March 4

March 4, 1864

Friday. A fine day and fine weather. Have spent the day on deck, smoking, reading and thinking about my two homes, the one I am going to, and the one I have so lately left.

Weather calm and fine; no mud; pickets came in this afternoon; making muster and pay rolls; dance in chapel this evening; got a letter from Pert; has finished her school and all well at home. Lieutenant Thompson arrived in camp this morning.

March 4, 1863

Wednesday. I have been very sick. This is the first time I have felt able to make a mark with a pencil. I was taken in the night, after the day I thought myself so much better. Was taken out in the tent, from which I judge I have had fever.

March Fourth

Stephens' bodily infirmity did not sour his temper. On the contrary, it developed his capacity for human sympathy and strengthened his desire to help others to reach the happiness he seemed unable to secure for himself. After prosperity came to him, his works of philanthropy were constant and countless. He was lavish of hospitality and gave to all who asked such pity and sympathy as only a tried and travailing spirit could feel.

Louis Pendleton

 

Alexander H. Stephens dies, 1883

 

 

Cannes March 4, 1882

We have no particulars yet, and I still hope it was not an Irishman.[165 ] The villa at Mentone stands in the midst of dark olive woods, scarcely a mile from the frontier, and less than a furlong from the sea. It will require to be well guarded.

I have followed the conflict with the keen attention you may imagine, and rejoice quite as much as anybody in Downing Street at the personal triumph, and at the accession of strength which is due so entirely to his own efforts and belongs exclusively to himself. It is a gain for a better cause than the Ministry. We are just in that intermediate state in which the issue at Northampton[166 ] is unknown, but seems certain, which will be a relief.

The correspondence with Gardiner has gone on at some length, and the problem is very interesting. He persists in rejecting the story. I now understand that John Inglesant is willing to be received, but is told by the Jesuit that he is safe if, with that belief and disposition, he remains an Anglican.

I imagine that he might have argued in this way: Roman Catholic divines hold that the 39 Articles may be understood in a favourable sense. Anglicans hold that they are not literally binding on the clergy. Still less on the laity. Therefore his position in the English Church does not involve this layman in any error. It may involve him in certain dangers and difficulties. But these are not greater than the dangers and difficulties which would follow his conversion. For there are many opinions, not only sanctioned but enforced by the authorities of the Church of Rome, which none can adhere to without peril to the soul. The moral risk on one side is greater than the dogmatic risk on the other. He can escape heresy in Anglicanism more easily than he can escape the ungodly ethics of the papacy, the Inquisition, the Casuists, in the Roman Communion. The solicitation, the compulsion, will be more irresistible in the latter. A man who thought it wrong to murder a Protestant King would be left for hell by half the Confessors on the Continent. Montagu, Bramhall will not sap this man's Catholic faith so surely as the Spanish and Italian moralists will corrupt his soul.

There were men, in the XVIIth century, who would have argued in this way. I can even conceive a Jesuit doing it, for they were much divided, and there were men amongst them far more deeply and broadly divided from the prevailing teaching of their own Church, than from the Catholic party in Anglicanism. But I cannot name any Jesuit living in Charles I.'s time of whom it could be said with any probability. So that I am sure not to shake Gardiner's conviction. He is not well informed in religious history; but as a friend of Brewer he must have read the life of Goodman, which, I think, Brewer edited.

Gardiner is Irving's son-in-law. His position in that Church inclines him to Conservative views, and it would be hard for him to admit that illustrious Catholic divines who did so much for Christian revelation and for spiritual doctrine were in reality so infamous in their moral teaching as my hypothesis implies. But I am letting the cat of the Piazzetta[167 ] out of the bag.

I do hope that the social duties are not too irksome.

[165 ] On the 2nd of March a lunatic named Martin fired at the Queen and Princess Beatrice at Windsor Station.

[166 ] Bradlaugh's re-election.

[167 ] This refers to a conversation at Venice in October 1879.

Cuttack, March 4, 1843

One of my servants came to me this morning, and told me that there was a boa-constrictor in the garden. I immediately desired all the men to take long bamboos, and we sallied forth to attack the monster. By the time we got to the place, however, he had retreated into his hole in the ground; we had therefore to dig him out, and as soon as he appeared all the men struck him with their bamboos until they killed him. It proved not to be a boa, but a yellow snake about seven feet long, and was not venomous. We killed it, however, lest it might endanger the poultry-yard.

