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37 guardian angel. “No one will kill in our day, peering everywhere with me to make you king," said the Merry a hundred eyes ; and, on the other Monarch to his successor; it was the hand, Learning marching solemnly on greatest defence which remained to to its sum of knowledge, yet making this idol of the popular fancy-this itself a very prodigy of industry and waster of the most royal gifts of Pro- research by the way. Through this vidence—and the strongest tie which and in it, and through a hundred little boand the undeceived and discontent- intricacies of official jobbery, of politied country to its failure of a king. calintrigue, of private broils and match
Religious persecution and intoler. makings, flows such an overflowing ance, far from chary of their alliance and abundant soul of energy as puts at any time, took kindly to the pro- life and breath into the whole. A fane sovereign, and made no scruple corrupt and self-degrading state, with in using his power. Good, passive, every element of ruin in its bosom; law-obeying Puritanism, forgetting its yet in such rude might of vitalityold usage of resistance, suffered itself every pulse throbbing with strength, to be slain with edifying resignation. every vein full-blooded, every muscle And the time-bred monsters too—the sound—that the current of its perpePopish plot fabulous or real — the tual activity sweeps our languid footpseudo-Protestant plot, which hunted steps into it with an irresistible attracthis spectre into mad chaos and unbe- tion-thestream hurries upon its course lief - agitated the public mind with with such a visible impetus of life. fright and indignation; and heavy and And what even the brillant record real disaster added its crushing and re- of Macaulay cannot do for Dutch peated blow. One such event as the William and his austere and virtuous Great Plague or Fire of London seems heroism, a crowd of self - biograenough, in ordinary course, for a gene- phers have done for the times of lawration of men; and we can scarcely less Charles. When the broad and understand the strain of nerve and general story fails, it is rare that a bit of courage which resisted, or the passive sun-bright daguerreotype--a homely unreflective endurance which lived clear succession of every days threaded through, such overwhelming calami. upon some individual life-is unsucties. Nor only lived through-but, cessful in catching the eye and rousing dancing on the graves of pestilence, the interest; nor is there any period and over the ashes of destruction, so fertile in such as is this and the spread its unwholesome gaiety around preceding generation. The records of without a pause.
Mary Hutchinson, the wife-like story Yet sparkling with profane wit, rich of Lady Fanshaw, and those breathin wanton beauty, profusely endowed ings of ascetic piety and meek devowith the lesser talents which sparkle tion, which startle us so much, from in their generation more than the the pen of a maid of honour in the disgreat lights of genius, there is no solute court of Charles—the diaries of period more picturesque in costume, Mrs Godolphin-add touches of femimore animated in grouping, or more nine nicety to Evelyn's gentlemanpictorial in general light and shadow. like chronicle and the unparalleled Dawning Science, that has not yet revelations of Mr Secretary Pepys; quite forgotten its old tricks of leger not to speak of narratives less demain, but mixes up the half-dis- known-the journals of pious Noncovered grandeur of its vast new conformists, and sketches of personal truth with pranks of old astrology experience, which, by some necessity and nimble sleight of hand - Art laid upon them, hosts of those good that comes a full-grown giant from people have felt it their duty to leave over the sea, holding up a mirror by behind. We had almost added to the the courtly hands of Lely and Knel- list that person of real flesh and blood, ler to the voluptuous Graces of the the citizen of London who indites the court, and overflooding with perukes true history of the Great Plague ; and and laced coats the ancestral picture but that scoffers say he is no more to galleries of all England - the two be relied upon than the redoubtable great faculties of curiosity and wonder, Crusoe, his brother and kiosman, no primitive capacities almost exhausted bit of individual story throws more light upon the time than does his. to restrain her freedom-yet in loving We can spare it, however, in the pro- mockery withal. Not to inspect anfusion of autobiographical riches, con- other newly-completed and princely cerning the authenticity of which garden, but to see some “incomparthere can be no dispute ; and passing able pieces" of Titian or of Raphael, Master Defoe on the one side, and my and to tell the noble amateur of Lord Clarendon, authentic, but pon. Grindling Gibbons and his wonderderous, on the other, there are still ful feats of carving, with benevolent abundant materials from which to purpose of enriching this humble glean the history, both public and genius, the Master of Sayes Court domestic, of this lively and animated drives to town; thence to kiss hands time.
