(Lord’s-day). Up and to the Wells,1 where great store of citizens, which was the greatest part of the company, though there were some others of better quality. I met many that I knew, and we drank each of us two pots and so walked away, it being very pleasant to see how everybody turns up his tail, here one and there another, in a bush, and the women in their quarters the like. Thence I walked with Creed to Mr. Minnes’s house, which has now a very good way made to it, and thence to Durdans and walked round it and within the Court Yard and to the Bowling-green, where I have seen so much mirth in my time; but now no family in it (my Lord Barkeley, whose it is, being with his family at London), and so up and down by Minnes’s wood, with great pleasure viewing my old walks, and where Mrs. Hely and I did use to walk and talk, with whom I had the first sentiments of love and pleasure in woman’s company, discourse, and taking her by the hand, she being a pretty woman. So I led him to Ashted Church (by the place where Peter, my cozen’s man, went blindfold and found a certain place we chose for him upon a wager), where we had a dull Doctor, one Downe, worse than I think even parson King was, of whom we made so much scorn, and after sermon home, and staid while our dinner, a couple of large chickens, were dressed, and a good mess of cream, which anon we had with good content, and after dinner (we taking no notice of other lodgers in the house, though there was one that I knew, and knew and spoke to me, one Mr. Rider, a merchant), he and I to walk, and I led him to the pretty little wood behind my cozens house, into which we got at last by clambering, and our little dog with us, but when we were among the hazel trees and bushes, Lord! what a course did we run for an hour together, losing ourselves, and indeed I despaired I should ever come to any path, but still from thicket to thicket, a thing I could hardly have believed a man could have been lost so long in so small a room. At last I found out a delicate walk in the middle that goes quite through the wood, and then went out of the wood, and holloed Mr. Creed, and made him hunt me from place to place, and at last went in and called him into my fine walk, the little dog still hunting with us through the wood. In this walk being all bewildered and weary and sweating, Creed he lay down upon the ground, which I did a little, but I durst not long, but walked from him in the fine green walk, which is half a mile long, there reading my vows as I used to on Sundays. And after that was done, and going and lying by Creed an hour, he and I rose and went to our lodging and paid our reckoning, and so mounted, whether to go toward London home or to find a new lodging, and so rode through Epsum, the whole town over, seeing the various companys that were there walking; which was very pleasant to see how they are there without knowing almost what to do, but only in the morning to drink waters. But, Lord! to see how many I met there of citizens, that I could not have thought to have seen there, or that they had ever had it in their heads or purses to go down thither. We rode out of the town through Yowell beyond Nonesuch House a mile, and there our little dogg, as he used to do, fell a-running after a flock of sheep feeding on the common, till he was out of sight, and then endeavoured to come back again, and went to the last gate that he parted with us at, and there the poor thing mistakes our scent, instead of coming forward he hunts us backward, and runs as hard as he could drive back towards Nonesuch, Creed and I after him, and being by many told of his going that way and the haste he made, we rode still and passed him through Yowell, and there we lost any further information of him. However, we went as far as Epsum almost, hearing nothing of him, we went back to Yowell, and there was told that he did pass through the town. We rode back to Nonesuch to see whether he might be gone back again, but hearing nothing we with great trouble and discontent for the loss of our dogg came back once more to Yowell, and there set up our horses and selves for all night, employing people to look for the dogg in the town, but can hear nothing of him. However, we gave order for supper, and while that was dressing walked out through Nonesuch Park to the house, and there viewed as much as we could of the outside, and looked through the great gates, and found a noble court; and altogether believe it to have been a very noble house, and a delicate park about it, where just now there was a doe killed, for the King to carry up to Court. So walked back again, and by and by our supper being ready, a good leg of mutton boiled, we supped and to bed, upon two beds in the same room, wherein we slept most excellently all night.
- Epsom medicinal wells were discovered about 1618, but they did not become fashionable until the Restoration. John Toland, in his “Description of Epsom,” says that he often counted seventy coaches in the Ring (the present racecourse on the Downs) on a Sunday evening; but by the end of the eighteenth century Epsom had entirely lost its vogue.