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you established to your satisfaction: it is but what you merit, and it is what I would contribute to were I capable,
since no person is more affectionately your friend, than is M. E.
Sayes-Court, March 2, 1671-2. SIR,
When I have assured you that my usual indisposition has treated me so severely this winter, that I have had little leisure to think of anything but the means of gaining health and ease, I am persuaded you will excuse me if I have not decided in my thoughts which was the greatest captain, Caesar or Pompey; whether M. De Rosny were not a great politician, a brave soldier, and the best servant that ever Prince had for capacity, fidelity, and steadiness, a man strangely disinterested, infinitely fortunate, and every way qualified to serve such a master as was Henry the Great, who, notwithstanding human frailties, was worthy to be faithfully dealt with, since he knew how to judge and to reward. But why do we always look back into times past? we may not reproach our own, since here is at this present a scene for gallantry and merit, and whilst we may hope, we must not condemn. Should I tell you how full of sorrow I have been for the loss of Dr. Bretton,” you only would blame me; after death flattery ceases, therefore you may believe there was some cause to lament, when thousands of weeping eyes witnessed the affliction their souls were in ; one would have imagined every one in this parish had lost a father, brother, or husband, so great was the bewailing; and in earnest it does appear there never was a better nor a more worthy man. Such was his temper, prudence, charity, and good conduct, that he gained the weak and preserved the wise. The suddenness of his death was a surprise only to his friends; as for himself it might be looked upon as a 1 Mr. Bohun had now completed his superintendence of young Eve: lyn's education, and gone into residence at Oxford, “having well and faithfully,” says Evelyn, “performed his charge.”—See Diary, vol. ii.
. 57. p 2 Minister of Deptford; he died in February, 1671-2.
deliverance from pain, the effect of sickness; and I am almost persuaded God snatched him from us, lest he might have been prevailed with by the number of petitions to have left him still amongst us. If you suspect kindness in me makes me speak too much, Dr. Parr' is a person against whom you cannot object; it was he who preached the funeral sermon, and as an effect of truth as well as eloquence he himself could not forbear weeping in the pulpit. It was his own expression that there were three for whom he had infinitely grieved, the martyred King, my Lord Primate,” and Dr. Bretton; and as a confirmation of the right that was done him in that oration, there was not a dry eye nor a dissenting person. But of this no more. M. EVELYN.
To Mr. Bohun.
January 4, 1672. SIR,
Do not think my silence hitherto has proceeded from being taken up with the diversions of the town, the éclat of the Court gallantry, the entertainment of the wedding masquerades, which trebled their number the second night of the wedding that so there was great disorder and confusion caused by it, and with which the solemnity ended : neither can I charge the housewifery of the country after my return, or treating my neighbours this Christmas, since I never find any business or recreation that makes me forget my friends. Should I confess the real cause, it is your expectation of extraordinary notions of things wholly out of my way. Women were not born to read authors and censure the learned, to compare lives and judge of virtues, to give rules of morality, and sacrifice to the Muses. ...We are willing to acknowledge all time borrowed from family duties is misspent ; the care of children's education, observing a husband's commands, assisting the sick, relieving the poor,
1 Richard Parr, D.D., Vicar of Reigate and Camberwell. He died Nov. 2, 1691. The funeral sermon alluded to was printed in 1672. See Manning and Bray’s History of Surrey, vol. i. p. 323. * Archbishop Usher.
and being serviceable to our friends, are of sufficient weight to employ the most improved capacities amongst us; and if sometimes it happens by accident that one of a thousand aspires, a little higher, her fate commonly exposes her to wonder, but adds little of esteem. The distaff will defend our quarels as well as the sword, and the needle is as instructive as the pen. A heroine is a kind of prodigy; the influence of a blazing star is not more dangerous or more avoided. Though I have lived under the roof of the learned, and in the neighbourhood of science, it has had no other effect on such a temper as mine, but that of admiration, and that too but when it is reduced to practice. I confess I am infinitely delighted to meet in books with the achievements of the heroes, with the calmness of philosophers, and with the eloquence of orators; but what charms me irresistibly is to see perfect resignation in the minds of men, let whatever happen of adverse to them in their fortune: that is being knowing and truly wise; it confirms my belief of antiquity, and engages my persuasion of future perfection, without which it were in vain to live. Hope not for volumes or treatises; raillery may make me go beyond my bounds, but when serious, I esteem myself capable of very little, yet I am, Sir,
Your friend and servant,
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 last 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 Were and your Ladyship very suddenly. I keep the portrait of the Duchess of Richmond 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 said 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, M. E.
To Mr. Evelyn.
December, 1672. MY DEAR, 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 WOL. IV. D
so refined that the charm of that splendour has no power on their spirits; persons whose ideas are of a higher nature, whose minds are pure and actions innocent; these, if I could be capable of envy, I should make the subject, but 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 upon no other account, but as I have a little interest in you, and possibly a kindly thought of by you, which happiness produces many advantages to AORTINSA.'
To Mr. Bohun.
January, 1672-3. SIR,
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 fine 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 them.