June 1

June 1, 1863

Monday. The artillery keeps up an irregular firing, and now and then the Rebs reply. Major Bostwick and the negro troops are busy every night digging rifle pits, and to-day there is what looks like a fort, which must have been built in the night, and from which there is firing to-day. We hear to-day General Sherman has died of his wounds.

One or two of Company B are on the sick list. I wish they would hurry up and do something, for the more there is going on, the better we all feel.

June First

... The year,
And all the gentle daughters in her train,
March in our ranks, and in our service wield
Long spears of golden grain!
A yellow blossom as her fairy shield,
June flings her azure banner to the wind,
While in the order of their birth
Her sisters pass, and many an ample field
Grows white beneath their steps, till now, behold,
Its endless sheets unfold
The snow of Southern summers!
Henry Timrod
(Ethnogenesis )

 

Kentucky admitted to the Union, 1792

Tennessee admitted to the Union, 1796

John H. Morgan born, 1825

 

 

June 1, 1864

Wednesday. Moved camp up the river to where the fort is being built,—that is, all the well ones. Hallisy, our new sutler, came to-day with a full stock of goods. He belonged to the 6th Michigan; was wounded at Port Hudson. Shot through the arm and the wound would not heal and he was discharged. Not wishing to go home, his comrades chipped in for a box of cigars, which he peddled out among the soldiers and was able to buy more and continue peddling. He was soon able to make trips to the city for anything needed by his comrades, and in a short time was doing quite a business. He is honest and trustworthy in every way, and when he asked to be appointed sutler for the 90th he had all the recommendations the officers could give. He is a money-maker and will get rich if the war lasts long enough, yet he is so fair and square in all his dealings that no one ought to begrudge him the money he makes. He brought our mail and in the bundle were seven letters for me, and none of them had any bad news in them.

June 1

June 1, 1880.--Stendhal's "La Chartreuse de Parme." A remarkable book. It is even typical, the first of a class. Stendhal opens the series of naturalist novels, which suppress the intervention of the moral sense, and scoff at the claim of free-will. Individuals are irresponsible; they are governed by their passions, and the play of human passions is the observer's joy, the artist's material. Stendhal is a novelist after Taine's heart, a faithful painter who is neither touched nor angry, and whom everything amuses--the knave and the adventuress as well as honest men and women, but who has neither faith, nor preference, nor ideal. In him literature is subordinated to natural history, to science. It no longer forms part of the humanities, it no longer gives man the honor of a separate rank. It classes him with the ant, the beaver, and the monkey. And this moral indifference to morality leads direct to immorality.

The vice of the whole school is cynicism, contempt for man, whom they degrade to the level of the brute; it is the worship of strength, disregard of the soul, a want of generosity, of reverence, of nobility, which shows itself in spite of all protestations to the contrary; in a word, it is inhumanity. No man can be a naturalist with impunity: he will be coarse even with the most refined culture. A free mind is a great thing no doubt, but loftiness of heart, belief in goodness, capacity for enthusiasm and devotion, the thirst after perfection and holiness, are greater things still.

Tegernsee June 1, 1880

I received your letter last night on my return from Italy, and read the enclosure with interest. There are two things to be said in its defence. It is true that Hartington has, of late, shown higher qualities than the world attributed to him, and so far his adoring kinsfolk may consider their higher estimate justified. His whole attitude during the election was creditable, and his conduct towards Mr. Gladstone was correct.

Then, there is a grain of truth in the notion that the force that creates, and sustains in a crisis, is not quite the same that is wanted in time of prose to continue and to preserve; or in other words, that creative power makes a great consumption of party resources, and, if Burke gave up to party what was meant for mankind, it is better still to give up to mankind what some people mean to use for party. This is only a half truth, because party is not only, not so much, a group of men as a set of ideas and ideal aims; so that I do not admit Goldsmith's antithesis. But taking party in the practical and popular sense, of an instrument for homing office, people are uneasily conscious that Mr. Gladstone will sacrifice it to loftier purpose sooner than they would like. Nothing is more untrue than the famous saying of an ancient historian, that power is retained by the same arts by which it is acquired; untrue at least for men, though truer in the case of nations.

