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London, March, 1681. I HOPE my dearest did not interpret amiss any action of mine from seven o'clock Thursday night to nine on Friday morning ; I am certain I had sufficient punishment for the ill conduct I used, of the short time then left us to spend together, without so terrible an addition : besides, I was really sorry I could not scribble as you told me you designed I should, not only that I might please myself with remembering I had done you some little service at parting, but possibly I might have prevailed for the laying by a smart word or so, which will now pass current, unless you will oblige a wife, after eleven years, by making such a sacrifice to her now and then, upon occasions offered. I hope, as I write this, you are safe near Oxford *, though it is not noon; but being to meet Lady Inchiquin at dinner at Montague House, I thought this the best time to dispatch this affair with pleasure. If any thing offers itself, fit to be inserted, I shall gladly do it; but I doubt it. Charlton, going to-day to his lady's at Barnet, he promised me, if he knew any thing before he set out, he would impart it. Lord Cavendish keeps a sol. dier at his back + still. Vendôme, another nephew, is come over; so they say he shall take Lord

* The parliament met this year at Oxford, on March the twenty-first.

+ This must probably have been to prevent an intended duel from some dispute at play.

Cavendish's concern; but fighting must be in the end : what Lord Mordant has done can never be put up; nor he will not submit. We conclude nothing but the great earl of Aylesbury can assist this matter : he must come up of ne. cessity.

The report of our nursery, I humbly praise God, is very good. Master (her son) improves really, I think, every day. Sure he is a goodly child; the more I see of others, the better he appears : I hope God will give him life and virtue: misses and their mamma walked yesterday after dinner to see their cousin Alington. Miss Kate wished she might see him *; so I gratified her little person. Unless I see cause to add a note, this is all at this time from yours only entirely, ·

R. RUSSELL. Look to your pockets : a printed paper says you will have fine papers put into them, and then witnesses to swear.


Stratton, 1681. Thursday morning. A MESSENGER, bringing things from Alsford this morning, gives me the opportunity of sending this by the post. If he will leave it at Frimley, it will let you know we are all well; if he does not, it may let such know it as do not care, but satisfy no one's curiosity in any other point; for, having said thus much, I am ready to conclude,

* A new born son of Lady Allington's. VOL. V.

with this one secret, first, that as thy precious self is the most endearing husband, I believe, in the world, so I am the most grateful wife, and my heart most gladly passionate in its returns. Now you have all, for this time, from your

R. RUSSELL. Boy is asleep, girls singing abęd. Lord Marquis (of Winchester) sent a compliment yesterday, that he heard one of the girls had the measles ; and if I would remove the rest, he would leave his house at an hour's warning. I hope you deliver my service to Mr. James. . .


Stratton, 20th September, 1681. To see any body preparing and taking their way to see what I long to do a thousand times more than they, makes me not endure to suffer their going, without saying something to my best life; though it is a kind of anticipating my joy when we shall meet, to allow myself so much before tbe time : but I confess I feel a great deal, that, though I left London with great reluctance (as it is easy to persuade men a woman does), yet that I am not like to leave Stratton with greater. They will tell you how well I got hither, and how well I found our dear treasure here : your boy will please you ; you will, I think, find him improved, though I tell you so beforehand. They fancy he wanted you ; for as soon as I alighted he followed, calling papa ; but, I suppose, it is the word he has most command of; so was not disobliged by the little fellow. The girls were fine, in remembrance of the happy twenty-ninth of September*; and we drank your health, after a red deer pie; and at night your girls and I supped on a sack posset: nay, master (her son) would have his room; and for haste burnt his fingers in the posset; but he does but rub his hands for it. It is the most glorious weather here that ever was seen. The coach shall meet you at the cabbage garden : be there by eight o'clock, or a little after; though I guess you can hardly be there so soon, day breaks so late ; and indeed the mornings are so misty, it is not wholesome to be in the air so early. I do propose going to my neighbour Worsley to-day. I would fain be telling my heart more things—any thing to be in a kind of talk with him ; but, I believe, Spencer stays for my dispatch : he was willing to go early; but this was to be the delight of this morning, and the support of the day. It is performed in bed, thy pillow at my back; where thy dear head shall lie, I hope, to-morrow night, and many more, I trust in his mercy, notwithstanding all our enemies or ill wishers. Love, and be willing to be loved by,


I have not seen your brother; yet I wish matters go well.

• Lord Russell's birth-day,


Stratton, 20th October, 1681. Saturday night. The hopes I have, my dearest life, that this will be the concluding epistle, for this time, makes me undertake it with more cheerfulness than my others. We are very busy in preparing, and full of expectation to see a coach come for us : just at twelve this morning I heard one was not altogether so welcome as Mr. Whithead will be : it proved Lady Worsley ; but miss, who had me by the hand, would not quit it, but led me to her dinner, and told my Lady Worsley I said I would dine with ber; then she would dine there too ; and miss consented she should : so we took your table to my chamber, and pleased all parties, I hope, I being so, now it is over. I put her to work as soon as we had eaten. We laid up all your pears : I intend them to go by Monday's carrier.' Your hawks we know not what to do with, but stay they must, I say, till we are gone, and horses come back ; but your new dog I hope you will think of, for what to do with him I know not: I have a mind to have him led along with the waggon; for then he will be safe going through towns, and Betty Forster may take care of him at nights ; but I hope you will tell us your mind to-morrow, if you can think of any thing but parliamentary affairs. I pray God direct all your consultations there; and, my dearest dear, you guess my mind. A word to the wise. I never longed more earnestly to be with you, for whom I have a thousand kind and

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