Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Thursday 28th. CFA Thursday 28th. CFA
Thursday 28th.

Fine day. Thanksgiving. Service as usual. Evening at Mrs. Frothingham’s.

I arose this morning with a sense of relief which I have not had for some time. The State of my father’s family had filled me for some time back with a set of gloomy apprehensions which their very indefiniteness tended to make more painful. Quincy and the old house are rather gloomy places for the winter season and I feared they might be confined there by sickness even after little Fanny’s decease. Thank 335heaven, they have at least started for other scenes and although these may contribute but little to amuse or to cheer them, they yet place them upon an active theatre where some diversion may chance to be favorable. I now hope to hear of their safe arrival. In mere weather they must have been highly favored.

Attended divine service and heard Dr. Frothingham preach from Psalms 107. 8.15 &ca. “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men.” A good discourse but I was rather inattentive.

Walk round the South Cove home. Mr. Brooks dined with us, and I felt grateful to the divine being for his continued care and protection of us through the past year. Evening to Mrs. Frothingham’s where we had a game of whist among the children and a little supper afterwards.

Friday 29th. CFA Friday 29th. CFA
Friday 29th.

Continued fine weather. Time as usual. Evening to the Theatre.

We are now commencing again upon the usual routine of winter life. At the Office where I passed my time in accounts and papers as usual. Nothing materially new. Home to read Hecuba, which goes on well whenever I have any time to follow it. At the Athenaeum where I procured Mr. Bancroft’s book for the purpose of giving it a deliberate examination.1 After dinner gave up Menzel and began Bancroft.

Evening to the Theatre with my Wife. Charles Kean in The Iron Chest razeed2 and a new play of Bulwer’s, The Lady of Lyons. Claude Melnotte.3 It is impossible to be more disappointed than I was. When I saw this young man some years ago in The Hunchback I thought him quite promising. Since then he has fallen into the faults of bad recitation and violent rant so that there are hardly any good points left. The play of The Iron Chest is no great favorite with me but it always tells upon an audience.4 The present version of it is the cream of all it’s stage tricks condensed into three acts. Bulwer’s play is not bad. A little too much of love sickness about it, but on the whole affecting and agreeable. Home by eleven.

1.

Probably the first two volumes of George Bancroft’s History of the United States (10 vols., Boston, 1834–1874), published together in 1837 but constituting the 2d edn. of vol. 1 and the first appearance of vol. 2. Both dealt with the period of colonization and reflected a “democratic” or Jacksonian view.

2.

That is, abridged ( OED ).

3.

In Bulwer Lytton’s Lady of Lyons, first produced in 1838, Claude Melnotte was the central figure (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 4:206).

4.

The Iron Chest, a play with music, by George Colman the younger had been produced in London in 1796. CFA’s earlier view of Charles Kean is at vol. 4:413.

336