Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 7th. CFA Monday. 7th. CFA
Monday. 7th.

Morning pleasant. I went to the Office and passed my time very easily. My office boy has deserted me and consequently half the time I make no fire. My Office is dirty and on the whole very disgusting. I wish I could make some arrangement by which to give it up, and make 291one at home, but this is not possible while I live in my present house.

Walk and Newspapers. Athenaeum. What an idle life! After dinner finished Benjamin Constant whose book has not held out equal to my expectation. His theory is a doubtful one, but I like his incidental criticism. Cicero, fourth Tusculan upon the Passions. He argues in favor of perfect apathy, and I do not know but he may be right.

Evening. Theatre with my Wife. The Hunchback. Sir Thomas Clifford by Mr. Kemble, Julia, Miss Kemble. This piece I saw performed about eighteen months since and then gave my opinion of it in this Diary. The inferior parts were then better cast than now but Miss Vincent though thought by some equal appeared to me inferior by far to Miss Kemble. The former wanted ease, she spoke too fast, and had not so much expression. Indeed, this is the great point of the latter. Her eyes give her great power. Mr. Barry though respectable did not equal Mr. C. Kean.1 Home. Half an hour to the Mille et une Nuits which are charming.


CFA’s response to The Hunchback by Sheridan Knowles and to its earlier performance is at vol. 4:413–414. The Kembles’ engagement, announced as their “farewell,” was to end on 11 April (Columbian Centinel, 11 April, p. 3, col. 4). CFA’s final verdict on Fanny Kemble, as is suggested in the present passage, was a highly favorable one: “I cannot help thinking that with all her mannerism and affectation she has points which I have not seen elsewhere equalled” (CFA to LCA, 2 April, Adams Papers).

Tuesday. 8th. CFA Tuesday. 8th. CFA
Tuesday. 8th.

Morning cloudy without rain. Went to the Office and from thence to collect Dividends. This with Accounts and lounging consumed my morning. Thomas Doyle called upon me to apply for a situation as Gardener and Coachman at Quincy. I could not give him much of an answer but promised to write to Washington and get word from there in a week.

Walk and home. Mr. Brooks and Mrs. Everett, Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham dined with us, and we had a pleasant time. I afterwards wrote to my Mother1 and as I could do nothing, sat down to the luxury I do not often allow myself, of reading the Mille et une Nuits. I remember the Stories distinctly but I enjoy them far more than I did from the greater relish my not often reading works of a similar description givess me. Evening quietly at home. Read Manoeuvring and afterwards instead of German went on with the Arabian Tales.


The letter (Adams Papers) is concerned chiefly with the possible employment of Thomas Doyle.