Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Tuesday 21st. CFA Tuesday 21st. CFA
Tuesday 21st.

Morning dark with snow. I went to the Office and was occupied as usual. Accounts and Diary omitted yesterday. Mr. Walsh came in and we had talk. Nothing of consequence. My time slipped away without my very clearly knowing how. Home however at the usual time, where I finished the last of the books of Livy. This has been something of an undertaking, and I think has fully compensated me for my patience. In the afternoon, read Burnet and Chateaubriand. Also Forster whose account of the Revolution of the Netherlands in 1790 supplies a vacuum in my information.

Evening to the Theatre. Shakespeare’s “As you like it.” A piece which always has a poetical charm with it to me. The wildness of the scene, the poetry and the philosophy of the text delight me. Home 189early. Read a little book, called Three Experiments of Living,1 a work of the domestic economy sort very well calculated for our Community.

1.

Mrs. H. F. Lee, Three Experiments of Living, Boston, 1837.

Wednesday 22d. CFA Wednesday 22d. CFA
Wednesday 22d.

A very fine day, quite suitable to the Anniversary which it commemorates. I went to the Office as usual, and passed it as I do every day. Festivities in this place are rarely observed and the National feeling which leads to them is not strong. Dinner giving is not my way of recurring to the past, for this leads to long speeches and tiresome toasts. I think balls much pleasanter.

Deacon Spear came in from Quincy and made report of his proceedings respecting the materials for my House at Quincy. He seems to be the only person who has any thing like business talent in the town. I therefore give him my instructions more generally than I should otherwise do.

Home, where I began reading Homer’s Iliad. I wish to make this an improving study, and for this purpose shall proceed very slowly in order to give time for a general Review of the Greek Grammar.1 I am afraid I undertake too many things to be very well perfected in any. Afternoon, Burnet with whose book I make way. He is an old woman in his stories, and loves scandal of others almost as much as he loves himself. Afterwards, Forster whose only trouble is being too lengthy. Evening, my Wife and I, to Mr. and Mrs. I. Sargent’s. We had intended to play Whist but were disappointed, and had a dull evening. Home.

1.

The various editions of the Iliad in the original Greek that are at MQA are enumerated in vol. 4:307.

Thursday. 23d. CFA Thursday. 23d. CFA
Thursday. 23d.

Morning snow which lasted all day, but it became mild towards evening and rained. I went to the Office and from thence upon various commissions which kept me much occupied during the whole day. I now propose to look about me a little for the purpose of procuring furniture for my building. I find the cost of this will not be trifling. Perhaps there is nothing in the world more deceptive than building. Estimates appear so fair and yet in the end prove utterly inadequate. My mode of life has also been of late a curious one, as I have been 190going upon a scale of advanced expense without having yet realized any advance of income.

Home where I read a portion of the Port Royal Greek Grammar.1 Afternoon, Burnet and Forster. Evening, Lamartine and Chateaubriand. The two accounts are not at all in the same taste and temper. Both proceeding from imaginative men, the one sees the East in light, the other looks rather upon it when it is dark.

1.

A copy of Port Royal, New Method of Learning with Facility the Greek Tongue, transl. T. Nugent, London, 1817, is at MQA.