yale, For many a year, bend o'er us."

In the Appendix to President Woolsey's Historical Discourse delivered before the Graduates of Yale College, is the following account of Presentation Day, in 1778.

"The Professor of Divinity, two ministers of the town, and another minister, having accompanied me to the Library about 1, P.M., the middle Tutor waited upon me there, and informed me that the examination was finished, and they were ready for the presentation. I gave leave, being seated in the Library between the above ministers. Hereupon the examiners, preceded by the Professor of Mathematics, entered the Library, and introduced thirty candidates, a beautiful sight! The Diploma Examinatorium, with the return and minutes inscribed upon it, was delivered to the President, who gave it to the Vice-Bedellus, directing him to read it. He read it and returned it to the President, to be deposited among the College archives in perpetuam rei memoriam. The senior Tutor thereupon made a very eloquent Latin speech, and presented the candidates for the honors of the College. This presentation the President in a Latin speech accepted, and addressed the gentlemen examiners and the candidates, and gave the latter liberty to return home till Commencement. Then dismissed.

"At about 3, P.M., the afternoon exercises were appointed to begin. At 3-1/2, the bell tolled, and the assembly convened in the chapel, ladies and gentlemen. The President introduced the exercises in a Latin speech, and then delivered the Diploma Examinatorium to the Vice-Bedellus, who, standing on the pulpit stairs, read it publicly. Then succeeded,—

Cliosophic Oration in Latin, by Sir Meigs. Poetical Composition in English, by Sir Barlow. Dialogue, English, by Sir Miller, Sir Chaplin, Sir Ely. Cliosophic Oration, English, by Sir Webster. Disputation, English, by Sir Wolcott, Sir Swift, Sir Smith. Valedictory Oration, English, by Sir Tracy. An Anthem. Exercises two hours."—p. 121.

PRESIDENT. In the United States, the chief officer of a college or university. His duties are, to preside at the meetings of the Faculty, at Exhibitions and Commencements, to sign the diplomas or letters of degree, to carry on the official correspondence, to address counsel and instruction to the students, and to exercise a general superintendence in the affairs of the college over which he presides.

At Harvard College it was formerly the duty of the President "to inspect the manners of the students, and unto his morning and evening prayers to join some exposition of the chapters which they read from Hebrew into Greek, from the Old Testament, in the morning, and out of English into Greek, from the New Testament, in the evening." At the same College, in the early part of the last century, Mr. Wadsworth, the President, states, "that he expounded the Scriptures, once eleven, and sometimes eight or nine times in the course of a week."—Harv. Reg., p. 249, and Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ., Vol. I. p. 440.

Similar duties were formerly required of the President at other American colleges. In some, at the present day, he performs the duties of a professor in connection with those of his own office, and presides at the daily religious exercises in the Chapel.

The title of President is given to the chief officer in some of the colleges of the English universities.

PRESIDENT'S CHAIR. At Harvard College, there is in the Library an antique chair, venerable by age and association, which is used only on Commencement Day, when it is occupied by the President while engaged in delivering the diplomas for degrees. "Vague report," says Quincy, "represents it to have been brought to the College during the presidency of Holyoke, as the gift of the Rev. Ebenezer Turell of Medford (the author of the Life of Dr. Colman). Turell was connected by marriage with the Mathers, by some of whom it is said to have been brought from England." Holyoke was President from 1737 to 1769. The round knobs on the chair were turned by President Holyoke, and attached to it by his own hands. In the picture of this honored gentleman, belonging to the College, he is painted in the old chair, which seems peculiarly adapted by its strength to support the weight which fills it.

Before the erection of Gore Hall, the present library building, the books of the College were kept in Harvard Hall. In the same building, also, was the Philosophy Chamber, where the chair usually stood for the inspection of the curious. Over this domain, from the year 1793 to 1800, presided Mr. Samuel Shapleigh, the Librarian. He was a dapper little bachelor, very active and remarkably attentive to the ladies who visited the Library, especially the younger portion of them. When ushered into the room where stood the old chair, he would watch them with eager eyes, and, as soon as one, prompted by a desire of being able to say, "I have sat in the President's Chair," took this seat, rubbing his hands together, he would exclaim, in great glee, "A forfeit! a forfeit!" and demand from the fair occupant a kiss, a fee which, whether refused or not, he very seldom failed to obtain.[61]

This custom, which seems now-a-days to be going out of fashion, is mentioned by Mr. William Biglow, in a poem before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, recited in their dining-hall, August 29, 1811. Speaking of Commencement Day and its observances, he says:—

"Now young gallants allure their favorite fair To take a seat in Presidential chair; Then seize the long-accustomed fee, the bliss Of the half ravished, half free-granted kiss."

