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way; yet, though they launch out Bo far, they are strict to the rules of grammar, and ever come safe homo at last without any obscurity or incoherence attending thein.
I wall only give one instance of a person who was characterized by her in a more favourable manner than he durst presume that he deserved; however, to show the method of her writing, I shall set it down. "I believe (such an one) to be a person of much wit, great knowledge, judicious and discerning, charitable, well natured, obliging in conversation, apt to forget and forgive injuries, eloquent in the pulpit, living according to known precepts, faithful to his friend, generous to his enemy, and in every respect accomplished; this in our vulgar way is a desirable character, but you'll excuse if I judge unretinedly who have the care of cakes and stilling, and sweetmeats and such useful things."
Mrs. Evelyn has been often heard to say concerning the death of her admirable and beloved daughter, that though she had lost her for ever in this world, yet she would not but that she had been, because many pleasing ideas occur to her thoughts that she had conversed with her so long, and been mode happy by her for so many years.
Oxm, 1695, Stpl. 20.
[This character of Mrs. Evelyn would appear to have been written thirteen years before her death. She outlived her husband nearly threo years, and, by her will dated in February 1708-9 (the year and month of her death), desired to be buried in a stone coffin near that of "my dear husband, whose lore and friendship I was happy in, fifty-eight years nine months; but by Ood's providence left a disconsolate widow, the 27th day of February, 1705, in the 71st year of my age. His caro of my education was such as might become a father, a lover, a friend, and husband; for instruction, tenderness, affection, and fidelity to the last moment of his life; which obligation I mention with a gratitudu to his memory, ever dear to me; ana I must not omit to own the sense I have of my parent's care and goodness, in placing me in such worthy hands."]
LETTERS OF MRS. EVELYN.
To Mr. Bohun}
I am concerned you should be absent when you might confirm the suffrages of your fellow collegiots, and see the mistress both Universities court; a person who has not her equal possibly in the world, so extraordinary a woman she is in all things. I acknowledge, though I remember her some years, since and have not been a stranger to her fame, I was surprised to find so much extravagancy and vanity in any person not confined within four walls. Her habit particular, fantastical, not unbecoming a good shape, which she may truly boast of. Her face discovers the facility of the sex, in being yet persuaded it deserves the esteem years forbid, by the infinite care she takes to place her curls and patches. Her mien surpasses the imagination of poets, or the descriptions of a romance heroine's greatness; her gracious bows, seasonable nods, courteous stretching out of her hands, twinkling of her eyes, and various gestures of approbation, show what may be expected from her discourse, which is as airy, empty, whimsical, and rambling as her books, aiming at science, difficulties, high notions, terminating commonly in nonsense, oaths, and obscenity. Her way of address to people, more
'This letter appears to describe the impression produced on the writer by that interview with Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, to which reference is nude in the Diary, vol. ii. p. 26: "Went again with Hit wife to the Duchess of Newcastle, who received her in a kind of transport, suitable to her extravagant humour and dress, which was very singular." The dale therefore will be 1667.
than necessarily submissive; a certain general form to all, obliging, by repeating affected, generous, kind expressions; endeavouring to show humility by calling back tilings past, still to improve her present greatness and favour to her friends. I found Doctor Charlton with her, complimenting her wit and learning in a high manner; which she took to be so much her due that she swore if the schools did not banish Aristotle and read Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, they did her wrong, and deserved to be utterly abolished. My part was not yet to speak, but admire; especially hearing her go on magnifying her own generous actions, stately buildings, noble fortune, her lord's prodigious losses in the war, his power, valour, wit, learning, and industry,—what did she not mention to his or her own advantage? Sometimes, to give her breath, came in a fresh admirer; then she took occasion to justify her faith, to give an account of her religion, as new and unintelligible as her philosophy, to cite her own pieces line and page in such a book, and to tell the adventures of some of her nymphs. At last I grew weary, and concluded that the creature called a chimera which I had heard speak of, was now to be seen, and that it was time to retire for fear of infection; yet I hope, as she is an original, she may never have a copy. Never did I see a woman Bo full of herself, so amazingly vain and ambitious. What contrary miracles does this age produce. This lady and Mrs. Philips!' The one transported with the shadow of reason, the other possessed of the substance and insensible of her treasure; and yet men who are esteemed wise and learned, not only put them in equal balance, but suffer the greatness of the one to weigh down the certain real worth of the other. This is all I can requite your rare verses with; which as much surpass the merit of the person you endeavour to represent, as I can assure you this description falls short of the lady 1 would make you acquainted with: but she is not of mortal race, and therefore cannot be defined.
