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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1862

Wednesday 17th

17 December 1862

Friday 19th

19 December 1862
18 December 1862
Thursday 18th



On receiving the substance of my Despatches received I did not find material for much reply. Yet on coming to my table I managed to bring out nearly as much as usual. At all events the work absorbed pretty much all my daylight. I could not get out to walk, because I had promised to dine early with Sir Robert Phillimore in order to go the play at Westminster School. I found the Lord Chancellor had reached his house before me, though I was eight minutes early. After we were seated at table came in M. Moreira, the Brazilian minister, and Lord Harris. These with a brother of the host, and Lady Phillimore made up the company. The dinner was easy and pleasant. The Chancellor talks freely and talk well. He has resources from books and from observation. But he gives the irresistible impression of an artificial and untrue man at bottom. His very fluency and measured manner indicate a control over nature too great for sincerity. Yet I do not join the detraction of his brethren the ex-chancellors, the other night at Lord Lyndhursts, for I only describe outward signs. He is always civil to me. Much of the conversation turned upon the play of Terence we were going to see. Upon which his Lordship’s comments did not strike me. At last we all started for Westminster school, and were safely installed in our seats before the stage. A Prologue was spoken by young Phillimore enumerating the Westminster Scholars lately deceased. Then came the play. I followed it with interest from the opening to the close. The parts of Sino, Pamphilus, Davus and Charinus were done with spirit, so that the action did not seem to lag. Mysis was also well conceived. Of the number Davus displayed the most familiarity with the stage, and Charinus the best conception of his very secondary part. Sino’s face wanted the flexibility essential to his language, and Pamphilus was slightly nervous, but otherwise256 very correct and good. I think I can now comprehend better the force of this piece than by forty readings. The plot is simple, the characters natural and common. The interest is not great for the reason that the difficulties we scarcely grave enough to create suspense. Yet with first class acting I can well understand how it would yield a fund of amusement to its close. After it was over, we went and paid our respects to the Head Master, Mr Scott and I got home by half past ten o’clock. The audience being all Westminster scholars old and young were quiet and sympathetic. On the whole it was as pleasant an evening as I have spent in England.

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=DCA62d352