Lady Anne Halkett – “Memoirs” (the end)

James makes it a habit to play every evening after supper hide-and-seek with his servants, and he is so good at hiding sometimes they can’t find him for half an hour. He also asks the gardener for the key to the garden, saying that he forgot his. He and the gardener are the only people who have these keys and I’m not sure what the point of the whole plan is, unless it is to lock the gate behind him and thus hinder the chase. Anyway, on the night of the planned escape James again plays hide-and-seek, and then sneaks out, locking all the doors behind him. On the street Colonel Bamfield is waiting for him and they cross in a boat to the house where Anne and her servant are waiting for them. Anne was very nervous because they were late, and Bamfield himself told her not to wait for them past ten o’clock, because if they are not there by that time, it means they are caught and she mustn’t compromise herself. But she decides to hang on and when she hears the noise on the stairs, she is sure it’s soldiers coming for her. But fortunately it is the young duke and Colonel Bamfield, and relieved Anne embraces the Duke, thanking God for his escape.

After that the Duke is dressed in girl’s clothes, and Halkett says he looked very pretty in them. He has dinner, which she prepared waiting for him, and takes some Wood Street cake, which Anne ordered because she knew he loved it, into the barge with him. I wonder what Wood Street cake was like? The barge carries them to the ship waiting for them, not without some problems with the wind and such, but Halkett believes God’s providence saved them. In the meantime, Anne and her maidservant Miriam drive as fast as they can to the house of Anne’s brothers. The escape remains undetected for some time, because the servants believe the Duke is still playing hide-and-seek with them.  But when he doesn’t appear, Earl of Northumberland, in whose care the Duke was, orders a thorough search of the house, and then informs the Speaker about the Duke’s escape. The Speaker orders immediately to block all the ports from which ships leave for the continent, but, as Halkett’s source close to the Speaker at that time claims, the scribes were so confused they prepared ten or twelve versions before they came up with an acceptable document, by which time the Duke was already safe at sea.

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