The Love Letters of Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple

THE LOVE LETTERS OF DOROTHY OSBORNE TO SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE, 1652-54 Edited by Edward Abbott Parry New York, 1901 TO MY DAUGHTER HELEN THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATED EXEMPLI GRATIA Editorial Note It having been noted in the _Athenaeum_, June 9, 1888, that rumours were afloat doubting the authenticity of these letters, and that these rumours
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Edited by Edward Abbott Parry

New York, 1901


Editorial Note

It having been noted in the _Athenaeum_, June 9, 1888, that rumours were afloat doubting the authenticity of these letters, and that these rumours would sink to rest if the history of the originals were published, I hasten to adopt my reviewer’s suggestion, and give an outline of their story. They are at present in the hands of the Rev. Robert Longe at Coddenham Vicarage, Suffolk, where they have been for the last hundred years. At Sir William Temple’s death in 1698, he left no other descendants than two grand-daughters–Elizabeth and Dorothy. Elizabeth died without issue in 1772; Dorothy married Nicholas Bacon, Esq. of Shrubland Hall in the parish of Coddenham. Dorothy left a son, the Rev. Nicholas Bacon, who was vicar of Coddenham. This traces the letters to Coddenham Vicarage. The Rev. Nicholas Bacon dying without issue, bequeathed Coddenham Vicarage, with the pictures and papers therein, to the Rev. John Longe, who had married his wife’s sister. The Rev. John Longe, who died in 1835, was the father of the present owner. This satisfactorily accounts for the letters being in their present hands, and these stated facts will, I trust, set at rest the fears or hopes of sceptics.


MANCHESTER, October 1888.



II. EARLY LETTERS. Winter and Spring 1652-53


IV. DESPONDENCY. Christmas 1653

V. THE LAST OF CHICKSANDS. February and March 1654

VI. VISITING. Summer 1654





“An editor,” says Dr. Johnson, is “he that revises or prepares any work for publication;” and this definition of an editor’s duty seems wholly right and satisfactory. But now that the revision of these letters is apparently complete, the reader has some right to expect a formal introduction to a lady whose name he has, in all probability, never heard; and one may not be overstepping the modest and Johnsonian limits of an editor’s office, when the writing of a short introduction is included among the duties of preparation.

Dorothy Osborne was the wife of the famous Sir William Temple, and apology for her biography will be found in her own letters, here for the first time published. Some of them have indeed been printed in a _Life of Sir William Temple_ by the Right Honourable Thomas Peregrine Courtenay, a man better known to the Tory politician of fifty years ago than to any world of letters in that day or this. Forty-two extracts from these letters did Courtenay transfer to an Appendix, without arrangement or any form of editing, as he candidly confesses; but not without misgivings as to how they would be received by a people thirsting to read the details of the negotiations which took place in connection with the Triple Alliance. If Courtenay lived to learn that the world had other things to do than pore over dull excerpts from inhuman State papers, we may pity his awakening; but we can never quite forgive the apologetic paragraph with which he relegates Dorothy Osborne’s letters to the mouldy obscurity of an Appendix.

When Macaulay was reviewing Courtenay’s book in the _Edinburgh Review_, he took occasion to write a short but living sketch of the early history of Sir William Temple and Dorothy Osborne. And with this account so admirably written, ready at hand, it becomes the clear duty of the Editor to quote rather than to rewrite; which he does with the greater pleasure, remembering that it was this very passage that first led him to read the letters of Dorothy Osborne.

“William Temple, Sir John’s eldest son, was born in London in the year 1628. He received his early education under his maternal uncle, was subsequently sent to school at Bishop-Stortford, and, at seventeen, began to reside at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where the celebrated Cudworth was his tutor. The times were not favourable to study. The Civil War disturbed even the quiet cloisters and bowling-greens of Cambridge, produced violent revolutions in the government and discipline of the colleges, and unsettled the minds of the students. Temple forgot at Emmanuel all the little Greek which he had brought from Bishop-Stortford, and never retrieved the loss; a circumstance which would hardly be worth noticing but for the almost incredible fact, that fifty years later he was so absurd as to set up his own authority against that of Bentley on questions of Greek history and philology. He made no proficiency, either in the old philosophy which still lingered in the schools of Cambridge, or in the new philosophy of which Lord Bacon was the founder. But to the end of his life he continued to speak of the former with ignorant admiration, and of the latter with equally ignorant contempt.

“After residing at Cambridge two years, he departed without taking a degree, and set out upon his travels. He seems to have been then a lively, agreeable young man of fashion, not by any means deeply read, but versed in all the superficial accomplishments of a gentleman, and acceptable in all polite societies. In politics he professed himself a Royalist. His opinions on religious subjects seem to have been such as might be expected from a young man of quick parts, who had received a rambling education, who had not thought deeply, who had been disgusted by the morose austerity of the Puritans, and who, surrounded from childhood by the hubbub of conflicting sects, might easily learn to feel an impartial contempt for them all.

“On his road to France he fell in with the son and daughter of Sir Peter Osborne. Sir Peter held Guernsey for the King, and the young people were, like their father, warm for the Royal cause. At an inn where they stopped in the Isle of Wight, the brother amused himself with inscribing on the windows his opinion of the ruling powers. For this instance of malignancy the whole party were arrested, and brought before the Governor. The sister, trusting to the tenderness which, even in those troubled times, scarcely any gentleman of any party ever failed to show where a woman was concerned, took the crime on herself, and was immediately set at liberty with her fellow-travellers.

“This incident, as was natural, made a deep impression on Temple. He was only twenty. Dorothy Osborne was twenty-one. She is said to have been handsome; and there remains abundant proof that she possessed an ample share of the dexterity, the vivacity, and the tenderness of her sex. Temple soon became, in the phrase of that time, her servant, and she returned his regard. But difficulties, as great as ever expanded a novel to the fifth volume, opposed their wishes. When the courtship commenced, the father of the hero was sitting in the Long Parliament; the father of the heroine was commanding in Guernsey for King Charles. Even when the war ended, and Sir Peter Osborne returned to his seat at Chicksands, the prospects of the lovers were scarcely less gloomy. Sir John Temple had a more advantageous alliance in view for his son. Dorothy Osborne was in the meantime besieged by as many suitors as were drawn to Belmont by the fame of Portia. The most distinguished on the list was Henry Cromwell. Destitute of the capacity, the energy, the magnanimity of his illustrious father, destitute also of the meek and placid virtues of his elder brother, this young man was perhaps a more formidable rival in love than either of them would have been. Mrs. Hutchinson, speaking the sentiments of the grave and aged, describes him as an ‘insolent foole,’ and a ‘debauched ungodly cavalier.’ These expressions probably mean that he was one who, among young and dissipated people, would pass for a fine gentleman. Dorothy was fond of dogs, of larger and more formidable breed than those which lie on modern hearthrugs; and Henry Cromwell promised that the highest functionaries at Dublin should be set to work to procure her a fine Irish greyhound. She seems to have felt his attentions as very flattering, though his father was then only Lord General, and not yet Protector. Love, however, triumphed over ambition, and the young lady appears never to have regretted her decision; though, in a letter written just at the time when all England was ringing with the news of the violent dissolution of the Long Parliament, she could not refrain from reminding Temple with pardonable vanity, ‘how great she might have been, if she had been so wise as to have taken hold of the offer of H.C.’

“Nor was it only the influence of rivals that Temple had to dread. The relations of his mistress regarded him with personal dislike, and spoke of him as an unprincipled adventurer, without honour or religion, ready to render service to any party for the sake of preferment. This is, indeed, a very distorted view of Temple’s character. Yet a character, even in the most distorted view taken of it by the most angry and prejudiced minds, generally retains something of its outline. No caricaturist ever represented Mr. Pitt as a Falstaff, or Mr. Fox as a skeleton; nor did any libeller ever impute parsimony to Sheridan, or profusion to Marlborough. It must be allowed that the turn of mind which the eulogists of Temple have dignified with the appellation of philosophical indifference, and which, however becoming it may be in an old and experienced statesman, has a somewhat ungraceful appearance in youth, might easily appear shocking to a family who were ready to fight or to suffer martyrdom for their exiled King and their persecuted Church. The poor girl was exceedingly hurt and irritated by these imputations on her lover, defended him warmly behind his back, and addressed to himself some very tender and anxious admonitions, mingled with assurances of her confidence in his honour and virtue. On one occasion she was most highly provoked by the way in which one of her brothers spoke of Temple. ‘We talked ourselves weary,’ she says; ‘he renounced me, and I defied him.’

