Saturday 17 April 1669
Up, and to the office, where all the morning. At noon at home to dinner, and there find Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, and he dined with us; and there hearing that “The Alchymist” was acted, we did go, and took him with us to the King’s house; and it is still a good play, having not been acted for two or three years before; but I do miss Clun, for the Doctor. But more my eyes will not let me enjoy the pleasure I used to have in a play. Thence with my wife in hackney to Sir W. Coventry’s, who being gone to the Park we drove after him, and there met him coming out, and followed him home, and there sent my wife to Unthanke’s while I spent an hour with him reading over first my draught of the Administration of the Navy, which he do like very well; and so fell to talk of other things, and among the rest of the story of his late disgrace, and how basely and in what a mean manner the Duke of Buckingham hath proceeded against him — not like a man of honour. He tells me that the King will not give other answer about his coming to kiss his hands, than “Not yet.” But he says that this that he desires, of kissing the King’s hand, is only to show to the world that he is not discontented, and not in any desire to come again into play, though I do perceive that he speaks this with less earnestness than heretofore: and this, it may be, is, from what he told me lately, that the King is offended at what is talked, that he hath declared himself desirous not to have to do with any employment more. But he do tell me that the leisure he hath yet had do not at all begin to be burdensome to him, he knowing how to spend his time with content to himself; and that he hopes shortly to contract his expence, so as that he shall not be under any straits in that respect neither; and so seems to be in very good condition of content.
Thence I away over the Park, it being now night, to White Hall, and there, in the Duchess’s chamber, do find the Duke of York; and, upon my offer to speak with him, he did come to me, and withdrew to his closet, and there did hear and approve my paper of the Administration of the Navy, only did bid me alter these words, “upon the rupture between the late King and the Parliament,” to these, “the beginning of the late Rebellion;” giving it me as but reason to shew that it was with the Rebellion that the Navy was put by out of its old good course, into that of a Commission. Having done this, we fell to other talk; he with great confidence telling me how matters go among our adversaries, in reference to the Navy, and that he thinks they do begin to flag; but then, beginning to talk in general of the excellency of old constitutions, he did bring out of his cabinet, and made me read it, an extract out of a book of my late Lord of Northumberland’s, so prophetic of the business of Chatham, as is almost miraculous. I did desire, and he did give it me to copy out, which pleased me mightily, and so, it being late, I away and to my wife, and by hackney; home, and there, my eyes being weary with reading so much: but yet not so much as I was afeard they would, we home to supper and to bed.