at Court, perhaps, and with pious Shut your eyes, gentle reader! for- horror and courtly curiosity to be. get that there are steam-engines and come aware of the unbecoming pomp iron ways, reformed Houses of Parlia- and extravagance of my Lady Castlement, public meetings, variable funds, maine; thence to the Royal Society, and invariable income-taxes, in this where are many curious tricks of working-day world. Let the old sun- science strangely mingled and mixed shine of romance break upon you up with great discoveries, to be seen through the old rich foliage of that and heard of, and where learned and old old England, which was in story lordly dilettantism does not disdain a and in rhyme, if it never was in the gossip now and then to lighten graver sober light of every day. Never stop discussions; and thence, with ento inquire if the road is safe at night ; counter of many notable names and rather admire the antique pistols in historical personages by the way, to this knave's holsters, and that stout coach again, and home at a quieter steed of his, which was never intended pace along the dewy road, where the to run away, you may be certain, if labourer hastens to be housed before all the highwaymen between Thames nightfall, and the outriding knaves and Humber cried “Stand !" Stout look to their pistols,-for though the rascals are those riders, too, as good country is quiet, the road has no for a blow as any of their inches who great name by night. ride upon the other side of the law; Or if, most worshipful spectator of and with such an escort the gilded these elder ages, your taste directs coach goes at a leisurely pace along you to a gayer scene-lo, only a street the warm and sandy track, threading apart, “mighty fine" in the new the mazes of shadow and sunshine camlet suit, whose bravery he enjoys that chequer all this quiet way. Per- with genuine delight and a profeshaps the worthy gentleman within is sional appreciation, in his new-curled doing a bit of his Sylva, or taking black peruke, his eyes twinkling with notes upon his tablets, or making curiosity, with fun and wickedness, mental memorandums for his diary, see Mr Secretary at his desk in his which he will fill in when he gets office, perchance discussing with natuhome; and looking back upon his ral acuteness some matter of busicomposed and guiltless memory, such ness, or warily receiving a letter vistas of trim gardens rise to his which feels heavy, but which the offivision, such a sheen of dazzling foun- cial's unsuspecting faculties will take tains glitter in the sun, such fair and no cognisance of at present. If you goodly terraces, such winding alleys have real business to transact, and of green shade, such artful delusions can but catch this twinkling eye, you and tricks of perspective expand be will forth with entertain a higher opi. fore him, that these fair bright homelynion of Mr Secretary Pepys; for a fields map themselves out to his fancy clear understanding and some sharp in labyrinths and mazes of intricate bits of insight are in tbe pleasureart, and nature smirks out of her loving officer of the Admiralty, and quaintly fashioned livery, but keeps he does not fail to despatch your her bloom and her luxuriance still, affairs out of hand with the true ecoand flings her flowers and green nomy of promptitude, having various leaves in handfuls at the feet of Eve- more pleasurable engagements in his lyn, in mockery of all he would do faithful memory. And now it is noon : perhaps Mr Pepys has a veni- our wife, “poor wretch" no longer, is son pasty at home, where his wife, discovered in high spirits ; and so, " poor wretch,'' grumbles to know of having posted our diary, “to bed," the gay programme of her husband's with more virtuous resolutions for afternoon, yet is not without projects the morrow. of her own, and is little less fine in So, according to the representation her tabby gown, turned and newly of each, is the daily life of John laced, than Samuel himself; and now, Evelyn and of Samuel Pepys. A large having locked up our office like a good amount of business somehow or other subject and honest official, having manages to get transacted by the dined with our wife at home like a bustling hands of the pleasure-loving loyal and loving husband, and gene- secretary; and it is wonderful how rally satisfied all the requirements of much grave and decorous festivity, duty and propriety-now for our own sight-seeing, and merry-making, acprivate and particular delights. It is cumulate in the busy days of the odd if these twinkling eyes do not lofty gentleman, his neighbour and make observations at the