September 13

Sunday Evening, September 13th, La Baule, Nantes.—Orders at last. M. and I, an Army Sister, and two Army Staff Nurses are to go to Le Mans; what for, remains to be seen; anyway, it will be work. It seems too good to be by any possibility true. We may be for Railway Station duty, feeding and dressings in trains or for a Stationary Hospital, or anything, or to join No. 5 General at Le Mans.

Well, the papers begin to speak encouragingly, and reinforcements are rapidly being sent Grant and Thomas. We have got but few yet, but rumor says that six hundred left Vermont on the seventh of September for our regiment. It's cloudy and there's a chilly south wind. It threatens rain. McClellan's party is demanding a new candidate. Well, let it have one, it will be all the better for Mr. Lincoln. All's quiet to-night.

Sunday, September 13th.—The hospitals seem to be showing faint signs of moving. No.— has gone to Versailles, and No.— to Nantes. No.— would have gone to Versailles if they hadn't had the bad luck to lose their tent-poles in the Welshman, and their pay-sheets and a few other important items.

Had to play the hymns at three services to-day without a hymn-book! Luckily I scratched up 370, 197, 193, 176, and 285, and God Save the King, out of my head, but "We are but little children weak" is the only other I can do, except "Peace, Perfect Peace"! A fine sermon by an exceptionally good Padre, mainly on Patience and Preparation!

September Thirteenth

LEE'S ORDER OF INVASION, 1862

That he did not reap the full fruits of this wonderful generalship was due to one of those strange events which, so insignificant in itself, yet is fateful to decide the issues of nations....

It will be seen that Lee had no doubt whatever of the success of his undertaking. Both he and Jackson knew Harper's Ferry and the surrounding country, and his plan, so simple and yet so complete, was laid out with a precision as absolute as if formed on the ground instead of on the march in a new country. It was this order showing the dispersion of his army over twenty-odd miles of country, with a river flowing between its widely scattered parts, that by a strange fate fell in McClellan's hands.

Thomas Nelson Page

 

 

September 13, 1862

Saturday. Washing day. All who are not on duty were let out to go in the stream below the mill and wash. We took off our clothes and rubbed and scrubbed them, until one color, instead of several, prevailed, and then we sat around and waited for them to dry in the sun. From the looks of the wash-water, the clothes should look better than they do. They fitted rather snug when we got into them, but we will soon stretch them out again.

Night. A letter from father! So far as I know, he never wrote a letter before. I do not remember that I ever saw his handwriting until now. I expected to hear from him through others, but of getting a letter direct from him, I never even thought. Another was from my sister, Mrs. Loucks. They are all well, getting along first-rate without me. I guess I was not of so much account as I thought. However, I am delighted to hear about them. Captain Bostwick returned this p. m. and has told me all the home news. I almost feel as if I had been home, he told me so much about every thing I wanted to know, and best of all brought me father's letter. I will answer that letter right off, now, and then go to bed, where many of the company already are.

H.E. the Bengali Baboo

[Illustration: THE BENGALI BABOO—"Full of inappropriate words and phrases."]

[September 13, 1879.]

The ascidian[B] that got itself evolved into Bengali Baboos must have seized the first moment of consciousness and thought to regret the step it had taken; for however much we may desire to diffuse Babooism over the Empire, we must all agree that the Baboo itself is a subject for tears.

[B: A genus of molluscous animals .]

The other day, as I was strolling down the Mall, whistling Beethoven's 9th Symphony, I met the Bengali Baboo. It was returning from office. I asked it if it had a soul. It replied that it had not, but some day it hoped to pass the matriculation examination of the Calcutta University. I whistled the opening bars of one of Cherubini's Requiems, but I saw no resurrection in its eye, so I passed on.

[I have just procured an adult specimen of the Bengali Baboo (it was originally the editor of the Calcutta Moonshine ), and I have engaged an embryologist, on board wages, to examine and report upon it.