“Near seven years did this arduous wooing continue. We are not accurately informed respecting Temple’s movements during that time. But he seems to have led a rambling life, sometimes on the Continent, sometimes in Ireland, sometimes in London. He made himself master of the French and Spanish languages, and amused himself by writing essays and romances, an employment which at least served the purpose of forming his style. The specimen which Mr. Courtenay has preserved of these early compositions is by no means contemptible: indeed, there is one passage on Like and Dislike, which could have been produced only by a mind habituated carefully to reflect on its own operations, and which reminds us of the best things in Montaigne.

“Temple appears to have kept up a very active correspondence with his mistress. His letters are lost, but hers have been preserved; and many of them appear in these volumes. Mr. Courtenay expresses some doubt whether his readers will think him justified in inserting so large a number of these epistles. We only wish that there were twice as many. Very little indeed of the diplomatic correspondence of that generation is so well worth reading.”

Here Macaulay indulges in an eloquent but lengthy philippic against that “vile phrase” the “dignity of history,” which we may omit,–taking up the thread of his discourse where he recurs to the affairs of our two lovers. “Thinking thus,”–concerning the “dignity of history,”–“we are glad to learn so much, and would willingly learn more about the loves of Sir William and his mistress. In the seventeenth century, to be sure, Louis the Fourteenth was a much more important person than Temple’s sweetheart. But death and time equalize all things. Neither the great King nor the beauty of Bedfordshire, neither the gorgeous paradise of Marli nor Mistress Osborne’s favourite walk ‘in the common that lay hard by the house, where a great many young wenches used to keep sheep and cows and sit in the shade singing of ballads,’ is anything to us. Louis and Dorothy are alike dust. A cotton-mill stands on the ruins of Marli; and the Osbornes have ceased to dwell under the ancient roof of Chicksands. But of that information, for the sake of which alone it is worth while to study remote events, we find so much in the love letters which Mr. Courtenay has published, that we would gladly purchase equally interesting billets with ten times their weight in State papers taken at random. To us surely it is as useful to know how the young ladies of England employed themselves a hundred and eighty years ago, how far their minds were cultivated, what were their favourite studies, what degree of liberty was allowed to them, what use they made of that liberty, what accomplishments they most valued in men, and what proofs of tenderness delicacy permitted them to give to favoured suitors, as to know all about the seizure of Franche-Comte and the Treaty of Nimeguen. The mutual relations of the two sexes seem to us to be at least as important as the mutual relations of any two Governments in the world; and a series of letters written by a virtuous, amiable, and sensible girl, and intended for the eye of her lover alone, can scarcely fail to throw some light on the relations of the sexes; whereas it is perfectly possible, as all who have made any historical researches can attest, to read bale after bale of despatches and protocols, without catching one glimpse of light about the relations of Governments.

“Mr. Courtenay proclaims that he is one of Dorothy Osborne’s devoted servants, and expresses a hope that the publication of her letters will add to the number. We must declare ourselves his rivals. She really seems to have been a very charming young woman, modest, generous, affectionate, intelligent, and sprightly; a Royalist, as was to be expected from her connections, without any of that political asperity which is as unwomanly as a long beard; religious, and occasionally gliding into a very pretty and endearing sort of preaching, yet not too good to partake of such diversions as London afforded under the melancholy rule of the Puritans, or to giggle a little at a ridiculous sermon from a divine who was thought to be one of the great lights of the Assembly at Westminster; with a little turn for coquetry, which was yet perfectly compatible with warm and disinterested attachment, and a little turn for satire, which yet seldom passed the bounds of good nature. She loved reading; but her studies were not those of Queen Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey. She read the verses of Cowley and Lord Broghill, French Memoirs recommended by her lover, and the Travels of Fernando Mendez Pinto. But her favourite books were those ponderous French romances which modern readers know chiefly from the pleasant satire of Charlotte Lennox. She could not, however, help laughing at the vile English into which they were translated. Her own style is very agreeable; nor are her letters at all the worse for some passages in which raillery and tenderness are mixed in a very engaging namby-pamby.

“When at last the constancy of the lovers had triumphed over all the obstacles which kinsmen and rivals could oppose to their union, a yet more serious calamity befell them. Poor Mistress Osborne fell ill of the small-pox, and, though she escaped with life, lost all her beauty. To this most severe trial the affection and honour of the lovers of that age was not unfrequently subjected. Our readers probably remember what Mrs. Hutchinson tells us of herself. The lofty Cornelia-like spirit of the aged matron seems to melt into a long forgotten softness when she relates how her beloved Colonel ‘married her as soon as she was able to quit the chamber, when the priest and all that saw her were affrighted to look on her. But God,’ she adds, with a not ungraceful vanity, ‘recompensed his justice and constancy by restoring her as well as before.’ Temple showed on this occasion the same justice and constancy which did so much honour to Colonel Hutchinson. The date of the marriage is not exactly known, but Mr. Courtenay supposes it to have taken place about the end of the year 1654. From this time we lose sight of Dorothy, and are reduced to form our opinion of the terms on which she and her husband were from very slight indications which may easily mislead us.”

When an editor is in the pleasant position of being able to retain an historian of the eminence of Macaulay to write a large portion of his introduction, it would ill become him to alter and correct his statements wherever there was a petty inaccuracy; still it is necessary to say, once for all, that there are occasional errors in the passage,–as where Macaulay mentions that Chicksands is no longer the property of the Osbornes,–though happily not one of these errors is in itself important. To our thinking, too, in the character that he draws of our heroine, Macaulay hardly appears to be sufficiently aware of the sympathetic womanly nature of Dorothy, and the dignity of her disposition; so that he is persuaded to speak of her too constantly from the position of a man of the world praising with patronizing emphasis the pretty qualities of a school-girl. But we must remember, that in forming our estimate of her character, we have an extended series of letters before us; and from these the reader can draw his own conclusions as to the accuracy of Macaulay’s description, and the importance of Dorothy’s character.

It was this passage from Macaulay that led the Editor to Courtenay’s Appendix, and it was the literary and human charm of the letters themselves that suggested the idea of stringing them together into a connected story or sketch of the love affairs of Dorothy Osborne. This was published in April 1886 in the _English Illustrated Magazine_, and happened, by good luck, to fall into the hands of an admirer of Dorothy, who, having had access to the original letters, had made faithful and loving copies of each one,–accurate even to the old-world spelling. These labours had been followed up by much patient research, the fruits of which were now to be generously offered to the present Editor on condition that he would prepare the letters for the press. The owner of the letters having courteously expressed his acquiescence, nothing remained but to give to the task that patient care that it is easy to give to a labour of love.

A few words of explanation as to the arrangement of the letters. Although few of them were dated, it was found possible, by minute analysis of their contents, to place them in approximately correct order; and if one could not date each letter, one could at least assign groups of letters to specific months or seasons of the year. The fact that New Year’s day was at this period March 25–a fact sometimes ignored by antiquarians of high repute–adds greatly to the difficulty of ascertaining exact dates, and as an instance of this we find in different chronicles of authority Sir Peter Osborne’s death correctly, yet differently, given as happening in March 1653 and March 1654. Throughout this volume the ordinary New Year’s day has been retained. The further revision and preparation that the letters have undergone is shortly this. The spelling has been modernized, the letters punctuated and arranged in paragraphs, and names indicated by initials have been, wherever it was possible, written in full. A note has been prefixed to each letter, printed in a more condensed form than the letter itself, and dealing with all the allusions contained in it. This system is very fit to be applied to Dorothy’s letters, because, by its use, Dorothy is left to tell her own story without the constant and irritating references to footnotes or Appendix notes that other arrangements necessitate. The Editor has a holy horror of the footnote, and would have it relegated to those “_biblia a-biblia_” from which class he is sure Elia would cheerfully except Dorothy’s letters. In the notes themselves the endeavour has been to obtain, where it was possible, parallel references to letters, diaries, or memoirs, and the Editor can only regret that his researches, through both MSS. and printed records, have been so little successful. In the case of well-known men like Algernon Sydney, Lord Manchester, Edmund Waller, etc., no attempt has been made to write a complete note,–their lives and works being sufficiently well known; but in the case of more obscure persons,–as, for instance, Dorothy’s brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Peyton,–all the known details of their history have been carefully collected. Yet in spite of patience, toil, and the kindness of learned friends, the Editor is bound to acknowledge that some names remain mere words to him, and but too many allusions are mysteriously dim.

