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tion; neither can I think that I had any certain symptom of the disease. My man servant had the distemper. Upon the tumour appearing, I gave him several chymical antidotes, which had a very kind operation ; and, with the blessing of God, they kept the venom from the heart, and after the tumour broke he was very well. My maid hath continued in health, which was a great mercy; for, had she quailed, I should have been ill set to have washed and got provisions for myself.
I know I have had your prayers, and question not but I have fared the better for them; and conclude that the prayers of good people have rescued me from the jaws of death. Certainly I had been in the dust, if omnipotency had not been conquered by holy violence.
I have largely tasted the goodness of my Creator; since, blessed be God, the grim looks of Death did never yet affright me. I always had a firm faith that my dear babes would do well, which made me willing to leave this unkind and froward world. Yet I hope I shall esteem it a mercy that my desires of being, like my dear wife, translated to a better place, were frustrated. God grant that I may wait with patience for my change, and make a right use of his punishments and of his mercies ; for, if the first have been severe, so have the last been sweet and comfortable! I perceive, by a letter from Mrs. Newby, that you have much and most kindly concerned yourself for my welfare. Indeed, I made no question of possessing your true affection. Be assured, that, in the midst of my great troubles, you were often in my thoughts.
Be pleased, sir, to accept the grateful present, ment of my kindest respects, imparting the same to your good wife, and to all my dear relations.
A line from your hand would be welcome to, dearest sir, your sorrowful and truly affectionate nephew,
THE EARL OF ROCHESTER* TO HIS WIFE.
MY MOST NEGLECTED WIFE, Till you are a much respected widow, I find you will scarce be a contented woman; and to say no more than the plain truth, I do endeavour so fairly to do you that last good service, that none but the most impatient would refuse to rest satisfied.
What evil enemy to my repose does inspire my Lady Warr to visit you once a year, and leave you bewitched for eleven months after ? I thank my God that I have the torment of the stone upon me (which are no small pains), rather than my unspeakable one of being an eyewitness to your uneasiness. Do but propose to me any reasonable thing upon earth I can do to set you at quiet; but it is like a mad woman to lie roaring out of pain, and never confess in what part it is. These three years have I heard you continually complaining, nor has it ever been in my
# These letters are from the pen of that Earl of Rochester who is equally known for his wit and his licentiousness. They are not dated, but the last but one, which refers to the death of the duchess of Orleans, must have been written in 1670.
power to obtain the knowledge of any considerable cause. I am confident I shall not have the affliction three years hence; but that repose I must owe to a surer friend than you. When that time comes, you will grow wiser, though I fear not much happier.
I kiss my dear wife a thousand times, as far as imagination and wish will give me leave. Think upon me as long as it is pleasant and convenient to you to do so, and afterwards forget me ; for though I would fain make you the author and foundation of my happiness, I could not be the cause of your constraint and disturbance, for I love not myself soe much as I doe you, neither do I value my own satisfaction as I doe yours. Farewell.
THE EARL OF ROCHESTER TO HIS WIFE.
· DEARE WIFE, I HAVE noe news for you but that London grows very tiresome, and I long to see you, but things are now reduced to that extremity on all sides, that a man dares not turne his back for feare of being hanged, an ill accident to be avoyded by all prudent persons, and therefore by your humble servant,
Wood and firing, which were the subject matter of your last, I tooke order for before, and make noe question but you are served in that before this, Mr. Cary seldom fayling in any thing he undertakes.
THE EARL OF ROCHESTER TO HIS WIFE. I am very glad to heare news from you, and I think it very good when I hear you are well ; pray be pleased to send me word what you are apt to be pleased with, that I may show you how good a husband I can bee; I would not have you so formall as to judge of the kindness of a letter by the length of it, but believe of every thing that it is as you would have it.
'Tis not an easy thing to bee entirely happy; but to be kind is very easy, and that is the greatest measure of happiness. I say not this to put you in mind of being kind to mee; you have practised that soe long, that I have a joyful confidence you will never forget itt; but to shew that I myself have a sense of what the methods of my life seemed so utterly to contradict, I must not be too wise about my own follyes, or else this letter had bin a book dedicated to you, and published to the world ; it will be more pertinent
Newmarket, and then I shall wait on you at Adderbury; in the mean time, think of any thing you would have me doe, and I shall thank you for the occasion of pleasing you.
Mr. Morgan I have sent on this errant, because he playes the rogue here in towne so extremely, that he is not to be endured; pray if he bebaves himself soe at Adderbury, send me word, and let him stay till I send for him ; pray let Ned come up to town, I have a little business with him, and hee shall bee back in a weeke.
Wonder not that I have not writt to you all this while, for it was hard for mee to know what to write upon several accounts, but in this I will only desire you not to be too much amazed at the thoughts my mother has of you, since being meare imaginations, they will as easily vanish as they were groundlessly erected; for my own part, I will make it my endeavour they may. What you desired of mee in your other letter, shall punctually have performed. You must, I thinke, obey my mother in her commands to wait on her at Aylesbury, as I tould you in my last letter. I am very dull at this time, and there. fore thinke it pity in this humour to testify my. selfe to you any farther; only, dear wife, I am, your humble servant,
THE EARL OF ROCHESTER TO HIS WIFE.
I CANNOT deny to you but that heroick resolutions in women are things of the which I have never bin transported with greate admiration, nor can bee, if my life lay on't, for I thinke it is a very impertinent virtue ; besides, consider how men and women are compounded, that as with heate and cold, so greatness and meanness are necessary ingredients that enter both into the making up of every one that is borne ; now when heat is predominant, we are termed hott; when cold is, we are called cold ; though in the mixture both take their places, else our warmth would be a burning, and our coldness an excessive freezing ;