But don't you see, pervading the letter and guiding the pen, the great intellectual and moral defect of the present day? I mean, the habit of dwelling on appearances, not on realities, of preferring the report to the bullet, and the echo to the report. To spend and lose a majority in some great cause, to be abused and ridiculed and calumniated, seems to the writer a misfortune so great that it is worth while to haul down one's flag rather than incur the risk of it. This is the power of journalism, of salons and club life, which teaches people to depend on popularity and success and not on the guide within, to act not from knowledge, but from opinion, and to be led by opinion of others rather than by knowledge which is their own. Not only ——, nearly everybody yields up his conscience, his practical judgment, into the keeping of others. I do not accuse Hartington, but it is clear from the words of —— and ——, that there was a scheme to get Mr. Gladstone out of the way. To expect him to take the first step was to expect him to resign. It is so easy to do a dirty thing with self-satisfaction when it consists in abstaining from action. The one letter is only the plausible, affectionate, amplification of the other's impertinence, with a saving clause, on the first page, inserted from dictation, when the grievous indiscretion had been committed....

*****

It does not matter seriously; but it serves to corroborate that grave speech of mine: trust nobody. I don't want you to think ill of people, or even to suspect them until the evidence is strong. It is not their virtue I question, but their attachment, and consequently their discretion. And I question their attachment because I doubt their thorough agreement with Mr. Gladstone. I don't say they are perfidious; but they are bound by an alliance they do not mean to last for ever.

*****

I do not cite Northcote and Carnarvon in confirmation. Soon after his resignation Carnarvon certainly wished to come over. At a solemn dinner inaugurating him as President of the Society of Antiquaries, he asked the secretaries to get me to propose his health. In a preceding speech he spoke of himself as a true Conservative at heart; and so I took those words up, congratulating him upon them in an Antiquarian, and eventually in a Liberal sense, indicating that they meant no more than we mean by constitutional, that there were no Pyrenees between us, that we entirely agreed with each other. We became close friends from that hour, and he made it very clear that he was pleased to be so interpreted. But he got little encouragement afterwards; and I fancied he honestly took this line—there are intelligent High Church men who dread, in the looming future, an alliance between democratic nonconformity and the predestined chief of the stern and unbending Tories, on the basis of anti-Erastianism. They say that the late election, swamping the vulgar Whig, has made those two allies stronger than ever, making each depend upon the other. They would stand a Liberal Government made up of Spencers and Cowpers, but they say that the demagogues have been strong enough to force their way in, and will make their power felt. So that property and the Church are in danger. I am ashamed to say that I thought this was Carnarvon's line. But Liddon knows what he says. Be sure that I also know what I say when I assure you that the victoria pilgrimage will be a help to your father, and that Lady R.'s coachman will grease wheels more important than her own. Do go on, this summer at least, and see whether it is not true. Lady R. is, moreover, a friend of Lady Blennerhassett, and will sympathise with your feelings.

*****

I should not have supported our side in its attack on Sir Bartle Frere. It was not merely a question of empire, but of lives he would be unable to protect, against a savage army[22 ] far stronger than the whole armed population of Natal. I fancy that the analogy, or apparent analogy, with the Cabul policy, which he had so much promoted, turned Liberal opinion against him. But Frere is a strong, an able, and a plausible man. It is true that his strength is akin to obstinacy and self-will, that he is rather too plausible, and that he will gain his ends by crooked paths when he has tried the straight in vain. He is a dangerous agent, but, I should think, a useful adviser. Indians are not generally a healthy element in the body politic, and he has the constant vice of Indians, belief in force. But he has a breadth of mind that is rare among them; and I have known people who hated him, because he is so good. I do not suggest that that is the motive of the three Anabaptists who ply you with advice from which I disagree.

Thanks, a thousand thanks, for all the kindness of your letter. I enjoyed the Sherbrooke-Airlie-Trevelyan dinner very much, and shall envy Lady R. every Monday to come....

