Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

[26 June.] CFA [26 June.] CFA
26 June.

The next morning found us very melancholy as we had clearly distinguished the pattering of the rain and the running of the water into the tin spouts which continued without cessation all night and this day. Sounds which however comfortable they may make me at home, are sources of great regret to persons travelling for pleasure which just now happened to be my own case. The day passed in consequence without any exertion to amuse ourselves out excepting in a short walk to see the Mechanical Panorama1 and whatever else 54might be in the way. The panorama never very well worth seeing except as a specimen of human ingenuity, I had formerly witnessed with great delight as a boy of ten years old on my first arrival.2 It did not occur to me that it was the same until after I had seen it. Now it had no interest.

In the evening we went to the Theatre at the Chatham Garden where we saw Conway in the character of Brutus and Mrs. Duff as Portia in Julius Caesar.3 He performed his part tolerably well. The deficiency consists in a want of general tone rather than in any observable fault. One may follow this Actor through a play and not detect any very great inaccuracy either in voice, emphasis or gesture, but still there will be a general want of something to force your interest from you. “Turn out” the afterpiece was quite amusing. We reached home very late and did not retire until two o’clock.


Presumably the exhibit at 157 Broadway, which offered “pictures of town and country, with artisans and servants at work, with boats plying in and out of the harbour, etc.” (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:73).


CFA had been in New York in August 1817, having returned from Europe with his parents after a stay of eight years.


The Chatham Garden Theater, completed in 1824, was located between Duane and Pearl streets (Hornblow, Theater , 2:11–13).

[27 June.] CFA [27 June.] CFA
27 June.

The morning of Tuesday welcomed us with two joyful occurrences, the appearance of Tudor and of fine weather. My spirits had in effect begun to be damped by the continuance of this rain. It had now been pouring almost incessantly four days so that the appearance of settled clear weather was quite revivifying. Tudor seemed just the individual I left him, excepting perhaps more extravagant than ever. Indeed I soon found that his spirits always a little more boisterous than I liked were now amounting to rudeness. He seemed to have only come to shake hands and set us off as wild as himself, a plan which as the sequel will prove he was eminently successful in. After a due portion of conversation which consumed the morning, we celebrated the afternoon with Champagne wine, being a part of a bet I long since made and lost on the result of the Presidential election. The afternoon having been thus consumed we found it time to go to the Opera. Cenerentola was performed for the first time and according to all appearances not very well received as Signor Garcia had devolved his part upon a very inferior performer. To me it was new, but I am extremely fond of music and care very little about the performance. The novelty was also agreeable. The Signorina gratified me much, 55her voice is one of uncommon power and tone, and it’s flexibility was put to a very great trial in a most brilliant and delightful Air at the close. She eminently succeeded.1


Gioacchino Rossini’s novelty opera, La Cenerentola. For the history of Signor Manuel Garcia’s opera troupe, and especially of his celebrated daughter, Maria Felicita Garcia (Mrs. Malibran), see Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:182–183, 198–199.