On this day I am seventeen years old. Early in life and full of hopes, entering into the world at an earlier age than usual, I can look back and say to myself, this has been spent, how? I have had some variety in my course, part of it laziness, part of it study, part of it folly and part of it dissipation. I have thought much for a young man and had some experience and am become somewhat vain. I now am gradually advancing to the time when either my visions will either be realized or else I shall be a—I will not, I cannot predict what. I am thinking sufficiently often on this subject.
I spent the morning in reading the remainder of the first volume of Redgauntlet. I have been considerably interested in the last part of this book although I do not think he has kept the same standing in this. His scenes appear to be made up in the same style but joined together without care. Indeed this author has made one dangerous innovation in letters and that is he writes with so much rapidity that he astonishes his inferiors who endeavour to imitate him. Hence we have such a crowd of novels in our day. Every one writes fast, thinking that he cannot get hold of the public without it. Scotch novels are all the rage and every body who can write brogue writes well. It is a thing to tickle the world because it is so natural. I was thus employed all the Morning and in the afternoon continued select parts of the Italian. This is one of the fashionable stories of the last age when horror presided and the school of mysteries was so much supported. The inquisition in this novel is made quite a good sort of a place, with more justice than I had any idea was attributed to it before.
I could not stay any longer here and therefore ordered my horse and returned to Cambridge in order to be there for drill this Evening. 294I got there to Prayers which however I did not attend. The Cambridge light Infantry returned this Evening. After Prayers we had a drill which I performed with unusual correctness because I was less interested in it than I ever was before. My being absent for some time has affected me strangely and made me enormously indifferent. After drill we invited the Guides and Markers to our usual Evening’s entertainment as a treat or, in other words, a fish for them. They were all there but one and we spent a pretty agreable evening making speculations about the weather, our dresses for tomorrow &c. &c. I returned home, spent an hour at Sheafe’s and then went to bed. X:30.