Friday 11 December 1663
Up and abroad toward the Wardrobe, and going out Mr. Clerke met me to tell me that Field has a writ against me in this last business of 30l. 10s., and that he believes he will get an execution against me this morning, and though he told me it could not be well before noon, and that he would stop it at the Sheriff’s, yet it is hard to believe with what fear I did walk and how I did doubt at every man I saw and do start at the hearing of one man cough behind my neck. I to the Wardrobe and there missed Mr. Moore. So to Mr. Holden’s and evened all reckonings there for hats, and then walked to Paul’s Churchyard and after a little at my bookseller’s and bought at a shop Cardinall Mazarin’s Will in French. I to the Coffeehouse and there among others had good discourse with an Iron Merchant, who tells me the great evil of discouraging our natural manufacture of England in that commodity by suffering the Swede to bring in three times more than ever they did and our owne Ironworks be lost, as almost half of them, he says, are already. Then I went and sat by Mr. Harrington, and some East country merchants, and talking of the country about Quinsborough, and thereabouts, he told us himself that for fish, none there, the poorest body, will buy a dead fish, but must be alive, unless it be in winter; and then they told us the manner of putting their nets into the water. Through holes made in the thick ice, they will spread a net of half a mile long; and he hath known a hundred and thirty and a hundred and seventy barrels of fish taken at one draught. And then the people come with sledges upon the ice, with snow at the bottome, and lay the fish in and cover them with snow, and so carry them to market. And he hath seen when the said fish have been frozen in the sledge, so as that he hath taken a fish and broke a-pieces, so hard it hath been; and yet the same fishes taken out of the snow, and brought into a hot room, will be alive and leap up and down. Swallows are often brought up in their nets out of the mudd from under water, hanging together to some twigg or other, dead in ropes, and brought to the fire will come to life. Fowl killed in December (Alderman Barker said) he did buy, and putting into the box under his sledge, did forget to take them out to eate till Aprill next, and they then were found there, and were through the frost as sweet and fresh and eat as well as at first killed. Young beares are there; their flesh sold in market as ordinarily as beef here, and is excellent sweet meat. They tell us that beares there do never hurt any body, but fly away from you, unless you pursue and set upon them; but wolves do much mischief. Mr. Harrington told us how they do to get so much honey as they send abroad. They make hollow a great fir-tree, leaving only a small slitt down straight in one place, and this they close up again, only leave a little hole, and there the bees go in and fill the bodys of those trees as full of wax and honey as they can hold; and the inhabitants at times go and open the slit, and take what they please without killing the bees, and so let them live there still and make more. Fir trees are always planted close together, because of keeping one another from the violence of the windes; and when a fell is made, they leave here and there a grown tree to preserve the young ones coming up. The great entertainment and sport of the Duke of Corland, and the princes thereabouts, is hunting; which is not with dogs as we, but he appoints such a day, and summons all the country-people as to a campagnia; and by several companies gives every one their circuit, and they agree upon a place where the toyle is to be set; and so making fires every company as they go, they drive all the wild beasts, whether bears, wolves, foxes, swine, and stags, and roes, into the toyle; and there the great men have their stands in such and such places, and shoot at what they have a mind to, and that is their hunting. They are not very populous there, by reason that people marry women seldom till they are towards or above thirty; and men thirty or forty years old, or more oftentimes.
Against a publique hunting the Duke sends that no wolves be killed by the people; and whatever harm they do, the Duke makes it good to the person that suffers it: as Mr. Harrington instanced in a house where he lodged, where a wolfe broke into a hog-stye, and bit three or four great pieces off the back of the hog, before the house could come to helpe it (it calling, and that did give notice to the people of the house); and the man of the house told him that there were three or four wolves thereabouts that did them great hurt; but it was no matter, for the Duke was to make it good to him, otherwise he would kill them.
Hence home and upstairs, my wife keeping her bed, and had a very good dinner, and after dinner to my office, and there till late busy. Among other things Captain Taylor came to me about his bill for freight, and besides that I found him contented that I have the 30l. I got, he do offer me to give me 6l. to take the getting of the bill paid upon me, which I am ready to do, but I am loath to have it said that I ever did it. However, I will do him the service to get it paid if I can and stand to his courtesy what he will give me.
Late to supper home, and to my great joy I have by my wife’s good advice almost brought myself by going often and leisurely to the stool that I am come almost to have my natural course of stool as well as ever, which I pray God continue to me.