On this day in 1757, Landon Carter—among the most huffily self-important of colonial Virginia‘s gentry—had his nose particularly out of joint.* He had fussed with his son, also Landon Carter, and then, in language weighted down with self-justifications, described the whole kerfuffle in his diary. Keep in mind as you’re reading that the elder Carter liked to leave his diary open in Sabine Hall for his family members to happen upon and read.
This day near Sunset Landon Carter came home. I with great mildness asked him if he did not think that as he was to go up to Bull Hall tomorrow he ought to have staid at home to have taken my directions with regard to my affairs and if he did not think this Sauntering about from house to house only to inflame himself the more by visiting a woman that he knew I would never Consent to his marrying would not ruin him and contrary to his duty. He answered very calmly No. Then Sir be assured that although you will shortly be of age if you do not henceforward leave her you must leave me. He answer, then Sir I will leave you, on which I bid him be gone out of my house. He took up his hat and sayd so he would as soon as he could get his horse and went off immediately without shewing the least Concern, no not even to turn round. This I write down the moment it passed that I might no through want of memory omit so Singular an act of great filial disobedience in a Child that I have thought once my greatest happyness but as a just Father kept it concealed.
* A phrase coined by this man in this book.
SOURCE: Jack P. Greene, ed., The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1752–1778 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia for the Virginia Historical Society, 1965).
IMAGES: Landon Carter (Virginia Historical Society); Sabine Hall (VirginiaPlaces.org)