November 12

A cold bleak day; went up to James Burnham's with Fanny West this forenoon; took her and Cousin Pert and called on the Calefs and Alma Watson at Washington; returned to and stayed at James'; Ryle Seaver was there; had company in the evening.

Boulogne, Thursday, November 12th, 8 p.m.—Have been here all day. Had a hot bath on the St Andrew. News from the Front handed down the line coincides with the 'Daily Mail.'

Friday, 13th.—Still here—fourth day of rest. No one knows why; nearly all the trains are here. The news to-day is glorious. They say that the Germans did get through into Ypres and were bayoneted out again.

La Madeleine Nov. 12, 1884

We have had a long journey from St. Martin, and are hardly settled down in the midst of a vast solitude, when the unreasonable success of the Government compels me to pack my bag once more.

What makes it a pleasure, I need not say. If all things go as I expect, I shall be in town on Monday night or early on Tuesday.

If you are so very kind as to send a line to the Athenæum suggesting the right end and object and reward of travel, please put outside, to wait arrival.

I do not stay with the Granvilles this time, that I may vote against Ministers at my ease. And I do not bring M——, which is a grief; still, I look forward to a deal of riotous living, and to many sources of public and private satisfaction.

November 12, 1863

Thursday. I put in the forenoon writing and Smith in running around. After noon an orderly came with an order from Colonel Tarbell for us to vacate the house, as he needed it for his clerks. As he is boss we had no other way than to get out. But we took our stove with us. We got hold of a good wall tent which we put up and moved the commissary stores into it, and where we are about as comfortable as we were in the house with half the windows out. To make the matter worse, Lieutenant Keese came in just at night with another batch of recruits. He left Colonel Parker at Franklin, and he is about the last one left up the country now. We issued rations for the men, and got them in the depot for the night. We took Keese in with us and the stories he told of his adventures up the country made the evening pass quickly.

November Twelfth

When it was ascertained that exchanges could not be made, either on the basis of the cartel, or officer for officer and man for man, I was instructed by the Confederate authorities to offer the United States Government their sick and wounded, without requiring any equivalents. Accordingly, in the summer of 1864, I did offer to deliver from ten to fifteen thousand of the sick and wounded at the mouth of the Savannah River, without requiring any equivalents, assuring, at the same time, the Agent of the United States, General Mulford, that if the number for which he might send transportation could not readily be made up from sick and wounded, I would supply the difference with well men. Although this offer was made in the summer of 1864, transportation was not sent to the Savannah River until about the middle or last of November.

R. R. Stevenson

 

 

November 12

November 12, 1852.--St. Martin's summer is still lingering, and the days all begin in mist. I ran for a quarter of an hour round the garden to get some warmth and suppleness. Nothing could be lovelier than the last rosebuds, or than the delicate gaufred edges of the strawberry leaves embroidered with hoar-frost, while above them Arachne's delicate webs hung swaying in the green branches of the pines, little ball-rooms for the fairies carpeted with powdered pearls and kept in place by a thousand dewy strands hanging from above like the chains of a lamp and supporting them from below like the anchors of a vessel. These little airy edifices had all the fantastic lightness of the elf-world and all the vaporous freshness of dawn. They recalled to me the poetry of the north, wafting to me a breath from Caledonia or Iceland or Sweden, Frithiof and the Edda, Ossian and the Hebrides. All that world of cold and mist, of genius and of reverie, where warmth comes not from the sun but from the heart where man is more noticeable than nature--that chaste and vigorous world in which will plays a greater part than sensation and thought has more power than instinct--in short the whole romantic cycle of German and northern poetry, awoke little by little in my memory and laid claim upon my sympathy. It is a poetry of bracing quality, and acts upon one like a moral tonic. Strange charm of imagination! A twig of pine wood and a few spider-webs are enough to make countries, epochs, and nations live again before her.

Cannes Nov. 12, 1884

Your delightful letter came from Munich this evening after I had posted mine.

It is an exquisite pleasure to look forward to meeting in such a short time. I should so much wish to have a glimpse of you, and a chat, before the plot thickens with us, so as to get the bearings. If all goes well, I have some chance of arriving pretty early on Monday, and my first business will be to ask if there is a line from you at the Athenæum. There is an uncertainty about the through trains, as there are no travellers yet, and so I may be disappointed.

