Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

408 Wednesday. 28th. CFA Wednesday. 28th. CFA
Wednesday. 28th.

Cloudy with fog. At the Office, occupied in making up Accounts and writing Diary. And went to Market as usual before Thanksgiving day. The display was not very great. Mr. Conant from Weston came in and kept me an hour and more in drawing out the Accounts of the last year. After investigating the whole business and considering the difficulty in the way of settlement, I wound up by making them take the good debts in part payment of services and the balance due to me on account in full satisfaction. I assumed the bad debts where the wood remained standing, and this settled the thing. A walk as usual.

Afternoon, finished No. 5. I do not know that I succeed in being perspicuous enough. It is one of the difficulties of composition to know when one has done enough. Though the idea may be clear enough to oneself, it may want to another the accessaries which explain it, and yet the labour of making plain is often equally tedious to writer and reader.

Quiet evening at home. Company disturbs us less than ever. My Wife began a Story by Madame Cottin, Malvina.1 I know nothing of it’s merits. Continued the Fables of Lessing, but they continue to puzzle me.

1.

Malvina was contained in the first two volumes of the Oeuvres of Mme. Sophie Ristaud Cottin (8 vols., Paris, 1817).

Thursday. 29th. CFA Thursday. 29th. CFA
Thursday. 29th.

This was the day appointed according to custom, for returning thanks to the divine being for so many favours and so much bounty as he has been pleased to bestow upon us. For my own part, I hope I am sufficiently impressed with a sense of my share of them. I hope I am properly aware of the duty of neither exulting nor repining at the situation in which I have been placed. How much during the last year as during every year, I have had cause to be thankful for. How unmixed my prosperity has been. My only prayer is to deserve by my conduct no discontinuance of these blessings—To do my duty in this world as I ought, in whatever relation I may be placed.

Read in the morning a good deal of Vasari’s Life of Corregio and the supplement to it. Attended divine Worship and heard Mr. Frothingham from Job. 22. 17—18. “Who said unto God, What can the Almighty do for them. Yet he filled their houses with good things.” An allusion to the practice of annual thanksgiving whether in good or evil fortune—A return for mercies bestowed even when the contrary seem to predominate. The practice of thankfulness forms a habit of grateful 409reliance upon the justice and mercy of the Deity. It is so, and must be so. Suffering in this world is natural. Prosperity is not so, if long continued. Therefore man must not complain if he experiences what he was born to experience, and he must be thankful for the good gifts which he has no right to claim.

Took a long walk. The day was lovely. I have not known such before in this climate, so late in the Season. Dined at Mr. Frothingham’s. Nobody but my Wife and Henry Brooks. Drank Champagne and tea. Returned to my Study for two hours. Looked over Macbeth, and one of the Nouveaux Contes of Marmontel. Wondered at Shakespeare’s perfect acquaintance with Dialogue. Returned again to Mr. Frothingham’s for my Wife who spent the Evening there.