EARLY LETTERS. WINTER AND SPRING 1652-53
THIS first chapter begins with a long letter, dated from Chicksands some time in the autumn of 1652, when Temple has returned to England after a long absence. It takes us up to March 1653, about the end of which time Dorothy went to London and met Temple again. The engagement she mentions must have been one that her parents were forcing upon her, and it was not until the London visit, I fancy, that her friendship progressed beyond its original limits; but in this matter the reader of Dorothy's letters will be as well able to judge as myself.
Letter I.Goring House, where Dorothy and Temple had last parted, was in 1646 appointed by the House of Commons for the reception of the French Ambassador. In 1665 it was the town house of Mr. Secretary Bennet, afterwards Lord Arlington. Its grounds stood much in the position of the present Arlington Street, and Evelyn speaks of it as an ill-built house, but capable of being made a pretty villa.
Dorothy mentions, among other things, that she has been "drinking the waters," though she does not say at what place. It would be either at Barnet, Epsom, or Tunbridge, all of which places are mentioned by contemporary letter-writers as health resorts. At Barnet there was a calcareous spring with a small portion of sea salt in it, which, as we may gather from a later letter, had been but recently discovered. This spring was afterwards, in the year 1677, endowed by one John Owen, who left the sum of £1 to keep the well in repair "as long as it should be of service to the parish." Towards the end of last century, Lyson mentions that the well was in decay and little used. One wonders what has become of John Owen's legacy. The Epsom spring had been discovered earlier in the century. It was the first of its kind found in England. The town was already a place of fashionable resort on account of its mineral waters; they are mentioned as of European celebrity; and as early as 1609 a ball-room was erected, avenues were planted, and neither Bath nor Tunbridge could rival Epsom in the splendour of their appointments. Towards the beginning of the last century, however, the waters gradually lost their reputation. Tunbridge Wells, the last of the three watering-places that Dorothy may have visited, is still flourishing and fashionable. Its springs are said to have been discovered by Lord North in 1606; and the fortunes of the place were firmly established by a visit paid to the springs by Queen Henrietta Maria, acting under medical advice, in 1630, shortly after the birth of Prince Charles. At this date there was no adequate accommodation for the royal party, and Her Majesty had to live in tents on the banks of the spring. An interesting account of the early legends and gradual growth of Tunbridge Wells is to be found in a guide-book of 1768, edited by one Mr. J. Sprange.
The elderly man who proposed to Dorothy was Sir Justinian Isham, Bart., of Lamport in Northamptonshire. He himself was about forty-two years of age at this time, and had lost his first wife (by whom he had four daughters) in 1638. The Rev. W. Betham, with that optimism which is characteristic of compilers of peerages, thinks "that he was esteemed one of the most accomplished persons of the time, being a gentleman, not only of fine learning, but famed for his piety and exemplary life." Dorothy thinks otherwise, and writes of him as "the vainest, impertinent, self-conceited, learned coxcomb that ever yet I saw." Peerages in Dorothy's style would perhaps be unprofitable writing. The "Emperor," as Dorothy calls him in writing to Temple, may feel thankful that his epitaph was in others hands than hers. He appears to have proposed to her more than once, and evidently had her brother's good offices, which I fear were not much in his favour with Dorothy. He ultimately married the daughter of Thomas Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh, some time in the following year.
Sir Thomas Osborne, a Yorkshire baronet, afterwards Earl of Danby, is a name not unknown in history. He was a cousin of Dorothy; his mother, Elizabeth Danvers, being Dorothy's aunt. He afterwards married Lady Bridget Lindsay, the Earl of Lindsay's daughter, and the marriage is mentioned in due course, with Dorothy's comments. His leadership of the "Country Party," when the reins of government were taken from the discredited Cabal, is not matter for these pages, neither are we much concerned to know that he was greedy of wealth and honours, corrupt himself, and a corrupter of others. This is the conventional character of all statesmen of all dates and in all ages, reflected in the mirror of envious opposition; no one believes the description to be true. Judged by the moral standard of his contemporaries, he seems to have been at least of average height. How near was Dorothy to the high places of the State when this man and Henry Cromwell were among her suitors! Had she been an ambitious woman, illustrious historians would have striven to do justice to her character in brilliant periods, and there would be no need at this day for her to claim her place among the celebrated women of England.
