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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0008-0030

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-07-30

Friday. July 30th. V:40.

Attended Prayers and recitation in Topography, fortunately was taken up in the Commencement of the review and succeeded very well. After breakfast I attended lecture after having written some of my Journal and wasted some of my time. Mr. Channing commenced his today’s lecture by showing the similarity between the different sorts of figures of which he treats. These to be sure are few enough and herein lies a great deficiency, he made a number of quotations from the different plays of Shakespear and from Childe Harold to prove that personification was only the addition of a few words to metaphor, or rather I mean the contrary. I could make his quotations for I recollect some of them but it would take too much time and paper. He having run over this subject went upon the discussion of the origin of figurative language. He argued against all the suppositions which derived it from a device to strengthen the memory by associations or to obtain fluency. He supposed it to arise from the spontaneous effusion of the feelings. He argued this, because the least polished languages or at least those which had arisen with the least attention were generally the most figurative. The Eastern languages were by far the most glowing ones and these were [ . . . ] the offspring of nature. It was the most striking, the most beautiful way of expressing one’s ideas. It was the { 266 } impulse which acted upon all men of warm feelings, it required no cultivation, on the contrary was checked by it.
This over I returned home and continued writing my Journal and arranging my room which was in a dreadful state of disorder. This took me up very nearly all the morning. After dinner, I managed to waste some more time. Not writing an answer to either of my letters of yesterday. I attended Declamation and heard another division of the Sophomore Class. One individual, Keith,1 amused us exceedingly. However declaimed very well. I was very tired however before all of them got through. It is most extremely dull work, to sit and hear a number of stupid drones murder some of the finest specimens of English eloquence. If it did not excuse us from an afternoon’s Exercise it would be the most intolerable burden which we suffer under, this is the case in the third term of the Sophomore Year and consequently is well known here.
At last after an hour’s siege we were released. I did not attend Mr. Nuttall’s closing Lecture today because The Rangers, a Boston military Company2 who were encamped at West Cambridge sent us an invitation last Evening to go over and see them parade, which we accepted and I accordingly went with Chapman. The remaining officers went together excepting Cenas who stayed at home. We arrived there considerably too early and were exposed to the heat of a most broiling sun without a shade of any sort near the encamping ground. Our Officers were considerably astonished also when they found what good company they had tumbled into, and Chapman could but ill conceal his feelings. We were politely received by two of the Officers, Gardner3 and Baxter, who appeared pretty well, but the Captain did not satisfy us at all. He appeared some what of a puppy but I know not whether this is actually the case. At any rate the manner in which he received us was far from cordial. There was a great deal of company, and I was surprised to find so many ladies in the collection, as I supposed it to be a scene which would not be very pleasant to modesty. Pratt and Tucker4 of the Senior Class were there and were almost the only ones whom I could see of any acquaintance. They paraded but performed their manoeuvres wretchedly. They afterwards went through the drill for the rifle, which I watched attentively as we have some idea of instructing our soldiers in it. I obtained a pretty clear idea of it from what I saw although it was badly done. I could not see it through, so after a glass or two at the camp for I had need of refreshment from the sun, we returned home to be in time for our evening drill. Cunningham returned today, unexpectedly but much to my joy.
{ 267 }
We did not get home in time for Prayers but we took supper and then paraded. The contrast was striking. Our company outdid itself tonight. But one mistake was made and that was owing to a misunderstanding between the officers and the Captain. We all came off in fine humour and immediately adjourned to the Hotel where we regaled ourselves all the Evening. Cenas was not present being a Deipnophagos.5 We had singing, mirth and merriment until a late hour in the night. XI.
1. Omen Southworth Keith, of Franklin, Mass. ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).
2. First organized in 1813 (Winsor, Memorial History of Boston , 3:307).
3. W. H. Gardner ( Mass. Register, 1824, p. 123).
4. William Pratt and Charles Church Chandler Tucker, both of Boston ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1823).
5. Glutton (Greek). There is doubtless a play on Cenas’ name here; cena (Latin) was the principal meal of the Romans.