Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Wednesday. 25th. CFA Wednesday. 25th. CFA
Wednesday. 25th.

Morning pleasant but still cool for the season. We received news of the confinement of Mrs. Frothingham. She has a daughter. I felt a wish my Wife was equally safe through it. But I checked myself as unreasonable not to trust in the disposition of the Creator who brings every thing about in its proper time.

Read Wilhelm Meister which is very interesting, much more so than I had anticipated and the style is easy. Office. After my usual occupations, sat down to a new draught of my Essay and as usual rewrote the greater part of the two first pages. Walk. Home. Read Grimm, and Afternoon Guizot. Nothing new or interesting.

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Mr. Shepherd was here in the evening. He goes to Baltimore next Monday—he thinks to settle down there or at Shepherd’stown in Virginia. Read Wilhelm Meister and found myself much aided by a new Dictionary which I purchased and which ought to have been bought long before. These helps should never be grudged to a person really in want of them.

Thursday. 26th. CFA Thursday. 26th. CFA
Thursday. 26th.

Mild and cloudy. I continued reading Wilhelm Meister which is far the most interesting thing I have read of Goethe’s. Office, occupied with Diary and began writing my Essay over again. My squeamishness is such, I doubt if I shall ever get any thing perfected. My time passes away and I do little or nothing. When I reflect upon the little fitness in me for any line of knowledge, how superficial my acquirements are owing to the extent of ground I go over, I entirely disbelieve in the probability of my ever making any reputation. But I can enjoy myself in the pursuit of knowledge and in the advantages with which a kind providence has blessed me.

Went to the House for a book and then a walk. Afternoon read Grimm and Mons. Guizot. The former is quite entertaining. He gives the current Literature at the breaking out of the Revolution and it shows clearly enough the excitement which was rising. Beaumarchais, Mesmer, Cagliostro, the quarrel of Gluck and Piccini, Mirabeau were all signs of the times and contributed to set in motion that mass of waves which so shortly after rolled over France. Evening with my Wife who was suffering from a severe cold. Lady Morgan’s last. 1 Wilhelm Meister.

1.

Probably Lady Sydney Morgan’s The Princess, or the Béguine, 3 vols., London, 1835, recently reviewed in the quarterlies.

Friday. 27th. CFA Friday. 27th. CFA
Friday. 27th.

Morning cloudy with heavy subsequent rain which lasted however but a few hours. I began for my morning’s reading Schiller’s Thirty Years War1 which I mean to take the place of the Classics until I can get back to my House and procure the present which my brother’s Wife made me. Office, taken up with my usual work. Wrote a little upon my Essay. But went out to inquire about the arrival of the Velocity from Salem where I perceive by the Newspapers she stopped on the 25th. She has not got here. No walk on account of the 105rain. Afternoon, Mons. Guizot, De Grimm with a sprinkling of Coleridge and Chateaubriand.

Evening, Mr. Brooks and I to the Theatre. As you like it, with Turn out for the Afterpiece. Miss Jarman as Rosalind, which part she performed very well. Jaques Mr. Ternan who spoke the soliloquy tolerably, but he is an indifferent performer. Orlando Mr. Smith who is barely tolerable. Andrews as the Clown Touchstone did but faintly make out the part. When I am thus brought back to a Play of Shakespeare, I am again struck with the wonderful power of that Poet. There is nothing that goes to the heart like the simple arrangement of his words. Turn out is an exceedingly pretty little Operetta but was not well sustained. I saw it much better done at New York and Washington.

1.

A reading begun two years earlier; see above, entry for 28 March 1833.