Up, it being my Lord Mayor’s day, Sir Anthony Bateman. This morning was brought home my new velvet cloake, that is, lined with velvet, a good cloth the outside, the first that ever I had in my life, and I pray God it may not be too soon now that I begin to wear it. I had it this day brought, thinking to have worn it to dinner, but I thought it would be better to go without it because of the crowde, and so I did not wear it. We met a little at the office, and then home again and got me ready to go forth, my wife being gone forth by my consent before to see her father and mother, and taken her cooke mayde and little girle to Westminster with her for them to see their friends. This morning in dressing myself and wanting a band, I found all my bands that were newly made clean so ill smoothed that I crumpled them, and flung them all on the ground, and was angry with Jane, which made the poor girle mighty sad, so that I were troubled for it afterwards. At noon I went forth, and by coach to Guild Hall (by the way calling at Mr. Rawlinson’s), and there was admitted, and meeting with Mr. Proby (Sir R. Ford’s son), and Lieutenant-Colonel Baron, a City commander, we went up and down to see the tables; where under every salt there was a bill of fare, and at the end of the table the persons proper for the table. Many were the tables, but none in the Hall but the Mayor’s and the Lords of the Privy Council that had napkins1 or knives, which was very strange. We went into the Buttry, and there stayed and talked, and then into the Hall again: and there wine was offered and they drunk, I only drinking some hypocras, which do not break my vowe, it being, to the best of my present judgement, only a mixed compound drink, and not any wine. If I am mistaken, God forgive me! but I hope and do think I am not. By and by met with Creed; and we, with the others, went within the several Courts, and there saw the tables prepared for the Ladies and Judges and Bishopps: all great sign of a great dinner to come. By and by about one o’clock, before the Lord Mayor came, come into the Hall, from the room where they were first led into, the Lord Chancellor (Archbishopp before him), with the Lords of the Council, and other Bishopps, and they to dinner. Anon comes the Lord Mayor, who went up to the lords, and then to the other tables to bid wellcome; and so all to dinner. I sat near Proby, Baron, and Creed at the Merchant Strangers’ table; where ten good dishes to a messe, with plenty of wine of all sorts, of which I drunk none; but it was very unpleasing that we had no napkins nor change of trenchers, and drunk out of earthen pitchers and wooden dishes.2 It happened that after the lords had half dined, came the French Embassador, up to the lords’ table, where he was to have sat; but finding the table set, he would not sit down nor dine with the Lord Mayor, who was not yet come, nor have a table to himself, which was offered; but in a discontent went away again. After I had dined, I and Creed rose and went up and down the house, and up to the lady’s room, and there stayed gazing upon them. But though there were many and fine, both young and old, yet I could not discern one handsome face there; which was very strange, nor did I find the lady that young Dawes married so pretty as I took her for, I having here an opportunity of looking much upon her very near. I expected musique, but there was none but only trumpets and drums, which displeased me. The dinner, it seems, is made by the Mayor and two Sheriffs for the time being, the Lord Mayor paying one half, and they the other. And the whole, Proby says, is reckoned to come to about 7 or 800l. at most. Being wearied with looking upon a company of ugly women, Creed and I went away, and took coach and through Cheapside, and there saw the pageants, which were very silly, and thence to the Temple, where meeting Greatorex, he and we to Hercules Pillars, there to show me the manner of his going about of draining of fenns, which I desired much to know, but it did not appear very satisfactory to me, as he discoursed it, and I doubt he will faile in it. Thence I by coach home, and there found my wife come home, and by and by came my brother Tom, with whom I was very angry for not sending me a bill with my things, so as that I think never to have more work done by him if ever he serves me so again, and so I told him. The consideration of laying out 32l. 12s. this very month in his very work troubles me also, and one thing more, that is to say, that Will having been at home all the day, I doubt is the occasion that Jane has spoken to her mistress tonight that she sees she cannot please us and will look out to provide herself elsewhere, which do trouble both of us, and we wonder also at her, but yet when the rogue is gone I do not fear but the wench will do well. To the office a little, to set down my Journall, and so home late to supper and to bed. The Queen mends apace, they say; but yet talks idle still.
As the practice of eating with forks gradually was introduced from Italy into England, napkins were not so generally used, but considered more as an ornament than a necessary.
The laudable use of forks, Brought into custom here, as they are in Italy, To the sparing of napkins.
Ben Jonson, The Devil is an Ass, act v., sc. 3.
The guests probably brought their own knife and fork with them in a case. —M.B.
- The City plate was probably melted during the Civil War. —M.B.