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who says, no matter how soone the fruit fall, so it hang till it be ripe. Though her death was unexpected, yet she had the excellent preparation of an Inocent, and virtuous lyfe. We have hope next sumer, to see Mrs Weston, and Mrs Mary Hacon; and Keat sais, you must make up that trinity of joyes. But tis time to present the kyndnis of yr frinds, lest I want roome. The first place is our dear father's dew.* None before him in tender love for you, except my selfe. Next my lord, in his playne but cordiall way. “Remember me to poore Gatt: wo'd she be a nun? Faith, if she knew the world half so well as I, she wod make haste out of itt.Dear Prokaty # goes further, and further than I can tell, in kynd expression. Yr misteris follows closs, in a more sylent way, and wearys me wiili her oft kynd whispers, is ther no hope of Gatts retorne, &c. Sister Clayton, Lame, King, Musgrave, Constable, Marina, Clarke, Staf
By dear father, she probably means the Father Confessor of the Convent.
† My lord, was I suppose the Earl of Portland, who appears to have then resided at Louvain.
| Probably a familiar term for Procuratrix, the nun who manages the temporal concerns of the convent.
ford, Aurelia, Bessy Claye, all, and every one, nuns and sisters, perticulerly poore Heicott, wod be named by som marke of kyndnis ; but our yong nun, sister Hacon, longs for a whisper; and tells me, she repents soin things she said to you, as fynding it much otherwise then she thought. She is growen so constantly mery, you wod scharce know her, but it strangely becoms her. * She longs for yr coming initely, but says, I must have patience a year or too; and then she dar almost swere by her owne ex. perience, you will know so much of the world, as to hate itts deceats, and fly to saufty, wher she has alredy taken sanctuary. I had almost forgott our 2 Novises, Nan Constable, and Franck Tomson, who desyre you receive ther kyndnis. Mrs Mary Worthington is scholer for order, all alone; but we expect Crathornes sister. I have spent so much place in delivering others kyndnis, that I must croud my owne to
* The constant cheerfulness, and even gaiety and mirth, which are generally observable in the countenances and conversation of nuns, is very striking. It is a proof that in great measure they enjoy the
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind,
my dearest brother Aston. In one word, I am all his, and thyne as much; for I fynd no disbursment of love diminish my stocke. Every one kindles, and mentaynes there owne fyre; and burne in it, though never can consume, thy most affectionat ante,
For Dear Gatt.
Sep. 20. My DeAR SWEET CHYLD, YR sylence, though never so long, could never have betrayed your forgettfulnis of me, so much as yr letter did. Lord! know you me no better, then to thinck I can have any change to thee, or take any thing ill. No, no, my love is of a higher straine. God, I hopè, has ordered it to be elernal; therfor can receive no diminution by any thing can hapen in this world. Now, to give thee a true acoumpt why I rite so sildom, really tis partly to spare thee. I meane to favour thy lasy umore, wch I know hates riting, and yet wod suffer not to answer me. Partly also, I must confesse, because I fynd it hard to speake to thee, and not to speake the bottom of my hart; and that agayne might troble thee, because our dissyres differ. I am
confind therfor to repeat, over and over againe the old story. None ever did, or can love thee better, and (except thy father) none so well as thy poore ante,
I will not lett your sister rite for fear of putting her eyes out of tune; because Sr Anne Gifford lyes a dying, and then you know how many dirigis she is obliged to read, besydes the psalter ;* but next tyme write to her, not to me. I shall take itt full as well, for Keat and I are but one. No body knows of my riting, els I shuld bee loaded with remembrances to you. Cosen Crathorne is com back, and to be cloathed with Mall Worthington.t
* Dirige, or dirge, the Roman Catholic office for the dead; from the words, Dirge Domine, with which the service begins.
+ The clothing of a nun is a preparatory step to her religious profession, and is a very solemn ceremony, which must be particularly striking to female spectators. The youthful, and often beauteous, victim, who is to become the chaste spouse of Christ, approaches the altar, gayly dressed in “ silken sheen,” and “ decked with jewels rare.” After some prayers, and religious rites, her hair is cut off by the officiating clergyman; 'she then retires, and having