Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Wednesday. 23d. CFA Wednesday. 23d. CFA
Wednesday. 23d.

A very wet, dirty day. I went to the Office but did not succeed in effecting much. As I had no other volume of Lingard at my room, I was obliged to go to the Athenaeum for one, and this excursion led me to examine the Newspapers there until I had no farther time for any thing. Took my usual walk. Afternoon somewhat wasted. Mrs. Angier dined with us and went away directly afterwards. I tried to 16write a little of my Article but the vein was not in me. It is a little singular how unequally I feel in this respect. Sometimes my pen flows easily, at others it drags as if it was loaded with lead.

Evening, went to the Theatre, in company with Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Angier and others. The Tempest adapted to Purcell’s music, and a Pageant in honour of Walter Scott. Mrs. Austin as Ariel with Mr. Horn for Ferdinand. The music is simple, light and airy. The duett at the close of the second Act was pretty and the Chorus tolerable. But the play is dreadfully mangled to suit to the Stage, and it went off heavily. As to the other thing, it was a miserable affair.1 We went home very much disappointed.


The afterpiece, a “grand pageant” entitled “Vision of the Bard” (Columbian Centinel, 23 Jan., p. 3, col. 5).

Thursday. 24th. CFA Thursday. 24th. CFA
Thursday. 24th.

A dull drizzle and gloomy day. I went to the Office feeling excessively out of order. My indisposition of the Autumn continues and affects me constantly, not so much by any pain as by general uncomfortableness. I read some of Dr. Lingard and was engaged in my usual occupations. Time flies in this way so that I am hardly conscious of it’s passage. Yet I do not know that I do quite enough to improve it.

Took my regular walk in spite of the weather, but found that my head ach was coming on notwithstanding. Afternoon, did little or nothing but finish my article. This is now out of the way, and will trouble me no more. I have laboured upon it far more than the thing is worth. I shall now lay the subject aside not to resume it. My condition was such that I could not employ myself usefully in any thing.

Miss Julia Gorham was here in the evening. At nine o’clock, my Wife and I went to a ball given at the Tremont House by Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Gray. This is a new mode for the purpose of saving private Houses.1 It was very splendid and very crowded. But I was in any humor rather than that of enjoying it. Home quite late.


“For the moderate sum of about a thousand dollars — A pretty penny to pay for seeing one’s friends” (CFA to LCA, 27 Jan., Adams Papers).

Friday. 25th. CFA Friday. 25th. CFA
Friday. 25th.

Day very dark and gloomy with rain and snow. I felt somewhat better, though with many indications of a cold caught last night. At 17the Office. Time taken up in writing and reading Dr. Lingard. I was unable to take my regular walk. Nothing material transpired. The gloomy weather makes me dull. After dinner, busy in reading Anquetil in whose work I made progress. I ought not to omit mentioning that I passed an hour pretty pleasantly with my friend Thomas Davis. We talk freely upon various subjects, and his mind is so fully stored with matter for conversation that I enjoy his company.1 I put the finishing hand to my Article. Now the question is, Shall I send it again? I pause for a reply.

We were invited out for this evening, but as the weather appeared stormy, we were excused. The consequence of which was a quiet evening at home—A thing I enjoy doubly after going out for a night or two. Read Caroline of Litchfield, a very pretty little book, and Lady Craven who grows sensible all of a sudden. I expect there is a mixture here of two minds at least, and some plagiarism besides. Read Wieland.


CFA seldom records a conversation with Thomas Kemper Davis except with an enthusiasm rare in the journal; see vol. 3:223–224.