Up, I, and walked to White Hall to attend the Duke of York, as usual. My wife up, and with Mrs. Pen to walk in the fields to frost-bite themselves. I find the Court full of great apprehensions of the French, who have certainly shipped landsmen, great numbers, at Brest; and most of our people here guess his design for Ireland. We have orders to send all the ships we can possible to the Downes. God have mercy on us! for we can send forth no ships without men, nor will men go without money, every day bringing us news of new mutinies among the seamen; so that our condition is like to be very miserable. Thence to Westminster Hall, and there met all the Houblons, who do laugh at this discourse of the French, and say they are verily of opinion it is nothing but to send to their plantation in the West Indys, and that we at Court do blow up a design of invading us, only to make the Parliament make more haste in the money matters, and perhaps it may be so, but I do not believe we have any such plot in our heads. After them, I, with several people, among others Mr. George Montagu, whom I have not seen long, he mighty kind. He tells me all is like to go ill, the King displeasing the House of Commons by evading their Bill for examining Accounts, and putting it into a Commission, though therein he hath left out Coventry and I and named all the rest the Parliament named, and all country Lords, not one Courtier: this do not please them. He tells me he finds the enmity almost over for my Lord Sandwich, and that now all is upon the Vice-Chamberlain, who bears up well and stands upon his vindication, which he seems to like well, and the others do construe well also. Thence up to the Painted Chamber, and there heard a conference between the House of Lords and Commons about the Wine Patent; which I was exceeding glad to be at, because of my hearing exceeding good discourses, but especially from the Commons; among others, Mr. Swinfen, and a young man, one Sir Thomas Meres: and do outdo the Lords infinitely.
So down to the Hall and to the Rose Taverne, while Doll Lane come to me, and we did ‘biber a good deal de vino, et je did give elle twelve soldis para comprare elle some gans’ for a new anno’s gift. I did tocar et no mas su cosa, but in fit time and place jo creo que je pouvais faire whatever I would con ella.
Thence to the Hall again, and with Sir W. Pen by coach to the Temple, and there ‘light and eat a bit at an ordinary by, and then alone to the King’s House, and there saw “The Custome of the Country,” the second time of its being acted, wherein Knipp does the Widow well; but, of all the plays that ever I did see, the worst-having neither plot, language, nor anything in the earth that is acceptable; only Knipp sings a little song admirably. But fully the worst play that ever I saw or I believe shall see. So away home, much displeased for the loss of so much time, and disobliging my wife by being there without her. So, by link, walked home, it being mighty cold but dry, yet bad walking because very slippery with the frost and treading.
Home and to my chamber to set down my journal, and then to thinking upon establishing my vows against the next year, and so to supper and to bed.
the fields bite themselves
full of all possible mutinies
the sea is nothing
but a country wine
I would eat the worst earth
slippery with journal ink
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 2 January 1667.