Tuesday 1 December 1668

Up, and to the office, where sat all the morning, and at noon with my people to dinner, and so to the office, very busy till night, and then home and made my boy read to me Wilkins’s Reall Character, which do please me mightily, and so after supper to bed with great pleasure and content with my wife. This day I hear of poor Mr. Clerke, the solicitor, being dead, of a cold, after being not above two days ill, which troubles me mightily, poor man!

Wednesday 2 December 1668

Up, and at the office all the morning upon some accounts of Sir D. Gawden, and at noon abroad with W. Hewer, thinking to have found Mr. Wren at Captain Cox’s, to have spoke something to him about doing a favour for Will’s uncle Steventon, but missed him. And so back home and abroad with my wife, the first time that ever I rode in my own coach, which do make my heart rejoice, and praise God, and pray him to bless it to me and continue it. So she and I to the King’s playhouse, and there sat to avoid seeing Knepp in a box above where Mrs. Williams happened to be, and there saw “The Usurper;” a pretty good play, in all but what is designed to resemble Cromwell and Hugh Peters, which is mighty silly. The play done, we to White Hall; where my wife staid while I up to the Duchesse’s and Queen’s side, to speak with the Duke of York: and here saw all the ladies, and heard the silly discourse of the King, with his people about him, telling a story of my Lord Rochester’s having of his clothes stole, while he was with a wench; and his gold all gone, but his clothes found afterwards stuffed into a feather bed by the wench that stole them. I spoke with the Duke of York, just as he was set down to supper with the King, about our sending of victuals to Sir Thomas Allen’s fleet hence to Cales [Cadiz] to meet him. And so back to my wife in my coach, and so with great content and joy home, where I made my boy to make an end of the Reall Character, which I begun a great while ago, and do please me infinitely, and indeed is a most worthy labour, and I think mighty easy, though my eyes make me unable to attempt any thing in it. To-day I hear that Mr. Ackworth’s cause went for him at Guildhall, against his accusers, which I am well enough pleased with.

Thursday 3 December 1668

Up betimes, and by water with W. Hewer to White Hall, and there to Mr. Wren, who gives me but small hopes of the favour I hoped for Mr. Steventon, Will’s uncle, of having leave, being upon the point of death, to surrender his place, which do trouble me, but I will do what I can. So back again to the Office, Sir Jer. Smith with me; who is a silly, prating, talking man; but he tells me what he hears, that Holmes and Spragg now rule all with the Duke of Buckingham, as to seabusiness, and will be great men: but he do prophesy what will be the fruit of it; so I do. So to the Office, where we sat all the morning; and at noon home to dinner, and then abroad again, with my wife, to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and saw “The Unfortunate Lovers;” a mean play, I think, but some parts very good, and excellently acted. We sat under the boxes, and saw the fine ladies; among others, my Lady Kerneguy, a who is most devilishly painted. And so home, it being mighty pleasure to go alone with my poor wife, in a coach of our own, to a play, and makes us appear mighty great, I think, in the world; at least, greater than ever I could, or my friends for me, have once expected; or, I think, than ever any of my family ever yet lived, in my memory, but my cozen Pepys in Salisbury Court. So to the office, and thence home to supper and to bed.

Friday 4 December 1668

Up, and with W. Hewer by water to White Hall, and there did wait as usual upon the Duke of York, where, upon discoursing something touching the Ticket-Office, which by letter the Board did give the Duke of York their advice, to be put upon Lord Brouncker, Sir J. Minnes did foolishly rise up and complain of the Office, and his being made nothing of; and this before Sir Thomas Littleton, who would be glad of this difference among us, which did trouble me mightily; and therefore I did forbear to say what I otherwise would have thought fit for me to say on this occasion, upon so impertinent a speech as this doting fool made — but, I say, I let it alone, and contented myself that it went as I advised, as to the Duke of York’s judgment, in the thing disputed. And so thence away, my coach meeting me there and carrying me to several places to do little jobs, which is a mighty convenience, and so home, where by invitation I find my aunt Wight, who looked over all our house, and is mighty pleased with it, and indeed it is now mighty handsome, and rich in furniture. By and by comes my uncle, and then to dinner, where a venison pasty and very merry, and after dinner I carried my wife and her to Smithfield, where they sit in the coach, while Mr. Pickering, who meets me there, and I, and W. Hewer, and a friend of his, a jockey, did go about to see several pairs of horses, for my coach; but it was late, and we agreed on none, but left it to another time: but here I do see instances of a piece of craft and cunning that I never dreamed of, concerning the buying and choosing of horses. So Mr. Pickering, to whom I am much beholden for his kindness herein, and I parted; and I with my people home, where I left them, and I to the office, to meet about some business of Sir W. Warren’s accounts, where I vexed to see how ill all the Comptroller’s business is likely to go on, so long as ever Sir J. Minnes lives; and so troubled I was, that I thought it a good occasion for me to give my thoughts of it in writing, and therefore wrote a letter at the Board, by the help of a tube, to Lord Brouncker, and did give it him, which I kept a copy of, and it may be of use to me hereafter to shew, in this matter. This being done, I home to my aunt, who supped with us, and my uncle also: and a good-humoured woman she is, so that I think we shall keep her acquaintance; but mighty proud she is of her wedding-ring, being lately set with diamonds; cost her about 12l.: and I did commend it mightily to her, but do not think it very suitable for one of our quality. After supper they home, and we to bed.

