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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1

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.

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0010-0001

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-09-01

Wednesday. September 1st. VIII.

Arose, weather still rainy. I spent the morning in writing my { 308 } Journal comfortably in the house. The weather improved a little in the course of the morning and I accepted an invitation of George’s to go as far as Neponset Hotel with him on his road to Boston, and went. It was late before we got there and time past as rapidly as usual while I was playing billiards. I was not so successful as usual and, being considerably nettled, I do not know how long I should have stayed had not the boy been obliged to go.
I returned home at about half past six o’clock without having had any dinner. The family appeared in some surprise about me, and I was obliged to tell them that in future they need not be astonished when I do not attend meals. They were almost all going out when I arrived, to Mr. Whitney’s to a Quincy party and I was pressed to go but refused. These Quincy parties are the dullest, the most disagreable and the most unprofitable it ever has been my lot to meet with. You do not enjoy yourself while at them nor look back upon them with satisfaction. Mrs. Clark appears amazingly offended with young Whitney for some cause or other and takes occasion to abuse him most exceedingly. She is a singular woman. I am at times exceedingly in doubt whether she has any heart or not. She is a most profound devote but I have always thought her a complete hypocrite attempting to be pious. Her chief motive of action is an ostentation, a wish to throw herself forward into the notice of other people and a desire to be admired by them. She has a deep spirit of malignity and, as an old woman, will be a most exquisitely unpleasant one. My judgment of real piety is always fixed upon a person who says nothing of it, who does not obtrude it upon other people and who governs her conduct by the principles which her bible lays down for her. Who represses malignity, slander, scandal and all the little sins which are incidental to women.
In the Evening I went and sat with my Grandfather and conversed with him as usual upon indifferent subjects. He went to bed earlier than usual tonight and I, after spending a little while in my Uncle’s room, an uncommon thing for me, went down to Supper, where we had a warm argument on the subject of the conduct of the Quincy family which did not end until late. XI:15.
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.