Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Saturday 6th.

Monday 8th.

Sunday. 7th. CFA


Sunday. 7th. CFA
Sunday. 7th.

I passed my morning in reading Hugo’s Notre Dame and became so very much interested in it that I could not break off. The interest is well kept up, and the whole production is remarkable for the absence of agreeable ideas and pictures. The love that proves all the figures is nothing but of the coarsest kind unless it may be that of the bellringing hero who is a monster. Hugo is the pillar of the new French romantic school. His power consists in command of language, forcible pictures, and an extravagance of imagination which overleaps all bounds to get at an effect. His faults consist of bad taste, licentious views of life and an ignorance of nature and simplicity which make him overlook the great source of power.

Attended divine service and heard in the morning Mr. Frothingham from Matthew 5. 4. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted,” a kind of consolatory sermon, to some individuals of the congregation who have lost friends. Afternoon, Mr. Young from Proverbs 20. 27. “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.” A good discourse but it would not fix me. Mr. Walsh did not dine with me, having yesterday come to inform me of his leaving town. I miss him much as he is of the few men whom I have met here, who have been uniformly pleasant and companionable.

Read a Sermon of Sterne’s upon the character of Herod. Matthew 2. 17.18. “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning; Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted because they are not.” The principal point in the discourse is a new mode of estimating men, not that of setting good and bad against each other and striking the balance, but of analyzing the leading passion and tracing the origin of good and bad from that. But in fact there is no rule. Many men have no leading passion, many have one which is yet counteracted by good influences. Evening at home. Gardner Gorham and T. K. Davis came in. After which, I read part of Sergeant Talfourd’s Ion.