Saturday 5 December 1668

Up, after a little talk with my wife, which troubled me, she being ever since our late difference mighty watchful of sleep and dreams, and will not be persuaded but I do dream of Deb., and do tell me that I speak in my dreams and that this night I did cry, Huzzy, and it must be she, and now and then I start otherwise than I used to do, she says, which I know not, for I do not know that I dream of her more than usual, though I cannot deny that my thoughts waking do run now and then against my will and judgment upon her, for that only is wanting to undo me, being now in every other thing as to my mind most happy, and may still be so but for my own fault, if I be catched loving any body but my wife again. So up and to the office, and at noon to dinner, and thence to office, where late, mighty busy, and despatching much business, settling papers in my own office, and so home to supper, and to bed. No news stirring, but that my Lord of Ormond is likely to go to Ireland again, which do shew that the Duke of Buckingham do not rule all so absolutely; and that, however, we shall speedily have more changes in the Navy: and it is certain that the Nonconformists do now preach openly in houses, in many places, and among others the house that was heretofore Sir G. Carteret’s, in Leadenhall Streete, and have ready access to the King. And now the great dispute is, whether this Parliament or another; and my great design, if I continue in the Navy, is to get myself to be a Parliament-man.

Sunday 6 December 1668

(Lord’s day). Up, and with my wife to church; which pleases me mightily, I being full of fear that she would never go to church again, after she had declared to me that she was a Roman Catholique. But though I do verily think she fears God, and is truly and sincerely righteous, yet I do see she is not so strictly so a Catholique as not to go to church with me, which pleases me mightily. Here Mills made a lazy sermon, upon Moses’s meeknesse, and so home, and my wife and I alone to dinner, and then she to read a little book concerning speech in general, a translation late out of French; a most excellent piece as ever I read, proving a soul in man, and all the ways and secrets by which nature teaches speech in man, which do please me most infinitely to read. By and by my wife to church, and I to my Office to complete my Journall for the last three days, and so home to my chamber to settle some papers, and so to spend the evening with my wife and W. Hewer talking over the business of the Office, and particularly my own Office, how I will make it, and it will become, in a little time, an Office of ease, and not slavery, as it hath for so many years been. So to supper, and to bed.

