Remembrance of veterans past?

putnams magazine

A short excerpt from a short play involving shúlchast (which is Chinuk Wawa for ‘a soldier’).

Politics is being discussed in this piece from just after the US Civil War, a time when “Chinook” had already become a known quantity in the popular mind thanks to some best-selling memoirs.

Today’s little drama is far from the only piece of fiction in that period to pretend to confuse fancy talk with the Jargon, or vice versa.

The Chief addressed here is the “Chief of Men”. The point of the classical Latin phrase is to beware of those who seek glory by pretending not to…


Preacher. “Et fugit ad salices.” 

Soldier. Why, Preacher, can you talk Chinook? I thought it was only we frontiersmen and the Indians who knew that.

Preacher. That isn’t Chinook, Soldier — unless the Chinook jargon was taken bodily out of Virgil. I remember Father de Smet telling me that there are words of Latin derivation in it though. The passage refers to a young lady who ran away in like manner, on purpose to be caught. 

— from “An Imaginary Conversation” (no author named), Putnam’s Magazine III:XV (March 1869), page 358

What do you think?