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

DIARY OF                           LONDON

everybody. Piety was so prevalent an ingredient in her
constitution (as I may say), that even among equals and
superiors she no sooner became intimately acquainted,
but she would endeavor to improve them, by insinuating
something religious, and that tended to bring them to a
love of devotion; she had one or two confidants with
whom she used to pass whole days in fasting, reading,
and prayers, especially before the monthly communion,
and other solemn occasions. She abhorred flattery, and,
though she had abundance of wit, the raillery was so in-
nocent and ingenius that it was most agreeable; she
sometimes would see a play, but since the stage grew
licentious, expressed herself weary of them, and the time
spent at the theater was an unaccountable vanity. She
never played at cards without extreme importunity and
for the company; but this was so very seldom, that I
cannot number it among anything she could name a fault.
No one could read prose or verse better or with more
judgment; and as she read, so she wrote, not only most
correct orthography, with that maturity of judgment and
exactness of the periods, choice of expressions, and
familiarity of style, that some letters of hers have as-
tonished me and others, to whom she has occasionally
written. She had a talent of rehearsing any comical
part or poem, as to them she might be decently free
with; was more pleasing than heard on the theater; she
danced with the greatest grace I had ever seen, and so
would her master say, who was Monsieur Isaac; but she
seldom showed that perfection, save in the gracefulness
of her carriage, which was with an air of sprightly
modesty not easily to be described. Nothing affected,
but natural and easy as well in her deportment as in her
discourse, which was always material, not trifling,- and
to which the extraordinary sweetness of her tone, even
in familar speaking, was very charming. Nothing was
so pretty as her descending to play with little children,
whom she  would caress and humor with great delight.
But she most affected to be with grave and sober men,
of whom she might learn something, and improve her-
self. I have been assisted by her in reading and praying
by me; comprehensive of uncommon notions, curious of
knowing everything to some excess, had I not sometimes
repressed itten