November 25

Arrived at Baltimore about 9 o'clock a. m.; remained at the Eutaw House until 4.40 o'clock p. m.; arrived at Annapolis at about 8 o'clock p. m.; reported to the surgeon in charge at once who ordered me to report to the Board of Examiners tomorrow morning; am in a room with two other officers.

November 25, 1863

Wednesday. Drilling the men, and getting settled in our quarters, has kept me busy all the day. Borrowed five dollars and bought a stove with it. Have had plenty of help and advice about it and expect to have plenty of company, for we are great on visiting each other. We are in the most comfortable quarters for winter we ever had and I hope we may not be called out again until warm weather comes. The weather is not cold, that is, water does not freeze, but we do, almost. There is a chill in the air at night that goes right through a blanket.

November Twenty-Fifth

PROTEST AGAINST THE WAR OF 1812, NEW ENGLAND

The call of the Secretary of War for the militia of the States met blunt refusal from the Governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The Assembly of the latter State sustained its Executive in a formal address which denounced the war and declared Connecticut to be a free, sovereign, and independent State, and that the United States was not a national but a confederated republic. President Madison was held up as an invader of the State's authority over her militia.

Henry A. White

 

Battle of Missionary Ridge, 1863

 

 

November 25

November 25, 1861.--To understand a drama requires the same mental operation as to understand an existence, a biography, a man. It is a putting back of the bird into the egg, of the plant into its seed, a reconstitution of the whole genesis of the being in question. Art is simply the bringing into relief of the obscure thought of nature; a simplification of the lines, a falling into place of groups otherwise invisible. The fire of inspiration brings out, as it were, designs traced beforehand in sympathetic ink. The mysterious grows clear, the confused plain; what is complicated becomes simple--what is accidental, necessary.

In short, art reveals nature by interpreting its intentions and formulating its desires. Every ideal is the key of a long enigma. The great artist is the simplifier.

Every man is a tamer of wild beasts, and these wild beasts are his passions. To draw their teeth and claws, to muzzle and tame them, to turn them into servants and domestic animals, fuming, perhaps, but submissive--in this consists personal education.

November 25, 1862

Tuesday. If I have kept track right, this is Thanksgiving day up north. My mouth waters as I think of the good things they will eat to-day. I suppose we should feel thankful for the fare we have, but it is hard to do it, and is harder yet to eat it. Still I know how impossible it is to do much better by us than they do. The family is so big, the individual member of it must not expect pie and cake with every meal. Some drilling in the manual of arms is done on the quarter-deck. It makes something to do, and anything is better than nothing. A gun feels pretty heavy to me these days. It is curious to see how we divide up into families. Men who were friends and neighbors at home are even more than that here. Our duties may separate us, but when they are over we hunt each other up again. We know and talk with others, but confidences are all saved for the few. Our beds are next to each other, but with the fellows next to us on the other side we have little to do.

The waves run high to-day, higher than any I ever saw, and yet the sailors say this is almost a dead calm. Still the vessel pitches and dives, so we run against some one or something every move we make.

November 25

November 25, 1863.--Prayer is the essential weapon of all religions. He who can no longer pray because he doubts whether there is a being to whom prayer ascends and from whom blessing descends, he indeed is cruelly solitary and prodigiously impoverished. And you, what do you believe about it? At this moment I should find it very difficult to say. All my positive beliefs are in the crucible ready for any kind of metamorphosis. Truth above all, even when it upsets and overwhelms us! But what I believe is that the highest idea we can conceive of the principle of things will be the truest, and that the truest truth is that which makes man the most wholly good, wisest, greatest, and happiest.

My creed is in transition. Yet I still believe in God, and the immortality of the soul. I believe in holiness, truth, beauty; I believe in the redemption of the soul by faith in forgiveness. I believe in love, devotion, honor. I believe in duty and the moral conscience. I believe even in prayer. I believe in the fundamental intuitions of the human race, and in the great affirmations of the inspired of all ages. I believe that our higher nature is our truer nature.

