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The journal of the kessiers from 1883 to 1895: a donation to the BCX

A look into the life of promotions from 1882 to 1894.

This paper came to the Library's archives after having probably shifted from kessiers to kessiers since 1883, perhaps until the 1950s. This explains its poor condition, which requires a restoration work carried out by the Center Of the Library's Historical Resources.

Mr. Delwasse (X1986), presented it to the Library on September 8, 2015.


This paper was initially intended only for kessiers from one promotion to the next. It was not meant to be read by the other students (as opposed to the Petit Crapal, a manuscript journal of students that existed from 1890 to 1930, and circulated from casert to casert, with only one copy) .


This journal records the highlights of the promotion's life, with the primary objective of providing advice to the kessiers of the following promotion (what to do, what not to do, to do otherwise ... ) From the experience of one year.


There is a relatively extensive use of the slang of the X, which can be consulted here, for example «constants», «topo», «shadows», etc. (in french only)

Extracts (transcripts of the manuscript journal):


March 1895 - March 1896 (promotion 1894). Kessiers : Eugène Louis Fernand Louvet and Auguste Prosper Jean Saint-Guilhem.

Case of Duruy. 10 April 1895

During the amphi Duruy [Georges Duruy, professor of history and literature], several elders had climbed into a rostrum of constants [Constants: external auditors are called constants because they do not wear uniforms, Tangents] and made so many chambards that they attracted the attention of the pitaine ". (...)

"The chief of the elders was obliged to apologize in the name of his promotion to the said Duruy, and then he communicated this affair to us. At once we passed the topos of the major, telling us what punishment there was to inflict on this rude conduct towards a professor who was not even an antique. "(...)

The "reprimand" was therefore voted by 283 votes [out of 375 votes cast]. The promos were indulgent because it impacts above all to preserve in the cocoons the respect of the teachers which makes one of the great forces of the X. "


Visit of the President of the Republic Félix Faure (May 1895)

"Felix Faure, the new sident of the Republic, having to come and visit the X, we do not know who had the odd idea of asking the service pitaine for a list of the sons of the promo, son of géné, colo, general intendants, etc. Some "gobeurs" registered immediately but a room having launched a topo of protest against this exhibition contrary to our principles of equality, we took the topo on our account and we had an emergency vote that no list would be given. (...)

We did not want us to do here as at Saint-Cyr, where we presented to F. Faure about forty cyrards, all sons of géné, colo, "mandants", as if by chance. We advise our successors to always act in the same way, because such procedures are absolutely contrary to the traditions of the X. "


March 1894-March 1895. Kessiers : Charles Desvignes and Edouard Georges Piedanna

Shadows session [Shadow theater where silhouettes of officers and teachers parade in Chinese shadows as they put in their mouths comical speeches]

21 March 1894.

Yesterday was the session of the shadows in the amphi of physics. The party was very pretty. The general was present, surrounded by the whole staff. Many repeaters and teachers had accepted our invitation. Our old Helbronner and Alexander, our cocoons Velpry and Le Masne, have particularly distinguished themselves as draughtsmen and machinists. The gene has granted the lifting of punishments.

Electrical light was lacking for a while, we had to resort to the orchestra. For this to happen again, we advise our successors to demand that the physicist hold an oxydric lamp in case of accident. We also recommend ensuring that there is no constant [outside auditors who do not at that time have the status of student of the X] enter the room.


Celebrations of the Centenary (17-18-19 May 1894)

"Despite the apprehensions of certain guys the holidays have fully succeeded.

The 17th Carnot came to the School he passed the listened magazine and pronounced laïus discovered plate to perpetuate the memory of the ancient dead in the field of honor. During the official ceremony the families were at the windows in the rooms, the caserts and finally in the courtyard.

A buffet had been installed in the gambling halls. After the departure of Carnot the "antiques" had visited the school their family; Others threw the mattresses out of the windows, threw bombs [water bombs or jodot, according to the slang of the X] etc; In the twinkling of an eye everything was shabby and the young girls themselves mingled. Meanwhile, the music of the 1st Genie played dance tunes, a farandole organized the géné in the lead and walked the court and the corri until the sound of the retreat at 6 o'clock.


On the 18th the shadows (...) gave rise to incidents; The antiques numbering about 1250 have invaded the amphi so we had to do two sessions.


