November 14

November 14, 1863

Saturday. For pastime to-day we went crabbing. We had good luck, and a feast to wind up with. The guards understand fishing much better than we, and they have all the fish to eat they care for.

The Academy examinations commenced today; attended morning prayers. Mr. J. S. Spaulding looks and is the same as ever; nice old gentleman; called at the Curriers this evening; were glad to see me; clever old people; attended the examination of a class of youngsters in geography at the Academy.

November Fourteenth

Were I to enter the Hall, at this remote period, and meet my associates who signed the instrument of our independence, I should know them all, from Hancock down to Stephen Hopkins.

Charles Carroll
(Of Carrollton, at 90 years of age )

 

Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, dies, 1832

 

 

Saturday, November 14th.—Glorious sunny day, but very cold. Still in Boulogne, but out of Park Lane Siding slum, and among the ships again. Some French sailors off the T.B.'s are drilling on one side of us.

Everything R.A.M.C. at the base is having a rest this week—ships, hospitals, and trains. Major S. said there was not so much doing at the Front—thank Heaven; and the line is still wanted for troops. We have just heard that there are several trains to go up before our turn comes, and that we are to wait about six miles off. Better than the siding anyhow. Meanwhile we can't go off, because we don't know when the train will move out.

The tobacco and the cigarettes from Harrod's have come in separate parcels, so the next will be the chocolate and hankies and cards, &c. It is a grand lot, and I am longing to get up to the Front and give them out.

November 14, 1862

Friday. Dr. Andrus is going to-day. He says I ought not to think of leaving here yet. But he does not forbid it, so if I get a chance I shall try it. I have burned my big pile of letters and discarded every thing my knapsack was stuffed with except what belongs to Uncle Sam.

3 p. m. Mail in and a five-dollar bill came in a letter from home. I went right out and bought a pair of boots with it, which beat the low shoes I have so far worn.

7 p. m. On board the steamer Louisiana. I had a hard time getting here, making two miles in twenty minutes with my gun and accoutrements all on. Dr. Andrus went and as soon as the chance came I sneaked out and started. I was just in time, as the gang-plank was being pulled aboard when I came to it. Dr. Andrus was on deck and saw me and had them wait until I was on board. Then he scolded some and made me get into a berth where he covered me up in blankets and made me drink a cup of hot stuff which he prepared. I was nearly roasted by this treatment, but I am away from the hospital and on the way to be with the boys again and so did not complain.

254. Abigail Adams

14 November, 1779.

Dearest of Friends,—My habitation, how disconsolate it looks! my table, I sit down to it, but cannot swallow my food! Oh, why was I born with so much sensibility, and why, possessing it, have I so often been called to struggle with it? I wish to see you again. Were I sure you would not be gone, I could not withstand the temptation of coming to town, though my heart would suffer over again the cruel torture of separation.

What a cordial to my dejected spirits were the few lines last night received! And does your heart forebode that we shall again be happy? My hopes and fears rise alternately. I cannot resign more than I do, unless life itself were called for. My dear sons, I cannot think of them without a tear. Little do they know the feelings of a mother's heart. May they be good and useful as their father! Then will they in some measure reward the anxiety of a mother. My tenderest love to them. Remember me also to Mr. Thaxter, whose civilities and kindness I shall miss.

God Almighty bless and protect my dearest friend, and, in his own time, restore him to the affectionate bosom of

Portia.

Cuttack, November 14, 1844

I sowed some melon-seed one Friday morning; on the Monday when I went into the garden most of the melon-plants were two inches in height. In three days, in the open ground, from being mere dry seeds they had germinated and sprung up into strong healthy plants. The same rapidity of growth is remarkable in almost all vegetation in this country. I sowed some English peas the day before yesterday; this morning they are all above the ground. Thus we see that the effect of the climate is to hurry all these things forward, so that they naturally decay and die much earlier than they would in Europe.

EARLY MATURITY AND DECAY OF NATIVES.

Now just put man in the place of a vegetable, and the case is precisely the same. A native boy has generally good-sized mustachios by the time he is fourteen, and a girl becomes a woman at eleven or twelve; then, again, at thirty the woman is old and shrivelled, and at forty the man is white-haired and decrepit. Who can wonder, then, that a climate like this should have such serious effects on Europeans, or that our constitutions should be soon worn out by the burning sun?

However, this month I have no right to complain; I am far better than I have been for some time. The weather is delightful; we are glad of a thick blanket and counterpane at night; at six, when I get up, the thermometer is rarely above 72°. I have no objection to a cloak when I am sowing seeds in the morning. The thermometer now, two o'clock P.M., is in my room exactly 80°, but there is a delightful cool breeze.

