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MY DEAREST FRIEND,
I HAVE only time to inform you that Monday and Thursday have passed away without bringing me a letter from you. It is the first week that has failed me in the whole, though sometimes the letters have not arrived on the proper day.
There is a Dr. somebody here from Connecticut, who pretends, with an instrument made of some kind of metal or composition of metals, by a sort of mesmerian rubbing, or stroking, or conjuration, to cure rheumatisms, headaches, pleurisies, and I know not what. Ellsworth will not say that he believes in it, but he states facts and tells stories. I expect the heads of all the old women, (males I mean, you know,) will be turned. They have got him into the President's house among some of his servants, and Mrs. Washington told me a story on Tuesday, before a number of gentlemen, so ineffably ridiculous that I dare not repeat it in writing. The venerable lady laughed as immoderately as all the rest of us did.
A barrier is erected between Europe and America. It seems as if no vessel could get through or over it. I went with Charles last night to the drawing room. As the evening was fair and mild, there was a great circle of ladies and a greater of gentlemen. General Wayne was there in glory. This man's feelings must be worth a guinea a minute. The Pennsylvanians claim him as theirs, and show him a marked respect.
W T e are now near the middle of February. Last year I left this place on the 19th. Now, I must stay through the long months of March, April, and May. Long ? Nothing is long ! The time will be soon gone, and we shall be surprised to know what is become of it. How soon will my sands be all run out of the glass ! After sixty, the days and hours have additional wings, which they wave and beat with increasing rapidity.
Dr. Priestley is here. I drank tea with him at the President's on Thursday evening. He says he always maintained against Dr. Price, that old age was the pleasantest part of life, and he finds it so. I think so too. One knows not what infirmities may come on, what pains, griefs or sorrows ? I am determined to make my small remainder as easy as I can, and en joy the hours as they pass, but do a little good as I have opportunity.
You have not informed me whether you have let the farms. Duty and love as usual.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841