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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0001-0005

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-01-05

Monday 5th.

This morning I read my Geography and Bacon for the last time { 32 } for a week or ten days, as the house is about to be turned topsy turvy for that time. Monsieur was moved from his Library and Study up into John’s sitting room. For his room was converted into a ball room. The pillars were put up to day as it was thought necessary to prop the house. Twelve of them were put up. And Madame set us all busily to work making wreaths. I also went to Georgetown in the carriage to day with Mary, myself to get some Money, a draft for which had been given me by Mrs. Clark1 when I set out. Mary went on some business for Madame. We stopped also at the Flower Warehouse where I gave some directions for John.2 We returned very soon after quite a pleasant ride although I am obliged to be amazingly cautious in my conduct towards her. The relatives I perceive watch me so closely now that I am always forced to keep a certain level. If in either too high or too low spirits for any time in her presence, it is set down immediately as a relapse. She has some alluring ways which are apt to make every man forget myself, but she is not what she was, and I have had too hard a trial to think of ever wishing to endure the same. George too, but fortunately (for indeed I cannot help thinking so) he is not with us, would be in a perfect fever and sickness if he was to imagine that she had encouraged me in the least as he would certainly.3 Our connection however was long since thoroughly broken off and we have been mutually guarded ever since.4 Mr. Fuller came, and talked to me about invitations and the Lord knows what, all which I referred to Madame. Thus went the day.
1. Susanna Boylston (Adams) Clark (1796–1884), the widowed daughter of Charles Adams (1770–1800), the younger brother of JQA. She lived at the Old House in Quincy as a companion to her grandfather, JA. See Adams Genealogy.
2. CFA doubtless meant “the Flour Warehouse,” i.e. the Columbia Mills on Rock Creek, which were currently (and badly) managed by relatives of LCA with financial help from JQA. JA2 later took over the management of this enterprise and it became known as the Adams Mill. An Adams Mill Road remains in the National Zoological Gardens, but the buildings have completely disappeared. See Bemis, JQA , 2:197–200; Columbia Hist. Soc., Records , 31–32 (1930):100–101.
3. CFA hastily (and confusedly) corrected this sentence in the MS and undoubtedly wished it to read: “George, too, but fortunately (for indeed I cannot help thinking so) he is not with us, would be in a perfect fever and sickness if he was to imagine, as he would certainly, that she had encouraged me in the least.”
4. Mary Catherine Hellen, LCA’s niece who lived with the Adams family, was the object of affection of all three of the Adams boys. She had become engaged to GWA in 1823, but when JA2 returned home after having been expelled from Harvard, she transferred her interest to him. Early in 1824 the observant and tolerant LCA noticed that Mary was “playing a game which no one ever comprehend[s] but the initiated,” meaning probably that her niece was flirting with CFA. See LCA to GWA, 7 Dec. 1823, and 1 Jan. 1824, Adams Papers; entries for 19 and 20 May, below; Bemis, JQA , 2:116, 118.
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