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our friends go before us, But whilst I discourse thus with you, I should consider what effects melancholy reflections may have on a splenetic person, one who needs not cherish that temper. I will only add that I am now able to quit my chamber, which is more than I could do these fourteen days, and that I am, Sir, Your servant, M. EVELYN.
To Mr. Bohun. 1671. SIR,
I must believe you are very busy, hearing so seldom from you, and that you are much in the esteem of Dr. Bathurst,' since he judges so favourably of your friends. It cannot be the effect of his discernment which makes him give sentence in my behalf, being so great a master of reason as he is; but it is certainly a mark of his great kindness to you that he defers to your judgment in opposition to his own. I should not question yours in other things, but the wisest may be allowed some grains, and I conclude you no less a courtier than a philosopher. Since my last to you I have seen “The Siege of Grenada,” a play so full of ideas that the most refined romance I ever read is not to compare with it; love is made so pure, and valour so nice, that one would imagine it designed for an Utopia rather than our stage. I do not quarrel with the poet, but admire one born in the decline of morality should be able to feign such exact virtue; and as poetic fiction has been instructive in former ages, I wish this the same event in ours. As to the strict law of comedy I dare not pretend to judge ; some think the division of the story not so well as if it could all have been comprehended in the day's actions: truth of history, exactness of time, possibilities of adventures, are niceties the ancient critics might require; but those who have outdone them in fine notions may be allowed the liberty to express them their own way, and the present world is so enlightened 1 Dr. Ralph Bathurst, Dean of Wells, and President of Trinity Col
lege, in Oxford, whose Life and Literary Remains were published by Thomas Warton.
that the old dramatic must bear no sway. This account perhaps is not enough to do Mr. Dryden right, yet is as much as you can expect from the leisure of one who has the
care of a nursery. I am, Sir, &c.
I wish you had remembered my answer to some discourses you held before your departure concerning my cousin Glanville: it might have spared you the trouble, and my cousins the importunity, of a proposition not at all to their advantage or our satisfaction, since Jack is designed for the law in good earnest, in which he can make little progress, should marriage intervene; neither will his grandfather, father, and myself sacrifice him for a fortune, but shall rest satisfied with such a mediocrity as may be obtained with stratagem when his age and discretion will allow of that tie. Besides, having heard my cousin had intentions to bestow his daughter and fortune upon one of his name, it would not become us to select for ourselves to the prejudice of a relation we should willingly assist; therefore, upon the account of generosity or mistaken interest, let this design die as civilly as you can : when your time permits you to think of coming to town, you need not question your being welcome at Deptford; we are all well in health ; all our relations are in town, your Deptford friends are well, and I am,
Sir, your servant,
To my Brother Glanville.
Oct. 8, 1671. SIR, I have of late fancied myself very well established in your good opinion; I will not examine merit or the causes of things too strictly for fear I return to doubts again: your last confirms my belief, being a very obliging
letter. Love cannot be the motive from a man prepossessed, nor can interest in either of us be the inducement; it must then be concluded a mutual disposition to like one another's inclinations and tempers, which we will call friendship, and which, from this day forward, let neither piquant raillery nor pleasant interrupt, let neither censure nor whisper destroy; and if you sign these articles you shall never complain of a breach on my side. Well, what do you think of widows? are they not odd creatures P. There is now a lady, newly a fine prize, near you. . Who hovers about her yet? Can twenty years esteem of the Sussex lady change into a violent passion for the Dorking lady ? If need were, cannot you imagine more probability in an address there, than the other way; were she as considerable, I would advise it: but when one goes to yoke oneself one would be glad it should be very easy; consideration of religion and fortune will come into one's head whether one will or no; and then, it may be, my friend Glanville is a happier man with liberty than so engaged; for marriage to such minds as yours and mine requires plenty and quiet, without which considerations, keep as you are, master of yourself; take heart, and, let fortune throw cross or pile, be merry, and always a friend to one that will ever be yours, since I am, Dear Brother, your affectionate, M. E.
To her Son.
