January 20

Quite a fine moon to-night—a little cloudy but no wind; froze quite hard last night; have had so much company all day it has been impossible to do anything but visit; band is serenading General W. H. Morris; are proud of our band, it being one of best regimental bands in the army. Lieut. Stetson has not come tonight; got no letter from home, but received a good one from Carl Wilson. To-night they have the Universalist festival at Barre, Vt.; would like to be there, but my festival will be with tactics.

January 20, 1864

Wednesday. To-day the wind has been against us. At noon we were said to be off Charleston. The sea-captain passenger has had fun with the landsmen about staggering as we go about, but he is laughing no more. This afternoon he was getting up from a nap in his room, when a sudden lurch of the vessel pitched him head first against a mirror opposite, and smashed it fine. He called all hands up for something at his expense. We have spent the evening playing euchre and had a very pleasant time.

Wednesday, January 20th, Sotteville.—The others have all been out, but I've been a bit lazy and stayed in, washed my hair and mended my clothes. This place is looking awfully pretty to-day, because all the fields are flooded between us and the long line of high hills about a mile away, and it looks like a huge lake with the trees reflected in it. No orders to move, as usual. Ambulance trains travel as "specials" in a "marche," which means a gap in the timetable. There are only about two marches in twenty-four hours, and the R.T.O.'s have to fit the A.T.'s in to one or other of these marches when orders come that No.— A.T. is wanted. We do not get final orders of where our destination is till we get to Hazebrouck or St Omer. We have been six days without a mail now, and have taken loads to Êtretat and to Havre.

January Twentieth

No truth is lost for which the true are weeping,
Nor dead for which they died.
Francis O. Ticknor

 

 

150. John Adams

Bethlehem, Orange County,
State of New York, 20 January, 1777.

This morning we crossed the North River, at Poughkeepsie, on the ice, after having ridden many miles on the east side of it, to find a proper place. We landed in New Marlborough, and passed through that and Newborough, to New Windsor, where we dined. This place is nearly opposite to Fishkill, and but little above the Highlands, where Fort Constitution and Fort Montgomery stand. The Highlands are a grand sight, a range of vast mountains which seem to be rolling like a tumbling sea. From New Windsor we came to this place, where we put up, and now we have a free and uninterrupted passage in a good road to Pennsylvania.

General Washington, with his little army, is at Morristown. Cornwallis, with his larger one, at Brunswick. Oh, that the Continental army was full! Now is the time!

My little horse holds out finely, although we have lost much time, and travelled a great deal of unnecessary way, to get over the North River. We have reports of our people's taking Fort Washington again, and taking four hundred more prisoners and six more pieces of cannon. But as I know not the persons who bring these accounts, I pay no attention to them.

La Madeleine Jan. 20, 1881

What I said of Ruskin was only to excuse the platitude I wrote in his book, not to rescue my letters from appropriate destruction.

You evidently think that George Eliot is not the only novelist at whose feet I have sat, and that I have learned from "Endymion" the delicate art of flattery. So that the seed of suspicion has taken root after all, and I hang by my own rope.

We might perhaps agree about Trevelyan better than you suppose. I probably started from a lower estimate of the man, and was astonished at his fulness of knowledge and the vigour of his pen. The oblique style of narrative is said to be an invention of Gibbon, and Trevelyan is of course full of Gibbon's times and writings. And I quite agree with you that the business of historians is to get out of the way, and, like the man who plays Punch, to concentrate attention on their personages. Nobody, however, did this less than his illustrious uncle.

I shall look out with extreme interest for your kinsman's[66 ] review of George Eliot. I heard so many hard things said of her by Arnold and Palgrave, but Wolseley is one of her admirers.

[66 ] Arthur Lyttelton's. See his "Modern Poets of Faith, Doubt and Paganism, and other Essays" (Murray).