M.E. 'The once " matchless Orinda;" now forgotten. An edition of her poems had come out during the present rear.
To Mr. Bokun.
May 21, 1668.
If it be true that we are generally inclined to covet what we admire, I can assure you my ambition aspires not to the fame of Balzac, and therefore must not thank you for entitling me to that great name. I do not admire his style, nor emulate the spirit of discontent which runs through all his letters. There is a lucky hit in reputation, which some obtain by the defect in their judges, rather than from the greatness of their merit: the contrary may be instanced in Doctor Donne, who, had he not been really a learned man, a libertine in wit and a courtier, might have been allowed to write well; but I confess in my opinion, with these qualifications he falls short in his letters of the praises some give him.
Voiture seems to excel both in quickness of fancy, easiness of expression, and in a facile way of insinuating that he was not ignorant of letters, an advantage the Court air gives persons who converse with the world as books.
I wonder at nothing more than at the ambition of printing letters: since, if the design be to produce wit and learning, there is too little scope for the one; and the other may be reduced to a less compass than a sheet of gilt paper, unless truth were more communicative. Business, love, accidents, secret displeasure, family intrigues, generally make up the body of letters; ana can signify very little to any besides the persons they are addressed to, and therefore must lose infinitely by being exposed to the unconcerned. "Without this declaration, I hope I am sufficiently secure never to run the hazard of being censured that way; since I cannot suspect my friends of so much unkindness, nor myself of the vanity to wish fame on so doubtful a foundation as the caprice of mankind. Do not impute my silence to neglect. Had you seen me these ten days continually entertaining persons of different humour, age, and sense, not only at meals, or afternoon, or the time of a civil visit, but from morning till night, you will be assured it was impossible for me to finish these few lines sooner; so often nave I set pen to paper and been taken oil' again, that I almost despaired to let you know my satisfaction that Jack1 complies so well with your desires, and that 1 am your friend and servant,
To Sir Samuel Tuke. Sib,
I think myself obliged, since this is the day designed for your happiness, to express the part I take in your joy, and join my wishes for the continuance of it. The favour you intend me on Monday I receive with much satisfaction, but fear you will not afford it us long, when you find the many inconveniences of a little house, a disordered family, and the difference in judgments; all which may be dispensed with, whilst health, the discretion of servants, and other accidents, permit; but should there be a miscarriage in any of these, the end of our joining families ceases, and I, who am sensible of my own defects and tender of my friends' contentment, cannot entertain the hopes you will be sufferers many days. Let not this surprise you, since it proceeds from a cautiousness in my nature, which will not suffer me to engage, where I have any part to act, with that assurance some are more happy in; therefore prepare your lady with the nicety of my temper, and the truth of this, that I may not pass in either opinions for a person that promises more than can be performed by, Sir, your humble servant,
To Mr. Bohvn. Sib, July 17,1668.
By honest John and my lost to Jack, you have learnt Sir Samuel is entered into the state of matrimony. I do assure you, if marriage were the happy establishment in his opinion, he has made choice of a wife every way worthy of him, for person, quality, wit, good mien, and severe virtue; her piety cannot be questioned after living seven years a canoness, which includes all the strictness of a nun, the vow only excepted. They are both here at pre
1 Her ton, then tt College under Mr. Bohun's cue.