EXCURSION TO CHOGGA.

On Wednesday the 15th of February we started on our trip—myself and Mr. L., a missionary: Captain W. was not able to accompany us on account of the parade, but was to join us in the evening. On Tuesday afternoon we got our guns in readiness, and sent off some camp furniture, viz. a bedstead, table, &c., which fold up so as to be easily portable. My bed, food, clothes, &c., were carried by two men, each of whom was to receive two annas, that is three pence, a-day. Chogga, and not Condah, is the name of the place to which we were going, and it would be impossible to obtain anything there to eat except what we shot ourselves.

At four o'clock on Wednesday morning Mr. L. came to my house, and we took some coffee, eggs, and toast, and then set off, my companion on a tall white horse and I on a little native pony, both of us dressed entirely in white. I had with me a bearer, a kitmajar, and a syce. Mr. L. had also a bearer, a cooly, and a syce, with several coolies carrying provisions. The syces were only to accompany us as far as the river, and then take the horses back; the others carried our guns, pistols, powder, hunting knives, which are very necessary both to kill everything that is wounded, and also to defend ourselves if thrown down by an elk, tiger, &c. It was necessary that we should cross the river about ten miles from my house, so off we trotted followed by our train. Everything was perfectly still, the moon just setting, and a cold damp fog hanging over the whole island. For the first half-mile we got along very well. We had then to turn into the bed of the river, now dwindled to a narrow stream. Our course lay over a deep bed of loose sand something like that at Weston-super-Mare, only much worse, our horses' feet sinking at every step five or six inches; the poor animals could not move quicker than a trot. As the moon set, and the fog closed around us, the scene became one of utter desolation: the narrow pathway, if you can call it a pathway, winding so as to avoid the deeper sands and quicksands, did not permit us riding two abreast. Far ahead, magnified by the mist, I could just see the tall figure of Mr. L. and his white steed; behind I could hear a low chattering, and now and then one of the black servants would emerge from the fog and then vanish again as suddenly as he had appeared. From time to time arose a shrill cry from some one who had wandered from the path, answered as shrilly by the other men. As the fog thickened everything disappeared. The path was barely discernible, and I almost wished myself at home. However I trusted to the sagacity of my sure-footed little pony, and he carried me safely over the sand-hills and through the hollows for about three-quarters of an hour, when I heard a shout in front, announcing that Mr. L. had reached the water. I soon came up with him. We waited till our servants joined us, then dismounted, gave our horses to the syces with orders to be at the same place at six o'clock on Thursday evening, and embarked in a large boat, which, to render it water-tight, or rather to keep it afloat, was filled up to the seat with bushes and brambles trodden into a compact mass.

The boatmen told us that two nights before, as three carts were going along the path to Chogga, a tiger had sprung out and carried off the man in the centre cart, and that a few days earlier two men had been carried away from the village itself. The other side of the river is a steep bank without sand, and by the time we reached it the day was just breaking, of which, to tell the truth, I was by no means sorry.

SPORTING.

On the bank we found the coolies whom we had sent forward the evening before, and who had waited there for us, being afraid to proceed through the jungle until they had the protection of the sahibs. There we took our guns, &c., into our own hands, girded on our belts, in which were thrust our long hunting knives or daggers and our pistols, letting our servants carry our powder-flasks, shot-belts, &c. This is done in order to be able to load with greater rapidity, the servant holding the shot, wad, cap, &c., in readiness. He also carries a heavy ramrod with a round knob at the top, as the drawing the ramrod from the gun, returning it, and hammering away with it at the powder, which you must do on account of its lightness, might frequently cause delay that might be fatal. Most people, for the sake of safety, use double-barrelled guns; mine was, however, only single, but the barrel was long enough for two.

