The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[London: her sister welcomes her; she is arrested for debt; visited by Bampfield, she ends relationship by giving a false impression he pretends to believe, pp. 95 - 100]

[p. 95] The great civilitys I receaved from all Sir James H. [Halkett's] relations made mee withoutt scruple goe to his sister to the Cavers the first night, where hee wentt with mee and his eldest daughter, who staid there till my returne. The youngest hee left att skole in Edb [Edinburgh].1

Sir James wentt another day's journy with mee, and would have gone further, butt I would nott give him any further trouble, butt urged his returne, and wentt on my journy to Yorke, where I expected to meett the post coach, butt was disapointed, and forced to ride another day's journy. Sir James had an excellentt footman, who hee had promised my sister [Elizabeth, Lady Newton], and sentt him along with mee, who I gave mony to pay for his diett and lodging affter we came to the coach, because I thought itt not reasonable to expect hee could keepe up with itt.

Affter wee had gone halfe the first day's journy, and the coachman driving att a great rate, I heard the coachman and postillian saying, "Itt cannott bee a man, itt is a devill, for hee letts us come within sight of him, and then runs faster then the sixe horses." So hee stops the coach, and inquires if any of us had a footman. [p. 96] I told him I had. "Then (said he,) pray make much of him, for I will bee answearable hee is the best in England." When I found hee could hold outt (as hee did all the way), I made him run by the coach; and hee was very usefull to all in itt.

That journy brought mee the acquaintance of Sir [blank space] Witherington and his nephew Mr. Arington, who had one man; and my woman and my selfe was all wee had in the coach. I had discharged my woman and the footman to tell my name to any, butt tooke a borowed name.2

Sir [left blank] beeing a very civill person, intertained mee with many handsome variety of discourses, and related how hee had designed to goe for Flaunders, and all his things a' ship-board, and while hee was taking his leave the ship sett saile from Newcastle, and so hee was forced to goe by land; which fell outt well for mee, because I could nott have mett with civiller gentlemen; butt I regretted to find they were Roman Catholicks, and by my naming Mr. Fallowfield as one that I had seene, they presenttly knew who I was, and said they would inquire noe further, for they had heerd him speake of mee as one hee had soe great respect for, as that they would have the same. This Mr. Fallowfield was an old priest that used some time to come to N. [Naworth] Castle when I was there, and had offten writt letters to mee for sicke persons, and highly complemented mee upon there recovery.3

When I found they did know my name, I told them the reason why I concealed itt was because I had beene long absentt from my freinds, and there had beene many changes since I left them, and therfore I resolved they should see mee before they heard of mee.

Wee came to High Gate aboutt 2 a' clocke, where I desired to bee left, and writt a note in with the footman to an old servantt of my mother's to take a lodging in some private place in London, and to come to mee the next morning with a coach; which accordingly hee did, and I wentt to White Fryars, where my brother Newton [Sir Henry, her brother-in-law's] lodging used to bee, and most of those who desired nott to apeare puplickely. I then writt to my sister [Elizabeth, Lady Newton], who was then and her husband [this same Henry] att Warwick, by the footman Sir James H. [Halkett] had sentt her, aquainting [p. 97] her where I was, and that I intended to bee knowne to very few till I heard what shee advised mee to doe; for though I knew the Power that then governed did att that time indeavour to secure themselves rather by obleeging the Loyall party then ruining them, yett itt was cheefely to such who could doe them most prejudice, and so that was noe security to mee; besides that dept [debt] I had was considerable, and therfore till I was sure they to whom itt was due would nott attempt any unhandsome action against mee, I thought itt was fitt upon both these considerations to conceale where I was, till I had some way secured myselfe from the inconvenience that I might suffer both upon a puplicke and private accountt.4

My sister within three or four days returned backe the footman to mee againe with a very kind letter and twenty peeces, promising to bee with mee as soone as shee could, and till then thought itt best for mee nott to goe any where abroad. In the meane time I imployed my mother's old servantt to inquire of some that hee was aquainted with who ruled much in those times what there opinion was of my comming to London; butt there had beene so many changes among themselves, and some who they did much confide in who had left them beeing convinced of there error, that they looked now the more favorable upon those who had never beene on there side, and did more easily pardon what they acted against them. And this made mee the more secure as to the puplicke; and for my private troubles there was nott one who I was really owing any thing to butt they were as civill as I could desire, and as ready as ever to serve mee in what they had that could bee usefull to mee.

