Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Friday. 17th. CFA Friday. 17th. CFA
Friday. 17th.
West Point

The day was exceedingly warm and disabled us from any great exertion. After breakfast we all lounged to Kosciusko’s garden as it is called—A spot on the declivity of the rock which is said to have been the favorite resort of the Polish patriot when he resided at the point. There is a pretty natural fountain here which the Cadets have ornamented with a marble socket and they have placed seats near it so as to produce quite a pretty effect. In warm weather however the place is somewhat excluded from air by the surrounding hills. We soon left it for the purpose of witnessing the form of guardmounting which takes

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place every morning on the plain. After it was over we lounged among the trees until noon for the sake of giving to Mrs. Adams a chance for the society of her son who is excluded from the hotel. He has been rather unwise during his stay here in getting into thoughtless scrapes, so that his stay depends now upon the most rigid obedience of orders. We returned to the Hotel to give time for the ladies to get ready to return to Fishkill by Steamboat. I accompanied them to the Wharf. The scene of pushing and thrusting which there took place beggars description. The Boats take such numbers to and from each stopping place and wait so few minutes that it becomes necessary to be on the alert not to be left behind or trampled over in the fray. I returned up the hill by the steep path, which is something of an effort and found that we were left in the crowd quite alone. For we neither knew any body nor was there any of that disposition to make acquaintance which is so frequent at public places. I passed some time in writing a letter to Mrs. Frothingham giving some account of our proceedings,1 and more in reading a book which I brought with me for the purpose, Sartor Resartus2—A curious medley of strange conceits and odd phraseology with reflection and eloquence of expression. I was however very drowsy owing to fatigue and last evening’s vigil. Went out to parade, and in the evening took a walk for the purpose of meeting Hull who is confined to the limits of the Post. I talked with him about his situation as delicately as I could and tried to intimate to him the expediency of turning his attention to earning by good conduct a creditable exit from the Institution. He promised fairly and we returned to the Hotel. There was music by the band, but no dancing and a shower dispersed the musicians early enough to give us a good night’s rest.

1.

The letter is missing.

2.

No copy of Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus is at MQA.

Saturday 18th. CFA Saturday 18th. CFA
Saturday 18th.
Fishkill

The morning was very warm. After breakfast my Wife and I went out to witness the guardmounting and to see Hull for the last time prior to our departure. We remained conversing pleasantly with him and some other of the young men who went out to meet us until it became time to return in order to prepare for the boat up the River. West Point is a delightful situation and the hotel is beautifully situated directly upon the point which looks through the Highlands up the River. Here one can watch the navigation which is perpetually moving 9through the gorge and derive perpetual enjoyment from the variation of the scene. Notwithstanding this I was glad to get away in the Steamer Albany which stopped at about noon just as full as it was on Thursday, and with just as many strangers on board. We met nobody but Alfred Brooks whom we knew and he was sitting alone on the upper deck reading Sartor Resartus.

The passage from West Point to Newburgh which was our next stopping place is only of an hour’s duration, and we soon found ourselves thrown ashore at Newburg and waiting for the Ferry boat which happened to be on the other side of the River. My Wife who is entirely without experience in travelling takes these little delays and awkward situations unpleasantly. Because she is alone, she thinks every body is looking at her and she does not understand that easy way of claiming one’s rights without which people in this Country and indeed in any fare very hardly. The ferry boat came at last and a hot and close little thing it was so that our passage across the River was none of the pleasantest. We found however Mr. DeWint’s man on board who informed me that the carriage would be waiting on the other side to take us directly to his house. Accordingly we were driven to his door and there found Mrs. De Wint with her various children, Mrs. T. B. Adams, her daughter and son, and Mr. J. A. Smith whom I had not seen before since our departure from England nineteen years ago. He is less altered within that time than any person I ever knew.1

It was refreshing to get into the large and cool rooms of this house after broiling in the Sun across the River. The place itself has been somewhat altered since my former visit here ten years ago. A large and handsome addition has been erected which accommodates better Mr. D’s numerous family and at the same time very much improves the whole appearance of the building.2 We had a pleasant dinner after which a heavy thunder shower that effectually cooled the air. Conversation with Mr. Smith who is pleasant as ever. Evening, we took a ride around the town and enjoyed the air even after it became too dark to observe the scenery. Retired early, not a little fatigued.

1.

John Adams Smith was a son of AA2 and brother of Mrs. de Windt.

2.

On CFA’s visit to Fishkill Landing in Aug. 1826, see vol. 2:71.