Monday 7 December 1668

Up by candlelight, the first time I have done so this winter, but I had lost my labour so often to visit Sir W. Coventry, and not visited him so long, that I was resolved to get time enough, and so up, and with W. Hewer, it being the first frosty day we have had this winter, did walk it very well to W. Coventry’s, and there alone with him an hour talking of the Navy, which he pities, but says he hath no more mind to be found meddling with the Navy, lest it should do it hurt, as well as him, to be found to meddle with it. So to talk of general things: and telling him that, with all these doings, he, I thanked God, stood yet; he told me, Yes, but that he thought his continuing in, did arise from his enemies my Lord of Buckingham and Arlington’s seeing that he cared so little if he was out; and he do protest to me that he is as weary of the Treasury, as ever he was of the Navy. He tells me that he do believe that their heat is over almost, as to the Navy, there being now none left of the old stock but my Lord Brouncker, J. Minnes, who is ready to leave the world, and myself. But he tells me that he do foresee very great wants and great disorders by reason thereof; insomuch, as he is represented to the King by his enemies as a melancholy man, and one that is still prophesying ill events, so as the King called him Visionaire, which being told him, he said he answered the party, that, whatever he foresaw, he was not afeard as to himself of any thing, nor particularly of my Lord Arlington, so much as the Duke of Buckingham hath been, nor of the Duke of Buckingham, so much as my Lord Arlington at this time is. But he tells me that he hath been always looked upon as a melancholy man; whereas, others that would please the King do make him believe that all is safe: and so he hath heard my Lord Chancellor openly say to the King, that he was now a glorious prince, and in a glorious condition, because of some one accident that hath happened, or some one rub that hath been removed; “when,” says W. Coventry, “they reckoned their one good meal, without considering that there was nothing left in the cup board for to-morrow.” After this and other discourse of this kind, I away, and walked to my Lord Sandwich’s, and walked with him to White Hall, and took a quarter of an hour’s walk in the garden with him, which I had not done for so much time with him since his coming into England; and talking of his own condition, and particularly of the world’s talk of his going to Tangier. I find, if his conditions can be made profitable and safe as to money, he would go, but not else; but, however, will seem not averse to it, because of facilitating his other accounts now depending, which he finds hard to get through, but yet hath some hopes, the King, he says, speaking very kindly to him. Thence to a Committee of Tangier, and so with W. Hewer to Westminster to Sir R. Longs office, and so to the Temple, but did nothing, the Auditor not being within, and so home to dinner, and after dinner out again with my wife to the Temple, and up and down to do a little business, and back again, and so to my office, and did a little business, and so home, and W. Hewer with me, to read and talk, and so to supper, and then to bed in mighty good humour. This afternoon, passing through Queen’s Street, I saw pass by our coach on foot Deb., which, God forgive me, did put me into some new thoughts of her, and for her, but durst not shew them, and I think my wife did not see her, but I did get my thoughts free of her soon as I could.

Tuesday 8 December 1668

Up, and Sir H. Cholmly betimes with me, about some accounts and moneys due to him: and he gone, I to the Office, where sat all the morning; and here, among other things, breaks out the storm W. Hewer and I have long expected from the Surveyor,—[Colonel Middleton.]— about W. Hewer’s conspiring to get a contract, to the burdening of the stores with kerseys and cottons, of which he hath often complained, and lately more than ever; and now he did it by a most scandalous letter to the Board, reflecting on my Office: and, by discourse, it fell to such high words between him and me, as can hardly ever be forgot; I declaring I would believe W. Hewer as soon as him, and laying the fault, if there be any, upon himself; he, on the other hand, vilifying of my word and W. Hewer’s, calling him knave, and that if he were his clerk, he should lose his ears. At last, I closed the business for this morning with making the thing ridiculous, as it is, and he swearing that the King should have right in it, or he would lose his place. The Office was cleared of all but ourselves and W. Hewer; but, however, the world did by the beginning see what it meant, and it will, I believe, come to high terms between us, which I am sorry for, to have any blemish laid upon me or mine, at this time, though never so unduly, for fear of giving occasion to my real discredit: and therefore I was not only all the rest of the morning vexed, but so went home to dinner, where my wife tells me of my Lord Orrery’s new play “Tryphon,” at the Duke of York’s house, which, however, I would see, and therefore put a bit of meat in our mouths, and went thither; where, with much ado, at half-past one, we got into a blind hole in the 18d. place, above stairs, where we could not hear well, but the house infinite full, but the prologue most silly, and the play, though admirable, yet no pleasure almost in it, because just the very same design, and words, and sense, and plot, as every one of his plays have, any one of which alone would be held admirable, whereas so many of the same design and fancy do but dull one another; and this, I perceive, is the sense of every body else, as well as myself, who therefore showed but little pleasure in it. So home, mighty hot, and my mind mightily out of order, so as I could not eat any supper, or sleep almost all night, though I spent till twelve at night with W. Hewer to consider of our business: and we find it not only most free from any blame of our side, but so horrid scandalous on the other, to make so groundless a complaint, and one so shameful to him, that it could not but let me see that there is no need of my being troubled; but such is the weakness of my nature, that I could not help it, which vexes me, showing me how unable I am to live with difficulties.

