The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[Fife: she prevails upon Charles II to show her affectionate respect; accepted as a member of the Earl of Dunfermline's household, she heads further north, pp. 56 - 62]

[p. 56] The second night affter I left N. [Naworth] Castle (Thursday, 6 June, 1650,) I came to Edenborough [Edinburgh], and lodged at Sainders Peeres, at the foott of the Canongate.1 I had discharged all that were with mee to tell my name to any one till I could find outt some that I had formerly known in England.

That night at super, the old gentleman beeing with mee and the Mistress of the house, and siting fast against mee, I could nott butt looke earnestly upon her, and I said, "Mrs. [Mistress] I cannott butt have a kindnese for you, because you have a very great resemblance of my mother."

Att that shee clapt her hands, and said, "Nay, then, I will never inquire any more who you are, for I am sure you are Will Murray's sister, for hee often told mee the same." Shee then informed mee of a kinsman of my mother's (who shee made her executor) that had beene at her house that day, and shee knew hee would be glad to see mee.

And I was well pleased to hear of him, and sent for him to advise whether I should continue where I was or take a more private lodging. Butt hee told mee it was a very civill howse, and the best quality lay there that had nott howses of there owne.

When the gentleman and those that came with mee had rested [p. 57] some time, and seene the towne, they returned back againe with all the acknowledgements I was capable to make to Sir Ch. [Charles] and his lady for there great civility and kindnese.

When I had beene two or three days in the towne I receaved a visitt from the Earle of Argile [Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquis of Argyle], who invited mee to his howse, and the next day sentt his coach for mee, which I maid use of to waite upon his lady.

When I came up staires I was mett in the outtward roome by my Lady Anne Campbell [Argyle's oldest daughter], a sight that I must confese did so much surprise mee that I could hardly beleeve I was in Scottland, for shee was very handsome, extreamely obleiging, and her behavier and dress was equall to any that I had seene in the Court of England. This gave mee so good impresions of Scottland, that I began to see itt had beene much injured by those who represented itt under another caracter then what I found itt. When I was brought in to my Lady Argile [Argyle's wife, Lady Margaret Douglas Campbell, Marchioness and Countess of Argyle] I saw then where her daughter had derived her beauty and civility; one was under some decay, butt the other was so evident and so well proportioned, that while shee gave to others shee reserved what was due to her selfe.2

Affter I had staid a convenientt time I returned home to my lodging, where, amongst severall persons that visitted mee, Sir James Dowglas [Douglas] came and earnestly invited mee to Aberdour to stay some time with his Lady [Ann Hay Douglas, Countess of Morton]. Itt was too obleiging an offer to refuse, and upon the 15. of June I wentt with him, and crosed att Leith to Brun Island [Burntisland]. As soone as I landed, Sir James Dowglas [Douglas] had mee by one hand and the Laird of Maines by the other, and they bid mee wellcome to Fife, and imediately I fell flat downe upon the ground, and said, "I thinke I am going to take posesion of itt." They blamed one another for having had so litle care of mee; butt what I thought then accidentall I have since looked upon as a presage of the future blesings I injoyed in Fife, for which I shall for ever blese my God, and the memory of that prostration shall raise in mee praise to the Lord of bounty and mercy while I live.3

When I came to Aberdour I was led in through the garden, which was so fragrant and delightfull that I thought I was still in England. [p. 58] I intended to have staid there butt 2 or 3 nights, butt they would nott part with mee till the 22. of June, and then I returned to Ed. [Edinburgh], butt with a promise to bee backe againe, which I made good the 27. day.

Aboutt this time the news came that the King was landed in the North, and was comming South. I began to reflect upon my owne misfortune in the unhapy report that was of C. B. [Colonel Bampfield's] wife's beeing alive, and itt was knowne to severalls aboutt the Court what my concerne in him was; this, with the unhandsome and unjust caracter given both to him and my brother Will, made mee aprehend might make mee nott bee so well looked upon by the King as otherways I might expect.