On the 19th the feast of Trocadero succeeded beyond all hope. (...) The sympathetic antique Mr Carnal President of the Republic attended the performance. "


Death of Carnot June 24

"Great was our astonishment on Monday morning when we heard the bad news when we got out of the cottage. No one wanted to believe it, and it was only after reading the papers that we were convinced of the sad truth. It was like a bad dream. Everyone was stunned (...) »


March 1891 to March 1892 (promotion 1890). Alexandre Poirson and René Debize

Case Laurent

10 January 1892

« Un répétiteur, Laurent [Hermann Laurent X1860, Répétiteur titulaire d'analyse à l'X (1866-1904)], avait la funeste habitude de coter d'une manière complètement ridicule, il n'y avait que des notes très basses ou des notes très élevées. Sa moyenne était de 3 points inférieure à celle des autres colleurs. D'ailleurs, Laurent faisait passer des colles complètement au hasard, donnant des notes ridiculement basses à des crotaux qui savaient leur cours. La promo s'émut et le major alla demander à Merca [Mercadier, directeur des études] de faire la morale à Laurent. Il fut même question de ne pas passer chez lui aux exams de février ; mais sa conduite ayant été meilleure la promo ne jugea pas qu'elle devait refuser d'être examinée par lui. »

"A repeater, Laurent [Hermann Laurent X1860, Repetitive holder of analysis at the X (1866-1904)], had the fatal habit of rating in a completely ridiculous manner, there were only very low notes or very high notes. Its average was 3 points lower than that of other "colleurs". Besides, Laurent was passing "colles" at random, giving ridiculously low notes to "crotaux" which knew their course. The promo was excited and the major went to ask Merca [Mercadier, Director of Studies] to give moral to Laurent. There was even talk of not going to his place at the February exams; But his conduct having been better "promo" did not consider that it should refuse to be examined by him. "

Reduction in theaters

"Since the beginning of the school year we have been in contact with a number of theatrical directors: we have generally obtained a reduction of half the price. "


X code

February 2, 1892

"On our proposal, our promotion has adopted a number of changes, which will have to be put to the vote of the two promotions that will succeed us. These changes include:


By 144 to 22, the following article was adopted "At the theater, always wear white gloves and do not put your tangent in the locker room".

Similarly, by 161 votes to 6, the following article was adopted: "If you go out with a hat, do not forget to wear white gloves."



March 1887-March 1888 Promotion 1886. Kessiers: Georges Hippolyte Bunoust and Marcel Reynier

Crown to the statue of Strasbourg [July 1887]


« Depuis quelques années il est d'usage de porter chaque année une couronne à la statue de Strasbourg, le 14 juillet [Il s’agit d’une référence à la perte de l’Alsace-Lorraine]. Nous avons été prévenus que les manifestants de la gare de Lyon (pour le départ de Boulanger à Clermont) [il s’agit du général Boulanger, non renouvelé à son poste de ministre de la Guerre en mai 1887 pour avoir mis en place un réseau d’espionnage en Alsace - alors allemande - ce qui provoque un incident diplomatique entre la France et l’Empire allemand.  L’ « exclusion » de Boulanger est le début du « boulangisme ». Les manifestants mentionnés ici font référence aux manifestants qui  tentent d'empêcher le départ de son train le 8 juillet en gare de Lyon vers Clermont-Ferrand, sa nouvelle affectation] avaient organisé un nouveau chambrant place de la Concorde. Pour que des X en uniforme ne se trouvent pas au milieu d'un tas d'imbéciles et de braillards avec qui ils se seraient certainement disputés, on porta la couronne le 13 juillet. (...)

On peut espérer qu'à l'avenir nous n'aurons pas à redouter  des manifestations grotesques de la part de la Ligue des patriotes et autres. Il faudra de nouveau porter la couronne le 14. En tous cas il faut  toujours s'abstenir de se mêler au cortège des sociétés de gymnastique qui se rendent place de la Concorde. »

"For a few years, it is usual to wear a crown every year to the statue of Strasbourg, on July 14th [This is a reference to the loss of Alsace-Lorraine]. We were warned that the protestors at Gare de Lyon (for Boulanger's departure from Clermont) [General Boulanger, who was not renewed as War Minister in May 1887 for setting up a spy network in Alsace - then german - which provoked a diplomatic incident between France and the German Empire. The "exclusion" of Boulanger is the beginning of the "boulangisme". The protestors mentioned here refer to protesters who tried to prevent the departure of his train on July 8 at Lyon station to Clermont-Ferrand, his new assignment] organized a new "chambrant" place de la Concorde. In order that the uniformed Xs could not be found in the midst of a pile of idiots and braggards with whom they would certainly have quarreled,the crown was worn on the 13th of July. (...)

It is to be hoped that in the future we shall not have to fear "grotesques" manifestations on the part of the League of Patriots and others. It will be necessary to wear the crown again on the 14th. In any case it is always necessary to refrain from mingling with the cortege of the gymnastic societies which are going to place de la Concorde. "