Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Saturday. October 16th. VIII.

Monday. October 18th. VI.

Sunday. October 17th. VIII. CFA Sunday. October 17th. VIII. CFA
Sunday. October 17th. VIII.

Missed Prayers, and as I did not feel exceedingly well, I thought it would be some relief to me to remain at home all day. I would not attend Chapel. I was very lazy part of the day, writing my Journal and closing a letter to John. I think one of the greatest signs of my improvement the past year is my facility of writing. I formerly thought a letter could hardly be three pages long without requiring an exertion but now I can scarcely compress what I have to say in four. I have no time to devote at present to correction and am afraid to read over what I write so that my letters depart with all their faults and imperfections upon them. I wasted the afternoon, for finding my letters growing so upon me, and not considering them of much value at least any early ones, I determined upon reading over my old files from my young friends five or six years since and casting them into the flames. They called up many recollections and I felt as if I was parting with my oldest and most sincere friends. I could scarcely think of any thing but the repeated assurances of affection which came from Dawes; they appeared so natural. I am marking out for myself a course in which I lose all the friendship which so pleases and enlivens life. It is the most heartless thing in the world. My nature too is social to an extreme and it is doing strong violence to it. Ambition, pride and all my other feelings contribute however to excite me.

I was all the afternoon working thus and in the evening after a visit to Sheafe, I sat down and read Burke’s inquiry into the origin of the sublime and beautiful. It is strictly philosophical light reading. I cannot help being amused with it so much that I read it superficially. Some observations I am not entirely inclined to agree to, such as that smoothness is an essential to beauty. Smooth things are beautiful but some rough things are so also. I progressed very rapidly in it and had more of an evening’s reading than at any time since the commencement of the term. I finished the night with reading Dyer’s Grongar Hill again which I find to be a prettier thing than at first I supposed it. I also read the First book of Beattie’s Minstrel, as sweet a thing as I wish to see. There does not appear to be much plan in the poem as it was left, but the melody of the verses is remarkable and the sentiments are some of them very much in consonance with my own. I then retired. XI:30.