August 8

All quiet in camp to-day. Lieut. D. G. Hill and Sergt. J. M. Read's commissions came this afternoon. Lieut. Hill has been mustered; haven't done much but read Harper's Weekly and visit; baggage came up this evening; warm and sultry; rumors of a move to-night; men have been enjoying themselves to-day.

August Eighth

Here Carolina comes, her brave cheeks warm
And wet with tears, to take in charge this dust,
And brings her daughters to receive in form
Virginia's sacred trust.
James Barron Hope

 

Monument erected to Anne Carter Lee, Warren County, N. C., said to be the first monument erected by Southern women, 1866

 

 

August 8

August 8, 1865. (Gryon sur Bex ).--Splendid moonlight without a cloud. The night is solemn and majestic. The regiment of giants sleeps while the stars keep sentinel. In the vast shadow of the valley glimmer a few scattered roofs, while the torrent, organ-like, swells its eternal note in the depths of this mountain cathedral which has the heavens for roof.

A last look at this blue night and boundless landscape. Jupiter is just setting on the counterscarp of the Dent du Midi. Prom the starry vault descends an invisible snow-shower of dreams, calling us to a pure sleep. Nothing of voluptuous or enervating in this nature. All is strong, austere and pure. Good night to all the world!--to the unfortunate and to the happy. Rest and refreshment, renewal and hope; a day is dead--vive le lendemain! Midnight is striking. Another step made toward the tomb.

Marienbad August 8, 1880

I don't know how to thank you for thinking of me at such a moment.[35 ] It was hard to bear being away just then, and you must have gone through a dreadful time. Even with the scraps of information that reach one here, I have been able to realise much of it. Almost the first consoling thing was the report of your escapade with Wolverton.

Every line of your letter is a monument of your goodness, even your disinclination to go into details. But I am afraid you must have been terribly knocked up—so soon, too, after your own illness, of which I will not speak now, but which, indeed, I was very sorry to hear of. And I do trust that Mrs. Gladstone was enabled to go through it all without excessive alarm or fatigue. She will not need words to be assured of all my sympathy. I am persuaded that your greatest pleasure, just now, comes from the expressive conduct of adversaries, not from the vain words of friends.

Our defeat in the Lords[36 ] opens a wide vista of difficulty and trouble—partly because it injures the Government, but not much, and will probably increase the ascendency of the P.M.; particularly because of the H. of Lords itself. Nobody will ever believe that such a majority was due to honest and disinterested motives. People will say, and will say truly, that an assembly which is moved by selfish and sordid motives, when there is a question of preventing ruin and starvation, is not only an injury to the poor, but a disgrace to the community, and there is no way out of it. Small majorities may give way or abstain; but after so determined a demonstration, repentance will be suicidal. And the one instance in modern times where the Lords have proved stronger than the Commons, because postponement here was prohibition, is a question of helping the poor who suffer, at a slight sacrifice and slighter danger to people immensely rich.

We are only beginning with questions of this kind. Did you hear the speech at the end of May in which Mr. Gladstone spoke of that class which is so numerous that it is virtually the entire nation? Graver words were never spoken in Parliament, for the entire land is virtually in the hands of another class. The considerations which this contrast, this contradiction suggests, have a mighty future before them, a future damaging to my boy's prospect of ever sitting on a red leather bench.

I am sorry we were not 52.[37 ] It would have been impressive, like the Doctrinaires of whom it was said: "Ils sont quatre; mais quand ils veulent imposer par le nombre, ils prétendent être cinq." Indeed, for all the reasons which Argyll repudiates, justifying my prophecy about him in the spirit, if not to the letter, there has been no measure for which I should be so anxious to vote. I wrote to Lord G.[38 ] to send me timely warning, as there was no trouble I would not take.

Having been to a doctor, without any idea that I was seriously out of order, I was sent here suddenly, and am forbidden, for reasons I must acknowledge, to move for some weeks to come. It could not have happened at a worse moment for me.

I was sorry for Frere, and should probably have allowed his daughter to come round me....

It is too kind of you to remember, after all that has passed over you and the nation, details of former letters. Unless there has been a change lately, there are two editors of the Economist, one for money matters and the other for politics. Maine will be proud and happy, and ought to be much obliged to me for supplying a topic for so pleasant a conversation. I wonder whether he showed you the luminous side of his mind, whether you saw why he always disagrees with me, and why some people are more afraid than fond of him. Whatever passes at the end of the Session, I do hope that a season of rest is included in our friend Dr. A. Clark's prescriptions. It might give me some remote chance of seeing you again.


