Employed this morning as usual. We are so monotonous here at present that it is hardly possible to obtain material enough for amusement, in my journal. I finished the Pleasures of Imagination and wrote my Journal as usual. The family moved into the large room today as the rest of the house is entirely unoccupied. It is the Pleasantest part of the house so I rejoice at the circumstance. But my day was not spent in the most agreable manner so I sat down and amused myself as well as I could for want of my usual society in reading one of Mrs. Opie’s New Tales.1
It was the first called Mrs. Arlington’s. These are written very pleasantly, containing a great deal of vivacity, some nature and some good observation. Still they hold considerably to the romance of life and are too apt to take hold foolishly of the wild ideas of youth. Novels I think are generally injurious as they serve to increase the tendency to build castles in the air, which is naturally strong enough. The sudden blight of these prospects is frequently the cause of the destruction of their holders. Sheer elegance and magnificence however wished for, it is the lot of but few to possess.
In the afternoon I wrote a letter to my mother2
—it was a wretched scrawl and I was much ashamed of it but as this is no place to do any thing either elegantly or methodically I determined to let it go as I had made it. I am afraid my Journal will not appear to the best advantage when I look over it at Cambridge but rather than let it run down to wind up at Cambridge which would be difficult, I continue it badly. After tea I took a long walk to Milton with Thomas in which we had
some interesting conversation concerning the family about which I have not been able to sound his knowledge hitherto. We returned and remained until nine o’clock in my Grandfather’s, reading the newspapers to him which my Uncle had brought out for he had been there, and brought out with him, a young man or boy rather a nephew of his by the name of Foster,3
a sufficiently modest young man.
I was at the table with the ladies until eleven when they retired when I had the comfortable task of sitting up with my Uncle when he was in one of his usual situations. It has often made me grieve to think this man should make himself a ruin to others and to himself, possessing as he does all those qualities requisite to make an excellent member of Society. But I fear the evil is irremediable for his own efforts to break the vice have not been successful and consequently no one else’s will be. XII:15.
1. Mrs. Amelia Opie, New Tales, 4 vols., London, 1818.
3. Charles Phineas Foster (1806–1879), of Boston, son of Phineas and Frances (Harrod) Foster and a member of CFA’s class at Harvard (Harvard Archives).