[22 ] The Zulu.

It has been a terribly warm day. The enemy being too well posted at Totopotomy to attack, Grant concluded to move to Cold Harbor about fifteen miles away, last night. General Sheridan had taken it yesterday afternoon but being hard pressed by the enemy's Infantry he had started to leave when he was ordered by General Meade not to do so. The Sixth Corps in accordance with this plan started for that point at about 2 o'clock this morning over a narrow road leading a part of the way through swamps which are the source of the Totopotomy and Matadequin rivers, arriving at Cold Harbor which was being held by General Custer's Cavalry, at about 2 o'clock this afternoon. Characteristic of Custer when in a hot place, his band was playing Hail Columbia while his men were fighting like Trojans to hold their ground. He had had a goodly number killed and wounded who lay on the field uncared for because all his men were absolutely required for fighting in order to hold the place. Soon the dry grass and underbrush took fire and the helpless wounded were roasted to death, their charred remains being found afterwards. It was a sad sight for any one, and especially a thoughtful person.

Our line of battle consists of the Sixth and Eighteenth Corps, Major General W. F. Smith commanding the latter of about ten thousand men just from Bermuda Hundred being on the right of the line. Our Corps with its Third, First and Second Divisions in the order named from right to left was on the left of the line. The Third Division, Sixth Corps went into line about 3 o'clock p. m. just west of an old tavern at Cold Harbor Cross Roads or Old Cold Harbor, from which tavern the place probably took its name, owing to its custom of entertaining especially at an early day when its grounds were allowed for camping purposes to travelers and they cared mostly for themselves.

Our part of the line was in an open field behind a narrow strip of woods with the enemy's breastworks just beyond about a mile more or less away in our front. We were formed by regiments four lines deep. Our regiment was on the skirmish line all night on Totopotomy Creek, but was relieved about daylight and after a hot dusty march joined our Division in the foregoing position just in season for the assault at about 6 o'clock p. m., our brigade being on the left of our Division. We were all worn out from being on the skirmish line all night followed by a rapid but all-day march, so near asleep at times en route as to frequently actually unconsciously march into scrub trees by the wayside or anything else in the line of march before awaking. It was simply impossible to keep awake as overtaxed nature had reached its limit.

We were ordered to guide left on the First Division of the Sixth Corps in the assault, but owing to some misunderstanding at first there was some delay, but our brigade soon got in motion and advanced rapidly in unbroken lines soon all alone on its right, until broken by the woods, leaving the troops on our right far in the rear, which caused us to oblique to the right when, before we were half-way through the woods and swamp which were wider in our front than to our left, our brigade had deployed so we had only one line of battle where I was with no support on my right whatever which, owing to an enfilading fire from the enemy in that direction, greatly handicapped the right of the line here. This caused quite a sharp angle in the Union line of battle at this point, and when we were afterwards drawn back a little to connect with our right it brought our line of works here closer the enemy's than at any other point. The fact is we had no support either in rear or to our right and were in a precarious situation until drawn back in continuous line of battle with the rest of the assaulting line.

It was a determined charge though, through the woods and swamp. It was my first experience as Company Commander in an assault, and it did seem queer to step in front of my men to lead them, one of if not the youngest among them. But I was on my mettle and had I known a solid shot would have cut me in part the next second, pride would have kept me up to the rack, for the Company Commanders of the Tenth Vermont did not follow but led their men in battle ever after the first one at Locust Grove and some did there. The men of Company K are splendid fighters, and I am proud of them. If there was a man who shirked I didn't see him. They followed me splendidly, have gained my respect and esteem, and I shall hate to give up the Company when the time comes to do so.

