"The student has more bad
habits and rediculous traits than vices; and when he has them,
those vices have such shallow roots that he need only take his
examinations and cross again the threshold of his paternal home
to become calm, positive, reliable . . . What infinite nuances
there are in that population of children, or half-men, which
Paris continually sees renewing itself, like dissimilar victuals
mixed in the vast stomach of the Latin Quarter! There are as
many classes of students as there are rival and various classes
within the bourgeoisie."
--George Sand (48)
Like the members of the Societe de l'ABC,
many Bohemians were students. The Sorbonne
and other branches of the University of Paris were located in
the Latin Quarter, so young men did not have to go far to attend
classes - that is, when they went to classes. The chronicles
of Bohemia say little about study, concentrating instead on the
more informal aspects of student life: philosophical discussions
with peers, amateur artistic creation, and constant flirtations.
Sand describes the various types of students, giving them these
"who spent their day at the Chaumiere, at cabarets, at the
Pantheon dance hall, screaming, smoking, vociferating in the
foul and hideous air" (50)
- "very restrained, who shut themselves in, lived in poverty,
and gave themselves over to material labor resulting in cretinism"
- Café Students - "attached to their habits of strolls, billiard
rooms, and endless smokes in taverns, or walks in noisy groups
in the Luxembourg Gardens" (51).
- "student rioters," political youths who sometimes
stir up trouble and sometimes have a legitimate gripe (52).
Some students of the Latin Quarter were
studying art rather than the liberal arts or a profession. In
Trilby, Little Billee attends painting
classes at Carrell's atelier, an attic studio that attracts many
young artists. Really the "classes" are no more than
a chance to be with other painters and to practice painting the
daily models; Carrell is quite famous, but his instruction consists
of nothing more than glancing at everyone's easel on Fridays
for a few moments.