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and being serviceable to our friends, are of sufficient weight
To my Lady Ann Carr
March 26, 1672. Madam,
I can assure you neither the cold weather nor the hilliness of the ways has kept me thus long from paying my respects to your Ladyship, but an indisposition to which I am subject, and which has treated me so severely this winter, that I have been confined to my chamber and house above three months without once venturing out so far as the church; a kind of weaning me from that sensible loss we have made by the death of Doctor Bretton; a more worthy man there never was, and one in whom there is so many things to be justly said in his praise, that should I but enter upon the discourse you might fear the length of my letter. I know not how to acknowledge your Ladyship's lost favour by any return of news from hence. Madam Howard has almost quitted this place, with whose concerns I am as little acquainted as during her last long absence; yet I wish all imaginable happiness to that family. The marriage of Betty Turner with a citizen of London is the latest joy has been in this parish, the fame of which has not reached your Ladyship yet, at which fine clothes, fine company, and great feasting could not be wanting. My father has been so happy as to be free from the gout this winter. Mr. Evelyn is at present taking care of those that fall by the hands of the Dutch, being gone to visit Chatham and Dover, and the rest of those places where sick and prisoners put in; Jack is with him. My little flock of girls are all well, and I promise myself so much health as may give me leave to wait upon my Lady Vere and your Ladyship very suddenly. I keep the portrait of the Duchess of ftichmond with care, that I may return if you should desire it; I am so out of the way of such kind of wits that I dare not pretend to judge of it, yet I fancy the Duchess deserves all that is Baid of her; and did the author pass for lover, much more might have been expected from him, but he has now another kind of gallantry in chase, which I wish may prove successful to him and those other brave men that daily hazard themselves in the war. I am so near the guns that your Ladyship will not wonder that I should be solicitous for a happy event, and I am not less concerned to be esteemed,
Madam, your most humble servant,
To Mr. Evelyn.
I hope you do not imagine, though I live in the country and converse with sea-nymphs, now and then with a tarpaulin hero, that I do not apprehend the difference between this kind of felicity and that which you possess in a glorious Court, amongst great beauties and wits, and these
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so refined that the charm of that splendour has no power I on their spirits; persons whose ideas are of a higher nature, i whose minds are pure and actions innocent; these, if I' could be capable of envy, I should make the subject, but J I am so far from failing in that kind that I rejoice in your happiness. I acknowledge you a better judge of such perfections, and to merit the honour of being an admirer of the calm, prudent, and beautiful Alecone, the friendship of the sprightly saint, and to be allowed the liberty of a playfellow to Ornethia, whose excellencies unite your admiration and esteem, since you have qualifications which may entitle you to as much good fortune as any man. If knowledge and discernment in curious and choice speculations, joined with virtues not common, though desirable in your sex, may obtain return of friendship from persons who cannot be unjust, and therefore must allow you a share of their esteem,- you may pretend; but should I hope for a part, it must be up jn no other account, but as I hare a little interest in you, and possibly a kindly thought of by you, which happiness produces many advantages to
I find the slight cares of a family are great hindrances to the study of philosophy, and that one grows less and less capable of improvements by books, as one grows more acquainted with the world; yet amongst those fiae experiments which fall in my way, could I meet with any one equally curious with those of the Greshamites, though as unuseful and trifling, I might hope in time to be in something famous; learning is become so easy of access by the late industry of some who have removed the bar language put to the illiterate, and make women pretenders to judge of Alexander's valour and conduct, and determine whether
1 Mrs. Evelyn makes sad havoc of classical names in this playful letter to her husband, but they are left, with her signature, as she writes thcin.
the effeminacy and imbecility of the Persians did not abate of the miracles of such a conquest; that it was suddenly and unjustly gained, and as precipitously lost; and yet allow the man heathen worth who made all that stir till prosperity made him forget himself. He might have expected a better fate; but this subject has been in so many boys' mouths and themes, that it is reasonable for me to give it over and fall upon Dr. Pierce's sermons, which is a great step from Homer's admirer. Not to dispute the eloquence of the person who appears more like a Grecian orator than a Christian preacher for three parts of each sermon,—which how necessary, now whole countries are under the Christian profession, I know not,—one would imagine 26 hundred years had worn out the remembrance of idolising insensible orators; that there were no more need of drawing instances from the moral men to encourage virtue, where light and joyful truth have had such influences. But for the selections of young students whose first compositions are far-fetched, and keep alive the stories of the ancients by succession in the pulpit, one should hardly know who Socrates and Zeno were; and of what importance to the congregation, few in it understand. The great example should be Christ. His doctrine, and the effects of it in the first ages of the chureh, when innocency and purity filled the minds of men j when the sincerity of their words appeared by the manifestation of good works; when the leaders and people lived in mutual charity and love. If this could be brought into fashion again it were a happy effect of .men's labours. And since I have seen that piece of the primitive Christianity, I fancy we are strangely out of the way to heaven; self-denial is a kind of by-path, and many necessary circumstances of a true believer are wholly out of use. Do not wonder I treat with you in this style, since I am assured you own it as the greatest honour that could have happened to you to serve at God's altar, and therefore cannot be displeased when anything is suggested to His glory. Your last to Mr. Evelyn gave us hope of seeing you suddenly.
To Mrs. Saul.
The esteem I have had for you as a neigbour and a deserving person, makes me more concerned for the general censure upon your late quitting your husband and family: had you consulted real friends with your design, they never would have advised a separation without equal consent of both parties; there is something so strict and binding in the marriage vow, that but upon extraordinary causes (the examples of which are rare) any divorce can be lawful: women especially being very tender how they violate that obligation, choosing rather to bear with infirmities, to pray for and endeavour the reformation of an ill man, by all the ways respect and love can suggest, and to bear injuries patiently, valuing their mutual reputation above particular satisfaction, as the necessary duty of a good wife, and the common effects of a good Christian, which qualification enables persons to overcome their own inclinations for a better end yet than present or worldly advantages, and secures their future and more lasting happiness. There is no state of life unattended with cares and troubles, afflictions are common and fall to every one's share more or less, therefore we should not without great presumption expect to run the course of this life so smoothly as to meet with no rub by the way. I take the more freedom to enlarge upon this subject with you, because I am really sorry one who appeared so sensible of what became her upon all accounts, as I have often observed you were, should take such ill measures in this last action as you have done; you cannot be ignorant how many there are who rejoice at peoples' misfortunes, and think they excuse their own errors by publishing others' failings; and I wish, and wish it heartily, you had not justified your husband by hurting yourself. I do remember some occasional discourse of yours to me in confidence, concerning some of his miscarriages, which obliged me to lament for you both, that a couple so likely by the agreeableness of person, quality, fortune, and age, should meet with any interruption to their happiness; but do now infinitely bewail it is come to so