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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0009-0021

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-08-21

Saturday. August 21st. VIII.

Missed Prayers this morning, arose, feeling again restored to strength. Found myself on the eve of being deserted or nearly so. Chapman went this morning and all the rest of my acquaintance except Rundlet and Lothrop will be gone before night so I concluded to make my exit for the present. I spent the morning, some part of it at least, reading Redgauntlet which in the commencement of the second volume becomes rather uninteresting. I read three chapters and closed the book without much regret. I then went home and arranged my room as well as possible. I read a few of Pope’s letters and dined. I wrote a letter also to John, which was of some importance as it was of a serious character and in answer to one of a very serious character which I received on Thursday morning.1 There is something going on at Washington to the bottom of which I cannot see. And I receive dark and mysterious hints about the matter in every letter upon the subject of family affairs. George is concerned and, for all I know John, but it is very certain that I have no connection with the matter. I have suffered too much already. John writes with a little bitterness and my Mother with considerable and I am doomed not to know the reason why.2
After dinner I waited for the Stage two hours and was driven to the conclusion that it had left me. Consequently I was obliged to walk into town, which I did for the first time in my Junior Year, in the course of which, I have also walked out here once. I arrived at my brother’s just in time to gain the stage for Quincy. George announced to me that my father was to be off on Tuesday, consequently I shall be obliged to detain my letter to John, for which I am sorry as I might have done some good by it, and I might have prevented some mis• { 297 } understandings which are the perpetual trouble of our house. I see darkness and trouble in futurity and only wish to God time would disclose the worst and that shortly. I wish only the interval of one year and the power of making up my mind to exertion.
I came out to Quincy in the Stage with George, found the family all well and Grandfather in pretty good spirits. After supper I had some important conversation with my brother, and as I deemed it my duty, I disclosed to him what I supposed to be the case at home in order to make him, if he will, know his situation. We sat up long but fatigue at last reminded us of XII.
1. Both letters missing.
2. The difficulty in the Adams household presumably was caused by Mary C. Hellen, who was transferring her affections from her betrothed, GWA, to JA2. See entry for 6 Sept., below.

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0009-0022

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-08-22

Sunday. August 22d. VIII.

Arose and spent the morning reading Redgauntlet and writing my Journal. The novel I finished this morning. It is quite interesting in parts but as a whole, I think it comes below St. Ronan’s Well. The parts appear to me to have been laboured and sometimes finished, but the support of character is not perfect, and the close is not pleasing. There are some very pretty letters but on the whole not written with so much life as those of Lord Etherington. Redgauntlet is pretty well carried through and Nanty Ewart’s story afflicted me about as much as any part. There are some fine natural touches in it. The Chevalier is introduced with some effect although I imagine there is no historical ground for the incidents, nor do I believe that there is much probability that the English government would have acted as they are made to here. But when I say this is an inferior novel, it is only in my opinion inferior to his other novels, for I can trace no comparison between him and others. Nothing can be seen in others and [the] many who ape him which partakes in the least degree of his power of description and colloquial ease. He hits off character more as we believe it to exist than any one, although we may never have seen examples. Cristil [Cristal] Nixon is one of his villains but he does not take the trouble to draw him out.
I spent the afternoon also in writing my Journal but I did not make so much progress as I wished. George interfered with me part of the time as he was also desirous of the only accommodations we have here for writing, to write his part, or poem for next Wednesday to his class. I consequently amused myself as well as I could with a French { 298 } novel I happened to find written in the style of the Arabian Nights Entertainment. With this which for its extravagance, entertained me, I managed to pass away the afternoon.
In the evening, I sat with my Grandfather. Mrs. Quincy1 and Edmund were here and conversed most fluently. She was determined not to spare George and she belaboured him with compliments. It is singular but every body compliments him openly and he takes it like a philosopher. I think George’s character is changing and a little for the better. He is more convinced of the necessity of it and more willing to make the change. We had some amusing conversation concerning College affairs and I talked much of my class, many of whom I described. We sat up in this way until extremely late. XI:30.
1. Mrs. Josiah Quincy (1772–1864), the former Eliza Susan Morton, remembered for her beauty and erudition. See Adams Genealogy.
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, 2018.