Waked with a very high wind, and said to my wife, “I pray God I hear not of the death of any great person, this wind is so high!” fearing that the Queen might be dead. So up; and going by coach with Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes to St. James’s, they tell me that Sir W. Compton, who it is true had been a little sickly for a week or fortnight, but was very well upon Friday at night last at the Tangier Committee with us, was dead — died yesterday: at which I was most exceedingly surprised, he being, and so all the world saying that he was, one of the worthyest men and best officers of State now in England; and so in my conscience he was: of the best temper, valour, abilities of mind, integrity, birth, fine person, and diligence of any one man he hath left behind him in the three kingdoms; and yet not forty years old, or if so, that is all. I find the sober men of the Court troubled for him; and yet not so as to hinder or lessen their mirth, talking, laughing, and eating, drinking, and doing every thing else, just as if there was no such thing, which is as good an instance for me hereafter to judge of death, both as to the unavoidableness, suddenness, and little effect of it upon the spirits of others, let a man be never so high, or rich, or good; but that all die alike, no more matter being made of the death of one than another, and that even to die well, the praise of it is not considerable in the world, compared to the many in the world that know not nor make anything of it, nor perhaps to them (unless to one that like this poor gentleman, who is one of a thousand, there nobody speaking ill of him) that will speak ill of a man. Coming to St. James’s, I hear that the Queen did sleep five hours pretty well to-night, and that she waked and gargled her mouth, and to sleep again; but that her pulse beats fast, beating twenty to the King’s or my Lady Suffolk’s eleven; but not so strong as it was. It seems she was so ill as to be shaved and pidgeons put to her feet, and to have the extreme unction given her by the priests, who were so long about it that the doctors were angry. The King, they all say; is most fondly disconsolate for her, and weeps by her, which makes her weep;1 which one this day told me he reckons a good sign, for that it carries away some rheume from the head. This morning Captain Allen tells me how the famous Ned Mullins, by a slight fall, broke his leg at the ancle, which festered; and he had his leg cut off on Saturday, but so ill done, notwithstanding all the great chyrurgeons about the town at the doing of it, that they fear he will not live with it, which is very strange, besides the torment he was put to with it. After being a little with the Duke, and being invited to dinner to my Lord Barkeley’s, and so, not knowing how to spend our time till noon, Sir W. Batten and I took coach, and to the Coffee-house in Cornhill;2 where much talk about the Turk’s proceedings, and that the plague is got to Amsterdam, brought by a ship from Argier; and it is also carried to Hambrough. The Duke says the King purposes to forbid any of their ships coming into the river. The Duke also told us of several Christian commanders (French) gone over to the Turks to serve them; and upon inquiry I find that the King of France do by this aspire to the Empire, and so to get the Crown of Spayne also upon the death of the King, which is very probable, it seems. Back to St. James’s, and there dined with my Lord Barkeley and his lady, where Sir G. Carteret, Sir W. Batten, and myself, with two gentlemen more; my Lady, and one of the ladies of honour to the Duchesse (no handsome woman, but a most excellent hand). A fine French dinner, and so we after dinner broke up and to Creed’s new lodgings in Axe-yard, which I like very well and so with him to White Hall and walked up and down in the galleries with good discourse, and anon Mr. Coventry and Povy, sad for the loss of one of our number we sat down as a Committee for Tangier and did some business and so broke up, and I down with Mr. Coventry and in his chamber discoursing of business of the office and Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten’s carriage, when he most ingeniously tells me how they have carried themselves to him in forbearing to speak the other day to the Duke what they know they have so largely at other times said to him, and I told him what I am put to about the bargain for masts. I perceive he thinks of it all and will remember it. Thence took up my wife at Mrs. Harper’s where she and Jane were, and so called at the New Exchange for some things for her, and then at Tom’s went up and saw his house now it is finished, and indeed it is very handsome, but he not within and so home and to my office; and then to supper and to bed.
- “The queen was given over by her physicians, … , and the good nature of the king was much affected with the situation in which he saw! a princess whom, though he did not love her, yet he greatly esteemed. She loved him tenderly, and thinking that it was the last time she should ever speak to him, she told him ‘That the concern he showed for her death was enough to make her quit life with regret; but that not possessing charms sufficient to merit his tenderness, she had at least the consolation in dying to give place to a consort who might be more worthy, of it and to whom heaven, perhaps, might grant a blessing that had been refused to her.’ At these words she bathed his hands with some tears which he thought would be her last; he mingled his own with hers, and without supposing she would take him at his word, he conjured her to live for his sake.” — Grammont Memoirs, chap. vii.
- This may be the Coffee House in Exchange Alley, which had for a sign, Morat the Great, or The Great Turk, where coffee was sold in berry, in powder, and pounded in a mortar. There is a token of the house, see “Boyne’s Tokens,” ed. Williamson, vol. i., p. 592.