Wednesday 9 December 1668

Up, and to the Office, but did little there, my mind being still uneasy, though more and more satisfied that there is no occasion for it; but abroad with my wife to the Temple, where I met with Auditor Wood’s clerk, and did some business with him, and so to see Mr. Spong, and found him out by Southampton Market, and there carried my wife, and up to his chamber, a bye place, but with a good prospect of the fields; and there I had most infinite pleasure, not only with his ingenuity in general, but in particular with his shewing me the use of the Parallelogram, by which he drew in a quarter of an hour before me, in little, from a great, a most neat map of England — that is, all the outlines, which gives me infinite pleasure, and foresight of pleasure, I shall have with it; and therefore desire to have that which I have bespoke, made. Many other pretty things he showed us, and did give me a glass bubble, to try the strength of liquors with. This done, and having spent 6d. in ale in the coach, at the door of the Bull Inn, with the innocent master of the house, a Yorkshireman, for his letting us go through his house, we away to Hercules Pillars, and there eat a bit of meat: and so, with all speed, back to the Duke of York’s house, where mighty full again; but we come time enough to have a good place in the pit, and did hear this new play again, where, though I better understood it than before, yet my sense of it and pleasure was just the same as yesterday, and no more, nor any body else’s about us. So took our coach and home, having now little pleasure to look about me to see the fine faces, for fear of displeasing my wife, whom I take great comfort now, more than ever, in pleasing; and it is a real joy to me. So home, and to my Office, where spent an hour or two; and so home to my wife, to supper and talk, and so to bed.

Thursday 10 December 1668

Up, and to the Office, where busy all the morning: Middleton not there, so no words or looks of him. At noon, home to dinner; and so to the Office, and there all the afternoon busy; and at night W. Hewer home with me; and we think we have got matter enough to make Middleton appear a coxcomb. But it troubled me to have Sir W. Warren meet me at night, going out of the Office home, and tell me that Middleton do intend to complain to the Duke of York: but, upon consideration of the business, I did go to bed, satisfied that it was best for me that he should; and so my trouble was over, and to bed, and slept well.

Friday 11 December 1668

Up, and with W. Hewer by water to Somerset House; and there I to my Lord Brouncker, before he went forth to the Duke of York, and there told him my confidence that I should make Middleton appear a fool, and that it was, I thought, best for me to complain of the wrong he hath done; but brought it about, that my Lord desired me I would forbear, and promised that he would prevent Middleton till I had given in my answer to the Board, which I desired: and so away to White Hall, and there did our usual attendance and no word spoke before the Duke of York by Middleton at all; at which I was glad to my heart, because by this means I have time to draw up my answer to my mind. So with W. Hewer by coach to Smithfield, but met not Mr. Pickering, he being not come, and so he [Will] and I to a cook’s shop, in Aldersgate Street; and dined well for 19 1/2 d., upon roast beef, pleasing ourselves with the infinite strength we have to prove Middleton a coxcomb; and so, having dined, we back to Smithfield, and there met Pickering, and up and down all the afternoon about horses, and did see the knaveries and tricks of jockeys. Here I met W. Joyce, who troubled me with his impertinencies a great while, and the like Mr. Knepp, who, it seems, is a kind of a jockey, and would fain have been doing something for me, but I avoided him, and the more for fear of being troubled thereby with his wife, whom I desire but dare not see, for my vow to my wife. At last went away and did nothing, only concluded upon giving 50l. for a fine pair of black horses we saw this day se’nnight; and so set Mr. Pickering down near his house, whom I am much beholden to, for his care herein, and he hath admirable skill, I perceive, in this business, and so home, and spent the evening talking and merry, my mind at good ease, and so to bed.

Saturday 12 December 1668

Up, and to the office, where all the morning, and at noon home to dinner, and so the like mighty busy, late, all the afternoon, that I might be ready to go to the drawing up of my answer to Middleton to-morrow, and therefore home to supper and to bed. I hear this day that there is fallen down a new house, not quite finished, in Lumbard Street, and that there have been several so, they making use of bad mortar and bricks; but no hurt yet, as God hath ordered it. This day was brought home my pair of black coach-horses, the first I ever was master of. They cost me 50l., and are a fine pair.

Sunday 13 December 1668

(Lord’s day). Up, and with W. Hewer to the Office, where all the morning, and then home to a little dinner, and presently to it again all alone till twelve at night, drawing up my answer to Middleton, which I think I shall do to very good purpose — at least, I satisfy myself therein; and so to bed, weary with walking in my Office dictating to him [Hewer]. In the night my wife very ill, vomited, but was well again by and by.