Can one get a theology and a theodicy out of this? Probably, but just now I do not see it distinctly. It is so long since I have ceased to think about my own metaphysic, and since I have lived in the thoughts of others, that I am ready even to ask myself whether the crystallization of my beliefs is necessary. Yes, for preaching and acting; less for studying, contemplating and learning.

Wednesday, November 25th.—Arrived at 11 p.m. last night at a God-forsaken little place about eight miles from the firing line. Found a very depressed major taking a most gloomy view of life and the war, in charge of Indians. Pitch-dark night, and they were a mile away from the station, so we went to bed at 12 and loaded up at 7.30 this morning, all Indians, mostly badly wounded. They are such pathetic babies, just as inarticulate to us and crying as if it was a crêche. I've done a great trade in Hindustani, picked up at a desperate pace from a Hindu officer to-day! If you write it down you can soon learn it, and I've got all the necessary medical jargon now; you read it off, and then spout it without looking at your note-book. The awkward part is when they answer something you haven't got!

The Germans are using sort of steam-ploughs for cutting trenches.

The frost has broken, thank goodness. The Hindu officer said the cold was more than they bargained for, but they were "very, very glad to fight for England." He thought the Germans were putting up a very good show. There have been a great many particularly ghastly wounds from hand-grenades in the trenches. We have made a very good journey down, and expect to unload this evening, as we are just getting into Boulogne at 6.30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 25th.—Left B. about 9.30.

Last night at dinner our charming debonair French garçon was very drunk, and spilt the soup all over me! There was a great scene in French. The fat fatherly corporal (who has a face and expression exactly like the Florentine people in Ghirlandaio's Nativities, and who has the manners of a French aristocrat on his way to the guillotine) tried to control him, but it ended in a sort of fight, and poor Charles got the sack in the end, and has been sent back to Paris to join his regiment. He was awfully good to us Sisters—used to make us coffee in the night, and fill our hot bottles and give us hot bricks for our feet at meals.

Just going on now to a place we've not been to before, called Chocques.

The French have to-day given us an engine with the Red Cross on it and an extra man to attend to the chauffage, so we have been quite warm and lovely. We ply him at the stations with cigarettes and chocolate, and he now falls over himself in his anxiety to please us.

The officers of the two Divisions which are having a rest have got 100 hours' leave in turns. We all now spend hours mapping out how much we could get at home in 100 hours from Boulogne.

November 25, 1916

It is raining,—a cold and steady downpour. I don't feel in the least like writing a letter. This is only to tell you that I have got enough anthracite coal to go to the end of February, and that the house is warm and cosy, and I am duly thankful to face this third war-winter free from fear of freezing. It cost thirty-two dollars a ton. How does that sound to you?

I have planted my tulip bulbs, cleaned up the garden for winter and settled down to life inside my walls, with my courage in both hands, and the hope that next spring's offensive will not be a great disappointment.

In the meantime I am sorry that Franz Josef did not live to see this war of his out and take his punishment. I used to be so sorry for him in the old days, when it seemed as if Fate showered disasters on the heads of the Hapsburgs. I wasted my pity. The blows killed everyone in the family but father. The way he stood it and never learned to be kind or wise proved how little he needed pity.

All the signs say a cold winter. How I envy hibernating animals! I want to live to see this thing out, but it would be nice to crawl into a hole, like a bear, and sleep comfortably until the sun came out in the spring, and the seeds began to sprout, and the army was thawed out, and could move. In the silence on this hilltop, where nothing happens but dishwashing and bedmaking and darning stockings, it is a long way to springtime, even if it comes early.

I amused myself last week by defying the consign. I had not seen a gendarme on the road for weeks. I had driven to Couilly once or twice, though to do it I had to cross "the dead line." I had met the garde champêtre there, and even talked to him, and he had said nothing. So, hearing one day that my friend from Voulangis had a permission to drive to the train at Esbly, and that she was returning about nine in the morning, I determined to meet her on the road, and at least see how she was looking and have a little chat. I felt a longing to hear someone say: "Hulloa, you,"—just a few words in English.

