Up: and to the Office, where all the morning, and then home, and put a mouthfull of victuals in my mouth; and by a hackney-coach followed my wife and the girls, who are gone by eleven o’clock, thinking to have seen a new play at the Duke of York’s house. But I do find them staying at my tailor’s, the play not being to-day, and therefore I now took them to Westminster Abbey, and there did show them all the tombs very finely, having one with us alone, there being other company this day to see the tombs, it being Shrove Tuesday; and here we did see, by particular favour, the body of Queen Katherine of Valois; and I had the upper part of her body in my hands, and I did kiss her mouth, reflecting upon it that I did kiss a Queen,1 and that this was my birth-day, thirty-six years old, that I did first kiss a Queen. But here this man, who seems to understand well, tells me that the saying is not true that says she was never buried, for she was buried; only, when Henry the Seventh built his chapel, it was taken up and laid in this wooden coffin; but I did there see that, in it, the body was buried in a leaden one, which remains under the body to this day. Thence to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and there, finding the play begun, we homeward to the Glass-House, and there shewed my cozens the making of glass, and had several things made with great content; and, among others, I had one or two singing-glasses made, which make an echo to the voice, the first that ever I saw; but so thin, that the very breath broke one or two of them. So home, and thence to Mr. Batelier’s, where we supped, and had a good supper, and here was Mr. Gumbleton; and after supper some fiddles, and so to dance; but my eyes were so out of order, that I had little pleasure this night at all, though I was glad to see the rest merry, and so about midnight home and to bed.
- Pepys’s attachment to the fair sex extended even to a dead queen. The record of this royal salute on his natal day is very characteristic. The story told him in Westminster Abbey appears to have been correct; for Neale informs us (“History of Westminster Abbey,” vol. ii., p. 88) that near the south side of Henry V.’s tomb there was formerly a wooden chest, or coffin, wherein part of the skeleton and parched body of Katherine de Valois, his queen (from the waist upwards), was to be seen. She was interred in January, 1457, in the Chapel of Our Lady, at the east end of this church; but when that building was pulled down by her grandson, Henry VII., her coffin was found to be decayed, and her body was taken up, and placed in a chest, near her first husband’s tomb. “There,” says Dart, “it hath ever since continued to be seen, the bones being firmly united, and thinly clothed with flesh, like scrapings of tanned leather.” This awful spectacle of frail mortality was at length removed from the public gaze into St. Nicholas’s Chapel, and finally deposited under the monument of Sir George Villiers, when the vault was made for the remains of Elizabeth Percy, Duchess of Northumberland, in December, 1776. — B. ↩