A part of our Division together with General Emery Upton's Brigade of our Corps, quite largely went over the enemy's works in the assault to-night, but could not hold them because not supported on either flank. It was a plucky fight. Our opponents were Generals Hoke, Kershaw, Pickett and Field's Divisions. General Clingman's Brigade was on the right of Hoke's Division, and was badly broken up in the assault, as well as the Brigade on either side of his, one of which belonged to Kershaw's Division. Our regiment captured the Fifty-first North Carolina Infantry, the commanding officer of which surrendered his sword to Captain E. B. Frost of Company A, acting Major. Our Division and Upton's Brigade captured five hundred prisoners, most of whom were probably taken by our regiment. Such as were taken by it were sent to the rear, without guard, but were again picked up en route so we got no credit for them. We could not spare men to send them under guard for we had more than we could do to hold the works after taking them.

The loss in the Sixth Corps was twelve hundred, of which over eight hundred were from our Division. The splendid work of the Third Division here put it in full fellowship with the rest of the Sixth Corps. We had proved our mettle grandly even if a shorter time in service than the Second and Third Divisions. The loss from our Brigade was twenty-one officers, seven of whom were killed, ten wounded and four were taken prisoners; one hundred enlisted men were also killed and two hundred and seventy-five wounded. Our regiment lost nineteen killed and sixty-two wounded, and Company K, one killed and four wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Townsend of the One Hundred and Sixth New York, Lieutenants Ezra Stetson of Company B, and C. G. Newton of Company G, Tenth Vermont, were killed; Colonel W. W. Henry and Lieutenant William White of the Tenth Vermont, Colonel W. S. Truex of the Fourteenth New Jersey, commanding First Brigade, Colonel Schall of the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania were wounded, and Major McDonald of the One Hundred and Sixth New York and Lieutenant J. S. Thompson of Company A, Tenth Vermont were taken prisoners and two other officers.

Berries

Tuesday, 1.

Rise with the sun, if you would keep the commandments. The sleep you get before midnight goes to virtue; after sunrise, to vice. "It is wise," says Aristotle, "to be up before daybreak, for such habit contributes to health, wealth, and wisdom." If this virtue, commended alike by antiquity and by our sense of self-respect, has fallen into discredit in modern times, it was practised by our forefathers and bore its fruits. They

"With much shorter and far sweeter sleep content,

Vigorous and fresh about their labors went."

"He that in the morning hath heard the voice of virtue," says Confucius, "may die at night." And it were virtuous to rise early during our June mornings to breakfast on strawberries with the robins, or what were as good, partake of Leigh Hunt's delicious Essay on these berries. One tastes them from his potted pages. And his very quotations are palatable.

"My Lord of Ely, when I was last in Holburn,

I saw good strawberries in your garden there;

I pray you send for some of them."

An ancient may read "Concord" instead of "my Lord of Ely's" gardens, and enjoy the sight moreover of his grandson's vermilioned fingers while picking them; the berries in no wise inferior to his Lordship's in flavor or color, and far larger in size,—that Yankee superstition. But one tastes none like the wild ones plucked fresh from the meadows of his native place, while the dews sparkled in the grasses, and the bobolink sought to decoy him from her nest there when he approached it. The lay lingers in the ear still:—

"A single note, so sweet and low,

Like a full heart's overflow,

Forms the prelude,—but the strain

Gives us no sweet tone again;

For the wild and saucy song

Leaps and skips the notes among

With such quick and sportive play,

Ne'er was merrier, madder lay."

Herrick dished his with fresh cream from his "little buttery":—

"You see the cream but naked is,

Nor dances in the eye

Without a strawberry,

Or some fine tincture like to this

Which draws the sight thereto."

So Milton's Eve in Eden,—

"From many a berry and from sweet kernels pressed,

She tempered dulcet creams."

And Aratus, whom St. Paul quotes concerning the gods, calls the berries in aid in describing the roseate cheek of health:—

"Fair flesh like snow with vermilion mixed,"

a line that took Goethe's fancy when composing his Theory of Colors.

Randolph, too, Ben Jonson's young friend, rides out of London with "worthy Stafford" in quest of some,—

"Come, spur away,

I have no patience for a longer stay;

But I must go down

And leave the changeable air of this great town.

