Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Saturday. August 21st. VIII.

Monday August 23d. VII.

Sunday. August 22d. VIII. CFA


Sunday. August 22d. VIII. CFA
Sunday. August 22d. VIII.

Arose and spent the morning reading Redgauntlet and writing my Journal. The novel I finished this morning. It is quite interesting in parts but as a whole, I think it comes below St. Ronan’s Well. The parts appear to me to have been laboured and sometimes finished, but the support of character is not perfect, and the close is not pleasing. There are some very pretty letters but on the whole not written with so much life as those of Lord Etherington. Redgauntlet is pretty well carried through and Nanty Ewart’s story afflicted me about as much as any part. There are some fine natural touches in it. The Chevalier is introduced with some effect although I imagine there is no historical ground for the incidents, nor do I believe that there is much probability that the English government would have acted as they are made to here. But when I say this is an inferior novel, it is only in my opinion inferior to his other novels, for I can trace no comparison between him and others. Nothing can be seen in others and the many who ape him which partakes in the least degree of his power of description and colloquial ease. He hits off character more as we believe it to exist than any one, although we may never have seen examples. Cristil Cristal Nixon is one of his villains but he does not take the trouble to draw him out.

I spent the afternoon also in writing my Journal but I did not make so much progress as I wished. George interfered with me part of the time as he was also desirous of the only accommodations we have here for writing, to write his part, or poem for next Wednesday to his class. I consequently amused myself as well as I could with a French 298novel I happened to find written in the style of the Arabian Nights Entertainment. With this which for its extravagance, entertained me, I managed to pass away the afternoon.

In the evening, I sat with my Grandfather. Mrs. Quincy1 and Edmund were here and conversed most fluently. She was determined not to spare George and she belaboured him with compliments. It is singular but every body compliments him openly and he takes it like a philosopher. I think George’s character is changing and a little for the better. He is more convinced of the necessity of it and more willing to make the change. We had some amusing conversation concerning College affairs and I talked much of my class, many of whom I described. We sat up in this way until extremely late. XI:30.


Mrs. Josiah Quincy (1772–1864), the former Eliza Susan Morton, remembered for her beauty and erudition. See Adams Genealogy.