I once found George Bassoon weeping profusely over a dish of artichokes. I was a little surprised, for there was a bottle close at hand and he had a book in his hand. I took the book. It was not Boccaccio; it was not Rabelais; it was not even Swinburne. I felt that something must be wrong. I turned to the title-page. I found it was a poem printed for private circulation by the Government of India. It was called "The Anthropomorphous Baboo subtilised into Man."]

When I was at Lhassa the Dalai Lama told me that a virtuous cow-hippopotamus by metempsychosis might, under unfavourable circumstances, become an undergraduate of the Calcutta University, and that, when patent-leather shoes and English supervened, the thing was a Baboo. [This sounds very plausible; but how about the prehensile tail which the Education Department finds so much in the way of improvement, which indeed is said to preclude all access to the Bengali mind, and which can grasp everything but an idea, even an inquisitorial schoolmaster? "Hereby hangs a tail" is a motto in which Edward Gibbon had no monopoly.]

I forget whether it was the Duke of Buckingham, or Mr. Lethbridge, or General Scindia—I always mix up these C.I.E.'s together in my mind somehow—who told me that a Bengali Baboo had never been known to laugh, but only to giggle with clicking noises like a crocodile. Now this is very telling evidence, because if a Baboo does not laugh at a C.I.E. he will laugh at nothing. The faculty must be wanting.

[The Raja of Fattehpur, Member of the Legislative Council, and commonly known as "Joe Hookham," says that fossil Baboos have been found in Orissa with the cuckoo-bone, everything that a schoolmaster could wish. Now "Joe" is a palæontologist not to be sneezed at. This confirms the opinion of General Cunningham that the mounted figure in the neighbourhood of Lahore represents a Bengali washerwoman riding to the Ghât  to perform a lustration. Because unless the os coccyx  were all right it would be as difficult to ride a bullock as to get educated by the usual process.]

When Lord Macaulay said that what the milk was to the cocoanut, what beauty was to the buffalo, and what scandal was to woman, that Dr. Johnson's Dictionary was to the Bengali Baboo, he unquestionably spoke in terms of figurative exaggeration; nevertheless, a core of truth lies hidden in his remark. It is by the Baboo's words you know the Baboo. The true Baboo is full of words and phrases—full of inappropriate words and phrases lying about like dead men on a battlefield, in heaps to be carted away promiscuously, without reference to kith or kin. You may turn on a Baboo at any moment and be quite sure that words, and phrases, and maxims, and proverbs will come gurgling forth, without reference to the subject or to the occasion, to what has gone before or to what will come after. Perhaps it was with reference to this independence, buoyancy, and gaiety of language that Lord Lytton declared the Bengali to be "the Irishman of India."

You know, dear Vanity, I whispered to you before that the poor Baboo often suffers from a slight aberration of speech which prevents his articulating the truth—a kind of moral lisp. Lord Lytton could not have been alluding to this; for it was only yesterday that I heard an Irishman speak the truth to Lord Lytton about some little matter—I forget what; cotton duty, I think—and Lord Lytton said, rather curtly, "Why, you have often told me this before." So Lord Lytton must be in the habit of hearing certain truths from the Irish.

It was either Sir Andrew Clarke, Sir Alexander Arbuthnot, or Sir Some-one-else, who understands all about these things, that first told me of the tendency to Baboo worship in England at present. I immediately took steps, when I heard of it, to capitalise my pension and purchase gold mines in the Wynaad and shares in the Simla Bank. (Colonel Peterson, of the Simla Fencibles, supported me gallantly in this latter resolution.) The notion of so dreadful a form of fetishism establishing itself in one's native land is repugnant to the feelings even of those who have been rendered callous to such things by seats in the Bengal Legislative Council. [I refuse to believe that the Zoological Society has lent its apiary to this movement. It must have been a spelling-bee your informant was thinking of.

Talking of monkey-houses reminds me of] Sir George Campbell, who took such an interest in the development of the Baboo, and the selection of the fittest for Government employment. He taught them in debating-clubs the various modes of conducting irresponsible parliamentary chatter; and he tried to encourage pedestrianism and football to evolve their legs and bring them into something like harmony with their long pendant arms. You can still see a few of Sir George's leggy Baboos coiled up in corners of lecture-rooms at Calcutta. The Calcutta Cricket Club used to employ one as permanent "leg." [The Indian Turf Club used to keep a professional "leg," but now there are so many amateurs it is not required.]

