Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Friday. 20th. CFA Friday. 20th. CFA
Friday. 20th.

Morning at the Office. And in Court. Heard a case argued of little importance and without affording much instruction. But it is still of service to me to be here as it makes me familiar with practice and with men. Conversation for an hour, with George. Afternoon, finished Smith’s Chapter on the Colonies as a system of policy. Evening at the Theatre. Rob Roy and the Quartette, pieces of very little merit. Madame Feron1 —not pleased with her style of singing. Too artificial. I like art and execution but not alone. It drowns the natural effect of simple sounds when produced incessantly. She did not sing the Soldier 349Tir’d so well as Mrs. Austin. But her voice is sweeter, and her low notes are much more clear and effective. On the whole, not well satisfied particularly as I breasted the heaviest snow storm we have had this winter, on my return. This exertion and a heavy fall which I had put me a little out of spirits.

1.

The two operas were Rob Roy MacGregor, or Auld Lang Syne, a musical adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, by John Davy and Henry Rowley Bishop, and The Quartette, by Charles E. Horn. Madame Elizabeth Feron (1793–1853) was an English singer who had made her first American appearance in 1828 (Brown, History of the American Stage, p. 122).

Saturday. 21st. CFA Saturday. 21st. CFA
Saturday. 21st.

Morning at the Office, but rather late. The storm ceased at eight o’clock and we found ourselves in the midst of snow. I have not seen such a spectacle since my Junior year at Cambridge. The depth of it on a level might be a foot and a half. But it lay in some places in drifts of four or five feet. My Office windows were covered so as completely to shut out the light. Wrote a letter to my Mother which occupied all the morning that remained. Afternoon, read over Dr. Channing’s Review of Napoleon’s Life, with a view to discussion in the evening but the meeting1 was so thin, that I took no advantage of it.

1.

Of the Debating Society.

Sunday 22nd. CFA Sunday 22nd. CFA
Sunday 22nd.

Attended divine service all day at the Meeting House in Federal Street. Heard Dr. Channing in the morning in his usual beautiful but attenuated style. Afternoon, Mr. Gannet upon Education, more sensible than usual. The snow was so deep, and the account of the roads so appalling that I declined the idea of riding to Medford, and passed a very dull day in Boston. Indeed I had calculated so confidently but a week since upon no more repetitions of Sundays in Boston that my disappointment upon the very first strongly impressed me with the idea of folly of human expectation.

This day is not only remarkable as the anniversary of the natal day of Washington. To me it has a dearer association, for two years since I felt that evening for the first time as an assured lover. It dates a revolution in my feelings and sentiments of action of a most fortunate character to me, so far, and may it still continue! From having been a man without action and without purpose, I am become steadily devoted to a single line of conduct, with motives of which none could feel ashamed, and with pursuits which, however they may fail of success 350in the world, are decidedly honourable to myself. I cherish the recollection of the day though it may have come too late.