And therfore, to informe my selfe what reception I should gett, I sentt an exprese to Mr. Seamar [Henry Seymour]4, who was one of the grooms of the Bed Chamber, who had beene fellow servantt with my brother Charles, and to him I writt representing the disadvantages I lay under, and that I expected his friendship in advising mee whether I should goe to kisse the King's hand or forbeare, for I had much rather wantt the honor than receave itt with a frowne.

To which this was his answeare, dated from Faulkland, the 17. of July 1650:

"I shall have only time to tell you that his Majestie saith that you shall bee very wellcome to him when soever you will give yourselfe that trouble, and that the world is too full of falce rumours easily to ingage his beleefe in any thing that shall bee to your prejudice; and I am very confident, when you have spoken with him, you will rest as assured of the esteeme that he hath of you as that I am, upon all occations, your very humble servantt,
H. Seymour"

I was much sattisfied with this letter; and now my greatest concerne was to find outt a convenient time and place where to performe my duty; butt I was soone putt outt of that dispute by the Countess of Dunfermeline [Lady Mary Seton, nee Douglas, Countess of Dunfermline]5, who came to Aberdour to see her brother [Sir James Douglas] and his lady [Ann Hay Douglas, Countess of Morton], and then told mee shee had receaved a letter from her lord aquaintting her what day the King had determined to bee at Dunfermeline [Dunfermline] (where his lordship [p. 59] had invited his Majestie), and injoyned her to give mee an invitation to bee there that day, as knowing noe place in Scottlaud I had more interest in, nor fitter for me then there to attend the King.6

My lady was pleased to second her lord's desire with soe many obleiging expresions that I could nott in civility have denied to obay her commands, though itt had beene contrary to my inclination; butt knowing itt both my honour and advantage to be presentted to the King in that noble famiilly, I acknowledged the offer for a very great favor, and promised to wait upon her Lap [Ladyship] the day apointed; which I made good by the assistance of Sir James D. [Douglas] who wentt along with mee, and wee came to Dunfermeline [Dunfermline] some three houres before the King's arivall.

After his Majestie had beene some time in the bed-chamber reposing after the journy, I waited upon my Lady Dunfermeline [Dunfermline] and my Lady Anne Areskine [Anna Erskine]7 to kisse the King's hand, beeing introduced by my Lord Argile [Argyle] and other persons of honour; and the first person I saw in the bed-chamber was one of them who my brother Will had told mee was his enemy. I cannott butt accknowledge I was att first disordered when I saw him, and yet more that hee putt a question to mee to answeare which I was obleiged either to dissemble or say what was very unfitt for the King to heare; butt I avoided both with that reason, because I was so neere, for the King heard my answeare and smiled. When I recollected the promise I had made my brother to forgive that person, and never to quarrell with him for the injury hee had done him, I so farre made itt good that I had an opertunity that with much ease and unknowne I could have had him putt from the court att that time when many were dismissed that had come home with the King; for a person who had great influence upon those who then governed inquired of mee particularly concerning him, of whom I gave so favourable a caracter that hee was continued to attend his Majestie.

During the time the King continued at Dunfermeline [Dunfermline], which was 8 or ten days, beeing royally intertained by the Earle of Dunfermeline [Dunfermline], and all those who attended his Majestie, every day I waited upon [p. 60] my lady [Lady Mary Seton, Countess of Dunfermline] and her neece [Anna Erskine] when they wentt to attend the King either att dinner or super; and though att those times hee was pleased to looke favorably upon mee, yett itt was noe more then what hee did to strangers.

This did much trouble mee; and therfore the day before the King was to goe from Dumfermeline [Dunfermline] I sentt for Mr. Harding8 in the morning to my chamber, and told him, though my aquaintance with him was butt of a short date, yett for the friendship I heard hee had for my brother Charles, who was his fellow servantt, I made choice of him whose age and experience might make more sencible (of what I could nott butt regrett) then those whose youth made them unconcerned in any trouble that was nott there owne. I then vindicated my brother Will from the aspersion hee lay under, and which I am confidentt occationed his death; and representted my owne misfortune, which posibly I might have avoided if I had not ingaged in serving his Highnese the Duke of Yorke in his escape, many circumstances attending that having contributed to my presentt suffering both as to my fame and fortune: for, beeing necesitate to leave London for my owne security, itt was easy for the malicious to deprive mee of both when I was nott in a capacity to speake in my owne defence.

