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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0004-0011-0013

Author: CFA
Date: 1828-11-13

Thursday 13th.

I walked down this morning to obtain some wood for my office as tomorrow I propose to put it in operation. I am not yet admitted to the Bar but shall be at the opening of the next Term so as to be able to transact any business given to me which I do not expect however to be much. I walked to Mrs. Frothingham’s to pay her a visit and met Abby on the road. I went with her to see Miss Anne Carter who though an Invalid is not in a consumption as I had supposed a year since.
Thus the morning passed and the time came for me to go out to Medford with Mr. Brooks. He took the opportunity of answering my application some time since.1 He was short, merely saying that he wished it deferred for a year until he might build another House for his daughter, that I was young and next Autumn would be time { 308 } enough. This was an unexpected blow, and prostrated my spirits at once. To have this thing delayed for a year longer after my patience and hope seems like removing all prospect of happiness beyond the limits of human sight. I submitted on two grounds. One including my peculiar subject of trouble which forbids my insisting upon what I cannot foretel certainly the result of, the other, that I may relieve my father just now. But the disappointment is still severe, and my feelings will be long sore upon the subject. My own feelings are strong. They will probably lead me to despise the miserably timid policy which hedges me in; they will certainly create regret in after times if I should find a year of happiness lost. But as it is, I submit and commit my soul to God. I had some conversation with Abby in which I explained to her the course I should think it necessary to take in consequence.2 This brought tears and bitterness. But conscious of being actuated by the most excellent motives, I was obliged to bear all in sorrow and in hope. How different from the feelings of Saturday! These are the constant vicissitudes of life, sunshine and clouds.
1. See entry for 26 Oct., and note, above.
2. The details of CFA’s proposed new course are unclear. Apparently he planned to spend much more of his time in his office and to see Abigail only infrequently. See undated, incomplete letter of CFA to Abigail B. Brooks [22 Nov. 1828], Adams Papers.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0004-0011-0014

Author: CFA
Date: 1828-11-14

Friday 14th.

Returned to town this morning with Mr. Brooks. The weather was pleasant but cool. I took possession of my Office this morning and began to feel somewhat more at home. But the bitter feelings of yesterday were in their full operation and I could only bend to the storm. My brother came in and we had some conversation. He feels deeply the result of this election which to me now is comparatively unimportant. One whole year more in the way I passed the last is too much to think of. I occupied myself in reading but not with fixed attention and in the evening walked up and paid a visit to my old fellow student Davis at Mr. Webster’s Office, with whom I had much pleasant conversation.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0004-0011-0015

Author: CFA
Date: 1828-11-15

Saturday 15th.

I do not know that I have ever had so severe a trial as this. My thoughts are intent upon it night and day; I do not sleep for it, I cannot read with it. This morning I went to see Abby at Mrs. Frothingham’s and for half an hour suffered severely. The muscles of my face could hardly be kept in order, by which I judge the struggle must have { 309 } been great. I accompanied her to Julia Gorham’s but was glad to get away to my room again to indulge in solitude and gloom. My life here in Boston in the midst of solitude and the depressing feelings occasioned by the kind of dependence which I experienced through my engagement last year, are terrible to think of. The course of Mr. Brooks to me has not been handsome, intimating as he does that my youth and want of occupation are objections to me, without thinking that such allusions do no good now and irritate my feelings besides. These things remain in a tenacious memory and will probably have no very pleasant effect in future life if ever I should surmount my difficulties, either upon his happiness or mine in the relations we may hold to each other. How much might be spared men in this life. Rolling in wealth as he is, a little well disposed might do much, but with a timid doctrine, the consequence of habits of early years, he delays it while every day takes off something from the value of the gift. The only reason for delay is not known to him. It remains with me. Were it not for that, she should be mine directly. The day passed on.
In the evening, I attended a meeting of the Private Debating Society1 to which I have been admitted a Member. A debate took place which lasted until after nine o’clock, so that though strongly tempted I did not see Abby this evening. This is the first of my self-denial.
1. The Boston Debating Society (Mass. Register, 1829, p. 142).
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/