February 22

Cloudy and warm. The Second Brigade was out drilling this forenoon as well as a battery; very busy this afternoon; paymaster paying off the regiment; rained a little this evening; got a paper from Vermont but don't know who sent it. There is a ball at First Corps headquarters to-night.

February Twenty-Second

First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life; pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him, as were the effects of that example lasting.

Henry Lee
(Father of Robert E. Lee )

 

George Washington born, 1732

 

 

February 22

February 22, 1881.--The march of mind finds its typical expression in astronomy--no pause, but no hurry; orbits, cycles, energy, but at the same time harmony; movement and yet order; everything has its own weight and its relative weight, receives and gives forth light. Cannot this cosmic and divine become oars? Is the war of all against all, the preying of man upon man, a higher type of balanced action? I shrink form believing it. Some theorists imagine that the phase of selfish brutality is the last phase of all. They must be wrong. Justice will prevail, and justice is not selfishness. Independence of intellect, combined with goodness of heart, will be the agents of a result, which will be the compromise required.

Monday, February 22nd.—We got a short walk yesterday evening after unloading at Rouen. There was a glorious sunset over the bridge, and the lights just lighting up, and Rouen looked its beautifulest. We slept at Sotteville, and this morning Sister and I walked down the line into Rouen and saw the Paymaster and the Cathedral, and did some shopping, and had a boiled egg and real butter and tea for lunch, and came back in the tram. Sister S. is in bed with influenza.

The lengthening days and better weather are making a real difference to the gloom of things, and though there is a universal undercurrent of feeling that enormous sacrifices will have to be made, it seems to be shaping for a step farther on, and an ultimate return to sanity and peace. It is such a vast upheaval when you are in the middle of it, that you sometimes actually wonder if every one has gone mad, or who has gone mad, that all should be grimly working, toiling, slaving, from the firing line to the base, for more Destruction, and for more highly-finished and uninterrupted Destruction, in order to get Peace. And the men who pay the cost in intimate personal and individual suffering and in death are not the men who made the war.

February 22

February 22, 1871.--Soirée at the M--. About thirty people representing our best society were there, a happy mixture of sexes and ages. There were gray heads, young girls, bright faces--the whole framed in some Aubusson tapestries which made a charming background, and gave a soft air of distance to the brilliantly-dressed groups.

In society people are expected to behave as if they lived on ambrosia and concerned themselves with nothing but the loftiest interests. Anxiety, need, passion, have no existence. All realism is suppressed as brutal. In a word, what we call "society" proceeds for the moment on the flattering illusory assumption that it is moving in an ethereal atmosphere and breathing the air of the gods. All vehemence, all natural expression, all real suffering, all careless familiarity, or any frank sign of passion, are startling and distasteful in this delicate milieu ; they at once destroy the common work, the cloud palace, the magical architectural whole, which has been raised by the general consent and effort. It is like the sharp cock-crow which breaks the spell of all enchantments, and puts the fairies to flight. These select gatherings produce, without knowing it, a sort of concert for eyes and ears, an improvised work of art. By the instinctive collaboration of everybody concerned, intellect and taste hold festival, and the associations of reality are exchanged for the associations of imagination. So understood, society is a form of poetry; the cultivated classes deliberately recompose the idyll of the past and the buried world of Astrea. Paradox or no, I believe that these fugitive attempts to reconstruct a dream whose only end is beauty represent confused reminiscences of an age of gold haunting the human heart, or rather aspirations toward a harmony of things which every day reality denies to us, and of which art alone gives us a glimpse.