Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Tuesday. 16th.

Thursday. 18th.

Wednesday. 17th. CFA Wednesday. 17th. CFA
Wednesday. 17th.

The morning was so cloudy that I concluded not to go to Quincy. The Newspapers announce my father’s arrival at Philadelphia, but we hear not a syllable about him by private communication. At Office where I read some of Sir James Mackintosh’s third volume of the History of England. I also went to the Athenaeum and passed an hour. Nothing of any consequence happened. Afternoon quietly at home. Read Botta and one hour of German.

Went to the Theatre to hear and see Charles Kemble and his 70daughter. The piece was the Stranger. She performed Mrs. Haller. There is something so affecting in that play that it affects me deeply even with poor acting. That on this evening was chaste, suitable, and yet exceedingly touching. I could not resist a few tears, and the house was generally affected.1 But to feel it thoroughly a person must be a parent. I recognize here a difference in the effect upon me tonight and formerly independently of the superior performance. Farce called the dumb Belle. Exceedingly comic. Mrs. Barrett and her husband. Something was necessary to change the current of feeling and this did it. Home by eleven.

1.

William Dunlap’s adaptation of Kotzebue’s Menschenhass und Reue became a favorite in the theatrical repertory immediately upon its presentation in America in 1798 (Odell, Annals N. Y. Stage , 2:43–45). CFA had seen it at least once before, in 1825 (vol. 1:456). During the engagement of the Kembles, which began on 16 April and ended on 17 May, the Adamses attended the theater more frequently than was their custom.