So if you could have seen the road, just outside of Couilly, Thursday morning, just after nine, you would have seen a Southern girl sitting in a high cart facing east, and an elderly lady in a donkey cart facing west, and the two of them watching the road ahead for the coming of a bicycle pedalled by a gendarme with a gun on his back, as they talked like magpies. It was all so funny that I was convulsed with laughter. There we were, two innocent, harmless American women, talking of our family affairs and our gardens, our fuel, our health, and behaving like a pair of conspirators. We didn't dare to get out to embrace each other, for fear—in case we saw a challenge coming— that I could not scramble back and get away quickly enough, and we only stayed a quarter of an hour. We might just as well have carried our lunch and spent the day so far as I could see—only if anyone had passed and had asked for our papers there would have been trouble. However, we had our laugh, and decided that it was not worth while to risk it again. But I could not help asking myself how, with all their red tape, they ever caught any real suspect.

Do you remember that I told you some time ago about Louise's brother, Joseph, in the heavy artillery, who had never seen a Boche? Well, he is at home again for his eight days. He came to see me yesterday. I said to him: "Well, Joseph, where did you come from this time?"

"From the same place—the mountains in Alsace. We've not budged for nearly two years."

"How long are you going to stay there?"

"To the end of the war, I imagine."

"But why?" I asked.

"What can we do, madame?" he replied. "There we are, on the top of a mountain. We can't get down. The Germans can't get up. They are across the valley on the top of a hill in the same fix."

"But what do you do up there?" I demanded.

"Well," he replied, "we watch the Germans, or at least the aeroplanes do—we can't see them. They work on their defenses. They pull up new guns and shift their emplacements. We let them work. Then our big guns destroy their work."

"But what do they do, Joseph?"

"Well, they fire a few shots, and go to work again. But I'll tell you something, madame, as sure as that we are both living, they would not do a thing if we would only leave them in peace,—but we don't."

"Well, Joseph," I asked, "have you seen a Boche yet?"

"Oh, yes, madame, I've seen them. I see them, with a glass, working in the fields, ploughing, and getting ready to plant them."

"And you don't do anything to prevent them?"

"Well, no. We can't very well. They always have a group of women and children with every gang of workmen. They know, only too well, that French guns will not fire at that kind of target. It is just the same with their commissary trains—always women at the head, in the middle, and in the rear."

Comment is unnecessary!

Cannes Nov. 25, 1881

I have been away from Cannes for a few days, and am ashamed to be again behindhand.

If I had not known it before, I should discover now what a good fellow Alfred Lyttelton is. F. C.'s view does not convince me. The impeding facts will be there, but the strong will[151 ] and the untimely gift of self-disparagement may be too much for the facts.

I am struck by what you say of the omission in Morley's book, which I am to receive in a few days. A person who has had a large and legitimate share in its preparation spoke to me some time ago in a manner which led me to expect that the Treaty narrative would be hostile to Mr. Gladstone, and would reveal soreness against him on the part of Cobden. I discussed the thing with him a good deal, but without materials which would justify me in hoping that I had made an impression. Since then, Mr. Gladstone has become P.M. and Morley is editor of one of the principal organs of a part of the ministry. That explains some degree of reticence, if my former impression was correct. I do not think such reticence quite worthy of the occasion and the men; and it would be well that the true story should be told, unless it should be likely in any way to embarrass the new negotiation. That is a question that can only be settled at Hawarden.

Knowles proposed that I should review the book, having a Tory review already undertaken. He offered to bring the volumes to Cannes before the end of this month. That would not give me the needful time. It would be necessary, in the dearth of books here, and of all sources of information besides T. B. Potter, to have some things looked up in England, by slow process of post. And it would be quite essential to ascertain how much of what is omitted may be supplied. Not feeling sure of that, and of the time, I was obliged to decline. If Knowles comes here, as he portended, I shall have an opportunity of talking it over with him.

