Friday, August 10, 2007

Dorothy to Sir William

[To Sir William Temple]

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 unpleasant 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, which, by the way, Sir Thomas never saw. 'Tis true I told him I had a letter from you, one day that he extremely lamented he knew not what was become of you, and fell into so earnest commendations of you that I cannot expect less from him who have the honour to be his kinswoman. But to leave him to his mistress who perhaps has spoilt his memory–let me assure you that I was never so in love with an old man in my life, as I was with Mr. Metcalf for sending me that letter (though there is one not far off that says he will have me when his wife dies). I writ so kindly to him the next post, and he that would not be in my debt sends me word again that you were coming over. But yours kept me from believing that and made me think you in Italy when you were in England, though I was not displeased to find myself deceived. But for God 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 render 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
-from Letters from Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple (1652-1654) edited by Edward Abbott Parry (London: J. M. Dent & Sons).

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