The first thing which occupies the mind of a German student is a mania for dueling, and if he has plenty of money and the inclination, he joins a corps. These corps at Heidelberg are five in number, and are distinguished by white, green, yellow, blue and red caps. Those belonging to the first two must have at least 6,000 marks (about $1500) a year, and are generally of noble blood.
Every corps has a house of its own where the students meet evenings and hold their "kneipen." These consist of beer drinking, smoking, and singing; but the singing may better be called howling, and for those living opposite, the midnight hours are made more hideous than by cat-concerts. The greater part of the night is spent in this way, they getting to bed in the neighborhood of three of four o'clock in the morning. This is, of course, not a regular occurence, but happens about twice a week.
When a student enters a corps, all that he does is to pay his fee and buy his cap. When he pays his fee, however, he takes upon himself a great many tasks; he is obliged to be a regular servant of the other students who are higher in rank than himself, taking care that they are provided with the most comfortable chairs in a "Kneip," and other things of this kind, and, besides, he is obliged to fight duels. He has a certain time given him, I think from two to four months, in which to take lessons - at least one a day.
The members of different corps never recognize each other during the time while the term is in progress, but those at the head of each corps meet and arrange the duels, and the members fight as they decide. This fighting takes place every Tuesday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and, as a result, the students who have been fighting soon appear with their faces done up in cotton and carbolic acid. In these duels it is impossible for anyone to be killed, for the combatants wear about the neck and body thick leather pads, and thick glasses before the eyes, so that the only place where they are cut is on the face. The students are very proud of these cuts, and in case they see that a scar will not be very noticeable, it is often a fact that they tear it open and pour wine into it. After a student has fought a certain fixed number of duels (some ten or twelve), he receives a band of ribbon, which he wears across his breast, under his coat; upon receipt of his first band he is free from all fighting, unless he desires it, but it is a rare case that a student stops with one band, but often fights till he gains four of five. Although this fighting is against the law, the police take little notice of it, and it goes on undisturbed. - Tech.