Page:The house of Cecil.djvu/107

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THE FIRST EARL OF EXETER 85

The immediate cause of this outburst may be surmised from a letter written by Throckmorton to Cecil on the following day, in which he desires him to write to his son to " check his inordinate affection with which he is transported towards a young gentlewoman abiding near Paris, which the writer and Mr. Windebank by their admonition have tried to dissuade him from, but in vain. She is a maid, and her friends will hardly bear the violation of her." He urges Cecil to recall Thomas home, or to send him into Flanders, and his kindly feeling for the wayward youth induces him to add a hope that Cecil " will judge of his passion as fathers do when they censure their sons' oversights, committed when most subject to folly and lost to reason ; and not measure his son by himself, but repute him as other young men."

Neither Throckmorton nor Windebank thought it necessary to tell Cecil the whole truth, which was that Thomas had actually made a promise of marriage to the young lady, who was a nun in an abbey near Paris. It appears that he had even planned to carry her off, having arranged to obtain a couple of horses, " upon credit of a merchant," and to provide himself with money by selling both his own and Windebank's clothes. He defied his tutor, saying that he was sure of his position, and that his father could not disinherit him. He had in fact " come to an extremity of evil meaning," and Windebank's anxiety to have him safely back in England is not surprising.

In reply to his appeal Cecil wrote to his son

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