The division of the letters into chapters, at first sight an arbitrary arrangement, really follows their natural grouping. The letters were written in the years 1653 and 1654, and form a clear and connected story of the love affairs of the young couple during that time. The most important group of letters, both from the number of letters contained in it and the contents of the letters themselves, is that entitled “Life at Chicksands, 1653.” The Editor regards this group as the very mainland of the epistolary archipelago that we are exploring. For it is in this chapter that a clear idea of the domestic social life of these troublous times is obtainable, none the less valuable in that it does not tally altogether with our preconceived and too romantic notions. Here, too, we find what Macaulay longed for–those social domestic trivialities which the historians have at length begun to value rightly. Here are, indeed, many things of no value to Dryasdust and his friends, but of moment to us, who look for and find true details of life and character in nearly every line. And above all things, here is a living presentment of a beautiful woman, pure in dissolute days, passing quiet hours of domestic life amongst her own family, where we may all visit her and hear her voice, even in the very tones in which she spoke to her lover.

And now the Editor feels he must augment Macaulay’s sketch of Dorothy Osborne with some account of the Osborne family, of whom it consisted, what part it took in the struggle of the day, and what was the past position of Dorothy’s ancestors. All that can be promised is, that such account shall be as concise as may be consistent with clearness and accuracy, and that it shall contain nothing but ascertained facts.

There were Osbornes–before there were Osbornes of Chicksands–who, coming out of the north, settled at Purleigh in Essex, where we find them in the year 1442. From this date, passing lightly over a hundred troubled years, we find Peter Osborne, Dorothy’s great-grandfather, born in 1521. He was Keeper of the Purse to Edward VI., and was twice married, his second wife being Alice, sister of Sir John Cheke, a family we read of in Dorothy’s letters. One of his daughters, named Catharine,–he had a well-balanced family of eleven sons and eleven daughters,–afterwards married Sir Thomas Cheke. Peter Osborne died in 1592; and Sir John Osborne, Peter’s son and Dorothy’s grandfather, was the first Osborne of Chicksands. It was he who settled at Chicksands, in Bedfordshire, and purchased the neighbouring rectory at Hawnes, to restore it to that Church of which he and his family were in truth militant members; and having generously built and furnished a parsonage house, he presented it in the first place to the celebrated preacher Thomas Brightman, who died there in 1607. It is this rectory that in 1653-54 is in the hands of the Rev. Edward Gibson, who appears from time to time in Dorothy’s letters, and who was on occasions the medium through which Temple’s letters reached their destination, and avoided falling into the hands of Dorothy’s jealous brother. Sir John Osborne married Dorothy Barlee, granddaughter of Richard Lord Rich, Lord Chancellor of England in the reign of Henry VIII. Sir John was Treasurer’s Remembrancer in the Exchequer for many years during the reign of James I., and was also a Commissioner of the Navy. He died November 2, 1628, and was buried in Campton Church,–Chicksands lies between the village of Hawnes and Campton,–where a tablet to his memory still exists.

Sir John had five sons: Peter, the eldest, Dorothy’s father, who succeeded him in his hereditary office of Treasurer’s Remembrancer; Christopher, Thomas, Richard, and Francis,–Francis Osborne may be mentioned as having taken the side of the Parliament in the Civil Wars. He was Master of the Horse to the Earl of Pembroke, and is noticeable to us as the only known relation of Dorothy who published a book. He was the author of an _Advice to his Son_, in two parts, and some tracts published in 1722, of course long after his death.

Of Sir Peter himself we had at one time thought to write at some length. The narrative of his defence of Castle Cornet for the King, embodied in his own letters, in the letters and papers of George Carteret, Governor of Jersey, in the detailed account left behind by a native of Guernsey, and in the State papers of the period, is one of the most interesting episodes in an epoch of episodes. But though the collected material for some short life of Sir Peter Osborne lies at hand, it seems scarcely necessary for the purpose of this book, and so not without reluctance it is set aside.

Sir Peter was an ardent loyalist. In his obstinate flesh and blood devotion to the house of Stuart he was as sincere and thorough as Sir Henry Lee, Sir Geoffrey Peveril, or Kentish Sir Byng. He was the incarnation of the malignant of latter-day fiction.

“King Charles, and who’ll do him right now? King Charles, and who’s ripe for fight now? Give a rouse; here’s in hell’s despite now, King Charles.”

To this text his life wrote the comment.

In 1621, James I. created him Lieutenant-Governor of Guernsey. He had married Dorothy, sister of Sir John Danvers. Sir John was the younger brother and heir to the Earl of Danby, and was a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to the King. Clarendon tells us that he got into debt, and to get out of debt found himself in Cromwell’s counsel; that he was a proud, formal, weak man, between being seduced and a seducer, and that he took it to be a high honour to sit on the same bench with Cromwell, who employed him and contemned him at once. The Earl of Danby was the Governor of Guernsey, and Sir Peter was his lieutenant until 1643, when the Earl died, and Sir Peter was made full Governor. It would be in 1643 that the siege of Castle Cornet began, the same year in which the rents of the Chicksands estate were assigned away from their rightful owner to one Mr. John Blackstone, M.P. Sir Peter was in his stronghold on a rock in the sea; he was for the King. The inhabitants of the island, more comfortably situated, were a united party for the Parliament. Thus they remained for three years; the King writing to Sir Peter to reduce the inhabitants to a state of reason; the Parliament sending instructions to the jurats of Guernsey to seize the person of Sir Peter; and the Earl of Warwick, prompted, we should suppose, by Sir John Danvers, offering terms to Sir Peter which he indignantly rejected. Meanwhile Lady Osborne–Dorothy with her, in all probability–was doing her best to victual the castle from the mainland, she living at St. Malo during the siege. At length, her money all spent, her health broken down, she returned to England, and was lost to sight. Sir Peter himself heard nothing of her, and her sons in England, who were doing all they could for their father among the King’s friends, did not know of her whereabouts.

In 1646 he resigned his command. He was weary and heavy laden with unjust burdens heaped on him by those for whom and with whom he was fighting; he was worn out by the siege; by the characteristic treachery of the King, who, being unable to assist him, could not refrain from sending lying promises instead; and by the malice of his neighbour, George Carteret, Governor of Jersey, who himself made free with the Guernsey supplies, while writing home to the King that Sir Peter has betrayed his trust. Betrayed his trust, indeed, when he and his garrison are reduced to “one biscuit a day and a little porrage for supper,” together with limpets and herbs in the best mess they can make; nay, more, when they have pulled up their floors for firewood, and are dying of hunger and want in the stone shell of Castle Cornet for the love of their King. However, circumstances and Sir George Carteret were too much for him, and, at the request of Prince Charles, he resigned his command to Sir Baldwin Wake in May 1646, remaining three years after this date at St. Malo, where he did what he was able to supply the wants of the castle. Sir Baldwin surrendered the castle to Blake in 1650. It was the last fortress to surrender.

In 1649 Sir Peter, finding the promises of reward made by the Prince to be as sincere as those of his father, returned to England, and probably through the intervention of his father-in-law, who was a strict Parliament man, his house and a portion of his estates at Chicksands were restored to him. To these he retired, disappointed in spirit, feeble in health, soon to be bereft of the company of his wife, who died towards the end of 1650, and, but for the constant ministering of his daughter Dorothy, living lonely and forgotten, to see the cause for which he had fought discredited and dead. He died in March 1654, after a long, weary illness. The parish register of Campton describes him as “a friend to the poor, a lover of learning, a maintainer of divine exercises.” There is still an inscription to his memory on a marble monument on the north side of the chancel in Campton church.