Monday 14 December 1668

Up, and by water to White Hall to a Committee of Tangier, where, among other things, a silly account of a falling out between Norwood, at Tangier, and Mr. Bland, the mayor, who is fled to Cales [Cadiz]. His complaint is ill-worded, and the other’s defence the most ridiculous that ever I saw; and so everybody else that was there, thought it; but never did I see so great an instance of the use of grammar, and knowledge how to tell a man’s tale as this day, Bland having spoiled his business by ill-telling it, who had work to have made himself notorious by his mastering Norwood, his enemy, if he had known how to have used it. Thence calling Smith, the Auditor’s clerk at the Temple, I by the Exchange home, and there looked over my Tangier accounts with him, and so to dinner, and then set him down again by a hackney, my coachman being this day about breaking of my horses to the coach, they having never yet drawn. Left my wife at Unthank’s, and I to the Treasury, where we waited on the Lords Commissioners about Sir D. Gawden’s matters, and so took her up again at night, and home to the office, and so home with W. Hewer, and to talk about our quarrel with Middleton, and so to supper and to bed. This day I hear, and am glad, that the King hath prorogued the Parliament to October next; and, among other reasons, it will give me time to go to France, I hope.

Tuesday 15 December 1668

Up, and to the Office, where sat all the morning, and the new Treasurers there; and, for my life, I cannot keep Sir J. Minnes and others of the Board from shewing our weakness, to the dishonour of the Board, though I am not concerned but it do vex me to the heart to have it before these people, that would be glad to find out all our weaknesses. At noon Mrs. Mary Batelier with us, and so, after dinner, I with W. Hewer all the afternoon till night beginning to draw up our answer to Middleton, and it proves troublesome, because I have so much in my head at a time to say, but I must go through with it. So at night to supper and to bed.

Wednesday 16 December 1668

I did the like all day long, only a little at dinner, and so to work again, and were at it till 2 in the morning, and so W. Hewer, who was with me all day, home to his lodging, and I to bed, after we had finished it.

Thursday 17 December 1668

Up, and set my man Gibson and Mr. Fists to work to write it over fair, while I all the morning at the office sitting. At noon home to them, and all the afternoon looking over them and examining with W. Hewer, and so about to at night I to bed, leaving them to finish the writing it fair, which they did by sitting up most of the night, and so home to bed.

Friday 18 December 1668

All the morning at the office about Sir W. Warren’s accounts, my mind full of my business, having before we met gone to Lord Brouncker, and got him to read over my paper, who owns most absolute content in it, and the advantage I have in it, and the folly of the Surveyor. At noon home to dinner; and then again to the office a while, and so by hackney coach to Brooke House, and there spoke with Colonel Thomson, I by order carrying them [the Commissioners of Accounts] our Contract-books, from the beginning to the end of the late war. I found him finding of errors in a ship’s book, where he shewed me many, which must end in the ruin, I doubt, of the Controller, who found them not out in the pay of the ship, or the whole Office. But I took little notice of them to concern myself in them, but so leaving my books I home to the Office, where the office met, and after some other business done, fell to mine, which the Surveyor begun to be a little brisk at the beginning; but when I come to the point to touch him, which I had all the advantages in the world to do, he become as calm as a lamb, and owned, as the whole Board did, their satisfaction, and cried excuse: and so all made friends; and their acknowledgment put into writing, and delivered into Sir J. Minnes’s hand, to be kept there for the use of the Board, or me, when I shall call for it; they desiring it might be so, that I might not make use of it to the prejudice of the Surveyor, whom I had an advantage over, by his extraordinary folly in this matter. But, besides this, I have no small advantage got by this business, as I have put several things into my letter which I should otherwise have wanted an opportunity of saying, which pleases me mightily. So Middleton desiring to be friends, I forgave him; and all mighty quiet, and fell to talk of other stories, and there staid, all of us, till nine or ten at night, more than ever we did in our lives before, together. And so home, where I have a new fight to fight with my wife, who is under new trouble by some news she hath heard of Deb.’s being mighty fine, and gives out that she has a friend that gives her money, and this my wife believes to be me, and, poor wretch! I cannot blame her, and therefore she run into mighty extremes; but I did pacify all, and were mighty good friends, and to bed, and I hope it will be our last struggle from this business, for I am resolved never to give any new occasion, and great peace I find in my mind by it. So to supper, she and I to bed.

