The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[Halkett persuades Anne to hear arguments she can marry him with her mind at ease; gradually she agrees she might do so if first she goes to London to rid herself of her debt, pp. 90 - 95]

[p. 90] The lodging I was then in nott beeing convenientt for more then myselfe, I removed up to Mr. Glover's, att the head of Blacke-friar Wind, where they and there woman came and staid with mee, and wee lived with very much quiett and contentt in our converse, Sir James cumming offten to see them, and bringing many times there unckle and cousin Sir Robert Montgomery of [and] Haslehead, who were both extreamely civill to mee and frequentt in their visitts.1

Itt is so usuall where single persons are offten together to have people conclude a designe for mariage, that itt was noe wonder if many made the same upon Sir James and mee, and the more that his daughters were with mee. Butt I had noe thoughts of what others concluded as done, for I thought I was obleiged to doe all I could to sattisfy him, since I could nott doe what hee cheefely desired. I often desired him to dine and sup with his daughters, which had beene a neglect if I had omitted, considering hee was often sending provision from his owne howse to them; for hee knew I was nott of humour to take boord, nor did hee offer itt, butt made itt that way equivalentt, nott withoutt trouble to mee, for my inclination was ever more to give then receave.

Towards the winter hee staid most constantly att Edb [Edinburgh], and then grew so importunate with mee, nott to allow his adrese, butt to give [p. 91] him hopes that itt should bee succesfull, that to putt him past all further pursuit I told him I looked upon itt as an addition of my misfortune to have the affection of so worthy a person, and could nott give him the returne hee deserved, for hee knew I had the tye upon mee to another that I could nott dispose of myselfe to any other if I expected a blesing, and I had too much respect to him to comply with his desire in what might make him unhapy and my selfe by doing what would bee a perpetuall disquiett to mee.

Hee urged many things to convince mee that I was in an error, and therfore that made itt void; butt when hee saw nothing could prevaile, hee desired for his sattisfaction that I would propose itt to Mr. David Dickson (who was one hee knew I had a great esteeme of his judgementt), and rely upon his determination. This I was contentt to doe, nott doupting butt hee would resolve the question on my side.2

The first time Mr. Dickson came to mee (which hee usually did once in a weeke), beeing alone, I told him I was going to comunicate something to him which hitherto I had concealed, butt now would entrust him with itt under promise of secresy, and beeing impartially ingenious in giving mee his opinion in what I was to aquaint him with; which hee promising, I told him I did nott doupt butt hee and his wife and many others in Edb [Edinburgh] did beleeve Sir Ja. [James] Halkett's frequentt visitts to mee was upon designe of mariage, and I would avow to him that itt was what hee had offt with great importunity proposed, and had a long time evidenced so reall an affection for mee, that I could nott butt acknowledge if any man alive could prevaile with mee itt would bee hee; butt I had beene so farre ingaged to another that I could nott thinke itt lawfull for mee to marry another; and so told him all the story of my beeing unhapily deceaved, and what lengh I had gone, and rather more then lese.

Hee heard mee very attentively, and was much moved att the relation, which I could nott make withoutt teares. Hee replied, hee could nott butt sayitt was an unusuall tryall I had mett with, and what hee praid the Lord to make usefull to mee. Butt with [p. 92] all hee added that, since what I did was suposing C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] a free person, hee nott proving so, though I had beene puplickely maried to him and avowedly lived with him as his wife, yett, the ground of itt failing, I was as free as if I had never seene him;3 and this, hee assured mee, I might rely upon, that I might withoutt offence either to the laws of God or man marry any other person when ever I found itt convenientt; and that hee thought I might bee guilty of a fault if I did nott when I had so good an offer.

Hee used many argumentts to confirme his opinion; which though I reverenced comming from him, yett I was nott fully convinced butt that itt might bee a sin in mee to marry, butt I was sure there was noe sin in mee to live unmarried.

