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Page 169

CHAPTER VIII
PURITANS AND CAVALIERS II

we can read first-hand accounts of the Merry Monarch and of his no less merry ladies, the fair Nell Gwynn and the Duchess of Cleveland. In 1666 he tells us the full story of the Great Fire of London, and in 1685 gives us an account of the death and attainments of his nineteen-year-old daughter, Mary Evelyn, that is heartrending in its very simplicity.
But in intimate discussion-or perhaps we should say dissection-of himself John Evelyn was surpassed by his lively contemporary, Pepys.
Samuel Pepys, 1633-1703, was the son of a London tailor, and was educated at St Paul's School and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 166o, through the good offices of his cousin, Sir Edward Montagu (afterwards Earl of Sandwich), he was appointed Clerk of the King's Ships, and in 1686 became Secretary to the Admiralty, a position that he held till 16 88 when the flight of James II., and the arrival of William III., brought about a change of government that was unfavourable to his party.
Pepys was an efficient public servant, but it is on his extraordinarily frank Diary that his fame rests. From New Year's Day 1660 to May 29th 1 669 he jotted down in a curious kind of shorthand that he himself had invented everything that happened to him, everything that happened to his wife (so far as he knew it), and all his most trivial thoughts. Never before or since has anyone put on paper such a complete and candid record of himself, and why Pepys should have done so must ever remain a mystery. As in the case of Evelyn it was many years before this Diary saw the light, for it was not published until 18 a 5; but since then, as a writer has well put it, " its worth, historical, social, and personal, has been

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