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It were but silliness to tell,
Silence is neither thing nor person-
Your first is an ox,
Which the butcher down knocks,
To the soldier as well as commander-in-chief.
A bridge unrestored,
A difficult thing for the wisest to pass,
May puzzle, but never a ford, any ass.
THE "long results of time" bring about strange combinations. Meeting and crossing each other here and there on their living way, there yet could be no less likely union in the thoughts of posterity, or in the history of their time, than that of the two names which head this page. The most frank and unreserved of autobiographers, knowing many compunctions, but no shame; and the most courtly and polished of antique gentlemen, perpetually holding himself erect on the poise of natural self-respect and formal dignity, Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, of all men most unlike each other, come down to us, side by side. The one unfolds his brisk panorama, the other solemnly exhibits his stately picture. Wicked human nature, always least alive to propriety, looks respectfully, but with a yawn, upon the one, and chuckles aloud, shaking its head for decorum's sake, with infinite amusement and unrestrained laughter, over the other. How the two chroniclers might esteem their different degrees of popularity, or if the disclosure of all his wicked ways would shame Mr Secretary Pepys at last, the curiosity which he
EVELYN AND PEPYS.
If lawyer parchment made indictment 'Gainst Drum for riotous excitement, "Re Drum" would be its form and title; After would follow the recital Of all the mischiefs drum had done, Both old and new, beneath the sun. "Auld Sootie," if " Re Drum" he saw, On that alone would put his claw; And as he always backwards reads, For fear of stumbling upon creeds— To clench the nail gainst Drum still further, He'd cry, delighted, Murder! murder!
satisfies so frankly has no means of ascertaining now; but it requires no great penetration to perceive with what stately disgust his patrician companion, who leaves behind him nothing to be ashamed of, would turn from this wicked little impersonation of bustle, vanity, and spirit, who smuggles along the solemn highway of history by the Lord of Wotton's side.
In spite of all the vices of the time, the very climax and culmination as it was of public riot and license, of universal depravity and fashionable vileness, it keeps its hold strangely upon the imagination, perhaps, as the close of the picturesque in English history. It was hard to believe in domestic peace after so long an interval of broil and battle; and the unmitigated disaster of the civil war, and the rugged heroical sway of the Commonwealth, if they braced the kingdom and its people for all imaginable hardships, left them shiftless and undefended against the enervating influences of luxury. No sooner had the iron gripe of Cromwell faltered from the reins of state which he alone could hold-no sooner had the sunny
light of holiday burst forth again over a land so long held fast by the stern claims of duty and necessity-than all England yielded itself up, flushed and languid, to the unaccustomed pleasure. With song and story in his train-with misfortune and exile past to endear him to the human heart of the nation-with fluttering imps, gay in the stolen robes of Loves and Graces, scattering flowers upon his way, the banished Charles, a youthful gallant, burst gay upon the fascinated sight which for many a day had forgotten pageants. The traditionary splendours of Elizabeth, the meaner merrymakings of James, the austere magnificence of that melancholy Charles whom many honoured as a martyr, and all knew in the majesty of fate and sorrow, had links of association with this new period which the Commonwealth altogether lacked. The hereditary monarchy resumed its place with triumph, and the king who could speak of his royal ancestors through many a previous generation, grasped to the instincts of the people, in a way which the kingliest man on earth, being the son of his own deeds alone, must always fail to do. The kingdom flashed into a sudden uproar of unreasoning enjoyment. No one asked if it was, after all, so mighty a felicity for England that the king should enjoy his own again. The country blindfolded itself with hearty purpose and goodwill, and, breaking forth of all its late restraints, gave itself up heart and soul to the frolic, glad to forget what went before, and unthinking of all that should follow when its pranks were done.
your man of pleasure. Where great affairs of state were deliberatedwhere vast projects were put forth by one imperial will, and executed by many stout and valorous hands in comparative silence-every corner was alive now with some device of entertainment-something to beguile and cheat the time which Cromwell found so short and fleeting for all he had to do; and when sober men began to resume their common life once more, they turned still a smiling glance upon those gardens of Armida, those fabulous bowers of youth and luxury and royal pleasure, which enclosed the king.
