Mistress Moore rides out the storm
“We have enough to do to make up ourselves from present and passed times, and the whole stage of things scarce serveth for our instruction”
— Sir Thomas Browne, Hydriotaphia
Mistress Moore was, or so it has been told to me, vexed beyond measure when the world around her changed in ways that she could, try though she might, neither halt nor hinder.
Mistress Moore, for instance, was very much of his late majesty’s party, but in time had advertised to her the sad news of his trial and unlawful murder— or martyrdom, as her cousin Colvile soon came to call it — read out by her husband from the London news-sheets. And before that, back in 1643, in the early days of the great rebellion, she had hoped that those of his late majesty’s party might rely, at least, on the port of Lynn, its mayor, burgesses, merchants and the farmers of its fat hinterlands. But she saw the town’s defences overthrown by the earl of Manchester and his 18,000-odd armed men, some of them camped, at least for a while, within sight of her chamber window, alongside her house, standing even now as it did then, near the brink of the river.
Mistress Moore, though not invariably orthodox in her beliefs, was no lover of radical religion, no Independent nor presbyterian neither. And yet in the church across the river, the tower of which she might also spy from her chamber, the cowed, learned, unhappy minister, who had somehow managed to retain his cure of souls, was no longer allowed to use the Book of Common Prayer, and had been forced to set his communion table down in the nave, where it looked indecorous and offensive, and could no longer order the church bells tolled at funerals.
And then, not least, there was the death of her daughter Martha. Mistress Moore had, of course, like any natural mother, loved her daughter. Quite apart from that, though, she had gone to considerable trouble to see one of her husband’s more sympathetic schemes — Martha’s marriage to young Mr Appleton, who was not only a member of Gray’s Inn but of his majesty’s party too — through to completion.Read the rest of this entry »