"And affter all this (said I,) itt is an agravation of my trouble to see the King never take notice of mee, which may bee a great discouragementt to those persons of honor who have beene very civill to mee to continue so when they see mee so litle regarded by his Majestie."

I could nott utter this without teares, in which the good old gentleman did keepe mee company, expresing a very great respect for mee, and promised to speake to the King, and give an accountt of what I had said.

The next day, presenttly affter the King had dined, when his Majestie had taken leave of my Lady Dunfermeline [Lady Mary Seton, Countess of Dunfermline] and given her a complementt and my Lady Anne Areskine [Anna Erskine] (her lord's neece), hee came to mee and said, "Mrs. [Mistress] Murray, I am ashamed I have been so long a' speaking to you, butt itt was because I could nott say enough to you for the service you did my brother; butt if ever I can command what I have right to as my owne, there shall bee nothing in [p. 61] my power I will nott doe for you;" and with that the King laid his hand upon both mine as they lay upon my breast.

I humbly bowed down and kist his Majestie's hand, and said I had done nothing butt my duty, and had recompense enough if his Majestie accepted of itt as a service, and allowed mee his faver.9

Affter some other discourse which I have forgot, the King honored mee with the farwell hee had given the ladys, and imediately wentt to horse.

As soone as the King parted from mee, there came two gentlemen to mee; one tooke mee by one hand, the other by the other, to lead mee outt to the court (where all the ladys wentt to see the King take horse,) with so many flattering expresions that I could nott butt with a litle disdaine tell them I thought they acted that part very well in The Humourous Lieutenant, where a stranger comming to see a solemnity was hardly admitted to looke on by those who affterwards troubled her with there civility when they saw the King take notice of her. This answeare putt them both a litle outt, and made them know I understood their humour.10

To allay the joy that all the loyall party had for the King's returne, there was two great occations for disturbance, the one beeing strenghened by the other: Cromwell comming in with an army when there was so great devissions both in Church and State, and such unsuitable things proposed for accomodation as I wish were buried in perpetuall silence.

Affter the King had been invited to severall places and intertained suitably to what could bee expected, his Majestie returned againe to Dunfermeline [Dunfermline], having ordered the forces to march; and one morning came letters from the army lying att Dunbar that they had so surrounded the enemy that there was noe posibility for them to escape, which news gave great joy and much security. Butt the sad effects made us see how litle confidence should bee placed in any thing butt God, who in his justice thought fitt to punish this kingdome and bring itt under subjection to an Usurper, because they paid nott that subjection that was due to there lawfull King.

The unexpected defeat which the King's army had at Dunbar putt every [p. 61] one to new thoughts how to dispose of themselves, and none was more perplexed than I where to goe or what to doe.11 Againe my Lady Dunfermeline [Lady Mary Seton, Countess of Dunfermline] invited mee to goe North with her Lap [Ladyship], assuring mee of much wellcome and that I should fare as shee did, though shee could nott promise any thing butt disorder from so sodaine a removall to a howse that had nott of a long time had an inhabitant.

I had much reason to accept of this offer with more than an ordinary sence of God's goodnese; for there could nott have beene a more seasonable act of generosity than this to a stranger that was destitute of all meanes that should asist mee in a retreat.

I sentt my woman [Miriam?] over to Ed. [Edinburgh], and writt to a lady who I had knowne from my infancy att London, and another letter to the gentleman who was my mother's executor, and from both I desired to borow what mony they could conveniently spare. I named the sum I desired from the lady, which shee very friendly sentt upon the note of my hand; butt my cousin excused himselfe, because hee had itt nott of his owne, butt said hee had spoken to Sir G. S. who had promised to lend mee 25l. sterling upon my note, which hee made good, and then I was the better sattisfied to waite upon my Lady Dunfermeline [Dunfermline] to the North, when I was provided so with mony as that I should bee the less troublesome to her Lap [ Ladyship].

