The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[Bampfield comes to renew their relationship at Fyvie; they agree to live apart until they have incontrovertible proof his wife is dead, pp. 64 - 66]

[p. 64] Upon Thursday night the 19. of September my Lady Dunfermeline [Dunfermline] kist the King's hands, and tooke leave of all her relations in St Johnston to goe on her journy to Fivye [Fyvie]. The first night wee lay att Glames [Glamis, Angus, Scotland], the next two nights att Brighon, upon Monday night att Donotter [Dunottar], the next night att Aberdeene [Aberdeen], where wee staid till Friday the 27., and that night came to Fivye [Fyvie], where I was intertained with so much respect and civility both by my Lady Dunfermeline [Lady Mary Seton, Countess of Dunfermline] and my Lady Anne Ariskene [Anna Erskine], and the whole familly, that I shall ever acknowledge itt with all the gratitude imaginable.1

Affter I had beene there some time the King came to Aberdeene [Aberdeen], and my Lord D. [Charles Seton, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline] came home for a weeke to see his Lady, and told mee that Sir G. S. had desired his Lordship to lett mee know that some friends of his was to present the King with a purse with gold, and if I would imploy any that I had interest in to speake to the King for mee, hee doupted nott butt his Majestie would give mee part of the presentt.

When my Lord [Dunfermline] returned I writt of itt to Mr. Seamor [Henry Seymour]2, and att the first proposall the King was pleased to give [p. 65] order for sending fivety pieces to mee. Halfe of itt I paid to the gentleman that had formerly lentt itt mee, who had found this way to secure himselfe and obleige mee, and so I was free of that dept to my very greatt sattisfaction.

I had nott beene long injoying the tranquility of that retired condittion I was in when I received a letter from C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] that hee was att Aberdeene [Aberdeen], and desired to know if hee might have liberty to come and see mee att Fivye [Fyvie]. I was altogether averse to itt, and used many argumentts to diswade him from itt, beeing positively determined nott to see him till hee could free himselfe of what hee was taxed with; for, though I did nott beleeve itt, and that hee had so fully sattisfied my Lord Dun. [Dunfermline] in Holland that his Lorp [Lordship] (as hee often told mee) had nott the least doupt of itt, yett I thought the safest way was to keepe att a distance till itt was past dispute. Hee so offten importuned mee that att last hee prevailed, and, having aquainted my Lady Dunfermeline [Dunfermline] with his desire, and obtained her Las [Ladyship's] liberty, I gave my consentt; butt while the question was in debate the King returned towards Sterling [Stirling], and hee attending (as the rest did) his Majestie, itt tooke up a considerable time before my answeare could come to him, and hee come to Fivye [Fyvie].3

Butt affter I had despatched his foot-boy I began to have great debates with my selfe, and the conflict betwixt love and honor was so great and prevalent that neither would yield to other, and betwixt both I was brought into so great a distemper that I expected now an end to all my misfortunes; butt itt seemes the Lord had some further use for mee in the world, and therfore thought fitt then againe to spare mee. What the trialls were that I mett with under that sicknese are knowne to some yett living, and the submission under them was, I hope, acceptable to him that gave itt.

Before I recovered so much strengh as to be able to sitt up, C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] came, whose sattisfaction in seeing mee was much abated to find mee so weake, and for seeming so douptfull of the reports concerning him; and since what hee had said to my brother N. [Newton] (when hee thought itt might have beene the last moment of his life,)4 did nott [p. 66] sattisfy mee, hee offred to take the most holy sacramentt upon itt that hee was inocentt if itt should bee true that his wife was living, and gave so many reasons why itt should nott bee true that I could nott butt accknowledge pleaded much for him. I alltogether disallowed of making use of that sacred institution for the end hee proposed, since I did nott thinke itt warrantable, nor could itt convince mee of the untruth of the report, though itt might confirme hee was inocentt of itt; and that charity inclined mee to beleeve, for hee could expect noe advantage with mee to countervaile the contrivance of so ill a designe; and I thought noe person could bee so ill as doe what's sinfull merely because itt is a sin, and therfore I concluded either the report falce, or hee miserably abused as well as I.

Affter hee had staid two nights hee tooke his leave of mee, having assured mee ever to keepe a due distance with him5 till the truth were evidentt beyond any one's contrediction; and if I found hee had been injured, hee might bee confidentt noe other missfortune under heaven should separate mee from him when ever I found I might lawfully and conveniently make good what I had designed.

[1 The Earl of Dunfermline had an estate at Fyvie in Aberdeenshire, about twenty miles north-west of Aberdeen (Loftis, Memoirs, 200n). Meanwhile Charles Stuart (not yet crowned) fled Perth to Dundee where he met Highland lords and was taken to Cortachy Castle (in Angus). Donnotar Castle is also in Angus. Reading a note or diary among the papers Simon Couper is basing his 1701 biography on, he writes "The Countess of Dunfermline kindly invites her to go amongst with them to the North." Anne "accepted the offer thankfully, and having first provided herself with some Money, which she obtained upon her Note, upon the 21st of September 1650 they left Dunfermline, and came that night to Kinross, p. 22. EM]

[2 See Edinburgh, Note 4 Cummings remarks that Sir G. S.'s behavior is not disinterested as he had just lent Anne 25 pounds, see AH, 668, and p. 61 above. EM]

[3 From Ronald Hutton's Charles the Second, King of England, Scotland and Ireland (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989):57-58, it seems that the period at Stirling referred to is around 17 to 22 October 1650. So it's around the end of October that Bampfield arrived. Anne's language here is very strong. Her religious guilt and shame combined with the insecurity she's known results in a nervous collapse and perhaps another high fever. The conflicts within her make her want to die. I speculate some of this was written at the time. EM]

[4 Sir Henry Newton with whom Bampfield was forced to duel. See Her brother-in-law duels with Bampfield. EM]

[5 That is, they would not proceed to marital sexual relations again until the situation was resolved. It's in passages like these that we see the core problem is Bampfield not only bigamously married Anne, but they consummated their marriage sexually and lived together as a married couple. She goes into collapse because she fears that when he arrives, she will not be able to say no. He has the respect and trust of all around her. The mores of the time demand a wife obey her husband. She loves him. But is he her husband? She now believes he thinks so and loves her. So she promises that when they can be sure, she will never separate herself from him again. EM]

Dunottar Castle today, Angus, Scotland

Fyvie Castle today, Aberdeen, a National Trust property

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