Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday. 18th. CFA Monday. 18th. CFA
Monday. 18th.

Still dull and cloudy. Division as usual. Evening to the Theatre.

This gloomy weather continues long. At the Office not having any other definite occupation, I made an overturn in my collections of old papers and began to destroy with very little mercy. Home where I continued Antigone. I felt extraordinarily unwell all day and began to apprehend being taken sick but as I fasted, towards evening grew better.

Went to the Theatre to hear a play called “Il Giovanni” being an English hash of Mozart’s music. Mrs. Bailey sung as Zerlina.1 But nothing could well be poorer. This piece I had always expressed a great wish to hear, never having had an opportunity, but either this gives no 191sort of idea of it or I should not like it. Returned home much disappointed and resolved not to go to the Theatre again with such performances.


At the Tremont Theatre, Mrs. Bailey, the former Charlotte Watson, also sang the principal role in the comic afterpiece “Pet of the Petticoats.” In “Il Giovanni,” Joseph Pearson was Don Octavio and Miss Morgan was Donna Leonora (Boston Evening Transcript, 18 Feb., p. 3, col. 2). “Il Giovanni” may have been the extravaganza titled “Giovanni in London,” which was introduced in New York in 1827 and was popular for many years (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:246).

Tuesday 19th. CFA Tuesday 19th. CFA
Tuesday 19th.

Clear and pleasant. Time as usual. Quiet evening at home.

It was a fair and bright day today but I felt not quite well and rather uneasy at some symptoms of pain in my left side. At the Office I continued the burning system and managed to destroy most of the remaining papers of the last ten years. What a dreary sensation it is to look back over the minutiae of life, see accounts of this or that incident made by persons no longer living, and to ponder on the vanity of their existence.

Home to read Antigone. Devoted all my leisure after dinner to writing upon the currency in which I made much more satisfactory progress. It is remarkable how easily I can write when once warmed and how badly when I labour.

Wednesday 20th. CFA Wednesday 20th. CFA
Wednesday 20th.

Cloudy. Time regularly divided. Evening at Edward Brooks’.

At the Office, feeling better but still not quite free from my trouble. Finished off the clearing work and then to the Athenaeum where I looked over many papers for some more information respecting Burr, then a walk round the South Cove where I find are some preparations for building. I must observe more. Met Devereux whom I formerly knew and asked him to call and tell of Burr.1

Home. Antigone. Went on with my labour after dinner. These articles upon Currency are as bad as Burr. Evening, after a visit from Mr. Brooks, we went down to pay a visit to Edward Brooks and his Wife where we spent the evening and brought home with us Miss Mary Hall.2


On John Devereux, see vol. 5:403–404.


Mary Brooks Hall, a niece of Peter C. Brooks (vol. 5:122).