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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/468

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and must economize and systematize his time in order to both study and train. Having steadied their nerves by hard work of the muscles, many such men settle down to study and often make fair scholars. Any instructor who has kept track of the ways of college during the past fifteen years can not fail to be struck by the decreasing number of the really great disorders, by the mildness of those which remain, and by the increasing regard on the part of the students for college authority, college property, and for the rights of fellow-students.

The system is conducive to the good order of the college, because it furnishes a healthy, interesting topic of conversation out of study hours. Dr. McCosh has been reported to be alarmed by the very absorbing nature of this topic of conversation. The reporter makes him say, "When one walks across the campus, the conversation he overhears bears no relation to the science and knowledge which we come here to pursue, but it is this game and that game, this record and that record." Does the gentleman suppose that, if there were no athletics, members of the college who meet one another on the campus would fall into conversation on the absorbing questions of science and knowledge? The college world is like the world in general, in that its inhabitants, when off duty, find their recreation in talking of other subjects than those of regular business. The campus is the place where the students discuss other themes than those of the class-room, for the reason that they come together on the campus for diversion. They rightly regard the study and the lecture-room as the places in which the themes of knowledge and science are properly considered. It is not to be expected, neither would it be wise nor desirable, that young men should spend all their time in thinking and talking of their studies. Since they must have something else for their leisure hours, it is well for them to have some such healthy topics of conversation as the athletic sports furnish. They naturally seek some excitement with which to vary the monotony of recitations and lectures. Their manly contests supply this want, and prevent many a man from looking to dissipation and disorder as reliefs from the daily drudgery of the study and the class-room.

Again, the system conduces to good order in its effects upon class-feeling. It acts upon this class-feeling in two ways: first, in the contests between class organizations furnishing a safety-valve for it; and, second, in the university organizations tending to moderate it. The esprit de corps of a class is not bad in itself. It often furnishes a motive to combined action which can be made powerful for good. In the contests between the class organizations, and in all the athletic exhibitions of the college, there are legitimate opportunities for the free play and development of this feeling. But it is possible for it to become excessive, so that a class, as a body, may have a dangerous feeling of actual enmity to another class. It is this excessive