Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Tuesday. September 7th. IX:20. CFA Tuesday. September 7th. IX:20. CFA
Tuesday. September 7th. IX:20.

Arose very late again today and found all the family at their occupations and even my mother up. My father looked blue. I went up and sat an hour with my mother and then went into the Office, wrote my Journal, and wrote one page of a letter to John. I have had four pages quietly with me for two or three weeks and have come to the determination for this time to give him a packet. There is much on which I wish to write to him, much of importance, and I shall merely in a few more words urge the importance of an answer, an explicit answer to my questions.1 I was employed in this way all the morning. My father and mother, after having been detained for a considerable time by company, went to Boston. George had gone in the morning. I, after dinner, was compelled to read to my Grandfather, Mr. Everett’s Oration at the anniversary of the Φ B K society.2 I was not much entertained by the first part, but the ten last pages contain the life of eloquence. It is a good work as it is calculated to give a spirit to the country which it ought to have, and will have sooner or later, and it is calculated to revive feelings which can too easily become dormant. The exertion was very considerable to read it to my Grandfather. I was on the whole, however repaid for the trouble.

I then spent the rest of the afternoon reading a novel which my mother obtained somewhere on the road; it is called “the inheritance.”3 I read with such rapidity that I finished the first and commenced the second in the course of the afternoon and evening. It is somewhat interesting. I shall speak more particularly of it when I have got through. The volumes are exceeding large, and I will not deny but at times they are a little heavy though the “tout ensemble” has much sprightliness. It rained all the afternoon and evening and I scarcely expected the family would return. They arrived however at a little after nine o’clock and we took supper together. My Uncle had been gone all day on business or amusement and returned very so-so. We 317managed to spend the Evening very agreably or at least moderately so. After, some conversation with George and my Father on the dinner at Mr. Blake’s4 at which he had been present today. We were not up late tonight and, what was more refreshing, George and I had but very little to say to each other upon going to bed so that I enjoyed a full night’s rest. XI.


All missing.


See entry for 26 Aug., above.


Susan Edmonstone Ferrier, The Inheritance, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1824.


Presumably the Adams family friend, George Blake, Harvard 1789, who was United States district attorney for Massachusetts (Force, National Calendar, 1824, p. 200).

Wednesday. September 8th. IX. CFA Wednesday. September 8th. IX. CFA
Wednesday. September 8th. IX.

Arose and breakfasted, the day bleak and rainy. I consequently remained at home throughout. I spent the morning in reading the novel of the Inheritance and finished it, having been pretty assiduous, since my commencement. It is an amusing book, abounding in light touches of nature but too prosing. Much of the dialogue might be condensed without trouble and less of Miss Waddel, Miss Larkinses and Miss Pratt would be agreable. The close also is too abrupt. We are not made to partake enough of Gertrude’s feelings, and poor Lyndsay appears to be rather rewarded as a faithful servant than an affectionate lover. She is the most natural character for a woman in the book and has but little to recommend her in the mean time. The fact is, women as they are, are generally commonplace. Virtue is not a subject to write novels with, as it must be confessed, virtuous women are insipid and vicious ones disgusting. The style of fashion which surrounds her reminds me of the only fashionable woman I know, which is my mother. The most pleasing woman without hesitation, I will say it, that in this country I have ever met with. Could I meet with such a woman in future life, I think I might be tempted to depart from my rule of life. It appears to me I see others so foolish in their choice, it would be better for me to leave a choice in the hands of my parents, who would judge better for me than I could. I have been exceedingly addicted to castle building of late, the worst thing that can possibly befal a young man. Much company here this morning to see my father, in spite of all the rain.

In the afternoon, I wrote my Journal and the rest of the time was spent in the delightful company of my mother. She is not well today, but as lively as possible. My Grandfather uncommonly strong. I also finished my letter to John,1 making about six pages in all and I hope he will be satisfied. If he reads it all, I shall think him more patient 318than I now believe him to be. We were all engaged to go to Mrs. Quincy’s this Evening but the rain was so exceedingly heavy that we all determined not to go. Monsieur Degrand came out in the middle and had as usual a talk with my Father. I spent the Evening upstairs with my Grandfather and my Mother, as usual, and had a pleasant time. I am sometimes in a very cheerful state when I hear the Storm, particularly when I have a pleasant family circle, but although this is just passable, I was satisfied and retired early. X:20.