Monday 29 December 1662
Up and walked to Whitehall, where the Duke and Mr. Coventry being gone forth I went to Westminster Hall , where I staid reading at Mrs. Mitchell’s shop, and sent for half a pint of sack for her. Here she told me what I heard not of before, the strange burning of Mr. De Laun, a merchant’s house in Loathbury, and his lady (Sir Thomas Allen’s daughter) and her whole family; not one thing, dog nor cat, escaping; nor any of the neighbours almost hearing of it till the house was quite down and burnt. How this should come to pass, God knows, but a most strange thing it is! Hither came Jack Spicer to me, and I took him to the Swan, where Mr. Herbert did give me my breakfast of cold chine of pork; and here Spicer and I talked of Exchequer matters, and how the Lord Treasurer hath now ordered all monies to be brought into the Exchequer, and hath settled the King’s revenue, and given to every general expence proper assignments; to the Navy 200,000l. and odd. He also told me of the great vast trade of the goldsmiths in supplying the King with money at dear rates.
Thence to White Hall, and got up to the top gallerys in the Banquetting House, to see the audience of the Russia Embassadors; which [took place] after long waiting and fear of the falling of the gallery (it being so full, and part of it being parted from the rest, for nobody to come up merely from the weakness thereof): and very handsome it was. After they were come in, I went down and got through the croude almost as high as the King and the Embassadors, where I saw all the presents, being rich furs, hawks, carpets, cloths of tissue, and sea-horse teeth. The King took two or three hawks upon his fist, having a glove on, wrought with gold, given him for the purpose. The son of one of the Embassadors was in the richest suit for pearl and tissue, that ever I did see, or shall, I believe. After they and all the company had kissed the King’s hand, then the three Embassadors and the son, and no more, did kiss the Queen’s. One thing more I did observe, that the chief Embassador did carry up his master’s letters in state before him on high; and as soon as he had delivered them, he did fall down to the ground and lay there a great while. After all was done, the company broke up; and I spent a little while walking up and down the gallery seeing the ladies, the two Queens, and the Duke of Monmouth with his little mistress, which is very little, and like my brother-in-law’s wife. So with Mr. Creed to the Harp and Ball, and there meeting with Mr. How, Goodgroom, and young Coleman, did drink and talk with them, and I have almost found out a young gentlewoman for my turn, to wait on my wife, of good family and that can sing. Thence I went away, and getting a coach went home and sat late talking with my wife about our entertaining Dr. Clerke’s lady and Mrs. Pierce shortly, being in great pain that my wife hath never a winter gown, being almost ashamed of it, that she should be seen in a taffeta one; when all the world wears moyre;1 so to prayers and to bed, but we could not come to any resolution what to do therein, other than to appear as she is.