Lay pretty long in bed, and then I up and to Westminster Hall, and so to the Swan, sending for Mr. W. Bowyer, and there drank my morning draft, and had some of his simple discourse. Among other things he tells me how the difference comes between his fair cozen Butler and Collonell Dillon, upon his opening letters of her brother’s from Ireland, complaining of his knavery, and forging others to the contrary; and so they are long ago quite broke off.
Thence to a barber’s and so to my wife, and at noon took her to Mrs. Pierces by invitacion to dinner, where there came Dr. Clerke and his wife and sister and Mr. Knight, chief chyrurgeon to the King and his wife. We were pretty merry, the two men being excellent company, but I confess I am wedded from the opinion either of Mrs. Pierces beauty upon discovery of her naked neck to-day, being undrest when we came in, or of Mrs. Clerke’s genius, which I so much admired, I finding her to be so conceited and fantastique in her dress this day and carriage, though the truth is, witty enough.
After dinner with much ado the doctor and I got away to follow our business for a while, he to his patients and I to the Tangier Committee, where the Duke of York was, and we staid at it a good while, and thence in order to the despatch of the boats and provisions for Tangier away, Mr. Povy, in his coach, carried Mr. Gauden and I into London to Mr. Bland’s, the merchant, where we staid discoursing upon the reason of the delay of the going away of these things a great while. Then to eat a dish of anchovies, and drink wine and syder, and very merry, but above all things pleased to hear Mrs. Bland talk like a merchant in her husband’s business very well, and it seems she do understand it and perform a great deal. Thence merry back, Mr. Povy and, I to White Hall; he carrying me thither on purpose to carry me into the ball this night before the King. All the way he talking very ingenuously, and I find him a fine gentleman, and one that loves to live nobly and neatly, as I perceive by his discourse of his house, pictures, and horses.
He brought me first to the Duke’s chamber, where I saw him and the Duchess at supper; and thence into the room where the ball was to be, crammed with fine ladies, the greatest of the Court. By and by comes the King and Queen, the Duke and Duchess, and all the great ones: and after seating themselves, the King takes out the Duchess of York; and the Duke, the Duchess of Buckingham; the Duke of Monmouth, my Lady Castlemaine; and so other lords other ladies: and they danced the Bransle. After that, the King led a lady a single Coranto and then the rest of the lords, one after another, other ladies very noble it was, and great pleasure to see. Then to country dances; the King leading the first, which he called for; which was, says he, “Cuckolds all awry,” the old dance of England. Of the ladies that danced, the Duke of Monmouth’s mistress, and my Lady Castlemaine, and a daughter of Sir Harry de Vicke’s, were the best. The manner was, when the King dances, all the ladies in the room, and the Queen herself, stand up: and indeed he dances rarely, and much better that the Duke of York. Having staid here as long as I thought fit, to my infinite content, it being the greatest pleasure I could wish now to see at Court, I went out, leaving them dancing, and to Mrs. Pierces, where I found the company had staid very long for my coming, but all gone but my wife, and so I took her home by coach and so to my Lord’s again, where after some supper to bed, very weary and in a little pain from my riding a little uneasily to-night in the coach.
Thus ends this year with great mirth to me and my wife: Our condition being thus:— we are at present spending a night or two at my Lord’s lodgings at White Hall. Our home at the Navy-office, which is and hath a pretty while been in good condition, finished and made very convenient. My purse is worth about 650l., besides my goods of all sorts, which yet might have been more but for my late layings out upon my house and public assessment, and yet would not have been so much if I had not lived a very orderly life all this year by virtue of the oaths that God put into my heart to take against wine, plays, and other expenses, and to observe for these last twelve months, and which I am now going to renew, I under God owing my present content thereunto. My family is myself and wife, William, my clerk; Jane, my wife’s upper mayde, but, I think, growing proud and negligent upon it: we must part, which troubles me; Susan, our cook-mayde, a pretty willing wench, but no good cook; and Wayneman, my boy, who I am now turning away for his naughty tricks. We have had from the beginning our healths to this day very well, blessed be God! Our late mayde Sarah going from us (though put away by us) to live with Sir W. Pen do trouble me, though I love the wench, so that we do make ourselves a little strange to him and his family for it, and resolve to do so.
The same we are for other reasons to my Lady Batten and hers.
We have lately had it in our thoughts, and I can hardly bring myself off of it, since Mrs. Gosnell cannot be with us, to find out another to be in the quality of a woman to my wife that can sing or dance, and yet finding it hard to save anything at the year’s end as I now live, I think I shall not be such a fool till I am more warm in my purse, besides my oath of entering into no such expenses till I am worth 1000l..
By my last year’s diligence in my office, blessed be God! I am come to a good degree of knowledge therein; and am acknowledged so by all the world, even the Duke himself, to whom I have a good access and by that, and my being Commissioner with him for Tangier, he takes much notice of me; and I doubt not but, by the continuance of the same endeavours, I shall in a little time come to be a man much taken notice of in the world, specially being come to so great an esteem with Mr. Coventry.
The only weight that lies heavy upon my mind is the ending the business with my uncle Thomas about my dead uncle’s estate, which is very ill on our side, and I fear when all is done I must be forced to maintain my father myself, or spare a good deal towards it out of my own purse, which will be a very great pull back to me in my fortune. But I must be contented and bring it to an issue one way or other.
Publique matters stand thus: The King is bringing, as is said, his family, and Navy, and all other his charges, to a less expence. In the mean time, himself following his pleasures more than with good advice he would do; at least, to be seen to all the world to do so. His dalliance with my Lady Castlemaine being publique, every day, to his great reproach; and his favouring of none at Court so much as those that are the confidants of his pleasure, as Sir H. Bennet and Sir Charles Barkeley; which, good God! put it into his heart to mend, before he makes himself too much contemned by his people for it!
The Duke of Monmouth is in so great splendour at Court, and so dandled by the King, that some doubt, if the King should have no child by the Queen (which there is yet no appearance of), whether he would not be acknowledged for a lawful son; and that there will be a difference follow upon it between the Duke of York and him; which God prevent!
My Lord Chancellor is threatened by people to be questioned, the next sitting of the Parliament, by some spirits that do not love to see him so great: but certainly he is a good servant to the King.
The Queen-Mother is said to keep too great a Court now; and her being married to my Lord St. Albans is commonly talked of; and that they had a daughter between them in France, how true, God knows.
The Bishopps are high, and go on without any diffidence in pressing uniformity; and the Presbyters seem silent in it, and either conform or lay down, though without doubt they expect a turn, and would be glad these endeavours of the other Fanatiques would take effect; there having been a plot lately found, for which four have been publickly tried at the Old Bayley and hanged.
My Lord Sandwich is still in good esteem, and now keeping his Christmas in the country; and I in good esteem, I think, as any man can be, with him.
Mr. Moore is very sickly, and I doubt will hardly get over his late fit of sickness, that still hangs on him.
In fine, for the good condition of myself, wife, family, and estate, in the great degree that it is, and for the public state of the nation, so quiett as it is, the Lord God be praised!
the beauty of her naked neck
I admire it as we eat
she loves horses
and I am in pain from riding
I have lived
a very orderly life
a cook may find my heart
too old and hard
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 31 December 1662.
Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).