Friday, 8 May 2015

A Year in Pictures – 7 May 2015 – Watching in the Silence

"Remember the other day when we were down at Saint Olave's, sitting there in the dusky gloom, looking up at the bust of Elizabeth Pepys? And you had just been talking about all she and Sam had been through; the London fire, the plague, the smash-up of two governments, the frights, the flights, the shocks, the sorrows; and there she was, so calm, so secure; and—outside in the street—you could hear it pouring in through the open doors—the dull mutter and rumble of traffic mumbling, 'On, on, on, on'—and you could hear the measured plop-plop of big shaggy hoofs on the cobble-stones, The same old loads were still moving. Same kind of straining horses, bracing their lathery shoulders against the same hot collars, lashed and yelled at by the same cloddish drivers; and Elizabeth, up there, not listening, but hearing; not gladly approving, but accepting…

"So—what? Well—I'm afraid I don't know. I can't quite define it. Maybe it has no bearing at all on the thing I've been trying to talk about... I just know that for an instant, down at Saint Olave's, there came over me an almost stifling wave of—of comprehension. And I said to myself, 'If ever I get into trouble, I should like to be able to come to some place like this, where to-day's struggle and pain is being hammered down hard on top of yesterday's—and let mine be pounded into dust and silence, along with Elizabeth's.’ ”

 From The Green Light, by Lloyd C. Douglas (1877–1951)

The memorial to Elizabeth Pepys (1669) in St Olave Hart Street in the City of London, sculpted by John Bushnell, who also fashioned the royal statues in the Temple Bar.
Elizabeth faces towards the location of the Navy Office gallery pew that once looked down on the main body of the church, and where her husband, Samuel, would have sat with his colleagues. Her face and pose are animated as if she is speaking. Elizabeth died aged only 29, while Samuel lived until the age of 70. They both lie buried in the sealed crypt of the church, along with one of Samuel's brothers.
Samuel never remarried.

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