Oct. 9, 1671. DEAR JACK, I do not question your being very happy in so fine a place and so good company, neither do I think you wholly pass your time in diversion. I wish you early wisdom; it may prevent late repentance. Your father is gone a little journey with Mr. Treasurer, to Newmarket, and to my Lord Arlington's upon his earnest invitation;' your grandfather is newly recovered of a fit of the gout; your sisters are all
1 It was on this occasion that Evelyn dined familiarly with the King, and was witness of “fondness and toying” highly characteristic of the time.—See Diary, vol. ii. p. 68.
well except Moll, who, I fear, has taken a cold which may end in an ague. Mrs. Durfe comes down stairs after your sister Susan's fashion, she is yet so weak; we have been like to lose Mrs. Turner, but she is now passed danger; we shall certainly lose Madam Howard, and your spouse who is this night arrived, if the news hold that Sir Thomas Osborne brings his family this next summer to Deptford; Mr. Bohun sticks so close to his Spanish brother that we seldom see him; I have rare chocolate of his presenting for you. The foul weather and storms at sea have produced many shipwrecks and strange escapes. A seaman of this town, being the twentieth in a rotten ship boat, which sunk by their weight, and the only one amongst them that could swim, endeavoured to save the life of two of his companions that laid hold of an oar by driving them to the shore; but finding his skill and strength fail him he shook off one of the men, who gave him such a parting look so full of sorrow and pity, that though he came safe to land with his other companion, he cannot banish the thought of that dreadful farewell, nor almost forgive himself for not perishing with him. Another adventure of a Yarmouth fisherman, not less remarkable, who, being at sea when a great storm arose, alone
in a little boat endeavoured to get to a bigger vesse which
lay at anchor, but was loosened by the storm and set a drift, which he would have recovered, but in the attempt lost his oars, the waves dashing over him, so as he was almost overturned into the sea; when he saw a ship not far off, towards which he made, and by signs implored aid, which they speedily granted, and hauled him aboard. Few hours after, God gave him an occasion to show his gratitude; they being strangers, unacquainted with the coast, and in great danger of striking against the sands, which this old seaman perceiving, though he could not be understood by them in words, made them sensible by taking the rudder hastily from the steersman and turning another course, and so brought them safe to Yarmouth, where he saw his own abandoned barque returned safe also freighted with as many men as she could bring to harbour, which seemed to be a kind of providence for the safety of these men, who else had perished in a bigger vessel. To this accident it were desirable that some fine lady had made an escape to complete the adventure, which might have given you a subject for a copy of verses, but what may not a poet add Amongst the ships that made the late discovery of the new strait, one had the ill fortune to perish with most of her men, and those few which escaped were preserved by the generosity of a seaman that could swim, who ventured five times with success to the rescue of five of his companions which he brought safe to shore, but perished endeavouring to bring in the sixth ; an attempt that merits a better fate, and not outdone in the Roman story, since more greatness of mind has not been often expressed. Were you here, there would be no end of these stories; but it is time I finished this discourse, to remember my obligations to my brother for his favours to you, and to wish my cousin joy of the little one, since I hope the sorrowful hour is past. My service to my cousin Joe, to my cousin John, and to my cousin Mary when she returns. I am, your loving mother, M. E.
To Mrs. Alexander.
Oct. 9, 1671. SINCE there has happened so much foul weather I have very much rejoiced that you did not make the Irish voyage, and do congratulate the safe arrival of your fair Ladies. Had you been very kind you would have passed some of your time at Deptford, but when I remember how little diversion there is here, and how ill you were treated, I forgive your long absence. I have sent your treasure, and approve of your generosity. Christian has left a small bundle for you, which Dubourg will deliver you. I hope it will not be long before I come to town, and if I can hear where to find you, I will endeavour to let you know it, that I may wait upon your Ladies, whose affections you cannot fail of as soon as you are known to them. I have many strange adventures and remarkable escapes at sea to relate for the encouragement of
one that were ready to embark; but since you are not in an such hazard, I will reserve them till I see you, and do wo