I was very just to Sir James in giving him an accountt what Mr. Dickson had said, though nott till hee urged to know itt. And beeing determined on what hee had offten pleaded, for hee hoped now I would have nothing more to object.4

I told him, though hee had made apeare lawfull to mee, yett I could nott thinke itt convenientt, nor could I consentt to his desire of marying withoutt doing him so great prejudice as would make mee apeere the most ungrate person to him in the world. I accknowledged his respect had beene such to mee that were I owner of what I had just right to, and had never had the least blemish in my reputation (which I could nott butt suffer in considering my late misfortune), I thought hee deserved mee with all the advantages was posible for mee to bring him; butt itt would bee an ill requitall of his civilitys nott only to bring him nothing butt many inconveniences by my beeing greatly in dept, which could nott butt bee expected, having (except a hundred pound) never receaved a peny of what my mother left mee, and had beene long att law both in England and Scottland, which was very expencive, and I gave him a particular accountt what I was owing.

Yett all this did nott in the least discourage him, for hee would have beene content att that time to have maried mee with all the disadvantages I lay under; for hee said hee looked upon mee as a vertuous person, and in that proposed more hapinese to himselfe by [p. 93] injoying mee then in all the riches of the world. Certainly none can thinke butt I had reason to have more then an ordinary esteeme of such a person, whose eyes were so perceptable as to see and love injured vertue under so darke a cloud as incompassed mee aboutt.

When I found hee made use of all the argumentts I used to lessen his affection as motives to raise itt higher, I told him since hee had left caring for himselfe I was obleiged to have the more care of him, which I could evidence in nothing more then in hindring him from ruining himselfe; and therfore told him I would bee ingenious with him, and tell him my resolution was never to marry any person till I could first putt my affaires in such a posture as that if I brought noe advantage where I maried, att least I would bring noe trouble, and whenever I could doe that, if ever I did change my condittion, I thought hee was the only person that deserved an interest in mee. And this I was so fixt in that nothing could perswade mee to allter, which gave him both trouble and sattisfaction by delay and hopes. Many proposalls hee made wherin hee designed to remove my objections, butt though they were great expresions of his affection, yett I would nott admitt of them; butt they had this effect as to make mee the sooner project the putting myselfe in a capacity to comply with his desires, since I found they were unchangeable.

And I did resolve as soone as the winter session was done, which I, expected would putt a close to my law-suite here, I would goe to London, and vindicate my selfe from the suposed guilt I was charged with, and then try what I could perswade my brother [presumably her oldest or only surviving brother] to doe in order to the paying what I owed.5 I aquainted Sir James with my intention, which hee aproved of, since hee could nott perswade mee to nothing els.

Presently affter this Sir James came and shewed mee a letter hee had receaved from London from the Countess of Morton [Anne Villiers, Lady Morton], who very earnestly desired him to come to her; for shee had intrusted him with the oversight of her jointure, and itt related to the setling of that and other things of concerne that made her importunate for his comming to her.6 Hee told mee my Lady Morton was a person who had [p. 94] ever showne much respect to him, and that hee would willingly serve her La. [Ladyship]; butt the cheefe thing that would make him now obay her commands was in hopes his beeing att London might bee serviceable to mee if I would imploy him.

I said, if his owne conveniency would allow of his journy, and that hee did incline to itt, I would writte with him to my sister [Elizabeth, Lady Newton], who I would obleige to bee civill to him upon my accountt, though hee deserved itt for his owne. Within two days hee wentt, and I gave my sister [Elizabeth, Lady Newton] such a caracter of him as made his reception liker a brother then a stranger. I refferred much to him to say which was nott convenientt to writte, and desired her to speake to my brother [the oldest, according to Loftis, at this point, Henry] and give mee accountt what I might expect of his kindnese in the proposall I have lately mentioned, of which I expected noe answeare till Sir James returned.

About a weeke affter hee was gone I fell into a feaverish distemper, which continued some time, so that I found itt nesesary to send for Doctor Cuningham [Robert Cunningham], which gave occasion to some people to say that I fell sicke with heartbreake, because Sir James H. [Halkett] was gone to London to marry my Lady Morton; which report wentt currantt amongst some, though nott beleeved by any that was well aquainted with any of the three; butt this aquainted mee with the humour of some people, that use to make conclusions of there owne rather then seeme ignorant of any thing.

