Quips and Cranks and wanton Wiles,
Cromwell himself looked on at masques and revels, and Whitelock, a Puritan lawyer and his ambassador to Sweden, left behind him a reputation for stately and magnificent entertaining, which his admirers could never harmonize with his persistent refusal to conform to the custom of drinking healths. In the report of this embassy printed after Whitelock's return and republished some years ago, occurs one of the best illustrations of Puritan social life at that period.
"How could you pass over their very long winter nights?" was one of the questions asked by the Protector at the first audience after his return from the embassy.
"I kept my people together," was the reply, "and in action and recreation, by having music in my house, and encouraging that and the exercise of dancing, which held them by the eyes and ears, and gave them diversion without any offence. And I caused the gentlemen to have disputations in Latin, and declamations upon words which I gave them."
Cromwell, "Those were very good diversions, and made your house a little academy."
Whitelock, "I thought these recreations better than gaming for money, or going forth to places of debauchery."
Cromwell, "It was much better"
In the Earl of Lincoln's household such amuse-