Sir,There is nothing moves my charity like gratitude; and when a beggar is thankful for a small relief, I always repent it was not more. But seriously, this place will not afford much towards the enlarging of a letter, and I am grown so dull with living in't (for I am not willing to confess yet I was always so) as to need all helps. Yet you shall see I will endeavour to satisfy you, upon condition you will tell me why you quarrelled so at your last letter. I cannot guess at it, unless it were that you repented you told me so much of your story, which I am not apt to believe neither, because it would not become our friendship, a great part of it consisting (as I have been taught) in a mutual confidence. And to let you see that I believe it so, I will give you an account of myself, and begin my story, as you did yours, from our parting at Goring House.
I came down hither not half so well pleased as I went up, with an engagement upon me that I had little hope of shaking off, for I had made use of all the liberty my friends would allow me to preserve my own, and 'twould not do; he was so weary of his, that he would part with it upon any terms. As my last refuge I got my brother to go down with him to see his house, who, when he came back, made the relation I wished. He said the seat was as ill as so good a country would permit, and the house so ruined for want of living in't, as it would ask a good proportion of time and money to make it fit for a woman to confine herself to. This (though it were not much) I was willing to take hold of, and made it considerable enough to break the engagement. I had no quarrel to his person or his fortune, but was in love with neither, and much out of love with a thing called marriage; and have since thanked God I was so, for 'tis not long since one of my brothers writ me word of him that he was killed in a duel, though since I have heard that 'twas the other that was killed, and he is fled upon 't, which does not mend the matter much. Both made me glad I had 'scaped him, and sorry for his misfortune, which in earnest was the least return his many civilities to me could deserve.
Presently, after this was at an end, my mother died, and I was left at liberty to mourn her loss awhile. At length my aunt (with whom I was when you last saw me) commanded me to wait on her at London; and when I came, she told me how much I was in her care, how well she loved me for my mother's sake, and something for my own, and drew out a long set speech which ended in a good motion (as she call'd it); and truly I saw no harm in't, for by what I had heard of the gentleman I guessed he expected a better fortune than mine. And it proved so. Yet he protested he liked me so well, that he was very angry my father would not be persuaded to give £1000 more with me; and I him so ill, that I vowed if I had £1000 less I should have thought it too much for him. And so we parted. Since, he has made a story with a new mistress that is worth your knowing, but too long for a letter. I'll keep it for you.
After this, some friends that had observed a gravity in my face which might become an elderly man's wife (as they term'd it) and a mother-in-law, proposed a widower to me, that had four daughters, all old enough to be my sisters; but he had a great estate, was as fine a gentleman as ever England bred, and the very pattern of wisdom. I that knew how much I wanted it, thought this the safest place for me to engage in, and was mightily pleased to think I had met with one at last that had wit enough for himself and me too. But shall I tell you what I thought when I knew him (you will say nothing on't): 'twas the vainest, impertinent, self-conceited, learned coxcomb that ever yet I saw; to say more were to spoil his marriage, which I hear is towards with a daughter of my Lord Coleraine's; but for his sake I shall take care of a fine gentleman as long as I live.
Before I have quite ended with him, coming to town about that and some other occasions of my own, I fell in Sir Thomas's way; and what humour took I cannot imagine, but he made very formal addresses to me, and engaged his mother and my brother to appear in't. This bred a story pleasanter than any I have told you yet, but so long a one that I must reserve it till we meet, or make it a letter of itself.
