1 Annotation

First Reading

Dr. Bunny Paine-Clemes  •  Link

Lord John Butler (1643-1647), the seventh son of the first Duke of Ormond, was a serious suitor for the hand of Betty Mallet when he was in his twenty-second and twenty-third year. He left Ireland to come to London in the spring of 1665, when she was visiting there with her guardians; and it may safely be presumed he came to court her. In May of that year Lord Rochester abducted her from her guardians but was thrown into the Tower. In July of that year the Duke of Ormond sent an emissary, one Nicholls, to the West Country to arrange a marriage match between Betty and Lord John. Graham Greene, who narrates the story, based on an account in the Diary, said that the lady begged to see in a letter that Lord John had written and had "a deal of wit, and affection for the Lord John." Betty's mother and stepfather, in the absence of her grandfather Lord Hawley, said they would not be "circumvented" and refused to let the Lord John come to Somerset to court Betty. As the entry on February 4, 1667, shows, she ended by marrying Rochester, and his many biographers speculate about when she fell in love with him or he, with her. That they were in love when they married is not in doubt. Lord Butler may have been carrying a torch most of his young life: he didn't marry until 1676 and died shortly thereafter, having been just created Earl of Gowan.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.



  • Feb