Having thus farre sattisfied my selfe I only staid now till my sister came, that my going first abroad might bee with her, which was shortly after. And having made some few visitts to some particular persons, I wentt with her and her husband to Charleton, which was a howse of thers within 5 or 6 miles of London.

My brother [Henry Murray] who lived then in the country with his familly came to see mee, and invited mee to his howse; where I wentt, and staid some time; butt my most constantt residence was with my sister, where I knew I was most [p. 98] wellcome to her and her husband; butt sometimes I wentt to London and had a lodging in Crew's mother's howse, where I staid when I had any persons to meett with, in order to setle what I came ther for.

One morning when I was there they brought mee word there was two gentlemen desired to speak with mee, who had brought a letter to mee from the Earle of Callander.5

I sentt for them up to my chamber, and did something wonder to find the man tremble when hee gave mee the letter, and his lips quiver that hee could hardly speake. I tooke the letter and read itt, concerning a busynese his Lors [Lordship] had recomended to my care. I asked who brought itt from Scottland. Hee was nott well able to answeare mee, butt pointing to the other man, hee cam and arrested mee.

I was strangely surprised, having never mett with nothing like itt, and asked att whose instance? Hee pointed to the other who had given mee the letter, and named him: Mr. Maitland.

I said I thought itt strange upon what accountt hee. could doe itt, who I had never seene.

Hee said itt was for a dept my brother Will owed his wife [Mistress Cole], and I promised to pay. I said itt was very strange I should promise to pay what I never till then knew was owing, nor did I ever heare of that woman's name till that time of my comming to London.

Yett though all this was true I was forced to give baile, and to answeare att Guildhall, which I did by atturny Allen, and though they had hired a man of there owne to come and sweare that I had promised to pay the dept, yett hee so farre contredicted himselfe that itt was visible itt was a cheat, and the bill was flung over the barre; which so exasperated the wicked woman that there was nothing imaginable that is ill shee did nott say of mee puplickely in the street, and the interest shee had with the soldiers, who was dayly drinking in her house att the Muse, made all people unwilling to medle with her.6

Butt I need nott, insist upon this, which cost mee deare enough before I ended with her; butt itt hath cost her dearer since, if shee did nott repentt, and if shee did, since the Lord hath forgiven her, I blese him for itt; so did I, as I sentt her word by her husband when I heard shee was dying.

I heard constantly once in a fortnight from Sir James, with many [p. 99] renued testimonys that neither time nor distance had power to change him.

I had nott beene long att London when I heard C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] was come there, who sentt to mee severall times to have leave to come once butt to speake to mee, which I as offten positively denyed as hee earnestly asked itt.

Butt one Sunday night, on the 10th of December '54, affter I had suped and was walking alone in my chamber, hee came in, which I confese strangely surprised mee, so that att first I was nott able to speake a word to him.

Butt a litle beeing recollected, I said I thought hee had brought misfortune upon mee enough allready, withoutt adding more to itt by giving new occation of my beeing censured for conversing with him. Hee intreated mee to give him leave butt to sit downe by mee a litle, and hee would imediately leave mee; which I did, and hee begun to vindicate himselfe as hee had done offten; butt I interupted him, and told him though my charity would induce mee to beleeve him inocentt, yett that could bee noe argumentt why I should now allow him liberty to visitt mee, since hee could nott pretend ignorance of that which made mee thinke allowable once what were hainously criminall now.