The next thing I designed to be rid on was a scurvy spleen that I have been subject to, and to that purpose was advised to drink the waters. There I spent the latter end of the summer, and at my coming home found that a gentleman (who has some estate in this country) had been treating with my brother, and it yet goes on fair and softly. I do not know him so much as to give you much of his character: 'tis a modest, melancholy, reserved man, whose head is so taken up with little philosophic studies, that I admire how I found a room there. 'Twas sure by chance; and unless he is pleased with that part of my humour which other people think the worst, 'tis very possible the next new experiment may crowd me out again. Thus you have all my late adventures, and almost as much as this paper will hold. The rest shall be employed in telling you how sorry I am you have got such a cold. I am the more sensible of your trouble by my own, for I have newly got one myself. But I will send you that which was to cure me. 'Tis like the rest of my medicines: if it do no good, 'twill be sure to do no harm, and 'twill be no great trouble to take a little on't now and then; for the taste on't, as it is not excellent, so 'tis not very ill. One thing more I must tell you, which is that you are not to take it ill that I mistook your age by my computation of your journey through this country; for I was persuaded t'other day that I could not be less than thirty years old by one that believed it himself, because he was sure it was a great while since he had heard of such a one as
Your humble servant.
Letter 2.This letter, which is dated, comes, I think, at some distance of time from the first letter. Dorothy may have dated her letters to ordinary folk; but as she writes to her servant once a week at least, she seems to have considered dates to be superfluous. When Temple is in Ireland, her letters are generally dated with the day of the month. Temple had probably returned from a journey into Yorkshire,his travels in Holland were over some time ago,and passing through Bedford within ten miles of Chicksands, he neglected to pay his respects to Dorothy, for which he is duly called to account in Letter 3.
December 24, 1652.
Your humble servant,
For Mrs. Paynter,
In Covent Garden.
(Keep this letter till it be called for.)
January 2nd, 1653.
Sir, your humble servant.
Letter 4.The story of the king who renounced the league with his too fortunate friend is told in the third book of Herodotus. Amasis is the king, and Polycrates the confederate. Dorothy may have read the story in one of the French translations, either that of Pierre Saliat, a cramped duodecimo published in 1580, or that of P. du Ryer, a magnificent folio published in 1646.
My Lord of Holland's daughter, Lady Diana Rich, was one of Dorothy's dearest and most intimate friends. Dorothy had a high opinion of her excellent wit and noble character, which she is never tired of repeating. We find allusions to her in many of these letters; she is called "My lady," and her name is always linked to expressions of tenderness and esteem. Her father, Henry Rich, Lord Holland, the second son of the Earl of Warwick, has found place in sterner history than this. He was concerned in a rising in 1648, when the King was in the Isle of Wight, the object of which was to rescue and restore the royal prisoner. This rising, like Sir Thomas Peyton's, miscarried, and he suffered defeat at Kingston-on-Thames, on July 7th of that year. He was pursued, taken prisoner, and kept in the Tower until after the King's execution. Then he was brought to trial, and, in accordance with the forms and ceremonies of justice, adjudged to death. His head was struck off before the gate of Westminster Hall one cold March morning in the following year, and by his side died Capel and the Duke of Hamilton. By marriage he acquired Holland House, Kensington, which afterwards passed by purchase into the hands of a very different Lord Holland, and has become famous among the houses of London. Of his daughter, Lady Diana, I can learn nothing but that she died unmarried. She seems to have been of a lively, vivacious temperament, and very popular with the other sex. There is a slight clue to her character in the following scrap of letter-writing still preserved among some old manuscript papers of the Hutton family. She writes to Mr. Hutton to escort her in the Park, adding" This, I am sure, you will do, because I am a friend to the tobacco-box, and such, I am sure, Mr. Hutton will have more respect for than for any other account that could be pretended unto by
"Your humble servant."
This, with Dorothy's praise, gives us a cheerful opinion of Lady Diana, of whom we must always wish to know more.
January 22nd .
