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make unequal returns, with the approaching loss of so much happiness, produced those unusual and unseasonable effects iu me, though common in others, without the least mixture of pride or emulation. This your severity will hardly allow of, but when you shall learn more of my nature and the secrets of my heart, which I wish you already knew, so I might be spared the telling them, because advantageous to me, and which are not concealed from you out of the least distrust of your discretion or friendship, but from niceness I cannot very well justify. Sometimes philosophical reflections have been ot use to me, but I was surprised with abundance of kindness, of which you may justly claim a large share, since
I am, &c.
To Mrs. Evelyn of Woodcot.
.. > Sep. 26,1670.
The indisposition which you carried out of town, and the solitude you live in, gives me a desire to inquire after your health, and a title to interrupt your melancholy thoughts,1 though it be but with the assurance of our wishes for your perfect recovery. One who is of so judicious a temper as you are, cannot, if you give your reason leave to act, but be armed against all accidents which may disturb your quiet in a great measure. I confess to be wholly insensible of sorrow or misfortune is as little to be wished, as it is seldom to be found; since the inequalities of human life contribute much to the happiness of it, so that the variety of ills prove not the greater share; which hitherto your condition seems to have exempted you from. It is true you have newly lost a friend and a guide, but you have it now more absolutely in your own power to be whatever prudence and generosity dictates to you. And as you have it in your power, so I am confident it is in your will to oblige and gratify a friend, especially one who may challenge your kindness in some sort upon the account of
1 The death of her husband (Evelyn's brother Richard) had taken place a few months before.—See Diary, vol. ii. pp. 48-9. VOL. IV. 0
avowed services and much worth, one who has pursued your satisfaction preferably to his own interest, which shows he has a true sense of honour,—and not to keep you longer in suspense with the character of a person, better known to you by his actions than by any description I can make of him, it can be no other than my brother Glanvil; who certainly, being named, tells you wherein you may acknowledge East obligations and engage him for the future, by advancing is pretensions to ray Lady Lewtner. Possibly you may think it early to propose anything of that nature to a discreet widow and your own sister, who it may be you could wish might never have any thoughts of changing her condition, upon like resolutions of your own; but be assured, persons so considerable for beauty, virtue, and fortune, will never enjoy that calm of those thoughts long; attempts will be made; persons of all degrees of merit and sufficient quality will make addresses, and value themselves by breaking through' those rules of decency that they may be the first discoverers of their extreme; therefore you ought not to blame my brother if he has already given marks of his, who from a long knowledge of my Lady's great merit and obliging nature, has taken courage to "lay himself at Iter feet; from whence he must not hope to be raised if she were of a haughty mind, that could allow of no happiness but in great titles and vast riches (in which certainly it is not wholly to be placed); but did it consist in either, she is so secured by a large provision of both, that she need not .require an addition from a husband; all that seems to be required is, her choice in a man that can value her perfections, be a friend to her interests, and make her happiness his own; which qualifications may assuredly be allowed my brother, who protests with all imaginable zeal and sincerity that he has no other design but her satisfaction and advantage, and to live with honour the rest of his days, towards which who would not that could assist, and who better can than yourself; an endeavour which acquits your obligations to a sister that you love, and a friend that you value; which that you will do cannot be thought strange, but that I should concern myself in my Lady Lewtner's affairs may appear so, being neither solicited by my brother, who knows nothing of my per
! sumption in his behalf, nor called to council by you who
. need no advice to do well; however, let me beg of you to
give a favourable construction to this freedom, and believe
it proceeds from the kindest intentions I can express, since
I am, Dear sister, your, &c
To Mrs. Evelyn of Woodcot.