The editor of Mr. Peirce's History of Harvard University publishes the following curious extracts from Horace Walpole's Private Correspondence, giving a description of some antique chairs found in England, exactly of the same construction with the College chair; a circumstance which corroborates the supposition that this also was brought from England.


"Strawberry Hill, August 20, 1761.

"Dickey Bateman has picked up a whole cloister full of old chairs in Herefordshire. He bought them one by one, here and there in farm-houses, for three and sixpence and a crown apiece. They are of wood, the seats triangular, the backs, arms, and legs loaded with turnery. A thousand to one but there are plenty up and down Cheshire, too. If Mr. and Mrs. Wetenhall, as they ride or drive out, would now and then pick up such a chair, it would oblige me greatly. Take notice, no two need be of the same pattern."—Private Correspondence of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, Vol. II. p. 279.


"Strawberry Hill, March 9, 1765.

"When you go into Cheshire, and upon your ramble, may I trouble you with a commission? but about which you must promise me not to go a step out of your way. Mr. Bateman has got a cloister at old Windsor furnished with ancient wooden chairs, most of them triangular, but all of various patterns, and carved and turned in the most uncouth and whimsical forms. He picked them up one by one, for two, three, five, or six shillings apiece, from different farm-houses in Herefordshire. I have long envied and coveted them. There may be such in poor cottages in so neighboring a county as Cheshire. I should not grudge any expense for purchase or carriage, and should be glad even of a couple such for my cloister here. When you are copying inscriptions in a churchyard in any Village, think of me, and step into the first cottage you see, but don't take further trouble than that."—Ibid., Vol. III. pp. 23, 24, from Peirce's Hist. Harv. Univ., p. 312.

An engraving of the chair is to be found in President Quincy's History of Harvard University, Vol. I. p. 288.

PREVARICATOR. A sort of an occasional orator; an academical phrase in the University of Cambridge, Eng.—Johnson.

He should not need have pursued me through the various shapes of a divine, a doctor, a head of a college, a professor, a prevaricator, a mathematician.—Bp. Wren, Monarchy Asserted, Pref.

It would have made you smile to hear the prevaricator, in his jocular way, give him his title and character to face.—A. Philips, Life of Abp. Williams, p. 34.


PREVIOUS EXAMINATION. In the English universities, the University examination in the second year.

Called also the LITTLE-GO.

The only practical connection that the Undergraduate usually has with the University, in its corporate capacity, consists in his previous examination, alias the "Little-Go," and his final examination for a degree, with or without honors.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 10.

PREX. A cant term for President.

After examination, I went to the old Prex, and was admitted. Prex, by the way, is the same as President.—The Dartmouth, Vol. IV. p. 117.

But take a peep with us, dear reader, into that sanctum sanctorum, that skull and bones of college mysteries, the Prex's room.—The Yale Banger, Nov. 10, 1846.

Good old Prex used to get the students together and advise them on keeping their faces clean, and blacking their boots, &c.—Amherst Indicator, Vol. III. p. 228.

PRINCE'S STUFF. In the English universities, the fabric of which the gowns of the undergraduates are usually made.

[Their] every-day habit differs nothing as far as the gown is concerned, it being prince's stuff, or other convenient material.—Oxford Guide, Ed. 1847, p. xv.


PRINCIPAL. At Oxford, the president of a college or hall is sometimes styled the Principal.—Oxf. Cal.

PRIVAT DOCENT. In German universities, a private teacher. "The so-called Privat Docenten," remarks Howitt, "are gentlemen who devote themselves to an academical career, who have taken the degree of Doctor, and through a public disputation have acquired the right to deliver lectures on subjects connected with their particular department of science. They receive no salary, but depend upon the remuneration derived from their classes."—Student Life of Germany, Am. ed., p. 29.

PRIVATE. At Harvard College, one of the milder punishments is what is called private admonition, by which a deduction of thirty-two marks is made from the rank of the offender. So called in contradistinction to public admonition, when a deduction is made, and with it a letter is sent to the parent. Often abbreviated into private.