That Dutch Interior is charming, and I hope you enjoyed the circle of widowers as much as I did your graphic account of them. It is delightful to think of the repose after the storm has been weathered so well. Argyll practising his next speech in the solitude of night, ——'s diplomatic deafness and yet more artful slumber, his brother with a hook placidly fixed in Bright's aggressive nose, the refined American[39 ] offended by the rigidity of the Democrat, the group of listening Senators, the harmless youth, the envious beauty—and then the great historic background and the one overshadowing figure—there is not a page in Mme. de Rémusat approaching it. Do you write like this to other people? Do you write at least six pages of diary every night? Please do; and let me read it now and then. And remember that one touch of ill-nature makes the whole world kin. If you are really going to be left at Hawarden, you ought to shut your door, shut your eyes, recall all that you have seen and heard during the last six months, and write it carefully down. You have such an opportunity and such a power. I am not like the Roman:[40 ] I envy almost as much as I admire.

You make me happy by allowing me to conclude that I gave no offence by what I wrote of our exalted House. I don't mean that your uneasiness was quite unreasonable. When a Bill gets knocked about in Committee, even when an artful Minister means it to be knocked about, it can never go up to the Lords harmonious, consistent, and the genuine expression of a policy. There are not two sides to every question, but there is always an opening, in such cases, for sincere criticism. The way out of that is to pass the second reading, and to correct in Committee what was done wrong in Committee. What I mean in this case is that the Bill involved a principle of infinite force and value, which the Ministry probably veiled to their own eyes, and which the Lords were right to resist as a private association, which they are not; wrong to resist as a disinterested national institution, which is their claim to exist.

It is impossible to exaggerate the depth of aversion the Bill has evoked. You must have heard enough of it. One man has spent two days here for the purpose of telling me how wrong it was. Another writes to me that he has paired for the session, feeling that Government will be obliged to those who help them when they are hopelessly wrong, although the help consists in pairing and going to Vichy. These are idle men, representative of thousands.

It reminds me of the great landowner, Bedford, who reminds me of Arthur,[41 ] who reminds me of Maine. I suppose it was a refuge in Piccadilly that revealed the secret to me. Arthur's one fault is a delight in secrets. Although Maine is unfitted to be P.M. (under any but a despotic monarch), nobody has so large a conception of all questions relating to the tenure of land. I dare say he has been asked to say what he knows about Ireland. What pure reason and boundless knowledge can do, without sympathy or throb, Maine can do better than any man in England.

I am sorry to think of Lowell's sun sinking behind your horizon. At first sight one always fancies that those who question the certainty of history sap the certainty of religion, or are the victims of those who do, and I fancy I should have had a word (with corners) to throw at him. The Rémusat volumes are one of my landmarks in judging Napoleon. It is, of all accounts by competent people, the most injurious to his memory, as Segur's are the most favourable. Until I read them, I thought the fixed intention to put Enghien to death, the charge of murder, not proven. If the authority of these recollections breaks down, I must invent for myself a new Napoleon. After allowing for the fact that they were written, or re-written, years later, like the Diary of John Adams, the Memoirs of S. Simon, the History of Burnet, of Clarendon, the Annals of Tacitus, the Nine Muses of Herodotus, the Eight Books of Thucydides, which are the most conspicuous sources of all history, and for the suspicion that there was a great secret she not only could not tell, but wrote in order to obliterate, and after giving whatever weight it deserves to the little joke that calls it: "Souvenir d'une femme de chambre renvoyée," I am so persuaded that the book is authentic and true, that I should have liked to hear the argument. But this is true, history does not stand or fall with historians. From the thirteenth century we rely much more on letters than on histories written for the public. I need not add that the history of our Lord which we find in the Epistles is one most valuable testimony in favour of the Gospels. So that even if Lowell can damage the reports in this book, we can restore the certainty of history by the aid of letters, of documents and of those facts in which independent witnesses agree.

Is it not heroic of your sister renouncing a life like your own for the toil of Newnham? I wish her success and happiness in her pilgrimage most sincerely. By-the-bye your other sister is the real pilgrim, and I wish I had known in time to warn my belongings of her movements.

My time here is up, and I go home to-morrow. As a proper P.M.'s daughter you ought to say you hope I was really ill, to justify fifty-one.... It is absurd to come all the way to England and not to see you; so I shall come only if I am ideally wanted. I write at once to discover whether and when. Your telegram is a great disappointment. I wonder where they will go. Cannes is the place I recommend, but not till October. If I am not summoned home from Tegernsee for Hares or Burials,[42 ] I look forward to Ammergau, and wish you were coming.

[35 ] Mr. Gladstone had just then a short, but serious illness.

[36 ] On the Compensation for Disturbance Bill, intended to protect the Irish tenants from eviction during the winter.

[37 ] The majority against the Bill was 230, of whom 51 were Liberals.

[38 ] Granville.

[39 ] Lowell.

[40 ] Non equidem invideo; miror magis.

[41 ] Lord Arthur Russell.

[42 ] The reference is to the Ground Game Bill, which enabled tenants to shoot hares and rabbits on their farms; and to the Burials Bill, which permitted the interment of Dissenters in parish churchyards with their own religious rites.