Saturday 19 December 1668

Up, and to the office, where all the morning, and at noon, eating very little dinner, my wife and I by hackney to the King’s playhouse, and there, the pit being full, sat in a box above, and saw “Catiline’s Conspiracy,” yesterday being the first day: a play of much good sense and words to read, but that do appear the worst upon the stage, I mean, the least diverting, that ever I saw any, though most fine in clothes; and a fine scene of the Senate, and of a fight, that ever I saw in my life. But the play is only to be read, and therefore home, with no pleasure at all, but only in sitting next to Betty Hall, that did belong to this house, and was Sir Philip Howard’s mistress; a mighty pretty wench, though my wife will not think so; and I dare neither commend, nor be seen to look upon her, or any other now, for fear of offending her. So, our own coach coming for us, home, and to end letters, and so home, my wife to read to me out of “The Siege of Rhodes,” and so to supper, and to bed.

Sunday 20 December 1668

(Lord’s day). Up, and with my wife to church, and then home, and there found W. Joyce come to dine with me, as troublesome a talking coxcombe as ever he was, and yet once in a year I like him well enough. In the afternoon my wife and W. Hewer and I to White Hall, where they set me down and staid till I had been with the Duke of York, with the rest of us of the Office, and did a little business, and then the Duke of York in good humour did fall to tell us many fine stories of the wars in Flanders, and how the Spaniards are the [best] disciplined foot in the world; will refuse no extraordinary service if commanded, but scorn to be paid for it, as in other countries, though at the same time they will beg in the streets: not a soldier will carry you a cloak-bag for money for the world, though he will beg a penny, and will do the thing, if commanded by his Commander. That, in the citadel of Antwerp, a soldier hath not a liberty of begging till he hath served three years. They will cry out against their King and Commanders and Generals, none like them in the world, and yet will not hear a stranger say a word of them but he will cut his throat. That, upon a time, some of the Commanders of their army exclaiming against their Generals, and particularly the Marquis de Caranen, the Confessor of the Marquis coming by and hearing them, he stops and gravely tells them that the three great trades of the world are, the lawyers, who govern the world; the churchmen, who enjoy the world; and a sort of fools whom they call souldiers, who make it their work to defend the world. He told us, too, that Turenne being now become a Catholique, he is likely to get over the head of Colbert, their interests being contrary; the latter to promote trade1 and the sea, which, says the Duke of York, is that that we have most cause to fear; and Turenne to employ the King and his forces by land, to encrease his conquests. Thence to the coach to my wife, and so home, and there with W. Hewer to my office and to do some business, and so set down my Journall for four or five days, and then home to supper and read a little, and to bed. W. Hewer tells me to-day that he hears that the King of France hath declared in print, that he do intend this next summer to forbid his Commanders to strike —[Strike topsails]— to us, but that both we and the Dutch shall strike to him; and that he hath made his captains swear it already, that they will observe it: which is a great thing if he do it, as I know nothing to hinder him.

  1. This reminds us of the famous reply, ‘Laissez nous affaire’, made to Colbert by the French merchants, whose interests he thought to promote by laws and regulations. — B.

Monday 21 December 1668

My own coach carrying me and my boy Tom, who goes with me in the room of W. Hewer, who could not, and I dare not go alone, to the Temple, and there set me down, the first time my fine horses ever carried me, and I am mighty proud of them, and there took a hackney and to White Hall, where a Committee of Tangier, but little to do, and so away home, calling at the Exchange and buying several little things, and so home, and there dined with my wife and people and then she, and W. Hewer, and I by appointment out with our coach, but the old horses, not daring yet to use the others too much, but only to enter them, and to the Temple, there to call Talbot Pepys, and took him up, and first went into Holborne, and there saw the woman that is to be seen with a beard. She is a little plain woman, a Dane: her name, Ursula Dyan; about forty years old; her voice like a little girl’s; with a beard as much as any man I ever saw, black almost, and grizly; they offered to shew my wife further satisfaction if she desired it, refusing it to men that desired it there, but there is no doubt but by her voice she is a woman; it begun to grow at about seven years old, and was shaved not above seven months ago, and is now so big as any man’s almost that ever I saw; I say, bushy and thick. It was a strange sight to me, I confess, and what pleased me mightily. Thence to the Duke’s playhouse, and saw “Macbeth.” The King and Court there; and we sat just under them and my Lady Castlemayne, and close to the woman that comes into the pit, a kind of a loose gossip, that pretends to be like her, and is so, something. And my wife, by my troth, appeared, I think, as pretty as any of them; I never thought so much before; and so did Talbot and W. Hewer, as they said, I heard, to one another. The King and Duke of York minded me, and smiled upon me, at the handsome woman near me but it vexed me to see Moll Davis, in the box over the King’s and my Lady Castlemayne’s head, look down upon the King, and he up to her; and so did my Lady Castlemayne once, to see who it was; but when she saw her, she looked like fire; which troubled me. The play done, took leave of Talbot, who goes into the country this Christmas, and so we home, and there I to work at the office late, and so home to supper and to bed.