Sir Peter had seven sons and five daughters. There were only three sons living in 1653; the others died young, one laying down his life for the King at Hartland in Devonshire, in some skirmish, we must now suppose, of which no trace remains. Of those living, Sir John, the eldest son and the first baronet, married his cousin Eleanor Danvers, and lived in Gloucestershire during his father’s life. Henry, afterwards knighted, was probably the jealous brother who lived at Chicksands with Dorothy and her father, with whom she had many skirmishes, and who wished in his kind fraternal way to see his sister well–that is to say, wealthily–married. Robert is a younger brother, a year older than Dorothy, who died in September 1653, and who did not apparently live at Chicksands. Dorothy herself was born in 1627; where, it is impossible to say. Sir Peter was presumably at Castle Cornet at that date, but it is doubtful if Lady Osborne ever stayed there, the accommodation within its walls being straitened and primitive even for that day. Dorothy was probably born in England, maybe at Chicksands. Her other sisters had married and settled in various parts of England before 1653. Her eldest sister (not Anne, as Wotton conjectures) married one Sir Thomas Peyton, a Kentish Royalist of some note. What little could be gleaned of his actions from amongst Kentish antiquities and history, and such letters of his as lie entombed in the MSS. of the British Museum, is set down hereafter. He appears to have acted, after her father’s death, as Dorothy’s guardian, and his name occurs more than once in the pages of her letters.

So much for the Osbornes of Chicksands; an obstinate, sturdy, quick-witted race of Cavaliers; linked by marriage to the great families of the land; aristocrats in blood and in spirit, of whom Dorothy was a worthy descendant. Let us try now and picture for ourselves their home. Chixon, Chikesonds, or Chicksands Priory, Bedfordshire, as it now stands,–what a pleasing various art was spelling in olden time,–was, in the reign of Edward III., a nunnery, situated then, as now, on a slight eminence, with gently rising hills at a short distance behind, and a brook running to join the river Ivel, thence the German Ocean, along the valley in front of the house. The neighbouring scenery of Bedfordshire is on a humble scale, and concerns very little those who do not frequent it and live among it, as we must do for the next year or more.

The Priory is a low-built sacro-secular edifice, well fitted for its former service. Its priestly denizens were turned out in Henry VIII.’s monk-hunting reign (1538). To the joy or sorrow of the neighbourhood,–who knows now? Granted then to one Richard Snow, of whom the records are silent; by him sold, in Elizabeth’s reign, to Sir John Osborne, Knt., thus becoming the ancestral home of our Dorothy. There is a crisp etching of the house in Fisher’s _Collections of Bedfordshire_. The very exterior of it is Catholic, unpuritanical; no methodism about the square windows, set here and there at undecided intervals wheresoever they may be wanted. Six attic windows jut out from the low-tiled roof. At the corner of the house is a high pinnacled buttress rising the full height of the wall; five buttresses flank the side wall, built so that they shade the lower windows from the morning sun,–in one place reaching to the sill of an upper window. At the further end of the wall are two Gothic windows, claustral remnants, lighting now perhaps the dining-hall where cousin Molle and Dorothy sat in state, or the saloon where the latter received her servants. There are still cloisters attached to the house, at the other side of it maybe. Yes, a sleepy country house, the warm earth and her shrubs creeping close up to the very sills of the lower windows, sending in morning fragrance, I doubt not, when Dorothy thrust back the lattice after breakfast. A quiet place,–“slow” is the accurate modern epithet for it–“awfully slow;” but to Dorothy a quite suitable home, at which she never repines.

This etching by Thomas Fisher, of December 26, 1816, is the more valuable to us since the old Chicksands Priory no longer remains, having suffered martyrdom at the bloody hands of the restorer. For through this partly we have attained to a knowledge of Dorothy’s surroundings; and through the baronetages, peerages, and the invincible heaps of genealogical records, we have gathered some few actual facts necessary to be known of Dorothy’s relations, her human surroundings, their lives and actions. And we shall not find ourselves following Dorothy’s story with the less interest that we have mastered these details about the Osbornes of Chicksands.

Temple, too, claims the consideration at our hands of a few words concerning his near relatives and their position in the country. As Macaulay tells us, he was born in 1628, the place of his birth being Blackfriars in London.

Sir John Temple, his father, was Master of the Rolls and a Privy Councillor in Ireland; he was in the confidence of Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Algernon Sydney, the Earl’s son, was well known to Temple, and perhaps to Dorothy. Sir John Temple, like his son in after life, refused to look on politics as a game in which it was always advisable to play on the winning side, and thus we find him opposing the Duke of Ormond in Ireland in 1643, and suffering imprisonment as a partisan of the Parliament. In England, in 1648, when he was member for Chichester, he concurred with the Presbyterian vote, thereby causing the more advanced section to look askance at him, and he was turned out of the House, or _secluded_, to use the elegant parliamentary language of the day. From that time he lived in retirement in London until 1654, when, as we read in Dorothy’s letters, he and his son go over to Ireland. He resumed his office of Master of the Rolls, and in August of that year was elected to the Irish Parliament as one of the members for Leitrim, Sligo, and Roscommon.

Temple’s mother was a sister of Dr. Hammond, to whom one Dr. John Collop, a poetaster unknown in these days even by name, begins an ode–

“Seraphic Doctor, bright evangelist.”

The “seraphic Doctor” was rector of Penshurst, near Tunbridge Wells, the seat of the Sydneys. From Hammond, who was a zealous adherent of Charles I., Temple received much of his early education. When the Parliament drove Dr. Hammond from his living, Temple was sent to school at Bishop-Stortford; and the rest of his early life, with an account of his meeting with Dorothy, has been already set down for us by Macaulay.

Anno Domini sixteen hundred and fifty-three;–let us look round through historic mist for landmarks, so that we may know our whereabouts. The narrow streets of Worcester had been but lately stained by the blood of heaped corpses. Cromwell was meditating an abolition of the Parliament, and a practical coronation of himself. The world had ceased to wonder at English democracy giving laws to their quondam rulers, and the democracy was beginning to be a little tired of itself, to disbelieve in its own irksome discipline, and to sigh for the flesh-pots of a modified Presbyterian monarchy. Cromwell, indeed, was at the height of his glory, his honours lie thick upon him, and now, if ever, he is the regal Cromwell that Victor Hugo has portrayed, the uncrowned King of England, trampling under foot that sacred liberty, the baseless ideal for which so many had fought and bled. He is soon to be Lord Protector. He is second to none upon earth. England is again at peace with herself, and takes her position as one of the great Powers of Europe; Cromwell is England’s king. So much for our rulers and politics. Now let us remember our friends, those whom we love on account of the work they have done for us and bequeathed to us, through which we have learned to know them. One of the best beloved and gentlest of these, who by the satire of heaven was born into England in these troublous times, was now wandering by brook and stream, scarcely annoyed by the uproar and confusion of the factions around him. And what he knew of England in these days he has left in perhaps the gentlest and most peaceful volume the world has ever read. I speak of Master Izaak Walton, who in this year, 1653, published the first edition of his _Compleat Angler_, and left a comrade for the idle hours of all future ages. Other friends we have, then living, but none so intimate or well beloved. Mr. Waller, whom Dorothy may have known, Mr. Cowley, Sir Peter Lely,–who painted our heroine’s portrait,–and Dr. Jeremy Taylor; very courtly and superior persons are some of these, and far removed from our world. Milton is too sublime to be called our friend, but he was Cromwell’s friend at this time. Evelyn, too, is already making notes in his journal at Paris and elsewhere; but little prattling Pepys has not yet begun diary-making. Other names will come to the mind of every reader, but many of these are “people we know by name,” as the phrase runs, mere acquaintances,–not friends. Nevertheless even these leave us some indirect description of their time, from which we can look back through the mind’s eye to this year of grace 1653, in which Dorothy was living and writing. Yes, if we cannot actually visualize the past, these letters will at least convince us that the past did exist, a past not wholly unlike the present; and if we would realize the significance of it, we have the word of one of our historians, that there is no lamp by which to study the history of this period that gives a brighter and more searching light than contemporary letters. Thus he recommends their study, and we may apply his words to the letters before us: “A man intent to force for himself some path through that gloomy chaos called History of the Seventeenth Century, and to look face to face upon the same, may perhaps try it by this method as hopefully as by another. Here is an irregular row of beacon fires, once all luminous as suns; and with a certain inextinguishable crubescence still, in the abysses of the dead deep Night. Let us look here. In shadowy outlines, in dimmer and dimmer crowding forms, the very figure of the old dead Time itself may perhaps be faintly discernible here.”