I will the country see,

Where old simplicity,

Though hid in gray,

Doth look more gay

Than foppery in plush and scarlet clad;

Farewell ye city wits that are

Almost at city war,—

'Tis time that I grew wise when all the world is mad.

"Here from the tree

We'll cherries pluck, and pick the strawberry;

And every day

Go see the wholesome girls make hay,

Whose brown hath lovelier grace

Than any painted face

That I do know

Hyde Park can show.

"Then full, we'll seek a shade,

And hear what music's made;

How Philomel

Her tale doth tell,

And how the other birds do fill the choir,

The thrush and blackbird lend their throats,

Warbling melodious notes,

We will all sports enjoy that others do desire."

The strawberry, it appears, was not restored to gardens till within a century or two back. Evelyn mentions "planting them out of the woods." I do not find it mentioned as a cultivated plant in the Greek or Roman rural authors. Phillips, in his History of Fruits, gives this pleasant account of the origin of its name. That of "an ancient practice of children threading the wild berries upon straws of grass," somewhat as rude country boys thread birds' egg-shells like beads, as ornaments for their mirrors. He says that this is still a custom in parts of England where they abound, and that so many "straws of berries" are sold for a penny,—a more picturesque style of marketing than in pottles, or boxes. Evelyn mentions the kinds common in his time: Common Wood, English, American, or Virginia, Polona, White, Ivy Red, the Green, and Scarlet.

Culpepper, in his British Herbal, says: "This plant is so well known that it needs no description. It grows in woods and is planted in gardens. It flowers in May; the fruit ripens soon after. Venus owns the herb. The fruit, when green, is cool and dry; but when ripe, cool and moist." He gives a list of its medical virtues, among which, he says, "the water of the berries, carefully distilled, is a remedy and cordial in the panting and beating of the heart." It were almost worth having this trouble to be cured by his strawberry cordials.

He describes the raspberry, also called thimbleberry, and ascribes to it similar medical virtues.

Of bilberries, he says there are two sorts common in England,—the black and red. The red bilberry he calls "whortleberry," and says: "The black groweth in forests, on the heath, and such like barren places. The red grows in the north parts of this land, as Lancashire, Yorkshire, etc., flowers in March and April, the fruit ripening in July and August." "Both are under the dominion of Jupiter," and, if we may believe him, are very virtuous, it being "a pity they are used no more in physic than they are." In August we gather as good in

OUR BLUEBERRY SWAMP.

"Orange groves mid-tropic lie,

Festal for the Spaniard's eye,

And the red pomegranate grows

Where the luscious southwest blows;

Myrrh and spikenard in the East

Multiply the Persian's feast,

And our northern wilderness

Boasts its fruits our lips to bless.

Wouldst enjoy a magic sight,

And so heal vexation's spite?

Hasten to my blueberry swamp,—

Green o'erhead the wild bird's camp;

Here in thickets bending low,

Thickly piled the blueberries grow,

Freely spent on youth and maid,

In the deep swamp's cooling shade,

Pluck the clusters plump and full,

Handful after handful pull!

Choose which path, the fruitage hangs,—

Fear no more the griping fangs

Of the garden's spaded stuff,—

This is healthy, done enough.

Pull away! the afternoon

Dies beyond the meadow soon.

Art thou a good citizen?

Move into a blueberry fen;

Here are leisure, wealth, and ease,

Sure thy taste and thought to please,

Drugged with nature's spicy tunes,

Hummed upon the summer noons.

"Rich is he that asks no more

Than of blueberries a store,

Who can snatch the clusters off,

Pleased with himself and them enough.

Fame?—the chickadee is calling;—

Love?—the fat pine cones are falling;

Heaven?—the berries in the air,—

Eternity—their juice so rare.

And if thy sorrows will not fly,

Then get thee down and softly die.

In the eddy of the breeze,

Leave the world beneath those trees,

And the purple runnel's tune

Melodize thy mossy swoon."

