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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0002-0002-0010

Author: CFA
Date: 1823-12-26

Friday 26th.

Up late as usual to make up for the deficiencies in the evening. After breakfast went out with John to leave cards at the places to which we used to go so often last winter. Miss Cottringers and Miss Selden.1 The eldest of the former, Harriet is to be married to Mr. Brent next week—and on the whole I think it time for she has passed the grand climacteric and is now going down hill. But the Man has not misjudged in his selection as she I have no doubt will make a most excellent wife. It is said that women of “a certain age” always make the best wives and there is reason in the conclusion, but it does appear to me that if I am to marry, I shall have leave to consult my own taste on the score, and receive something like pleasure for so disagreable a step. Excellence is good but it is not much without beauty.
Miss Selden I understand is as pretty and lively as ever; we merely left cards and then returned home. Nothing remarkable happened. Visitors pouring in, in quantities which it is agreable to Madame to refuse, as she is “not at home,” a custom without which it would be impossible to move. We were very quiet all day. Johnson talked a little of politics and thought more. He is in evident pain all the time and appears in very bad health. His residence in Rockville is very much disapproved by all his friends. It was a singular step when taken and done for nothing but the necessity of the moment. His success has been remarkable and on that account he is unwilling to { 23 } give up the idea of remaining there, but I expect his health will force him away either to Fredericktown or here where he always appears to improve whenever he comes up to make a stay.
1. Anne, Cornelia, and Harriet Cottringer, all of whom attended the Washington parties that season, were daughters of Garrett C. Cottringer, of Philadelphia. Harriet was to be married to Robert Young Brent, son of Robert Brent, the first mayor of Washington (Columbia Hist. Soc., Records, 2 [1899]: 237). Sarah E. E. Selden later married Lt. John Graham, of the Navy (CFA to LCA, 11 April 1829, Adams Papers: Columbian Centinel, 11 April 1829).

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0002-0002-0011

Author: CFA
Date: 1823-12-27

Saturday 27th.

Arose this morning rather late, and after breakfast set myself looking around to obtain some book to read in order to avoid ennui which at this time might otherwise have come upon me—and also that I might not waste my time. Lord Bacon attracted my attention and I formed the resolution of reading a few of his essays every day for this winter.1 I also made the same determination as to an atlas, which it had been long my purpose to examine. In consequence I appropriated an hour and a half succeeding breakfast for the study of two of the maps, every day except Sundays and great days. The house was very quiet today, No one being busy except Madame who has just begun making artificial flowers for the “fete” of the 8th. We all trust to her taste in matters of this kind knowing that to be an infallible guide to beauty and effect.
1. The Stone Library contains two sets of The Works of Francis Bacon belonging to JQA, published in London in 1765 and in 1807.

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0002-0002-0012

Author: CFA
Date: 1823-12-28

28th.

Did not attend Church to day but staid at home and took Medicine in order to start fair for the Winter. Hitherto it appears to me that they have been exceedingly dull and dismal as far as the want of parties can make it so, although there are more strangers in the city than there have ever been so at least it is said. For here we go altogether by hearsay. It is supposed that the gayety will commence next week although it is believed that the Winter generally will not be as much so as usual owing to the absence of almost all the foreign ministers who are usually great entertainers. Madame will decide most probably two thirds of the pleasure of Washington to visitors, at her own will. Her Tuesdays are determined upon however but they are to be in every other week instead of every week as they used to be last year. We all retired early.
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