Saturday 21 April 1666

Up betimes and to the office, there to prepare some things against the afternoon for discourse about the business of the pursers and settling the pursers’ matters of the fleete according to my proposition. By and by the office sat, and they being up I continued at the office to finish my matters against the meeting before the Duke this afternoon, so home about three to clap a bit of meate in my mouth, and so away with Sir W. Batten to White Hall, and there to the Duke, but he being to go abroad to take the ayre, he dismissed us presently without doing any thing till to-morrow morning. So my Lord Bruncker and I down to walk in the garden [at White Hall], it being a mighty hot and pleasant day; and there was the King, who, among others, talked to us a little; and among other pretty things, he swore merrily that he believed the ketch that Sir W. Batten bought the last year at Colchester was of his own getting, it was so thick to its length. Another pleasant thing he said of Christopher Pett, commending him that he will not alter his moulds of his ships upon any man’s advice; “as,” says he, “Commissioner Taylor I fear do of his New London, that he makes it differ, in hopes of mending the Old London, built by him.” “For,” says he, “he finds that God hath put him into the right, and so will keep in it while he is in.” “And,” says the King, “I am sure it must be God put him in, for no art of his owne ever could have done it;” for it seems he cannot give a good account of what he do as an artist. Thence with my Lord Bruncker in his coach to Hide Parke, the first time I have been there this year. There the King was; but I was sorry to see my Lady Castlemaine, for the mourning forceing all the ladies to go in black, with their hair plain and without any spots, I find her to be a much more ordinary woman than ever I durst have thought she was; and, indeed, is not so pretty as Mrs. Stewart, whom I saw there also. Having done at the Park he set me down at the Exchange, and I by coach home and there to my letters, and they being done, to writing a large letter about the business of the pursers to Sir W. Batten against to-morrow’s discourse, and so home and to bed.

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"settling the pursers’ matters of the fleete according to my proposition."

1 January this year Pepys dictated and submitted his "proposition" -- http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/01/01/ A note there says: "This document is in the British Museum (Harleian MS. 6287), and is entitled, “A Letter from Mr. Pepys, dated at Greenwich, 1 Jan. 1665-6, which he calls his New Year’s Gift to his hon. friend, Sir Wm. Coventry, wherein he lays down a method for securing his Majesty in husbandly execution of the Victualling Part of the Naval Expence.” It consists of nineteen closely written folio pages, and is a remarkable specimen of Pepys’s business habits.—B [Lord Braybrooke]. There are copies of several letters on the victualling of the navy, written by Pepys in 1666, among the Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian."

jeannine   Link to this

"but I was sorry to see my Lady Castlemaine, for the mourning forceing all the ladies to go in black, with their hair plain and without any spots, I find her to be a much more ordinary woman than ever I durst have thought she was; and, indeed, is not so pretty as Mrs. Stewart, whom I saw there also."

With the death of her mother, Queen Catherine had ordered her ladies into mourning. Apparently Lady Castlemaine wasn't quite so hot without her makeup. This is probably the equivalent of those celebrity sightings where the celeb is caught in their sweatpants walking their dog at 6 am and not looking all that enticing. Sam almost sounds surprised that the reality of Lady Castlemaine isn't as appealing as he would have expected.

On another note, if Lady C. had any idea that Sam noted that Mrs. Stewart was far better looking I think that Sam's Diary (and Sam) would have come to an abrupt end today!

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Is the king making fun of Pett for inflexibility in design, and Taylor for lack of knowledge? It certainly sounds as if he is making fun of Batten...

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Todd, I think the king is speaking admiringly of Pett for holding fast to his vision of a ship's design no matter what anybody says, while Taylor is too eager to please others by modifying his designs.

It's a nice and shrewd thing the king says about Pett's gift being from God, since (like any great artist) Pett can't begin to explain how he does what he does.

As for Batten (who isn't present, as I read the entry), the king suggests that he must have sired the ketch since it so resembles him physically - thick for its length.

King Charles II was clearly a lot of fun to be around.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

"Sorry to see my Lady Castlemaine"

Just over a month ago, Sam had noted how drab actors' costumes appear in ordinary light: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/03/19/

"But then again, to think how fine they show on the stage by candle-light, and how poor things they are to look now too near hand, is not pleasant at all."

JWB   Link to this

"King Charles II was clearly a lot of fun to be around."

Compare His Majesty with Mrs. Turner yesterday. What quip aimed at Sam once back downstream?

Batten's an old whaler and as such has experienced long stays out & appreciated the broad of beam, unlike royal sunshine sailor.

Batten, for all his reported faults, does not appear to have been vain. Can't find a image of him.

QuantumLobster   Link to this

"As for Batten (who isn’t present, as I read the entry), the king suggests that he must have sired the ketch since it so resembles him physically - thick for its length."

It may be that I have a dirty mind, but I assumed the jest was in reference to Batten's, um, "masculine attributes".

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"I find her to be a much more ordinary woman than ever I durst have thought she was..."

Whereas Barbara...

"My dear, this is the amazing Mr. Pepys I have told you so much of, who has managed to completely reorganize and reform Our Royal Navy. Mr. Pepys, my Lady Castlemaine..."

Oh...One enchanted afternoon...While I was in mourning...For Charlie's foolish Cate's mom...Across this crowded room...I knew in my heart that at last I'd found home...Barbara, in somewhat dowdy mode, eyes Sam at his hunting dog alert, razor-sharp intellect, fashionable best.

My soulmate...Just look at him counting every gold thread in that tapestry with his beautiful big eyes...she sighs.

"Our dear Pepys has a most sweet young wife whom We must see more of at court."

A dead young wife...No problem... Barbara eyes Sam.

Jesse   Link to this

"is not so pretty as Mrs. Stewart"

What - eight years and a few kids are going to make some difference. Also, I'm somewhat surprised that black clothes, plain hair, and few spots transform her ladyship more than Pepys "durst have thought."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"So...?" Bess asks.

"Hmmn?"

"Castlemaine in mourning...How's she rating on your babeometer?"

"Oh... Below Pall, if you can believe it."

"No..."

"Perilously close to that lady with the pimples and wen who let me kiss her when I was seventeen."

"Oooo...See what a difference...?" hopefully.

"No patches for you, Bess."

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"it was so thick to its lenght"
Me thinks the meaning is that Sir W. Batten was short and fat.

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