My Cousin and his mamma, went to Milton this afternoon. I went to see my Grandmamma. Miss N. Quincy, was here when I return’d: she proposes passing the week here. Two thousand pound, and an amiable disposition have not yet married her. It is strange how some girls, without either fortune, beauty, or any amiable qualities, have a talent at engaging a man’s affections, so as to escape, the name of an old maid, which next to death is most dreaded by a female: and yet others with every qualification of the heart, which could promise happiness to an husband, with sense, and fortune, are forced to enter the ridiculous sisterhood; but there is no accounting for the opinions and caprices of mankind; they must be taken as they are; for better, for worse.1
I read the beggar’s Opera,2 this evening, for the first time.... did not admire it.
1. In 1790 Nancy married Rev. Asa Packard, minister at Marlborough, Mass. (Joseph Allen, The Worcester Association and Its Antecedents: A History of Four Ministerial Associations: The Marlborough, The Worcester (Old), the Lancaster, and the Worcester (New) Associations..., Boston, 1868, p. 114–116). After Nancy’s marriage, which, according to JQA, “blasted even before the bud” AA’s “darling project for the advancement” of her eldest son, JQA refined his ideas on the role of fortune in a prospective bride. Your son “never will be indebted,” he wrote to his mother, “to his wife for his property. I once seriously thought that I should easily be enabled to make matrimony an instrument of my Avarice or my Ambition. But really it is not so, and I am fully persuaded like Sancho, that if it should rain mitres in this way, there would be never an one to fit my head” (JQA to AA, 14 Aug. 1790, Adams Papers).
2. John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera, London, 1728.