* * * * *

With this, I feel that I may cast off some of the forms and solemnities necessary to an editorial introduction, and, assuming a simpler and more personal pronoun, ask the reader, who shall feel the full charm of Dorothy’s bright wit and tender womanly sympathy, to remember the thanks due to my fellow-servant, whose patient, single-hearted toil has placed these letters within our reach. And when the reader shall close this volume, let it not be without a feeling of gratitude to the unknown, whose modesty alone prevents me from changing the title of fellow-servant to that of fellow-editor.



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 L1 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 L1000 more with me; and I him so ill, that I vowed if I had L1000 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._

Sir,–You may please to let my old servant (as you call him) know that I confess I owe much to his merits and the many obligations his kindness and civilities has laid upon me; but for the ten pound he claims, it is not yet due, and I think you may do well to persuade him (as a friend) to put it in the number of his desperate debts, for ’tis a very uncertain one. In all things else, pray say I am his servant. And now, sir, let me tell you that I am extremely glad (whosoever gave you the occasion) to hear from you, since (without compliment) there are very few persons in the world I am more concerned in; to find that you have overcome your long journey, and that you are well and in a place where ’tis possible for me to see you, is such a satisfaction as I, who have not been used to many, may be allowed to doubt of. Yet I will hope my eyes do not deceive me, and that I have not forgot to read; but if you please to confirm it to me by another, you know how to direct it, for I am where I was, still the same, and always

Your humble servant,


For Mrs. Paynter,
In Covent Garden.

(Keep this letter till it be called for.)

_Letter 3._

_January 2nd, 1653._

Sir,–If there were anything in my letter that pleased you I am extremely glad on’t, ’twas all due to you, and made it but an equal return for the satisfaction yours gave me. And whatsoever you may believe, I shall never repent the good opinion I have with so much reason taken up. But I forget myself; I meant to chide, and I think this is nothing towards it. Is it possible you came so near me as Bedford and would not see me? Seriously, I should not have believed it from another; would your horse had lost all his legs instead of a hoof, that he might not have been able to carry you further, and you, something that you valued extremely, and could not hope to find anywhere but at Chicksands. I could wish you a thousand little mischances, I am so angry with you; for my life I could not imagine how I had lost you, or why you should call that a silence of six or eight weeks which you intended so much longer. And when I had wearied myself with thinking of all the unpleasing accidents that might cause it, I at length sat down with a resolution to choose the best to believe, which was that at the end of one journey you had begun another (which I had heard you say you intended), and that your haste, or something else, had hindered you from letting me know it. In this ignorance your letter from Breda found me. But for God’s sake let me ask you what you have done all this while you have been away; what you have met with in Holland that could keep you there so long; why you went no further; and why I was not to know you went so far? You may do well to satisfy me in all these. I shall so persecute you with questions else, when I see you, that you will be glad to go thither again to avoid me; though when that will be I cannot certainly say, for my father has so small a proportion of health left him since my mother’s death, that I am in continual fear of him, and dare not often make use of the leave he gives me to be from home, lest he should at some time want such little services as I am able to lend him. Yet I think to be in London in the next term, and am sure I shall desire it because you are there.

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_ [1653].

Sir,–Not to confirm you in your belief in dreams, but to avoid your reproaches, I will tell you a pleasant one of mine. The night before I received your first letter, I dreamt one brought me a packet, and told me it was from you. I, that remembered you were by your own appointment to be in Italy at that time, asked the messenger where he had it, who told me my lady, your mother, sent him with it to me; then my memory failed me a little, for I forgot you had told me she was dead, and meant to give her many humble thanks if ever I were so happy as to see her. When I had opened the letter I found in it two rings; one was, as I remember, an emerald doublet, but broken in the carriage, I suppose, as it might well be, coming so far; t’other was plain gold, with the longest and the strangest posy that ever was; half on’t was Italian, which for my life I could not guess at, though I spent much time about it; the rest was “_there was a Marriage in Cana of Galilee_,” which, though it was Scripture, I had not that reverence for it in my sleep that I should have had, I think, if I had been awake; for in earnest the oddness on’t put me into that violent laughing that I waked myself with it; and as a just punishment upon me from that hour to this I could never learn whom those rings were for, nor what was in the letter besides. This is but as extravagant as yours, for it is as likely that your mother should send me letters as that I should make a journey to see poor people hanged, or that your teeth should drop out at this age.

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

Your humble.

_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_ [1653].

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 because 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 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 _a 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

and servant,




_Letter 9._–Temple’s sister here mentioned was his only sister Martha, who married Sir Thomas Giffard in 1662, and was left a widow within two months of her marriage. She afterwards lived with Temple and his wife, was a great favourite with them, and their confidential friend. Lady Giffard has left a manuscript life of her brother from which the historian Courtenay deigned to extract some information, whereby we in turn have benefited. She outlived both her brother and his wife, to carry on a warlike encounter with her brother’s amanuensis, Mr. Jonathan Swift, over Temple’s literary remains. Esther Johnson, the unfortunate Stella, was Lady Giffard’s maid.

_Cleopatre_ and _Le Grand Cyrus_ appear to have been Dorothy’s literary companions at this date. She would read these in the original French; and, as she tells us somewhere, had a scorn of translations. Both these romances were much admired, even by people of taste; a thing difficult to understand, until we remember that Fielding, the first and greatest English novelist, was yet unborn, and novels, as we know them, non-existing. Both the romances found translators; _Cyrus_, in one mysterious F.G. _Gent_–the translation was published in this year; _Cleopatre_, in Richard Loveday, an elegant letter-writer of this time.

_Artamenes_, or _Le Grand Cyrus_, the masterpiece of Mademoiselle Madeleine de Scuderi, is contained in no less than ten volumes, each of which in its turn has many books; it is, in fact, more a collection of romances than a single romance. _La Cleopatre_, a similar work, was originally published in twenty-three volumes of twelve parts, each part containing three or four books. It is but a collection of short stories. Its author rejoiced in the romantic title of Gauthier de Costes Chevalier Seigneur de la Calprenede; he published _Cleopatre_ in 1642; he was the author of other romances, and some tragedies, noted only for their worthlessness. Even Richelieu, “quoiqu’ admirateur indulgent de la mediocrite,” could not stand Calprenede’s tragedies. _Reine Marguerite_ is probably the translation by Robert Codrington of the Memorials of Margaret of Valois, first wife of Henri IV. Bussy is a servant of the Duke of Avenson, Margaret’s brother, with whom Margaret is very intimate.

Of Lady Sunderland and Mr. Smith we have already sufficient knowledge. As for Sir Justinian, we are not to think he was already married; the reference to his “new wife” is merely jocular, meaning his new wife when he shall get one; for Sir Justinian is still wife-hunting, and comes back to renew his suit with Dorothy after this date. “Your fellow-servant,” who is as often called Jane, appears to have been a friend and companion of Dorothy, in a somewhat lower rank of life. Mrs. Goldsmith, mentioned in a subsequent letter,–wife of Daniel Goldsmith, the rector of Campton, in which parish Chicksands was situated,–acted as chaperon or duenna companion to Dorothy, and Jane was, it seems to me, in a similar position; only, being a younger woman than the rector’s wife, she was more the companion and less the duenna. The servants and companions of ladies of that date were themselves gentlewomen of good breeding. Waller writes verses to Mrs. Braughton, servant to Sacharissa, commencing his lines, “Fair fellow-servant.” Temple, had he written verse to his mistress, would probably have left us some “Lines to Jane.”

