August 22

Am not feeling well; marched nearly all night; arrived at Halltown heights at daylight; went into our old position; am now on picket on the right of our line; enemy followed us up and skirmished with our rear guard "right smart" all day. About 11 o'clock a. m. the First Division was sent out on the pike; rumored it's driven the enemy back; hard thunderstorm from 3 o'clock to 4 o'clock p. m.; quite cool this evening.

August 22, 1862

I caught cold last night, and feel a little slim to-day. Lew Holmes got a pass for himself and me to go down town and that cured me. The run about in Hudson with the nice fresh air of to-day, together with a five-day furlough, which was given out to-night, has worked wonders for those that were lucky enough to get them. It seems the men are all to have a five-day furlough, but not all at once. The Amenia crowd drew first prize. I am delighted to go, and yet there will be the good-byes to say again, and I don't know after all whether I am glad or sorry.

August Twenty-Second

The moon has climbed her starry dome,
That taper gleams no more:
Delicious visions wait me home,
Delicious dreams of yore.
Old waves of thought voluptuous swell,
And rainbows spread amid the spell
Arcades of love and light.
Oh! what were slumber's drowsy kiss,
To golden visions such as this,
Through all the wakeful night?
Joseph Salyards
(Idothea; Idyll III )

 

 

August 22, 1863

Saturday. A boat touched here this morning and we got some papers. The Era  says General Franklin is to supersede General Banks and that General Banks is to supersede some one else, and that a regular cleaning-house time is about to come. The whole army of the Gulf Department is to be reorganized. Regiments that are cut down below a certain number are to be joined with some other, and the extra officers mustered out and sent home. We have learned not to swallow anything whole that we see in the papers, but there does seem to be some sense in such an argument. The 128th has only a third of its original number, and if three such regiments were put together there would be two sets of officers that could be disposed of. If this is the case all through the army, a tremendous saving could be made. But what of the good record the 128th has gained. If we lose our name and number our record would soon be forgotten. Two regiments, one white and one black, have just gone down the river.

Night. We have marching orders. There is a rumor now that a great expedition is being made up at New Orleans to go and capture Mobile. Of course they can't do it without us, and it may be there is where we are to go.

Saturday, August 22nd.—The worst has happened. No.— is to stop at Havre; in camp three miles out. So No.— and No.— are both staying here.

Meanwhile to-day Nos.—, —, and— have all arrived; 130 more Sisters besides the 86 already here are packed into this Convent, camping out in dining-halls and schoolrooms and passages. The big Chapel below and the wee Chapel on this floor seem to be the only unoccupied places now.

Havre is a big base for the France part of our Expeditionary Force. Troopships are arriving every day, and every fighting man is being hurried up to the Front, and they cannot block the lines and trains with all these big hospitals yet.

The news from the Front looks bad to-day—Namur under heavy fire, and the Germans pressing on Antwerp, and the French chased out of Lorraine.

Everybody is hoping it doesn't mean staying here permanently, but you never know your luck. It all depends what happens farther up, and of course one might have the luck to be added to a hospital farther up to fill up casualties among Sisters or if more were wanted.

The base hospitals, of course, are always filling up from up country with men who may be able to return to duty, and acute or hopeless cases who have to be got well enough for a hospital ship for home.

There is to be a Requiem Mass to-morrow at Notre Dame for those who have been killed in the war, and the whole nave and choir is reserved for officials and Red Cross people. It is a most beautiful church, now hung all over with the four flags of the Allies. An old woman in the church this morning asked us if we were going to the Blessés, and clasped our hands and blessed us and wept. She must have had some sons in the army.

We are simply longing to get to work, whether here or anywhere else; it is 100 per cent better in this interesting old town doing for ourselves in the Convent than waiting in the stuffy hotel at Dublin. There is any amount to see—miles of our Transport going through the town with burly old shaggy English farm-horses, taken straight from the harvest, pulling the carts; French Artillery Reservists being taught to work the guns; French soldiers passing through; and our R.E. Motor-cyclists scudding about. And one can practise talking, understanding, and reading French. It is surprising how few of the 216 Sisters here seem to know a word of French. I am looked upon as an expert, and you know what my French is like! A sick officer sitting out in the court below has got a small French boy by him who is teaching him French with a map, a 'Matin,' and a dictionary. A great deal of nodding and shaking of heads is going on.

August 22

August 22, 1873. (Scheveningen ).--The weather is rainy, the whole atmosphere gray; it is a time favorable to thought and meditation. I have a liking for such days as these; they revive one's converse with one's self and make it possible to live the inner life; they are quiet and peaceful, like a song in a minor key. We are nothing but thought, but we feel our life to its very center. Our very sensations turn to reverie. It is a strange state of mind; it is like those silences in worship which are not the empty moments of devotion, but the full moments, and which are so because at such times the soul, instead of being polarized, dispersed, localized, in a single impression or thought, feels her own totality and is conscious of herself. She tastes her own substance. She is no longer played upon, colored, set in motion, affected, from without; she is in equilibrium and at rest. Openness and self-surrender become possible to her; she contemplates and she adores. She sees the changeless and the eternal enwrapping all the phenomena of time. She is in the religious state, in harmony with the general order, or at least in intellectual harmony. For holiness, indeed, more is wanted--a harmony of will, a perfect self-devotion, death to self and absolute submission.

Psychological peace--that harmony which is perfect but virtual--is but the zero, the potentiality of all numbers; it is not that moral peace which is victorious over all ills, which is real, positive, tried by experience, and able to face whatever fresh storms may assail it.

The peace of fact is not the peace of principle. There are indeed two happinesses, that of nature and that of conquest--two equilibria, that of Greece and that of Nazareth--two kingdoms, that of the natural man and that of the regenerate man.

Later. (Scheveningen ).--Why do doctors so often make mistakes? Because they are not sufficiently individual in their diagnoses or their treatment. They class a sick man under some given department of their nosology, whereas every invalid is really a special case, a unique example. How is it possible that so coarse a method of sifting should produce judicious therapeutics? Every illness is a factor simple or complex, which is multiplied by a second factor, invariably complex--the individual, that is to say, who is suffering from it, so that the result is a special problem, demanding a special solution, the more so the greater the remoteness of the patient from childhood or from country life.

The principal grievance which I have against the doctors is that they neglect the real problem, which is to seize the unity of the individual who claims their care. Their methods of investigation are far too elementary; a doctor who does not read you to the bottom is ignorant of essentials. To me the ideal doctor would be a man endowed with profound knowledge of life and of the soul, intuitively divining any suffering or disorder of whatever kind, and restoring peace by his mere presence. Such a doctor is possible, but the greater number of them lack the higher and inner life, they know nothing of the transcendent laboratories of nature; they seem to me superficial, profane, strangers to divine things, destitute of intuition and sympathy. The model doctor should be at once a genius, a saint, a man of God.