I very much rejoice in the improvement of your health, and do still persist in my opinion that you may owe much of your happiness and quiet to your own prudence. I also continue to believe that my brother Glanvil deserves very much from you; and you have rightly guessed my meaning by the intrigue between my cousin Will and my niece, which would have proved no dishonour to him had he resolved to succeed in it, since we judge of things of that nature commonly by the event, and not from the means, but he being tender of your satisfaction made honour a very nice point. Give me leave to rectify a little mistake iu Mr. Evelyn's behalf, who though he might often wish one of the name worthy of my niece, never declared for my cousin Will more than that, if she should think him sufficiently deserving, with my brother and your consent, it was not a choice to be contemned and deplored, since he is likely to make a very good man; and farther than such a reply I believe he never made to several discourses on that subject, urged at several times by many of our relations and acquaintance. As to my Lady Lewtner's concern, I do acknowledge I ought not to have gone so far had I not flattered myself with the hopes of your embracing any proposition so much to my brother's advantage; but possibly you have reasons in reserve more powerful than those which are visiLilo to the world against him; and it is not my single opinio:., but the belief of many others, that my Lady, your si:,ttT, though never so prudent and cautious, may not injuu herself in marrying such a person as he is; yet I will net importune you to be his advocate since you declare L-j positive a dislike to second marriages in general, the only excuse you can mnke for not being his friend in thij particular, be it on the account of gratitude or kindness, the word signifies little where the intention is friendly; exceptions against such strict rules are daily made, and experience shows that as unequal fall out, therefore I shall make the less apology for the failings of
Your humble servant,
To my Cousin Mary Evelyn.
Sept. 28, 1670.
I have had often cause to acknowledge the noble entertainment and great civilities I have received at Wotton, but I never was more sensible of my obligations to my brother and yourself, than at present, from a full persuasion I was never treated with more reality and kindness, which gains infinitely upon such a temper as mine is: I wish you were as well inclined to believe as I am that passage in Scripture reasonable, which advises a woman not only to leave, but to forget her father's house for a husband, and as well assured you should meet with as worthy and deserving a family as I have done. Some part of this you will think strange doctrine, but I seriously beg of you not to persist in your opinions concerning marriage, and that you will conform to so good a father's desires as you have in this particular, and endeavour to establish your happiness beyond his life, which, that you may long enjoy, with all other blessings I heartily wish, being
To Mrs. Evelyn of Wotton.
1670. Dear Cottsiw,
I am so well persuaded of your good nature and merit, and so sensible of your best civility, that I wish for a more important occasion to express the desire I have to serve vou. I have endeavoured to perform your commands in fitting my little niece with a mantle coat, bodice coat,
petticoat, narrow shoes and stockings, wbich I bespake two sizes less than any that are made for a child of a year old. If they prove to nurse's mind, or have any fault, let me know it, that the next may be the same or more exact. I was not willing to send all, believing it some difficulty to fit the lady by guess. Though you never want very good company, I cannot but wish myself sometimes two or three hours in a day with you, to be-a witness of the pleasant conversation I fancy such wits as Mr. Duncan and others of that strain afford you. I hope my cousin Mary is perfectly recovered; that your father, husband, uncle, and brother are in perfect health, to whom my father presents his most humble service and particularly to yourself; assure them of my humble service, and esteem me,
Your humble servant,
To her Son.
I have received your letter and request for a supply of money; but none of those you mention which were bare effects of your duty. If you were so desirous to answer our expectations as you pretend to be, you would give those tutors and overseers you think so exact over you, less trouble than I fear they have with you. Much is to be wished in your behalf: that your temper were humble and tractable, your inclinations virtuous, and that from choice, not compulsion, you make an honest man. Whatever object of vice comes before you, should have the same effect in your mind of dislike and aversion that drunkenness had in the youth of Sparta when their slaves were presented to them in that brutish condition, not only from the deformity of such a sight, but from a motive beyond theirs—the hope of a future happiness, which those rigorous heathens in moral virtue had little prospect of, finding no reward for virtue but in virtue itself. You are not too young to know that lying, defrauding, swearing, disobedience to parents and persons in authority, are offences to God and man: that debauchery is injurious to growth, health, life, and indeed to the pleasures of life; therefore,