On 02 Feb 1650 Nell Gwyn Actor 1650-1687 was born.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 03 April 1665. 03 Apr 1665. Up and to the Duke of Albemarle (56) and White Hall, where much business.
Thence home and to dinner, and then with Creed, my wife, and Mercer to a play at the Duke's, of my Lord Orrery's (43), called "Mustapha", which being not good, made Betterton's (29) part and Ianthe's (28) but ordinary too, so that we were not contented with it at all.
Thence home and to the office a while, and then home to supper and to bed. All the pleasure of the play was, the King (34) and my Baroness Castlemayne (24) were there; and pretty witty Nell (15), [Nell Gwynne] at the King's house, and the younger Marshall sat next us; which pleased me mightily.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 08 December 1666. 08 Dec 1666. Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon home to dinner, and there find Mr. Pierce and his wife and Betty, a pretty girle, who in discourse at table told me the great Proviso passed the House of Parliament yesterday; which makes the King (36) and Court mad, the King (36) having given order to my Lord Chamberlain (64) to send to the playhouses and bawdy houses, to bid all the Parliament-men that were there to go to the Parliament presently. This is true, it seems; but it was carried against the Court by thirty or forty voices. It is a Proviso to the Poll Bill, that there shall be a Committee of nine persons that shall have the inspection upon oath, and power of giving others, of all the accounts of the money given and spent for this warr. This hath a most sad face, and will breed very ill blood. He tells me, brought in by Sir Robert Howard (40), who is one of the King's servants, at least hath a great office, and hath got, they say, £20,000 since the King (36) come in.
Mr. Pierce did also tell me as a great truth, as being told it by Mr. Cowly (48), who was by, and heard it, that Tom Killigrew (54) should publiquely tell the King (36) that his matters were coming into a very ill state; but that yet there was a way to help all, which is, says he, "There is a good, honest, able man, that I could name, that if your Majesty would employ, and command to see all things well executed, all things would soon be mended; and this is one Charles Stuart (36), who now spends his time in employing his lips [Note. Another version includes 'and his prick'] .... about the Court, and hath no other employment; but if you would give him this employment, he were the fittest man in the world to perform it". This, he says, is most true; but the King (36) do not profit by any of this, but lays all aside, and remembers nothing, but to his pleasures again; which is a sorrowful consideration.
Very good company we were at dinner, and merry, and after dinner, he being gone about business, my wife and I and Mrs. Pierce and Betty and Balty (26), who come to see us to-day very sick, and went home not well, together out, and our coach broke the wheel off upon Ludgate Hill. So we were fain to part ourselves and get room in other people's coaches, and Mrs. Pierce and I in one, and I carried her home and set her down, and myself to the King's playhouse, which troubles me since, and hath cost me a forfeit of 10s., which I have paid, and there did see a good part of "The English Monsiuer", which is a mighty pretty play, very witty and pleasant. And the women do very well; but, above all, little Nelly (16); that I am mightily pleased with the play, and much with the House, more than ever I expected, the women doing better than ever I expected, and very fine women. Here I was in pain to be seen, and hid myself; but, as God would have it, Sir John Chichly (26) come, and sat just by me.
Thence to Mrs. Pierce's, and there took up my wife and away home, and to the office and Sir W. Batten's (65), of whom I hear that this Proviso in Parliament is mightily ill taken by all the Court party as a mortal blow, and that, that strikes deep into the King's prerogative, which troubles me mightily.
Home, and set some papers right in my chamber, and then to supper and to bed, we being in much fear of ill news of our colliers. A fleete of two hundred sail, and fourteen Dutch men-of-war between them and us and they coming home with small convoy; and the City in great want, coals being at £3 3s. per chaldron, as I am told. I saw smoke in the ruines this very day.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 23 January 1667. 23 Jan 1667. Up, and with Sir W. Batten (66) and Sir W. Pen (45) to White Hall, and there to the Duke of York (33), and did our usual business. Having done there, I to St. James's, to see the organ Mrs. Turner (44) told me of the other night, of my late Lord Aubigney's (47); and I took my Lord Bruncker (47) with me, he being acquainted with my present Lord Almoner, Mr. Howard (38), brother to the Duke of Norfolke (38); so he and I thither and did see the organ, but I do not like it, it being but a bauble, with a virginal! joining to it: so I shall not meddle with it.
Here we sat and talked with him a good while, and he seems a good-natured gentleman: here I observed the deske which he hath, [made] to remove, and is fastened to one of the armes of his chayre. I do also observe the counterfeit windows there was, in the form of doors with looking-glasses instead of windows, which makes the room seem both bigger and lighter, I think; and I have some thoughts to have the like in one of my rooms. He discoursed much of the goodness of the musique in Rome, but could not tell me how long musique had been in any perfection in that church, which I would be glad to know. He speaks much of the great buildings that this Pope1, whom, in mirth to us, he calls Antichrist, hath done in his time.
Having done with the discourse, we away, and my Lord and I walking into the Park back again, I did observe the new buildings: and my Lord, seeing I had a desire to see them, they being the place for the priests and Fryers, he took me back to my Lord Almoner (38); and he took us quite through the whole house and chapel, and the new monastery, showing me most excellent pieces in wax-worke: a crucifix given by a Pope to Mary Queen of Scotts, where a piece of the Cross is2 two bits set in the manner of a cross in the foot of the crucifix: several fine pictures, but especially very good prints of holy pictures. I saw the dortoire [dormitory] and the cells of the priests, and we went into one; a very pretty little room, very clean, hung with pictures, set with books. The Priest was in his cell, with his hair clothes to his skin, bare-legged, with a sandal! only on, and his little bed without sheets, and no feather bed; but yet, I thought, soft enough. His cord about his middle; but in so good company, living with ease, I thought it a very good life. A pretty library they have. And I was in the refectoire, where every man his napkin, knife, cup of earth, and basin of the same; and a place for one to sit and read while the rest are at meals. And into the kitchen I went, where a good neck of mutton at the fire, and other victuals boiling. I do not think they fared very hard. Their windows all looking into a fine garden and the Park; and mighty pretty rooms all. I wished myself one of the Capuchins. !Having seen what we could here, and all with mighty pleasure, so away with the Almoner (38) in his coach, talking merrily about the difference in our religions, to White Hall, and there we left him. I in my Lord Bruncker's (47) coach, he carried me to the Savoy, and there we parted. I to the Castle Tavern, where was and did come all our company, Sir W. Batten (66), Sir W. Pen (45), Sir R. Ford (53), and our Counsel Sir Ellis Layton, Walt Walker, Dr. Budd, Mr. Holder, and several others, and here we had a bad dinner of our preparing, and did discourse something of our business of our prizes, which was the work of the day.
