Monday 29 December 1662

Up and walked to Whitehall, where the Duke and Mr. Coventry being gone forth I went to Westminster Hall , where I staid reading at Mrs. Mitchell’s shop, and sent for half a pint of sack for her. Here she told me what I heard not of before, the strange burning of Mr. De Laun, a merchant’s house in Loathbury, and his lady (Sir Thomas Allen’s daughter) and her whole family; not one thing, dog nor cat, escaping; nor any of the neighbours almost hearing of it till the house was quite down and burnt. How this should come to pass, God knows, but a most strange thing it is! Hither came Jack Spicer to me, and I took him to the Swan, where Mr. Herbert did give me my breakfast of cold chine of pork; and here Spicer and I talked of Exchequer matters, and how the Lord Treasurer hath now ordered all monies to be brought into the Exchequer, and hath settled the King’s revenue, and given to every general expence proper assignments; to the Navy 200,000l. and odd. He also told me of the great vast trade of the goldsmiths in supplying the King with money at dear rates. Thence to White Hall, and got up to the top gallerys in the Banquetting House, to see the audience of the Russia Embassadors; which [took place] after long waiting and fear of the falling of the gallery (it being so full, and part of it being parted from the rest, for nobody to come up merely from the weakness thereof): and very handsome it was. After they were come in, I went down and got through the croude almost as high as the King and the Embassadors, where I saw all the presents, being rich furs, hawks, carpets, cloths of tissue, and sea-horse teeth. The King took two or three hawks upon his fist, having a glove on, wrought with gold, given him for the purpose. The son of one of the Embassadors was in the richest suit for pearl and tissue, that ever I did see, or shall, I believe. After they and all the company had kissed the King’s hand, then the three Embassadors and the son, and no more, did kiss the Queen’s. One thing more I did observe, that the chief Embassador did carry up his master’s letters in state before him on high; and as soon as he had delivered them, he did fall down to the ground and lay there a great while. After all was done, the company broke up; and I spent a little while walking up and down the gallery seeing the ladies, the two Queens, and the Duke of Monmouth with his little mistress, which is very little, and like my brother-in-law’s wife. So with Mr. Creed to the Harp and Ball, and there meeting with Mr. How, Goodgroom, and young Coleman, did drink and talk with them, and I have almost found out a young gentlewoman for my turn, to wait on my wife, of good family and that can sing. Thence I went away, and getting a coach went home and sat late talking with my wife about our entertaining Dr. Clerke’s lady and Mrs. Pierce shortly, being in great pain that my wife hath never a winter gown, being almost ashamed of it, that she should be seen in a taffeta one; when all the world wears moyre;1 so to prayers and to bed, but we could not come to any resolution what to do therein, other than to appear as she is.

  1. By moyre is meant mohair.-B.

21 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

"sea-horse teeth" = walrus tusks
(Companion, Large Glossary)

Terry F   Link to this

John Evelyn's Diary

"To Lond: Saw the Audience of the Moscovy Ambassador, which was with extraordinary state: for his retinue being numerous, all clad in vests of several Colours, & with buskins after the Eastern manner: Their Caps of furr, & Tunicks richly embrodr<e>d with gold & pearle, made a glorious shew: The King being sate under the Canopie in the banqueting house, before the Ambassador went in a grave march the Secretary of the Embassy, holding up his Masters letter of Credence in a crimson-taffaty scarfe before his forehead: The Ambassador then deliverd it, with a profound reverence to the King, the King to our Secretary of State; it was written in a long & lofty style: Then came in the present borne by 165 of his retinue, consisting <of> Mantles & other large pieces lined with Sable, Black fox, Ermine, Persian Carpets, the ground cloth of Gold and Velvet, Sea-morce teeth aboundance, Haukes, such as they sayd never came the like: Horses, said to be Persian, Bowes & Arrows &c: which borne by so long a traine rendred it very extraordinary: Wind musick playing all the while in the Galleries above: This finish’d & the Ambassador conveyed by the Master of Ceremonies to York house, he was treated with a banquet, that cost 200 pounds, as I was assured, &c:.." ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/pub/humanities/John_Evelyn/#Evelyn

Leslie Katz   Link to this

Isn't "moyre" more likely to be moire (with an acute accent over the e) or watered silk?