playhouse, contemporary. Both have their hands piquant and relishing, of the regnant full of perpetual negotiations; not a Mrs Nelly, or the presumptuous my maneuvring mamma in a fashionable lady, who fills with scandalised but novel makes more matches than the most lively curiosity a hundred look- learned and courtly Evelyn; and as ers-on more scrupulous than Mr for Samuel, his gloryings over one Pepys; and perhaps a little episode successful enterprise of the kind, his behind the scenes gives a still more delight at my lady's acknowledgment piquant conclusion to the beloved di. of his cousinship, and his tribulations vertisement. Then, it may be, we on account of the bashful bridegroom, have a stroll in the Exchange, to are as amusing as they are charactercheapen gloves of a famous beauty, istic. No modern glossings over of who does not disdain to vend her deli- the bargain, no sentimentality of cate wares, embroidered in gold, to attachment or congenial feelings, are the Court gallants, among whom we necessary in these honest records; it swagger with the best; and close by is enough, as well for the high-prinhere is some singular rarity, which cipled Evelyn as for the less particumay be a fine picture, or an old awful lar Pepys, that the estates and posemblazoned mannscript, an artful sessions of their protégés are conautomaton, or a conjuror, to whom genial, and afford mutual satisfaction, many-bladed knives and burning coals whereupon they proceed with downare wholesome daily fare, but which, right sincerity to the less important whatever it is, we do not fail, with matter of personal introduction, nor most observant curiosity, to see and leave the passive pair, whom we can take diligent note of. From this we scarcely suspect of being the principal hasten, with still more pleasurable performers, till their little drama of a anticipations, to present to our Valen- day is fairly concluded, with settletine the embroidered gloves we have ments signed and responses given, jast purchased from the humbler and another wedding added to the beauty, but passing near our own records of fate. Other negotiations house encounter, much discomfited, besides these occupy the active minds the French servant of a Mr Somebody of the contemporaries. Mr Secretary whom our wife has had acquaintance has much in his power, and can with in France, and are straightway procare contracts, victuallings, shipoverwhelmed with a host of suchlike buildings, for such honest craftsmen as small jealousies as we ourselves com- recommend themselves in a due and saplacently compassionate in our wife; tisfactory manner to his human or offiafter which, though on returning cial preference; and Mr Evelyn stands, home we have a very nice supper and a sort of self-constituted plenipotenmuch music, playing on the viol our tiary and ambassador, between the selves with great relish, and listening arts and their noble patrons-between to the songs of our companions, we the great nobleman who does not know find the day somewhat beclouded the value of his antiquities, and the looking back upon it, especially as eager representatives of learning who would fain possess them; and, nobler what is this to the positive coat-armour and better office still, & voluntary of accomplishment and perfection in almoner between the rich and the which the youthful gentleman of King poor. Both are men of singular Charles I. was expected to indue energy, brave, active, and full of himself?—not an easy working day vigour, long livers, keen observers, costume, flexible to ordinary human each with an insight of his own; and modes of operation, nor a fancy suit whether we admire the courage which of æsthetics and philanthropies, such keeps Mr Pepys in London at his as does credit to the youth of leisure post through all the horrors of the and wealth in these days, but such a plague-a courage which he cannot pomp of buckram and embroidery, help admiring himself, with a mixture such wonderful Admirable Crichtonof wonder at his own intrepidity-orism, such virtuosity, that modern the promptitude which brings Evelyn accomplishments must fall back disto Court through the hot and perilous mayed before the ponderous splendour, streets of the still burning city, with and modern schoolmasters- let them his “ plot” for a new London—it is be abroad as much as they will impossible to mistake the readiness shrink in conscious inferiority from for emergencies, the strength of exer- the task of competing with this tion, and quick perception of necessity ancient manufacture of the polished which distinguished these most dis- gentleman,-a curious production of similar men.
