It was in the mediaeval universities that we first hear of those student groups which gave color to a real student life such as we know it. The freshman was then, as until recently in our own colleges and universities, the par ticular object of attack on the part of those who had been in the institution longer than he. He was likely to be waylaid and thoroughly pummeled before arrival. In Germany and France he was put through an initiation bor dering on the grotesque, horrible and cruel far worse than the modern initiation to any of our secret societies. If he passed through such ordeals and succeeded in getting registered with a master or in a college, his life in the class room and out of it was marked by turbulence and hardship. A master who delivered his lecture too rapidly was interrupted with all kinds of noises. The lecture-rooms were wholly unheated in winter and the windows unglazed. The floors were covered with straw on which the student sat. The rooms in which the stu dents lodged were equally uncomfortable and the sanitary arrangements negligible. The ec clesiastical gowns which they were required to wear afforded them scant protection against the cold, unless they were fortunate enough to be able to buy furs. -Many of the students were well-to-do and others extremely poor. In whichever condition they found themselves let ters to their parents which have come down to us give evidence of that almost chronic ap peal of all students in all ages for more money. The poorer students frequently begged and were sometimes officially licensed to do so.
So many of their natural inclinations for the amusements and sports of youth were repressed by strict prohibitions that the natural conse quences followed. Not having any outlet for their youthful spirits they indulged in riotous conduct. Brawls amongst the individual stu dents and those of different national groups were frequen and occasionally a whole group of them would get into conflict with the towns folk, so that *Town and Gown* fights became infamous. As the students as well as the towns folk went about armed, these battles frequently ended in bloodshed and death.
In spite of such incidents which were of course not of the usual, but of the unusual class, the mediaeval student did a goodly amount of serious work, some naturally more and some less. The absence of healthy sports to relieve the daily routine was his most serious trouble.
The hold, which student customs have, brought many of them far down into modern times, not only in Europe but also in America. Curious survivals in the treatment of freshmen, fagging, the conflict between the freshmen and the sophomores, at Harvard until. a short time ago by *Bloody Monday Night,* and at other colleges by cane rushes, and the like, bear witness to this conservatism.
The popularizing of college education and the removal by university authorities of many of the restrictions on the natural impulses of youth for activity have led to the gradual dis appearance of the many so-called mediaeval customs. In their place has grown up a be
wildering variety of activities for the student, which form a large part of his life. A perusal of the daily or weekly paper, or monthly, or annual periodicals published by the students in almost everyone of our institutions of collegi ate rank, particularly in the United States, re veals not only the literary activity along such lines, but in the notices, which they publish, they bear witness to the existence of an ex tended variety of sports — baseball, football, rowing, tennis, basketball, hockey; numerous clubs and fraternities to which almost every student of any walk in life may belong; debating organizations, dramatic societies pre senting operas and plays, musical clubs and orchestras, foreign language clubs and religious societies. Many of these intramural activities are represented also by intercollegiate contests in almost all of the sports, in debating, oratory and music.
On the social side dancing and singing, in large choruses, both during term time and at graduation exercises occupy a prominent place, especially at girls' colleges, which, after their establishment, in many ways followed in the footsteps of those for men. Luxurious living quarters have taken the place of the bare and comfortless rooms of less than half a century ago.
Though in America student life has gone far beyond anything in the way of student life and customs, such as they ,exist in Germany, France and Italy, the English universities are a very close second. In the latter as well as in America there is that love of the °Alma Mater)) which is not at all to be found on the continent of Europe. In the larger cities of America are to be found clubs of the gradu ates of the various institutions which hold them by close ties to the institutions from which they were graduated. There the student life and customs take a longer lease of life, especially at the time of the great intercollegiate athletic contests.
On the continent of Europe there is no such broad development of student life and customs as is found in Great Britain and America. The usual absence of dormitories or living halls in the great universities of Ger many, France, Italy and Spain, the treatment of the universities as great day schools, the common practice of the students to take some semesters of academic work in one institution and some in another, the slight development of athletics, and other minor factors have caused the failure to develop that variety of student life and customs and that abiding affection for the °Alma found in English-speak ing countries.