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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Friday 7th

7 November 1862

Sunday 9th

9 November 1862
8 November 1862
Saturday 8th
St Leonard’s on sea



A fine morning through rather cooler and perhaps a light frost. After breakfast we drove in an open carriage to Penshurst, about seven miles by a road which was very pretty all he way. Our object was to see the castle, an ancient building formerly the seat of the Sidney family. It is situated on a flat with little of ornament about it, but is more interesting than usual from the fact that it remains mcuh as it was in the days when Sir Philip Sidney, the mirror of knighthood was brought up in it. The banqueting hall is as it was, with the open heart in the centre for a fire, and the raised step for a dais, whilst the gallery for the minstrels was opposite.230 There is no ornament excepting that made by attaching suits of armour to the walls. Thus we can see at a glance the style of the higher nobility when at meals three or four centuries ago. They are not to be envied, that is certain. Upstairs were the reception rooms filled with pictures of very unequal vale, most of them family portraits. THe most interesting were those of Sir Philip, of which there were several, and of Algernon Sidney. The gallery had been long neglected, and all the pictures showed the ravages of damp. Some articles of furniture belonging to Queen Elizabeth, and a card table with a center embroidered by her. Seven curious glass lustres, a present of the same Queen. The Earl was her favorite, and these toys were the last evidence he got of it. The castle is situated in a large park, in a portion of which is a very old oak tree which of course has its legend connected with Sir Philip. It girths about twenty five feet, and is therefore worth seeing for that reason alone. We picked up a few very small acorns which had fallen from it. On the whole the visit was worth making. We returned in season to take luncheon,and to get ready to depart. I took leave of the place with regret. But it was an object whilst in this direction to go further, so four of the party took the train to go to St Leonard’s on sea, whilst Henry returned to spend Sunday in London. We made our time well and got established at the Royal Victoria Hotel in good season to go out and take a walk along the Esplanade. The situation is certainly attractive. In the evening I finished the fourth and last Volume of the simple story. The second half is not so good the first. The incidents are more artificial and unattractive. They give the whole work more of the air of a juvenile performance. Yet after all is said, it is a rather extraordinary production, when considered as the first experiment of a young and imperfectly educated woman. Its great merit consists in the very small materials which she works up to make the interest of her narrative.231

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA62d312