Sunday 15 April 1666

(Easter Day). Up and by water to Westminster to the Swan to lay down my cloak, and there found Sarah alone, with whom after I had staid awhile I to White Hall Chapel, and there coming late could hear nothing of the Bishop of London’s sermon. So walked into the Park to the Queene’s chappell, and there heard a good deal of their mass, and some of their musique, which is not so contemptible, I think, as our people would make it, it pleasing me very well; and, indeed, better than the anthem I heard afterwards at White Hall, at my coming back. I staid till the King went down to receive the Sacrament, and stood in his closett with a great many others, and there saw him receive it, which I did never see the manner of before. But I do see very little difference between the degree of the ceremonies used by our people in the administration thereof, and that in the Roman church, saving that methought our Chappell was not so fine, nor the manner of doing it so glorious, as it was in the Queene’s chappell. Thence walked to Mr. Pierces, and there dined, I alone with him and her and their children: very good company and good discourse, they being able to tell me all the businesses of the Court; the amours and the mad doings that are there; how for certain Mrs. Stewart do do everything with the King that a mistress should do; and that the King hath many bastard children that are known and owned, besides the Duke of Monmouth. After a great deale of this discourse I walked thence into the Parke with her little boy James with me, who is the wittiest boy and the best company in the world, and so back again through White Hall both coming and going, and people did generally take him to be my boy and some would aske me. Thence home to Mr. Pierce again; and he being gone forth, she and I and the children out by coach to Kensington, to where we were the other day, and with great pleasure stayed till night; and were mighty late getting home, the horses tiring and stopping at every twenty steps. By the way we discoursed of Mrs. Clerke, who, she says, is grown mighty high, fine, and proud, but tells me an odd story how Captain Rolt did see her the other day accost a gentleman in Westminster Hall and went with him, and he dogged them to Moorefields to a little blind bawdy house, and there staid watching three hours and they come not out, so could stay no longer but left them there, and he is sure it was she, he knowing her well and describing her very clothes to Mrs. Pierce, which she knows are what she wears. Seeing them well at home I homeward, but the horses at Ludgate Hill made a final stop; so there I ‘lighted, and with a linke, it being about 10 o’clock, walked home, and after singing a Psalm or two and supped to bed.

13 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

John Evelyn's Diary

April
15 ... Our Parish now was more infected with the Plague, than ever, & so was all the Countrie about, though almost quite ceased at London:
http://www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/1914/ed...

Bradford   Link to this

"how for certain Mrs. Stewart do do everything with the King that a mistress should do;"---today this would no doubt be a best-selling advisory volume, "The Royal Mistress: A Job Description."

How different from Mrs. Clerke's "Three Hours in a Blind Bawdy House," and how interesting Captain Rolt has nothing more pressing to do with his time than to watch a building sitting there, when she might well have slipped out a window on the other side.

Bryan M   Link to this

"By the way we discoursed of Mrs. Clerke, who, she says, is grown mighty high, fine, and proud, but tells me an odd story how Captain Rolt did see her the other day accost a gentleman in Westminster Hall..."

Would a relative and former supporter of Oliver Cromwell have some ulterior motive in spreading scurrilous rumours about the proud wife of the King's physician? Surely not.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"the King hath many bastard children that are known and owned"

L&M say there were now nine and would be fourteen acknowledged bastards.
[It seems there are several ways to count the little bastards:
http://www.thepeerage.com/p10139.htm
http://www.burkes-peerage.net/articles/scotland... ]

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Mrs. Pearse "and I and the children out by coach to Kensington, to where we were the other day, and with great pleasure stayed till night;"

SP, another EP, and "the wittiest boy and the best company in the world" and his sister together again, enjoying each other. It tugs at the heart. He longs to have, should have had children.

Mary   Link to this

"... to The Swan to lay down my cloak"

Why? Did he need it for warmth on the river trip, but feels it will be a nuisance in church? No mention of any return to The Swan to pick it up again. (Another little errand for the boy to run tomorrow?)

Or does the expression' to lay down one's cloak' signify an amorous assignation?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...there found Sarah alone..."

Poor girl.

***
"...there heard a good deal of their mass, and some of their musique, which is not so contemptible, I think, as our people would make it..." "But I do see very little difference between the degree of the ceremonies used by our people in the administration thereof, and that in the Roman church, saving that methought our Chappell was not so fine, nor the manner of doing it so glorious, as it was in the Queene’s chappell."

Give in, Sam. Join us and let the idolatry flow. You'll be labeled a Papist anyway.

***
"...stood in his closett with a great many others..."

That be some closet.

***
"I alone with him and her and their children: very good company and good discourse, they being able to tell me all the businesses of the Court; the amours and the mad doings that are there; how for certain Mrs. Stewart do do everything with the King that a mistress should do; and that the King hath many bastard children that are known and owned, besides the Duke of Monmouth." This is dinner table conversation at chez Pierce? "Ma? What should a mistress do?"

I do notice Betty was careful again to bring the kids along with her and Sam on their outing. Almost sweet that Sam is choosing to spend his Bess-less time in this way rather than camping out at the Bagwells.

Of course there was always Sarah-time time in the am...Though, did he actually bring her to Whitehall Chapel?

***

Heaven...

"See? Now if I had been up to something with the girl, would I have brought her to WHC for a service?"

Hmmmn... "With you, I don't know."

"And look...I took the kids with Betty Pierce to Kensington. Utterly innocent."

"Children can sleep. And they make excellent cover..."

"Now, Bess...Wait a bit. How do you know so much about this sort of thing?"

"Catch me fool enough to go writing a Diary about my time in Brampton."

***

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"nor the manner of doing it so glorious"
Sam, you should see the Orthodox Churches.

C.J.Darby   Link to this

"and people did generally take him to be my boy and some would aske me." Do I detect a note of wistfulness in this statement?

Bryan M   Link to this

“… to The Swan to lay down my cloak”

Why?

Googling "lay down your cloak" brings up a lot of references to Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Is this a sacrilegious play on words by Sam? As Mary notes the context suggests something amorous.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Lay down my cloak

I think Mary's first conjecture is probably right. It is Easter Day, a day to be seen in fine dress in later years, and perhaps even in Pepys's day. A cloak might well be necessary for warmth and to ward off spray for a trip on the Thames in mid-April, but an encumbrance on landing. I get the impression that finding Sarah alone (poor girl, indeed) was fortuitous and not part of the day's plan, and so doubt that the phrase has a sexual meaning in this instance, though it is not hard to imagine contexts in which it could have one.

jeannine   Link to this

"how for certain Mrs. Stewart do do everything with the King that a mistress should do;"

Sam and probably many of the King's Court assumed that Frances Stewart 'did' everything that a mistress should do. According to most of her biographers, she most likely did not ever comsummate her relationship with the King, but rather flirted and 'led him on', which drove him crazy with his passion so to speak.

JWB   Link to this

"...the horses tiring and stopping at every twenty steps..."
"...but the horses at Ludgate Hill made a final stop;"

The working life of a horse in Sam's time was about 9 years. Today a diligent owner can expect 20+. It's all in the teeth. Without dentistry, clipping, mashing & grinding deteriated resulting in an increasingly mal-nurished horse, traded down to more irksome tasks with more demanding handlers.

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