Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 22d. CFA Saturday. 22d. CFA
Saturday. 22d.

A severely cold morning. Went to the Office as usual. My No. 4 appeared in this morning’s Newspaper and put an end to my doubts concerning its reaching its destination safely.1 What the motive could have been so long to delay it, I cannot very readily conceive. I felt 426ashamed of my late depression of spirits on so very miserable an account.

Wrote at the Office and read some of Dr. Lingard. One or two interruptions. Mr. Eben. Adams from Quincy with a bill which I declined paying—My father’s funds being rather scantily off. He is so sharp a man too that I care not much to have him look to me as the source for money. Mr. Geitner also, my Tenant. He came for a subscription to a Concert which I gave him. I consider it as a matter of interest. Though I have no objection to hearing good music. Walk with Mr. Peabody. The cold was biting.

Afternoon very quiet at home. My Wife met with an accident to her teeth which produced excessive pain, and as there seemed to be no alleviation, I sent for the Dentist. She went to bed, however in very great pain. I tried to continue my numbers but the fit was not upon me. I made no head way at all. Read some of Villemain, and German. Progress tonight encouraging.

1.

Boston Daily Advocate, p. 2, cols. 4–5.

Sunday. 23d. CFA Sunday. 23d. CFA
Sunday. 23d.

The remedies taken by my Wife for the tooth ach, were so powerful as to produce intense suffering in the head all day. She did not rise and as I began to apprehend nervous fever towards evening I sent for Dr. Stevenson who administered a sedative that composed her. Most of her complaints affect her nervous system. I believe this is customary with all women. To me, it is exquisitely distressing.

I read some of Villemain, and attended Divine Service all day. The weather still exceedingly cold. Mr. Frothingham preached. Morning, a continuation of the subject of the other day. Text, the same as on the 9th, 1 Peter 2. 16. The effect of the light and liberty of the age upon the religious condition. He follows up by a consideration also of the moral and social state of the world. His arguments today directed against the idea of neglecting the outward duties of religion. I wonder if I should not do well to take a blank card and make an abstract on the spot. This was too good a Sermon to lose. Afternoon, Matthew 12. 42. An application of the character of Solomon by the Saviour. Took a walk.

Afternoon, read a fragment of a Sermon by Massillon upon the Communion, apparently intended in the first instance for an Introduction to that I read last Sunday. It considers the crime of partaking it unworthily as greater than that of the Jews in rejecting the Saviour. Of course, this implies the doctrine of transubstantiation. My atten-427tion was not complete. Henry Brooks was here and took Tea. He goes to New York tomorrow. Evening I wrote a wild kind of letter to my Mother,1 and read German.

1.

Letter in Adams Papers. Written, because of ABA’s indisposition, to acknowledge LCA’s most recent letter to her (18 Dec., Adams Papers) and to provide a substitute for ABA’s weekly “Gazette of our proceedings.” More discursive than was his habit, CFA included observations on matters of family interest:

“The most remarkable incident of the last week is the arrival of Mr. Brooks at home [after a visit to Washington].... He has seen abundance of new things and new people and his is a mind that interests itself so much in details that I wonder he has not travelled a great deal more. A traveller is a person who notices all things, who returns home with new ideas of the shape and size and position of every article under the sun. There are not many such. I am not such a one. My Journeyings have been for the most part of that character which Sterne describes as often occurring between Dan and Beersheba — I have found all barren. I know little of New York, less of Philadelphia, less still of Baltimore. My Journies to the tops of hills for ‘voos’ have rarely occurred when possible to avoid them, and I remember but one cascade. A shabby result from all my wanderings. Now Mr. Brooks has settled these matters far more effectually.”

After other comments on health, the weather, politics, &c. he concluded, “baby walks and talks after a fashion.”