(St. Valentine’s day). This morning called up by Mr. Hill, who, my wife thought, had been come to be her Valentine; she, it seems, having drawne him last night, but it proved not. However, calling him up to our bed-side, my wife challenged him. I up, and made myself ready, and so with him by coach to my Lord Sandwich’s by appointment to deliver Mr. Howe’s accounts to my Lord. Which done, my Lord did give me hearty and large studied thanks for all my kindnesse to him and care of him and his business. I after profession of all duty to his Lordship took occasion to bemoane myself that I should fall into such a difficulty about Sir G. Carteret, as not to be for him, but I must be against Sir W. Coventry, and therefore desired to be neutrall, which my Lord approved and confessed reasonable, but desired me to befriend him privately. Having done in private with my Lord I brought Mr. Hill to kisse his hands, to whom my Lord professed great respect upon my score. My Lord being gone, I took Mr. Hill to my Lord Chancellor’s new house that is building, and went with trouble up to the top of it, and there is there the noblest prospect that ever I saw in my life, Greenwich being nothing to it; and in every thing is a beautiful house, and most strongly built in every respect; and as if, as it hath, it had the Chancellor for its master. Thence with him to his paynter, Mr. Hales, who is drawing his picture, which will be mighty like him, and pleased me so, that I am resolved presently to have my wife’s and mine done by him, he having a very masterly hand. So with mighty satisfaction to the ‘Change and thence home, and after dinner abroad, taking Mrs. Mary Batelier with us, who was just come to see my wife, and they set me down at my Lord Treasurer’s, and themselves went with the coach into the fields to take the ayre. I staid a meeting of the Duke of Yorke’s, and the officers of the Navy and Ordnance. My Lord Treasurer lying in bed of the gowte. Our business was discourse of the straits of the Navy for want of money, but after long discourse as much out of order as ordinary people’s, we come to no issue, nor any money promised, or like to be had, and yet the worke must be done. Here I perceive Sir G. Carteret had prepared himself to answer a choque of Sir W. Coventry, by offering of himself to shew all he had paid, and what is unpaid, and what moneys and assignments he hath in his hands, which, if he makes good, was the best thing he ever did say in his life, and the best timed, for else it must have fallen very foule on him.
The meeting done I away, my wife and they being come back and staying for me at the gate. But, Lord! to see how afeard I was that Sir W. Coventry should have spyed me once whispering with Sir G. Carteret, though not intended by me, but only Sir G. Carteret come to me and I could not avoyde it. So home, they set me down at the ‘Change, and I to the Crowne, where my Lord Bruncker was come and several of the Virtuosi, and after a small supper and but little good discourse I with Sir W. Batten (who was brought thither with my Lord Bruncker) home, where I find my wife gone to Mrs. Mercer’s to be merry, but presently come in with Mrs. Knipp, who, it seems, is in towne, and was gone thither with my wife and Mercer to dance, and after eating a little supper went thither again to spend the whole night there, being W. Howe there, at whose chamber they are, and Lawd Crisp by chance. I to bed.
who having proved to be challenged
by difficult art
must be against it
or profess that nothing
ever is beautiful
taking themselves for ordinary people
like unpaid money
whispering to me
not to dance
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 14 February 1666.