Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 22d.

Wednesday. 24th.

Tuesday. 23rd. CFA Tuesday. 23rd. CFA
Tuesday. 23rd.

Weather cloudy with a few drops of rain. I went to the Office and passed my time in reading far more usefully than I have been able to do hitherto. I finished all of the third volume of the History of England which remains of the composition of Sir James Mackintosh, and I think it is deeply to be regretted that he died precisely when he was treating of the most important point in the whole history. The continuator is more positive and less philosophical. I think I see an immediate difference. Perhaps my acuteness may be somewhat aided by my consciousness of the fact.

Walk. I had Gorham Brooks and Mr. Tenny to see me this morning.1 The first about the Theatre. His Wife wishes to go from Medford. I volunteered to ride out for her. Letter sent in by my father to copy. Did it, and rode to Medford and back before six o’clock, brought Mrs. Brooks in with me.

Evening, Theatre. Much Ado about Nothing. Benedick, Mr. Kemble, Beatrice, Miss Kemble. His performance was very good. I cannot speak in so unqualified a manner of her’s. She had a restlessness and excess of motion especially with her head which was tire-74some, and a mannerism which after a person has seen her several times is rather satiating. Her conception of the part was tolerable and yet not exactly mine. Beatrice is a Wit and a humourist, she has not much of the girl about her. Her speeches are those of a matured woman. Quick, and independent, haughty and reflecting. Such a character requires considerable dignity. And here was the failing. I think the Masquerade Scene was the best thing on her part.

We left the Theatre to go to a party at Mrs. T. W. Ward’s given to Miss Kemble. She has attracted much attention here in private circles. And much mutual misunderstanding has taken place. I thought her an ugly, bright looking girl.2 We returned home at eleven.

1.

William Tenney, tenant of the house at the rear of 23 Court Street since 1830 (vol. 3:128).

2.

Mrs. Thomas W. Ward (vol. 3:288) was but one of many Boston matrons entertaining for Miss Kemble, a situation not usual for persons in the theater. But she was no ordinary figure: “Miss Fanny Kemble is the Lion at Boston now; and it is as dangerous not to worship her there, as it is to doubt the infallibility of the Italian Opera at New York.... Miss Fanny Kemble is for an actress just about what her father is for an actor—quite passable.... The Ladies of fashion at Boston visit her—but she goes to Church and it is understood does not receive visits on Sundays.” (JQA to LCA, 20 April, Adams Papers.) For a later social event for her, attended by JQA, see below, entry for 11 May.