Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Wednesday. 2d.

Friday. 4th.

Thursday. 3d. CFA Thursday. 3d. CFA
Thursday. 3d.

This was the regular day appointed for Fast according to the custom of this people.1 I remained at home in the morning and read Constant until the time for Divine Service when I attended and heard Mr. Frothingham from 12 Luke 19–20. “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much good laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided.” A very good Sermon upon the appropriateness of the occasion to the Season when man casts his seed upon the land with all the hopes and fears which necessarily belong to the support of his existence.

The day was fine. There was no service in the afternoon, owing to Mr. Frothingham’s cold. I read Benjamin Constant. Walk. I was a good deal surprised to find how much changed the spirit of this Institution had become. The Streets bore far more of the appearance of a holiday and festival than on any other day in the year. The Common was crowded and the Streets filled with Coaches. There appeared to me far more of what I should consider a pleasant recreation among the people than I ever see on our Jubilee days, when there is drinking and riot but no pleasure, or cheerful appearance.

Read Cicero, finishing the third Tusculan Disputation. And to divert my mind with a little light reading, I took up the Mille et une Nuits2—One of the most amusing of all works. The mixture of Eastern manners with their peculiar mythology, the marvelous combining with the beautiful, the power of invention, of description and of narration make this work infinitely charming. My Wife went out to Medford with 289her sisters. This evening Mr. Brooks was understood to have renewed his invitation for the intervening period to the close of the Session. Read Miss Edgeworth. Mr. Degrand came in for an hour.


On the observance of Spring Fast Days in Massachusetts, see vol. 3:208–209; 4:23.


A set of the 6-volume, Paris, 1774, edition is in MQA.