I staid till dinner was over, and there being no use of me I away after dinner without taking leave, and to the New Exchange, there to take up my wife and Mercer, and to Temple Bar to the Ordinary, and had a dish of meat for them, they having not dined, and thence to the King's house, and there saw "The Numerous Lieutenant", a silly play, I think; only the Spirit in it that grows very tall, and then sinks again to nothing, having two heads breeding upon one, and then Knipp's singing, did please us. Here, in a box above, we spied Mrs. Pierce; and, going out, they called us, and so we staid for them; and Knipp took us all in, and brought to us Nelly (16); a most pretty woman, who acted the great part of Coelia to-day very fine, and did it pretty well: I kissed her, and so did my wife; and a mighty pretty soul she is. We also saw Mrs. Halls which is my little Roman-nose black girl, that is mighty pretty: she is usually called Betty. Knipp made us stay in a box and see the dancing preparatory to to-morrow for "The Goblins", a play of Suckling's (58), not acted these twenty-five years; which was pretty; and so away thence, pleased with this sight also, and specially kissing of Nell (16).
We away, Mr. Pierce and I, on foot to his house, the women by coach. In our way we find the Guards of horse in the street, and hear the occasion to be news that the seamen are in a mutiny, which put me into a great fright; so away with my wife and Mercer home preparing against to-morrow night to have Mrs. Pierce and Knipp and a great deal more company to dance; and, when I come home, hear of no disturbance there of the seamen, but that one of them, being arrested to-day, others do go and rescue him.
So to the office a little, and then home to supper, and to my chamber awhile, and then to bed.
1. Fabio Chigi, of Siena, succeeded Innocent X. in 1655 as Alexander VII He died May, 1667, and was succeeded by Clement IX.
2. Pieces of "the Cross" were formerly held in such veneration, and were so common, that it has been often said enough existed to build a ship. Most readers will remember the distinction which Sir W. Scott represents Louis XI (with great appreciation of that monarch's character), as drawing between an oath taken on a false piece and one taken on a piece of the true cross. Sir Thomas More, a very devout believer in relics, says ("Works", p. 119), that Luther wished, in a sermon of his, that he had in his hand all the pieces of the Holy Cross; and said that if he so had, he would throw them there as never sun should shine on them:—and for what worshipful reason would the wretch do such villainy to the cross of Christ? Because, as he saith, that there is so much gold now bestowed about the garnishing of the pieces of the Cross, that there is none left for poore folke. Is not this a high reason? As though all the gold that is now bestowed about the pieces of the Holy Cross would not have failed to have been given to poor men, if they had not been bestowed about the garnishing of the Cross! and as though there were nothing lost, but what is bestowed about Christ's Cross!" "Wolsey, says Cavendish, on his fall, gave to Norris, who brought him a ring of gold as a token of good will from Henry, "a little chaine of gold, made like a bottle chain, with a cross of gold, wherein was a piece of the Holy Cross, which he continually wore about his neck, next his body; and said, furthermore, 'Master Norris, I assure you, when I was in prosperity, although it seem but small in value, yet I would not gladly have departed with the same for a thousand pounds.'" Life, ed. 1852, p. 167. Evelyn mentions, "Diary", November 17th, 1664, that he saw in one of the chapels in St. Peter's a crucifix with a piece of the true cross in it. Amongst the jewels of Mary Queen (28) of Scots was a cross of gold, which had been pledged to Hume of Blackadder for £1000 (Chalmers's "Life", vol. i., p. 31 ). B.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 March 1667. 02 Mar 1667. Up, and to the office, where sitting all the morning, and among other things did agree upon a distribution of £30,000 and odd, which is the only sum we hear of like to come out of all the Poll Bill for the use of this office for buying of goods. I did herein some few courtesies for particular friends I wished well to, and for the King's service also, and was therefore well pleased with what was done.
Sir W. Pen (45) this day did bring an order from the Duke of York (33) for our receiving from him a small vessel for a fireship, and taking away a better of the King's for it, it being expressed for his great service to the King (36). This I am glad of, not for his sake, but that it will give me a better ground, I believe, to ask something for myself of this kind, which I was fearful to begin. This do make Sir W. Pen (45) the most kind to me that can be. I suppose it is this, lest it should find any opposition from me, but I will not oppose, but promote it.
After dinner, with my wife, to the King's house to see "The Mayden Queene", a new play of Dryden's (35), mightily commended for the regularity of it, and the strain and wit; and, the truth is, there is a comical part done by Nell (17)1, which is Florimell, that I never can hope ever to see the like done again, by man or woman. The King (36) and Duke of York (33) were at the play. But so great performance of a comical part was never, I believe, in the world before as Nell (17) do this, both as a mad girle, then most and best of all when she comes in like a young gallant; and hath the notions and carriage of a spark the most that ever I saw any man have. It makes me, I confess, admire her.
Thence home and to the office, where busy a while, and then home to read the lives of Henry 5th and 6th, very fine, in Speede, and to bed. This day I did pay a bill of £50 from my father, being so much out of my own purse gone to pay my uncle Robert's legacy to my aunt Perkins's child.
1. "Her skill increasing with her years, other poets sought to obtain recommendations of her wit and beauty to the success of their writings. I have said that Dryden (35) was one of the principal supporters of the King's house, and ere long in one of his new plays a principal character was set apart for the popular comedian. The drama was a tragi-comedy called 'Secret Love, or the Maiden Queen,' and an additional interest was attached to its production from the King (36) having suggested the plot to its author, and calling it 'his play.'"—Cunningham's Story of Nell Gwyn (17), ed: 1892, pp. 38,39.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 07 March 1667. 07 Mar 1667. So up, and to the office, my head full of Carcasse's business; then hearing that Knipp is at my house, I home, and it was about a ticket for a friend of hers. I do love the humour of the jade very well.