It is the future of Baboodom I tremble for. When they wax fat with new religions, music, painting, Comédie Anglaise, scientific discoveries, they may kick with those developed legs of theirs, until we shall have to think that they are something more than a joke, more than a mere lusus naturæ, more than a caricature moulded by the accretive and differentiating impulses of the monad[C] in a moment of wanton playfulness. The fear is that their tendencies may infect others. The patent-leather shoes, the silk umbrellas, the ten thousand horse-power English words and phrases, and the loose shadows of English thought, which are now so many Aunt Sallies for all the world to fling a jeer at, might among other races pass into dummy soldiers, and from dummy soldiers into trampling, hope-bestirred crowds, and so on, out of the province of Ali Baba and into the columns of serious reflection. Mr. Wordsworth and his friends the Dakhani Brahmans should consider how painful it would be, when deprived of the consolations of religion, to be solemnly repressed by the Pioneer —to be placed under that steam-hammer which by the descent of a paragraph can equally crack the tiniest of jokes and the hardest of political nuts, can suppress unauthorised inquiry and crush disaffection.

[C: A primary constituent of matter.]

At present the Baboo is merely a grotesque Bracken shadow, but in the course of geological ages it might harden down into something palpable. It is this possibility that leads Sir Ashley Eden to advise the Baboo to revert to its original type; but it is not so easy to become homogeneous after you have been diluted with the physical sciences and stirred about by Positivists and missionaries. "I would I were a protoplastic monad!" may sound very rhythmical, poetical, and all that; but even for a Baboo the aspiration is not an easy one to gratify.—ALI BABA.

The Ideal Church

Monday, 13.

The divinity students come according to appointment and pass the day. It is gratifying to be sought by thoughtful young persons, especially by young divines, and a hopeful sign when graduates of our schools set themselves to examining the foundations of their faith; the ceilings alike with underpinnings of the world's religious ideas and institutions, their genesis and history. Plainly, the drift of thinking here in New England, if not elsewhere, is towards a Personal Theism, inclusive of the faiths of all races, embodying the substance of their Sacred Books, with added forms and instrumentalities suited to the needs of our time. The least curious observer (I tell my visitors) cannot fail to see that at no previous period in our religious history, had so profound and anxious inquiries been made into the springs and foundations of spiritual truths. The signs of our time indicate that we are on the eve of a recasting of the old forms. Always there had been two divisions in the theological as in the political and social spheres,—the conservative and the radically progressive. This division marks itself at the present, so sweeping is the wave of religious speculation, not only among professed Christians, but among the thoughtful outside of churches. Wherever we look, earnest men are pondering in what manner they can best serve God and man.

Let us discriminate religious truth from mere opinions. The fruit of temperament, culture, individuality, these are wont to be local, narrow, exclusive. The planting of a church to which all men can subscribe, demands a common bond of sympathy, the feeling of brotherhood, mutual respect, peculiarities, culture, respect for old and young. Such is the bond of union for the New Church. The essence of all creeds is God, Personal, Incarnate, without whom a church and divine worship were impossible. Not to enter into the metaphysics of creeds and philosophy of systems, let us sketch an outline of our Ideal Church.

Our forms are of the past, not American. Times modify forms. The world of thought moves fast; what is good for one time may ill suit another. The culture of past ages is stealing into our present thought, deepening, widening it. Sects are provincial, geographical; the coming church is to speak to every need, every power of humanity. A revelation is not a full revelation which fails to touch the whole man, quicken all his powers into beauty and strength of exercise.