Youth and high spirits masked with natural and graceful illusion the license of the Court; and so long as the crowned head was new in its dominion, no intrusive familiarity stepped in to draw aside the veil. The country, which enjoyed so thoroughly its own riotous festival, was perfectly pleased to look on with indulgent complacency on the more prolonged rejoicings of the king; a brisk activity of pleasure stirred the universal pulses. Long ago one must be idle if one would be gay; but now there was none of all your sober BO constantly occupied as
But, after all, there is no such wearisome thing in the world as a prolonged unnatural holiday. Capricious England grew tired of its play-the dusty heated afternoon eclipsed the fresh glories of the morning. The revels that looked so bright at first, began to pall. It was no longer the exuberance of youth, but the coarse mirth of custom that rang in shouts as loud as ever from the high places; and the astonished nation, stopping short in its own dance, looked with disenchanted eyes upon the whirl of careless gaiety, which hid from royal sight and observation the life of the country and the wellbeing of the world. No virtuous man, were he ever so great a votary of the royal Martyr, could contrast the clear daylight of the great usurper's rule, and this hectic illumination, without an involuntary sigh for the sovereign power which was no longer an honour and a defence to England. The sober sense of the nation sickened at this heedless tumult of gaiety; all that was pure and honourable shrank back in horror from the undisguised debauchery of these polluted palaces; the national pride was at once offended and humiliated by defenceless coasts, and a presuming and unpunished enemy, while rumours of French influence meanly submitted to of French bribes still more meanly accepted-sank the once worshipped king into the depths of popular contempt. But there is seldom so great an evil in present existence as to shut out fear of a greater, and the Duke of York, the unwise and unprosperous James, was his brother's
guardian angel. "No one will kill me to make you king," said the Merry Monarch to his successor; it was the greatest defence which remained to this idol of the popular fancy-this waster of the most royal gifts of Providence and the strongest tie which bound the undeceived and discontented country to its failure of a king.
Religious persecution and intolerance, far from chary of their alliance at any time, took kindly to the profane sovereign, and made no scruple in using his power. Good, passive, law-obeying Puritanism, forgetting its old usage of resistance, suffered itself to be slain with edifying resignation. And the time-bred monsters too-the Popish plot fabulous or real-the pseudo-Protestant plot, which hunted this spectre into mad chaos and unbelief agitated the public mind with fright and indignation; and heavy and real disaster added its crushing and repeated blow. One such event as the Great Plague or Fire of London seems enough, in ordinary course, for a generation of men; and we can scarcely understand the strain of nerve and courage which resisted, or the passive unreflective endurance which lived through, such overwhelming calamities. Nor only lived through-but, dancing on the graves of pestilence, and over the ashes of destruction, spread its unwholesome gaiety around without a pause.
in our day, peering everywhere with a hundred eyes; and, on the other hand, Learning marching solemnly on to its sum of knowledge, yet making itself a very prodigy of industry and research by the way. Through this and in it, and through a hundred little intricacies of official jobbery, of political intrigue, of private broils and matchmakings, flows such an overflowing and abundant soul of energy as puts life and breath into the whole. A corrupt and self-degrading state, with every element of ruin in its bosom ; yet in such rude might of vitalityevery pulse throbbing with strength, every vein full-blooded, every muscle sound-that the current of its perpetual activity sweeps our languid footsteps into it with an irresistible attraction-the stream hurries upon its course with such a visible impetus of life.
