Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 20th. CFA Friday. 20th. CFA
Friday. 20th.

It is now one week that we have had very bad weather all the time. The rain of today was again mingled with snow and the whole appeared cheerless enough. I read some Italian and went to the Office, from thence to the Athenaeum where I lounged an hour out of the reach of Mrs. Armstrong. But my time was a good deal wasted. I also 283managed to accomplish a little more of Gibbon. What a dreary waste, the history of the middle ages. Religion mystified,1 morality forgotten, murder and robbery stalking over the earth, it seems as if all the elements of the social system had been separated and thrown aside. Nothing else material.

Afternoon, began reading Sismondi’s History of the French.2 I have some idea of writing something upon it. It takes up the same wretched period which I have just passed through in Gibbon.

Evening. Went to the Theatre and heard Mr. Sinclair and Miss Hughes in Cinderella.3 They jointly make a pretty interesting entertainment. But the latter is not nearly equal in point of power to Mrs. Austin. She has a voice of a lower tone but does not seem to sing with so much ease to herself. He seems to have no middle key in his voice. He runs from a low one directly into a high one without being able to command any variety of tones. Yet his training is pleasant. I accompanied Mrs. Frothingham, her Children and my Wife. On the whole I was pleased. Returned rather late. Read only the Rambler.

1.

That is, made into a mystery.

2.

Jean Charles Léonard Simonde de Sismondi, Histoire des Français. The edition owned by CFA and now at MQA was that published at Paris, 1821–1844, in 31 volumes. The period up to the 15th century is treated in the first 12 volumes.

3.

The performance of Cinderella (Cenerentola) was the 28th of that opera in Boston and the final one of the engagement of Elizabeth Hughes and John Sinclair at the Tremont Theatre (Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 20 April, p. 3, col. 4; on Miss Hughes and Mr. Sinclair, see Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:545–560 passim).

Saturday. 21st. CFA Saturday. 21st. CFA
Saturday. 21st.

The morning was cloudy but it cleared away in the course of the day. The wind being West for a short time but in general more to the Eastward. I occupied myself for a short time in Italian and then began upon a new undertaking, which is a regular Catalogue of my Library or rather the books under my care.1 This is a thing I have been in considerable want of for some time past, and I think I can make it without very seriously interrupting any of my more valuable occupations.

At the Office. Read a little of Gibbon but far the greater part of my time was expended in a ramble with Mr. Peabody whereby I lost the presence of a Tenant at Quincy, Field, and as usual I had a fit of repentance.

Returned home and after dinner went to Quincy, accompanied by Isaac Hull. After arranging with Mr. Brigham and receiving from him the amount due upon the Canal Notes I went to the House and was 284busy there until the time to return. Reached home late and fatigued. Read only the Rambler with a little of Walter Scott.

1.

Doubtless the catalogue was another effort to preserve the identity of the books formerly owned by GWA which after his death became JQA’s but remained in Boston for CFA’s use. See vol. 3:325.