Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/40

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ANNE BRADSTREET.

generations. A diet more utterly unsuited to the child who passed from one fit of illness to another, could hardly be imagined, and the gloom discoverable in portions of her work was as certainly dyspepsia as she imagined it to be "the motion and power of ye Adversary." Winthrop had encountered the same difficulty and with his usual insight and common sense, wrote in his private dairy fifteen years before he left England, "Sep: 8, 1612. finding that the variety of meates drawes me on to eate more than standeth with my healthe I have resolved not to eat of more than two dishes at any one meale, whither fish, fleshe, fowle or fruite or whitt-meats, etc; whither at home or abroade; the lord give me care and abilitie to perform it." Evidently the flesh rebelled, for later he writes: "Idlenesse and gluttonie are the two maine pillars of the flesh his kingdome," but he conquered finally, both he and Simon Bradstreet being singularly abstinent.

Her first sixteen years of life were, for Anne Dudley, filled with the intensest mental and spiritual activity hampered and always in leading strings, but even so, an incredible advance on anything that had been the portion of women for generations. Then came, for the young girl, a change not wholly unexpected, yet destined to alter every plan, and uproot every early association. But to the memories of that loved early life she held with an English tenacity, not altered by transplanting, that is seen to-day in count less New Englanders, whose English blood is of as pure a strain as any to be found in the old home across the sea.