Fine morning. I went to town. My time was consumed at the Gallery, in my performance of Commissions and at the Office. I met at the first several acquaintances and did not enjoy myself as much as when I am entirely alone. Pictures require a perfectly quiet, contemplative mood. They call for the exercise of imagination. I might sit and enjoy some single pictures for hours. One thing however strikes me, which is the disagreeable contrast between the old and the new pictures. There is a want of tone in most of these which is manifested very much. A fury of colouring that regards little but the most unpractised eye. We are behind in Painting in this Country.
Saw Mr. Frothingham for a moment, and called at Mr. Brooks’s. Then out of town. Afternoon, reading Horace. Interrupted by a visit from Miss Julia Gorham and her brother. In the evening also Mr. Whitney with his two daughters were here.
Finding that according to my present mode of life my Journal is interrupted, I brought it to Quincy with me and was engaged in bringing up the Arrears of it. Elizabeth C. Adams spent the day here. She looks better than I expected to see her. But she seems to be in a bad way. Her situation is one of an unpleasant character. Contracted in marriage for many years, and likely to remain so indefinitely.1 Read Madame de Sevigné and the Observer.
To ECA’s other problems was added the threat of tuberculosis. “She is in a very bad way. She has been ordered to ride on Horseback and stays with Mrs. Miller to ride at the manage. Mrs. M. has been a Mother to her. Gourgas goes on as usual. He has not been near us” (LCA to JA2, 25 May, Adams Papers).