The Fight


1666/67. January 2nd. 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, every day bringing us news of new mutinies among the seamen; so that our condition is like to be very miserable. Mr George Montagu tells me of 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 ...1

, and named all the rest the Parliament named, and all country Lords, not one Courtier: this do not please them. He finds the enmity almost over for my Lord Sandwich. 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:2 and do outdo the Lords infinitely. Alone to the King’s house, and there saw The Custome of the Country,3 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 any thing in the earth that is acceptable; only Knipp sings a song admirably.

3rd. This day, I hear, hath been a conference between the two Houses about the Bill for examining Accounts, wherein the House of Lords their proceedings in petitioning the King for doing it by Commission, are in great heat voted by the Commons, after the conference, unparliamentary.

4th. Comes our company to dinner; my Lord Brouncker, Sir W. Pen, his lady, and Peg,4

and her servant, Mr Lowther.5 At night to sup, and then to cards, and last of all to have a flaggon of ale and apples, drunk out of a wood cup, as a Christmas draught, which made all merry; and they full of admiration at my plate. Mr Lowther a pretty gentleman, too good for Peg. Sir W. Pen was much troubled to hear the song I sung, ‘The New Droll’, it touching him home.

5th. With my wife to the Duke’s house, and there saw Mustapha,6

a most excellent play.

6th. Young Michell and I, it being an excellent frosty day, did walk out. He showed me the baker’s house in Pudding-lane, where the late great fire begun: and thence all along Thames-street, where I did view several places, and so up by London Wall by Blackfriars to Ludgate; and thence to Bridewell, which I find to have been heretofore an extraordinary good house, and a fine coming to it before the house by the bridge was built.

7th. Lord Brouncker tells me that my Lady Denham is at last dead. Some suspect her poisoned, but it will be best known when her body is opened to-day, she dying yesterday morning. The Duke of York is troubled for her; but hath declared he will never have another public mistress again; which I shall be glad of, and would the King would do the like. He tells me how the Parliament is grown so jealous of the King’s being unfayre to them in the business of the Bill for examining Accounts, Irish Bill, and the business of the Papists, that they will not pass the business for money till they see themselves secure that those Bills will pass; which they do observe the Court to keep off till all the Bills come together, that the King may accept what he pleases, and what he pleases to object to. He tells me how Mr Henry Howard of Norfolke hath given our Royal Society all his grandfather’s library: which noble gift they value at £1000; and gives them accommodation to meet in at his house (Arundell House), they being now disturbed at Gresham College. To the Duke’s house, and saw Macbeth, which though I saw it lately, yet appears a most excellent play in all respects, but especially in divertisement, though it be a deep tragedy; which is a strange perfection in a tragedy, it being most proper here, and suitable.

9th. In a hackney-coach to White Hall, the way being most horribly bad upon the breaking up of the frost, so as not to be passed almost. I do hear by my Lord Brouncker, that for certain Sir W. Coventry hath resigned his place of Commissioner up; which I believe he hath done upon good grounds of security

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