Hee said hee desired mee only to resolve him one question, which was whether or nott I was maried to Sir J. H. [James Halkett]. I asked why hee inquired. Hee said because if I was nott, hee would then propose something that hee thought might bee both for his advantage and mine; butt if I were, hee would wish mee joy, butt never trouble mee more.

I said nothing a litle while, for I hated lying, and I saw there might bee some inconvenience to tell the truth, and (Lord pardon the equivocation!) I sayd I am (outt aloud, and secrettly said nott [)]. Hee imediately rose up and said, "I wish you and him much hapinese together;" and, taking his leave, from that time to this.7

I never saw him nor heard from him; only when hee had gott my writtings (of what concerned mee left to mee by my mother) which I had left with him when I wentt outt of London, and hee had taken for security with him when hee wentt first to Holland [p. 100] affter his escape outt of prison, that hee sent them to mee with a letter. The liberty hee tooke in comming outt from his concealed lodging upon Sunday was upon an Act made by the Usurper, which was that none upon any accountt, what ever was there crime, should bee aprehended upon that day, butt should have liberty to goe to any church they pleased, or any other place; which shewed a veneration hee had for that day, though in other things hee forgott obedience where itt was due by the same authority that comanded that day to bee kept holy. Butt when that hipocritte raigned the people were insnared.

The first post affter C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] had beene with mee, I gave Sir Ja. [James] an accountt of itt, who was so farre from beeing unsattisfied with itt, that hee writt mee word if itt were nott that itt might doe mee more prejudice in other people's thought then itt would doe in his, hee would nott care though I dayly conversed with him; so litle did hee aprehend any unhandsome action from mee, and therfore itt had beene the highest unworthynese and ingratitude to have beene falce to so great a trust as hee reposed in mee.

[1 Grizell Halkett, married to Sir Thomas Ker of Cavers; Cavers is in southern Roxburghshire (Loftis, Memoirs, 205n, 248). Anna is Halkett's younger daughter. EM]

[2 Anne rightly still does not feel quite safe, though she insists Halkett turn back. She is a notorious "Malignant" (helped the Duke escape, plotted with Royalists of all stripes in Scotland, help Balcarres). She is a woman travelling alone; she is also wary of her coming reception from her relatives. Bampfield travelled under the assumed name of Smith. EM]

[3 From the context and Anne's description, Mr Fallowfield was then a Roman Catholic priest at Naworth Castle. Once again, Anne is demonstrating her medical skill and knowledge -- and reputation. She wants to be known. EM]

4 So when Anne arrives in London, Elizabeth, Lady Newton, is in Warwickshire. Anne has chosen to come where her business. Loftis says "in 1654 Sir Henry Newton inherited from an uncle, Sir Thomas Puckering, an estate called the Priory near Warwick. Ten years later Newton, who had assumed his uncle's surname, sold his estate at Charlton" (Loftis, Memoirs, 205n.). Couper presents Anne as coming to London not as an independent agent (the way we see her here), but "to comply" with Halkett's wishes to marry her; nothing said of the attempted arrest, Bampfield, or the particulars of the claim on William Murray; Anne is presented as praying a good deal, fasting, and then, when James Halkett arrives, "with chearful mind," marrying him. That Simon Couper knows some of his readers know Anne's real history is seen in the references to her praying, fasting, and her "chearful mind," Couper 1701 Life, 27-29. EM]

[5 The Earl of Callander was James Livingston, created Earl in 1641; Loftis says he had been "Lieutenant General of the Scottish Army and had attempted to rescue Charles I and was defeated at Preston in 1648" (Loftis, Memoirs, 205n.). The men paid to arrest her have enough information to lure her out or get her to open her door by citing the name of a man associated with her confederates in Scots Royalist politicking. I am now following Loftis for the name of Anne's eldest surviving brother. EM]

[6 Loftis says Anne was forced to pay money for bail; she was the "executrix" of William Murray's estate (he died in 1649). Simon Couper writes of the time when William Murray died (and Anne tells us in her autobiography) she followed Bampfield's advice that Anne's later inability to retrieve anything from Willliam's estate was due to "the fraud and falseness of some Persons, whom (by his [William Murray's or Joseph Bampfield's] direction) She intrusted with managing affairs," 1701 Life, pp. 20-21. See Her brother Will banished from court, p. 30. Couper says nothing of this incident in his 1701 Life.