First, of the architecture. Let this represent the essential needs of the soul. Our dwelling-houses best typify the tender domesticities of life; let the church edifice embody more of this familiar love. In the ordering of the congregation, let age have precedence; give the front seats to the eldest members; let families sit together, so that the element of family affection be incorporated in the worship. An arrangement of the pews in semicircles will bring all more nearly at equal gradation of distance from the speaker, whose position is best slightly elevated above the congregation. Pictures and statues, representing to the senses the grand events of the religious history of the past, may be an essential part of the church furniture; the statues embodying the great leaders of religious thought of all races. These are not many; the world owes its progress to a few persons. The divine order gives one typical soul to a race. Let us respect all races and creeds, as well as our own; read and expound their sacred books like our Scriptures. Constituting a body of comparative divinity, each is a contribution to the revelation made to mankind from time to time. Could any one well remain exclusive or local in his thought from such studies and teachings? Christianity, as the religion of the most advanced nations, is fast absorbing the beauty, the thought, the truth of other religions, and this fact should find expression also.

Let there be frequent interchange of preachers and teachers, since few can speak freshly to the same congregation for every Sunday in the year; only the freshest thought, the purest sentiments, were their due. Let the services be left to the speaker's selection. Let the music be set to the best lyrical poetry of all ages, poems sometimes read or recited as part of the services. As for prayer, it may be spoken from an overflowing heart, may be silent, or omitted at the option of the minister.

Let the children have a larger share in the religious services than hitherto; one half of the day be appropriated to them. Who can speak to children can address angels; true worship is childlike. "All nations," said Luther, "the Jews especially, school their children more faithfully than Christians. And this is one reason why religion is so fallen. For till its hopes of strength and potency are ever committed to the generation that is coming on to the stage. And if this is neglected in its youth, it fares with Christianity as with a garden that is neglected in the spring-time. There is no greater obstacle in the way of piety than neglect in the training of the young. If we would reinstate religion in its former glory, we must improve and elevate the children, as it was done in days of old."24

Collyer

Our young divines may study Beecher and Collyer, if they will learn the types of preaching which the people most enjoy and flock to hear. Collyer, without pretension to eloquence, is most eloquent in his plain, homely, human way. He meets his audience as the iron he once smote, and his words have the ring of true steel. He speaks from crown to toe, and with a delightful humor that gives his rhetoric almost a classic charm, his Yorkshire accent adding to the humane quality of his thought. There is as little of scholarly pretence as of priestly assumption in his address, and he makes his way by his placid strength, clear intelligence, breadth of sympathy, putting the rhetoric of the schools to the blush.

Beecher

I once entered Beecher's church with a friend who was not often seen in such sanctuaries. Aisles, body, galleries, every slip, every chair, all were occupied, many left standing. The praise, the prayer, the christening,—there were a dozen babes presented for baptism,—all were devout, touching, even to tears at times. I know I wept, while my friend was restive, fancying himself, as he declared, in some Pagan fane. The services all seemed becoming, however. Here was no realm of Drowsy Head. The preaching was the more effective for its playfulness, point, strength, pertinency. Coming from the heart, the doctrine found the hearts of its hearers. The preacher showed his good sense, too, in omitting the trite phrases and traditions, speaking straight to his points in plain, homely speech, that carried the moral home to its mark. It was refreshing to get a touch of human nature, the preaching so often failing in this respect. The speaker took his audience along with him by his impetuosity, force of momentum, his wit playing about his argument, gathering power of persuasion, force of statement as he passed. His strong sense, broad humanity, abounding animal spirits, humor, anecdote, perhaps explain the secret of his power and popularity.

24. It appears from "Letchford's Plain Dealings concerning New England," that the church in Concord was the first in the colony that adopted the practice of catechising the children on Sundays. "The unmarried people," he says, "were also required to answer questions, after which Mr. Bulkeley gave expositions and made applications to the whole congregation." And this practice soon found its way into all the churches, became a part of the Sunday service in the church, in the family at last. From these it passed, subsequently, into the schools, a part of Saturday forenoon being devoted to recitations, and where the parents were of different persuasions, the teachers heard these from the Westminster, or Church of England catechisms, accordingly. Some of us remember committing both to memory, and having the benefit of so much comparative divinity as these furnished at that early age.