So to the office again, not being able to stay, and there about noon my Lord Bruncker (47) did begin to talk of Carcasse's business. Only Commissioner Pett (56), my Lord, and I there, and it was pretty to see how Pett hugged the occasion of having anything against Sir W. Batten (66), which I am not much troubled at, for I love him not neither. Though I did really endeavour to quash it all I could, because I would prevent their malice taking effect. My Lord I see is fully resolved to vindicate Carcasse, though to the undoing of Sir W. Batten (66), but I believe he will find himself in a mistake, and do himself no good, and that I shall be glad of, for though I love the treason I hate the traitor. But he is vexed at my moving it to the Duke of York (33) yesterday, which I answered well, so as I think he could not answer. But, Lord! it is pretty to see how Pett hugs this business, and how he favours my Lord Bruncker (47); who to my knowledge hates him, and has said more to his disadvantage, in my presence, to the King (36) and Duke of York (33) than any man in England, and so let them thrive one with another by cheating one another, for that is all I observe among them.
Thence home late, and find my wife hath dined, and she and Mrs. Hewer going to a play. Here was Creed, and he and I to Devonshire House, to a burial of a kinsman of Sir R. Viner's (36); and there I received a ring, and so away presently to Creed, who staid for me at an alehouse hard by, and thence to the Duke's playhouse, where he parted, and I in and find my wife and Mrs. Hewer, and sat by them and saw "The English Princesse, or Richard the Third"; a most sad, melancholy play, and pretty good; but nothing eminent in it, as some tragedys are; only little Mis. Davis did dance a jig after the end of the play, and there telling the next day's play; so that it come in by force only to please the company to see her dance in boy's 'clothes; and, the truth is, there is no comparison between Nell's (17) dancing the other day at the King's house in boy's clothes and this, this being infinitely beyond the other. Mere was Mr. Clerke (44) and Pierce, to whom one word only of "How do you", and so away home, Mrs. Hewer with us, and I to the office and so to Sir W. Batten's (66), and there talked privately with him and Sir W. Pen (45) about business of Carcasse against tomorrow, wherein I think I did give them proof enough of my ability as well as friendship to Sir W. Batten (66), and the honour of the office, in my sense of the rogue's business.
So back to finish my office business, and then home to supper, and to bed. This day, Commissioner Taylor come to me for advice, and would force me to take ten pieces in gold of him, which I had no mind to, he being become one of our number at the Board. This day was reckoned by all people the coldest day that ever was remembered in England; and, God knows! coals at a very great price.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 25 March 1667. 25 Mar 1667. Ladyday. Up, and with Sir W. Batten (66) and Sir W. Pen (45) by coach to Exeter House to our lawyers to have consulted about our trial to-morrow, but missed them, so parted, and Sir W. Pen (45) and I to Mr. Povy's (53) about a little business of Sir W. Pen's (45), where we went over Mr. Povy's (53) house, which lies in the same good condition as ever, which is most extraordinary fine, and he was now at work with a cabinet-maker, making of a new inlaid table. Having seen his house, we away, having in our way thither called at Mr. Lilly's (48), who was working; and indeed his pictures are without doubt much beyond Mr. Hales's (67), I think I may say I am convinced: but a mighty proud man he is, and full of state.
So home, and to the office, and by and by to dinner, a poor dinner, my wife and I, at Sir W. Pen's (45), and then he and I before to Exeter House, where I do not stay, but to the King's playhouse; and by and by comes Mr. Lowther (26) and his wife (16) and mine, and into a box, forsooth, neither of them being dressed, which I was almost ashamed of. Sir W. Pen (45) and I in the pit, and here saw "The Mayden Queene" again; which indeed the more I see the more I like, and is an excellent play, and so done by Nell (17), her merry part, as cannot be better done in nature, I think.
Thence home, and there I find letters from my brother, which tell me that yesterday when he wrote my mother did rattle in the throat so as they did expect every moment her death, which though I have a good while expected did much surprise me, yet was obliged to sup at Sir W. Pen's (45) and my wife, and there counterfeited some little mirth, but my heart was sad, and so home after supper and to bed, and much troubled in my sleep of my being crying by my mother's bedside, laying my head over hers and crying, she almost dead and dying, and so waked, but what is strange, methought she had hair over her face, and not the same kind of face as my mother really hath, but yet did not consider that, but did weep over her as my mother, whose soul God have mercy of.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 01 May 1667. 01 May 1667. Up, it being a fine day, and after doing a little business in my chamber I left my wife to go abroad with W. Hewer (25) and his mother in a Hackney coach incognito to the Park, while I abroad to the Excise Office first, and there met the Cofferer (63) and Sir Stephen Fox (40) about our money matters there, wherein we agreed, and so to discourse of my Lord Treasurer (60), who is a little better than he was of the stone, having rested a little this night. I there did acquaint them of my knowledge of that disease, which I believe will be told my Lord Treasurer (60).
Thence to Westminster; in the way meeting many milk-maids with their garlands upon their pails, dancing with a fiddler before them1 and saw pretty Nelly (17) standing at her lodgings' door in Drury-lane in her smock sleeves and bodice, looking upon one: she seemed a mighty pretty creature. To the Hall and there walked a while, it being term. I thence home to the Rose, and then had Doll Lane venir para me.... [Missing text: 'but it was in a lugar mighty ouvert, so as we no poda hazer algo; so parted and then met again at the Swan, where for la misma reason we no pode hazer, but put off to recontrar anon, which I only used as a put-off;']. To my Lord Crew's (69), where I found them at dinner, and among others. Mrs. Bocket, which I have not seen a long time, and two little dirty children, and she as idle a prating and impertinent woman as ever she was.
After dinner my Lord took me alone and walked with me, giving me an account of the meeting of the Commissioners for Accounts, whereof he is one. How some of the gentlemen, Garraway (50), Littleton (46), and others, did scruple at their first coming there, being called thither to act, as Members of Parliament, which they could not do by any authority but that of Parliament, and therefore desired the King's direction in it, which was sent for by my Lord Bridgewater (43), who brought answer, very short, that the King (36) expected they should obey his Commission. Then they went on, and observed a power to be given them of administering and framing an oath, which they thought they could not do by any power but Act of Parliament; and the whole Commission did think fit to have the judges' opinion in it; and so, drawing up their scruples in writing, they all attended the King (36), who told them he would send to the judges to be answered, and did so; who have, my Lord tells me, met three times about it, not knowing what answer to give to it; and they have met this week, doing nothing but expecting the solution of the judges in this point. My Lord tells me he do believe this Commission will do more hurt than good; it may undo some accounts, if these men shall think fit; but it can never clear an account, for he must come into the Exchequer for all this. Besides, it is a kind of inquisition that hath seldom ever been granted in England; and he believes it will never, besides, give any satisfaction to the People or Parliament, but be looked upon as a forced, packed business of the King (36), especially if these Parliament-men that are of it shall not concur with them: which he doubts they will not, and, therefore, wishes much that the King (36) would lay hold of this fit occasion, and let the Commission fall.
