Diary of the times of Charles II/Volume 1/The Countess of Sunderland to Mr. Sidney, January 13
THE COUNTESS OF SUNDERLAND TO MR. SIDNEY.
I may return you most truly the same expressions you made me in your last of the 15th by the Express, that every line or rather word in your letter gave me abundant satisfaction, for sincerely kind I am to you—I care not who knows it; and being so, I pass my time very well, I assure you; for your praise is up to a great height, your health drank with great ceremony in the City, and every body that's good for any thing talks of you as of their guardian angel almost.
It would make you ample amends for all the pains taken, the reputation you have gained—I will not say any thing to persuade you of my joy for it. You are the unjustest creature in the world if you are not sure of it; but I can't forbear telling you, that when your Memorials were read at Counsel, every body was so satisfied with your behaviour, that at night, when my Lord came home, he was so full of it, he really wept for joy; and in talking of you to some of our friends, who told him the City were much pleased with him in this affair, he cried out loud, "Let them but know how poor Harry Sidney has behaved himself; I don't care a pin for myself."
I think I ought to let you know this in justice to you both; and indeed 'tis a great comfort to me to see him so truly kind to you, because I think you are both in your kinds fit to be friends to one another and the best men in the world. Now, for goodness sake, don't laugh at my silly stuff, for 'tis from the abundance of my heart. But now as to another point which nearly concerns us. You must know the Duchess of Portsmouth and my Lord have had a great, or rather many quarrels about this matter, for when you first sent word of the fine letter of Barillon, that abominable Jade would have had the King see Barillon privately; and she directed him what to say, upon which our friend behaved himself like a nightingale, as you perceive; but for which, I am sure, she will never forgive him; and, therefore, my dear Mr. Sidney, by all the ways you can, endeavour to engage him in what may be irreconcilable with that Jade, that would sell all, and does daily grow so odious, that being in any of her affairs were enough to ruin one. I could give you a thousand instances of this, but 'tis not necessary, you being enough of my mind in this matter.
Don't be peevish at my writing all this silly stuff in cipher, for I had rather, if I knew any State affairs, venture their being seen than my own concerns; neither be angry if I have mistaken any figure. I wish you here every minute, but not if you are necessary where you are. Pray God bless and succeed all your undertakings, for I'm confident you'll never be engaged in any that are not honest.
I must needs say one silly thing more, and then I have done. My Lord Spenser is in town, and the prettiest boy in all kinds in it. Pray take care of Fitz Patrick, for I hear they are not exactly to be depended upon; not that I know it of my own knowledge, but the contrary. They were born in the States, with the repute that I have heard of them.
- The passages in italic are in cipher.