Mary Clarke to
19th January 1692
What I have now to begg of you is that as soune as conveniently you can after this comes to your hands, that you would be pleased to order Mr Edwards little beadsted and all that belongs to it to be brought downe into the nursery and the head of it placed against the dore that goes into the little roome that Cattren and Moll used to lye, that I thinke being the warmest and most convenient place for it to stand in the roome, theare being noe occation now to goe in and out at that dore for the wood what they want may be brought the other way. Mr Locke did formerly advise me never to lett my boyes lye with the femall sex after they weare become old enough not to be taken care of in the nights, and has now repeated it agen, what his resen is for it I know nott, but in persuance of his desires, I did leave orders in my paper of directions that John Spreat should be Jackes constant bead fellow in my absence, but those nights he did chance to lye from home upon buisness which I thought then would have happened very seldome, but when it did he was to lye with Dorcass because I thought shee, Molly and Jacke would disturbe one the other, but now the scene is changed and his beadfellow has otherways disposed of himselfe and I am to beleive I have noe more reson to depend on him then I thought I should, for I feare he is faine to doble his diligence a nights for the time he spends there a days, for I sopose the widdow cannot be satisfied till she lookes as bigg as you say the rest of her knaybourghs does, and it is best resen she should have a penyworth for her peny, and thearefore I desire that Jack may lye constantly by himself in that bead till I come home otherways to dispose of him, for John Spreat writt me word that Dorcass had bin extream ill but is pretty well agen, but however I would not have Jacke lye with her agen for she may be weake and apt to swett and other incovenienceyes may happen, soe that I would have him lye with noebody, nor he need be subjectt to soe much change of bead fellowes, which may be to his prejudice.
I sopose I am not taken for a fond mother by any body, but I thinke it my duty besides my inclination induces me to have all the tenderness and care of my children as is possible, and I should not forgive myselfe if I should permitt any thinge that was to theyr prejudish for the sake of any person whatsoever, espeshally since I find by everydays experiance that the generallity of people are most concerned for themselves.
My 2 girles have bin placed out att a French scoole about a weeke and doe thinke Mr Clarke is now come to a resolution of placeing out his sone heare alsoe, it being to noe purpose to lett him drone away his prime time in a place wheare there is not conversation for his advantage. I could if I might wish the others wass heare too but wishing will not bring any thing to pass. I am heartily glad to heare that Mrs Betty Dike is married agen to the man she has soe long loved and waited for, and to have him att last sure is the greatest happiness this world can aford, and a dispoyntment of that kind the greatest afflicttion.