The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[Anne nurses soldiers wounded from Dunbar, pp. 62 - 64]

[p. 62] 1650. Upon Satturday the 7. of September wee left Dunfermeline [Dunfermline], and came that night to Kinrose, where wee staid till Monday.

I cannott omitt to insert here the opertunitty I had of serving many poor wounded soldiers, for as wee were riding to Kinrose I saw two that looked desperately ill, who were so weake they were hardly able to goe along the high way; and inquiring what ailed them, they told mee they had beene soldiers att Dunbar, and were going towards Kinrose if there wounds would suffer them. I bid them when they came there inquire for the Countess of D. [Dunfermline's] lodging, and there would bee one there would drese them.

Itt was late itt seemes before they came, and so till the next morning I saw them nott, butt then they came attended with twenty more, and betwixt that time and Monday that wee left that place I believe threescore was the least that was [p. 63] dresed by mee and my woman and Ar. Eo. who I imployed to such as was unfitt for mee to drese; and besides the plaisters or balsam I aplied, I gave every one of them as much with them as might drese them 3 or 4 times, for I had provided myselfe very well of things nesesary for that imploymentt, expecting they might bee usefull.

Amongst the many variety of wounds amongst them two was extreordinary; one was a man whose head was cutt so that the [blank space] was very visibly seene, and the watter came bubbling up, which when Ar. R. saw hee cried outt, "Lord have mercy upon thee! for thou art butt a dead man." I seeing the man who had courage enough before to begin to bee much dishartened, I told him hee need nott bee discouraged with whatt hee that had noe skill said, for if itt pleased God to blese what I should give him hee might doe well enough; and this I said more to harten him up than otherways, for I saw itt a very dangerous wound; and yett itt pleased God hee recovered, as I heard affterwards, and wentt frankly1 from dresing, having given him something to refresh his spiritts.

The other was a youth aboutt 16 that had beene run through the body with a tuke.2 Itt wentt in under his right shoulder and came outt under his left breast, and yett [he] had litle inconvenience by itt; butt his greatest prejudice was from so infinitt a swarme of creatures that itt is incredible for any that were nott eye-wittneses of itt. I made a contribution and bought him other cloaths to putt on him, and made the fire consume what els had beene unposible to distroy.

Of all these poore soldiers there was few of them had ever beene drest from the time they receaved there wounds till they came to Kinrose, and then itt may bee imagined they were very noisome; butt one particularly was in that degree who was shott through the arme that none was able to stay in the roome, butt all left mee. Accidentally a gentleman came in, who seeing mee (nott withoutt reluctancy) cutting off the man's sleeve of his doublet, which was hardly fitt to be toutched, hee was so charitable as to take a knife and cutt itt off and fling [it] in the fire.

When I had dresed all that came, my Lady D. [Lady Mary Seton, Countess of Dunfermline] was by this time [p. 64] ready to goe away, and came to St Johnston that night, where the King and Court was. My La. A. A. [Lady Anna Erskine] and I waited upon my Lady [Dunfermline] into her sister the C. of Kinowle [Countess of Kinnoull], and there my Lord Lorne [Archibald Campbell, son of the Marquis of Argyll] came to mee, and told mee that my name was offten before the Councell that day.3

I was much surprised, which his Lorp [Lord Lorne], seeing kept mee the longer in suspense; att last hee smiling told mee there was a gentleman (which itt seemes was hee that had cutt off the man's sleeve) that had given the King and Councell accountt of what hee had seene and heard I had done to the poore soldiers, and representing the sad condittion they had beene in withoutt that releefe, there was presenttly an order made to apoint a place in severall townes, and chirugions to have allowance for taking care of such wounded soldiers as should come to them. And the King was pleased to give mee thanks for my charity.

I have made this relation because itt was the occation of bringing mee much of the devertissements I had in a remotter place.

[1 "went frankly" is a "Scottish idiom ... [meaning] 'frank', 'willing, ready . . . without restraint' and as an illustrative use of the word, 'frank to the road, willing or eager to travel, of a horse'" (Loftis, Memoirs, 200n) They are fleeing deep into Fifeshire. EM]

[2 A "tuke" is a rapier. That day is probably Monday or Tuesday, September 10-11, 1650. EM]

[3 Lady Ann Hay (born Douglas), Countess of Kinnoull, widow of George Hay, 2nd Earl of Kinnoull, and mother of George Hay, 3rd Earl of Kinnoull. She is sister to Lady Mary Seton (born Douglas), the Countess of Dumferline. Their father was William Douglas, Earl of Morton (see notes above). My Lord Lorne is Archibald Campbell, son of the Marquis of Argyll, and eventually 9th Earl of Argyle. His father supported the Covenant and Charles I; he supported Charles II, later Cromwell, and also Monmouth's Rebellion. Both father and son were eventually executed for high treason. (Loftis, Memoirs, 200n, 235n.) What's interesting from the point of view of understanding Anne Murray's position is for now how she is now thoroughly taken into this clique of people. She is unqualifidly or safely one of the recognized Royal loyalists ("a malignant"). EM]

Battle of Dunbar, September 3, 1650

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