Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/19

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ANNE BRADSTREET.

band. Her maiden name is unknown; she was a relative of Sir Augustine Nicolls, of Paxton, Kent, one of His Majesty's Justices of his Court of Common Pleas, and keeper of the Great Seal to Prince Charles.

The special friend who took charge of Thomas Dudley through childhood is said to have been "a Miss Purefoy," and if so, she was the sister of Judge Nicolls, who married a Leicestershire squire, named William Purefoy. Five hundred pounds was left in trust for him, and delivered to him when he came of age; a sum equivalent to almost as many thousand to-day. At the school to which he was sent he gained a fair knowledge of Latin, but he was soon taken from it to become a page in the family of William Lord Compton, afterward the Earl of Northumberland.

His studies were continued, and in time he became a clerk of his kinsman, "Judge Nicholls," whose name appears in letters, and who was a sergeant-at-law. Such legal knowledge as came to him here was of service through all his later life, but law gave place to arms, the natural bias of most Englishmen at that date, and he became captain of eighty volunteers "raised in and about Northhampton, and forming part of the force collected by order of Queen Elizabeth to assist Henry IV. of France, in the war against Philip II. of Spain." He was at the siege of Amiens in 1597, and returned home when it ended, having, though barely of age, already gained distinction as a soldier, and acquired the courtesy of manner which distinguished him till later life, and the blandness of which often blinded unfamiliar acquaintances to the penetration and acumen, the honesty and courage that were the foundations of his character. As his belief