Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

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.

Saturday. 28th. CFA Saturday. 28th. CFA
Saturday. 28th.

Fine day. I read as usual Schiller’s Thirty Years War. Then to the Office. Much of my time taken up in running about looking after the Schooner Velocity for the purpose of sending notice out to Quincy. But she had not yet arrived. Drew up my regular Quarterly Account in anticipation of the close of the Month, which consumed all my leisure. Walk. Home where I read Chateaubriand. I am a little disappointed in his letters from Italy. Afternoon, Guizot whose views of English History are somewhat striking, and Grimm.

Mr. Brooks dined out at Mr. Everett’s. This gentleman is eagerly in quest of his darling purpose. He like all other political men is intensely selfish. But there are elements in his composition which make it somewhat doubtful how far he will go. He has at this moment an exceedingly hard game to play, and it remains to be seen whether he will play it very successfully.

I sat at home with my Wife and read to her many of Coleridge’s Juvenile Poems. Coleridge is not a favourite of mine. He is too abstruse, too much removed from the ordinary emotions and those which are natural. Wilhelm Meister.

Sunday. 29th. CFA Sunday. 29th. CFA
Sunday. 29th.

A raw, disagreeable day with the wind from the East. I read in the morning Schiller’s Thirty Years War which requires maps and in my present situation I cannot fully procure the aid of them.

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Attended divine Service and heard Mr. Frothingham all day. 2. Peter 1. 15. “Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” The mode of considering the subject of death in reference both to here and hereafter, here in the light of a continuance of reputation, hereafter for eternal life. Jeremiah 45. 4–5. “The Lord saith thus; Behold that which I have built will I break down and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land, and seekest thou great things for thyself, seek them not.” The text and it’s commentary may be easily understood and I could not help in my experience reflecting how true.

Read a discourse of Barrow’s exceedingly good, upon the folly of slander. Proverbs 10. 18. “He that uttereth slander is a fool.” Dr. Barrow has got upon a fruitful subject but in the discrimination of the different sorts of slander he shows he knows men. And there is infinite food for meditation in the words he utters. These are the sins of commission with a very great proportion of those who abstain from greater. And these are far the most difficult to guard against. I hope I shall take a lesson from this Sermon.

I read de Grimm and had some curiosity to know a little of his history. In the evening Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Brooks came in and passed some hours. Wilhelm Meister.