G. C. Moore Smith (ed.), The Letters of Dorothy Osborne to William Temple
She is sorry that her recommendation of a servant came too late. Good nature. Complains of short letters. Would fain know her doom. Death-sentence of five Portuguese and three Conspirators against the Protector. She is to act the title-rôle in The Lost Lady.
Knowlton, Monday 10 July .
I am very sory I spoke too late, for I am confident this was an Excelent Servant;1 hee was in the same house where pg 172I lay2 and I had taken a great ffancy to him upon what was told mee of him and what I saw; the Poore ffellow too was soe pleased that I undertook to inquire out a place for him, that though mine was as I told him uncertain, yet upon the bare hopes ont hee refused two or three good condition's.3 but I shall sett him now at Liberty; and not think at all the worse of him for his good Nature; sure you goe a litle too farr in your condemnation on't; I know it may bee abused as the best things are most subject to bee,4 but in it self tis soe absolutly necessary that where it is wanting nothing can recompence the misse on't; the most contemptible Person in the world if hee has that cannot be Justly hated and the most considerable without it cannot deserve to bee loved; Would to god I had all that good Nature you complaine you have too much of, I could finde wayes Enough to dispose ont amongst my self and my friend's; but tis well where it is and I should sooner wish you more on't then lesse.
I wonder with what confidence you can complaine of my short Letters that are soe guilty your self in the same kinde. I have not seen a Letter this month, yt has been above halfe a sheet; never trust mee if I write more then you, that live in a desolated Country where you might ffinish a Romance of ten Tomes before any body interupted you; I that live in a house the most filled of any since ye Arke, and where I can assure [you?] one has hardly time for the most necessary occasion's.
Well there was never any one thing soe much desired and aprehended5 at the same time as your retourne is by mee, it will certainly I think conclude mee a very happy or a most unfortunate Person. somtimes mee thinks I would faine know my doome, what ever it bee, and at others I dread it soe Extreamly that I am confident the 5 Portugalls and the 3 Plotters wch were tother day condemned6 by the high Court of Justice had not half my fears upon them. I leave you to Judge the constraint I live in, what Alaram's my thought[s] give mee, and yet how unconcern'd this company requires I should bee. they will have me Act my Part in a Play, the Lost Lady7 it is, and I am pg 173she, pray God it bee not an ill Omen. I shall loose my Ey's, and you this Letter, if I make it longer. Farwell I am
July the 10th
- With what harsh fate doth Heaven afflict me,
- That all those blessings which make others happy,
- Must be my ruin.'