Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Monday. August 30th. VII.

Wednesday. September 1st. VIII.

Tuesday. August 31st. X. CFA


Tuesday. August 31st. X. CFA
Tuesday. August 31st. X.

Arose extremely late, the weather very rainy indeed and making it 307evident 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.


Washington Irving, Tales of a Traveller, by Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., 2 vols., London, 1824.