And to remove the opinions you have of my niceness, or being hard to please, let me assure you I am far from desiring my husband should be fond of me at threescore, that I would not have him so at all. 'Tis true I should be glad to have him always kind, and know no reason why he should be wearier of being my master, than he was of being my servant. But it is very possible I may talk ignorantly of marriage; when I come to make sad experiments on it in my own person I shall know more, and say less, for fear of disheartening others (since 'tis no advantage to foreknow a misfortune that cannot be avoided), and for fear of being pitied, which of all things I hate. Lest you should be of the same humour I will not pity you, lame as you are; and to speak truth, if you did like it, you should not have it, for you do not deserve it. Would any one in the world, but you, make such haste for a new cold before the old had left him; in a year, too, when mere colds kill as many as a plague used to do? Well, seriously, either resolve to have more care of yourself, or I renounce my friendship; and as a certain king (that my learned knight is very well acquainted with), who, seeing one of his confederates in so happy a condition as it was not likely to last, sent his ambassador presently to break off the league betwixt them, lest he should be obliged to mourn the change of his fortune if he continued his friend; so I, with a great deal more reason, do declare that I will no longer be a friend to one that's none to himself, nor apprehend the loss of what you hazard every day at tennis. They had served you well enough if they had crammed a dozen ounces of that medicine down your throat to have made you remember a quinzy.
But I have done, and am now at leisure to tell you that it is that daughter of my Lord of Holland (who makes, as you say, so many sore eyes with looking on her) that is here; and if I know her at all, or have any judgment, her beauty is the least of her excellences. And now I speak of her, she has given me the occasion to make a request to you; it will come very seasonably after my chiding, and I have great reason to expect you should be in the humour of doing anything for me. She says that seals are much in fashion, and by showing me some that she has, has set me a-longing for some too; such as are oldest and oddest are most prized, and if you know anybody that is lately come out of Italy, 'tis ten to one but they have a store, for they are very common there. I do remember you once sealed a letter to me with as fine a one as I have seen, it was a Neptune, I think, riding upon a dolphin; but I'm afraid it was not yours, for I saw it no more. My old Roman head is a present for a prince. If such things come in your way, pray remember me. I am sorry my new carrier makes you rise so early, 'tis not good for your cold; how might we do that you might lie a-bed and yet I have your letter? You must use to write before he comes, I think, that it may be sure to be ready against he goes. In earnest consider on't, and take some course that your health and my letters may be both secured, for the loss of either would be very sensible to
Letter 5.—Sir Justinian is the lover here described. He had four daughters, and it is one of Dorothy's favourite jests to offer Temple a mother-in-law's good word if he will pay court to one of them when she has married the "Emperor."
Sir,—Since you are so easy to please, sure I shall not miss it, and if my idle dreams and thoughts will satisfy you, I am to blame if you want long letters. To begin this, let me tell you I had not forgot you in your absence. I always meant you one of my daughters. You should have had your choice, and, trust me, they say some of them are handsome; but since things did not succeed, I thought to have said nothing on't, lest you should imagine I expected thanks for my good intention, or rather lest you should be too much affected with the thought of what you have lost by my imprudence. It would have been a good strengthening to my Party (as you say); but, in earnest, it was not that I aimed at, I only desired to have it in my power to oblige you; and 'tis certain I had proved a most excellent mother-in-law. Oh, my conscience! we should all have joined against him as the common enemy, for those poor young wenches are as weary of his government as I could have been. He gives them such precepts, as they say my Lord of Dorchester gives his wife, and keeps them so much prisoners to a vile house he has in Northamptonshire, that if but once I had let them loose, they and his learning would have been sufficient to have made him mad without my help; but his good fortune would have it otherwise, to which I will leave him, and proceed to give you some reasons why the other motion was not accepted on. The truth is, I had not that longing to ask a mother-in-law's blessing which you say you should have had, for I knew mine too well to think she could make a good one; besides, I was not so certain of his nature as not to doubt whether she might not corrupt it, nor so confident of his kindness as to assure myself that it would last longer than other people of his age and humour. I am sorry to hear he looks ill, though I think there is no great danger of him. 'Tis but a fit of an ague he has got, that the next charm cures, yet he will be apt to fall into it again upon a new occasion, and one knows not how it may work upon his thin body if it comes too often; it spoiled his beauty, sure, before I knew him, for I could never see it, or else (which is as likely) I do not know it when I see it; besides that, I never look for it in men. It was nothing that I expected made me refuse these, but something that I feared; and, seriously, I find I want courage to marry where I do not like. If we should once come to disputes I know who would have the worst on't, and I have not faith enough to believe a doctrine that is often preach'd, which is, that though at first one has no kindness for them, yet it will grow strongly after marriage. Let them trust to it that think good; for my part, I am clearly of opinion (and shall die in't), that, as the more one sees and knows a person that one likes, one has still the more kindness for them, so, on the other side, one is but the more weary of, and the more averse to, an unpleasant humour for having it perpetually by one. And though I easily believe that to marry one for whom we have already some affection will infinitely increase that kindness, yet I shall never be persuaded that marriage has a charm to raise love out of nothing, much less out of dislike.