Then to talk of my Lord Sandwich (41), whom my Lord Crew (69) hath a great desire might get to be Lord Treasurer (60) if the present Lord should die, as it is believed he will, in a little time; and thinks he can have no competitor but my Lord Arlington (49), who, it is given out, desires it: but my Lord thinks it is not so, for that the being Secretary do keep him a greater interest with the King (36) than the other would do at least, do believe, that if my Lord would surrender him his Wardrobe place, it would be a temptation to Arlington (49) to assist my Lord in getting the Treasurer's. I did object to my Lord [Crew] (69) that it would be no place of content, nor safety, nor honour for my Lord, the State being so indigent as it is, and the [King] so irregular, and those about him, that my Lord must be forced to part with anything to answer his warrants; and that, therefore, I do believe the King (36) had rather have a man that may be one of his vicious caball, than a sober man that will mind the publick, that so they may sit at cards and dispose of the revenue of the Kingdom. This my Lord was moved at, and said he did not indeed know how to answer it, and bid me think of it; and so said he himself would also do. He do mightily cry out of the bad management of our monies, the King (36) having had so much given him; and yet, when the Parliament do find that the King (36) should have £900,000 in his purse by the best account of issues they have yet seen, yet we should report in the Navy a debt due from the King (36) of £900,000; which, I did confess, I doubted was true in the first, and knew to be true in the last, and did believe that there was some great miscarriages in it: which he owned to believe also, saying, that at this rate it is not in the power of the Kingdom to make a war, nor answer the King's wants.
Thence away to the King's playhouse, by agreement met Sir W. Pen (46), and saw "Love in a Maze" but a sorry play: only Lacy's (52) clowne's part, which he did most admirably indeed; and I am glad to find the rogue at liberty again. Here was but little, and that ordinary, company. We sat at the upper bench next the boxes; and I find it do pretty well, and have the advantage of seeing and hearing the great people, which may be pleasant when there is good store. Now was only Prince Rupert (47) and my Lord Lauderdale (50), and my Lord, the naming of whom puts me in mind of my seeing, at Sir Robert Viner's (36), two or three great silver flagons, made with inscriptions as gifts of the King (36) to such and such persons of quality as did stay in town the late great plague, for the keeping things in order in the town, which is a handsome thing. But here was neither Hart (41), Nell (17), nor Knipp; therefore, the play was not likely to please me.
Thence Sir W. Pen (46) and I in his coach, Tiburne way, into the Park, where a horrid dust, and number of coaches, without pleasure or order. That which we, and almost all went for, was to see my Lady Newcastle (44); which we could not, she being followed and crowded upon by coaches all the way she went, that nobody could come near her; only I could see she was in a large black coach, adorned with silver instead of gold, and so white curtains, and every thing black and white, and herself in her cap, but other parts I could not make [out]. But that which I did see, and wonder at with reason, was to find Pegg Pen (16) in a new coach, with only her husband's (26) pretty sister (18) with her, both patched and very fine, and in much the finest coach in the park, and I think that ever I did see one or other, for neatness and richness in gold, and everything that is noble. My Baroness Castlemayne (26), the King (36), my Lord St. Albans (62), nor Mr. Jermyn, have so neat a coach, that ever I saw.
And, Lord! to have them have this, and nothing else that is correspondent, is to me one of the most ridiculous sights that ever I did see, though her present dress was well enough; but to live in the condition they do at home, and be abroad in this coach, astonishes me. When we had spent half an hour in the Park, we went out again, weary of the dust, and despairing of seeing my Lady Newcastle (44); and so back the same way, and to St. James's, thinking to have met my Lady Newcastle (44) before she got home, but we staying by the way to drink, she got home a little before us: so we lost our labours, and then home; where we find the two young ladies come home, and their patches off, I suppose Sir W. Pen (46) do not allow of them in his sight, and going out of town to-night, though late, to Walthamstow.
So to talk a little at Sir W. Batten's (66), and then home to supper, where I find Mrs. Hewer and her son, who have been abroad with my wife in the Park, and so after supper to read and then to bed.
Sir W. Pen (46) did give me an account this afternoon of his design of buying Sir Robert Brooke's (30) fine house at Wansted; which I so wondered at, and did give him reasons against it, which he allowed of: and told me that he did intend to pull down the house and build a less, and that he should get £1500 by the old house, and I know not what fooleries. But I will never believe he ever intended to buy it, for my part; though he troubled Mr. Gawden to go and look upon it, and advise him in it.
1. On the 1st of May milkmaids used to borrow silver cups, tankards, &c., to hang them round their milkpails, with the addition of flowers and ribbons, which they carried upon their heads, accompanied by a bagpipe or fiddle, and went from door to door, dancing before the houses of their customers, in order to obtain a small gratuity from each of them. "In London thirty years ago, When pretty milkmaids went about, It was a goodly sight to see Their May-day pageant all drawn out. "Such scenes and sounds once blest my eyes And charm'd my ears; but all have vanish'd, On May-day now no garlands go, For milkmaids and their dance are banish'd". Hone's Every-Day Book, vol. i., pp. 569, 570.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 24 May 1667. 24 May 1667. Up, and to the office, where, by and by, by appointment, we met upon Sir W. Warren's accounts, wherein I do appear in every thing as much as I can his enemy, though not so far but upon good conditions from him I may return to be his friend, but I do think it necessary to do what I do at present. We broke off at noon without doing much, and then home, where my wife not well, but yet engaged by invitation to go with Sir W. Pen (46). I got her to go with him by coach to Islington to the old house, where his lady (43) and Madam Lowther (16), with her exceeding fine coach and mean horses, and her mother-in-law, did meet us, and two of Mr. Lowther's (26) brothers, and here dined upon nothing but pigeon-pyes, which was such a thing for him to invite all the company to, that I was ashamed of it. But after dinner was all our sport, when there come in a juggler, who, indeed, did shew us so good tricks as I have never seen in my life, I think, of legerdemaine, and such as my wife hath since seriously said that she would not believe but that he did them by the help of the devil. Here, after a bad dinner, and but ordinary company, saving that I discern good parts in one of the sons, who, methought, did take me up very prettily in one or two things that I said, and I was so sensible of it as to be a caution to me hereafter how I do venture to speak more than is necessary in any company, though, as I did now, I do think them incapable to censure me. We broke up, they back to Walthamstow, and only my wife and I and Sir W. Pen (46) to the King's playhouse, and there saw "The Mayden Queene" which, though I have often seen, yet pleases me infinitely, it being impossible, I think, ever to have the Queen's (28) part, which is very good and passionate, and Florimel's part, which is the most comicall that ever was made for woman, ever done better than they two are by young Marshall and Nelly (17).