It is a very important crisis, as there is a possibility of such complete and perfect success for Mr. Gladstone's policy of Reform; and I do so hope he may have it in all fulness. There never was such personal ascendency; and I trust nothing will happen in Africa to disturb it.

Yes, I would give a trifle to have heard the discussion of our Revolution by our greatest statesman[236 ] and our greatest historian.[237 ] The latter betrayed his uncompromising Conservatism by half a parenthesis at Keble. It is very superficially disguised in his book, and he ought to have been more grateful to me than he was for abusing Macaulay. Brewer was just like him in judging those events, and Gardiner contrives only by an effort not to revile the good old Cause. We are well out of the monotonous old cry about Hampden and Russell.


[236 ] Mr. Gladstone.

[237 ] Bishop Stubbs.

78. Abigail Adams

Braintree, 12 November, 1775.

I received yours of 23d October. I want to hear from you every day, and I always feel sorry when I come to the close of a letter. Your time must be greatly engrossed—but little of it to spare to the calls of private friendship, and I have reason to think I have the largest share of it. Winter makes its approaches fast. I hope I shall not be obliged to spend it without my dearest friend. I know not how to think of it.

The intelligence [115] you will receive before this reaches you will, I should think, make a plain path, though a dangerous one, for you. I could not join to-day in the petitions of our worthy pastor, for a reconciliation between our no longer parent state, but tyrant state, and these colonies. Let us separate; they are unworthy to be our brethren. Let us renounce them; and instead of supplications, as formerly, for their prosperity and happiness, let us beseech the Almighty to blast their counsels and bring to nought all their devices.

I have nothing remarkable to write you. A little skirmish happened last week. The particulars I have endeavored to collect, but whether I have the facts right, I am not certain. A number of cattle were kept at Lechmere's Point, where two sentinels were placed. In a high tide it is an island. The regulars had observed this, and a scheme was laid to send a number of them over and take off the stock. Accordingly, a number of boats and about four hundred men were sent. They landed, it seems, unperceived by the sentinels, who were asleep; one of whom they killed, and took the other prisoner. As soon as they were perceived, they fired the cannon from Prospect Hill upon them, which sunk one of their boats; but, as the tide was very high, it was difficult getting over, and some time before any alarm was given. A Colonel Thompson, of the riflemen, marched instantly with his men; and, though a very stormy day, they regarded not the tide nor waited for boats, but marched over neck-high in water, and discharged their pieces, when the regulars ran, without waiting to get off their stock, and made the best of their way to the opposite shore.[116] The General sent his thanks in a public manner to the brave officer and his men. Major Mifflin, I hear, was there, and flew about as though he would have raised the whole army. May they never find us deficient in courage and spirit.

Dr. Franklin invited me to spend the winter in Philadelphia. I shall wish to be there unless you return. I have been like a nun in a cloister, ever since you went away, and have not been into any other house than my father's and sister's, except once to Colonel Quincy's. Indeed, I have no inclination for company. My evenings are lonesome and melancholy. In the daytime family affairs take off my attention, but the evenings are spent with my departed parent. I then ruminate upon all her care and tenderness, and am sometimes lost and absorbed in a flood of tenderness ere I am aware of it, or can call to my aid my only prop and support. I must bid you adieu; 't is late at night.

Most affectionately yours.

Footnotes:

[115]This may refer to the act of the Provincial Congress authorizing privateering, passed a day or two before.

[116]Some account of this affair is given in the Remembrancer  for 1776, Vol. I. p. 229; Sparks's Writings of Washington, Vol. III. p. 157.

November 12

EARTHQUAKE.

Last night, a little before ten o'clock, my wife was gone to bed, and I was sitting up reading and writing. In this country, you may know, the servants at each house, instead of having a clock, strike a gong at every hour. It is a flat circular plate of bell-metal, which, when struck with a wooden mallet, gives forth a very loud ringing sound. Just before the gong struck ten, I heard a noise like that of a buggy (or gig with a large head to it to keep the sun off) approaching.[2] I thought to myself, "Why, there must be a party somewhere to-night;" at which I wondered not a little, because every one asks the Padre Sahib to their parties, and I had received no invitation. The next moment the noise seemed to increase, and become like the motion of a large heavy carriage. Almost immediately after, with a sound like rolling thunder, the whole house rocked backwards and forwards, while I was nearly thrown off the chair on which I was sitting.

The rumbling continued, I should think, for about a minute before the shock of the earthquake came, and for about a quarter of a minute after, while the shock itself may have occupied about ten minutes.

