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_To Mestresse Margret Paston._

[Sidenote: 1476 / [AUG. 30]]

Please it yow to wete that I was uppon Tywesdaye, the daye that I departyd froo yowe, with my brother John at Atelborow by viij. of the clokke at evyn, and founde hym in suche case as iff ye had seyn hym than ye wolde have be as gladde of hym osse off a nywe sone. I wenyd nott that he sholde nott have levyd tyll the mornyng; in so moche that by my trowthe I dare seye that iff it had nott fortunyd us to have comyn to hym, he had not been on lyve on Wednysdaye. For syns Saterday slepyd he nott iiij. howris, and yitt iij. of them was syns I come thydyr, on to thys nyght; and thys nyght, blessyd be God, he hathe slepyd well, and with Goddys grace I dowte not but thatt he shall do weell. For his agywe is goone, and alle that laye in hys stomak and undre hys syde it weryth aweye, and within a daye or ij. I hope he shall be so stronge that I maye come frome hym; and he hopyth to see yowe with in fewe days affter, as he seyth. On Wednysdaye I wysshed to hym that he and I hadde been at Norwyche; wheruppon he harpyd all that nyght, and for cawe (_sic_) he hadde not so goode rest as he wolde, it fylle in hys brayne to come to Norwyche; and he in an angyr wolde nedys to horse. He wolde non horsse litter, he was so stronge. Neverthelesse we wenyd nott that he sholde have been able to have redyn a myle, and wenyd that it had nott been possible to have passid Wyndham; bott whan he was uppe for that, we seyde he roode so welle he ledde uss a dawnce faster than alle we cowde weell folowe. He was at Wyndham, by my trowthe, in lesse than an howr by a large quarter, and ther restyd hym an howre, and to horse ageyne and was heer in lesse than an howr and one halffe. And now he dowteth nott to slepe weell, for he seyth that he never ffaylyd to slepe weel in that bedde that he hathe chosyn now at Frenshys, and thusse I hope he be sauffe. And I am in dowte whethyr I shall within ij. dayes owther come home to yow or ellis to goo forthe as ye woote off. No moore, &c. Wretyn on Frydaye next the Decollacion of Seynt John Baptyst.

Item, I have the wrythynges off Richard Calle.

Your sone,


[Footnote 262-1: [Add. MS. 34,889, f. 188.] Strangely enough there is no mention elsewhere of the serious illness of young John Paston mentioned in this letter, by which we might fix the year when it was written. But perhaps we may surmise that it was 1476, after he had been at Calais, where he was expected in the spring.

The fact that he was ill at Attleborough agrees with this supposition, for that was the seat of the Fitzwalter family, and 'Master Fitzwalter' is mentioned in No. 888 as at Calais showing much interest in the Paston family. It may be observed also that in 1476, Friday 'next' the Decollation of St. John Baptist (29th August) would be the very next day.]



_To my wurschypfull cosyn, John Paston, be thys bill delyvered, &c._

[Sidenote: 1476 or 1477]

Ryght wurschypfull cosyn, I recommande me un to yowe, thankyng zowe hertely for the grette chere that ze made me the last tyme that ze were with me at Norwych, &c.

And, cosyn, as for the mater that was put in my nowncle Hastynges and Henry Heydon, I ondyrstand be myn uncle, that ther was made non ende therin, whech I am ryght sory for. Cosyn, ze be remembred what ze promysed me that, and so were that myn uncle and Herry Heydon made none ende therin, that ze wold put the mater in me; and if it please zowe so for to do, in good faith, cosyn, I schall goo as wele and as ryghtfully and consciensly as I can for both the partyes. And, cosyn, if it please zowe to com to Topcroft, and poynt ze what dey when ze will com, I schall sende for my cosyn to be ther the same day. And, cosyn, I pray zowe to sende me worde agayn be the brynger of thys letter, howe ze will do, &c.

And Almyghty Jesus hafe zowe in kepyng, &c.

Be zour cosyn,


[Footnote 264-1: [From Paston MSS., B.M.] This is the first of a series of letters, some of which were certainly written in February 1477, relating to the engagement of John Paston to Margery Brews. How early they began it is not easy to say precisely. On the back of this letter is written, apparently in the hand of John Paston, to whom it is addressed, 'Letrae dominae Elyzabethae Brews et Margariae filae (_sic_) ejus.']