Home, where I spent the evening with my father and wife, and late at night some flagillette with my wife, and then to supper and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 13 July 1667. 13 Jul 1667. Up pretty betimes, it being mighty hot weather, I lying this night, which I have not done, I believe, since a boy, I am sure not since I had the stone before, with only a rugg and a sheet upon me. To my chamber, and my wife up to do something, and by chance we fell out again, but I to the office, and there we did at the board much business, though the most was the dividing of £5000 which the Lords Commissioners have with great difficulty found upon our letter to them this week that would have required £50,000 among a great many occasions.
After rising, my Lord Anglesey (53), this being the second time of his being with us, did take me aside and asked me where I lived, because he would be glad to have some discourse with me. This I liked well enough, and told him I would wait upon him, which I will do, and so all broke up, and I home to dinner, where Mr. Pierce dined with us, who tells us what troubles me, that my Lord Buckhurst (24) hath got Nell (17) away from the King's house, lies with her, and gives her £100 a year, so as she hath sent her parts to the house, and will act no more1.
And yesterday Sir Thomas Crew (43) told me that Lacy (52) lies a-dying of the pox, and yet hath his whore by him, whom he will have to look on, he says, though he can do no more; nor would receive any ghostly advice from a Bishop, an old acquaintance of his, that went to see him. He says there is a strangeness between the King (37) and my Baroness Castlemayne (26), as I was told yesterday.
After dinner my wife and I to the New Exchange, to pretty maid Mrs. Smith's shop, where I left my wife, and I to Sir W. Coventry (39), and there had the opportunity of talk with him, who I perceive do not like our business of the change of the Treasurer's hand, and he tells me that he is entered the lists with this new Treasurer before the King (37) in taking away the business of the Victualling money from his hand, and the Regiment, and declaring that he hath no right to the 3d. per by his patent, for that it was always heretofore given by particular Privy Seal, and that the King (37) and Council just upon his coming in had declared £2000 a year sufficient. This makes him angry, but Sir W. Coventry (39) I perceive cares not, but do every day hold up his head higher and higher, and this day I have received an order from the Commissioners of the Treasury to pay no more pensions for Tangier, which I am glad of, and he tells me they do make bold with all things of that kind.
Thence I to White Hall, and in the street I spied Mrs. Borroughs, and took a means to meet and salute her and talk a little, and then parted, and I home by coach, taking up my wife at the Exchange, and there I am mightily pleased with this Mrs. Smith, being a very pleasant woman.
So home, and resolved upon going to Epsum tomorrow, only for ayre, and got Mrs. Turner (44) to go with us, and so home and to supper (after having been at the office) and to bed. It is an odd and sad thing to say, that though this be a peace worse than we had before, yet every body's fear almost is, that the Dutch will not stand by their promise, now the King (37) hath consented to all they would have. And yet no wise man that I meet with, when he comes to think of it, but wishes, with all his heart, a war; but that the King (37) is not a man to be trusted with the management of it. It was pleasantly said by a man in this City, a stranger, to one that told him that the peace was concluded, "Well", says he, "and have you a peace?"—"Yes", says the other.—"Why, then", says he, "hold your peace!" partly reproaching us with the disgracefulness of it, that it is not fit to be mentioned; and next, that we are not able to make the Dutch keep it, when they have a mind to break it. Sir Thomas Crew (43) yesterday, speaking of the King of France (28), how great a man he is, why, says he, all the world thought that when the last Pope died, there would have been such bandying between the Crowns of France and Spain, whereas, when he was asked what he would have his ministers at Rome do, why, says he, let them choose who they will; if the Pope will do what is fit, the Pope and I will be friends. If he will not, I will take a course with him: therefore, I will not trouble myself; and thereupon the election was despatched in a little time—I think in a day, and all ended2.
1. Lord Buckhurst (24) and Nell Gwyn (17), with the help of Sir Charles Sedley (28), kept "merry house" at Epsom next door to the King's Head Inn (see Cunningham's "Story of Nell Gwyn", ed. 1892, p. 57).
2. Of Clement IX., Giulio Rispogliosi, elected June 20th, 1667, N.S. He was succeeded by Clement X. in 1670.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 14 July 1667. 14 Jul 1667. Lord's Day. Up, and my wife, a little before four, and to make us ready; and by and by Mrs. Turner (44) come to us, by agreement, and she and I staid talking below, while my wife dressed herself, which vexed me that she was so long about it keeping us till past five o'clock before she was ready. She ready; and, taking some bottles of wine, and beer, and some cold fowle with us into the coach, we took coach and four horses, which I had provided last night, and so away.
A very fine day, and so towards Epsum, talking all the way pleasantly, and particularly of the pride and ignorance of Mrs. Lowther, in having of her train carried up? The country very fine, only the way very dusty. We got to Epsum by eight o'clock, to the well; where much company, and there we 'light, and I drank the water: they did not, but do go about and walk a little among the women, but I did drink four pints, and had some very good stools by it. Here I met with divers of our town, among others with several of the tradesmen of our office, but did talk but little with them, it growing hot in the sun, and so we took coach again and to the towne, to the King's Head, where our coachman carried us, and there had an ill room for us to go into, but the best in the house that was not taken up. Here we called for drink, and bespoke dinner; and hear that my Lord Buckhurst (24) and Nelly (17) are lodged at the next house, and Sir Charles Sidly (28) with them and keep a merry house. Poor girl (17)! I pity her; but more the loss of her at the King's house. Here I saw Gilsthrop, Sir W. Batten's (66) clerk that hath been long sick, he looks like a dying man, with a consumption got, as is believed, by the pox, but God knows that the man is in a sad condition, though he finds himself much better since his coming thither, he says. W. Hewer (25) rode with us, and I left him and the women, and myself walked to church, where few people, contrary to what I expected, and none I knew, but all the Houblons, brothers, and them after sermon I did salute, and walk with towards my inne, which was in their way to their lodgings. They come last night to see their elder brother, who stays here at the waters, and away to-morrow. James (37) did tell me that I was the only happy man of the Navy, of whom, he says, during all this freedom the people have taken of speaking treason, he hath not heard one bad word of me, which is a great joy to me; for I hear the same of others, but do know that I have deserved as well as most. We parted to meet anon, and I to my women into a better room, which the people of the house borrowed for us, and there to dinner, a good dinner, and were merry, and Pendleton come to us, who happened to be in the house, and there talked and were merry.
