The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[Anne becomes Sophia Moray's companion; she tells James Halkett she's bethrothed to Bampfield, pp. 78 - 79]

[p. 78] Sir R. M.'s [Sopha, Lady Moray] lady beeing great with child, and having noe convenient lodging where shee used to lye, desired some roomes in my Ld Tweedalls howse [Tweedale's],1 which his Lord, readily granted, to my very great satisfaction, for I could nott desire the converse of any person more for my advantage; for shee was devoutly good without show or affectation, extreamly pleasing in discourse, civill to all, and of a constant cheerfull humour.

Wee allways eate together, and seldome asunder any other part of the day except for convenient retirements; and though that howse was the rendezvous of the best and most loyall when they came to towne, yett none was so constantly there as Sir James H. [Halkett]; and though his relation to Sir Robert [Moray] was ground enough for his frequentt beeing there, yett any that saw him in my company could nott butt take notice that hee had a more then ordinary respect for mee, which though I thought myself obleeged to him for, yett itt was a great trouble to mee, since I was nott in a capacity to give him such a returne as hee might expect or deserve; and, to preventt his declaring to mee what was visible enough, I resolved to give him an opertunity of beeing in my chamber alone [p. 79] with mee (which before I had much avoided), that I might putt an end to his beeing further concerned in mee.

When hee came in and was sett downe, affter some generall discourse, I told him I had beene very much obleiged to his civility ever since I knew him, and I looked upon him as so worthy a person that I could nott conceale from him the greatest concerne I had, and my greatest misfortune, which was that when I had ingaged my selfe to a person who I was fully determined to marry, my brother and sister, to diswade mee from itt, found noe motive so strong as to indeaver to perswade mee that I was abused in beleeving his wife was dead, for shee was alive; and because I did rather beleeve him then they, this occationed there unkindnese.2

"You may beleeve (said I,) such a report could nott butt make me thinke my selfe extreamely unhapy; butt those whose judgmentts I rely upon more then my owne, as Sir R. M. [Robert Moray] and my Lord Dun. [Charles Seton, the 2nd Earl of Dunfermline] who hath spoke with him, and are so fully convinced that he is injured, that they chide mee when I seeme to have the least doupt of itt. Now, Sir, (said I,) this relation may confirme I have a great confidence of your friendship when I trust you with this, and doe intend when hee comes here, which I shortly expect, to presentt him to you as one that I hope you will nott beleeve unworthy your knowledge."

This discourse did strangely surprise him, butt hee indeavored to hide his disorder as well as hee could, and said hee was sory for my brother's unkindnese, and if hee were neere him hee would indeavour to reconcile him againe (for hee was well aquainted with him when hee was in Scottland), and for C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] when ever hee came to towne hee would serve him to the utmost of his power, for hee could nott butt beleeve hee was deserving, since hee had my esteeme.

Presently affter this hee left mee, and I expected hee would have laid aside all concerne for mee, butt I soone found my mistake, and that I was in an error when I beleeved hee loved mee att an ordinary rate, for itt was never more visible then when hee had least hopes of a recompence, and changed that afection to a vertuous freindship from which att first hee might have expected a lawfull injoyment.

[1 John Hay, either the 1st or 2nd Earl of Tweedale and my Lady [Margaret (born Montgomery) or Jean (born Seton) Hay, Lady Tweedale. See Anne returns to Edinburgh, p. 75. EM].

[2 See Her brother-in-law duels with Bampfield, pp. 52-56. What seems to have happened in Sir Henry and Elizabeth, Lady Newton, are no longer supporting Anne, and she implies that therefore she cannot go to live with them until she gives up Bampfield. The reader surmizes she also wants to live near Bampfield and regards herself as his wife. EM]

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