Monday 18 May 1663

Up and after taking leave of Sir W. Batten, who is gone this day towards Portsmouth (to little purpose, God knows) upon his survey, I home and spent the morning at dancing; at noon Creed dined with us and Mr. Deane Woolwich, and so after dinner came Mr. Howe, who however had enough for his dinner, and so, having done, by coach to Westminster, she to Mrs. Clerke and I to St. James’s, where the Duke being gone down by water to-day with the King I went thence to my Lord Sandwich’s lodgings, where Mr. Howe and I walked a while, and going towards Whitehall through the garden Dr. Clerk and Creed called me across the bowling green, and so I went thither and after a stay went up to Mrs. Clerke who was dressing herself to go abroad with my wife. But, Lord! in what a poor condition her best chamber is, and things about her, for all the outside and show that she makes, but I found her just such a one as Mrs. Pierce, contrary to my expectation, so much that I am sick and sorry to see it. Thence for an hour Creed and I walked to White Hall, and into the Park, seeing the Queen and Maids of Honour passing through the house going to the Park. But above all, Mrs. Stuart is a fine woman, and they say now a common mistress to the King,1 as my Lady Castlemaine is; which is a great pity. Thence taking a coach to Mrs. Clerke’s, took her, and my wife, and Ashwell, and a Frenchman, a kinsman of hers, to the Park, where we saw many fine faces, and one exceeding handsome, in a white dress over her head, with many others very beautiful. Staying there till past eight at night, I carried Mrs. Clerke and her Frenchman, who sings well, home, and thence home ourselves, talking much of what we had observed to-day of the poor household stuff of Mrs. Clerke and mere show and flutter that she makes in the world; and pleasing myself in my own house and manner of living more than ever I did by seeing how much better and more substantially I live than others do. So to supper and bed.

  1. The king said to ‘la belle’ Stuart, who resisted all his importunities, that he hoped he should live to see her “ugly and willing” (Lord Dartmouth’s note to Burnet’s “Own Time,” vol. i., p. 436, ed. 1823).

11 Annotations

Australian Susan   Link to this

The first sentence of this entry made me laugh out loud! Sam, muttering about Sir W's useless survey in Portsmouth and then scuttling back home - to dance away the morning!! And the rest of the entry reads like a 17th century version of Hello! magazine, but doesn't Sam do it well. Let's hope Elizabeth is content with Ashwell and visits from Pembleton and does not aspire to a pet singing Frenchman like Mrs C!

TerryF   Link to this

"Mr. Deane of Woolwich" say L&M.

Australian Susan, a very apt read if this day's entry!

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"...how much better and more substantially I live than others do."

As George Herbert (1593-1633) said, "Living well is the best revenge." Wonder if Sam read him.

TerryF   Link to this

In "the Park...we saw...one exceeding handsome [face], in a white dress over her head"

Can someone explain a "dress over [a woman's] head" and how SP could adjudge this a her (even though it's a woman's dress, perhaps 'her' is a cross-dresser?) and "exceeding handsome"?!

Surely there is a reasonable anwser, but, I'm sorry, the ramifications of THIS had me laughing.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Terry, I believe the dress extends above her head in a sort of frilly construction...I think at times some of the constructions were meant to represent gossamer wings, peacock's fans, sun's rays etc. Claire Danes' Mrs. Hughes' next to last Desdemona costume in "Stage Beauty" (just before Kynaston strips her down to her shift for the death scene) boasts such a broad fanning frill reaching up, though not quite over her head.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...to little purpose, God knows) upon his survey..."

Well, to be fair to Sir Will, Sam misjudged the lovely Mrs. Stuart's character as to mistress propensities and perhaps he's not entirely right about Sir Will's surveying, office infighting possibly coloring his view.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Then again...

Portsmouth...

"So, I count five, er six ships. That right, eh?"

"Aye, Sir William. Will ye come aboard now and..."

"No,no...These ships are all the same, after all...Rigging, sails, rope...And of course the usual disgruntled, unpaid rogues manning them. No, no need."

JWB   Link to this

"...mere show and flutter..."
Our prig Sam's no Emil Jannings backstage @ the Blue Angel, where the more slovenly Dietrich, the more desireable she was.

Lawrence   Link to this

TerryF,
L&M, say "in a white dress off Her head" so perhaps a large hood drapping down the back???

TerryF   Link to this

LH, thanks. That makes sartorial sense.

(I haven't L&M with me at the moment, but recalled the Cooper reading, which jumped out at me erstens.)

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Nice spring weather, nice lasses in Hampshire, the wife be ??? the Daughter be??? and then there be the extra expense mony to pay off a debt or two [ die be cast, 2 spot and five spot]
"...after taking leave of Sir W. Batten, who is gone this day towards Portsmouth (to little purpose, God knows) upon his survey..."
Outings were a wonderful way of getting a change of scenery at the bosses expense. Survey~ it be always the same, talent.

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