This is next to telling you what I dreamed and when I rise, but you have promised to be content with it. I would now, if I could, tell you when I shall be in town, but I am engaged to my Lady Diana Rich, my Lord of Holland's daughter (who lies at a gentlewoman's hard by me for sore eyes), that I will not leave the country till she does. She is so much a stranger here, and finds so little company, that she is glad of mine till her eyes will give her leave to look out better. They are mending, and she hopes to be at London before the end of this next term; and so do I, though I shall make but a short stay, for all my business there is at an end when I have seen you, and told you my stories. And, indeed, my brother is so perpetually from home, that I can be very little, unless I would leave my father altogether alone, which would not be well. We hear of great disorders at your masks, but no particulars, only they say the Spanish gravity was much discomposed. I shall expect the relation from you at your best leisure, and pray give me an account how my medicine agrees with your cold. This if you can read it, for 'tis strangely scribbled, will be enough to answer yours, which is not very long this week; and I am grown so provident that I will not lay out more than I receive, but I am just withal, and therefore you know how to make mine longer when you please; though, to speak truth, if I should make this so, you would hardly have it this week, for 'tis a good while since 'twas call'd for.
Your humble servant.
Letter 6.—The journey that Temple is about to take may be a projected journey with the Swedish Embassy, which was soon to set out. Temple was, apparently, on the look-out for some employment, and we hear at different times of his projected excursions into foreign lands. As a matter of fact, he stayed in and near London until the spring of 1654, when he went to Ireland with his father, who was then reinstated in his office of Master of the Rolls.
Whether the Mr. Grey here written of made love to one or both of the ladies—Jane Seymour and Anne Percy—it is difficult now to say. I have been able to learn nothing more on the subject than Dorothy tells us. This, however, we know for certain, that they both married elsewhere; Lady Jane Seymour, the Duke of Somerset's daughter, marrying Lord Clifford of Lonesborough, the son of the Earl of Burleigh, and living to 1679, when she was buried in Westminster Abbey. Poor Lady Anne Percy, daughter of the Earl of Northumberland, and niece of the faithless Lady Carlisle of whom we read in these letters, was already married at this date to Lord Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield's heir. She died — probably in childbed — in November of next year (1654), and was buried at Petworth with her infant son.
Lady Anne Wentworth was the daughter of the famous and ill-fated Earl of Strafford. She married Lord Rockingham.
The reader will remember that "my lady" is Lady Diana Rich.
