Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 27th.

Wednesday. 29th.

Tuesday. 28th. CFA Tuesday. 28th. CFA
Tuesday. 28th.

Rode to town. Went to the Gallery for an hour and to the Athenaeum. I sat for an extremely large proportion of the time looking at the picture said to be by Guido of Judith with the head of Holofernes. The expression of her face is admirable, decision, religious heroism, masculine daring in her attitude. Such a picture as that gives me some idea of the excellence of the Ancient Painters. I also greatly admired a warm landscape of Gaspar Poussin.

At the Office, I did little or nothing but prepare a draught of a letter to Mr. J. Angier. He does not keep his books precisely.1 Returned home. Afternoon read M. de Burtin. A mere Hollander who talks about his Collection, and looks down upon the far nobler efforts of the Italian Schools.

In the evening, read Madame de Sevigné. Her letter are the merest whip syllabub2 that ever was frothed, and yet they are pretty. Their 96little apt phrases and gentle expressions give them to readers a charm, far more substantial books never possess. I find a good deal of satisfaction in Cumberland’s Observer.

1.

The letter to John Angier, husband of TBA’s daughter, Abigail, and Medford schoolmaster with whom TBA’s son, John Quincy, was enrolled, was finally written and sent on 3 June (LbC, Adams Papers). Angier’s bills for schooling, for which JQA had assumed the payment, were a recurring source of irritation to CFA (vol. 4:170).

2.

Ordinarily written as “whipped” or “whipt” syllabub. See JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:127: “whippd Sillabubs.”