Many, many thanks for the glimpse into that precious Diary.[152 ] You will have observed how he demolishes his own argument. He compares what I say now with what people said of Palmerston. Those people were wrong because Palmerston left a better man than himself behind him. But Mr. Gladstone goes on to say that there is nobody behind him fit to lead, except ——. Just work out the sum in Proportion: as G. to P., so is X. to G.

And it is not only a question of men, but of elements. There are many things in the glimpse that are very notable. I fancy that Goschen's late speech has done him good; but it still seems clear that he will not shut the door on the Tories. I am in communication with them[153 ] again, and should perhaps see them on my way back, if I could come to Hawarden.

I write this off in haste, before I have an opportunity of showing Mrs. Gladstone's most kind letter to Lady Acton. I don't like to answer her until I have done so.

Of course I should like to come beyond anything. If Parliament does not meet before the proper time, it might be possible to come early in January. The middle of December would not be quite so easy, for reasons here. But please tell me if it would be very much better for reasons paramount. Two thousand miles would be nothing for a good hour's talk with him, and several hours with his Secretary. I hope the Temple of Peace would not lose that character by my invasion of its pacific precincts.

Seeley would be hard on Lecky if he applied those words to his "Eighteenth Century," which is a weighty, thoughtful book. But the two former works, by which he became famous, do not really rise much above the vulgar level. There is nothing in his writings nearly equal to the new Bampton Lectures.[154 ]

[151 ] Mr Gladstone's.

[152 ] (HAWARDEN, 15 th Nov. 1881).—"Tête-à-tête  breakfast. A long most interesting talk on the great vexed question of his retirement; started by his saying that he and Lord Granville had discussed it, Lord G. good-humouredly declaring it out of the question. I quoted to him Lord Acton's words, how it would be a serious flaw in his political career to damage and perhaps ruin the Liberal party, by retiring from the leadership while in full possession of health and strength. He said the same arguments had been used in Lord Palmerston's case—that it was said the power and cohesion of the party depended on one man's life; that history had proved in that case that this was not so; that in his own case he had retired in '74 for good; that his reassumption of office was accidental, conditional, and temporary; that it was undertaken for certain purposes foreshadowed in his Midlothian Speeches; that these purposes were all or nearly all accomplished; that if he did not retire after Ireland was settled, and House of Commons procedure readjusted, there was no moment in the future when it would be possible—that Lord Hartington (now Duke of Devonshire) was a man of unusual strength and ability, but that before becoming Prime Minister he required more training as House of Commons leader. (I objected that he might at any moment go to the House of Lords, which would immensely weaken his influence; and besides, who could then lead the House of Commons?) The future leader of H. of C. was a great puzzle and difficulty. Sir Charles Dilke would probably be the man best fitted for it, he had shown much capacity for learning and unlearning, but he would require Cabinet training first; that as time brings nearer Lord Hartington's move into House of Lords, force was added to the argument in favour of his own retirement. That he did not foresee great difficulties ahead for the Liberal party; that the Conservative ditto had thrown away what should have been their strength—the return to the principles and policy of Sir R. Peel; that they were demoralised and degraded; that they had inherited the vices of Lord Beaconsfield without his tact and judgment: (Lord B.'s climax was reached in his attack on Sir Robert Peel. What a magnificent virulence he had shown; what a power of cutting and piercing the man through a searching knowledge of his character); that this jingoism was perpetuated in them, and must eventually be their ruin. That of Forster, Harcourt, and Childers it was hard indeed to say which was best qualified for leading; that Forster would probably be the best, but that he had shown occasional incapacity; that Goschen had sadly injured himself by following up his errors as to franchise with an elaborate eulogium of weak-kneed Liberalism—(I quoted Lord A. again 'that he might resign place, but could not resign power'). He demurred to this: for two years—1874 to 1876—he insisted he had had no influence on the Lib. party, that he should attend the H. of C. very rarely, and possibly begin by going abroad before the Session."

[153 ] The Goschens.

[154 ] The late Dr. Hatch's Lectures on the "Organisation of the Early Christian Churches."