There is in Campton Church a tablet erected to Daniel Goldsmith, “Ecclesiae de Campton Pastor idem et Patronus;” also to Maria Goldsmith, “uxor dilectissima.” This is erected by Maria’s faithful sister, Jane Wright; and if the astute reader shall think fit to agree with me in believing Temple’s “fellow-servant” to be this Jane Wright on such slender evidence and slight thread of argument, he may well do so. Failing this, all search after Jane will, I fear, prove futile at this distant date. There are constant references to Jane in the letters. “Her old woman,” in the same passage, is, of course, a jocular allusion to Dorothy herself; and “the old knight” is, I believe, Sir Robert Cook, a Bedfordshire gentleman, of whom nothing is known except that he was knighted at Ampthill, July 21st, 1621. We hear some little more of him from Dorothy.

Note well the signature of this and following letters; it will help us to discover what passed between the friends in London. For my own part, I do not think Dorothy means that she has ceased to be _faithful_ in that she has become “his _affectionate_ friend and servant.”

SIR–I was so kind as to write to you by the coachman, and let me tell you I think ’twas the greatest testimony of my friendship that I could give you; for, trust me, I was so tired with my journey, so _dowd_ with my cold, and so out of humour with our parting, that I should have done it with great unwillingness to anybody else. I lay abed all next day to recover myself, and rised a Thursday to receive your letter with the more ceremony. I found no fault with the ill writing, ’twas but too easy to read, methought, for I am sure I had done much sooner than I could have wished. But, in earnest, I was heartily troubled to find you in so much disorder. I would not have you so kind to me as to be cruel to yourself, in whom I am more concerned. No; for God’s sake, let us not make afflictions of such things as these; I am afraid we shall meet with too many real ones.

I am glad your journey holds, because I think ’twill be a good diversion for you this summer; but I admire your father’s patience, that lets you rest with so much indifference when there is such a fortune offered. I’ll swear I have great scruples of conscience myself on the point, and am much afraid I am not your friend if I am any part of the occasion that hinders you from accepting it. Yet I am sure my intentions towards you are very innocent and good, for you are one of those whose interests I shall ever prefer much above my own; and you are not to thank me for it, since, to speak truth, I secure my own by it; for I defy my ill fortune to make me miserable, unless she does it in the persons of my friends. I wonder how your father came to know I was in town, unless my old friend, your cousin Hammond, should tell him. Pray, for my sake, be a very obedient son; all your faults will be laid to my charge else, and, alas! I have too many of my own.

You say nothing how your sister does, which makes me hope there is no more of danger in her sickness. Pray, when it may be no trouble to her, tell her how much I am her servant; and have a care of yourself this cold weather. I have read your _Reine Marguerite_, and will return it you when you please. If you will have my opinion of her, I think she had a good deal of wit, and a great deal of patience for a woman of so high a spirit. She speaks with too much indifference of her husband’s several amours, and commends Bussy as if she were a little concerned in him. I think her a better sister than a wife, and believe she might have made a better wife to a better husband. But the story of Mademoiselle de Tournon is so sad, that when I had read it I was able to go no further, and was fain to take up something else to divert myself withal. Have you read _Cleopatre_? I have six tomes on’t here that I can lend you if you have not; there are some stories in’t you will like, I believe. But what an ass am I to think you can be idle enough at London to read romance! No, I’ll keep them till you come hither; here they may be welcome to you for want of better company. Yet, that you may not imagine we are quite out of the world here, and so be frighted from coming, I can assure you we are seldom without news, such as it is; and at this present we do abound with stories of my Lady Sunderland and Mr. Smith; with what reverence he approaches her, and how like a gracious princess she receives him, that they say ’tis worth one’s going twenty miles to see it. All our ladies are mightily pleased with the example, but I do not find that the men intend to follow it, and I’ll undertake Sir Solomon Justinian wishes her in the Indias, for fear she should pervert his new wife.

Your fellow-servant kisses your hands, and says, “If you mean to make love to her old woman this is the best time you can take, for she is dying; this cold weather kills her, I think.” It has undone me, I am sure, in killing an old knight that I have been waiting for this seven year, and now he dies and will leave me nothing, I believe, but leaves a rich widow for somebody. I think you had best come a wooing to her; I have a good interest in her, and it shall be all employed in your service if you think fit to make any addresses there. But to be sober now again, for God’s sake send me word how your journey goes forward, when you think you shall begin it, and how long it may last, when I may expect your coming this way; and of all things, remember to provide a safe address for your letters when you are abroad. This is a strange, confused one, I believe; for I have been called away twenty times, since I sat down to write it, to my father, who is not well; but you will pardon it–we are past ceremony, and excuse me if I say no more now but that I am _toujours le mesme_, that is, ever

Your affectionate
friend and servant.

_Letter 10._–Dorothy is suffering from _the spleen_, a disease as common to-day as then, though we have lost the good name for it. This and the ague plague her continually. My Lord Lisle’s proposed embassy to Sweden is, we see, still delayed; ultimately Bulstrode Whitelocke is chosen ambassador.

Dorothy’s cousin Molle, here mentioned, seems to have been an old bachelor, who spent his time at one country house or another, visiting his country friends; and playing the bore not a little, I should fear, with his gossip and imaginary ailments.

Temple’s father was at this time trying to arrange a match for him with a certain Mrs. Ch. as Dorothy calls her. Courtenay thinks she may be one Mistress Chambers, an heiress, who ultimately married Temple’s brother John, and this conjecture is here followed.

SIR,–Your last letter came like a pardon to one upon the block. I had given over the hopes on’t, having received my letters by the other carrier, who was always [wont] to be last. The loss put me hugely out of order, and you would have both pitied and laughed at me if you could have seen how woodenly I entertained the widow, who came hither the day before, and surprised me very much. Not being able to say anything, I got her to cards, and there with a great deal of patience lost my money to her;–or rather I gave it as my ransom. In the midst of our play, in comes my blessed boy with your letter, and, in earnest, I was not able to disguise the joy it gave me, though one was by that is not much your friend, and took notice of a blush that for my life I could not keep back. I put up the letter in my pocket, and made what haste I could to lose the money I had left, that I might take occasion to go fetch some more; but I did not make such haste back again, I can assure you. I took time enough to have coined myself some money if I had had the art on’t, and left my brother enough to make all his addresses to her if he were so disposed. I know not whether he was pleased or not, but I am sure I was.

You make so reasonable demands that ’tis not fit you should be denied. You ask my thoughts but at one hour; you will think me bountiful, I hope, when I shall tell you that I know no hour when you have them not. No, in earnest, my very dreams are yours, and I have got such a habit of thinking of you that any other thought intrudes and proves uneasy to me. I drink your health every morning in a drench that would poison a horse I believe, and ’tis the only way I have to persuade myself to take it. ‘Tis the infusion of steel, and makes me so horridly sick, that every day at ten o’clock I am making my will and taking leave of all my friends. You will believe you are not forgot then. They tell me I must take this ugly drink a fortnight, and then begin another as bad; but unless you say so too, I do not think I shall. ‘Tis worse than dying by the half.

I am glad your father is so kind to you. I shall not dispute it with him, because it is much more in his power than in mine, but I shall never yield that ’tis more in his desire, since he was much pleased with that which was a truth when you told it him, but would have been none if he had asked the question sooner. He thought there was no danger of you since you were more ignorant and less concerned in my being in town than he. If I were Mrs. Chambers, he would be more my friend; but, however, I am much his servant as he is your father. I have sent you your book. And since you are at leisure to consider the moon, you may be enough to read _Cleopatre_, therefore I have sent you three tomes; when you have done with these you shall have the rest, and I believe they will please. There is a story of Artemise that I will recommend to you; her disposition I like extremely, it has a great deal of practical wit; and if you meet with one Brittomart, pray send me word how you like him. I am not displeased that my Lord [Lisle] makes no more haste, for though I am very willing you should go the journey for many reasons, yet two or three months hence, sure, will be soon enough to visit so cold a country, and I would not have you endure two winters in one year. Besides, I look for my eldest brother and cousin Molle here shortly, and I should be glad to have nobody to entertain but you, whilst you are here. Lord! that you had the invisible ring, or Fortunatus his wishing hat; now, at this instant, you should be here.

