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grateful thoughts. You know of whom I learned this expression ; if I could have found one more fit to speak the passion of my soul, I should send it you with joy ; but I submit with great content to imitate, but never shall attain to any equality, except that of sincerity : and I will ever be (by God's grace) what I ought, and profess, thy faithful, affectionate, and obedient wife,
R. RUSSELL. I seal not this till Sunday morning, that you might know all is well then. Miss sends me word she is so, and hopes to see papa quickly ; so does one more.
LADY R. RUSSELL TO LORD W. RUSSELL,
Stratton, November, 1681. Monday, ten o'clock. I HAVE felt one true delight this morning already, being just come from our nurseries, and now am preparing for another : these being my true moments of pleasure, till the presence of my dearest life is before my eyes again : how I long for it I will not go about to tell you ; nor how I take your abusing me about my perfections : you should leave those things to your brother to say when occasion serves. On Friday, he may know how soon he may be put to his best language*; for Wednesday is the day of trial, and the report to be made on Friday ; but now we have choice of old and young. There is a young, handsome, well-natured, discreet gentlewoman, solely at the
This seems to have been, either in jest or earnest, some intended proposal of marriage to be made by Mr. James Russell.
disposal of Mr. W., with 70001., a Lady Nines' daughter, here in the west. I name her, because possibly you may see somebody may have known something of them; and this coming by the carrier, I thought it would make no discovery. I put a note into the box of pears last night, intending then not to write to-day ; but I have no power to let it alone; and, as an inducement to myself to make it more reasonable, I consider I need not send again to-morrow to Basingstoke, since you will have both on Wednesday morning ; that is, unless there should be any change, as I trust in God there will not; so that look for no news by the post: if there be any cause, you shall hear. The pears, I sent you word how they are distinguished : all the south are in paper and linen. I am something discouraged as to good news, you having had Sir William * so long, and give me not a word of comfort; nor, truly, I found none in the news-letter, but increase of witnesses against Lord Shaftesbury. My service to the ladies that met you. Poor Lady Shaftesbury writes me word, she finds her brother the same man. No fault must be found with the ministers, though they feel the sad effects of their malice and cruelty. The carrier is ready to go : he promises, by twelve o'clock, to be with you. Your's entirely,
R. RUSSELL. Miss brings me her mite ; but there has been almost wet eyes about it; she thinks it so ill done t.
• Sir W. Jones, who had been attorney general,
LADY R. RUSSELL TO LORD W. RUSSELL.
Stratton, November 22, 1681. As often as you are absent, we are taught, by experience, who gives life to this house and family ; but we dodge on in a dull way, as well as we can. Our eldest master (Mr. James Russell) walks contentedly to Mitcheldever and back again, then talks with Richard, then sits down to a woodcock and toasts : but the highest gusto I find he has, is going to bed at ten, and expecting to sleep there till eleven next morning, without being disturbed ; which he was in fear not to do when you are at home; and he complains you are not content to wake him, but throw off his clothes to boot. I think he expects a return to his visit before he makes another *. This is a day of care ; for Richard is gone upon Dun, both to the he and she : so at night we expect to know something ; then he will spur up that way, I suppose. If the mountain come not to us, Mahomet will go to it. I just come from our little master : he is very well; so I left him, and saw your girls a lacing. Miss Kate says, Sure papa is upon the road. I wish for Wednesday, that I may know if I am to hope he will be so this week. If you should buy the new stuff for my closet, do not let them make chairs : for now I think cane will do best in a small room. Pray remember the door be turned against the wood places in my chamber. One remembrance more,
• This, and what follows, again alludes to the proposal of marriage mentioned in the last letter.
my best life ; be wise as a serpent, harmless as a , dove. So farewell, for this time, yours,
R. RUSSELL. Mr. James and I desire Thomson* every week.
LADY R. RUSSELL TO LORD W. RUSSELL.
Stratton, September 25, 1682. I STAID till I came from church, that I might, as late as I could, tell you all your concerns here are just as you left them. The young man as mad (her son), winking at me, and striking with his drumstick whatever comes to his reach. If I had written before church, whilst my morning draught was in my head, this might have entertained you better; but, now those fumes are laid, I find my spirits more dull than usual, as I have more cause ; the much dearer and pleasanter part of my life being absent from me: I leave my Lord Russell to guess who that is. I had a letter last post from Mrs. Lacon : pray tell her so, and that you had the paper about the King of Polandt; for she is very inquisitive to know, it being so new, she says Charlton had not seen it. I know nothing new since you went; but I know, as certainly as I live, that I have been, for twelve years, as passionate a lover as ever woman was, and hope to be so one twelve years more ; happy still, and entirely yours,
• Probably a newspaper of that time.
+ “ This (says the editor of the Letters) was, probably, a report that the duke of York was to be made king of Poland.” May it not be an allusion to Lord Shaftesbury, who was said to aspire to the Polish crown? R. A. D.
THE COUNTESS DOWAGER OF SUNDERLAND TO THE EARL OF HALIFAX.
June 20th, 1680. WHAT measures soever you take of my kindness and good will, I fear, my dear lord, you cannot but think me impertinent in writing so many letters to you. By this post you will receive my son's desire to meet him : on Tuesday he intends to go. He says you will, he knows, be well satisfied with what is already done and intended. My brother Harry will go to Althorpe : he long's to see you, he says, and more of your friends: I saw them both yesterday, and they told me so. My son had a sore mouth that vexed him, with the ill news from Tangiers, that the fort is taken. Our men must get it back again : a terrible scene, they say, that will be. My Lord Middleton is to go to the emperor as envoy. I am told by our ministers we are assured of his declaring at the Diet to be in league with us and the Dutch; and my brother says, he does not doubt but, by Michaelmas, almost all the princes of Europe will do so too. He says, that from this city did come letters to the States of Holland, to persuade them not to make a league with us; for we were in so ill condition by the divisions amongst ourselves, if they quitted France for us, they were ruined. This did stagger them awhile. It is certain the mutineers + are out of their wits, and may be ashamed of the lies they have told : either they
* This lady was the Sacharissa celebrated by Waller.
+ Thus the courtiers of that day called those in opposition to their measures.