Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/44

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28
ANNE BRADSTREET.

that could be seen, for a great while after she recovered; yet he was nothing troubled at it, but married her as soon as she was able to quit the chamber, when the priest and all that saw her were affrighted to look on her; but God recompensed his justice and constancy by restoring her, though she was longer than ordinary before she recovered to be as well as before."

Whether disease or treatment held the greater terror, it would be hard to say. Modern medical science has devised many alleviations, and often restores a patient without spot or blemish. But to have lived at all in that day evidenced extraordinary vitality. Cleanliness was unknown, water being looked upon as deadly poison whether taken internally or applied externally. Covered with blankets, every window tightly sealed, and the moaning cry for water answered by a little hot ale or tincture of bitter herbs, nature often gave up the useless struggle and released the tortured and delirious wretch. The means of cure left the constitution irretrievably weakened if not hopelessly ruined, and the approach of the disease was looked upon with affright and regarded usually as a special visitation of the wrath of God. That Anne Dudley so viewed it is evident from the passage in her diary, already quoted; that the Lord "smott" her, was unquestioned, and she cast about in her girlish mind for the shadow of the sin that had brought such judgment, making solemn resolutions, not only against any further indulgence in "Pride and Vanity," but all other offences, deciding that self-abnegation was the only course, and possibly even beginning her convalescence with a feeling that