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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0006-0029

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-05-29

Saturday. May. 29th. VIII:20.

After a breakfast a la Solitaire, I sat with the family all the Morning neglecting my usual walk which I find has been of such advantage to me since my stay here. Mrs. Harrod the sister in law of Mrs. Adams appears to be a woman perfectly versed in the really “bon ton” of society. She has more ease than I expected and appears a lady of very good breeding. The contrast is always striking between natural and artificial manners and makes me a convert to one great point of aristocracy, that is, the real difference which does exist between men bred naturally and those who have formed themselves. The latter are always over civil but not half so agreable. The little girl has come here to be put to School at Miss Marston’s which is now quite a flourishing academy.1 Deservedly I think for I believe the women to be really worthy although they breathe a little too much of the spirit of methodistical piety.
I read a short poem of Lyttelton’s which is in the rural style consequently is not remarkably apt for criticism. Thus I passed the day, about as slothfully take it altogether as any this vacation. I did not notice that I was in a passion at Mrs. A. last night, she disclosing herself for once and speaking of the Adams family in such a way as to put me in a violent passion. I subdued it however and so I thought it necessary only to mention the circumstance without particulars.
In the afternoon George came out in the stage as usual and after a walk in the garden we went in, I immediately to my Grandfather where I read a part of an article in the last North American Review. It was on a History of Philosophy.2 I did not see enough to judge as I stopped at nine o’clock. From here I came to supper and was doomed { 163 } to a severe trial of my temper. My Uncle sitting next to me took occasion to be affronted at me for what I do not know, but he tried to provoke me into a quarrel with him. Many bitter things he said which stirred my blood but conscious of the extreme folly of making a difficulty with him I remained silent. This being perceived, he sprang up and went off declaring that there was no congeniality among us. This took off the chill which had been thrown upon the company but my blood was running fast all the evening. And I was fearful my absence would be noticed. After the family had retired, he came in cooled down, and we spent half an hour with him before going upstairs. I could not sleep until long after I laid down but spent the time in conversation with George on the subject of the whole of that family and our own. XI: 30.
1. The Misses Marston (two sisters) conducted a school for girls which attracted the elite of Quincy and Boston. It was located on the site where St. John’s Cathedral was later built (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 341).
2. Alexander H. Everett, “History of Philosophy,” North American Review, 43:234–266 (April 1824).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/