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3rd. Up betimes this morning, and after the barber had done with me, then to the office, where I and Sir William Pen only did meet and despatch business. At noon my wife and I by coach to Dr. Clerke's to dinner: I was very much taken with his lady, a comely, proper woman, though not handsome; but a woman of the best language I ever heard. Here dined Mrs. Pierce and her husband. After dinner I took leave to go to Westminster, where I was at the Privy Seal Office all day, signing things and taking money, so that I could not do as I had intended, that is to return to them and go to the Red Bull Playhouse,This well-known theatre was situated in St. John's Street on the site of Red Bull Yard. Pepys went there on March 23rd, 1661, when he expressed a very poor opinion of the place. T. Carew, in some commendatory lines on Sir William. Davenant's play, "The just Italian," 1630, abuses both audiences and actors:--
"There are the men in crowded heaps that throng
To that adulterate stage, where not a tongue
Of th' untun'd kennel can a line repeat
Of serious sense."
There is a token of this house (see "Boyne's Trade Tokens," ed. Williamson, vol. i., 1889, p. 725).
but I took coach and went to see whether it was done so or no, and I found it done. So I returned to Dr. Clerke's, where I found them and my wife, and by and by took leave and went away home.
3rd. Got up early the next morning and got to Barkway, where I staid and drank, and there met with a letter-carrier of Cambridge, with whom I rode all the way to Cambridge, my horse being tired, and myself very wet with rain. I went to the Castle Hill, where the judges were at the Assizes; and I staid till Roger Pepys rose and went with him, and dined with his brother, the Doctor, and Claxton at Trinity Hall. Then parted, and I went to the Rose, and there with Mr. Pechell, Sanchy, and others, sat and drank till night and were very merry, only they tell me how high the old doctors are in the University over those they found there, though a great deal better scholars than themselves; for which I am very sorry, and, above all, Dr. Gunning. At night I took horse, and rode with Roger Pepys and his two brothers to Impington, and there with great respect was led up by them to the best chamber in the house, and there slept.
3rd (Lord's day). Up early, and with Captain Cocke to the dock-yard, a fine walk, and fine weather. Where we walked till Commissioner Pett come to us, and took us to his house, and showed us his garden and fine things, and did give us a fine breakfast of bread and butter, and sweetmeats and other things with great choice, and strong drinks, with which I could not avoyde making my head ake, though I drank but little. Thither came Captain Allen of the Foresight, and the officers of the yard to see me. Thence by and by to church, by coach, with the Commissioner, and had a dull sermon. A full church, and some pretty women in it; among others, Beck Allen, who was a bride-maid to a new married couple that came to church to-day, and, which was pretty strange, sat in a pew hung with mourning for a mother of the bride's, which methinks should have been taken down. After dinner going out of the church saluted Mrs. Pett, who came after us in the coach to church, and other officers' wives. The Commissioner staid at dinner with me, and we had a good dinner, better than I would have had, but I saw there was no helping of it. After dinner the Commissioner and I left the company and walked in the garden at the Hill-house, which is very pleasant, and there talked of our businesses and matters of the navy. So to church again, where quite weary, and so after sermon walked with him to the yard up and down and the fields, and saw the place designed for the wet dock. And so to his house, and had a syllabub, and saw his closet, which come short of what I expected, but there was fine modells of ships in it indeed, whose worth I could not judge of. At night walked home to the Hill-house, Mr. Barrow with me, talking of the faults of the yard, walking in the fields an hour or two, and so home to supper, and so Captain Cocke and I to bed. This day among other stories he told me how despicable a thing it is to be a hangman in Poland, although it be a place of credit. And that, in his time, there was some repairs to be made of the gallows there, which was very fine of stone; but nobody could be got to mend it till the Burgomaster, or Mayor of the town, with all the companies of those trades which were necessary to be used about those repairs, did go in their habits with flags, in solemn procession to the place, and there the Burgomaster did give the first blow with the hammer upon the wooden work; and the rest of the Masters of the Companys upon the works belonging to their trades; that so workmen might not be ashamed to be employed upon doing of the gallows' works.