Wednesday 23 December 1668

Met at the Office all the morning, and at noon to the ‘Change, and there met with Langford and Mr. Franke, the landlord of my father’s house in Fleet Streete, and are come to an arbitration what my father shall give him to be freed of his lease and building the house again. Walked up and down the ‘Change, and among others discoursed with Sir John Bankes, who thinks this prorogation will please all but the Parliament itself, which will, if ever they meet, be vexed at Buckingham, who yet governs all. He says the Nonconformists are glad of it, and, he believes, will get the upperhand in a little time, for the King must trust to them or nobody; and he thinks the King will be forced to it. He says that Sir D. Gawden is mightily troubled at Pen’s being put upon him, by the Duke of York, and that he believes he will get clear of it, which, though it will trouble me to have Pen still at the Office, yet I shall think D. Gawden do well in it, and what I would advise him to, because I love him. So home to dinner, and then with my wife alone abroad, with our new horses, the beautifullest almost that ever I saw, and the first time they ever carried her, and me but once; but we are mighty proud of them. To her tailor’s, and so to the ‘Change, and laid out three or four pounds in lace, for her and me; and so home, and there I up to my Lord Brouncker, at his lodgings, and sat with him an hour, on purpose to talk over the wretched state of this Office at present, according to the present hands it is made up of; wherein he do fully concur with me, and that it is our part not only to prepare for defending it and ourselves, against the consequences of it, but to take the best ways we can, to make it known to the Duke of York; for, till Sir J. Minnes be removed, and a sufficient man brought into W. Pen’s place, when he is gone, it is impossible for this Office ever to support itself. So home, and to supper and to bed.

Thursday 24 December 1668

A cold day. Up, and to the Office, where all the morning alone at the Office, nobody meeting, being the eve of Christmas. At noon home to dinner, and then to the Office busy, all the afternoon, and at night home to supper, and it being now very cold, and in hopes of a frost, I begin this night to put on a waistcoat, it being the first winter in my whole memory that ever I staid till this day before I did so. So to bed in mighty good humour with my wife, but sad, in one thing, and that is for my poor eyes.

Friday 25 December 1668

(Christmas-day). Up, and continued on my waistcoat, the first day this winter, and I to church, where Alderman Backewell, coming in late, I beckoned to his lady to come up to us, who did, with another lady; and after sermon, I led her down through the church to her husband and coach, a noble, fine woman, and a good one, and one my wife shall be acquainted with. So home, and to dinner alone with my wife, who, poor wretch! sat undressed all day, till ten at night, altering and lacing of a noble petticoat: while I by her, making the boy read to me the Life of Julius Caesar, and Des Cartes’ book of Musick — the latter of which I understand not, nor think he did well that writ it, though a most learned man. Then, after supper, I made the boy play upon his lute, which I have not done twice before since he come to me; and so, my mind in mighty content, we to bed.

Saturday 26 December 1668

Lay long with pleasure, prating with my wife, and then up, and I a little to the Office, and my head busy setting some papers and accounts to rights, which being long neglected because of my eyes will take me up much time and care to do, but it must be done. So home at noon to dinner, and then abroad with my wife to a play, at the Duke of York’s house, the house full of ordinary citizens. The play was “Women Pleased,” which we had never seen before; and, though but indifferent, yet there is a good design for a good play. So home, and there to talk, and my wife to read to me, and so to bed.