[1 "The street, on which a number of noblemen and gentlemen then had town houses, is in the parish of the same name, about three-quarters of a mile east of Edinburgh Castle" (Loftis, Memoirs, 199n). EM]

[2 This is Archibald Campbell (c. 1606-61), 1st Marquis of Argyle and 8th Earl, a powerful and important man whose alliance Charles II was willing to obtain by marrying his oldest unmarried daughter, Lady Anne Campbell (1631?-60?). Argyle's wife and Lady Anne's mother is Lady Margaret Campbell (birth name Douglas, 1610-78), Marchioness and Countess of Argyle, second daughter of William Douglas, 8th Early of Morton (Loftis, Memoirs, 199 and 235n). The proposed match is said to have been vetoed by Charles II's mother, Henrietta Maria. Cummings remarks that upon arriving in Edinburgh, Anne was "in a hotbed of intrigue; and the names of her associates are the names of men who were playing an important part in the Scotland of this day, men sometimes of real culture and high character, and all genuinely devoted to the Stuart cause." Cummings seems to see Anne as a daring adventuress (for Cummings this would be a postive word, e.g., "she soon established herself in a leading position among the most active clique of Scottish royalists." This is early 20th century romance. Her attitude towards and depiction of Anne anticipates Emily Hahn's romantic life of Aphra Behn. See AH, 668.

In these scenes Anne presents herself as welcomed to an original home. The references to her mother and her brother reinforce her need to feel she can make herself at home. She also is introduced to important, powerful, and respectable women. Her approval of Lady Anne's beauty may result from her knowledge that Bampfield is now connected to (and dependent upon) this Scottish clique. The style of the closing sentence shows Anne Murray had read the long cultured romances of her day, and when she writes this autobiography is imitating the style, pace, and language that we find in the scenes. She differs from other 17th century women autobiographers in that these, together with secular plays, form part of the basis of her style and outlook too. EM]

[3 Sir James Douglas was brother-in-law to both the Marquis of Argyle and the Earl of Dunfermline. This Douglas's seat was "Smithfield near Aberdour and in the possession of his family since the fourteenth century;" he later became 11th Earl of Morton His wife was Ann Hay Douglas, Countess of Morton (d. 1700), daughter to Sir James Hay, 3rd Baronet of Smithfield. The Laird of Maines is "tenth Laird, Sir Archibald Douglas." This part of Scotland, southeast, was where many of the more powerful aristocrats lived. It was cultivable land, and castles and comforts could be found.

Anne Murray "crossed from Leith, near Edinburgh, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, to Burntisland, a town about two and a half miles east of Aberdour." Anne (now writing as Lady Halkett) anticipates in her narrative her security upon marriage to Sir James Halkett: when she married him, they "resided in Fifeshire, a county in eastern Scotland" (Loftis, Memoirs, 199-200ns). Aberdour Castle is on a small island just off the coast of Fife, next to Burntisland. EM]

[4 Henry Seymour (1612-86) who had accompanied Charles II to Scotland in 1650. Once again, Charles, one of Anne's two older brothers, had been a Groom of Charles I's Bedchamber in 1642. By this time Charles's hatred for Bampfield was well-known. Charles had also dismissed William, her younger brother. Anne as the(possible) wife of Bampfield and the loving sister of William wants reassurance she will not have to suffer personally from Charles's hostility to Bampfield. She does not want to be the subject of public disrespect for this could literally endanger her as well as stop others from offering her a place to stay and help. EM]