At last off we started along the regular path to Chogga. The change was most extraordinary; the fog had already cleared away; we were walking along a narrow winding path cut through the jungle. On each side of us extended as far as the eye could reach a vast plain covered with laurels and shrubs of a bright green, interspersed here and there with large flowers of a brilliant crimson or scarlet, and more rarely with trees of a stunted growth, on which numbers of little tiny doves were cooing their greeting to the sun. The bushes, which we call low jungle, grow to four or five feet in height, and so thickly that it is impossible to pass through them, except where a path has been cut, or where a natural glade or opening occurs. We walked on looking out anxiously for some opening, as we knew we should find nothing worth firing at in the open plain. Suddenly, on turning an angle in the path, we saw at the distance of about a quarter of a mile on the right a clear space with a few large trees in it. Amid the branches sat fifteen or twenty pea-fowl, and on the open glade were as many more feeding. Shortly afterwards we came to a smaller one, which enabled us to separate, so that we might approach the pea-fowl in different directions; however we could not get within shot, which we much regretted.

But I own I was not quite so eager in pushing through the jungle as I should have been the next day; it was quite novel to me, and I could not help thinking every now and then of the dreaded cobra or the scarcely less dreaded tiger. Indeed, of the last I had a fearful reminder before I rejoined Mr. L.

In a small space of clear ground I came suddenly upon the skeleton of a man, evidently lately killed, for much of the flesh was still adhering to the bones. Probably it was the poor driver of whom we had heard. I had quite lost sight of Mr. L., but presently heard him shout from some distance behind me. I made my way towards him, and soon reached a small paddy-field (rice-field). Here was a small bull of a very dark colour, who did not seem at all pleased with our intrusion: he looked at us for a minute, and then came galloping towards us, shaking his head and tail in his anger. My two servants called out that it was a wild cow, and crouched down behind me. I felt a little nervous, but faced the animal, and drew a pistol from my belt; however, as he came near, I saw a small piece of cord fastened to one of his horns, and therefore knew it was not an "unner" or wild cow. I desired the men to shout, and myself did the same, running towards the animal and waving my hat. He stopped a moment hesitating, and then, as I rushed forward, he threw up his tail in the air and scampered off, very much to my relief.

Mr. L. now came up, and we proceeded on our road. Presently one of the men who was a little in advance stopped and pointed to a tree at a little distance. Mr. L. primed his gun and fired, and down dropped a fine hen. Wild hens abound in the jungles, and are excellent eating, possessing a slight flavour of game.

Soon after we came to a spot of ground where we beheld a number of quails. I fired and killed two. Again we went on, but met with no further adventure until we came to Chogga. The last mile and a half of our journey lay through paddy-fields with the stubble still on them. The heat was intense, and by the time we reached our destination I was thoroughly tired.

Chogga is a small native village surrounded by jungle, standing about seven or eight miles from the river. It does not belong to the English, but is in the territory of one of our tributary rajahs. Mr. L. has a bungalow there, if such it can be called, consisting as it does of a single room about sixteen feet square, built of mud, and thatched with rice-straw. He has made many converts here, and is about to erect a Christian village about his own bungalow, which is half a mile from Chogga itself, and well situated on a small spot of rising ground. The appearance and manner of these wild, naked, yet Christian savages, was to me deeply interesting.

As soon as we arrived, a number of natives, both men and women, crowded about us. Many of them were Christians, though in dress they adhered to their old habits. Mr. L. at once took off everything but his trowsers, and after some hesitation I did the same. After this we had breakfast and then lay down on our camp beds and rested for two or three hours. About one I felt hungry, so went out and shot a few doves, which abound on every tree.

SPORTING.

About half-past three we collected as many men as possible and went out to beat the jungle, through which Mr. L. and myself worked our way until we came to a small open space. There one of us posted himself; the other went on until he found another similar spot, where he also stationed himself. As soon as the shikarree who was with us saw where we were ready, he stole out of the jungle and placed the twenty-five men in a large semicircle, our positions being the centre, and the radius about half a mile. As soon as they were all stationed, at a signal they began to roar and groan and make the most frightful noises, beating the bushes with their long bamboos, and pushing through the jungle towards the open space where we were placed. This was in a high jungle, and really the scene on such an occasion is most exciting. You stand on a small space of fifteen or twenty yards in diameter, bounded on every side by lofty trees and thick underwood, your gun in your hand, your man behind you holding the next charge in readiness. In every quarter the shrieks and yells of the beaters are heard; presently there is a whirr in the air, and a peacock flies through the open space above your head. Bang goes the gun, off runs one of the men to pick up the bird; load again! quick! hark! What a rush in the bushes! There it comes! An elk or stag, shot but not killed; and a man rushes out and cuts the animal's throat.

