Thursday 26 March 1668
Up betimes to the office, where by and by my Lord Brouncker and I met and made an end of our business betimes. So I away with him to Mrs. Williams’s, and there dined, and thence I alone to the Duke of York’s house, to see the new play, called “The Man is the Master,” where the house was, it being not above one o’clock, very full. But my wife and Deb. being there before, with Mrs. Pierce and Corbet and Betty Turner, whom my wife carried with her, they made me room; and there I sat, it costing me 8s. upon them in oranges, at 6d. a-piece. By and by the King come; and we sat just under him, so that I durst not turn my back all the play. The play is a translation out of French, and the plot Spanish, but not anything extraordinary at all in it, though translated by Sir W. Davenant, and so I found the King and his company did think meanly of it, though there was here and there something pretty: but the most of the mirth was sorry, poor stuffe, of eating of sack posset and slabbering themselves, and mirth fit for clownes; the prologue but poor, and the epilogue little in it but the extraordinariness of it, it being sung by Harris and another in the form of a ballet. Thence, by agreement, we all of us to the Blue Balls, hard by, whither Mr. Pierce also goes with us, who met us at the play, and anon comes Manuel, and his wife, and Knepp, and Harris, who brings with him Mr. Banister, the great master of musique; and after much difficulty in getting of musique, we to dancing, and then to a supper of some French dishes, which yet did not please me, and then to dance and sing; and mighty merry we were till about eleven or twelve at night, with mighty great content in all my company, and I did, as I love to do, enjoy myself in my pleasure as being the height of what we take pains for and can hope for in this world, and therefore to be enjoyed while we are young and capable of these joys. My wife extraordinary fine to-day, in her flower tabby suit, bought a year and more ago, before my mother’s death put her into mourning, and so not worn till this day: and every body in love with it; and indeed she is very fine and handsome in it. I having paid the reckoning, which come to almost 4l., we parted: my company and William Batelier, who was also with us, home in a coach, round by the Wall, where we met so many stops by the Watches, that it cost us much time and some trouble, and more money, to every Watch, to them to drink; this being encreased by the trouble the ’prentices did lately give the City, so that the Militia and Watches are very strict at this time; and we had like to have met with a stop for all night at the Constable’s watch, at Mooregate, by a pragmatical Constable; but we come well home at about two in the morning, and so to bed.
This noon, from Mrs. Williams’s, my Lord Brouncker sent to Somersett House to hear how the Duchess of Richmond do; and word was brought him that she is pretty well, but mighty full of the smallpox, by which all do conclude she will be wholly spoiled, which is the greatest instance of the uncertainty of beauty that could be in this age; but then she hath had the benefit of it to be first married, and to have kept it so long, under the greatest temptations in the world from a King, and yet without the least imputation.
This afternoon, at the play, Sir Fr. Hollis spoke to me as a secret, and matter of confidence in me, and friendship to Sir W. Pen, who is now out of town, that it were well he were made acquainted that he finds in the House of Commons, which met this day, several motions made for the calling strictly again upon the Miscarriages, and particularly in the business of the Prises, and the not prosecuting of the first victory, only to give an affront to Sir W. Pen, whose going to sea this year do give them matter of great dislike. So though I do not much trouble myself for him, yet I am sorry that he should have this fall so unhappily without any fault, but rather merit of his own that made him fitter for this command than any body else, and the more for that this business of his may haply occasion their more eager pursuit against the whole body of the office.