After dinner, he gone, we all lay down after dinner (the day being wonderful hot) to sleep, and each of us took a good nap, and then rose; and Tom Wilson come to see me, and sat and talked an hour; and I perceive he hath been much acquainted with Dr. Fuller (59) (Tom) and Dr. Pierson (54), and several of the great cavalier parsons during the late troubles; and I was glad to hear him talk of them, which he did very ingeniously, and very much of Dr. Fuller's (59) art of memory, which he did tell me several instances of.
By and by he parted, and we took coach and to take the ayre, there being a fine breeze abroad; and I went and carried them to the well, and there filled some bottles of water to carry home with me; and there talked with the two women that farm the well, at £12 per annum, of the lord of the manor, Mr. Evelyn (50) (who with his lady, and also my Lord George Barkeley's (39) lady, and their fine daughter (17), that the King of France (28) liked so well, and did dance so rich in jewells before the King (37) at the Ball I was at, at our Court, last winter, and also their son (18), a Knight of the Bath, were at church this morning).
Here W. Hewer's (25) horse broke loose, and we had the sport to see him taken again. Then I carried them to see my cozen Pepys's (91) house, and 'light, and walked round about it, and they like it, as indeed it deserves, very well, and is a pretty place; and then I walked them to the wood hard by, and there got them in the thickets till they had lost themselves, and I could not find the way into any of the walks in the wood, which indeed are very pleasant, if I could have found them. At last got out of the wood again; and I, by leaping down the little bank, coming out of the wood, did sprain my right foot, which brought me great present pain, but presently, with walking, it went away for the present, and so the women and W. Hewer (25) and I walked upon the Downes, where a flock of sheep was; and the most pleasant and innocent sight that ever I saw in my life—we find a shepherd and his little boy reading, far from any houses or sight of people, the Bible to him; so I made the boy read to me, which he did, with the forced tone that children do usually read, that was mighty pretty, and then I did give him something, and went to the father, and talked with him; and I find he had been a servant in my cozen Pepys's house, and told me what was become of their old servants. He did content himself mightily in my liking his boy's reading, and did bless God for him, the most like one of the old patriarchs that ever I saw in my life, and it brought those thoughts of the old age of the world in my mind for two or three days after. We took notice of his woolen knit stockings of two colours mixed, and of his shoes shod with iron shoes, both at the toe and heels, and with great nails in the soles of his feet, which was mighty pretty: and, taking notice of them, "Why", says the poor man, "the downes, you see, are full of stones, and we are faine to shoe ourselves thus; and these", says he, "will make the stones fly till they sing before me". I did give the poor man something, for which he was mighty thankful, and I tried to cast stones with his horne crooke. He values his dog mightily, that would turn a sheep any way which he would have him, when he goes to fold them: told me there was about eighteen scoare sheep in his flock, and that he hath four shillings a week the year round for keeping of them: so we posted thence with mighty pleasure in the discourse we had with this poor man, and Mrs. Turner (44), in the common fields here, did gather one of the prettiest nosegays that ever I saw in my life.
So to our coach, and through Mr. Minnes's wood, and looked upon Mr. Evelyn's (50) house; and so over the common, and through Epsum towne to our inne, in the way stopping a poor woman with her milk-pail, and in one of my gilt tumblers did drink our bellyfulls of milk, better than any creame; and so to our inne, and there had a dish of creame, but it was sour, and so had no pleasure in it; and so paid our reckoning, and took coach, it being about seven at night, and passed and saw the people walking with their wives and children to take the ayre, and we set out for home, the sun by and by going down, and we in the cool of the evening all the way with much pleasure home, talking and pleasing ourselves with the pleasure of this day's work, Mrs. Turner (44) mightily pleased with my resolution, which, I tell her, is never to keep a country-house, but to keep a coach, and with my wife on the Saturday to go sometimes for a day to this place, and then quit to another place; and there is more variety and as little charge, and no trouble, as there is in a country-house.
Anon it grew dark, and as it grew dark we had the pleasure to see several glow-wormes, which was mighty pretty, but my foot begins more and more to pain me, which Mrs. Turner (44), by keeping her warm hand upon it, did much ease; but so that when we come home, which was just at eleven at night, I was not able to walk from the lane's end to my house without being helped, which did trouble me, and therefore to bed presently, but, thanks be to God, found that I had not been missed, nor any business happened in my absence.
So to bed, and there had a cerecloth laid to my foot and leg alone, but in great pain all night long.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 22 August 1667. 22 Aug 1667. Up, and to the office; whence Lord Bruncker (47), J. Minnes (68), W. Pen (46), and I, went to examine some men that are put in there, for rescuing of men that were pressed into the service: and we do plainly see that the desperate condition that we put men into for want of their pay, makes them mad, they being as good men as ever were in the world, and would as readily serve the King (37) again, were they but paid. Two men leapt overboard, among others, into the Thames, out of the vessel into which they were pressed, and were shot by the soldiers placed there to keep them, two days since; so much people do avoid the King's service! And then these men are pressed without money, and so we cannot punish them for any thing, so that we are forced only to make a show of severity by keeping them in prison, but are unable to punish them.
Returning to the office, did ask whether we might visit Commissioner Pett (57), to which, I confess, I have no great mind; and it was answered that he was close prisoner, and we could not; but the Lieutenant of the Tower would send for him to his lodgings, if we would: so we put it off to another time. Returned to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon to Captain Cocke's (50) to dinner; where Lord Bruncker (47) and his Lady, Matt. Wren (38), and Bulteale, and Sir Allen Apsly (51); the last of whom did make good sport, he being already fallen under the retrenchments of the new Committee, as he is Master Falconer1 which makes him mad, and swears that we are doing that the Parliament would have done—that is, that we are now endeavouring to destroy one another. But it was well observed by some at the table, that they do not think this retrenching of the King's charge will be so acceptable to the Parliament, they having given the King (37) a revenue of so many £100,000's a-year more than his predecessors had, that he might live in pomp, like a king.
