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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0009-0030

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-08-30

Monday. August 30th. VII.

Arose early this morning as I wished to take advantage of the stage to Boston in order to go to Neponset. The family, or at least the remaining part of it, were almost all upon the wing. Mrs. Clark and Abby were going to Boston and wished me to go very much to attend them which I declined. My Uncle also wished me much to go but I felt no interest in the great military Review before La Fayette which is the occasion of all this disturbance. The good people of Boston are going to display as many of their efficient militia as can possibly be brought out. They will probably make something of a show although it is exceedingly to be doubted whether much of the actual strength of a country lies in the troops of this sort. I shall not trouble myself with a discussion of that sort.
I waited until ten o’clock when I obtained a conveyance in my uncle’s chaise to Neponset where I had determined to spend the day. The house was so exceedingly deserted and melancholy. We arrived at Neponset in time, but it appeared as if Boston had carried every thing away by it’s attractions today. The hotel was almost deserted and I could only get the boy to play with me for any time. When once interested in the game however I forgot the passage of time, missed the dinner hour and consequently decided to spend all day there. I took no dinner and it was only when I found the sun going down very fast that I had any idea of returning. The game becomes still more fascinating as one becomes a better proficient in it. It appears to me singular that so much pleasure is to be derived from it. The accuracy necessary is probably the thing which makes it pleasant. I have improved very much in these few days. Indeed it is very lately only that I have resumed my game, which formerly used to be pretty good. I returned home in time for tea, after which I wrote one day in my Journal in order that it should [not] become again a great weight before me. I had intended to have done more with it but darkness came in too soon. My Uncle came out from Boston at about six o’clock, Abby and Susan came soon after and, last of all, Elizabeth and George. I spent the Evening in my Grandfather’s room, he was very inquisitive about my billiards, and told me something of a relative of ours which I had no idea of. The accounts of the show very great. After supper, conversation as usual with George until quite late. XII.

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0009-0031

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-08-31

Tuesday. August 31st. X.

Arose extremely late, the weather very rainy indeed and making it { 307 } evident that amusement must be sought in the house all day. As the morning was pretty far advanced I had only to write my Journal which filled up that part of my time. As I was about yesterday, I was compelled to make it up by industry today. George’s being out here relieved the tedium of the day as I could have conversation with him whenever I was tired of doing any thing else. He is a pleasant young man in conversation, and although I do not think the style of conversation is a very good one for either of us, as it turns too much upon ourselves. The morning went swiftly.
After dinner I sat down and read a little work just published by Washington Irving called The tales of a Traveller Part First.1 It is a general collection of stories told at a fox hunter’s where a party were detained by the weather. These stories related to the author by a nervous gentleman. Some of them are pretty good. His commencing one is a joke, it begins seriously but breaks off in the middle with a joke. They are generally told very ridiculously. The final one is a remarkably fine one and written in as beautiful a manner as I ever saw. It is simple in the plot, two beings, lovers, deceived by a friend, who marries the female reporting that her lover is dead, and when he returns he stabs him. It is a tale of passion but a beautiful one, it affected me as books of that sort always do, I even shed tears when I finished it. To see such a beautiful world as I am willing to think it when I see such a magnificent description of it, and to feel as if you could almost breathe for ever in it, and then to see that world destroyed before you, crushed and yourself a miserable fool of fortune is terrible, it is afflicting to sensibility. But when we look at common life, we do not find half the pleasure which we can imagine but we do find more than the pain. We find rogues, knaves and villains as perfect as possible but we find none perfectly virtuous or perfectly happy. On the whole I was much pleased with the book. After I had finished I wrote some more of my Journal.
I then went to tea and in the Evening sat with Grandfather and George talking about affairs in general, but had on the whole quite a pleasant and rather an instructive conversation. I then went down to Supper after which George and I talked as usual. XI.
1. Washington Irving, Tales of a Traveller, by Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., 2 vols., London, 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, 2018.