_Un to my ryght wurschypffull cosyn, John Paston, be thys lettur delyvered, &c._

Ryght wurschypfull cosyn, I recommande me un [to] yowe, &c. And I send my husbonde a bill of the mater that ze knowe of, and he wrote an other bill to me agayn towchyng the same mater; and he wold that ze schuld go un to my maistresse yowr modur, and asaye if ze myght gete the hole xx_li._ in to zowr handes, and then he wolde be more gladd to marye with zowe, and will gyffe zowe an C_li._ And, cosyn, that day that sche is maryed, my fadur will gyffe hyr l. merk. But and we acorde, I schall gyffe yowe a grettere tresur, that is, a wytty gentylwoman, and if I sey it, bothe good and vertuos; for if I schuld take money for hyr, I wold not gyffe hyr for a m_li._ But, cosyn, I trust zowe so meche that I wold thynke her wele besett on zowe, and ze were worthe meche more. And, cosyn, a lytyll after that ze were gone, come a man fro my cosyn Derby, and broght me wurde that suche a chance fell that he myght not come at the day that was set, as I schall let zowe undyrstond more pleynly, when I speke with zowe, &c. But, cosyn, and it wold please zowe to come agayn what dey that ze will set, I dare undyrtake that they schall kepe the same daye; for I wold be glad that, and myn husbond and ze myght acorde in thys maryage, that it myght be my fortune to make and ende in thys mater betwene my cosyns and zowe, that yche of zowe myght love other in frendely wyse, &c. And, cosyn, if thys byll please not zowr entent, I pray zowe that it may be brent, &c.

No more unto yowe at thys tyme, but Almyghty Jesus preserve zowe, &c.

By zowr cosyn,


[Footnote 265-1: [From Paston MSS., B.M.] _See_ preliminary note to last letter.]



_To my wurschypfull cosyne, John Paston, be this bill delyveryd, &c._

[Sidenote: 1477 / FEB.]

Cosyn, I recomande me un to yowe, thankyng yowe hertely for the grette chere that ye made me and all my folkys, the last tyme that I was at Norwych; and ye promysyd me, that ye wold never breke the mater to Margery unto suche tyme as ye and I were at a point. But ye hafe made hyr suche advokett for yowe, that I may never hafe rest nyght ner day, for callyng and cryeng uppon to brynge the saide mater to effecte, &c.

And, cosyn, uppon Fryday is Sent Volentynes Day, and every brydde chesyth hym a make [_mate_]; and yf it lyke yowe to come one Thursday at nyght, and so purvey yowe, that ye may abyde there tyll Monday, I trusty to God, that ye schall so speke to myn husband; and I schall prey that we schall bryng the mater to a conclusyon, &c. For, cosyn,

It is but a sympill oke, That [is] cut down at the first stroke.

For ye will be resonabill, I trust to God, Whech hafe yowe ever in Hys mercyfull kepyng, &c.

Be yowr cosyn, Dame ELIZABETH BREWS, otherwes schall be called be Godds grace.

[Footnote 266-1: [From Fenn, ii. 208.] It is clear from internal evidence that this letter was written between the 7th and the 12th of February, and the fact that St. Valentine's Day (the 14th) fell on Friday, proves the year to have been 1477. Besides which, we have distinct references to the matter further on in the dated correspondence.]



_Unto my ryght welebelovyd Voluntyn, John Paston, Squyer, be this bill delyvered, &c._

[Sidenote: 1477 / FEB.]

Ryght reverent and wurschypfull, and my ryght welebeloved Voluntyne, I recomande me unto yowe, ffull hertely desyring to here of yowr welefare, whech I beseche Almyghty God long for to preserve un to Hys plesur, and yowr herts desyre. And yf it please yowe to here of my welefar, I am not in good heele of body, nor of herte, nor schall be tyll I her ffrom yowe;

For there wottys no creature what peyn that I endure, And for to be deede, I dare it not dyscure [_discover_].

And my lady my moder hath labored the mater to my ffadur full delygently, but sche can no mor gete then ye knowe of, for the whech God knowyth I am full sory. But yf that ye loffe me, as I tryste verely that ye do, ye will not leffe me therefor; for if that ye hade not halfe the lyvelode that ye hafe, for to do the grettest labur that any woman on lyve myght, I wold not forsake yowe.

And yf ye commande me to kepe me true wherever I go, I wyse I will do all my myght yowe to love and never no mo.

And yf my freends say, that I do amys, Thei schal not me let so for to do, Myne herte me bydds ever more to love yowe Truly over all erthely thing, And yf thei be never so wroth, I tryst it schall be better in tyme commyng.

No more to yowe at this tyme, but the Holy Trinite hafe yowe in kepyng.

And I besech yowe that this bill be not seyn of none erthely creatur safe only your selffe, &c.

And thys letter was indyte at Topcroft, with full hevy herte, &c.

By your own,


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