W. E. Channing.

June 1, 1915

Well, I have really had a very exciting time since I last wrote you. I have even had a caller. Also my neighbor at Voulangis, on the top of the hill, on the other side of the Morin, has returned from the States, to which she fled just before the Battle of the Marne. I even went to Paris to meet her. To tell you the actual truth, for a few days, I behaved exactly as if there were no war. I had to pinch myself now and then to remind myself that whatever else might be real or unreal, the war was very actual.

I must own that Paris seems to get farther and farther from it every day. From daybreak to sunset I found it hard to realize that it was the capital of an invaded country fighting for its very existence, and the invader no farther from the Boulevards than Noyon, Soissons, and Rheims—on a battle-front that has not changed more than an inch or two—and often an inch or two in the wrong direction—since last October.

I could not help thinking, as I rode up the Champs-Elysées in the sun —it was Sunday—how humiliated the Kaiser, that crowned head of Terrorizers, would be if he could have seen Paris that day.

Children were playing under the trees of the broad mall; automobiles were rushing up and down the avenue; crowds were sitting all along the way, watching the passers and chatting; all the big hotels, turned into ambulances, had their windows open to the glorious sunny warmth, and the balconies were crowded with invalid soldiers and white-garbed nurses; not even arms in slings or heads in bandages looked sad, for everyone seemed to be laughing; nor did the crippled soldiers, walking slowly along, add a tragic note to the wonderful scene.

It was strange—it was more than strange. It seemed to me almost unbelievable.

I could not help asking myself if it could last.

Every automobile which passed had at least one soldier in it. Almost every well-dressed woman had a soldier beside her. Those who did not, looked sympathetically at every soldier who passed, and now and then stopped to chat with the groups—soldiers on crutches, soldiers with canes, soldiers with an arm in a sling, or an empty sleeve, leading the blind, and soldiers with nothing of their faces visible but the eyes.

By every law I knew the scene should have been sad. But some law of love and sunshine had decreed that it should not be, and it was not.

It was not the Paris you saw, even last summer, but it was Paris with a soul, and I know no better prayer to put up than the cry that the wave of love which seemed to throb everywhere about the soldier boys, and which they seemed to feel and respond to, might not—with time—die down. I knew it was too much to ask of human nature. I was glad I had seen it.

In this atmosphere of love Paris looked more beautiful to me than ever. The fountains were playing in the Place de la Concorde, in the Tuileries gardens, at the Rond Point, and the gardens, the Avenue and the ambulances were bright with flowers. I just felt, as I always do when the sun shines on that wonderful vista from the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre, that nowhere in the world was there another such picture, unless it be the vista from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe. When I drove back up the hill at sunset, with a light mist veiling the sun through the arch, I felt so grateful to the fate which had decreed that never again should the German army look on that scene, and that a nation which had a capital that could smile in the face of fate as Paris smiled that day, must not, cannot, be conquered.

Of course after dark it is all different. It is then that one realizes that Paris is changed. The streets are no longer brilliantly lighted. There are no social functions. The city seems almost deserted. One misses the brightness and the activity. I really found it hard to find my way about and recognize familiar street corners in the dark. A few days of it were enough for me, and I was glad enough to come back to my quiet hilltop. At my age habits are strong.

Also let me tell you things are slowly changing here. Little by little I can feel conditions closing up about me, and I can see "coming events" casting "their shadows before."

Let me give you a little example.

A week ago today my New York doctor came down to spend a few days with me. It was a great event for a lady who had not had a visitor for months. He wanted to go out to the battlefield, so I arranged to meet his train at Esbly, go on with him to Meaux, and drive back by road.

I started for Esbly in my usual sans gêne manner, and was disgusted with myself on arriving to discover that I had left all my papers at home. However, as I had never had to show them, I imagined it would make no difference.

I presented myself at the ticket-office to buy a ticket for Meaux, and you can imagine my chagrin when I was asked for my papers. I explained to the station-master, who knows me, that I had left them at home. He was very much distressed,—said he would take the responsibility of selling me a ticket if I wanted to risk it,—but the new orders were strict, and he was certain I would not be allowed to leave the station at Meaux.