March 5th .Sir,—I know not how to oblige so civil a person as you are more than by giving you the occasion of serving a fair lady. In sober earnest, I know you will not think it a trouble to let your boy deliver these books and this enclosed letter where it is directed for my lady, whom I would, the fainest in the world, have you acquainted with, that you might judge whether I had not reason to say somebody was to blame. But had you reason to be displeased that I said a change in you would be much more pardonable than in him? Certainly you had not. I spake it very innocently, and out of a great sense how much she deserves more than anybody else. I shall take heed though hereafter what I write, since you are so good at raising doubts to persecute yourself withal, and shall condemn my own easy faith no more; for me 'tis a better-natured and a less fault to believe too much than to distrust where there is no cause. If you were not so apt to quarrel, I would tell you that I am glad to hear your journey goes forwarder, but you would presently imagine that 'tis because I would be glad if you were gone; need I say that 'tis be cause I prefer your interest much before my own, because I would not have you lose so good a diversion and so pleasing an entertainment (as in all likelihood this voyage will be to you), and because the sooner you go, the sooner I may hope for your return. If it be necessary, I will confess all this, and something more, which is, that notwithstanding all my gallantry and resolution, 'tis much for my credit that my courage is put to no greater a trial than parting with you at this distance. But you are not going yet neither, and therefore we'll leave the discourse on't till then, if you please, for I find no great entertainment in't. And let me ask you whether it be possible that Mr. Grey makes love, they say he does, to my Lady Jane Seymour? If it were expected that one should give a reason for their passions, what could he say for himself? He would not offer, sure, to make us believe my Lady Jane a lovelier person than my Lady Anne Percy. I did not think I should have lived to have seen his frozen heart melted, 'tis the greatest conquest she will ever make; may it be happy to her, but in my opinion he has not a good-natured look. The younger brother was a servant, a great while, to my fair neighbour, but could not be received; and in earnest I could not blame her. I was his confidante and heard him make his addresses; not that I brag of the favour he did me, for anybody might have been so that had been as often there, and he was less scrupulous in that point than one would have been that had had less reason. But in my life I never heard a man say more, nor less to the purpose; and if his brother have not a better gift in courtship, he will owe my lady's favour to his fortune rather than to his address. My Lady Anne Wentworth I hear is marrying, but I cannot learn to whom; nor is it easy to guess who is worthy of her. In my judgment she is, without dispute, the finest lady I know (one always excepted); not that she is at all handsome, but infinitely virtuous and discreet, of a sober and very different humour from most of the young people of these times, but has as much wit and is as good company as anybody that ever I saw. What would you give that I had but the wit to know when to make an end of my letters? Never anybody was persecuted with such long epistles; but you will pardon my unwillingness to leave you, and notwithstanding all your little doubts, believe that I am very much
Your faithful friend
and humble servant,
Letter 7.—There seem to have been two carriers bringing letters to Dorothy at this time, Harrold and Collins; we hear something of each of them in the following letters. Those who have seen the present-day carriers in some unawakened market-place in the Midlands,—heavy, rumbling, two-horse cars of huge capacity, whose three miles an hour is fast becoming too sluggish for their enfranchised clients; those who have jolted over the frozen ruts of a fen road, behind their comfortable Flemish horses, and heard the gossip of the farmers and their wives, the grunts of the discontented baggage pig, and the encouraging shouts of the carrier; those, in a word, who have travelled in a Lincolnshire carrier's cart, have, I fancy, a more correct idea of Dorothy's postmen and their conveyances than any I could quote from authority or draw from imagination.
Lord Lisle was the son of Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester, and brother of the famous Algernon. He sat in the Long Parliament for Yarmouth, in the Isle of Wight, and afterwards became a member of the Upper House. Concerning his embassage to Sweden this is again proposed to him in September 1653, but, as we read in the minutes of the Council, "when he was desired to proceed, finding himself out of health, he desired to be excused, whereupon Council still wishing to send the embassy—the Queen of Sweden being favourably inclined to the Commonwealth—pitched upon Lord Whitelocke, who was willing to go."
To Lady Sunderland and Mr. Smith there are several amusing references in these letters. Lady Sunderland was the daughter of the Earl of Leicester, and sister of Algernon Sydney. She was born in 1620, and at the age of nineteen married Henry Lord Spencer, who was killed in the battle of Newbury in 1642. After her husband's death, she retired to Brington in Northamptonshire, until, wearied with the heavy load of housekeeping, she came to live with her father and mother at Penshurst. In the Earl of Leicester's journal, under date Thursday, July 8th, 1652, we find :—" My daughter Spencer was married to Sir Robert Smith at Penshurst, my wife being present with my daughters Strangford, and Lacy Pelham, Algernon and Robin Sydney, etc.; but I was in London." From this we may imagine the Earl did not greatly approve the match. The ubiquitous Evelyn was there, too, to see "ye marriage of my old fellow collegian Mr. Robt. Smith;" and the place being full of company, he probably enjoyed himself vastly. Lady Sunderland was the Sacharissa of Waller the poet.
