Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/23

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
7
ANNE BRADSTREET.

whose delicate infancy and childhood gave small hint of the endurance shown in later years. Of much the same station and training as Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson, Anne Dudley could undoubtedly have written in the same words as that most delightful of chroniclers: "By the time I was four years old I read English perfectly, and having a great memory I was carried to sermons. … When I was about seven years of age, I remember I had at one time eight tutors in several qualities, languages, music, dancing, writing and needle work; but my genius was quite averse from all but my book, and that I was so eager of, that my mother thinking it prejudiced my health, would moderate me in it; yet this rather animated me than kept me back, and every moment I could steal from my play I would employ in any book I could find when my own were locked up from me."

It is certain that the little Anne studied the Scriptures at six or seven, with as painful solicitude as her elders, for she writes in the fragmentary diary which gives almost the only clue to her real life:

"In my young years, about 6 or 7, as I take it, I began to make conscience of my wayes, and what I knew was sinfull, as lying, disobedience to Parents, etc., I avoided it. If at any time I was overtaken with the like evills, it was a great Trouble. I could not be at rest till by prayer I had confest it unto God. I was also troubled at the neglect of Private Duteys, tho' too often tardy that way. I also found much comfort in reading the Scriptures, especially those places I thought most concerned my Condition, and as I grew to have more understanding, so the more solace I took in them.