Mary Clarke to

Edward Clarke

28th November 1696

my deare

I beg leave now to lay before you the nesessaty that theare will be in a short time of Jepps and Sammys learning something which I feare is impossoble to be done without it be somebodys buisness apoynted for that purpose, they being of the same temper that theyr brother theyr 2 likenesses was before them; Jepp is now growne tall and bigg enough for britches* and must have some after Christmas and it will be very odd to see him in britches and cant read a word they are very capable of larning but no body about them have the way to teach them, they are very fond of Gabarell and allways desirous to play with him, so I stucke on the 24 letters on the blank dice you brought down but what improvement they have make I know not, but this I know by experience that teaching anything heare is allmost like indeavouring to strive against the streeme, and sinke in the undertaking onesself at last; for certaine they are to little to bee put abroad and to bigg to spend theyr time thus at home; Jepp is of a very tender nice temper to be dealt with and Sammys infirmityes must be considered and yet they ought and must learne something and how to bring that to pass I know not, for my part I have my thoughts on so many things that it is and would be impossoble for me to do that or anything else well or as I ought, and what way to have it done I hope you will helpe consider for I have bin told to heads are better than one and I beleve it to be so in this case and most others; Jepp is the head and neck taller than Sammy; he grows thick but I beleve the crookedness of his leggs and this hinder his growing tall; notwithstanding I borowed my Aunt Stracheys grand daughters little boot for a pattren yet the shoomaker heare have had it by him this month and have make 2 paire before he could make one tolarably fitt; I hope you will be able to get so much time as to come and see them your self and judge what is the best corse to be taken with that and everything else, in the meantime we must wait with patience, and I think if you did write to your daughter Betty to teach them theyr book and theyr prayers 2 or 3 times a day and see if they would larne of her it would be some imployment for them all and if nothing did come of it theyr time would not be worss spent then in theyr being wholy idle and perpetually racketting and thundering up and down the house.

Mary Clarke

* Boys were dressed in frocks until they were 6 or 7 years old.