I have before observed that I did not feel satisfied with my medical man. As the East India Company do not allow above one doctor to every fifty miles, I wrote to a friend of mine inwhom I have much confidence, detailing all my symptoms and requesting his advice. I could not think it of any use to put blisters and leeches on my throat for a cough and sickness which I felt to proceed from my stomach, and as I was very unwell I thought it best to consult another person. In the wisdom of his advice I perfectly agree, although it is more difficult to act up to it in India: "Employ your mind and stint your body." Any amusement, anything that could interest or excite or rouse, he recommended, but to avoid all unnatural stimulants as much as possible (I mean wine and spirits), and take plenty of exercise. If I do this, he says, he thinks I may leave all physic in the bottles and the leeches in the ponds. In accordance with this advice I am occupying myself in various ways. Books it is impossible to procure, so I have been training a horse for my wife—a beautiful little thing. I have made arrangements too for going to Calcutta in the course of the cold weather; and I have enclosed about an acre of my ground, and am making a vegetable or rather a kitchen garden of it.

I get up about six, dress in my old clothes, go out, and find one of the horses, or rather ponies, at the door waiting for me. I must ride him through the long grass, which by the bye is very nearly fit to cut, to look at a number of my trees scattered here and there in the compound, which I have been planting; then, when I am down at the farther end I take a glance at the large pond, or tank as we call it, where, sheltered by the most beautiful flowering trees, two men are catching fish for our breakfast. Then I ride along inside the hedge, watching the soldiers at parade, until I come to the goat-house; then see the pigs fed, and ride back to the house.

FLOWER AND KITCHEN GARDENS.

By this time my wife is up, and she goes into the flower-garden, and I into the kitchen-garden, to sow seeds and superintend the gardeners. And here is the most curious scene; seven black men at work, their only dress a cloth round the loins, their long black hair wound up in a knot at the back of the head, their only tools a sort of broad pickaxe with a very short handle and a small sickle, these are their only gardening implements; and two men are watering with gurrahs, a sort of narrow-necked jar made of black clay, which they let down into a well by a rope. In the flower-garden are the beautiful balsams, of many colours, and as large as gooseberry-bushes; the splendid coxcombs, eight or ten feet high, whose great thick flowers measure twelve or fourteen inches by six or eight; the varieties of the hybiscas, with many others; and a few of the more precious European rarities—at least to us—such as the heliotrope, verbenum, larkspur, and many others. Our borders are mostly of the sweet-scented grass from the Neilghur hills, which is always covered with a beautiful small white flower.

In the vegetable-garden, besides the precious peas, beans, celery, cress, &c., which will only grow at this time of the year, are the pine-apple, the plantain, the guava, the lime, the orange, the custard-apple, with many other native plants and trees; and in the hedges are some of the beautiful palms, from the sap of which the Indians make an intoxicating drink called toddy. In the compound are some very fine mango-trees and beeches.

The other evening I was sitting alone writing at about eleven o'clock, when I heard the sentry call out loudly to my servants who were sleeping in the verandah. I jumped up to see what was the matter. "A leopard-tiger!" was the answer; and the man said he had seen a leopard creeping stealthily along the compound. He leapt over the wall into the garden of the Colonel who lives in the next house, and the following day footsteps were found in various parts of the cantonment, which the natives said were too large for a leopard, and must have been the marks of a regular tiger. I did not see the animal myself; but if the men were correct, it must have been an extraordinary occurrence, as our little island is entirely free from wild beasts; and although it is at this time of the year joined to the main by a narrow neck of sand, yet no large beast will cross unless pressed either by hunger or by hunters.

A few days ago a man brought me an animal which he had caught in the jungle on the hills. At first sight I said it was an armadillo, but now I feel some doubt whether it was not some unknown animal. I wanted to buy it, in order to send the skin, or rather the shell, home, but the man asked ten rupees for it, which I could not afford. It was nearly three feet long, covered with thick hard scales of a dirty yellow colour, the tail the same length as the body, and equally broad, which I do not think is the case with the armadillo. The shape of its whole back was a long oval. When frightened it rolled itself up into a ball, but it appeared very lethargic and stupid. The feet were armed with long, powerful claws, but it walked with the lower joints turned down under the feet, as if I were to walk on my ankles with the feet and toes turned under and behind. It burrowed a hole in a wall, pulling out the bricks and mortar very easily. I tried it with various kinds of food, but the only thing I could get it to eat was white ants. The man who brought it said he had never seen one like it before.

Not long ago the doctor at Pooree saw a number of natives running to the beach. He inquired what was the matter: "A great fish, sir." So down he went to join the crowd, and there he found a large fish indeed: a whale, measuring forty-eight feet in length, had been washed on shore; the body was rolling about in the surf, with great numbers of the natives clinging to it.

Then the doctor and the only other European present took off their shoes and stockings, turned up their trowsers, and climbed on the enormous animal's back; they got well wetted for their pains. The other gentleman that I mentioned is not a very learned man, and he said that their climbing up the sides of the whale reminded him of the "Lally prussians" climbing on to Gulliver. This same person once said that his wife had had a "historical" fit, in consequence of eating "aromatically" sealed salmon.