Sunday 27 December 1668

(Lord’s day). Walked to White Hall and there saw the King at chapel; but staid not to hear anything, but went to walk in the Park, with W. Hewer, who was with me; and there, among others, met with Sir G. Downing, and walked with him an hour, talking of business, and how the late war was managed, there being nobody to take care of it, and telling how, when he was in Holland, what he offered the King to do, if he might have power, and they would give him power, and then, upon the least word, perhaps of a woman, to the King, he was contradicted again, and particularly to the loss of all that we lost in Guinny. He told me that he had so good spies, that he hath had the keys taken out of De Witt’s pocket when he was a-bed, and his closet opened, and papers brought to him, and left in his hands for an hour, and carried back and laid in the place again, and keys put into his pocket again. He says that he hath always had their most private debates, that have been but between two or three of the chief of them, brought to him in an hour after, and an hour after that, hath sent word thereof to the King, but nobody here regarded them. But he tells me the sad news, that he is out of all expectations that ever the debts of the Navy will be paid, if the Parliament do not enable the King to do it by money; all they can hope for to do out of the King’s revenue being but to keep our wheels a-going on present services, and, if they can, to cut off the growing interest: which is a sad story, and grieves me to the heart. So home, my coach coming for me, and there find Balty and Mr. How, who dined with me; and there my wife and I fell out a little about the foulness of the linen of the table, but were friends presently, but she cried, poor heart! which I was troubled for, though I did not give her one hard word. Dinner done, she to church, and W. How and I all the afternoon talking together about my Lord Sandwich’s suffering his business of the prizes to be managed by Sir R. Cuttance, who is so deep in the business, more than my Lord knows of, and such a loggerhead, and under such prejudice, that he will, we doubt, do my Lord much wrong. In the evening, he gone, my wife to read to me and talk, and spent the evening with much pleasure, and so to supper and to bed.

Monday 28 December 1668

Up, called up by drums and trumpets; these things and boxes [??] having cost me much money this Christmas already, and will do more. My wife down by water to see her mother, and I with W. Hewer all day together in my closet making some advance in the settling of my accounts, which have been so long unevened that it troubles me how to set them right, having not the use of my eyes to help me. My wife at night home, and tells me how much her mother prays for me and is troubled for my eyes; and I am glad to have friendship with them, and believe they are truly glad to see their daughter come to live so well as she do. So spent the night in talking, and so to supper and to bed.

Tuesday 29 December 1668

Up, and at the Office all the morning, and at noon to dinner, and there, by a pleasant mistake, find my uncle and aunt Wight, and three more of their company, come to dine with me to-day, thinking that they had been invited, which they were not; but yet we did give them a pretty good dinner, and mighty merry at the mistake. They sat most of the afternoon with us, and then parted, and my wife and I out, thinking to have gone to a play, but it was too far begun, and so to the ‘Change, and there she and I bought several things, and so home, with much pleasure talking, and then to reading, and so to supper and to bed.

Wednesday 30 December 1668

Up, and vexed a little to be forced to pay 40s. for a glass of my coach, which was broke the other day, nobody knows how, within the door, while it was down; but I do doubt that I did break it myself with my knees. After dinner, my wife and I to the Duke’s playhouse, and there did see King Harry the Eighth; and was mightily pleased, better than I ever expected, with the history and shows of it. We happened to sit by Mr. Andrews, our neighbour, and his wife, who talked so fondly to his little boy. Thence my wife and I to the ‘Change; but, in going, our neere horse did fling himself, kicking of the coachbox over the pole; and a great deal of trouble it was to get him right again, and we forced to ‘light, and in great fear of spoiling the horse, but there was no hurt. So to the ‘Change, and then home, and there spent the evening talking, and so to supper and to bed.

Thursday 31 December 1668

Up, and at the Office all the morning. At noon Capt. Ferrers and Mr. Sheres come to me to dinner, who did, and pretty pleased with their talk of Spayne; but my wife did not come down, I suppose because she would not, Captain Ferrers being there, to oblige me by it. They gone, after dinner, I to the office, and then in the evening home, being the last day of the year, to endeavour to pay all bills and servants’ wages, &c., which I did almost to 5l. that I know that I owe in the world, but to the publique; and so with great pleasure to supper and to bed, and, blessed be God! the year ends, after some late very great sorrow with my wife by my folly, yet ends, I say, with great mutual peace and content, and likely to last so by my care, who am resolved to enjoy the sweet of it, which I now possess, by never giving her like cause of trouble. My greatest trouble is now from the backwardness of my accounts, which I have not seen the bottom of now near these two years, so that I know not in what condition I am in the world, but by the grace of God, as far as my eyes will give me leave, I will do it.