Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Sunday. 11th. CFA Sunday. 11th. CFA
Sunday. 11th.

What individual can describe the particular state of his feelings upon a case involving every thing of interest to him in the world? Upon a case where the whole of his future existence depends upon the exercise of his reasonable judgment? When all his passions are in array against him? I cannot reflect upon the subject without trepidation although I see no occasion for it. I found Miss B. alone. Mr. and Mrs. E. had gone to Church. In the course of about two hours that I remained with her, I received the decision of her feelings: subject however to the revising decision of her father. So far I am favoured enough. She did not conceal from me her opinion that her father 106would make difficulties, an opinion which she said both Mr. and Mrs. E. concurred in. She requested me to see him as she looked upon him as her guardian in the absence of her natural parent.

They returned from Church, but as the Speaker of the House was with Mr. E. and John called for me to go and ride, I had no opportunity of seeing him, then. But as it was very desirable that I should see him before he wrote to Mr. B. I went after dinner and explained my views to him. He told me that Mr. B. was one of those gentlemen who imagine that their daughter’s fate is entirely in their own hands, and that her will is not to be a subject of much consideration. He said that probably he would make some objection upon the score of age but he did not know whether it would be final or only temporary. This was the substance of what he said, and after a few questions upon my father’s opinion etc. etc., I left him. My father knows nothing of this but I thought it unnecessary to make much of the affair to others until I was sure it would be really an affair. And as I know that his consent will not be withheld provided I am not unreasonable, I am not anxious about that. He has explained his principles very fully on that point. I never passed twenty four hours of equal mental excitement during the whole course of my life. I was entirely made sick by my feelings.

Monday. February 12th. CFA Monday. February 12th. CFA
Monday. February 12th.

I was at home all day, but entirely incapable of doing any thing. My thoughts almost entirely taken up by that particular subject. I had a good deal of conversation with my Mother upon the subject. She agrees with me very much in opinion. In the evening I went to the party given by Mr. Livingston. A ball and supper. The Champagne was very plentifully circulated. I drank nothing owing to my feeling sick but passed a very pleasant evening notwithstanding. Returned home quite late.

Tuesday. February 13th. CFA Tuesday. February 13th. CFA
Tuesday. February 13th.

I walked to the House of Representatives, but remained only a few minutes. I could not resist the temptation and so walked over to Mrs. Everett’s. I was expected and so I sat without knowing much of the passage of time until four o’clock. What we talked about I am sure I am unable to say but I felt quite foolish at having been there so long. Perhaps I ought to define to myself the character which my observation has induced me to form of her. As I have not been romantic at all during the course of my life, I am the more able to form correct notions 107even at this period. Miss Brooks belongs to a very warm hearted family so far as I have seen them. She certainly seems so herself. She has many faults, arising as much from the education she has received as from her natural disposition. She seems to have been looked upon by the family as a darling and her feelings have always atoned for her hasty errors. I rely much upon such a character. The person who knows how to obtain the affections of those intimately around her, is the one certainly who is the most likely to in future. There is a frankness, a simplicity about her manner which is much more engaging than the studied elegance of an accomplished belle. She is not handsome but her face is expressive and has made as much impression as a beauty’s would have done, and her education has been attended to, as she has had the advantage of Mr. Everett’s society. Her temper is high and requires the check of kindness rather than any violent opposition. Words of mildness will produce more effect than harsh or haughty treatment. On the whole I think her calculated to make a person happy, provided he is aware of the duties which fall upon him. I know not how to answer for myself excepting by promising to study them.1


CFA spent the evening at home with his family (D/CFA/1).