We can see some important things made visible here though. Anne Murray was not the only person whose marital state was unclear or unknown during the years of change and turmoil in the Civil War. There had been legislated different changes in marital customs, including the demand there always be a civil ceremony and idea that if you had a civil ceremony, you did not have to go to church or church official for a religious ceremony. See Chris Durston, "'Unhallowed Wedlock': The Regulation of Marriage During the English Revolution," The Historical Journal, 31:1 (1988):45-59. Anne may be showing a certain ruthlessness and amorality towards Mistress Cole, woman of the lower classes too. She does seem to see that her position is not so different from that of Will's reputed ex-wife. Will's apparent partner or ex-wife is named in She marries Halkett, p. 103. Mr Maitland was Mistress Cole's (new?) husband. EM]

[7 Nichols gives a date as a "Sidenote" in the manuscript: Jan. 8, 77-8, and Loftis (Memoirs, 223, Textual Note 82:25) confirms that at just this point Anne Halkett wrote in the margins of her manuscript: "Jan. 8, [16]77/7." It's painfully evident how important this denial is to Anne, especially since it is untrue. On Bampfield's behalf, he behaves like an impeccable gentleman and leaves whether or not he believed her. To me he seems to be a man still very much in love with Anne Murray. On the other hand we should not his perspective is he's got another scheme. He is ever the man on the make, a warrior-type, not a settled domestic individual a woman could count on. Anne Murray was herself very nervy. She doesn't emphasize this aspect of her character but we see it throughout. She admired this warrior-male and was like him in character, including the tendency to edge close to lying and live iconoclastically if it produced a happier existence.

In Loftis's biographical supplement to Bampfield's Apology, 172, we learn that on 8/18 January 1655, Bampfield wrote Lord Balcarres (whom Anne has so aided and his old ally) that a Royalist plot had been discovered, arms and ammunition captured, and conspirators arrested. He closes the letter with a rare reference to Anne Murray which reveals he knew she was unmarried a month later: "If you write to me, if your lady directs your letter to Mrs Murray, to whom I think her ladyship has an address, she willl send them to me." We see her the two of them remained on terms where they helped one another. EM]

We should remember that Bampfield was still alive at the time of her writing this memoir. She would know that although she is now a widow and he a widower it would be impossible for them to have any relationship at all again, but the idea she perhaps wrote this memoir as an imaginative attempt to reach him is tantalizing. Although she took 3 years from the time Halkett confronted her (March 21, 1563) with evidence that made her confess she knew Bampfield's first wife to be alive to marry Halkett (and it's another one year and one-half between this incident and the time of the marriage, March 1, 1655), she felt guilty towards Bampfield, that she had betrayed him. She may have known of the isolated life he ended up leaving, for in her diaries and notes from which Couper drew his 1701 Life, p. 38 (entry for August 19, 1672), she prays fervently when she reads of the death of John DeWitt, Bampfield's great and honorable patron in Bampfield's later years.

There are repeated allusions in the literature on this book to Richardon's Clarissa with Bampfield singled out for Lovelace's role. See Bampfield's Apology, 245. I suggest he's much closer to Frederick Wentworth in Austen's Persuasion when Anne Elliot breaks off the engagement. Anne Elliot also followed Wentworth's career closely from afar for 8 years. In real life the couple does not get to overcome their estrangement, but remains apart, Bampfield all alone, and Anne, surrounded by her household, busy with her school, harassed by debt. EM ]

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