Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Wednesday. September 22d. VII:30. CFA Wednesday. September 22d. VII:30. CFA
Wednesday. September 22d. VII:30.

Arose and after breakfast read twenty five pages farther in Paley as a sort of preparative to the commencing lessons next term. I then went upstairs and continued reading the Numbers of the Crises but I do not find them interesting. Mr. Stuart the painter came out here this morning for a final sitting for my Grandfather. I saw the portrait which is a remarkably fine one.1 Stuart is a singular man, a wag, but rather a disgusting object than otherwise. He is said to be habitually intemperate and his appearance confirms it. My mother returned this morning from Dr. Eustis’s where she had been all night exceedingly ill and went to bed immediately with a high fever. I know not how it was but I have seldom felt a more deep and bitter feeling of melancholy than I did today.

After dinner I sat in the Office and mused. Deeply dejected I can’t tell on what account. My mother’s sickness was the principal cause of the effect on my spirits, and my loneliness and the unsettled state of the Presidential election which so bewilders my future views. I think I could be content at the result were it either way but this doubt is torturing. I am anxiously wishing to get back to Cambridge because there I am more removed from the contagion of politics and have much of other and truly much more interesting business to me personally. I mourn when I am at Cambridge but I think there are few places 332where I could be happier. It is employment which is my great delight and the contrast between this place and that is striking.

After writing my Journal I went to my Mother’s room: the rest of the afternoon was spent there. She appeared to be exceedingly unwell, with much fever and complaining of pain in her head. I could do nothing but try and amuse her and divert her attention from her pain but it is more pain to me to see her. I tried my best however and she talked with a little life though not in her common style. I spent the Evening here also doing my best to amuse her. I left her hoping Heaven would restore her for her Journey. I spent a dull half hour with my Grandfather and then came down stairs where I had another dull half hour with my Uncle. This is the worst of all, he has taken a fit and the house now seems scarcely the residence of a family but of many cold hearted individuals. I could not bear his nonsense tonight so retired. IX:20.


See entry for 9 Sept., and note, above.

Thursday. September 23d. IX. CFA Thursday. September 23d. IX. CFA
Thursday. September 23d. IX.

Arose and after breakfast read over twenty five pages more of Paley which finishes all that I can do farther this vacation. I have read about four of the lessons which we shall have in the Commencement of the term. I then went to see my Mother on whose account I have been exceedingly anxious and dejected. I found her very much better but exceedingly weak and her head still affected. She commenced today the great business of packing up to return. I performed it principally for her as I was desirous to save her the trouble and that she should avoid any unnecessary exertion. I was in her room the greater part of the day that she should not have an opportunity of thinking of her sickness and of becoming dull. I only took about half an hour in the afternoon when she was lieing down to write my Journal. I was extremely lowspirited even today although one great cause was taken off, but another was put on for the state of my Uncle at dinner today disgusted me exceedingly and I was anxious to get away to avoid a seige which I dreaded. My mother did not go down. I spent the whole day in this way not doing any thing of importance but paying my duty to my Mother to whom I have become far more attached than ever. Although I am obliged to differ from her in opinion sometimes, and am forced to make a harsh judgment upon some of her actions or wishes, still there is something inexpressibly delightful in her manners and her affections are most powerful. The ways of kindness are not 333known to many who by no means want the will and I have this exemplified very strongly in the family.

I sat with my Grandfather about an hour in the Evening and he appeared to be in better spirits than usual. My father and George arrived from Salem much earlier than I had expected and had a long tale to tell of their adventures for they appear to have been moving ever since they left here. The former appears to be in very good spirits, and talked more than usual. I had an argument with George which was tolerably warm. I am convinced it is impossible to live with him and like his temper. I sat up with George a little while downstairs before retiring. XII.