3rd. Up both of us very betimes and to the Yard, and see the men called over and choose some to be discharged. Then to the Ropehouses and viewed them all and made an experiment which was the stronger, English or Riga hemp, the latter proved the stronger, but the other is very good, and much better we believe than any but Riga. We did many other things this morning, and I caused the Timber measurer to measure some timber, where I found much fault and with reason, which we took public notice of, and did give them admonition for the time to come. At noon Mr. Pett did give us a very great dinner, too big in all conscience, so that most of it was left untouched. Here was Collonell Newman and several other gentlemen of the country and officers of the yard. After dinner they withdrew and Commissioner Pett, Mr. Coventry and I sat close to our business all the noon in his parler, and there run through much business and answered several people. And then in the evening walked in the garden, where we conjured him to look after the yard, and for the time to come that he would take the whole faults and ill management of the yard upon himself, he having full power and our concurrence to suspend or do anything else that he thinks fit to keep people and officers to their duty. He having made good promises, though I fear his performance, we parted (though I spoke so freely that he could have been angry) good friends, and in some hopes that matters will be better for the time to come. So walked to the Hillhouse (which we did view and the yard about it, and do think to put it off as soon as we can conveniently) and there made ourselves ready and mounted and rode to Gravesend (my riding Coate not being to be found I fear it is stole) on our way being overtaken by Captain Browne that serves the office of the Ordnance at Chatham. All the way, though he was a rogue and served the late times all along, yet he kept us in discourse of the many services that he did for many of the King's party, lords and Dukes, and among others he recovered a dog that was stolne from Mr. Cary (head-keeper of the buck-hounds to the King) and preserved several horses of the Duke of Richmond's, and his best horse he was forst to put out his eyes and keep him for a stallion to preserve him from being carried away. But he gone at last upon my enquiry to tell us how (he having been here too for survey of the Ropeyard) the day's work of the Rope-makers become settled, which pleased me very well. Being come to our Inn Mr. Coventry and I sat, and talked till 9 or 10 a-clock and then to bed.
3rd. Up betimes and set some joyners on work to new lay my floor in our wardrobe, which I intend to make a room for musique. Thence abroad to Westminster, among other things to Mr. Blagrave's, and there had his consent for his kinswoman to come to be with my wife for her woman, at which I am well pleased and hope she may do well. Thence to White Hall to meet with Sir G. Carteret about hiring some ground to make our mast docke at Deptford, but being Council morning failed, but met with Mr. Coventry, and he and I discoursed of the likeliness of a Dutch warr, which I think is very likely now, for the Dutch do prepare a fleet to oppose us at Guinny, and he do think we shall, though neither of us have a mind to it, fall into it of a sudden, and yet the plague do increase among them, and is got into their fleet, and Opdam's own ship, which makes it strange they should be so high. Thence to the 'Change, and thence home to dinner, and down by water to Woolwich to the rope yard, and there visited Mrs. Falconer, who tells me odd stories of how Sir W. Pen was rewarded by her husband with a gold watch (but seems not certain of what Sir W. Batten told me, of his daughter having a life given her in £80 per ann.) for his helping him to his place, and yet cost him £150 to Mr. Coventry besides. He did much advise it seems Mr. Falconer not to marry again, expressing that he would have him make his daughter his heire, or words to that purpose, and that that makes him, she thinks, so cold in giving her any satisfaction, and that W. Boddam hath publickly said, since he came down thither to be clerke of the ropeyard, that it hath this week cost him £100, and would be glad that it would cost him but half as much more for the place, and that he was better before than now, and that if he had been to have bought it, he would not have given so much for it. Now I am sure that Mr. Coventry hath again and again said that he would take nothing, but would give all his part in it freely to him, that so the widow might have something. What the meaning of this is I know not, but that Sir W. Pen do get something by it. Thence to the Dockeyard, and there saw the new ship in great forwardness. So home and to supper, and then to the office, where late, Mr. Bland and I talking about Tangier business, and so home to bed.
3rd. Up, and betimes to Deptford to Sir G. Carteret's, where, not liking the horse that had been hired by Mr. Uthwayt for me, I did desire Sir G. Carteret to let me ride his new £40 horse, which he did, and so I left my 'hacquenee'--Haquenee = an ambling nag fitted for ladies' riding.
--behind, and so after staying a good while in their bedchamber while they were dressing themselves, discoursing merrily, I parted and to the ferry, where I was forced to stay a great while before I could get my horse brought over, and then mounted and rode very finely to Dagenhams; all the way people, citizens, walking to and again to enquire how the plague is in the City this week by the Bill; which by chance, at Greenwich, I had heard was 2,020 of the plague, and 3,000 and odd of all diseases; but methought it was a sad question to be so often asked me. Coming to Dagenhams, I there met our company coming out of the house, having staid as long as they could for me; so I let them go a little before, and went and took leave of my Lady Sandwich, good woman, who seems very sensible of my service in this late business, and having her directions in some things, among others, to get Sir G. Carteret and my Lord to settle the portion, and what Sir G. Carteret is to settle, into land, soon as may be, she not liking that it should lie long undone, for fear of death on either side. So took leave of her, and then down to the buttery, and eat a piece of cold venison pie, and drank and took some bread and cheese in my hand; and so mounted after them, Mr. Marr very kindly staying to lead me the way. By and by met my Lord Crew returning, after having accompanied them a little way, and so after them, Mr. Marr telling me by the way how a mayde servant of Mr. John Wright's (who lives thereabouts) falling sick of the