After dinner with my Lord Bruncker (47) and his mistress to the King's playhouse, and there saw "The Indian Emperour"; where I find Nell (17) come again, which I am glad of; but was most infinitely displeased with her being put to act the Emperour's daughter; which is a great and serious part, which she do most basely. The rest of the play, though pretty good, was not well acted by most of them, methought; so that I took no great content in it. But that, that troubled me most was, that Knipp sent by Moll to desire to speak to me after the play; and she beckoned to me at the end of the play, and I promised to come; but it was so late, and I forced to step to Mrs. Williams's lodgings with my Lord Bruncker (47) and her, where I did not stay, however, for fear of her shewing me her closet, and thereby forcing me to give her something; and it was so late, that for fear of my wife's coming home before me, I was forced to go straight home, which troubled me.
Home and to the office a little, and then home and to my chamber to read, and anon, late, comes home my wife, with Mr. Turner and Mrs. Turner (44), with whom she supped, having been with Mrs. Turner (44) to-day at her daughter's school, to see her daughters dancing, and the rest, which she says is fine. They gone, I to supper and to bed. My wife very fine to-day, in her new suit of laced cuffs and perquisites. This evening Pelling comes to me, and tells me that this night the Dutch letters are come, and that the peace was proclaimed there the 19th inst., and that all is finished; which, for my life, I know not whether to be glad or sorry for, a peace being so necessary, and yet the peace is so bad in its terms.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 26 August 1667. 26 Aug 1667. Up, and Greeting come, and I reckoned with him for his teaching of my wife and me upon the flageolet to this day, and so paid him for having as much as he can teach us.
Then to the office, where we sat upon a particular business all the morning: and my Lord Anglesey (53) with us: who, and my Lord Bruncker (47), do bring us news how my Chancellor's (58) seal is to be taken away from him to-day. The thing is so great and sudden to me, that it put me into a very great admiration what should be the meaning of it; and they do not own that they know what it should be: but this is certain, that the King (37) did resolve it on Saturday, and did yesterday send the Duke of Albemarle (58), the only man fit for those works, to him for his purse: to which the Chancellor (58) answered, that he received it from the King (37), and would deliver it to the King's own hand, and so civilly returned the Duke of Albemarle (58) without it; and this morning my Chancellor (58) is to be with the King (37), to come to an end in the business. After sitting, we rose, and my wife being gone abroad with Mrs. Turner (44) to her washing at the whitster's, I dined at Sir W. Batten's (66), where Mr. Boreman was, who come from White Hall; who tells us that he saw my Chancellor (58) come in his coach with some of his men, without his Seal, to White Hall to his chamber; and thither the King (37) and Duke of York (33) come and staid together alone, an hour or more: and it is said that the King (37) do say that he will have the Parliament meet, and that it will prevent much trouble by having of him out of their enmity, by his place being taken away; for that all their enmity will be at him. It is said also that my Chancellor (58) answers, that he desires he may be brought to his trial, if he have done any thing to lose his office; and that he will be willing, and is most desirous, to lose that, and his head both together. Upon what terms they parted nobody knows but the Chancellor (58) looked sad, he says. Then in comes Sir Richard Ford (53), and says he hears that there is nobody more presses to reconcile the King (37) and Chancellor (58) than the Duke of Albemarle (58) and Duke of Buckingham (39): the latter of which is very strange, not only that he who was so lately his enemy should do it, but that this man, that but the other day was in danger of losing his own head, should so soon come to be a mediator for others: it shows a wise Government. They all say that he [Clarendon] is but a poor man, not worth above £3000 a-year in land; but this I cannot believe: and all do blame him for having built so great a house, till he had got a better estate. Having dined, Sir J. Minnes (68) and I to White Hall, where we could be informed in no more than we were told before, nobody knowing the result of the meeting, but that the matter is suspended. So I walked to the King's playhouse, there to meet Sir W. Pen (46), and saw "The Surprizall", a very mean play, I thought: or else it was because I was out of humour, and but very little company in the house. But there Sir W. Pen (46) and I had a great deal of discourse with Moll; who tells us that Nell (17) is already left by my Lord Buckhurst (24), and that he makes sport of her, and swears she hath had all she could get of him; and Hart1, her great admirer, now hates her; and that she is very poor, and hath lost my Baroness Castlemayne (26), who was her great friend also but she is come to the House, but is neglected by them all2.
Thence with Sir W. Pen (46) home, and I to the office, where late about business, and then home to supper, and so to bed.
1. Charles Hart, great-nephew of Shakespeare, a favourite actor. He is credited with being Nell Gwyn's (17) first lover (or Charles I, as the wits put it), and with having brought her on the stage. He died of stone, and was buried at Stanmore Magna, Middlesex, where he had a country house.
2. Lord Buckhurst's (24) liaison with Nell Gwyn probably came to an end about this time. We learn from Pepys that in January, 1667-68, the King (37) sent several times for Nelly (17) (see January 11th, 1667-68). Nell's eldest son by Charles II, [her illegitimate son] Charles Beauclerc, was not born till May 8th, 1670. He was created Earl of Burford in 1676 and Duke of St. Albans in 1684.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 05 October 1667. 05 Oct 1667. Up, and to the Office; and there all the morning; none but my Lord Anglesey (53) and myself; but much surprized with the news of the death of Sir W. Batten (66), who died this morning, having been but two days sick. Sir W. Pen (46) and I did dispatch a letter this morning to Sir W. Coventry (39), to recommend Colonel Middleton, who we think a most honest and understanding man, and fit for that place. Sir G. Carteret (57) did also come this morning, and walked with me in the garden; and concluded not to concern [himself] or have any advice made to Sir W. Coventry (39), in behalf of my Lord Sandwich's (42) business; so I do rest satisfied, though I do think they are all mad, that they will judge Sir W. Coventry (39) an enemy, when he is indeed no such man to any body, but is severe and just, as he ought to be, where he sees things ill done.
At noon home, and by coach to Temple Bar to a India shop, and there bought a gown and sash, which cost me 26s., and so she [Mrs. Pepys] and Willet away to the 'Change, and I to my Lord Crew (69), and there met my Lord Hinchingbrooke (19) and Lady Jemimah, and there dined with them and my Lord, where pretty merry, and after dinner my Lord Crew (69) and Hinchingbroke and myself went aside to discourse about my Lord Sandwich's (42) business, which is in a very ill state for want of money, and so parted, and I to my tailor's, and there took up my wife and Willet, who staid there for me, and to the Duke of York's playhouse, but the house so full, it being a new play, "The Coffe House", that we could not get in, and so to the King's house: and there, going in, met with Knepp, and she took us up into the tireing-rooms: and to the women's shift, where Nell (17) was dressing herself, and was all unready, and is very pretty, prettier than I thought.
