February 25

Pleasant but windy. General French reviewed our division to-day—the Third of the Third Corps; muster and payrolls have come; after review spent three hours with my class at the chapel; reported the ladies will have to leave camp next week; hope it isn't so.

February Twenty-Fifth

From Inscription on tablet in St. Michael's Church, Charleston, South Carolina.

“As a Statesman
he bequeathed to his country the sentiment,
‘Millions for defence
not a cent for tribute.'”

 

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney born, 1746

 

 

Thursday, February 25th.—Moved up to the place with the moor during the night. Glorious, clear, sunny morning. Couldn't leave the train for a real walk, as there were no orders.

This time last year the last thing one intended to do was to go and travel about France for six months, with occasional excursions into Belgium!

'The Times' sometimes comes the next day now.

p.m.—The ways of French railways are impenetrable: in spite of orders for Bailleul before lunch, we are still here, and less than ever able to leave the train for a walk.

This is the fourth day with no patients on—the longest "off" spell since before Christmas. It shows there's not much doing or much medical leakage.

Cannes Feb. 25, 1882

Goschen agreed to go with me to Paris, and changed his mind at the last moment. The consequence was that I did not stop at Paris, and some letters which were sent there from Seacox have only just reached me. And so I have left unanswered your birthday letter, and seemed to disregard the reproach as well as the kindness it expresses.

I will not say that, in the former, there is not much that I have had to consider. Still, in giving up one's home, and country, and friends and occupations, there is at least a mixture of good motives with selfish ones, and something sacrificed, if there is also a good deal of calculated pleasure-seeking and ease. If I held an appointment abroad, keeping me permanently away from my—very modest—estate, you would say that the Government was insane to offer it, but you would hardly think it wrong of me to accept it. And the duty I have allowed to precede all other duties is one that possesses a strong, and unmistakable, claim on me. Between my children and my Shropshire neighbours my choice is indeed decided. Do not, when I have the happiness of seeing you again, allow these shortcomings and these backslidings of mine to interfere with that better topic—which is yourself, but which gets no chance.

I am seeing a good deal of the Mallets. He is getting over a very bad illness, and seems to like Cannes, in spite of Sir E. Colebrooke and the Pall Mall. I have succeeded in making Sir Louis shake his head over the secret Jacobinism of his friend Morley. Yesterday I had the pleasure of dining with your favourite correspondent.

Your view of the speech introducing the new Procedure is far more just than R.'s. It displayed that serene mastery and lightness of touch which are the latest growth or ripest form of his talent, rather than the controlling and compelling power which we know so well. As to the censure,[163 ] I hold the necessity of keeping the working of the Act from interference; but I cannot admit that the case of the Commissioners is good, at the weakest point. The defence of their general action seems to me triumphant; but I don't think the attack has been met in the particulars; and the common maxim of all constitutional governments, to stand by one's subordinates in their need, is, I think, a very dangerous one.

"John Inglesant" has been begun but not finished, for want of time in London. Here is a letter which it can be no indiscretion to show you, on that interesting subject. I did not, in reply, quite confirm the critic's doubts, though I probably could not remove them. I would rather regard it as a philosophical than as a historical work.

And I missed the Athenæum  Summary. When one comes to classify all that appears, the gaps strike one as much as the bulk. Still, in the narrow domain of my own book—"The Madonna of the Future"[164 ]—every week brings several new publications that are sure to contribute some light or some difficulty.

[163 ] The vote of censure on the Lords for appointing a Committee to inquire into the operation of the Irish Land Act.

[164 ] His correspondent's name for his "History of Liberty." It was of course taken from the title of Mr. Henry James's delightful novel.