Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday 13th. CFA Friday 13th. CFA
Friday 13th.

I was obliged to rise early this morning in order to get ready to go on my expedition to Weston to sell the wood off part of that Farm. I obtained my breakfast early and started with the air most nipping cold. The morning was a true November specimen of our Climate and though cutting not uninvigorating nor without a tendency to excite and enliven. I stopped for Richardson at his House, and he accompanied me from thence. We arrived there after the time appointed and found a very considerable number of persons collected for the sale. The wood proved rather unsatisfactory to the purchasers. It happened that the Auctioneer had with a view to my Interest so divided off the portion to be sold, as to include in this day’s sale all the thinnest and poorest of the Wood, and owing to the quantity and the small size of the Lots, the rest could not be inserted today. Much murmuring resulted from this, but nonetheless what was offered 75brought by the general consent of all a very fine price. We remained out all day, having only some Crackers and Cheese and Rum for the whole of our Dinner. I confess I did not like much the nature and character of the Company, because they were very coarse, but I adapted myself as well as I could to my situation which in all places is wisest, and so I talked with all who would talk with me.

The day was on the whole fatiguing, and it was not until after sunset that we had completed our day’s work. We were then obliged to return to the House and take Tea out of complaisance. The sum of what was sold today amounted to only four hundred dollars. This was hardly worth coming out for. But as I was told that almost every stick had brought its price I was compelled to be satisfied. I was unable to discover the quantity that remained, though my Tenants the Conants thought full two thirds of what I had designed to sell. If so, it is well though I distrust it and much fear the quantity will fall short. At any rate I think it probable that I shall stop for this Season, provided my Father is not of a contrary opinion. So far I feel confident that his Interest has been fully preserved.

We started at last and had a dark and a cold ride home. I left Richardson safe at his house and came through without any accident, to my great gratification, for it is now some time since I gave up my inclinations for Nocturnal excursions. I returned home at eight having been absent twelve hours, and feeling burnt and uncomfortably chilled, rather a singular combination but the most uncomfortable to which the human frame is subject. Mrs. Francis Parkman was with my Wife, so that I was obliged to amuse her though myself infinitely fatigued. Her husband came in at Nine and sat for half an Hour. I was so tired as to be glad when they left us. So after taking something warming I retired.

Saturday 14th. CFA Saturday 14th. CFA
Saturday 14th.

My eyes opened this morning to behold the snow lying thickly on the earth. This was to me exceedingly sudden and unexpected, and as I must confess not very welcome for it seemed to presage an early Winter. The warmth of the day however produced rain and made all of it disappear faster than it came. I was at the Office as usual, and attended to my portion of the translation of the Preface though it must be allowed that I did not feel quite so brisk as I wish I did. The fatigue of yesterday as well as the cold had produced very disagreeable effects upon my lips and face. I read a portion of Puffendorf as usual, though interrupted in the middle to go down and see if I could not 76obtain some Flower Roots for my Wife which I did—One bundle for Thirty Cents. I then returned and continued the second Chapter of Pufendorf which I finished.

My feelings were such in the Afternoon that I could not attend to Aeschines and so devoted myself for the larger part of it to writing up my Journal which my busy avocations for two days past had prevented my doing. This took up so much of my time that I had only enough left to finish the Declamation of La Harpe against Seneca and the remaining Chapter which concludes his Course of Ancient Literature. I have been on the whole amused, entertained and generally instructed, though I have not implicit confidence in his judgment or his taste. And my opinion has gone on decreasing. I read in the Evening almost uninterruptedly in Clarissa Harlowe to my Wife, going only for a few minutes to the Meeting of the Debating Society where I did not see sufficient promised to pay me for the absence from home. There were but three or four persons present and those not very promising Debaters. I returned directly and finished reading only at nine o’clock.