A walk in the park

Up betimes and walked to St. James’s, where Mr. Coventry being in bed I walked in the Park, discoursing with the keeper of the Pell Mell, who was sweeping of it; who told me of what the earth is mixed that do floor the Mall, and that over all there is cockle-shells powdered, and spread to keep it fast; which, however, in dry weather, turns to dust and deads the ball. Thence to Mr. Coventry; and sitting by his bedside, he did tell me that he sent for me to discourse upon my Lord Sandwich’s allowances for his several pays, and what his thoughts are concerning his demands; which he could not take the freedom to do face to face, it being not so proper as by me: and did give me a most friendly and ingenuous account of all; telling me how unsafe, at this juncture, while every man’s, and his actions particularly, are descanted upon, it is either for him to put the Duke upon doing, or my Lord himself to desire anything extraordinary, ‘specially the King having been so bountifull already; which the world takes notice of even to some repinings. All which he did desire me to discourse with my Lord of; which I have undertook to do.
We talked also of our office in general, with which he told me that he was now-a-days nothing so satisfied as he was wont to be. I confess I told him things are ordered in that way that we must of necessity break in a little time a pieces.
After done with him about these things, he told me that for Mr. Hater the Duke’s word was in short that he found he had a good servant, an Anabaptist, and unless he did carry himself more to the scandal of the office, he would bear with his opinion till he heard further, which do please me very much.
Thence walked to Westminster, and there up and down in the Hall and the Parliament House all the morning; at noon by coach to my Lord Crew’s, hearing that Lord Sandwich did dine there; where I told him what had passed between Mr. Coventry and myself; with which he was contented, though I could perceive not very well pleased. And I do believe that my Lord do find some other things go against his mind in the House; for in the motion made the other day in the House by my Lord Bruce, that none be capable of employment but such as have been loyal and constant to the King and Church, the General and my Lord were mentioned to be excepted; and my Lord Bruce did come since to my Lord, to clear himself that he meant nothing to his prejudice, nor could it have any such effect if he did mean it. After discourse with my Lord; to dinner with him; there dining there my Lord Montagu of Boughton, Mr. William Montagu his brother, the Queen’s Sollicitor, &c., and a fine dinner.
Their talk about a ridiculous falling-out two days ago at my Lord of Oxford’s house, at an entertainment of his, there being there my Lord of Albemarle, Lynsey, two of the Porters, my Lord Bellasses, and others, where there were high words and some blows, and pulling off of perriwiggs; till my Lord Monk took away some of their swords, and sent for some soldiers to guard the house till the fray was ended. To such a degree of madness the nobility of this age is come!
After dinner I went up to Sir Thomas Crew, who lies there not very well in his head, being troubled with vapours and fits of dizziness: and there I sat talking with. him all the afternoon from one discourse to another, the most was upon the unhappy posture of things at this time; that the King do mind nothing but pleasures, and hates the very sight or thoughts of business; that my Lady Castlemaine rules him, who, he says, hath all the tricks of Aretin that are to be practised to give pleasure. In which he is too able, having a large —-. but what is the unhappiness in that, as the Italian proverb says, “lazzo dritto non vuolt consiglio.” If any of the sober counsellors give him good advice, and move him in anything that is to his good and honour, the other part, which are his counsellers of pleasure, take him when he is with my Lady Castlemaine, and in a humour of delight, and then persuade him that he ought not to hear nor listen to the advice of those old dotards or counsellors that were heretofore his enemies: when, God knows! it is they that now-a-days do most study his honour. It seems the present favourites now are my Lord Bristol, Duke of Buckingham, Sir H. Bennet, my Lord Ashley, and Sir Charles Barkeley; who, among them, have cast my Lord Chancellor upon his back, past ever getting up again; there being now little for him to do, and he waits at Court attending to speak to the King as others do: which I pray God may prove of good effects, for it is feared it will be the same with my Lord Treasurer shortly. But strange to hear how my Lord Ashley, by my Lord Bristol’s means (he being brought over to the Catholique party against the Bishopps, whom he hates to the death, and publicly rails against them; not that he is become a Catholique, but merely opposes the Bishopps; and yet, for aught I hear, the Bishopp of London keeps as great with the King as ever) is got into favour, so much that, being a man of great business and yet of pleasure, and drolling too, he, it is thought, will be made Lord Treasurer upon the death or removal of the good old man.
