Arose but late for this house as they breakfast earlier here than at Cambridge. The day an exceedingly pleasant one and I was left alone here to enjoy it, for George went to town this morning, although I pressed him very much to stay and return with me. Breakfast over, I ordered my horse and took Mrs. Clark to ride. We went through Milton, returned and went through Quincy. She thus obtained an exceedingly good opportunity of showing off, a thing which she delights in. I had some conversation with her on family topics. She is pretty shrewd and fair when her prejudices do not make her extend her stories, and gave me a very good account of the history of the house since I have been away. We must always go to Women for these sort of things for it is never man’s province. Indeed it appears to me wonderful when I see the little things women are always engaged about, and how attracting they make themselves to men in these very pursuits, as it is always a gratification of man’s vanity when he finds his own superiority so evidently allowed. I believe that vanity is much more of an acting principle than it is generally thought and that Flattery is the most powerful engine which can be used to act upon men. It is exceedingly [word omitted]
to have a man praise you even though you know you deserve it. This is called by a different name but it is of the same origin. Susan1
was very communicative with respect to Abby, her temper &c. I believe she wished to sound me and see how it went, but I was very open, not caring much how she might make her conclusions. We returned home in time for dinner.
In the afternoon I commenced this new novel of Redgauntlet and progressed somewhat in the first volume. I ordered my Chaise out again however at four and went to Neponset Hotel to play Billiards.
I met a young man there who did not know how to play and beat him very handsomely. I was considerably amused at his style of playing and recollect when I used to do exactly so myself. This is a very attractive game and I hardly could tear myself away from it. I arrived just in time to save myself from the disagreable obligation of being waited for at tea. In the Evening I amused myself by talking a little to Grandfather who appears to be most melancholy for want of company now. I also read a little of one of Mrs. Radcliffes horrible novels, The Italian.2
she is the author, and went to bed very early, IX:10.