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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Friday 8th

8 April 1864

Sunday 10th

10 April 1864
9 April 1864
Saturday 9th

A mild, pleasant day. My attention devoted to the arrears of letter writing, which commonly follow on a busy week of general Despatches.. This embraced notes to four Consuls. Soon after ten o’clock I dressed myself in my masquerade dress, including the small clothes which I flattered myself last year I should never use again and I went with Mrs Adams to wait upon the Queen at Buckingham Palace. We found pretty nearly all the Corps assembled, excluding the Secretaries, under the first counsellor of the four ambassadors. All in full dress, but in mourning. There was evident doubt and uncertainty as to the arrangements of this so-called “Court”—a thing altogether now. Sir Edward Cust, who always means well but really knows little, came round to prepare us for the ceremonial, which would consist in each party advancing in his order, with his Wife, if married, and bowing to the Queen, there to be slow if she should incline to say any thing, and finally to turn to the right and take our stations. All this was in the central room on the Westerly side of the palace. The north door finally opened and Mr and Madame Musuras with his Secretary and daughter took the lead. As we filed in I glanced at the Queen, and was struck by the vivid red color spread all over the head and face and neck, indicating an excessive flush. In spite of Sir Edward Cust’s attempts at delay, the file passed quickly, only now and then receiving an interlocutory remark. By the time it was overturn the color had gone from the Queen, and she stood much as usual, but with much expression. She had a white crape band over her head by no means becoming her sallow skin. Mrs Adams was on my right. She curtseyed and moved on; I bowed, during which I heard her murmuring very rapidly between her teeth the words “hope you have good accounts,” in such a manner that I was doubtful of their purport until after I had passed on. I bowed to King Leopold of Belgium who stood on her right, and to the two Princesses Helena and Louise on her left, after which I took my place as directed. Thus passed the whole corps, finishing with the men from Madagascar. The question then arose, What next? The Lord Chamberlain settled that by stepping forward and answering to Mr Musurus that it was over. Of course, the next business was to get out. Mr and Mrs M again led the way by a distant bow and moving out to the door. Nothing more ludicrous627 We all followed rather miscellaneously to mark our leave to the Queen though almost at the full length of the room. Thus we at last found ourselves back in the Anteroom. All that was left was to take the carriages and drive home. The whole affair had an awkwardness only expelled by its want of meaning. If meant a s a compliment to the representatives of Foreign nations, it was one paid at their expense, for very certainly their comfort or convenience had not been consulted in it. It scarcely seems worth the while to exhort the Queen to such efforts, when they so evidently betray the constraint under which they are made. We were a few minutes over an hour absent from my house. Walk and quiet dinner at home. In the evening I went alone to Lady Palmerston’s. usual reception. In such cases I walk once through the rooms, recognize my acquaintance right and left, how to Lord and Lady Palmerston, and return home. This took tonight about thirty minutes.

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA64d100