My brother has gone to wait upon the widow homewards,–she that was born to persecute you and I, I think. She has so tired me with being here but two days, that I do not think I shall accept of the offer she made me of living with her in case my father dies before I have disposed of myself. Yet we are very great friends, and for my comfort she says she will come again about the latter end of June and stay longer with me. My aunt is still in town, kept by her business, which I am afraid will not go well, they do so delay it; and my precious uncle does so visit her, and is so kind, that without doubt some mischief will follow. Do you know his son, my cousin Harry? ‘Tis a handsome youth, and well-natured, but such a goose; and she has bred him so strangely, that he needs all his ten thousand a year. I would fain have him marry my Lady Diana, she was his mistress when he was a boy. He had more wit then than he has now, I think, and I have less wit than he, sure, for spending my paper upon him when I have so little. Here is hardly room for

Your affectionate
friend and servant.

_Letter 11._–It is a curious thing to find the Lord General’s son among our loyal Dorothy’s servants; and to find, moreover, that he will be as acceptable to Dorothy as any other, if she may not marry Temple. Henry Cromwell was Oliver Cromwell’s second son. How Dorothy became acquainted with him it is impossible to say. Perhaps they met in France. He seems to have been entirely unlike his father. Good Mrs. Hutchinson calls him “a debauched ungodly Cavalier,” with other similar expressions of Presbyterian abhorrence; from which we need not draw any unkinder conclusion than that he was no solemn puritanical soldier, but a man of the world, brighter and more courteous than the frequenters of his father’s Council, and therefore more acceptable to Dorothy. He was born at Huntingdon in 1627, the year of Dorothy’s birth. He was captain under Harrison in 1647; colonel in Ireland with his father in 1649; and married at Kensington Church, on May 10th, 1653, to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Francis Russell of Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. He was made Lord-Deputy in Ireland in 1657, but he wearied of the work of transplanting the Irish and planting the new settlers, which, he writes, only brought him disquiet of body and mind. This led to his retirement from public life in 1658. Two years afterwards, at the Restoration, he came to live at Spinney Abbey, near Isham, Cambridgeshire, and died on the 23rd of March 1673. These are shortly the facts which remain to us of the life of Henry Cromwell, Dorothy’s favoured servant.

SIR,–I am so far from thinking you ill-natured for wishing I might not outlive you, that I should not have thought you at all kind if you had done otherwise; no, in earnest, I was never yet so in love with my life but that I could have parted with it upon a much less occasion than your death, and ’twill be no compliment to you to say it would be very uneasy to me then, since ’tis not very pleasant to me now. Yet you will say I take great pains to preserve it, as ill as I like it; but no, I’ll swear ’tis not that I intend in what I do; all that I aim at is but to keep myself from proving a beast. They do so fright me with strange stories of what the spleen will bring me to in time, that I am kept in awe with them like a child; they tell me ’twill not leave me common sense, that I shall hardly be fit company for my own dogs, and that it will end either in a stupidness that will make me incapable of anything, or fill my head with such whims as will make me ridiculous. To prevent this, who would not take steel or anything,–though I am partly of your opinion that ’tis an ill kind of physic. Yet I am confident that I take it the safest way, for I do not take the powder, as many do, but only lay a piece of steel in white wine over night and drink the infusion next morning, which one would think were nothing, and yet ’tis not to be imagined how sick it makes me for an hour or two, and, which is the misery, all that time one must be using some kind of exercise. Your fellow-servant has a blessed time on’t that ever you saw. I make her play at shuttlecock with me, and she is the veriest bungler at it ever you saw. Then am I ready to beat her with the battledore, and grow so peevish as I grow sick, that I’ll undertake she wishes there were no steel in England. But then to recompense the morning, I am in good humour all the day after for joy that I am well again. I am told ’twill do me good, and am content to believe it; if it does not, I am but where I was.

I do not use to forget my old acquaintances. Almanzor is as fresh in my memory as if I had visited his tomb but yesterday, though it be at least seven year agone since. You will believe I had not been used to great afflictions when I made his story such a one to me, as I cried an hour together for him, and was so angry with Alcidiana that for my life I could never love her after it. You do not tell me whether you received the books I sent you, but I will hope you did, because you say nothing to the contrary. They are my dear Lady Diana’s, and therefore I am much concerned that they should be safe. And now I speak of her, she is acquainted with your aunt, my Lady B., and says all that you say of her. If her niece has so much wit, will you not be persuaded to like her; or say she has not quite so much, may not her fortune make it up? In earnest, I know not what to say, but if your father does not use all his kindness and all his power to make you consider your own advantage, he is not like other fathers. Can you imagine that he that demands L5000 besides the reversion of an estate will like bare L4000? Such miracles are seldom seen, and you must prepare to suffer a strange persecution unless you grow conformable; therefore consider what you do, ’tis the part of a friend to advise you. I could say a great deal to this purpose, and tell you that ’tis not discreet to refuse a good offer, nor safe to trust wholly to your own judgment in your disposal. I was never better provided in my life for a grave admonishing discourse. Would you had heard how I have been catechized for you, and seen how soberly I sit and answer to interrogatories. Would you think that upon examination it is found that you are not an indifferent person to me? But the mischief is, that what my intentions or resolutions are, is not to be discovered, though much pains has been taken to collect all scattering circumstances; and all the probable conjectures that can be raised from thence has been urged, to see if anything would be confessed. And all this done with so much ceremony and compliment, so many pardons asked for undertaking to counsel or inquire, and so great kindness and passion for all my interests professed, that I cannot but take it well, though I am very weary on’t. You are spoken of with the reverence due to a person that I seem to like, and for as much as they know of you, you do deserve a very good esteem; but your fortune and mine can never agree, and, in plain terms, we forfeit our discretions and run wilfully upon our own ruins if there be such a thought. To all this I make no reply, but that if they will needs have it that I am not without kindness for you, they must conclude withal that ’tis no part of my intention to ruin you, and so the conference breaks up for that time. All this is [from] my friend, that is not yours; and the gentleman that came upstairs in a basket, I could tell him that he spends his breath to very little purpose, and has but his labour for his pains. Without his precepts my own judgment would preserve me from doing anything that might be prejudicial to you or unjustifiable to the world; but if these be secured, nothing can alter the resolution I have taken of settling my whole stock of happiness upon the affection of a person that is dear to me, whose kindness I shall infinitely prefer before any other consideration whatsoever, and I shall not blush to tell you that you have made the whole world beside so indifferent to me that, if I cannot be yours, they may dispose of me how they please. Henry Cromwell will be as acceptable to me as any one else. If I may undertake to counsel, I think you shall do well to comply with your father as far as possible, and not to discover any aversion to what he desires further than you can give reason for. What his disposition may be I know not; but ’tis that of many parents to judge their children’s dislikes to be an humour of approving nothing that is chosen for them, which many times makes them take up another of denying their children all they choose for themselves. I find I am in the humour of talking wisely if my paper would give me leave. ‘Tis great pity here is room for no more but–

Your faithful friend and servant.

