Imágenes de página

taken of me, who fancies I know nothing of the Dutch war till the guns went off at Chatham; and in my own concerns the most important good-fortune which has befallen me of late is the honour I have had to kiss my lady your mother's hands, with two of your sisters, whose stay in town being short as well as mine deprived me of the satisfaction I rejoiced much in. My father and Mr. Evelyn are infinitely your servants, and I am, Sir, your humble, &c.

To Mr. Terryll in Ireland.


Had 1 not peen assured by some of your friends that you were upon your return into England about Easter, I should not have omitted my acknowledgments for your obliging letter; but since finding, upon better information, that good fortune is not so near, give me leave to beg your excuse for an undesigned fault, and inquire farther what can be the charms of a place which has not only invited but detained persons of so much wit and merit in it 2 Can it be the natives' fame for learning of late years which is the powerful attraction ? or the Irish beauties above those of other countries, which engages through such dangerous seas? It cannot be judged by Mr. Terryll that interest only should be the motive ; there must be something more reasonable than rich fields and herds to souls so much raised above the vulgar. But I will give a stop to my curiosity, and satisfy myself that the same prudence which was our guide here accompanies you everywhere, and will maintain your choice of every thing but friends, which admits of no objection except the permission you give me to be of the number; yet I am certainly as much as any,

Sir, your most, &c.

To my Brother Glanville in France.

SIR I have received yours of the 25th May, and will hope mine in answer to your first came safe to you, since it passed under your niece's cover. Of any person I know, you had the least reason to visit France, either to improve mien, wit, or style, since all necessary accomplishments were ever granted you; but I acknowledge a nicer way of raillery is practised where you live than is used amongst us, or you would never address yourself to me for lessons in an art too well understood by you already. All I pretend to is, to keep myself on the defensive; plainness and sincerity are my best guards; I confess beauty and youth sometimes stand in need of subtlety and stratagems to evade and rescue them from the surprises of men, but persons wanting those charms are sufficiently secured from any attacks that may exercise the invention. Your return hither will be very pleasing to your friends. Iimagine you so furnished with such critical and pleasant remarks of the countries, people, and customs, that, should you oppose former characters of France, your relation would be rendered to, as being latest and made with most judgment. Yet let not curiosity pass in your opinion for the only inducement which makes me desire your return, since your merit challenges my best wishes, which shall accompany you till I can assure you in a better manner how much I am,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Sept. 21, 1670. SIR,

I will not study much or long to excuse those weak tears you so slight and condemn in women, as believing they are always at our command, but I can assure you neither the flesh-pots nor the onions caused them in me. I have often been as nobly and as civilly entertained at Wotton, and yet have I parted with dry eyes. It is reality

and kindness which gains upon my spirit. I will not deny:

but a confusion of thoughts proceeding from gratitude, a sense of my own want of merit, an apprehension I should

1 The reader may be reminded that Evelyn did not succeed to the paternal estate of Wotton till after his elder brother George's death; nearly thirty years after the date of this letter.

make unequal returns, with the approaching loss of so much happiness, produced those unusual and unseasonable effects in 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 of 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. DEAR SISTER, 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,' 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 o 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.

[ocr errors]

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 past obligations and engage him for the future, by advancing his pretensions to my 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 her 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 in 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 visible to the world against him; and it is not my single opinion, but the belief of many others, that my Lady, your sister, though never so prudent and cautious, may not injure herself in marrying such a person as he is ; yet I will not importune you to be his advocate since you declare so positive a dislike to second marriages in general, the only excuse you can make for not being his friend in this particular, be it on the account of gratitude or kindness, the

« AnteriorContinuar »