By the speedy returne Sir James made hee convinced them of there folly who raised the reports, and brought much sattisfaction to mee by the assurance I had from my sister [Elizabeth, Lady Newton] of beeing very wellcome to her whenever itt was convenientt for mee to come, and till then shee thought itt best to delay speaking of any particular to my brother [Henry]; butt for her husband [Sir Henry Newton] I might bee secure of his kindnese to bee ever the same I had found itt. Att the same time I allso receaved severall letters from them who had formerly had much friendship for mee, by which I found itt had noe abatementt by the late tryall I had mett with, which did much incourage mee to kepe my resolution of going to London when ever the season of the ycare would admitt of itt.7

In the meane time I [p. 95] indeavered the settling of my busynese so as itt might receave noe prejudice by my absence; butt gott so many delays, yett dayly hopes of beeing putt to a close, that itt was the beginning of September '54 before I could take journy, which I was much asisted to performe by the kindnese and favor of the old Countese of Dunfermeline [Margaret Seton, mother of Charles], who invited mee to goe with her to Pinckey [Pinkie House, owned by Charles Seton, the 2nd Earl of Dunfermline] the Satturday before I was to goe for London, and beeing very inquisitive how I was provided for my journy, by my ingenuity her Las [Ladyship] found I was nott very certaine of what was convenientt, and upon the Monday when I was comming away my Lady brought mee ten pound, and said if shee had beene better provided shee would have lentt mee more, butt shee had borrowed itt of her Lord [Alexander Seton, the 1st Earl of Dunfermline].8

I gave her Las [Ladyship] many thankes, who unasked had so civilly asisted mee, and desired to know whether I should make the note of my hand (which I should send the next day) in my Lord's name or her Las [Ladyship's], and shee desired itt might bee in my Lord's name, which accordingly I did, and paid since I was a widow.9

[1 Anne remains in the same area she first moved to when Sophia Moray died, p. 83n. Sir Robert Montgomery was Margaret Montgomerie, Sir James's first wife's brother (or half-brother). Loftis says their father and grandfather had the same first name. Margaret had a nephew of that name too (Loftis, Memoirs, 258n). Halkett's brother-in-law is brought over in order to be seen as approving of Anne's relationship with his dead sister's daughters. All is being done that can be done to reaffirm Anne's respectability. EM]

[2 Winter 1563/64. It's important here to remember David Dickson's reputation as a pious man and the respect with which he was regarded. See David Stevenson, The Scottish Revolution, 1637-44: The Triumph of the Covenanters (1973; rpt. Edinburgh: John Donald, 2003), 150, 163, 201-2 and elsewhere. Dickson seems to have been a close friend of Halkett's; see his previous appearance with Halkett, Edinburgh: Anne intrigues with Scots Royalists, p. 76. EM]

[3 Anne regarded her bethrothal to Joseph Bampfield as equivalent to marriage or was clandestinely married (thus the reference to even if she had been "puplickely maried to him and avowedly lived with him as his wife") to Joseph Bampfield and had probably lived "privately" with him as his wife (quietly, secretly; after their time in Holland, they may have continued through visits, such as the women servants had observed in Edinburgh in 1652). See She bethroths herself to Bampfield, p. 26n1, and Royalist politicking and plans, p. 83n5. Anne seems to regards his bigamay as having made her more sinful than simple fornication outside marriage, and was unsure she could marry another since she had sinned by having sexual relations with Bampfield. Dickson tries to persuade her the bethrothal made it no sin, and she was innocent because she did not know Bampfield was married to another living woman. The attitudes towards sex here are fascinating as they were normally kept as hidden and ambiguous as those are in our modern despite pretenses of great candour.

The ultimate source for Anne's sense of herself as permanently tied to Bampfield may be found in Freud's analysis of the virginity taboo. I see much evidence in our own and others to show that Freud's assumption that the idea a woman is bound for life to the man she first has sexual intercourse with is innate or biological. See Sigmund Freud, "The Taboo of Virginity," Sexuality and the Psychology of Love, trans. James Strachey, ed., introd. Philip Rieff (NY: Colliler, 1963):70-86. EM]

[4 I have again changed a comma (half-stop) to a period, and made a new paragraph. EM]

[5 Perhaps Anne's only surviving biologically-related brother at this point is Henry. Charles (according to S.C. and, after him, Nicholls Charles was the eldest, but Charles may have died by this time.] EM]

[6 The reader will remember Anne Villiers Douglas, Countess of Morton, who like Anne, showed personal bravery and ingenuity in smuggling the Princess Henrietta Anna out of England; and Halkett's attraction to her; see Edinburgh, p. 76n8.