Australian Susan   Link to this

I would agree that moyre sounds more like moiree silk, but we are talking winter gowns here, so more likely to be very fine wool. Poor Elizabeth - doesn't look as though she will get her gown whether of silk or wool. Wonder who got asked to the banquet for the Ambassador? Sounds to have been very fine.
Thanks to TerryF for quoting Evelyn's version of the event, but doesn't this point up (as with the two accounts of the Coronation) how much better Sam describes these things somehow? The reader gets so much more a sense of being there from Sam, with his details of the collapsing gallery for example.

Terry F   Link to this

Leslie Katz, you are also correct: here is a confirmation.

"The history of the word moire is complicated. The earliest agreed origin is the Arabic-Persian mukhayyar, a cloth made from the wool of the Angora goat, from khayyana, 'he chose' (hence 'a choice, or excellent, cloth'). It has also been suggested that the Arabic word was formed from the Latin marmoreus, meaning 'like marble'. By 1570 the word had found its way into English as mohair. This was then adopted into French as mouaire, and by 1660 (in the writings of Samuel Pepys) it had been adopted back into English as moire or moyre. Meanwhile the French mouaire had mutated into a verb, moirer, meaning 'to produce a watered textile by weaving or pressing', which by 1823 had spawned the adjective moiré. Moire and moiré are now used interchangeably in English." http://www.answers.com/topic/moir-pattern

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"how the Lord Treasurer hath now ordered all monies to be brought into the Exchequer, and hath settled the King’s revenue, and given to every general expence proper assignments; to the Navy 200,000l. and odd"

So ... does this mean that the Navy gets 200,000 pounds as its annual budget, and that this money comes directly from the king, rather than from Parliament? Can someone in the know explain more about these budgetary arrangements?

Terry F   Link to this

"Can someone in the know explain more about these budgetary arrangements?"

That be L&M, who suggest that this attempt to get a handle on the royal budget, which "restored the Exchequer 'to its antient honor and reputacion'" was ultimately as effective as rearranging the chairs on the deck of the financial ship of state, and would be followed by other, ineffective attempts in 1667 and 1674.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...but we could not come to any resolution what to do therein, other than to appear as she is."

Despite time constraints before their dinner, why do I think Samuel has his tongue firmly in his cheek as he writes this?

"Sam'l I will be so ashamed to entertain Mrs. Clerke and Mrs. Pierce in my old taffeta in wintertime."

Solemn nod from Sam, he pacing thoughtfully...

"We'll...As a family...Look so ridiculous." sidelong glance from Bess as she sighes. Sam nodding wisely.

"Gadzooks, tis lamentable. If only something could be my dear." he shakes his head. Ah, me...

dirk   Link to this

"the chief Embassador did carry up his master’s letters in state before him on high; and as soon as he had delivered them, he did fall down to the ground and lay there a great while"

I think what we're witnessing here is the difference between Russian and British protocol. Prostrating oneself before the monarch has a definitely oriental ring to it. The Ottoman Sultan required it, and so did the Tsar. To the more "humanistically" minded British (I'm avoiding the modern term "democratically" here... ) this must have been a strange -- if not revolting -- experience.

dirk   Link to this

John Evelyn today -- note

http://nils.lib.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Per...
adds the following note to today's diary entry by John Evelyn:

"The Czar of Muscovy sent an Ambassador to compliment King Charles II. on his Restoration. The King sent the Earl of Carlisle as his Ambassador to Moscow, to desire the re-establishment of the ancient privileges of the English merchants at Archangel, which had been taken away by the Czar, who, abhorring the murder of the King's father, accused them as favourers of it. But, by the means of the Czar's ministers, his Lordship was very ill received, and met with what he deemed affronts, and had no success as to his demands, so that at coming away he refused the presents sent him by the Czar. The Czar sent an Ambassador to England to complain of Lord Carlisle's conduct; but his Lordship vindicated himself so well, that the King told the Ambassador he saw no reason to condemn his Lordship's conduct.” Relation of the Embassy by G. M., authenticated by Lord Carlisle, printed 1669."

