Light entertainment

Could sleep but little to-night for thoughts of my business. So up by candlelight and by water to Whitehall, and so to my Lord Sandwich, who was up in his chamber and all alone, did acquaint me with his business; which was, that our old acquaintance Mr. Wade (in Axe Yard) hath discovered to him 7,000l. hid in the Tower, of which he was to have two for discovery; my Lord himself two, and the King the other three, when it was found; and that the King’s warrant runs for me on my Lord’s part, and one Mr. Lee for Sir Harry Bennet, to demand leave of the Lieutenant of the Tower for to make search. After he had told me the whole business, I took leave and hastened to my office, expecting to be called by a letter from my Lord to set upon the business, and so there I sat with the officers all the morning. At noon when we were up comes Mr. Wade with my Lord’s letter, and tells me the whole business. So we consulted for me to go first to Sir H. Bennet, who is now with many of the Privy Counsellors at the Tower, examining of their late prisoners, to advise with him when to begin.
So I went; and the guard at the Tower Gate, making me leave my sword at the gate, I was forced to stay so long in the ale-house hard by, till my boy run home for my cloak, that my Lord Mayor that now is, Sir John Robinson, Lieutenant of the Tower, with all his company, was gone with their coaches to his house in Minchen Lane. So my cloak being come, I walked thither; and there, by Sir G. Carteret’s means, did presently speak with Sir H. Bennet, who did show and give me the King’s warrant to me and Mr. Leigh, and another to himself, for the paying of 2,000l. to my Lord, and other two to the discoverers. After a little discourse, dinner come in; and I dined with them. There was my Lord Mayor, my Lord Lauderdale, Mr. Secretary Morris, to whom Sir H. Bennet would give the upper hand; Sir Wm. Compton, Sir G. Carteret, and myself, and some other company, and a brave dinner. After dinner, Sir H. Bennet did call aside the Lord Mayor and me, and did break the business to him, who did not, nor durst appear the least averse to it, but did promise all assistance forthwith to set upon it. So Mr. Lee and I to our office, and there walked till Mr. Wade and one Evett his guide did come, and W. Griffin, and a porter with his picke-axes, &c.; and so they walked along with us to the Tower, and Sir H. Bennet and my Lord Mayor did give us full power to fall to work. So our guide demands, a candle, and down into the cellars he goes, inquiring whether they were the same that Baxter always had. We went into several little cellars, and then went out a-doors to view, and to the Cole Harbour; but none did answer so well to the marks which was given him to find it by, as one arched vault. Where, after a great deal of council whether to set upon it now, or delay for better and more full advice, we set to it, to digging we went to almost eight o’clock at night, but could find nothing. But, however, our guides did not at all seem discouraged; for that they being confident that the money is there they look for, but having never been in the cellars, they could not be positive to the place, and therefore will inform themselves more fully now they have been there, of the party that do advise them. So locking the door after us, we left work to-night, and up to the Deputy Governor (my Lord Mayor, and Sir H. Bennet, with the rest of the company being gone an hour before); and he do undertake to keep the key of the cellars, that none shall go down without his privity. But, Lord! to see what a young simple fantastique coxcombe is made Deputy Governor, would make one mad; and how he called out for his night-gown of silk, only to make a show to us; and yet for half an hour I did not think he was the Deputy Governor, and so spoke not to him about the business, but waited for another man; at last I broke our business to him; and he promising his care, we parted. And Mr. Leigh and I by coach to White Hall, where I did give my Lord Sandwich an account of our proceedings, and some encouragement to hope for something hereafter, and so bade him good-night, and so by coach home again, where to my trouble I found that the painter had not been here to-day to do any thing, which vexes me mightily. So to my office to put down my journal, and so home and to bed.
This morning, walking with Mr. Coventry in the garden, he did tell me how Sir G. Carteret had carried the business of the Victuallers’ money to be paid by himself, contrary to old practice; at which he is angry I perceive, but I believe means no hurt, but that things maybe done as they ought. He expects Sir George should not bespatter him privately, in revenge, but openly. Against which he prepares to bedaub him, and swears he will do it from the beginning, from Jersey to this day. And as to his own taking of too large fees or rewards for places that he had sold, he will prove that he was directed to it by Sir George himself among others. And yet he did not deny Sir G. Carteret his due, in saying that he is a man that do take the most pains, and gives himself the most to do business of any man about the Court, without any desire of pleasure or divertisements; which is very true. But which pleased me mightily, he said in these words, that he was resolved, whatever it cost him, to make an experiment, and see whether it was possible for a man to keep himself up in Court by dealing plainly and walking uprightly, with any private game a playing: in the doing whereof, if his ground do slip from under him, he will be contented; but he is resolved to try, and never to baulke taking notice of any thing that is to the King’s prejudice, let it fall where it will; which is a most brave resolucion. He was very free with me; and by my troth, I do see more reall worth in him than in most men that I do know.
I would not forget two passages of Sir J. Minnes’s at yesterday’s dinner. The one, that to the question how it comes to pass that there are no boars seen in London, but many sows and pigs; it was answered, that the constable gets them a-nights. The other, Thos. Killigrew’s way of getting to see plays when he was a boy. He would go to the Red Bull, and when the man cried to the boys, “Who will go and be a devil, and he shall see the play for nothing?” then would he go in, and be a devil upon the stage, and so get to see plays.

light is an old acquaintance
come with a pick-axe into the cellar
a mad night-gown of silk

I wear it as an experiment
in walking upright
a private game

let it fall where it will
more real than any answer
that nothing on the stage


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 30 October 1662.

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