Commission

This morning came the carpenters to make me a door at the other side of my house, going into the entry, which I was much pleased with.
At noon my wife and I walked to the Old Exchange, and there she bought her a white whisk and put it on, and I a pair of gloves, and so we took coach for Whitehall to Mr. Fox’s, where we found Mrs. Fox within, and an alderman of London paying 1000l. or 1500l. in gold upon the table for the King, which was the most gold that ever I saw together in my life.
Mr. Fox came in presently and did receive us with a great deal of respect; and then did take my wife and I to the Queen’s presence-chamber; where he got my wife placed behind the Queen’s chair, and I got into the crowd, and by and by the Queen and the two Princesses came to dinner. The Queen a very little plain old woman, and nothing more in her presence in any respect nor garb than any ordinary woman. The Princess of Orange I had often seen before. The Princess Henrietta is very pretty, but much below my expectation; and her dressing of herself with her hair frized short up to her ears, did make her seem so much the less to me.
But my wife standing near her with two or three black patches on, and well dressed, did seem to me much handsomer than she.
Dinner being done, we went to Mr. Fox’s again, where many gentlemen dined with us, and most princely dinner, all provided for me and my friends, but I bringing none but myself and wife, he did call the company to help to eat up so much good victuals. At the end of dinner, my Lord Sandwich’s health was drunk in the gilt tankard that I did give to Mrs. Fox the other day.
After dinner I had notice given me by Will my man that my Lord did inquire for me, so I went to find him, and met him and the Duke of York in a coach going towards Charing Cross. I endeavoured to follow them but could not, so I returned to Mr. Fox, and after much kindness and good discourse we parted from thence.
I took coach for my wife and me homewards, and I light at the Maypole in the Strand, and sent my wife home.
I to the new playhouse and saw part of the “Traitor,” a very good Tragedy; Mr. Moon did act the Traitor very well.
So to my Lord’s, and sat there with my Lady a great while talking. Among other things, she took occasion to inquire (by Madame Dury’s late discourse with her) how I did treat my wife’s father and mother. At which I did give her a good account, and she seemed to be very well opinioned of my wife.
From thence to White Hall at about 9 at night, and there, with Laud the page that went with me, we could not get out of Henry the Eighth’s gallery into the further part of the boarded gallery, where my Lord was walking with my Lord Ormond; and we had a key of Sir S. Morland’s, but all would not do; till at last, by knocking, Mr. Harrison the door-keeper did open us the door.
And, after some talk with my Lord about getting a catch to carry my Lord St. Albans a goods to France, I parted and went home on foot, it being very late and dirty, and so weary to bed.

Carpenter, make me
a door into my life.
I am a crow, a plain old woman.
I bring none but myself to dinner
by the light of the moon.
Give me a further gallery
in my good ear.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 22 November 1660.

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