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After I had in the said poem, somewhat eased my spirit of that which for sometime, had lain as a load upon me, I breathed forth a hymn to God, in acknowledgement of his great goodness to me, in profession of my grateful love to him, and supplication to him, for the continuance of his kindness to me, in preserving me from the snares of the enemy, and keeping me faithful unto himself. *
In this sort did I spend some leisure hours during my confinement in Bridewell; especially after our return from Newgate thither, when we had more liberty, and more opportunity and room for retirement and thought. For, as the poet said,
Carmina scribentes secessum & otia quærunt.' They who would write in measure, retire where they may stillness have, and leisure. And this privilege we enjoyed, by the indulgence of our keeper, whose heart God disposed to favour us. So that both the master and his porter were very civil and kind to us; and had been so indeed all along. For when we were shut up before, the porter would readily let some of us go home in an evening, and stay at home till next morning, which was a great conveniency to men of trade and business, which I being free from, forbore asking for myself, that I might not hinder others.
* See No. 2 of the Appendix,
This he observed, and asked me when I meant to ask to go out. I told him I had not. much occasion nor desire; yet at sometime or other perhaps I might have ; but when I had I would ask him but once, and if he then denied me, I would ask him no more.
After we were come back from Newgate, I had a desire to go thither again, to visit my friends who were prisoners there ; more especially my dear friend and father in Christ, Edward Burrough, who was then a prisoner with many Friends more, in that part of Newgate which was then called Justice-hall. Whereupon the porter coming in my way, I asked him to let me go out for an hour or two, to see some friends of mine that even. ing.
He to enhance the kindness, made it a matter of some difficulty; and would have me stay till another night. I told him I would be at a word with him ; for as I had told him be. fore, that if he denied me I would ask him no more ; so he should find I would keep to
He was no sooner gone out of my sight, but I espied his master crossing the court. Wherefore stepping to him, I asked him, If he was willing to let me go out for a little while, to see some friends of mine that evening. Yes, said he, very willing; and thereupon away walked I to Newgate ; where having spent the evening among Friends, I returned in good time,
Under this easy restraint we lay till the court sat at the Old-Baily again; and then, whether it was that the heat of the storm was somewhat abated, or by what other means Providence wrought it, I know not; we were called to the bar, and without further question discharged.
Whereupon we returned to Bridewell again, and having raised some money among us, and therewith gratified both the master and his porter, for their kindness to us, we spent sometime in a solemn meeting, to return our thankful acknowledgement to the LORD, both for his preservation of us in prison, and deliverance of us out of it ; and then taking a solemn farewell of each other, we departed with bag and baggage. And I took care to return my hammock to the owner, with due acknowledgement of his great kindness in lending it
Being now at liberty, I visited more generally my friends that were still in prison ; and more particularly my friend and benefactor William Penington, at his house; and then went to wait upon my master Milton. With whom yet I could not propose to enter upon my intermitted studies, until I had been in Buckinghamshire, to visit my worthy friends Isaac Penington, and his virtuous wife; with other Friends in that country.
Thither therefore I betook myself, and the weather being frosty, and the ways by that means clean and good, I walked it thorough in
a day; and was received by my friends there with such demonstration of hearty kindness, as made my journey very easy to me.
I had spent in my imprisonment that twen. ty shillings, which I had received of William Penington, and twenty of the forty which had been sent me from Mary Penington, and had the remainder then about me. That therefore I now returned to her, with due acknowledgement of her husband's and her great care of me, and liberality to me in the time of my need. She would have had me kept it. But I begged her to accept it from me again ; since it was the redundancy of their kindness, and the other part had answered the occasion for which it was sent; and my importunity prevailed.
I intended only a visit hither, not a continuance; and therefore purposed, after I had staid a few days, to return to my lodging and former course in London ; but Providence ** ordered it otherwise.
Isaac Penington had at that time two sons, and one daughter, all then very young, of whom the eldest son, John Penington, and the daughter, Mary, the wife of Daniel Wharley, are yet living at the writing of this. And being himself both skilful and curious in' pronunciation, he was very desirous to have them well grounded in the rudiments of the English tongue, to which end he had sent for a man out of Lancashires' whom upon enquiry he had heard of, who was undoubtedly the most accia
rate English teacher that ever I met with, or have heard of. His name was Richard Bradley. But as he pretended no higher than the English tongue, and had led them by grammar rules to the highest improvement they were capable of in that, he had then taken his leave of them, and was gone up to London, to teach an English school of Friends' children there.
This put my friend to a fresh straight. He had sought for a new teacher to instruct his children in the Latin tongue, as the old had done in the English, but had not yet found one. Wherefore, one evening as we sat together by the fire in his bed-chamber, (which for want of health he kept,) he asked me (his wife being by) If I would be so kind to him, as to stay a while with him, till he could hear of such a man as he aimed at; and in the mean time enter his children in the rudiments of the Latin tongue.
This question was not more unexpected, than surprising to me; and the more, because it seemed directly to thwart my former purpose and undertaking, of endeavouring to improve myself by following my studies with my master Milton, which this would give at least a present diversion from, and for how long I could not foresee.
But the sense I had of the manifold obligations I lay under to these worthy friends of mine, shut out all reasonings, and disposed my mind to an absolute resignation to their