[5 Lady Mary Seton, born Douglas, the Countess of Dumferline was wife to the Charles Seton, the 2nd Earl who has clearly welcomed and befriended Anne. The 2nd Earl (d. 1672) had gone to the continent after the execution of Charles I; he and the other leading Covenanting Scots were engaged in negotiations with Charles II after which Charles II came to Scotland. Lord Dunfermline "accompanied Charles to Scotland and entertained him at his house in Dunfermline" Loftis, Memoirs, 199n). EM]

[6 The Earl has invited Anne to stay with (in effect be a companion to) his wife; upon meeting Anne, the Countess approves, and she will become a friend or patroness to Anne. The Countess's brother was Sir James Douglas, so Anne is now becoming embedded in this clique. EM]

[7 Lady Anna Erskine was the Earl of Dumfermline's niece. As according to David Stevenson, Revolution and Counter Revolution in Scotland, 1644-51. (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2003):174, Charles II arrived at Dunfermline 2-3 August 1650, we can date Anne Murray's arrival as on one of those two days. EM]

[8 Richard Harding, an attendant of the king (Loftis, Memoirs, 200n). Anne choses an older man as someone who will obviosly not take advantage of her vulnerability sexually, and she hopes will see how important it is for her to keep the respect of the Dunfermline and Douglas clan. Eva Scott thinks it was Anne's relationship to Bampfield (Scott calls Bampfield Anne's fiance), which also kept Charles II at a distance even though it was Argyle (powerful Presbyterian Royalist) who introduced her, and Dunfermline (a member of the more secular faithful royalists like John Maitland, Earl of Lauderdale) whose female relatives were her friends, see The King in Exile: The Wanderings of Charles II from June 1646 to July 1654 (London: Constable, 1905):41, 174-75. EM]

[9 From Stevenson, Revolution and Counterrevolution, 177, we can date this encounter at court on August 16th. Charles left for Perth August 16, 1650. It may be a good sign that Charles addresses her simply as Mistress Murray. Even though she had been welcomed by the Scots partly through Bampfield's influence, she is also thus separated by name and connection from Colonel Bampfield whom Charles distrusts and detests (see Bampfield's Apology, 133-34). Charles recognizes her as the daughter of Thomas and Jane Murray, sister to Charles, Henry and even William. This is a considerable triumph for someone in Anne Murray's position. She has made Charles acknowledge his debt to her and promise loyalty. EM]

[10 In the first scene of John Fletcher's The Humorous Lieutenant (c. 1619), at King Antigonous' court, Celia is treated disrespectfully and rebuffed at court (she has no right to be there), until the prince kisses her in public. Then she is fawned uppon. Celia then comments ironically on the abrupt change of behavior of the others at court. See Fletcher, John. A Critical Edition of John Fletcher's The Humorous Lieutenant, ed. Philip Oxley. The Renaissance Imagination, Volume 24. NY: Garland, 1987):I:i: 227-33:

My servants, and my state:
Lord, how they flocke now?
Before I was affraid they would have beat me;
How these flies play i'th Sunshine? pray ye no services,
Or if ye needs must play the hobby horses,
Seek out some beautie that affects 'em: farewell,
Nay pray ye spare: Gentlemen I am old enough
To go alone at these yeares, without crutches.

See also Loftis, Memoirs, 200n. EM]

[11 Anne refers to more than Cromwell's invasion of Scotland at the head of the New Model Army, and his defeat of the army of Scottish Covenanters supporting Charles II on 3 September 1650 at Dunbar. She also refers to the religious quarrels, dissensions and bullying of Charles which he also could barely endure. See Stevenson, Revolution and Counterrevolution,174-78. The extremist kirk representatives separated Charles from all his Royalist friends, and before they would crown him asked him to sign another declaration declaring his father's faults, mother's idolatry, and his own early "sins." The purging of the army of its junior officers (Charles's "malignant" followers and friends) was one reason for the Scottish defeat (Stevenson, 176, 179). In Bampfield, Apology, 137 and 157-61 we have reason to believe that Bampfield was around in Dunfermline or close by at the time, but no specific record of what his activities were. EM]

A map of the Scottish shires, mid-17th century

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