Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Tuesday. 12th.

Thursday. 14th.

Wednesday. 13th. CFA Wednesday. 13th. CFA
Wednesday. 13th.

Morning clear but the air no longer had the softness which distinguished it for the two last days. I read the seventh Canto of the second book of the Fairy Queen. It is very pleasant to take up in this way. Office. Mr. Winkley called and I executed my part of the Lease after which we exchanged the Papers. I dawdled as Fanny Kemble hath it over Debrett’s Peerage with Mr. Walsh, moralizing upon the shortness of date of the most of English Titles and their ignominious origin. This is rather a shameful account of time. Hence to read Juvenal, a nervous writer but the wind makes me drowsy.

After dinner, began Duclos, Considerations sur les Moeurs de ce Siecle.1 The style is too studied. The thoughts fatiguingly laboured. Dipped into Mad. du Deffand.2 On first coming back to my books I am guilty of some literary dissipation. In a few days all this will settle down so that I can pursue my path more regularly again. Evening read to my Wife from the first part of Lalla Rookh.3 There are many good lines in this poem and some fine figures, but Oriental affectation has 138gone out of fashion and it’s terms disfigure the Poem while there is a great irregularity of versification. The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan is a disgusting story too.

Evening, copying. On looking over what I have done, I find it so valuable that I shall be induced to extend it considerably. Indeed I think now is the time for me to be gathering up materials for a definite purpose—And to read in connection with it.

1.

A copy, London, 1784, with JQA’s bookplate is in MQA.

2.

CFA’s copy of Marie de Vichy-Chamrond, Marquise du Deffand’s Letters to Horace Walpole, 1766 to 1780, to which are Added Letters to Voltaire, 1759 to 1775, 4 vols., London, 1810, is in MQA.

3.

In reading aloud from Moore’s Lalla Rookh, CFA was returning to the approach to the poem he had used five years earlier; see above, vol. 3:189–196 passim.