Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

356 Wednesday. 6th. CFA Wednesday. 6th. CFA
Wednesday. 6th.

A succession of clear, warm days. I went to town after a not very early breakfast. Office where I was engaged in copying for my father several letters and this with making up my Diary consumed my time. Thus passes the most valuable portion of the time, which I do not profit by.

To Medford—The day becoming rather oppressive. Afternoon passed rather languidly. I read a little of the Life of Hampden which contains much of plain good sense without much ornament. Also made considerable progress in the reading of Ovid. I do not think I have ever so wasted a Summer. But the spring of exertion is much relaxed with me. I am fond of literature and of luxury—Attached to my family and I hope a tolerably moral man. The rest is in me but I do not know whether circumstances will ever be favourable or my courage great enough to bring it out. Evening, Mr. and Mrs. Angier, not her husband but her brother.1


That is, Mrs. John Angier and one of her husband’s brothers, Joseph or Luther.

Thursday. 7th. CFA Thursday. 7th. CFA
Thursday. 7th.

A very warm day. Perhaps as oppressive as any which we have had. I went to town with Mr. Brooks and after I got there regretted very much my going. I was not much occupied. Time engrossed by trifling occupations and a conversation with Mr. Walsh. Returned to Medford. P. C. Brooks Jr. and his wife at dinner and in the afternoon. She has just returned from a visit with her father and mother to the Sulphur Waters of Western Virginia. This is a pleasant trip enough for those who love some interruption to the humdrum of life. The Afternoon was unemployed. Evening very warm. Mrs. Gray and her daughter Henrietta spent the evening.

Friday. 8th. CFA Friday. 8th. CFA
Friday. 8th.

The weather changed from warm to cool in the course of the night. I went to town accompanied by Mr. Brooks. My time was pretty much taken up in attending to my Mother and Walter Hellen who came in to meet my Wife and her children. I took him as a young Stranger about the Streets showing him the principal objects of attention. This was fatiguing, and killed all my morning. Returned to Medford with 357Mr. Brooks. We dined alone and very quietly—My Wife having remained in town until evening.

I read a good deal uninterruptedly, Madame de Maintenon’s Letters. These were collected and published by a French writer, La Beaumelle, who is thought to have introduced a good deal of his own to animate the style.1 Nevertheless there is much that is interesting and valuable in the work. She rose from extreme wretchedness. Born in a prison, the sport of adversity in her younger life, married for a home to a wretched piece of deformity, she became the wife of the first monarch of Europe and the ruler of many events. Yet she was scarcely happier in her later than in her early days. Ovid also. I read German in my spare moments, especially in the Evening.


L. A. de La Beaumelle, Mémories pour servir à l’histoire de Mme. de Maintenon, 6 vol., Amsterdam, 1755–1756.