And what even the brillant record of Macaulay cannot do for Dutch William and his austere and virtuous heroism, a crowd of self-biographers have done for the times of lawless Charles. When the broad and general story fails, it is rare that a bit of sun-bright daguerreotype-a homely clear succession of everydays threaded upon some individual life-is unsuccessful in catching the eye and rousing the interest; nor is there any period so fertile in such as is this and the preceding generation. The records of Mary Hutchinson, the wife-like story of Lady Fanshaw, and those breathings of ascetic piety and meek devotion, which startle us so much, from the pen of a maid of honour in the dissolute court of Charles-the diaries of Mrs Godolphin-add touches of feminine nicety to Evelyn's gentlemanlike chronicle and the unparalleled revelations of Mr Secretary Pepys; not to speak of narratives less known-the journals of pious Nonconformists, and sketches of personal experience, which, by some necessity laid upon them, hosts of those good people have felt it their duty to leave behind. We had almost added to the list that person of real flesh and blood, the citizen of London who indites the true history of the Great Plague; and but that scoffers say he is no more to be relied upon than the redoubtable Crusoe, his brother and kinsman, no bit of individual story throws more
Yet sparkling with profane wit, rich in wanton beauty, profusely endowed with the lesser talents which sparkle in their generation more than the great lights of genius, there is no period more picturesque in costume, more animated in grouping, or more pictorial in general light and shadow. Dawning Science, that has not yet quite forgotten its old tricks of legerdemain, but mixes up the half-discovered grandeur of its vast new truth with pranks of old astrology and nimble sleight of hand - Art that comes a full-grown giant from over the sea, holding up a mirror by the courtly hands of Lely and Kneller to the voluptuous Graces of the court, and overflooding with perukes and laced coats the ancestral picture galleries of all England - the two great faculties of curiosity and wonder, primitive capacities almost exhausted
light upon the time than does his. We can spare it, however, in the profusion of autobiographical riches, concerning the authenticity of which there can be no dispute; and passing Master Defoe on the one side, and my Lord Clarendon, authentic, but ponderous, on the other, there are still abundant materials from which to glean the history, both public and domestic, of this lively and animated time.
Shut your eyes, gentle reader! forget that there are steam-engines and iron ways, reformed Houses of Parliament, public meetings, variable funds, and invariable income-taxes, in this working-day world. Let the old sunshine of romance break upon you through the old rich foliage of that old old England, which was in story and in rhyme, if it never was in the sober light of every day. Never stop to inquire if the road is safe at night; rather admire the antique pistols in this knave's holsters, and that stout steed of his, which was never intended to run away, you may be certain, if all the highwaymen between Thames and Humber cried "Stand!" Stout rascals are those riders, too, as good for a blow as any of their inches who ride upon the other side of the law; and with such an escort the gilded coach goes at a leisurely pace along the warm and sandy track, threading the mazes of shadow and sunshine that chequer all this quiet way. Perhaps the worthy gentleman within is doing a bit of his Sylva, or taking notes upon his tablets, or making mental memorandums for his diary, which he will fill in when he gets home; and looking back upon his composed and guiltless memory, such vistas of trim gardens rise to his vision, such a sheen of dazzling fountains glitter in the sun, such fair and goodly terraces, such winding alleys of green shade, such artful delusions and tricks of perspective expand before him, that these fair bright homely fields map themselves out to his fancy in labyrinths and mazes of intricate art, and nature smirks out of her quaintly fashioned livery, but keeps her bloom and her luxuriance still, and flings her flowers and green leaves in handfuls at the feet of Evelyn, in mockery of all he would do
to restrain her freedom-yet in loving mockery withal. Not to inspect another newly-completed and princely garden, but to see some "incomparable pieces" of Titian or of Raphael, and to tell the noble amateur of Grindling Gibbons and his wonderful feats of carving, with benevolent purpose of enriching this humble genius, the Master of Sayes Court drives to town; thence to kiss hands at Court, perhaps, and with pious horror and courtly curiosity to become aware of the unbecoming pomp and extravagance of my Lady Castlemaine; thence to the Royal Society, where are many curious tricks of science strangely mingled and mixed up with great discoveries, to be seen and heard of, and where learned and lordly dilettantism does not disdain a gossip now and then to lighten graver discussions; and thence, with encounter of many notable names and historical personages by the way, to coach again, and home at a quieter pace along the dewy road, where the labourer hastens to be housed before nightfall, and the outriding knaves look to their pistols,-for though the country is quiet, the road has no great name by night.
