Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Thursday 8th. CFA Thursday 8th. CFA
Thursday 8th.

Weather mild with rain and fog. I went to the Office and was occupied in reading. Received a Note and afterwards a call from Mr. Luther Angier of Medford, for the purpose of procuring from me a repetition of my Lecture, before the Lyceum of Medford. I hesitated about giving that one and proposed my others which I gave at Quincy. 395He said however there had been so much said of this the desire was to hear it. I left it uncertain, and with respect to the time declined his proposition of the 16th and fixed upon the 2d of March. I hope by that time my mind will be so much relieved of its present anxiety1 that I can do it with spirit.

Mr. Perkins told me about the Mortgage, that he should be prepared with the other Deed directly. Home. Sophocles. Afternoon. Began as I proposed Aristotle’s Politics in Gillies’ translation.2 Read the first book.

Evening at a great ball given by Mrs. Crowninshield. The company large but rather melée, the upper crust not absolutely predominating. I found not many acquaintances and so took refuge with T. K. Davis in conversation in the card room. At supper which was of extraordinary display, I found nothing very relishing, and wine poor. Home late.

1.

ABA, pregnant, was approaching term.

2.

A rereading, see vol. 6:258.

Friday 9th. CFA Friday 9th. CFA
Friday 9th.

Morning cloudy. From Market to Office where I was sitting down to do something when A. H. Everett came in and as I had not seen him for a long time, we had quite a chat. He seems to be inclined to take the Navy Agency here if he can get it, which manifests somewhat of a coming down from his former tone. There is good reason to suppose that Mr. Van Buren contemplates some change in his cabinet. His affairs are going on wretchedly, and unless he does procure more efficient Officers than Woodbury and Dickerson I see no chance for him to recover himself.

Thence home to read Sophocles. Afternoon, reading Aristotle’s Politics. I have read this book before and the Analysis of it in a french work I have, but it will bear frequent reperusal. His argument upon slavery brings me back to Carolina. And his review of the theories of others is more thorough than his explanation of his own.

Evening to the Theatre to witness a Spectacle called the Bayadere, gotten up for the sake of displaying the activity of Mademoiselle Augusta a french figurante. Previous to which two pieces, the Wedding day, and Two Words.1 Very well. Home.

1.

Of the two short forepieces, Two Words was billed as “comic opera” while The Wedding Day, “Mrs. Inchbald’s comedietta,” had “flourished long on our stage” after its introduction in New York in 1798. La Bayadère, the principal work, was an adaptation or abbreviated version of Scribe and Auber’s “operatic ballet spectacle,” which had been introduced on the New York stage in 1834 by the great pantomimist and dancer Mlle. Celeste, to be challenged in 1836 by “the incompa-396rable Augusta supervising and playing the leading part.” Both dancers enjoyed enormous success in the role in the years that followed. Mlles. Augusta and Celeste were compared in the Mirror, 25 March 1837, to Augusta’s advantage: “Augusta attracts by natural motion, and by that perfection of art, the consummate excellence of which is that it is invisible, so that each movement appears to be a mere volition, the instinctive buoyancy of a free and happy spirit. There is . . . more taste, tenderness, and delicacy in Augusta, who is more sparing of the whirligig and some other affectations” (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 2:27; 4:29, 113, 120, 125; Boston Courier, 9 Feb., p. 3, col. 5).