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.

5 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"we got into a blind hole in the 18d. place, above stairs"

BLIND : out of the way, private, obscure (L&M Select Glossary)

We've all sat in such a place in a theatre, stadium or arena.

Chris Squire   Link to this

‘blind a. . . III. Transferred. 6. a. Enveloped in darkness; dark, obscure. arch.
. . 1666 S. Pepys Diary 26 Sept. (1972) VII. 296 The little blind bed-chamber.

. . 8. a. Out of sight, out of the way, secret, obscure, privy. Cf. blind alley n.
. . 1661 S. Pepys Diary 15 Oct. (1970) II. 195 To Paul's churchyard to a blind place, where Mrs. Goldsborough was to meet me.’ [OED]

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

Intriguing that Sam takes almost as much space discussing the play as he gives to a serious falling-out with Middleton.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Sir H. Cholmly betimes with me, about some accounts and moneys due to him"

L&M note for his work on the Tangier mole.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"the storm W. Hewer and I have long expected from the Surveyor"

I infer from the L&M note on the grounds for the unseemly shouting-match and power-struggle, the store-keeper at Chatham must have been at odds with Hewer and had threatened to appeal to Middleton.

Pepys started an inquiry at once, declaring in writing 11 December to Thomas Wilson, Chatham Clerk of the Cheque, when asking for evidence of what Hewer had done: "I desire you by noe means to with=hold any light from me that would informe me in this matter; For as I shall give him my utmost protection while he is innocent, Soe Ile be found the forwardest of the Board in the promoteing of his punishment when he shall be found blamable." [I've read that aloud phonetically.]

The Board will vindicate Hewer; Middleton will burn his letter in their presence.

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