Sir,—I am so great a lover of my bed myself that I can easily apprehend the trouble of rising at four o'clock these cold mornings. In earnest, I'm troubled that you should be put to it, and have chid the carrier for coming out so soon; he swears to me he never comes out of town before eleven o'clock, and that my Lady Paynter's footman (as he calls him) brings her letters two hours sooner than he needs to do. I told him he was gone one day before the letter came; he vows he was not, and that your old friend Collins never brought letters of my Lady Paynter's in his life; and, to speak truth, Collins did not bring me that letter. I had it from this Harrold two hours before Collins came. Yet it is possible all that he says may not be so, for I have known better men than he lie; therefore if Collins be more for your ease or conveniency, make use of him hereafter. I know not whether my letter were kind or not, but I'll swear yours was not, and am sure mine was meant to be so. It is not kind in you to desire an increase of my friendship; that is to doubt it is not as great already as it can be, than which you cannot do me a greater injury. 'Tis my misfortune indeed that it lies not in my power to give you better testimony on't than words, otherwise I should soon convince you that 'tis the best quality I have, and that where I own a friendship, I mean so perfect a one, as time can neither lessen nor increase. If I said nothing of my coming to town, 'twas because I had nothing to say that I thought you would like to hear. For I do not know that ever I desired anything earnestly in my life, but 'twas denied me, and I am many times afraid to wish a thing merely lest my Fortune should take that occasion to use me ill. She cannot see, and therefore I may venture to write that I intend to be in London if it be possible on Friday or Saturday come sennight. Be sure you do not read it aloud, lest she hear it, and prevent me, or drive you away before I come. It is so like my luck, too, that you should be going I know not whither again; but trust me, I have looked for it ever since I heard you were come home. You will laugh, sure, when I shall tell you that hearing that my Lord Lisle was to go ambassador into Sweden, I remember'd your father's acquaintance in that family with an apprehension that he might be in the humour of sending you with him. But for God's sake whither is it that you go? I would not willingly be at such a loss again as I was after your Yorkshire journey. If it prove as long a one, I shall not forget you; but in earnest I shall be so possessed with a strong splenetic fancy that I shall never see you more in this world, as all the waters in England will not cure. Well, this is a sad story; we'll have no more on't.
I humbly thank you for your offer of your head; but if you were an emperor, I should not be so bold with you as to claim your promise; you might find twenty better employments for't. Only with your gracious leave, I think I should be a little exalted with remembering that you had been once my friend; 'twould more endanger my growing proud than being Sir Justinian's mistress, and yet he thought me pretty well inclin'd to't then. Lord! what would I give that I had a Latin letter of his for you, that he writ to a great friend at Oxford, where he gives him a long and learned character of me; 'twould serve you to laugh at this seven years. If I remember what was told me on't, the worst of my faults was a height (he would not call it pride) that was, as he had heard, the humour of my family; and the best of my commendations was, that I was capable of being company and conversation for him. But you do not tell me yet how you found him out. If I had gone about to conceal him, I had been sweetly serv'd. I shall take heed of you hereafter; because there is no very great likelihood of your being an emperor, or that, if you were, I should have your head. I have sent into Italy for seals; 'tis to be hoped by that time mine come over, they may be of fashion again, for 'tis an humour that your old acquaintance Mr. Smith and his lady have brought up; they say she wears twenty strung upon a ribbon, like the nuts boys play withal, and I do not hear of anything else. Mr. Howard presented his mistress but a dozen such seals as are not to be valued as times now go. But à propos of Monsr. Smith, what a scape has he made of my Lady Barbury; and who would e'er have dreamt he should have had my Lady Sunderland, though he be a very fine gentleman, and does more than deserve her. I think I shall never forgive her one thing she said of him, which was that she married him out of pity; it was the pitifullest saying that ever I heard, and made him so contemptible that I should not have married him for that reason. This is a strange letter, sure, I have not time to read it over, but I have said anything that came into my head to put you out of your dumps. For God's sake be in better humour, and assure yourself I am as much as you can wish,
Your faithful friend and servant.