_Letter 12._

SIR,–There shall be two posts this week, for my brother sends his groom up, and I am resolved to make some advantage of it. Pray, what the paper denied me in your last, let me receive by him. Your fellow-servant is a sweet jewel to tell tales of me. The truth is, I cannot deny but that I have been very careless of myself, but, alas! who would have been other? I never thought my life worth my care whilst nobody was concerned in’t but myself; now I shall look upon’t as something that you would not lose, and therefore shall endeavour to keep it for you. But then you must return my kindness with the same care of a life that’s much dearer to me. I shall not be so unreasonable as to desire that, for my satisfaction, you should deny yourself a recreation that is pleasing to you, and very innocent, sure, when ’tis not used in excess, but I cannot consent you should disorder yourself with it, and Jane was certainly in the right when she told you I would have chid if I had seen you so endanger a health that I am so much concerned in. But for what she tell you of my melancholy you must not believe; she thinks nobody in good humour unless they laugh perpetually, as Nan and she does, which I was never given to much, and now I have been so long accustomed to my own natural dull humour that nothing can alter it. ‘Tis not that I am sad (for as long as you and the rest of my friends are well), I thank God I have no occasion to be so, but I never appear to be very merry, and if I had all that I could wish for in the world, I do not think it would make any visible change in my humour. And yet with all my gravity I could not but laugh at your encounter in the Park, though I was not pleased that you should leave a fair lady and go lie upon the cold ground. That is full as bad as overheating yourself at tennis, and therefore remember ’tis one of the things you are forbidden. You have reason to think your father kind, and I have reason to think him very civil; all his scruples are very just ones, but such as time and a little good fortune (if we were either of us lucky to it) might satisfy. He may be confident I can never think of disposing myself without my father’s consent; and though he has left it more in my power than almost anybody leaves a daughter, yet certainly I were the worst natured person in the world if his kindness were not a greater tie upon me than any advantage he could have reserved. Besides that, ’tis my duty, from which nothing can ever tempt me, nor could you like it in me if I should do otherwise, ‘twould make me unworthy of your esteem; but if ever that may be obtained, or I left free, and you in the same condition, all the advantages of fortune or person imaginable met together in one man should not be preferred before you. I think I cannot leave you better than with this assurance. ‘Tis very late, and having been abroad all this day, I knew not till e’en now of this messenger. Good-night to you. There need be no excuse for the conclusion of your letter. Nothing can please me better. Once more good-night. I am half in a dream already.


_Letter 13._–There is some allusion here to an inconstant lover of my Lady Diana Rich, who seems to have deserted his mistress on account of the sore eyes with which, Dorothy told us in a former letter, her friend was afflicted.

I cannot find any account of the great shop above the Exchange, “The Flower Pott.” There were two or three “Flower Pots” in London at this time, one in Leadenhall Street and another in St. James’ Market. An interesting account of the old sign is given in a work on London tradesmen’s tokens, in which it is said to be “derived from the earlier representations of the salutations of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, in which either lilies were placed in his hand, or they were set as an accessory in a vase. As Popery declined, the angel disappeared, and the lily-pot became a vase of flowers; subsequently the Virgin was omitted, and there remained only the vase of flowers. Since, to make things more unmistakeable, two debonair gentlemen, with hat in hand, have superseded the floral elegancies of the olden time, and the poetry of the art seems lost.”

SIR,–I am glad you ‘scaped a beating, but, in earnest, would it had lighted on my brother’s groom. I think I should have beaten him myself if I had been able. I have expected your letter all this day with the greatest impatience that was possible, and at last resolved to go out and meet the fellow; and when I came down to the stables, I found him come, had set up his horse, and was sweeping the stable in great order. I could not imagine him so very a beast as to think his horses were to be serv’d before me, and therefore was presently struck with an apprehension he had no letter for me: it went cold to my heart as ice, and hardly left me courage enough to ask him the question; but when he had drawled it out that he thought there was a letter for me in his bag, I quickly made him leave his broom. ‘Twas well ’tis a dull fellow, he could not [but] have discern’d else that I was strangely overjoyed with it, and earnest to have it; for though the poor fellow made what haste he could to untie his bag, I did nothing but chide him for being so slow. Last I had it, and, in earnest, I know not whether an entire diamond of the bigness on’t would have pleased me half so well; if it would, it must be only out of this consideration, that such a jewel would make me rich enough to dispute you with Mrs. Chambers, and perhaps make your father like me as well. I like him, I’ll swear, and extremely too, for being so calm in a business where his desires were so much crossed. Either he has a great power over himself, or you have a great interest in him, or both. If you are pleased it should end thus, I cannot dislike it; but if it would have been happy for you, I should think myself strangely unfortunate in being the cause that it went not further. I cannot say that I prefer your interest before my own, because all yours are so much mine that ’tis impossible for me to be happy if you are not so; but if they could be divided I am certain I should. And though you reproached me with unkindness for advising you not to refuse a good offer, yet I shall not be discouraged from doing it again when there is occasion, for I am resolved to be your friend whether you will or no. And, for example, though I know you do not need my counsel, yet I cannot but tell you that I think ’twere very well that you took some care to make my Lady B. your friend, and oblige her by your civilities to believe that you were sensible of the favour was offered you, though you had not the grace to make good use on’t. In very good earnest now, she is a woman (by all that I have heard of her) that one would not lose; besides that, ’twill become you to make some satisfaction for downright refusing a young lady–’twas unmercifully done.

Would to God you would leave that trick of making excuses! Can you think it necessary to me, or believe that your letters can be so long as to make them unpleasing to me? Are mine so to you? If they are not, yours never will be so to me. You see I say anything to you, out of a belief that, though my letters were more impertinent than they are, you would not be without them nor wish them shorter. Why should you be less kind? If your fellow-servant has been with you, she has told you I part with her but for her advantage. That I shall always be willing to do; but whensoever she shall think fit to serve again, and is not provided of a better mistress, she knows where to find me.

I have sent you the rest of _Cleopatre_, pray keep them all in your hands, and the next week I will send you a letter and directions where you shall deliver that and the books for my lady. Is it possible that she can be indifferent to anybody? Take heed of telling me such stories; if all those excellences she is rich in cannot keep warm a passion without the sunshine of her eyes, what are poor people to expect; and were it not a strange vanity in me to believe yours can be long-lived? It would be very pardonable in you to change, but, sure, in him ’tis a mark of so great inconstancy as shows him of an humour that nothing can fix. When you go into the Exchange, pray call at the great shop above, “The Flower Pott.” I spoke to Heams, the man of the shop, when I was in town, for a quart of orange-flower water; he had none that was good then, but promised to get me some. Pray put him in mind of it, and let him show it you before he sends it me, for I will not altogether trust to his honesty; you see I make no scruple of giving you little idle commissions, ’tis a freedom you allow me, and that I should be glad you would take. The Frenchman that set my seals lives between Salisbury House and the Exchange, at a house that was not finished when I was there, and the master of the shop, his name is Walker, he made me pay 50s. for three, but ’twas too dear. You will meet with a story in these parts of _Cleopatre_ that pleased me more than any that ever I read in my life; ’tis of one Delie, pray give me your opinion of her and her prince. This letter is writ in great haste, as you may see; ’tis my brother’s sick day, and I’m not willing to leave him long alone. I forgot to tell you in my last that he was come hither to try if he can lose an ague here that he got in Gloucestershire. He asked me for you very kindly, and if he knew I writ to you I should have something to say from him besides what I should say for myself if I had room.


_Letter 14._–This letter contains the most interesting political reference of the whole series. Either Temple has written Dorothy an account of Cromwell’s dissolving the Long Parliament, or perhaps some news-letter has found its way to Chicksands with the astounding news. All England is filled with intense excitement over Cromwell’s _coup d’etat_; and it cannot be uninteresting to quote a short contemporary account of the business. Algernon Sydney’s father, the Earl of Leicester, whose journal has already been quoted, under date Wednesday, April 20th, 1653, writes as follows:–“My Lord General came into the House clad in plain black clothes with grey worsted stockings, and sat down, as he used to do, in an ordinary place.” Then he began to speak, and presently “he put on his hat, went out of his place, and walked up and down the stage or floor in the midst of the House, with his hat on his head, and chid them soundly.” After this had gone on for some time, Colonel Harrison was called in to remove the Speaker, which he did; “and it happened that Algernon Sydney sat next to the Speaker on the right hand. The General said to Harrison, ‘Put him out!’

“Harrison spake to Sydney to go out, but he said he would not go out and waited still.

“The General said again, ‘Put him out!’ Then Harrison and Wortley [Worsley] put their hands upon Sydney’s shoulders as if they would force him to go out. Then he rose and went towards the door.”

Such is the story which reaches Dorothy, and startles all England at this date.