An alarm of "Tiger!" was now given, but it proved false, as nothing but a wild cat darted over the glade. Shouts again rend the air, and a magnificent red peacock, with a deep green tail and neck of gold, flies over our heads, his long tail streaming behind him, and the brown hen at his side. The opening above our heads was small, and an immediate fire was necessary: I fired and missed him. The beaters now approached nearer and nearer, shouting, and their dark forms soon became visible gliding one by one out of the jungle. Nothing more was to be found there; we accordingly moved on, and presently were beckoned to by the shikarree. He pressed his finger to his lips and whispered "Choop! choop!" and, pointing down a narrow opening in the jungle, showed us a large leopard, beautifully spotted, lying apparently asleep. While loading our guns the animal awoke, and was stealing off just as we fired and hit him, though he contrived to crawl off. The next day, however, we found the body, as the arrow was poisoned. The skin is valuable. The shikarree, who proudly bore off the body, would suffer no one to assist him; but that same man would not carry home the merest trifle from the bazaar, but must be followed by a coolie.

Captain W. soon met us, and we returned home to dinner, after which we sallied out by moonlight to seek some deer, but were unsuccessful.

CONVERTS AND "INQUIRERS."

The next morning, rising at four, after a cup of coffee we sallied into the jungle again, but obtained nothing but a few fowls. Captain W. now left us on his return home, and after breakfast a number of native Christians assembled, as this was the morning appointed for talking to them. They all squatted down on the floor, the men on one side and the women on the other. Mr. L., who is thoroughly conversant with the Oorial language, now entered into conversation with them, asking them questions and hearing all they had to say. They appear to have a very good knowledge of true religion, and to be very earnest and sincere. It was most interesting to see them all sitting so quietly with their eyes fixed on Mr. L.'s face, never attempting to interrupt either him or one another, but speaking one at a time in a low reverent tone of voice. When asked a question they would pause a moment or two in deep thought before they answered. After a little time one or two inquirers came in, that is, men who are not yet converted, but are inquiring about Christianity, or arguing concerning it and comparing it with their own religion. These sat down and behaved themselves in the same decorous manner as the actual Christians. Mr. L. very judiciously encouraged the converts to argue with the inquirers, and it was most pleasing to observe the perfect mildness and the restrained gestures of both parties when talking on so holy a subject, every eye fixed upon the two disputants, and when a pause occurred some other convert gently putting in a word in support of the holy truth.

Inquirer. "You say God gave you the Bible, I say God gave us the Shasters. The religion that is good for the white man is not good for the black. God is good, and has given us each a religion proper to ourselves. I say your religion is good and comes from God; why will you not say the same of our Shasters?"

Convert. "God gave white men the Bible because he is very good, and he told them to go and teach it to every one, because he wishes every one to be good and happy, and to go to the happy country of heaven when they die; but the Shasters do not come from God."

I. "How do you know that?"

C. "Listen, brother. Brummah (God) is good, is he not?"

I. "Yes."

C. "Should not you like to go to Brummah?"

I. "Yes."

C. "Do not the Shasters of your religion teach you so?"

I. "Ha! you are very sly. No; but our religion is good for us now. By and bye Vishnoo will come again, and then he will perhaps give us a Bible."

C. "Why not take the Christian Bible and Christian Brummah now?"

I. "Then I should lose my caste, my wife will leave me, my children will go away, my brother will not smoke with me, my hut will be empty, and the Brahmins will curse me."

C. "If the Brahmins curse you, God is stronger than they are, and he will bless you; if your wife and children run away, Jesus will make you happy in heaven; if your brother will not smoke with you, the great God will give you his peace."

I. "Well, I will see. Lend me the book; I will read it and show it to the Brahmins. How soon shall you be here again, sahib?"

Mr. L. "In about ten days."

I. "Good: I will see you again."

This is a mere epitome of the conversation, but may furnish some idea of the mode of argument pursued. Whenever the convert brought forward a good argument, or came to a convincing point, it was curious to see the countenance of the Christians. They had been watching their champion with the greatest interest, looking more like dark statues than human beings, so perfectly still did they sit, except when a mother pressed her infant to her bosom to keep it quiet. Suddenly, as they saw the drift of what was said more clearly, their white eyes would dance amid their dark skins, and one or two of them would smile and utter gently the emphatic word "Ha!" (yes).

