Up and to my office, and there we sat all the morning, and at noon my wife being gone to Chelsey with her brother and sister and Mrs. Lodum, to see the wassell at the school, where Mary Ashwell is, I took home Mr. Pett and he dined with me all alone, and much discourse we had upon the business of the office, and so after dinner broke up and with much ado, it raining hard, which it has not done a great while now, but only frost a great while, I got a coach and so to the Temple, where discoursed with Mr. W. Montagu about borrowing some money for my Lord, and so by water (where I have not been a good while through cold) to Westminster to Sir W. Wheeler’s, whom I found busy at his own house with the Commissioners of Sewers, but I spoke to him about my Lord’s business of borrowing money, and so to my Lord of Sandwich, to give him an account of all, whom I found at cards with Pickering; but he made an end soon: and so all alone, he and I, after I had given him an account, he told me he had a great secret to tell me, such as no flesh knew but himself, nor ought; which was this: that yesterday morning Eschar, Mr. Edward Montagu’s man, did come to him from his master with some of the Clerks of the Exchequer, for my Lord to sign to their books for the Embassy money; which my Lord very civilly desired not to do till he had spoke with his master himself. In the afternoon, my Lord and my Lady Wright being at cards in his chamber, in comes Mr. Montagu; and desiring to speak with my Lord at the window in his chamber, he begun to charge my Lord with the greatest ingratitude in the world: that he that had received his earldom, garter, 4000l. per annum, and whatever he is in the world, from him, should now study him all the dishonour that he could; and so fell to tell my Lord, that if he should speak all that he knew of him, he could do so and so. In a word, he did rip up all that could be said that was unworthy, and in the basest terms they could be spoken in. To which my Lord answered with great temper, justifying himself, but endeavouring to lessen his heat, which was a strange temper in him, knowing that he did owe all he hath in the world to my Lord, and that he is now all that he is by his means and favour. But my Lord did forbear to increase the quarrel, knowing that it would be to no good purpose for the world to see a difference in the family; but did allay him so as that he fell to weeping. And after much talk (among other things Mr. Montagu telling him that there was a fellow in the town, naming me, that had done ill offices, and that if he knew it to be so, he would have him cudgelled) my Lord did promise him that, if upon account he saw that there was not many tradesmen unpaid, he would sign the books; but if there was, he could not bear with taking too great a debt upon him. So this day he sent him an account, and a letter assuring him there was not above 200l. unpaid; and so my Lord did sign to the Exchequer books. Upon the whole, I understand fully what a rogue he is, and how my Lord do think and will think of him for the future; telling me that thus he has served his father my Lord Manchester, and his whole family, and now himself: and which is worst, that he hath abused, and in speeches every day do abuse, my Lord Chancellor, whose favour he hath lost; and hath no friend but Sir H. Bennet, and that (I knowing the rise of the friendship) only from the likeness of their pleasures, and acquaintance, and concernments, they have in the same matters of lust and baseness; for which, God forgive them! But he do flatter himself, from promises of Sir H. Bennet, that he shall have a pension of 2000l. per annum, and be made an Earl. My Lord told me he expected a challenge from him, but told me there was no great fear of him, for there was no man lies under such an imputation as he do in the business of Mr. Cholmely, who, though a simple sorry fellow, do brave him and struts before him with the Queen, to the sport and observation of the whole Court.
He did keep my Lord at the window, thus reviling and braving him above an hour, my Lady Wright being by; but my Lord tells me she could not hear every word, but did well know what their discourse was; she could hear enough to know that. So that he commands me to keep it as the greatest secret in the world, and bids me beware of speaking words against Mr. Montagu, for fear I should suffer by his passion thereby.
After he had told me this I took coach and home, where I found my wife come home and in bed with her sister in law in the chamber with her, she not being able to stay to see the wassel, being so ill of her termes, which I was sorry for. Hither we sent for her sister’s viall, upon which she plays pretty well for a girl, but my expectation is much deceived in her, not only for that, but in her spirit, she being I perceive a very subtle witty jade, and one that will give her husband trouble enough as little as she is, whereas I took her heretofore for a very child and a simple fool. I played also, which I have not done this long time before upon any instrument, and at last broke up and I to my office a little while, being fearful of being too much taken with musique, for fear of returning to my old dotage thereon, and so neglect my business as I used to do.
Then home and to bed.
Coming home I brought Mr. Pickering as far as the Temple, who tells me the story is very true of a child being dropped at the ball at Court; and that the King had it in his closett a week after, and did dissect it; and making great sport of it, said that in his opinion it must have been a month and three hours old; and that, whatever others think, he hath the greatest loss (it being a boy, as he says), that hath lost a subject by the business.
He tells me, too, that the other story, of my Lady Castlemaine’s and Stuart’s marriage, is certain, and that it was in order to the King’s coming to Stuart, as is believed generally. He tells me that Sir H. Bennet is a Catholique, and how all the Court almost is changed to the worse since his coming in, they being afeard of him. And that the Queen-Mother’s Court is now the greatest of all; and that our own Queen hath little or no company come to her, which I know also to be very true, and am sorry to see it.
only the flesh
from a world with no future
only such a simple window
could keep secret the very story
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 17 February 1662/63.