Saturday 4 July 1663
At St. James’s we staid while the Duke made himself ready. Among other things Sir Allen Apsley showed the Duke the Lisbon Gazette in Spanish, where the late victory is set down particularly, and to the great honour of the English beyond measure. They have since taken back Evora, which was lost to the Spaniards, the English making the assault, and lost not more than three men.
Here I learnt that the English foot are highly esteemed all over the world, but the horse not so much, which yet we count among ourselves the best; but they abroad have had no great knowledge of our horse, it seems.
The Duke being ready, we retired with him, and there fell upon Mr. Creed’s business, where the Treasurer did, like a mad coxcomb, without reason or method run over a great many things against the account, and so did Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten, which the Duke himself and Mr. Coventry and my Lord Barkely and myself did remove, and Creed being called in did answer all with great method and excellently to the purpose (myself I am a little conscious did not speak so well as I purposed and do think I used to do, that is, not so intelligibly and persuasively, as I well hoped I should), not that what I said was not well taken, and did carry the business with what was urged and answered by Creed and Mr. Coventry, till the Duke himself did declare that he was satisfied, and my Lord Barkely offered to lay 100l. that the King would receive no wrong in the account, and the two last knights held their tongues, or at least by not understanding it did say what made for Mr. Creed, and so Sir G. Carteret was left alone, but yet persisted to say that the account was not good, but full of corruption and foul dealing. And so we broke up to his shame, but I do fear to the loss of his friendship to me a good while, which I am heartily troubled for.
Thence with Creed to the King’s Head ordinary; but, coming late, dined at the second table very well for 12d.; and a pretty gentleman in our company, who confirms my Lady Castlemaine’s being gone from Court, but knows not the reason; he told us of one wipe the Queen a little while ago did give her, when she came in and found the Queen under the dresser’s hands, and had been so long:
“I wonder your Majesty,” says she, “can have the patience to sit so long a-dressing?” — “I have so much reason to use patience,” says the Queen, “that I can very well bear with it.” He thinks that it may be the Queen hath commanded her to retire, though that is not likely.
Thence with Creed to hire a coach to carry us to Hide Park, to-day there being a general muster of the King’s Guards, horse and foot: but they demand so high, that I, spying Mr. Cutler the merchant, did take notice of him, and he going into his coach, and telling me that he was going to shew a couple of Swedish strangers the muster, I asked and went along with him.
Where a goodly sight to see so many fine horses and officers, and the King, Duke, and others come by a-horseback, and the two Queens in the Queen-Mother’s coach, my Lady Castlemaine not being there. And after long being there, I ’light, and walked to the place where the King, Duke, &c., did stand to see the horse and foot march by and discharge their guns, to show a French Marquisse (for whom this muster was caused) the goodness of our firemen; which indeed was very good, though not without a slip now and then; and one broadside close to our coach we had going out of the Park, even to the nearness as to be ready to burn our hairs. Yet methought all these gay men are not the soldiers that must do the King’s business, it being such as these that lost the old King all he had, and were beat by the most ordinary fellows that could be.
Thence with much ado out of the Park, and I ‘lighted and through St. James’s down the waterside over, to Lambeth, to see the Archbishop’s corps (who is to be carried away to Oxford on Monday), but came too late, and so walked over the fields and bridge home (calling by the way at old George’s), but find that he is dead, and there wrote several letters, and so home to supper and to bed.
This day in the Duke’s chamber there being a Roman story in the hangings, and upon the standards written these four letters — S.P.Q.R., Sir G. Carteret came to me to know what the meaning of those four letters were; which ignorance is not to be borne in a Privy Counsellor, methinks, that a schoolboy should be whipt for not knowing.