A nice-looking young woman brought her baby to show it. It was only two months old, and had not yet been baptized. Poor woman! I won her heart completely by taking it from her and kissing it. Mr. L. seemed a little surprised at my doing so, but both the mother and her husband were delighted. She asked me to name her child. Mr. L. wished it to be a scriptural name. I accordingly gave it the first that came into my head, which was "Benjamin." It was interesting to watch the mother's face as I named the child, she had apparently never heard the name before, and there was much amusement amongst them, all trying to pronounce it; they could not quite manage it, but, as the mother carried the little one out, several of the men patted its cheek and smiled, and said very slowly Bend-za-min. There were to have been four adults baptized on this day, but one of them came in the morning and said that his wife declared she would not live with a Christian, that she had taken her children and all his fortune, consisting of one rupee and two pice, and had gone away to her brother's house. Mr. L. advised the man to go and reason with her, which he did, and we afterwards heard that she had returned with him on condition that he would not become a Christian.

The people have literally given up father, mother, wife, children, friends, and home as soon as they become followers of Jesus. They are looked upon as utterly degraded; and the tribe to which they belong has to pay a sum of money to the Brahmins before they can be freed from the stain which attaches to them in consequence of the pollution.

Mr. L. preached in the afternoon, and in the evening the Christians again met, when he addressed them a discourse in the midst of a tremendous thunderstorm.

RETURN TO CUTTACK.

When we rose the next morning at four o'clock we found that the rain had been so heavy during the night that we could get no fuel to make a fire: our provisions, having been neglected, were all spoiled by the rain, excepting a small piece of thick pie-crust; our beer we had exhausted the evening before; so after a scanty meal we started on our way home. We shot a peacock and fowl upon the road along with three snipes, and arrived at Cuttack about half-past eight on Friday morning.

COMET.

I have just witnessed a magnificent sight; during the last month we have had such weather as the oldest inhabitant cannot recollect ever to have seen before at this time of the year. It is generally in February and March very hot and very dry. For the last month we have had almost incessant rain, with violent thunderstorms. The days are comparatively cool, and at night I am glad of two blankets. Rumours of an approaching famine began to float abroad, but at length the mystery was solved. About half-past six I thought I observed a curiously shaped long cloud, and as the sun went down and the twilight deepened it did not alter its appearance, but at about a quarter to seven proved to be a magnificent comet. The nucleus was plainly visible even with the naked eye, and equal in brightness to a small star. The tail was at least 45° in length, and inclined from W.S.W. to E.S.E. Had it been perpendicular it would have reached from the horizon half way up over our heads, the whole distance from the horizon to the zenith being 90°. The breadth of the extremity of the tail was about 2½°, and the posterior half was divided longitudinally by a dark line. The colour was that of a pale moonlight, but it would no doubt have appeared much more red if the moon had not been shining brightly at the time. There has been no comet equal to this in brilliancy and the length of the tail since the year 1759. I have hardly any books to refer to, but my idea is, that it is the same comet which appeared in 1264 and 1556, and was expected back in 1848. If so, its period of revolution is nearly 300 years. Its light was intense, being almost equal to the moon in brilliancy. The natives say it will burn the earth; they call it "jherra tarn," or "burnt star."

The weather is most remarkable. We have incessant rain, with thunder and lightning every evening, and the clouds are too heavy to allow us to see the comet. The houses require fresh thatching every year. The lightning we have here I have never seen equalled in England; each flash spreads over one quarter of the visible heavens, whilst the roaring, or rather the deafening rattle, of the thunder is incessant. The comet re-appeared last night, though hardly so brilliant as it was a week ago.

I was calling upon the judge of Cuttack the other day, and his wife told me that a few nights before she went up stairs at twelve o'clock to see her little girl, who had not been quite well. On the floor of the room she saw what she thought was a piece of ribbon, and stooped to pick it up, when a cobra raised its head and expanded its hood and hissed at her in anger. She called the servants with their bamboos, and they soon killed it, but it was a great mercy that she had not touched it.