Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday 21st. CFA Monday 21st. CFA
Monday 21st.

Returned to town this morning in Mr. Brooks’ Carriage with him, Miss Lydia Phillips,1 and Mr. Frothingham, thus leaving Abby at Medford not to return until tomorrow. This was one of the hardest struggles with myself that I ever made. I wanted her dreadfully to return with me, although I could not be angry with her desire to remain, and so after reflection I determined to give my consent to her staying, intimating at the same time that I should not return in the evening as she wished me to. There was to be a Medford party at Mrs. Frothingham’s, and as these to me are shocking bores and I see no reason on earth for me to subject myself to them, I preferred even a separation for a day. Medford itself under present circumstances is a disagreeable place as it divides with me more than I wish it did the affections of my Wife. I feel therefore more pain than pleasure in 23being there at all, and I regret that it should come in such a hurry to put a check, to the heretofore delicious current of our honeymoon. Had Abby returned with me, I should have perhaps adored her for the sacrifice, but I did not expect it and I was not disappointed.

My morning was partly taken up by a long walk into Front Street and an order for my Wood for the Winter. I took ten Cords of a Mr. Stephen Child at five dollars a Cord. I then called upon Mr. Cunningham the Auctioneer to see about the late Sale, but I found the Books had not yet all been called for, so that no settlement could be made. The remainder of the morning was passed at the Office reading Marshall on Insurance, a book of some value, and not without interest, particularly in the history of Marine Law in general, a subject with which I ought to be better acquainted. After my lonely dinner at home, I went to the Office and superintended it’s cleaning up—a thing which it needed exceedingly. A woman called upon me about Mr. Farmer and that affair.2 I dread to see her as much as I do him, but it seemed only a friendly visit to congratulate me on my marriage. My evening was passed in my study alone. I seized the occasion to write a long letter to John,3 and then read further in La Harpe in which I finished his Analysis of Aristotle on Poetry and commenced Longinus. I retired to my lonely apartment and tried in immediate sleep to forget that it was the first time since my late marriage that I already was alone.


Lydia Phillips (b. 1804), of Andover, was ABA’s first cousin; see vol. 2:364.


Miles Farmer, indebted to GWA, had given him the use of a room for Eliza Dolph and their illegitimate child. Farmer was continuing his efforts, begun after GWA’s death, to obtain money by threat of disclosure. See vol. 2:376, 382, 403–404.


CFA’s brother in Washington. On JA2 (1803–1834), see vol. 1:xxvi–xxvii, 6, and Adams Genealogy. A portrait of him appears as an illustration in the present volume. CFA’s letter (in Adams Papers) expressed at once satisfaction in his married state and concern over their mother’s health and spirits. He reported also JQA’s plans to alter the kitchen and fireplaces at the Old House and to convert his bedroom to a library.

Tuesday. 22nd. CFA Tuesday. 22nd. CFA
Tuesday. 22nd.

Arose rather late and after breakfast which I took in my solitary way, I waited for Abby’s return. She came, but in exceeding low spirits and much affected by having been left alone during the night. I remained with her for some time but finding her still depressed I went out to the Office. My morning was spent in reading Marshall which interested me considerably. Richardson called in and spent an hour with me discussing matters and things in general. He did not seem to be so lively as usual. Indeed time with him has produced much change. 24In reading Marshall I occasionally read the cases referred to which delays me considerably in my regular progress.

Returned home to dine and conversed further with Abby upon the affairs of yesterday. Our happiness returned more gushingly than ever, and I remained at home the whole of the afternoon and evening. I read one or two Articles in the first Volume of the New Monthly Magazine, while Abby was writing a letter to my Mother,1 and afterward finished La Harpe’s Analysis of Longinus, which was interesting so that I retired feeling much more happy and contented than ever.


Letter missing. LCA in replying writes of it as a “very affectionate letter” (LCA to ABA, 1 Nov., Adams Papers).