Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday 20th.

Monday. 22d.

Sunday. 21st. CFA Sunday. 21st. CFA
Sunday. 21st.

The day was again exceeding lovely and beautiful. I attended divine service this morning and heard Mr. Sewall preach a long and tedious Discourse which did not please me at all. Abby went to Medford, her Mother being still alive, with her brother Chardon. And I had a solitary dinner at home. My amusement consisted in reading Kaimes until I received a Note from Edward Brooks with the request of Abby that I should go out to Medford to bring her in. This seemed so strange a part of the plan that I did not know what to do, but after going to Mrs. Chardon Brooks’ and conversing with her, I found her husband was to stay all night, so I went down, got a Chaise and started off. Upon arriv-169ing I found that Mrs. Brooks was still living though very low and all the family present very much affected. It was a melancholy spectacle and in itself exciting as well as affecting. I remained downstairs talking with the family until after tea, when just before my starting to return I received a Message from her expressive of a desire to see me. This I had not expected today but I went immediately. The scene was a melancholy one for she was unable to speak yet anxious to express to me her feelings. She was altered totally, and looked as if Death already claimed her in all but one little spot. I had never seen before, any one so situated and I felt the sadness of the spectacle, but I was not so horror struck as I expected. There was nothing of that shocking nature which my feelings had anticipated. She apparently had sent for me to express her kind feelings and was unable, and I felt the signal she made of it more than expression. God rest her kind soul. She has done her duty on earth, and sees no terrors in a better place. The loss of her family is greater than her own. We returned to town and after calling at the houses of the different relations to let them know the facts so far as we knew, we passed the remainder of the evening at home.1

1.

Mrs. Brooks’ last day seemed equally extraordinary to all those who recorded its details. After a night during which she had been unconscious and at the point of death, at about eight in the morning she had revived and was “sensible and collected” (Brooks, Farm Journal, 21 Feb.). For some days there had been “much alienation of mind, but on the last there was none. The voice only was gone” (CFA to LCA, 13 March, Adams Papers). She saw successively each member of the family. When Abby kissed her “she sent for me by a sign to Abby and a strong exertion to articulate my name.... [F]or the few moments I was there she seemed to be attempting to express to me words of affection” (same). “After these interviews she drew her cap over her Eyes and tried to compose herself” (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 23 Feb., Everett MSS, MHi), “taking her leave of us all with the utmost resignation and tenderness and then requesting us to leave the room” (Brooks, Farm Journal).