Elizabeth Clere to John Paston, before 1449

15/16th Century
Location of Original:
British Library

To my Cosyn, John Paston, be thys letter delivered.

Trusty and weel be loved cosyn, I comaunde me to ȝow, desyryng to here of ȝowre weelfare and good spede in ȝowre matere, þe qwech I prey God send ȝow to his plesaunce and to ȝowre hertys ease.

Cosyn, I lete ȝow wete þat Scrope hath be in this cuntré to se my cosyn ȝowre sustyr, and he hath spoken with my cosyn ȝowre moder, and sche desyreth of hym þat he schuld schewe ȝow þe endentures mad be twen þe knyght þat hath his dowter and hym, whethir þat Skrop, if he were maried and fortuned to have children, if tho children schuld enheryte his lond, or his dowter, þe wheche is maried.

Cosyn, for this cause take gode hede to his endentures, for he is glad to schewe ȝow hem, or whom ȝe wol a sygne with ȝow; and he seith to me he is þe last in þe tayle of his lyflode, þe qweche is CCCL. marke and better, as Watkyn Shipdam seith, for he hath take a compt of his liflode dyvers tymes; and Scrop seith to me if he be maried, and have a sone an eyre, his dowter þat is maried schal have of his liflode L. marke and no more; and þerfore, cosyn, me semeth he were good for my cosyn ȝowre sustyr, with[out] þat ye myght gete her a bettyr. And if ȝe can gete a better, I wold avyse ȝow to labour it in as schort tyme as ȝe may goodly, for sche was never in so gret sorow as sche is now a dayes, for sche may not speke with no man, ho so ever come, ne not may se ne speke with my man, ne with servauntes of hir moderys but þat sche bereth hire an hand otherwyse than she menyth. And sche hath sen Esterne þe most part be betyn onys in þe weke or twyes, and som tyme twyes on o day, and hir hed broken in to or thre places. Wherfor, cosyn, sche hath sent to me by Frere Newton in gret counsell, and preyeth me þat I wold send to ȝow a letter of hir hevynes, and prey yow to be hir good brothyr, as hir trost is in ȝow; and sche seith, if ȝe may se be his evydences þat his childern and hire may enheryten, and sche to have resonable joynture, sche hath herd so mech of his birth and his condicions, þat and ȝe will sche will have hym, whethyr þat hir moder wil or wil not, not withstandyng it is tolde hir his persone is symple, for sche seyth men shull have þe more deyute of hire if sche rewle hire to hym as sche awte to do.

Cosyn, it is told me ther is a goodly man in yowre Inne, of þe qweche þe fadyr deyed litte, and if ȝe thynk þat he were better for hir than Scroop, it wold be laboured, and yif Scroop a goodly answere þat he be not put of tyl ȝe be sure of a bettyr; for he seid whan he was with me, but if [_i.e._ unless] he have som counfortable answer of ȝow, he wil no more laboure in this mater, be cause he myght not se my cosyn ȝowre sustyr, and he seyth he myght a see hire and sche had be bettyr than she is; and þat causeth hym to demyr þat hir moder was not weel willyng, and so have I sent my cosyn ȝowre moder word. Wherfore, cosyn, thynk on this mateer, for sorow oftyn tyme causeth women to be set hem otherwyse than thei schuld do, and if sche where in þat case, I wot weel ȝe wold be sory. Cosyn, I prey ȝow brenne this letter, þat ȝowre men ne non other man se it; for and my cosyn ȝowre moder knew þat I had sent yow this letter, sche shuld never love me. Nomore I wrighte to ȝow at this tyme, but Holy Gost have ȝow in kepyng. Wretyn in hast, on Seynt Peterys day, be candel lyght.

Be youre Cosyn,


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