plague, she was removed to an out-house, and a nurse appointed to look to her; who, being once absent, the mayde got out of the house at the window, and run away. The nurse coming and knocking, and having no answer, believed she was dead, and went and told Mr. Wright so; who and his lady were in great strait what to do to get her buried. At last resolved to go to Burntwood hard by, being in the parish, and there get people to do it. But they would not; so he went home full of trouble, and in the way met the wench walking over the common, which frighted him worse than before; and was forced to send people to take her, which he did; and they got one of the pest coaches and put her into it to carry her to a pest house. And passing in a narrow lane, Sir Anthony Browne, with his brother and some friends in the coach, met this coach with the curtains drawn close. The brother being a young man, and believing there might be some lady in it that would not be seen, and the way being narrow, he thrust his head out of his own into her coach, and to look, and there saw somebody look very ill, and in a sick dress, and stunk mightily; which the coachman also cried out upon. And presently they come up to some people that stood looking after it, and told our gallants that it was a mayde of Mr. Wright's carried away sick of the plague; which put the young gentleman into a fright had almost cost him his life, but is now well again. I, overtaking our young people, 'light, and into the coach to them, where mighty merry all the way; and anon come to the Blockehouse, over against Gravesend, where we staid a great while, in a little drinking-house. Sent back our coaches to Dagenhams. I, by and by, by boat to Gravesend, where no newes of Sir G. Carteret come yet; so back again, and fetched them all over, but the two saddle-horses that were to go with us, which could not be brought over in the horseboat, the wind and tide being against us, without towing; so we had some difference with some watermen, who would not tow them over under 20s., whereupon I swore to send one of them to sea and will do it. Anon some others come to me and did it for 10s. By and by comes Sir G. Carteret, and so we set out for Chatham: in my way overtaking some company, wherein was a lady, very pretty, riding singly, her husband in company with her. We fell into talke, and I read a copy of verses which her husband showed me, and he discommended, but the lady commended: and I read them, so as to make the husband turn to commend them. By and by he and I fell into acquaintance, having known me formerly at the Exchequer. His name is Nokes, over against Bow Church. He was servant to Alderman Dashwood. We promised to meet, if ever we come both to London again; and, at parting, I had a fair salute on horseback, in Rochester streets, of the lady, and so parted. Come to Chatham mighty merry, and anon to supper, it being near 9 o'clock ere we come thither. My Lady Carteret come thither in a coach, by herself, before us. Great mind they have to buy a little 'hacquenee' that I rode on from Greenwich, for a woman's horse. Mighty merry, and after supper, all being withdrawn, Sir G. Carteret did take an opportunity to speak with much value and kindness to me, which is of great joy to me. So anon to bed. Mr. Brisband and I together to my content.
3rd. Up and to the office, where Sir W. Batten and I sat to contract for some fire-ships. I there close all the morning. At noon home to dinner, and then abroad to Sir Philip Warwicke's at White Hall about Tangier one quarter tallys, and there had some serious discourse touching money, and the case of the Navy, wherein all I could get of him was that we had the full understanding of the treasure as much as my Lord Treasurer himself, and knew what he can do, and that whatever our case is, more money cannot be got till the Parliament. So talked of getting an account ready as soon as we could to give the Parliament, and so very melancholy parted. So I back again, calling my wife at her sister's, from whose husband we do now hear that he was safe this week, and going in a ship to the fleete from the buoy of the Nore, where he has been all this while, the fleete being gone before he got down. So home, and busy till night, and then to Sir W. Pen, with my wife, to sit and chat, and a small supper, and home to bed. The death of Everson, and the report of our success, beyond expectation, in the killing of so great a number of men, hath raised the estimation of the late victory considerably; but it is only among fools: for all that was but accidental. But this morning, getting Sir .W. Pen to read over the Narrative with me, he did sparingly, yet plainly, say that we might have intercepted their Zealand squadron coming home, if we had done our parts; and more, that we might have spooned before the wind as well as they, and have overtaken their ships in the pursuite, in all the while.To spoom, or spoon, is to go right before the wind, without any sail. Sea Dictionary. Dryden uses the word
"When virtue spooms before a prosperous gale,
My heaving wishes help to fill the sail."
Hind and Panther, iii. 96.
3rd. Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning. Then at noon to dinner, and to the office again, there to enable myself, by finishing our great account, to give it to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury; which I did, and there was called in to them, to tell them only the total of our debt of the Navy on the 25th of May last, which is above £950,000. Here I find them mighty hot in their answer to the Council-board about our Treasurer's threepences of the Victualling, and also against the present farm of the Customes, which they do most highly inveigh against. So home again by coach, and there hard to work till very late and my eyes began to fail me, which now upon very little overworking them they do, which grieves me much. Late home, to supper, and to bed.
3rd. Up, and by water to White Hall and St. James's, where I did much business, and about noon meeting Dr. Gibbons, carried him to the Sun taverne, in King Street, and there made him, and some friends of his, drink; among others, Captain Silas Taylor, and here did get Gibbons to promise me some things for my flageolets. So to the Old Exchange, and then home to dinner, and so, Mercer dining with us, I took my wife and her and Deb. out to Unthanke's, while I to White Hall to the Commissioners of the Treasury, and so back to them and took them out to Islington, where we met with W. Joyce and his wife and boy, and there eat and drank, and a great deal of his idle talk, and so we round by Hackney home, and so to sing a little in the garden, and then to bed.