antique fashion and slow pace, it may With a stately bow of respect, be, yet we cannot deny with rare and owed fully more to his own import- noble qualities, and a solemn grace, ance than to his audience, John the glory whereof has departed from Evelyn presents himself to the cour- this realm of England many a day teous bearing of posterity. Third and long. son of Richard Evelyn of Wotton, To complete this weighty and eladescendant of sundry families and borate process of self-manufacture, persons of repute, whose names figure and not without a prudent motive, by in county lists and on white marble the way, of removing himself from tombstones, it would not beseem the the disastrous scene of civil war, well-born and well-mannered patri- wherein, as Mr Evelyn wisely says, cian to burst upon us without an he and his brothers, from the locality introduction. He who at six years of their estates, would but have exold sits for his picture, and at a still posed themselves to certain ruin, earlier period lays foundation-stones without doing corresponding service of local churches, is marked already to the cause of King Charles, our by the public seal a small representa- youthful Paladin sets forth upon his tive of all constitutional dignities, travels, father and mother being dead church and state; and it is by no by this time, and the family home at means difficult to realise the minia. Wotton become his brother's inheriture man, or rather miniature gentle tance. After a most stately and man and courtier, in his little velvet edifying fashion these travels are coat and dainty ruffles, his cravat of conducted, and when he has visited point lace and inch of sword. Yet Rome and the greater cities of Italy, there is a satisfaction in knowing that Evelyn returns to Paris to marry little Evelyn has heart to be idle, after a very young and very fair wife, all, and is able to indulge, though daughter of the English ambassador solemnly and with self-reproof, in the there, whom he has to leave very whims and erratic studies of youth. shortly, making his will with all Farther on we have even dancing and solemnity, to look after his affairs in trifling added to the catalogue, though England. After an absence of a not without a suspicion that all the year and a-half he returns to Paris, lofty stripling's trifling and dancing King Charles of blessed memory being are only additional modes of perfect- by this time the saint and martyr ing the education which is not com- instead of the struggling monarch of plete without these lighter appendages. his scattered party. By and by, a Talk of modern education, with all its formal return of the family is made to strain and all its facts and figures! but England, where they manage to live very comfortably, as it seems, and exile, an“ unnatural usurpation," not without much interchange of even a sequestered church, entirely pleasant visitings and occasions of fail to overthrow the natural balance. rejoicing, multiplying and growing Daily human life, which can make rich during the time of that “unnatu- nothing of the seven-leagued boots of ral usurpation" which kept the vir- history, but must tread on its ordinary tuous Charles II. from his father's pace with its prosaic ordinary footing, throne. There is nothing more re- walks through revolutions blindfolded, markable in all contemporary histories nor ever finds out what burning coals of a troubled era than the quiet tenor it has passed over, nor what pitfalls of everyday, which, after all, public it has escaped, till long after looking events agitate so little. To see, back upon them, in the light of instead of the intense engrossing ex- recollection, when many a time the citement which we look for, the busy pulse quickens and the heart beats to plotting and perpetual ferment of so perceive dangers at the time unsingular a period of national transition, known. and so high a tide of faction and With no such solemn introduction party feeling, long lapses of quiet as his more dignified contemporary, days, wherein common people go Mr Secretary Pepys bustles into our about common business, when sales presence on the eve of a new time. are made and peaceable marriages, Left entirely in the dark, not only in babies born and gardens planned, respect to the colour of hair and stawhen travelling gentlemen have ture of person belonging to the paleisure to get robbed, and virtuoso ternal Pepys, but to the very existence ladies to make collections of china, of such an individual, Samuel, spruce, and all the world to go on by the full-grown, and curious, comes with a hour, according to its wont, in the sudden leap out of chaos and the uncalm unconsciousness of human cus- known, and reveals himself, no growth tom, has a singular effect upon the of years, no proper little boy, and distant spectator - vision of posterity. much-educated young man, but an Good posterity of two hundred years achieved and complete personage, a hence, perusing with curious interest fait accompli to our admiring eyesthese worn and yellow pages for with a wife and a servant Jane, a sake of the insight they may throw faithful adherence to “ my Lord," a upon the perplexing history of the place in an office, a house in Axe great Russian war! Not a doubt you Yard—where, nevertheless, he lives will find in the brown enclosure of in the garret-a suit with great skirts Maga something on the subject to con- (for Pepys is not Pepys without his vince you that British soil trembles all costume), and a private condition over with eager interest—that at board " very handsome, esteemed rich, but and fireside there is no other matter indeed very poor." In such aspect is worthy of discussion-that troops and it that Samuel Pepys rises upon the supplies — far-away movements of horizon, a man even then of much fleets and armies—far-off echoes of business and many occupations artillery and din of battle, ring through young, alert, and full of curiosity, “a every household. Believe it not. The rising man," as the phrase goes-misshowl of little Johnnie, newly tumbled ing no opportunity of either advancedown stairs, is a much more moving ment or emolument, and quite ready sound than the Cossack war-cry in to strike in with the tide, however it the distant fight; and not a resound- may turn; nor much caring, as it ing gun of all these armaments sball seems, whether Charles Rex or Richard thrill our domestic heart with such Protector win the day, so that my potential horror as those three sharp lord, and of natural consequence my strokes at which, with an instinctive lord's dutiful and serviceable kinsman, shudder, we acknowledge the presence have a sufficiently good chance of getof the tax-collector, the most dread ting to the top of the wave. officer of state. In like manner By and by, the lesser stars and sayonder ancient days pass over the tellites of Samuel appear in the firheads of John Evelyn and Mary his mament. Not to speak of the poor wife. A royal martyr and a royal wife who burns her hand making ready