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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1864

Monday 13.th

13 June 1864

Wednesday 15th

15 June 1864
14 June 1864
Tuesday 14th

This was a broken day, as it always the case with those in which we have duties at court. We attended the last Drawing room of the season, and not improbably the last in my term of service. We had to present Colonel and Mrs Aspinwall, Miss Wilson, the niece of the Secretary, and Miss Viall, a young lady from Rhode Island. The beauty of Mr Aspinwall elicited much remark. There is a prevailing impression here respecting the superiority of American women in this respect, which perhaps contributes to the prevailing dislike of us in the higher classes. Certainly the display on the present occasion was by no means favorable to the English, for I scarcely saw a tolerable specimen. The Prince shook hands with me, as usual. We were detained only an hour. On my return I found visitors, Mr T G Appleton and Mr Kingsland. Quiet walk afterwards to Primrose hill. In the evening to a concert at Countess Bernstorff’s. A brilliant spectacle of ladies seated, and gentlemen standing, subject to the customary accompaniment of buzzing conversation in the entry. Under these difficulties musical parties in private houses are a farce. There was also a general restlessness caused by the frequent exit of people going elsewhere. Whilst I was standing, doing my best to listen I accidentally overheard a person behind me say to his neighbor in a tone of satisfaction that the American news just received was to the effect that “General Grant had made an attack on Lee’s whole line and had been beaten, and that the other man, Sherman, had been beaten with a loss of seven thousand men.” This turned out not to be true. I might to be sufficiently used to such stories to pay little heed to them. But in just such a situation where no means are at hand to verify the report, and when it is impossible to maintain that they may not be correct, the annoyance of the situation in the midst of people perceptibly exulting in your supposed calamity is considerable. Externally however I went on, as if nothing had happened. When we reached the last but one of the pieces in the first part, Mrs Adams who was sitting far in the front gave the sign to move and we took our leave. The three ladies then went to a ball at Miss Coutts’s. I drove home, and at once o’clock, went to bed. My son Henry being in the vein of party going, undertook the labor of visiting five places during the evening, and executed it. Such is London Society!49

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=DCA64d166