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having become the wife of Flcetwood; and the second, the sprightly and graceful Elizabeth, had married John, otherwise Lord Claypole, whom the Protector had entrusted with the charge of his stables, under the style of Master of the Horse. On November II, I657, some months after the commencement of the second Protectorate, Frances, the youngest of the four, was married to Robert Rich, the grandson of the Earl of \Varwick, the Lord High Admiral of the Long Parliament, and in the following week her sister Mary was married to Lord Fauconberg. The first of these two marriages was long delayed by the Protector’s doubts as to the character of the suitor, as well as by his dissatisfaction with the proposed settlement— Oliver’s moral sense once more entwining itself with his practical decisions. It was said at the time that he valued the Fauconberg alliance more than that with the \/Varwick family, as winning over to his side a Royalist peer.
Not one of Oliver’s four daughters ever gave their father cause for real anxiety. If they were less strenuous than himself and sometimes needed, in his judgment, to be spurred on to higher spiritual aims, he never seems to have addressed them otherwise than as those who were worthy of parental love. If he really preferred Lady Claypole to his other daughters, it was most likely because she was more sprightly and less outwardly pious than her sisters. “Your sister Claypole,” he had written to Bridget soon after she had become Ireton’s wife, “is, I trust in mercy, exercised with some perplexed thoughts. She sees her own vanity and carnal mind; bewailing it. She seeks after—as I hope also—what will satisfy: and thus to be a seeker is to be of the best sect next to a finder; and such an one shall every faithful humble seeker be at the end. Happy seeker, happy finder! \Vho ever tasted that the Lord is gracious, without some sense of self, vanity, and badness? \Vho ever tasted that graciousness of His, and could go less in desire—less than pressing after full enjoyment?” Of Bridget herself he writes with fuller assurance. “Dear Heart,” he continues, “ press on; let no husband, let not anything cool thy affections after Christ.
I hope he will be an occasion to inflame them. That which is best worthy
of love in thy husband is that of the image of Christ he bears. Look on that, and love it best, and all the rest for that. I pray for thee and him; do so for me.” Yet even Bridget was far from answering to the modern conception of the Puritan lady, as is testified by the splendid yellow silk petticoat which has been handed down from generation to generation in the family of her eldest daughter. Nevertheless it was not Bridget’s vanity which was most on her father’s mind. Five years later, in writing to his wife from Edinburgh, he begs her to “mind poor Betty,” Le. Elizabeth, Lady Claypole, “of the Lord’s great mercy," and to urge her to “ take heed of a departing heart and of being cozened with worldly vanities and worldly company, which I doubt she is too subject to.” The liveliness which caused such searchings of heart was doubtless the tie which bound more firmly Oliver’s love to her. One day we hear of her demurely assuring \Vhitelocke that it was fear of his great influence which had caused her father to send him out of the way to Sweden when he was about to assume the Protectorate. At another time we are told of her driving with her cousin Ingoldsby and two of her sisters, all the three ladies dressed in green, whilst the courtier-like crowd watch their movements and bow as they pass. Then we hear of the scornful language in which, with the pride of a lady by birth as well as by her father’s advancement, she accounted for the absence of the wives of some of the Major-Generals from an entertainment at which she took part: “I warrant you they are washing their dishes at home as they used to do.” Yet withal she had an open ear for trouble, and a ready tongue to plead not in vain the cause of the innocent with her father. By the summer of I657 her health had been failing, and at one time her life had been despaired of.
Oliver’s own health was far from being such as to promise length of days. Though he had had no serious illness since the time when his life was in danger in Scotland, after the toils and anxiety of the Dunbar campaign, short spells of ill-health are frequently mentioned, and the Venetian Ambassador presented to him in the autumn of I655 noticed the shaking hand with which he held his hat in welcoming him, a symptom of weakness which left