To my Lord my husband the earle of Shrouesbury.//
Answered & sente henry talbott therewith
My Lord, you know I neuar comytted any offence, wherby I should submyt my selfe, more then that I was bound in duty of a wyffe to doe to you; I beseache you charge me partecularly, that I may know my faults. I am assured, that non leueing, could be more dutyfull, trew, faythfull, and carefull to a husband, then I haue euar ben to you; I haue sought all means to haue pleased you yf yt would haue ben, and many years, you thought well of me; I well hoped of lat, when yt pleased you to saye to me, beare all thyngs that ys past, and let not appeare to the world the dyscontentment that ys betwext vs, and I wyll promys of my fayth to become anew man, in vowing most earnestly, you loued me so well that you also loued the stepes I trade one; thys was alettell before master myldmays coming and not past ij monthes before you sent me away; at which tyme you pecked no quarryll to me, but alleged the lettelnes of your house, want of carryage for my stufe, and want of beds for my wemen and groumes./ my Lord you cannot forget how much greued I was to part with you (which pronostycated that which followed) and yet beleued your words, of my coming to you ageane within one monthe./ my Lord you can not forget, how you set one your hole house to crye out of me, and to charge me with that I was Innosent of, how I bare that and many other thyngs, I rather wyshe, that of your selfe you cauled them to remembarance, then I to wryte them./ you say I seme to excuse and iustyfye my selfe and chyldryn, yet you know the contrary, and charge me and them with wecked dealing, to the ovarthrow of you and your house; the almyghty knows my innocensye therin./ my Lord I pray you geue me leaue to say, that yf you thenke so, you doe me and them wronge, and I pray the lord so to prospar me as I haue ben carefull for you and your house, your extreme dealing, which hath only ruinated me and myne, could not force me so much as in my harte to thenke, or onst to wyshe the ovarthrow of you or your house; and I beseache you not to condeme me for standing in my owne defence; your selfe forces me to yt, god put into your harte to weaye in equall balance my desarts to you, and your dealing towards me yf I had ben as you tearme me wecked, so I had not comytted horedome, yt ys more then a suffesyent reuenge, though you contenew not styll in yt, to torne me away, to withdrawe the allowance from me you gaue me when I was with you, to enter into all the land was myne, and agreat parte of others that was nether yours nor myne, and you content styll to take a great parte of our leueings, and I to leue in all want and meserye, my great debts not ... to you. thes extremetys wyll force my chyldryn to sell all they haue for my meantynance, and to pay my debts; I haue not left to leue vpon (rentes anuetys and many other charges going out of the land being payd) cleare thre hondryth pounds a yeare; for my chyldryns land I can not leue of that which most part ys owing for and they forced by thos extremetys to sell that ys left, you may buy yt yf yt please you, all thes thyngs and many other wrongs consedered I trust non wyll condeme me in seking to helpe my selfe by all good means./ but all thes and many more, greues me not so much nor touche me so neare as that I se your loue ys withdrawne from me, but my constant duty and affectyon contenews so to you, that yf my tyme weare longe, as yt ys sure to be short, I shall nevar cease to seke and sue by all good means, that I may lyue with you as I ought, and doubt not but in the end the almyghty wyll torne your harte and make you thenke of me as I haue dyssarued, and that we may leue together according to hys lawes./ my lord I may say with grefe that I am the furst Innosent wyffe, that euar was so very extremly vsed in thys realme, god make me the last, for yt ys well knowne to be adangarus example in aparson of your state, but I beseache the almyghty god to torne your harte in some tyme towards me, that we may leue together as we ought, so wyll he be best pleased whith all your doings, you better satysfyed in consyance and I obtayne that which of all worldly thyngs I most desyar, and non dyspleased but such as are not good./ and so I cease beseaching you to except of my good meaning./ at hygatt the xiiijth of octobar.//

your faythfull wyffe most sorrowfull

EShrouesbury


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'Bess of Hardwick's Letters' was developed by The University of Glasgow with technical development provided by The Humanities Research Institute at The University of Sheffield
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