Up betimes, and anon my wife rose and did give me her keys, and put other things in order and herself against going this morning into the country. I was forced to go to Thames Street and strike up a bargain for some tarr, to prevent being abused therein by Hill, who was with me this morning, and is mightily surprised that I should tell him what I can have the same tarr with his for. Thence home, but finding my wife gone, I took coach and after her to her inn, where I am troubled to see her forced to sit in the back of the coach, though pleased to see her company none but women and one parson; she I find is troubled at all, and I seemed to make a promise to get a horse and ride after them; and so, kissing her often, and Ashwell once, I bid them adieu. So home by coach, and thence by water to Deptford to the Trinity House, where I came a little late; but I found them reading their charter, which they did like fools, only reading here and there a bit, whereas they ought to do it all, every word, and then proceeded to the election of a maister, which was Sir W. Batten, without any control, who made a heavy, short speech to them, moving them to give thanks to the late Maister for his pains, which he said was very great, and giving them thanks for their choice of him, wherein he would serve them to the best of his power. Then to the choice of their assistants and wardens, and so rose. I might have received 2s. 6d. as a younger Brother, but I directed one of the servants of the House to receive it and keep it. Thence to church, where Dr. Britton preached a sermon full of words against the Nonconformists, but no great matter in it, nor proper for the day at all. His text was, “With one mind and one mouth give glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That done, by water, I in the barge with the Maister, to the Trinity House at London; where, among others, I found my Lords Sandwich and Craven, and my cousin Roger Pepys, and Sir Wm. Wheeler. Anon we sat down to dinner, which was very great, as they always have. Great variety of talk. Mr. Prin, among many, had a pretty tale of one that brought in a bill in parliament for the empowering him to dispose his land to such children as he should have that should bear the name of his wife. It was in Queen Elizabeth’s time. One replied that there are many species of creatures where the male gives the denomination to both sexes, as swan and woodcock, but not above one where the female do, and that is a goose. Both at and after dinner we had great discourses of the nature and power of spirits, and whether they can animate dead bodies; in all which, as of the general appearance of spirits, my Lord Sandwich is very scepticall. He says the greatest warrants that ever he had to believe any, is the present appearing of the Devil1 in Wiltshire, much of late talked of, who beats a drum up and down. There are books of it, and, they say, very true; but my Lord observes, that though he do answer to any tune that you will play to him upon another drum, yet one tune he tried to play and could not; which makes him suspect the whole; and I think it is a good argument. Sometimes they talked of handsome women, and Sir J. Minnes saying that there was no beauty like what he sees in the country-markets, and specially at Bury, in which I will agree with him that there is a prettiest women I ever saw. My Lord replied thus: “Sir John, what do you think of your neighbour’s wife?” looking upon me. “Do you not think that he hath a great beauty to his wife? Upon my word he hath.” Which I was not a little proud of. Thence by barge with my Lord to Blackfriars, where we landed and I thence walked home, where vexed to find my boy (whom I boxed at his coming for it) and Will abroad, though he was but upon Tower Hill a very little while. My head akeing with the healths I was forced to drink to-day I sent for the barber, and he having done, I up to my wife’s closett, and there played on my viallin a good while, and without supper anon to bed, sad for want of my wife, whom I love with all my heart, though of late she has given me some troubled thoughts.
- In 1664, there being a generall report all over the kingdom of Mr. Monpesson his house being haunted, which hee himself affirming to the King and Queene to be true, the King sent the Lord Falmouth, and the Queene sent mee, to examine the truth of; but wee could neither see nor heare anything that was extraordinary; and about a year after, his Majesty told me that hee had discovered the cheat, and that Mr. Monpesson, upon his Majesty sending for him, confessed it to him. And yet Mr. Monpesson, in a printed letter, had afterwards the confidence to deny that hee had ever made any such confession” (“Letters of the Second Earl of Chesterfield,” p. 24, 1829, 8vo.). Joseph Glanville published a relation of the famous disturbance at the house of Mr. Monpesson, at Tedworth, Wilts, occasioned by the beating of an invisible drum every night for a year. This story, which was believed at the time, furnished the plot for Addison’s play of “The Drummer, or the Haunted House.” In the “Mercurius Publicus,” April 16-23, 1663, there is a curious examination on this subject, by which it appears that one William Drury, of Uscut, Wilts, was the invisible drummer.—B.