Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Saturday. May 15th. VII:30.

Monday. May 17th. VII:30.

Sunday. May. 16th. VII:30. CFA


Sunday. May. 16th. VII:30. CFA
Sunday. May. 16th. VII:30.

Arose feeling considerably better, but not clear of the burning feeling which has been affecting me of late. I did not attend any exercises all day. In the morning, I read the seventh part of the Night Thoughts. This is an interminable work. And the books grow longer 142as we get to the end. I am in no humour to read gloomy books at present and do not relish this man’s morbid state of temper. He does make some good reflections and when he condescends to get out of the vapours becomes quite agreable. My negligence in not getting the sixth volume of Mosheim from the Library has deprived me of the power of finishing it now, and it being too late to commence any thing of importance I sat down to read the last Novel of the Author of Waverley called St. Ronan’s Well.1 I finished it in the course of the day and evening. It is remarkably interesting having a great variety of incident and character. Etherington is a representation of one of your fashionable scoundrels so often described in Novels. He takes rather a queer step in marrying Clara Mowbray who is represented as a wild woodgirl with an amazing quantity of sensibility about a marriage which could easily and lawfully be got over as she married Francis Tyrrel and not Francis Valentine Bulwer Tyrrel, which appears to be the name of the counterfeit. This part of the incident I can not exactly suppose to be according to full probability. Indeed this novel is much more interesting while one is reading it than it seems to have been on recollection. Touchwood is almost too odd not to be strained. The scenes at the St. Ronan’s ordinary are the most natural. It is just the bustle of a small watering place. Lady Penfeather is quite well, so is Mr. Winterblossom and although I must confess I never met with any quite so desirous of arranging matters amicably as Captain McTurk, Lady Brinks is seen enough to compensate. The author always manages to throw a gloom over his pictures by selecting the remnants of a fallen house for his story to turn upon. He leaves a mystery also over the conduct of Clara in her last meeting with her brother which would have been better cleared up as if she must die, it is not necessary that her innocence should be doubted. The novel closes as if there was some deficiency. The reader feels as if there was some female wanted to close up with satisfaction for it must be allowed that he has given us prudes, sullens and mad women but no novel heroine for a young man at least to observe of. I retired immediately after finishing it. X:15.


Sir Walter Scott, St. Ronan’s Well, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1824.