Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 2

15th. JQA 15th. Adams, John Quincy

After passing the day as usual at the office, Townsend, came spent the evening and supp'd with me. The weather for these 345three or four days past has been excessive cold; but has moderated greatly this evening.

After supper I amused myself an hour or two with writing. And I have been reading two or three of Shakespear's historical plays. I believe I should improve my reading to greater advantage, if I confined myself to one book at a time; but I never can. If a book does not interest me exceedingly it is a task to me to go through it: and I fear for this reason, I shall never get through Gibbon. Indolence, indolence, I fear will be my ruin.

16th. JQA 16th. Adams, John Quincy

It snow'd all the forenoon; but the weather continued moderating and in the afternoon, a steady rain took place of the snow: and when I came this evening from the office, the ground was covered all the way with one continual glare of ice. It was dangerous walking, and I came as much as half the way, without lifting my feet.

I spent the evening at home; writing to make good the time which I have lately lost; but I accomplished my purpose only in part.

It may be observed that I say of late, little, but of what I do in the evening; and the reason is, that the only varieties of any kind, that take place, are in that part of the day. At about nine in the morning, I regularly go to the Office, and when, I do not lose, my time in chat, with Amory or Townsend, I take up my lord Coke, and blunder along a few pages with him. At two I return to dinner. At three again attend at the office, and again consult my old author. There I remain till dark, and as Mr. Parsons for special reasons, to him best known, objects to our having a fire in the office, in the evening, while he is absent, as soon as day-light begins to fail, we put up our books, and then employ the remainder of the day, as best suits our convenience, and the feelings of the moment. I go but little into company, and yet I am not industrious. I am recluse, without being studious; and I find myself equally deprived of the pleasures of society, and of the sweet communion with the mighty dead. I am no stranger to the midnight lamp; yet I observe not that I make, a rapid progress in any laudable pursuit. I begin seriously to doubt of the goodness of my understanding, and am not without my fears, that as I increase 346in years, the dulness of my apprehension likewise increases. But we are all mortal.