[7 Sir Henry Newton had duelled with Bampfield; his wife, Anne's sister, Elizabeth, Lady Newton, Anne's living brother(s) and her brother Henry's wife had all insisted Bampfield had deceived her. She refused to appear to believe them and went North. Now she has to mend these and other of her relationships that she had given up to stay with Bampfield. See Her brother-in-law duels with Bampfield.

As this is the last of these fearful episodes of intense illness in the extant memoir, I summarize them for the reader's convenience here:

Anne became distraught when in London in very early 1649 Bampfield first tried to tell her his wife might be alive (p. 27), but the genuine sickness come on at Naworth in December 1649/January 1650 (this the first of her illnesses and there is no sign of malaria before this or "weakness", pp. 32-33): she can't speak to others, is out of it ("My distemper increased, and I grew so weake I could hardly speake.." "Aprehending the aproach of death," p 32). She is really hysterical and it is to be understood as the reaction of a woman who has lived with a man for 17 months as his wife [?], but then why didn't she get pregnant?"' this first time she recovered quickly when advised by Mrs Cullcheth. Again during this time she had her first experience of "the effects of melancholy vapours" (p. 36) and told Mr Nicholls the truth about her past. She is 26 and he 27. He makes the second of his great escapes (the first was in 1643; see Bampfield's Apology, 39, 99, 251).

Again in late October 1650 at Fyvie when Bampfield comes to visit her (p. 65), "betwixt both I was brought into so great a distemper that I expected now an end to all my misfortunes .." (p. 65). Again this does not read like malaria or a physiologically caused illness; it is no less real. It should be said he does seem innocent at times, really believes wife dead, "whose sattisfaction in seeing mee was much abated to find mee so weake, and for seeming so douptfull of the reports concerning him" (p. 66)

May 1653: Here is her collapse upon being confronted with evidence she felt she could not dispute with Bampfield gone: here she is just after helping Balcarres and his wife: "violentt bloudy fluxe," "none saw mee that expected life for mee"( p. 87), terrible pain: "I beged some releefe from the violentt paine I had, which was in that extreamitty that I never felt any thing exceed itt", she is at "the gates of death" (p. 88).

Spring 1564: She collapses once last time during this memoir when Halkett was strongly pressuring her to marry him in 1654 and 1655: "fell into a feaverish distemper, p 94, "some people to say that I fell sicke with heartbreake" (p. 94)

During these repeated episodes she seems to have run a high fever ("feaverish distemper"). The last times it seems to me she has some other sickness to, and my guess is malaria. Symptoms: She suffered bad headeaches (the "brain fever" from thwarted and traumatic love experiences found in Victorian novels from Gaskell's Cousin Phillis to Trollope's Small House at Allington and The Duke's Children). It's possible she had malaria which was worsened at intervals when she was under high stress. Her weakened health probably led to giving her birth to weak neonates too. In Couper's 1701 Life, he refers several times to her "weak constitution."

It's appropriate to bring in here the times the memoir slips over and were probably the periods (around 23 months out of 4 and 1/2 years) Anne cohabited with Bampfield as this act on behalf of Balcarres is one last act (that we know of) on behalf of Balcarres, Bampfield's supporter: 1) late spring into summer 1648 to January 1649 She is 25-26. Anne Murray and Joseph Bampfield married and lived together, perhaps in Holland. 9 months; 2) January 1649-September 1649, another clandestine cohabitation in London. 9 months; 3) Fall 1652 to February 1653, love affair resumed (he quietly comes into her room at night), in Edinburgh. 5 more months. In addition, the brief encounters: two meetings where they come together emotionally and perhaps physically, one hysterical which she deals with by getting very sick: in late October 1650 -- last week is 26th-31st October, Saturday through Thursday, Fyvie, 2 days and 2 nights; September 1652, Bampfield intercepts Anne at Floors; the adieu, Sunday night, the 10th of December 1654, London, 1 night. EM]

[8 Pinkie House is in Musselburgh, East Lothian. The same family comes to Anne's rescue again and again. This time instead of the Earl's wife (Lady Mary Seton), his mother, helps her with money and a safe place to stay. Alexander Seton, the 1st Earl was her first husband, she his third wife (Loftis, Memoirs, 205 and 265n). EM]

[9 They who give graciously give twice. The Countess was not repaid for many years; Anne Halkett suddenly brings us forward in time to recall a time after Sir James had died in 1670. EM]

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