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Pepys vs. Evelyn
Rsponding to Australian Susan: Sam is certainly the better, more engaging writer of the two (which is why we had all heard of him before starting to read the diary, but not of Evelyn, or at least I hadn't).

Still, I really enjoy it when some annotator provides us a look at Evelyn's take on the same event that Sam has written about, for a couple of reasons.

First, different people notice different things. Sam didn't tell us about the horses, or the wind music, or the "crimson-taffaty scarfe" at the Russian Ambassador's audience. (Although it is strange that Evelyn didn't mention the Ambassador's prostrating himself, which as Dirk says must have been an extraordinary spectacle to Londoners.)

Second, Evelyn was more highly placed in his society than Sam was at this stage in his life, he had personal dealings with important people that Sam saw only from afar, or not at all (his frequent reports on the demonstrations and discussions at the Royal Society are a good example, but not the only one). So his diary sometimes gives us an insider's view that Sam can't provide.

Bergie   Link to this

"The Ambassador then deliverd it, with a profound reverence to the King." Wouldn't this "profound reverence" be Evelyn's mention of the ambassador's prostration? It seems that Evelyn understood the meaning of the gesture better than Pepys did.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Paul Chapin is quite right, of course - Evelyn moves in higher circles, but then, he is much older. When Sam is his age, he is moving in a more elevated clime, but there is no Diary then!

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Remember J. Evelyn spent some time at the exiled court , was an out and out Royalist and has travelled the Route of the Grand tour, so to each of the recorders of the event, it be a differing experience the "doffing and kowtowin'".
As stated by Tacitus,
"Omne ignotum pro magnifico est"
that we have not seen before, is {******) marvelous
De Vita et Moribus IuliI Agricolae, 30

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

?"... I have almost found out a young gentlewoman for my turn, to wait on my wife, of good family and that can sing ..."

jeannine   Link to this

"different people notice different things"...Paul, this is an excellent point and true not only of the diarist but other contemporary writers (Clarendon, Burnet, etc.) who wrote about their times. The diverse views, experiences and opinions give a much fuller picture and additional depth, so I too am appreciative of others sharing these differing views. Although Sam is a masterful and "fun" writer to read, he still has his own biases and only sees through his eyes.
On a sidenote--I still find that in reading biographies of people of this time that it also adds to my understanding of the individual to read multiple books on the same person/events as the views may differ quite widely depending on the writer's research, perspective and biases. Tomilin's view of Sam is quite different than Ollard's, Fraser's view of Charles II is quite different than Hutton's, etc.

jeannine   Link to this

"but we could not come to any resolution what to do therein, other than to appear as she is." As Sam rises up the ladder and starts to enterain people of a higher status, dressing correctly to fit in will be a real issue not only for him, but also for his wife. Court life could be brutally gossipy, arrogant and condescending, so "dressing the part" (just right--not too shabby and not to flashy) will become a real need. From the entry today I didn't see Sam writing with any humor on the subject but perhaps an awareness that their status is changing and he may need to make adjustments along with it.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

pecking order :"Court life could be brutally gossipy, arrogant and condescending," Just like the modern living, around the modern scuttle butte.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

"the Lord Treasurer hath now ordered all monies to be brought into the Exchequer, and hath settled the King’s revenue, and given to every general expence proper assignments; to the Navy 200,000l. and odd. He also told me of the great vast trade of the goldsmiths in supplying the King with money at dear rates."

Jack Spicer no fool. What good does it do to put the King's revenue in order, all neatly parcelled out, when the King goes off and borrows "at dear rates." The audience for the Russian ambassadors may exemplify the royal extravagance, costing for one banquet ( 200 pounds) lasting perhaps 3-4 hours what it costs to run the entire Navy for 8 hours.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"the great vast trade of the goldsmiths in supplying the King with money at dear rates."

They usually charged 6% (the legal maximum), to which was added a gratuity of 4%, (L&M note)

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"I have almost found out a young gentlewoman for my turn, to wait on my wife, of good family and that can sing."

Mary Ashwell. (L&M note) http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/5783/

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