Thursday 10 December 1663
Up, pretty well, the weather being become pretty warm again, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and I confess having received so lately a token from Mrs. Russell, I did find myself concerned for our not buying some tallow of her (which she bought on purpose yesterday most unadvisedly to her great losse upon confidence of putting it off to us). So hard it is for a man not to be warped against his duty and master’s interest that receives any bribe or present, though not as a bribe, from any body else. But she must be contented, and I to do her a good turn when I can without wrong to the King’s service.
Then home to dinner (and did drink a glass of wine and beer, the more for joy that this is the shortest day in the year, —[Old Style]— which is a pleasant consideration) with my wife. She in bed but pretty well, and having a messenger from my brother, that he is not well nor stirs out of doors, I went forth to see him, and found him below, he has not been well, but is not ill. I found him taking order for the distribution of Mrs. Ramsey’s coals, a thing my father for many years did, and now he after him, which I was glad to see, as also to hear that Mr. Wheatly begins to look after him. I hope it is about his daughter.
Thence to St. Paul’s Church Yard, to my bookseller’s, and having gained this day in the office by my stationer’s bill to the King about 40s. or 3l., I did here sit two or three hours calling for twenty books to lay this money out upon, and found myself at a great losse where to choose, and do see how my nature would gladly return to laying out money in this trade. I could not tell whether to lay out my money for books of pleasure, as plays, which my nature was most earnest in; but at last, after seeing Chaucer, Dugdale’s History of Paul’s, Stows London, Gesner, History of Trent, besides Shakespeare, Jonson, and Beaumont’s plays, I at last chose Dr. Fuller’s Worthys, the Cabbala or Collections of Letters of State, and a little book, Delices de Hollande, with another little book or two, all of good use or serious pleasure: and Hudibras, both parts, the book now in greatest fashion for drollery, though I cannot, I confess, see enough where the wit lies. My mind being thus settled, I went by linke home, and so to my office, and to read in Rushworth; and so home to supper and to bed.
Calling at Wotton’s, my shoemaker’s, today, he tells me that Sir H. Wright is dying; and that Harris is come to the Duke’s house again; and of a rare play to be acted this week of Sir William Davenant’s: the story of Henry the Eighth with all his wives.