needle, passing my time with harmeless fancies, their company being pleasing, their conversation innocent, in which I take such pleasure, as I neglect my health, for it is as great a grief to leave their society, as a joy to be in their company, my only trouble is, lest my brain should grow barren, or that the root of my fancies should become insipid, withering into a dull stupidity for want of maturing subjects to write on: for I being of a lazy nature, and not of an active disposition, as some are that love to journey from town to town, from place to place, from house to house, delighting in variety of company, making still one where the greatest number is; likewise in playing at Cards, or any other Games, in which I neither have practised, nor have I any skill therein : as for Dancing, although it be a graceful art, and becometh unmarried persons well, yet for those that are married, it is too light an action, disagreeing with the gravity thereof; and for Revelling I am of too dull a nature, to make one in a merry society; as for Feasting, it would neither agree with my humour or constitution, for my diet is for the most part sparing, as a little boiled chickin, or the like, my drink most commonly water, for though I have an indifferent good appetite, yet I do often fast, out of an opinion that if I should eat much, and exercise little, which I do, onely walking a slow pace in my chamber, whilst my thoughts run apace in my brain, so that the motions of my minde hinders the active exercises of my body: for should I Dance or Run, or Walk apace, I should Dance my Thoughts out of Measure, Run my Fancies out of Breath, and tread out the Feet of my Numbers, but because I would not bury myself quite from the sight of the world, I go sometimes abroad, seldome to visit, but only in my Coach about the Town, or about some of the streets, which we call here a Tour, where all the chief of the Town goe to see and to be seen, likewise all strangers of what quallity soever, as all great Princes or Queens that make any short stay: for this Town being a passage or thorough-fare to most parts, causeth many times persons of great quallity to be here, though not as inhabitants, yet to lodge for some short time; and all such, as I said, take a delight, or at lest goe to see the custome thereof, which most Cities of note in Europe for all I can hear, hath such like recreations for the effeminate Sex, although for my part I had rather sit at home and write, or walk, as I said, in my chamber and contemplate ; but I hold necessary some times to appear abroad, besides I do find, that severall objects do bring new materialls for my thoughts and fancies to build upon, yet I must say this in the behalf of my thoughts, that I never found them idle; for if the senses brings no work in, they will work of themselves, like silk-wormes that spinns out of their own bowels ; Neither can I say I think the time tedious, when I am alone, so I be near my Lord, and know he is well.
But now I have declared to my Readers, my Birth, Breeding, and Actions, to this part of my Life, I mean the material parts, for should I write every particular, as my childish sports and the like, it would be ridiculous and tedious but I have been honorably born and Nobly match’t; I have been bred to elevated thoughts, not to a dejected spirit, my life hath been ruled with Honesty, attended by Modesty, and directed by Truth: but since I have writ in generall thus far of my life, I think it fit, I should speak something of my Humour, particular Practice and Disposition; as for my Humour, I was from my childhood given to contemplation, being more taken or delighted with thoughts then in conversation with a society, insomuch as I would walk two or three hours, and never rest, in a musing, considering, contemplating manner, reasoning with my self of every thing my senses did present, but when I was in the company of my Naturall friends, I was very attentive of what they said or did; but for strangers I regarded not much what they said, but many times I did observe their actions, whereupon my Reason as Judge, and my Thoughts as Accusers, or excusers, or approvers and commenders, did plead, or appeal to accuse, or complain thereto; also I never took delight in closets, or cabinets of toys, but in the variety of fine clothes, and such toys as onely were to adorn my person: likewise I had a natural stupidity towards the learning of any other Language than my native tongue, for I could sooner
and with more facility understand the sense, then remember the words, and for want of such memory makes me so unlearned in foreign Languages as I am: as for my practise, I was never very active, by reason I was given so much to contemplation; besides my brothers and sisters were for the most part serious, and staid in their actions, not given to sport nor play, nor dance about, whose company I keeping, made me so too: but I observed, that although their actions were stay’d, yet they would be very merry amongst themselves, delighting in each others company also they would in their Discourse express the generall actions of the world, judging, condemning, approving, commending, as they thought good, and with those that were innocently harmless, they would make themselves merry therewith; as for my studie of books it was little, yet I chose rather to read, than to imploy my time in any other work, or practise, and when I read what I understood not, I would ask my brother, the Lord Lucas, he being learned, the sense or meaning thereof, but my serious study could not be much, by reason I took great delight in attiring, fine dressing, and fashions, especially such fashions as I did invent myself, not taking that pleasure in such fashions as was in vented by others: also I did dislike any should follow my Fashions, for I always took delight in a singularity, even in accou trements of habits, but whatsoever I was addicted to, either in fashion of Cloths,