"Reckon on the fingers of your mind the reprimands, deductions, parietals, and privates in store for you."—Oration before H.L. of I.O. of O.F., 1848.

What are parietals, parts, privates now, To the still calmness of that placid brow? Class Poem, Harv. Coll., 1849.

PRIVATISSIMUM, pl. PRIVATISSIMI. Literally, most private. In the German universities, an especially private lecture.

To these Privatissimi, as they are called, or especially private lectures, being once agreed upon, no other auditors can be admitted.—Howitt's Student Life of Germany, Am. ed., p. 35.

Then my Privatissimum—(I've been thinking on it For a long time—and in fact begun it)— Will cost me 20 Rix-dollars more, Please send with the ducats I mentioned before. The Jobsiad, in Lit. World, Vol. IX. p. 281.

The use of a Privatissimum I can't conjecture, When one is already ten hours at lecture. Ibid., Vol. IX. p. 448.

PRIZEMAN. In universities and colleges, one who takes a prize.

The Wrangler's glory in his well-earned fame, The prizeman's triumph, and the plucked man's shame. The College, in Blackwood's Mag., May, 1849.

PROBATION. In colleges and universities, the examination of a student as to his qualifications for a degree.

2. The time which a student passes in college from the period of entering until he is matriculated and received as a member in full standing. In American colleges, this is usually six months, but can be prolonged at discretion.—Coll. Laws.

PROCEED. To take a degree. Mr. Halliwell, in his Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, says, "This term is still used at the English universities." It is sometimes used in American colleges.

In 1605 he proceeded Master of Arts, and became celebrated as a wit and a poet.—Poems of Bishop Corbet, p. ix.

They that expect to proceed Bachelors that year, to be examined of their sufficiency,... and such that expect to proceed Masters of Arts, to exhibit their synopsis of acts.

They, that are approved sufficient for their degrees, shall proceed.—Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ., Vol. I. p. 518.

The Overseers ... recommended to the Corporation "to take effectual measures to prevent those who proceeded Bachelors of Arts, from having entertainments of any kind."—Ibid., Vol. II. p. 93.

When he proceeded Bachelor of Arts, he was esteemed one of the most perfect scholars that had ever received the honors of this seminary.—Holmes's Life of Ezra Stiles, p. 14.

Masters may proceed Bachelors in either of the Faculties, at the end of seven years, &c.—Calendar Trin. Coll., 1850, p. 10.

Of the surviving graduates, the oldest proceeded Bachelor of Arts the very Commencement at which Dr. Stiles was elected to the Presidency.—Woolsey's Discourse, Yale Coll., Aug. 14, 1850, p. 38.

PROCTOR. Contracted from the Latin procurator, from procuro; pro and curo.

In the University of Cambridge, Eng., two proctors are annually elected, who are peace-officers. It is their especial duty to attend to the discipline and behavior of all persons in statu pupillari, to search houses of ill-fame, and to take into custody women of loose and abandoned character, and even those de malo suspectcae. Their other duties are not so menial in their character, and are different in different universities.—Cam. Cal.

At Oxford, "the proctors act as university magistrates; they are appointed from each college in rotation, and remain in office two years. They nominate four pro-proctors to assist them. Their chief duty, in which they are known to undergraduates, is to preserve order, and keep the town free from improper characters. When they go out in the evening, they are usually attended by two servants, called by the gownsmen bull-dogs.... The marshal, a chief officer, is usually in attendance on one of the proctors.... It is also the proctor's duty to take care that the cap and gown are worn in the University."—The Collegian's Guide, Oxford, pp. 176, 177.

At Oxford, the proctors "jointly have, as has the Vice-Chancellor singly, the power of interposing their veto or non placet, upon all questions in congregation and convocation, which puts a stop at once to all further proceedings in the matter. These are the 'censores morum' of the University, and their business is to see that the undergraduate members, when no longer under the ken of the head or tutors of their own college, behave seemly when mixing with the townsmen and restrict themselves, as far as may be, to lawful or constitutional and harmless amusements. Their powers extend over a circumference of three miles round the walls of the city. The proctors are easily recognized by their full dress gown of velvet sleeves, and bands-encircled neck."—Oxford Guide, Ed. 1847, p. xiii.

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