I was quite startled; and, proceeding to my wife's bed-room, advised her to get up and put on something warm, lest we should have to pass the night out of doors. I then went to the store-room, and made the best provision I could for a bivouac: my preparations were, however, needless, as the shock was not repeated.

I can compare the motion to nothing so well as to the pitching of a small boat in a short cross-sea, or where two tides meet one another. My wife said her bed gave two distinct pitches up and down. While I was making my preparations for departure I heard a loud noise of crows, ducks, fowls, and all sorts of birds, cawing, cackling, and screaming, as if they were very much frightened. The natives all round started up and blew their conchs (a sort of shell, which they use instead of a trumpet); and this morning every one is talking about the earthquake.

POPULATION.

Speaking of the natives reminds me of the subject of the population of India, which is very much exaggerated. It cannot be compared, in proportion to the extent of the country, to that of England. There are said to be 40,000 natives in Midnapore, though I much doubt the fact; and then on every side, farther than the eye can reach, extends a vast expanse of thick jungle (that is, bushes growing so close together as to be altogether impassable, and full of tigers, deer, leopards, buffaloes, elephants, &c.); and as the same is the case throughout the whole of India, I should think that nine-tenths of the country consists of thick, close jungle, or enormous swamps. Here and there, amidst all this, is found a small native village, composed of a few huts; but the population in such places is probably not above one in thirty square miles on the average; this is, of course, a mere rough guess. The jungle-men, who are nearly black, though not at all resembling the negro in feature, are said to be the original inhabitants of the country. Their religion is unknown, and I believe they possess no written language. The people were driven into the bushes by the lighter race of men, whom many suppose to have been some of the ancient Egyptians, probably not less than two or three thousand years ago. Amongst this race sprang up, even subsequently to this, the religion, or rather superstition, of Hindooism. Again, about seven or eight hundred years ago, the whole country was overrun and conquered by the Mohammedans. Seventy or eighty years ago we obtained a firm footing in a small portion of the country. Not long after, the Mahratta chiefs attacked the Mohammedans in various places; the Mohammedans called upon us for assistance; and thus we in time became possessors of almost the whole country.

The greatest difficulty in the pronunciation of the language is the letter h, which is always aspirated, and never pronounced as it is in our th, and yet this letter often comes after a consonant.

The money in the Mofussil, or country, is a source of much annoyance. If you want to change a ten-pound note, they give you no gold, but 100 rupees; if you want change for a rupee, they give you 64 pice; and if you change a pice, they give you 24 cowries. But as there are no shops, and all the people bring their goods to the house, this does not signify much.

If you were to go to Midnapore, and to ask a native where Acland Sahib lived (sahib means white gentleman), he would not be able to tell you; but if you were to ask for the Padre Sahib, he would immediately direct you to my house.

When I came here I was going to stay with the judge: I told the palanquin-bearers to take me to his house, mentioning his name, and we were carried to almost every house in the station; until at last we met a European, who told the men it was the judge sahib we wanted, and then they soon found the place. I am called Padre Sahib; Mrs. Acland is Padre Sahib ke Mem, or Padre Sahib's lady; a married woman, mem sahib; an old maid is mem; and a young lady is bibi sahib, or white lady baby.

EMPLOYMENT OF TIME.

The weather is now, comparatively speaking, delightful; the thermometer is 76° in the middle of the day, and about 66° at sunrise and early in the morning. I assure you we find it quite chilly, and are obliged to walk very fast to get warm. Our hours are now—up at six, feed the fowls, and walk till eight; bathe and dress till nine, then breakfast; write, read, and work till four, then dinner; feed the fowls and walk till half-past six; tea at seven. My wife works and I read aloud till half-past eight; backgammon or cribbage till half-past nine; then prayers, and to bed. Sometimes, however, I have to go out and see my parishioners between breakfast and dinner, and then I go in my palanquin. One great disagreeable is, the constant change of people.

The regiment that was here, of which the Major and his wife were our chief friends, has just been ordered away, and a new one is come in its place. The Captain of Engineers has just offered to take us a trip to the mountains, fifty miles off, on elephants. I do not know yet whether we shall go or not. The historical name of my parish would be, the Ooriah district, or the Oresta. Our time is six hours earlier than in England.

FOOTNOTES:

[2]It is the most common sort of carriage in India.