Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/238

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218
THE PURITANS

drunkenness was fined, and all Sunday amusements were stopped, till the country wore an air of gloomy satisfaction, very unlike the merrie England of Queen Elizabeth.

A Republican simplicity ruled supreme—the reformed style of living resembled the old Saxon coarseness. The Protector's wife set an example of pious plainness. She ate marrow puddings for breakfast, and fed her husband on sausages of hog's liver. When she suspected general discontent in her household she was heard to remark: "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace." Nevertheless, when the huge experiment of the Commonwealth was ended and all is said and done, when two centuries and more have matured the harsh austerity of the Puritans and toughened the graceful ease and luxury of the Cavaliers, it must be owned that Puritanism left the mass of Englishmen what it made them, "serious, earnest, sober in life and conduct, firm in their love of … freedom." It introduced a note of sobriety and purity into English society; it imposed self-restraint, simplicity of living, stern justice, and elevation of thought, and it has been thoughtfully said that the "whole history of English progress since the Restoration … has been the history of Puritanism."