Letter 8.—The name of Algernon Sydney occurs more than once in these pages, and it is therefore only right to remind the reader of some of the leading facts in his life. He was born in 1622, and was the second son of Robert Earl of Leicester. He was educated in Paris and Italy, and first served in the army in Ireland. On his recall to England he espoused the popular cause, and fought on that side in the battle of Marston Moor. In 1651 he was elected a member of the Council of State, and in this situation he continued to act until 1653. It is unnecessary to mention his republican sympathies, and after the dismissal of the Parliament, his future actions concern us but little. He was arrested, tried, and executed in 1683, on the pretence of being concerned in the Rye House Plot. Arundel Howard was Henry, second son of the Earl of Arundel. His father died July 12, 1652. Dorothy would call him Arundel Howard, to distinguish him from the Earl of Berkshire's family.
Sir,—You have made me so rich as I am able to help my neighbours. There is a little head cut in an onyx that I take to be a very good one, and the dolphin is (as you say) the better for being cut less; the oddness of the figures makes the beauty of these things. If you saw one that my brother sent my Lady Diana last week, you would believe it were meant to fright people withal; 'twas brought out of the Indies, and cut there for an idol's head: they took the devil himself for their pattern that did it, for in my life I never saw so ugly a thing, and yet she is as fond on't as if it were as lovely as she herself is. Her eyes have not the flames they have had, nor is she like (I am afraid) to recover them here; but were they irrecoverably lost, the beauty of her mind were enough to make her outshine everybody else, and she would still be courted by all that knew how to value her, like la belle aveugle that was Philip the 2nd of France his mistress. I am wholly ignorant of the story you mention, and am confident you are not well inform'd, for 'tis impossible she should ever have done anything that were unhandsome. If I knew who the person were that is concern'd in't, she allows me so much freedom with her, that I could easily put her upon the discourse, and I do not think she would use much of disguise in it towards me. I should have guessed it Algernon Sydney, but that I cannot see in him that likelihood of a fortune which you seem to imply by saying 'tis not present. But if you should mean by that, that 'tis possible his wit and good parts may raise him to one, you must pardon if I am not of your opinion, for I do not think these are times for anybody to expect preferment in that deserves it, and in the best 'twas ever too uncertain for a wise body to trust to. But I am altogether of your mind, that my Lady Sunderland is not to be followed in her marrying fashion, and that Mr. Smith never appear'd less her servant than in desiring it; to speak truth, it was convenient for neither of them, and in meaner people had been plain undoing one another, which I cannot understand to be kindness of either side. She has lost by it much of the repute she had gained by keeping herself a widow; it was then believed that wit and discretion were to be reconciled in her person that have so seldom been persuaded to meet in anybody else. But we are all mortal.
I did not mean that Howard. 'Twas Arundel Howard. And the seals were some remainders that showed his father's love to antiquities, and therefore cost him dear enough if that would make them good. I am sorry I cannot follow your counsel in keeping fair with Fortune. I am not apt to suspect without just cause, but in earnest if I once find anybody faulty towards me, they lose me for ever; I have forsworn being twice deceived by the same person. For God's sake do not say she has the spleen, I shall hate it worse than ever I did, nor that it is a disease of the wits, I shall think you abuse me, for then I am sure it would not be mine; but were it certain that they went together always, I dare swear there is nobody so proud of their wit as to keep it upon such terms, but would be glad after they had endured it a while to let them both go as they came. I know nothing yet that is likely to alter my resolution of being in town on Saturday next; but I am uncertain where I shall be, and therefore it will be best that I send you word when I am there. I should be glad to see you sooner, but that I do not know myself what company I may have with me. I meant this letter longer when I begun it, but an extreme cold that I have taken lies so in my head, and makes it ache so violently, that I hardly see what I do. I'll e'en to bed as soon as I have told you that I am very much
Your faithful friend