contemplation of Thoughts, actions of Life, they were Lawful, Honest, Honourable, and Modest, of which I can avouch to the world with a great confidence, be cause it is a pure Truth; as for my Disposition, it is more inclining to be melancholy than merry, but not crabbed or peevishly melancholy, but soft, melting, solitary, and contemplating melancholy; and I am apt to weep rather than laugh, not that I do often either of them ; also I am tender natured, for it troubles my Conscience to kill a fly, and the groans of a dying Beast strike my Soul: also where I place a particular affection, I love extraordinarily and constantly, yet not fondly, but soberly and observingly; not to hang about them as a trouble, but to wait upon them as a servant, but this affection will take no root, but where I think or find merit, and have leave both from Divine and Morall Laws; yet I find this passion so trouble some, as it is the only torment to my life, for fear any evill misfortune or accident, or sickness, or death, should come unto them, insomuch as I am never freely at rest : Likewise I am gratefull, for I never received a curtesie but I am impatient, and troubled untill I can return it; also I am Chaste, both by Nature and Education, insomuch as I do abhorre an unchast thought: likewise I am seldom angry, as my servants may witness for me, for I rather chose to suffer some inconveniences than disturbe my thoughts, which makes me winke many times at their faults; but
when I am angry, I am very angry, but yet it is soon over, and I am easily pacified, if it be not such an injury as may create a hate; neither am I apt to be exceptious or jealous ; but if I have the lest symptome of this passion, I declare it to those it concerns, for I never let it ly smothering in my breast to breed a malignant disease in the minde, which might break out into extravagant passions, or railing speeches, or indiscreet actions ; but I examin mode rately, reason soberly, and plead gently in my own behalf, through a desire to keep those affections I had, or at least thought to have; and truly I am so vain, as to be so self-conceited, or so naturally partial, to think my friends have as much reason to love me as another, since none can love more sincerely than I, and it were an in justice to prefer a fainter affection, or to esteem the Body more than the Minde; likewise I am neither spitefull, envious, nor malicious; I repine not at the gifts that Nature, or Fortune bestows upon others, yet I am a great Emulator; for though I wish none worse than they are, yet it is lawful for me to wish my self the best, and to do my honest endeavour thereunto; for I think it no crime to wish myself the exactest of Natures works, my thred of life the longest, my Chain of Destinie the strongest, my mind the peaceablest ; my life the pleasantest, my death the easiest, and the greatest Saint in Heaven; also to do my endeavour, so far as honour and honesty doth allow of, to be the highest
on Fortunes Wheele, and to hold the wheele, from turning, if I can, and if it be commend able to wish anothers good, it were a sin not to wish my own; for as Envie is a vice, so Emulation is a Virtue, but Emulation is in the way to Ambition, or indeed it is a Noble Ambition, but I fear my Ambition inclines to vain-glory, for I am very ambitious; yet ‘tis neither for Beauty, Wit, Titles, Wealth, or Power, but as they are steps to raise me to Fames Tower, which is to live by remembrance in after-ages: likewise I am, that the vulgar calls, proud, not out of a self-conceit, or to slight or condemn any, but scorning to do a base or mean act, and disdaining rude or unworthy persons; insomuch, that if I should find any that were rude, or too bold, I should be apt to be so passionate, as to affront them, if I can, unless discretion should get betwixt my passion and their boldness, which sometimes perchance it might, if discretion should croud hard for place; for though I am naturally bashful, yet in such a cause my spirits would be all on fire, otherwise I am so well bred, as to be civill to all persons, of all degrees, or qualities; likewise I am so proud, or rather just to my Lord, as to abate nothing of the qualitie of his Wife, for if honour be the marke of Merit, and his Masters royal! favour, who will favour none but those that have Merit to deserve, it were a baseness for me to neglect the Ceremony thereof : Also in some cases I am naturally a Coward, and in other cases very valiant; as for example,
if any of my neerest friends were in danger, I should never consider my life in striving to help them, though I were sure to do them no good, and would willingly, nay cheerfully, resign my life for their sakes: likewise I should not spare my Life, if Honour bids me dye; but in a danger where my Friends, or my Honour is not concerned, or ingaged, but only my Life to be unprofitably lost, I am the veriest coward in Nature, as Upon the Sea, or any dangerous places, or of Thieves, or fire, or the like; Nay the shooting of a gun, although but a Pot-gun, will make me start, and stop my hearing, much less have I courage to discharge one; or if a sword should be held against me, although but in jest, I am afraid: also as I am not covetous, so I am not prodigall, but of the two I am inclining to be prodigall, yet I cannot say to a vain prodigallity, betatse I imagine it is to a profitable end; for perceiving the world is given, or apt to honour the outside more than the inside, worshipping show more then substance; and I am so vain, if it be a Vanity, as to endeavour to be worship’t, rather than not to be regarded; yet I shall never be so prodigall as to impoverish my friends, or go beyond the limits or facilitie of our Estate, and though I desire to appear to the best advantage, whilest I live in the view of the public World, yet I could most willingly exclude myself, so as Never to see the face of any creature, but my Lord, as long as I live, inclosing myself like an Anchorct, wearing a Frize gown, tied with
a cord about my waste: but I hope my readers will not think me vain for writing my life, since there have been many that have done the like, as Caesar, Ovid, and many more, both men and women, and I know no reason I may not do it as well as they : but I verily believe some censuring Readers will scornfully say, why hath this Lady writ her own Life? since none cares to know whose daughter she was, or whose wife she is, or how she was bred, or what fortunes she had, or how she lived, or what humour or disposition she was of ? I answer that it is true, that ‘tis to no purpose to the Readers, but it is to the Authoress, because I write it for my own sake, not theirs ; neither did I intend this piece for to delight, but to divulge; not to please the fancy, but to tell the truth, lest after-ages should mistake, in not knowing I was daughter to one Master Lucas of St. Johns, near Colchester in Essex, second wife to the Lord Marquiss of Newcastle; for my Lord having had two Wives, I might easily have been mistaken, especially if I should dye and my Lord Marry again.