I took the earliest Washington Stage and got in feeling somewhat
rusty, at about three o’clock. The family were pretty well. News arrived however of the illness of my Grandfather and orders were given to prepare for my father’s immediate departure for the North.
Thus ended my short trip.1
To say that I was pleased with it would express but little of my feelings. There were so many considerations which conduced to make the residence happy, independent of the mere pleasure which external objects conveyed to me, that it would have been astonishing had it not been pleasant. For the very enjoyment brought reflections to my mind which proved to me that they were among the last I was destined to share. This is the melancholy thought which always obtrudes itself in my present pleasures, and perhaps renders the enjoyment of them more delightful even by the slight tinge which it throws over them. I have been accustomed almost involuntarily to cry out to myself constantly during many years back, “These are the times of ease, freedom, happiness and enjoyment, enjoy them while you may.” I have acted up to the principle, but as the close of these days hastens I am reminded that more troublous times are coming, and that the world and female ties will soon loosen the earliest and the dearest bonds of social friendship.
With these opinions acting upon me at the moment, I was enjoying the society of these young men, considering this as very probably the last time that we should see each other in the enjoyment of all that renders life happy not excepting liberty. I made merry therefore, and when we did finally part I was somewhat disposed to think as I thought when I parted before from Sheafe and Richardson a year ago—but I would not forebode.2
God grant, that no such change as that may again happen very soon to our little society.