Naturally, I did not want to take such a risk, or to appear, in any way, not to be en règle. So I took the doctor off the train, and drove back here for my papers, and then we went on to Meaux by road.

It was lucky I did, for I found everything changed at Meaux. In the first place, we could not have an automobile, as General Joffre had issued an order forbidding the circulation inside of the military zone of all automobiles except those connected with the army. We could have a little victoria and a horse, but before taking that, we had to go to the Préfet de Police and exhibit our papers and get a special sauf- conduit,—and we had to be diplomatic to get that.

Once started, instead of sliding out of the town past a guard who merely went through the formality of looking at the driver's papers, we found, on arriving at the entrance into the route de Senlis, that the road was closed with a barricade, and only one carriage could pass at a time. In the opening stood a soldier barring the way with his gun, and an officer came to the carriage and examined all our papers before the sentinel shouldered his musket and let us pass. We were stopped at all the cross-roads, and at that between Barcy and Chambry,—where the pedestal of the monument to mark the limit of the battle in the direction of Paris is already in place,—we found a group of a dozen officers—not noncommissioned officers, if you please, but captains and majors. There our papers, including American passports, were not only examined, but signatures and seals verified.

This did not trouble me a bit. Indeed I felt it well, and high time, and that it should have been done ten months ago.

It was a perfect day, and the battlefield was simply beautiful, with the grain well up, and people moving across it in all directions. These were mostly people walking out from Meaux, and soldiers from the big hospital there making a pilgrimage to the graves of their comrades. What made the scene particularly touching was the number of children, and the nurses pushing babies in their carriages. It seemed to me such a pretty idea to think of little children roaming about this battlefield as if it were a garden. I could not help wishing the nation was rich enough to make this place a public park.

In spite of only having a horse we made the trip easily, and got back here by dinner-time.

Two days later we had an exciting five minutes.

It was breakfast time. The doctor and I were taking our coffee out-of- doors, on the north side of the house, in the, shade of the ivy-clad wall of the old grange. There the solitude is perfect. No one could see us there. We could only see the roofs of the few houses at Joncheroy, and beyond them the wide amphitheatre-like panorama, with the square towers of the cathedral of Meaux at the east and Esbly at the west, and Mareuil-lès-Meaux nestled on the river in the foreground.

You see I am looking at my panorama again. One can get used to anything, I find.

It was about nine o'clock.

Suddenly there was a terrible explosion, which brought both of us to our feet, for it shook the very ground beneath us. We looked in the direction from which it seemed to come—Meaux—and we saw a column of smoke rising in the vicinity of Mareuil—only two miles away. Before we had time to say a word we saw a second puff, and then came a second explosion, then a third and a fourth. I was just rooted to my spot, until Amélie dashed out of the kitchen, and then we all ran to the hedge,—it was only a hundred feet or so nearer the smoke, and we could see women running in the fields,—that was all.

But Amélie could not remain long in ignorance like that. There was a staff officer cantoned at Voisins and he had telephonic communication with Meaux, so down the hill she went in search of news, and fifteen minutes later we knew that a number of Taubes had tried to reach Paris in the night, that there had been a battle in the air at Crépy-les-Valois, and one of these machines had dropped four bombs, evidently meant for Meaux, near Mareuil, where they had fallen in the fields and harmed no one.

We never got any explanation of how it happened that a Taube should be flying over us at that hour, in broad daylight, or what became of it afterward. Probably someone knows. If someone does, he is evidently not telling us.

Amélie's remark, as she returned to her kitchen, was: "Well, it was nearer than the battle. Perhaps next time—" She shrugged her shoulders, and we all laughed, and life went on as usual. Well, I've heard the whir-r of a German bomb, even if I did not see the machine that threw it.

The doctor did not get over laughing until he went back to Paris. I am afraid he never will get over guying me about the shows I get up to amuse my visitors. I expect that I must keep a controlling influence over him, or, before he is done joking, the invisible Taube will turn into a Zeppelin, or perhaps a fleet of airships.