My Lord Albemarle, I hear, do bear through and bustle among them, and will not be removed from the King’s good opinion and favour, though none of the Cabinett; but yet he is envied enough.
It is made very doubtful whether the King do not intend the making of the Duke of Monmouth legitimate; but surely the Commons of England will never do it, nor the Duke of York suffer it, whose lady, I am told, is very troublesome to him by her jealousy. But it is wonderful that Sir Charles Barkeley should be so great still, not with the King, but Duke also; who did so stiffly swear that he had lain with her. And another one Armour that he rode before her on horseback in Holland I think, and she rid with her hand upon his ——.
No care is observed to be taken of the main chance, either for maintaining of trade or opposing of factions, which, God knows, are ready to break out, if any of them (which God forbid!) should dare to begin; the King and every man about him minding so much their pleasures or profits.
My Lord Hinchingbroke, I am told, hath had a mischance to kill his boy by his birding-piece going off as he was a-fowling. The gun was charged with small shot, and hit the boy in the face and about the temples, and he lived four days.
In Scotland, it seems, for all the newes-books tell us every week that they are all so quiett, and everything in the Church settled, the old women had like to have killed, the other day, the Bishop of Galloway, and not half the Churches of the whole kingdom conform.
Strange were the effects of the late thunder and lightning about a week since at Northampton, coming with great rain, which caused extraordinary floods in a few hours, bearing away bridges, drowning horses, men, and cattle. Two men passing over a bridge on horseback, the arches before and behind them were borne away, and that left which they were upon: but, however, one of the horses fell over, and was drowned. Stacks of faggots carried as high as a steeple, and other dreadful things; which Sir Thomas Crew showed me letters to him about from Mr. Freemantle and others, that it is very true.
The Portugalls have choused us, it seems, in the Island of Bombay, in the East Indys; for after a great charge of our fleets being sent thither with full commission from the King of Portugall to receive it, the Governour by some pretence or other will not deliver it to Sir Abraham Shipman, sent from the King, nor to my Lord of Marlborough; which the King takes highly ill, and I fear our Queen will fare the worse for it.
The Dutch decay there exceedingly, it being believed that their people will revolt from them there, and they forced to give over their trade. This is talked of among us, but how true I understand not.
Sir Thomas showed me his picture and Sir Anthony Vandike’s, in crayon in little, done exceedingly well.
Having thus freely talked with him, and of many more things, I took leave, and by coach to St. James’s, and there told Mr. Coventry what I had done with my Lord with great satisfaction, and so well pleased home, where I found it almost night, and my wife and the dancing-master alone above, not dancing but talking. Now so deadly full of jealousy I am that my heart and head did so cast about and fret that I could not do any business possibly, but went out to my office, and anon late home again and ready to chide at every thing, and then suddenly to bed and could hardly sleep, yet durst not say any thing, but was forced to say that I had bad news from the Duke concerning Tom Hater as an excuse to my wife, who by my folly has too much opportunity given her with the man, who is a pretty neat black man, but married. But it is a deadly folly and plague that I bring upon myself to be so jealous and by giving myself such an occasion more than my wife desired of giving her another month’s dancing. Which however shall be ended as soon as I can possibly. But I am ashamed to think what a course I did take by lying to see whether my wife did wear drawers to-day as she used to do, and other things to raise my suspicion of her, but I found no true cause of doing it.

a park keeper told me
what the earth is

cockle shells and weather
dust and dead beds

a face for
the bountiful world

which we must of necessity
break in pieces

with words and blows
and a degree of madness

but what is the unhappiness in that
if the light is good

surely the land will never suffer
it is so great still

and every bird so quiet
like a hole the rain drowned

this talk I understand in crayon
dancing but deadly full

I hide in sleep
a folly that I bring myself
to see as true


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 15 May 1663.

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