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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0012-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-10-05


Mr. Thaxter came and dined with us, to day, the first time he has been to see us, since Mr. Shaw went away. In the evening Miss Nancy had Company to Visit her. Mr. W. Osgood, who is said to be her very humble Servant, and something like a Mr. Hickman, to a Miss Howe.1 Mr. Ca[leb] Blodget, who bears the same title, but if fame be true, with still less Success. I am afraid she either treats her admirers too well or too ill. Miss B. Duncan, Mr. Thaxter's reputed flame, she is in my opinion the greatest { 336 } beauty in Haverhill: at least of the Ladies I have seen. Her hair alone is sufficient to justify the admiration of the ancients for golden locks. Her face is very pretty, and her eye sparkles with Vivacity, and good nature, without that wildness which indicates want of thought. She is as Fielding says, too tall for a pretty woman, and too short for a fine Woman: that is no one can wish her an inch taller or an inch lower. Her shape, is inferior to none I ever saw, and her taste in dress is elegant, with the utmost simplicity. If her mind is equal to her Person, I hope she is destined, to complete the happiness of a Person for whom I have the greatest Esteem and Affection. Her Sister Peggy was here too this evening, and Miss Debby Perkins, of whom I shall speak all in good time.
1. Hickman and Howe are characters in Samuel Richardson's Clarissa Harlowe.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0012-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-10-06


Was invited to Drink tea at Judge Sargeants.1 But was obliged still to plead the excuse I have already mentioned. I say obliged, because, this is one of the families I would wish to be acquainted with the most. My Brother was gone all the afternoon after nuts. Just before dark I went out with the gun, for half an hour, but saw no game. Miss Nancy Spent part of the Evening at Judge Sargeants. The judge himself is now absent riding the Circuits, and is so more than 6 months in 12, but he is expected home soon. He has two Sons and five Daughters, One only of whom I have seen: her name is Tabitha. Quite a patriarchical name; and a Lady that pleases me mightily. She is uncommonly tall, for a woman, but well proportioned; her countenance is rather agreeable than handsome, and it has an appearance of prudence, and solidity, which I wish I could perceive in all the other young Ladies here. She behaves with a propriety which I think might serve as an example to others.
1. Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant, justice of the Supreme Judicial Court (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:574–580).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0012-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-10-07


Last Evening Betsey Cranch arrived, and came this morning to see us. She came with Mr. Ben Blodget, the youngest of that family. She is to live at Mr. White's, at least a great part of the { 337 } time she will stay in Haverhill. I cannot help wishing she was to spend more of the time in this House, for several Reasons.
I went down and spent an hour with Mr. Thaxter at his Office; He told me he thought B. Duncan, the girl of the most Reason, and good Sense in Haverhill: this was enough for a friend but not sufficient for a Lover. He spoke of several other girls in this Place, but not with the most favourable partiality. Dined at home, Miss Perkins favoured us with her Company. She is about as tall as Miss Duncan, and her shape is nearly as fine. Her face is perhaps as pretty, and her hair is more adapted to the taste of mankind at this day: but there is something in the other Lady's Eye, that window of the Soul, which must I think determine the generality of mankind in her favour. Miss Perkins, appears very young; I doubt whether she is yet seventeen: And she shows all the levity which commonly distinguishes girls at that time of Life. I would call her a Romp, but her pretty face forbids me to; I would say that she has too much of

The loud laugh, that speaks the vacant mind.1

but, a pair of dangerous eyes, threaten me with Revenge, if I dare be guilty of such a crime.
1. Oliver Goldsmith, “The Deserted Village” [line 122] (Poems, Plays and Essays . . ., Boston, 1854, p. 90).
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.