Skip to main content

Full text of "The Diary Of John Evelyn Vol-2"


which Mrs. Bridgeman made us on tlje guitar with such
extraordinary skill and dexterity.

16th January, 1684. The Thames was filled with peo-
ple and tents selling all sorts of wares as in the city.

24th January, 1684. The frost continues more and
more severe, the Thames before London was still planted
with booths in formal streets, all sorts of trades and
shops furnished, and full of commodities, even to a
printing- press, whe;re the people and ladies took a fancy
to have their names printed, and the day and year set
down when printed on the Thames: this humor took so
universally, that it was estimated that the printer gained
^5 a day, for printing a line only, at sixpence a name,
besides what he got by ballads, etc. Coaches plied from
Westminster to the Temple, and from several other stairs
to and fro, as in the streets, sleds, sliding with skates,
a bull-baiting, horse and coach-races, puppet-plays and
interludes, cooks, tippling, and other lewd places, so that
it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on
the water, while it was a severe judgment on the land,
the trees not only splitting as if the lightning struck, but
men and cattle perishing in divers places, and the very
seas so locked up with ice, that no vessels could stir out
or come in. The fowls, fish, and birds, and all our
exotic plants and greens, universally perishing. Many
parks of deer were destroyed, and all sorts of fuel so
dear, that there were great contributions to preserve the
poor alive. Nor was this severe weather much less in-
tense in most parts of Europe, even as far as Spain and
the most southern tracts. London, by reason of the ex-
cessive coldness of the air hindering the ascent of the
smoke, was so filled with the fuliginous steam of the
sea-coal, that hardly could one see across the street, and
this filling the lungs with its gross particles, exceedingly
obstructed the breast, so as one could scarcely breathe.
Here was no water to be had from the pipes and engines,
nor could the brewers and divers , other tradesmen
work, and every moment was full of disastrous acci-

4th February, 1684. I went to Sayes Court to see how
the frost had dealt with my garden, where I found many
of the greens and rare plants utterly destroyed. The
oranges and myrtles very sick, the rosemary and laurels of Hercules, fight with the Centaurs,