Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Monday. 2d.

Wednesday 4th.

Tuesday 3d. CFA


Tuesday 3d. CFA
Tuesday 3d.

The Weather continued remarkably cold and for the first time this season the Potomac exhibited a thick covering of ice over it’s surface. For my part I stayed at home all day and read some numbers in the Enuite de la Sainte Pelagie, a very well written thing but severely reflecting on the conduct of the French government.

Madame was sufficiently well today to go out and pay visits, and Miss Mary was sent to Kalorama1 with the Carriage to bring Miss McKnight down to stay here a few days. Miss Cranch also came which fills up the house pretty well as there are nine of us now in the family. I am not sorry as the old proverb of “the more the merrier” is one which I am at present inclined to think well of, as the family has not yet got out of the dumps.

As it was the last evening at which I was to be present, Madame had the kindness to order the band, at the usual Tuesday Evening. But I did not avail myself much of the invitation as I always prefer to walk about and see the people. For my own part, I danced with Miss McKnight in the regular dances and nobody else. She is a young lady of that description that one observation is enough. There is one thing remarkable about her though, that she is extremely ladylike in her manners and although a little too precise has more of the “ton de la bonne compagnie société” than girls here usual have. I cannot 80help making an exception of the Miss Cottringers who are more praiseworthy as they are more ardent tempers. I have never seen any thing gauche or improper in them. They are not so much out this winter and I have paid them nothing but a card visit as yet and it is so late now I do not intend it. I again asked Miss Peter. It has been a singular circumstance throughout the winter that at almost every party at which I have been present I have asked her, and she has always been preengaged, not that this has been matter of sorrow for I think that she is not the woman which I was formerly inclined to think her. Too much sameness is apt to cloy and at the same time her stiff behaviour. She holds her neck too stiffly and dances badly.

Miss Selden was very cool to me all the evening and it was the same with me as I had found observations had been made upon John. I did not wish to have him continue in the track so set the example against it. John did dance with her and excite remark as much as usual. He intends nothing but is singularly unfortunate in his situations. I asked her myself not to appear too abrupt about knowing her to be engaged.2 Mrs. Sullivan was gracious to me this evening, something very uncommon, and unexpected. I think but poorly of her. She is sister to Winthrop of our class.3 A Mrs. Rieves was here the wife of a new Virginia Member, herself a bride.4 She was not handsome, but lively enough. John danced with her, so took the trouble from me.

After the company had all retreated except Miss dWolf’s and Mrs. Dodge, we had a Cottillion, I dancing with Miss Cranch. A very good sort of mouse. Johnson was hooked into an acquaintance with Miss D’Wolf but could not go to dance. After which we departed to rest.


Kalorama, the old estate of Joel Barlow, owned in 1824 by Col. George Bomford of the ordnance bureau, lay just west of the bounds of the city, between Florida Avenue and Rock Creek (Bryan, Hist. of the National Capital , 1:240, 582; 2:8).


CFA probably meant: “I asked her myself not to appear too abrupt, knowing her about to be engaged.”


George Edward Winthrop, Harvard 1825.


Mrs. William Cabell Rives, the former Judith Page Walker ( DAB ).