Or if, most worshipful spectator of these elder ages, your taste directs you to a gayer scene-lo, only a street apart, "mighty fine" in the new camlet suit, whose bravery he enjoys with genuine delight and a professional appreciation, in his new-curled black peruke, his eyes twinkling with curiosity, with fun and wickedness, see Mr Secretary at his desk in his office, perchance discussing with natural acuteness some matter of business, or warily receiving a letter which feels heavy, but which the official's unsuspecting faculties will take no cognisance of at present. If you have real business to transact, and can but catch this twinkling eye, you will forthwith entertain a higher opinion of Mr Secretary Pepys; for a clear understanding and some sharp bits of insight are in the pleasureloving officer of the Admiralty, and he does not fail to despatch your affairs out of hand with the true economy of promptitude, having various more pleasurable engagements in his faithful memory. And now it is
noon perhaps Mr Pepys has a venison pasty at home, where his wife, "poor wretch," grumbles to know of the gay programme of her husband's afternoon, yet is not without projects of her own, and is little less fine in her tabby gown, turned and newly laced, than Samuel himself; and now, having locked up our office like a good subject and honest official, having dined with our wife at home like a loyal and loving husband, and generally satisfied all the requirements of duty and propriety-now for our own private and particular delights. It is odd if these twinkling eyes do not make observations at the playhouse, piquant and relishing, of the regnant Mrs Nelly, or the presumptuous my lady, who fills with scandalised but most lively curiosity a hundred lookers-on more scrupulous than Mr Pepys; and perhaps a little episode behind the scenes gives a still more piquant conclusion to the beloved divertisement. Then, it may be, we have a stroll in the Exchange, to cheapen gloves of a famous beauty, who does not disdain to vend her delicate wares, embroidered in gold, to the Court gallants, among whom we swagger with the best; and close by here is some singular rarity, which may be a fine picture, or an old awful emblazoned manuscript, an artful automaton, or a conjuror, to whom many-bladed knives and burning coals are wholesome daily fare, but which, whatever it is, we do not fail, with most observant curiosity, to see and take diligent note of. From this we hasten, with still more pleasurable anticipations, to present to our Valentine the embroidered gloves we have just purchased from the humbler beauty, but passing near our own house encounter, much discomfited, the French servant of a Mr Somebody whom our wife has had acquaintance with in France, and are straightway overwhelmed with a host of suchlike small jealousies as we ourselves complacently compassionate in our wife; after which, though on returning home we have a very nice supper and much music, playing on the viol ourselves with great relish, and listening to the songs of our companions, we find the day somewhat beclouded looking back upon it, especially as
our wife, "poor wretch" no longer, is discovered in high spirits; and so, having posted our diary, "to bed," with more virtuous resolutions for the morrow.
So, according to the representation of each, is the daily life of John Evelyn and of Samuel Pepys. A large amount of business somehow or other manages to get transacted by the bustling hands of the pleasure-loving secretary; and it is wonderful how much grave and decorous festivity, sight-seeing, and merry-making, accumulate in the busy days of the lofty gentleman, his neighbour and contemporary. Both have their hands full of perpetual negotiations; not a manoeuvring mamma in a fashionable novel makes more matches than the learned and courtly Evelyn; and as for Samuel, his gloryings over one successful enterprise of the kind, his delight at my lady's acknowledgment of his cousinship, and his tribulations on account of the bashful bridegroom, are as amusing as they are characteristic. No modern glossings over of the bargain, no sentimentality of attachment or congenial feelings, are necessary in these honest records; it is enough, as well for the high-principled Evelyn as for the less particular Pepys, that the estates and possessions of their protégés are congenial, and afford mutual satisfaction, whereupon they proceed with downright sincerity to the less important matter of personal introduction, nor leave the passive pair, whom we can scarcely suspect of being the principal performers, till their little drama of a day is fairly concluded, with settlements signed and responses given, and another wedding added to the records of fate. Other negotiations besides these occupy the active minds of the contemporaries. Mr Secretary has much in his power, and can procure contracts, victuallings, shipbuildings, for such honest craftsmen as recommend themselves in a due and satisfactory manner to his human or official preference; and Mr Evelyn stands, a sort of self-constituted plenipotentiary and ambassador, between the arts and their noble patrons-between the great nobleman who does not know the value of his antiquities, and the eager representatives of learning who