And so walked all up and down the house above, and then below into the scene-room, and there sat down, and she gave us fruit and here I read the questions to Knepp, while she answered me, through all her part of "Flora's Figary's", which was acted to-day. But, Lord! to see how they were both painted would make a man mad, and did make me loath them; and what base company of men comes among them, and how lewdly they talk! and how poor the men are in clothes, and yet what a shew they make on the stage by candle-light, is very observable. But to see how Nell (17) cursed, for having so few people in the pit, was pretty; the other house carrying away all the people at the new play, and is said, now-a-days, to have generally most company, as being better players.
By and by into the pit, and there saw the play, which is pretty good, but my belly was full of what I had seen in the house, and so, after the play done, away home, and there to the writing my letters, and so home to supper and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 26 October 1667. 26 Oct 1667. Up, and we met all this morning at Sir W. Pen's (46) roome, the office being fowle with the altering of our garden door. There very busy, and at noon home, where Mrs. Pierce and her daughter's husband and Mr. Corbet dined with me. I had a good dinner for them, and mighty merry. Pierce and I very glad at the fate of the officers of Ordnance, that they are like to have so much blame on them. Here Mrs. Pierce tells me that the two Marshalls at the King's house are Stephen Marshall's, the great Presbyterian's daughters: and that Nelly (17) and Beck Marshall, falling out the other day, the latter called the other my Lord Buckhurst's (24) whore. Nell answered then, "I was but one man's whore, though I was brought up in a bawdy-house to fill strong waters to the guests; and you are a whore to three or four, though a Presbyter's praying daughter!" which was very pretty. Mrs. Pierce is still very pretty, but paints red on her face, which makes me hate her, that I thank God I take no pleasure in her at all more.
After much mirth and good company at dinner, I to the office and left them, and Pendleton also, who come in to see my wife and talk of dancing, and there I at the office all the afternoon very busy, and did much business, with my great content to see it go off of hand, and so home, my eyes spent, to supper and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 26 December 1667. 26 Dec 1667. Up and to Westminster, and there to the Swan, and by chance met Mr. Spicer and another 'Chequer clerk, and there made them drink, and there talked of the credit the 'Chequer is now come to and will in a little time, and so away homeward, and called at my bookseller's, and there bought Mr. Harrington's (56) works, "Oceana", &c., and two other books, which cost me £4, and so home, and there eat a bit, and then with my wife to the King's playhouse, and there saw "The Surprizall"; which did not please me to-day, the actors not pleasing me; and especially Nell's (17) acting of a serious part, which she spoils. Here met with Sir W. Pen (46), and sat by him, and home by coach with him, and there to my office a while, and then home to supper and to bed. I hear this day that Mrs. Stewart (20) do at this day keep a great court at Somerset House, with her husband the Duke of Richmond (28), she being visited for her beauty's sake by people, as the Queen (29) is, at nights; and they say also that she is likely to go to Court again, and there put my Baroness Castlemayne's (27) nose out of joynt. God knows that would make a great turn. This day I was invited to have gone to my cozen Mary Pepys' burial, my uncle Thomas' (72) daughter, but could not.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 28 December 1667. 28 Dec 1667. Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning, at noon home, and there to dinner with my clerks and Mr. Pelting, and had a very good dinner, among others a haunch of venison boiled, and merry we were, and I rose soon from dinner, and with my wife and girle to the King's house, and there saw "The Mad Couple", which is but an ordinary play; but only Nell's (17) and Hart's (42) mad parts are most excellently done, but especially hers: which makes it a miracle to me to think how ill she do any serious part, as, the other day, just like a fool or changeling; and, in a mad part, do beyond all imitation almost1. Many fine faces here to-day.
Thence home, and there to the office late, and then home to supper and to bed. I am told to-day, which troubles me, that great complaint is made upon the 'Change, among our merchants, that the very Ostend little pickaroon men-of-war do offer violence to our merchant-men, and search them, beat our masters, and plunder them, upon pretence of carrying Frenchmen's goods. Lord! what a condition are we come to, and that so soon after a war!
1. It pleased us mightily to see the natural affection of a poor woman, the mother of one of the children brought on the stage: the child crying, she by force got upon the stage, and took up her child and carried it away off of the stage from Hart (42).
Diary of Samuel Pepys 11 January 1668. 11 Jan 1668. Lay some time, talking with my wife in bed about Pall's (27) business, and she do conclude to have her married here, and to be merry at it; and to have W. Hewer (26), and Batelier, and Mercer, and Willet bridemen and bridemaids, and to be very merry; and so I am glad of it, and do resolve to let it be done as soon as I can. So up, and to the office, where all the morning busy, and thence home to dinner, and from dinner with Mercer, who dined with us, and wife and Deb. to the King's house, there to see "The Wild-goose Chase", which I never saw, but have long longed to see it, being a famous play, but as it was yesterday I do find that where I expect most I find least satisfaction, for in this play I met with nothing extraordinary at all, but very dull inventions and designs. Knepp come and sat by us, and her talk pleased me a little, she telling me how Mis Davis (20) is for certain going away from the Duke's house, the King (37) being in love with her; and a house is taken for her, and furnishing; and she hath a ring given her already worth £600: that the King (37) did send several times for Nelly (17), and she was with him, but what he did she knows not; this was a good while ago, and she says that the King (37) first spoiled Mrs. Weaver, which is very mean, methinks, in a Prince, and I am sorry for it, and can hope for no good to the State from having a Prince so devoted to his pleasure. She told me also of a play shortly coming upon the stage, of Sir Charles Sidly's (28), which, she thinks, will be called "The Wandering Ladys", a comedy that, she thinks, will be most pleasant; and also another play, called "The Duke of Lerma"; besides "Catelin", which she thinks, for want of the clothes which the King (37) promised them, will not be acted for a good while.
Thence home, and there to the office and did some business, and so with my wife for half an hour walking in the moonlight, and it being cold, frosty weather, walking in the garden, and then home to supper, and so by the fireside to have my head combed, as I do now often do, by Deb., whom I love should be fiddling about me, and so to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 20 February 1668. 20 Feb 1668. Up, and to the office a while, and thence to White Hall by coach with Mr. Batelier with me, whom I took up in the street. I thence by water to Westminster Hall, and there with Lord Brouncker (48), Sir T. Harvy (42), Sir J. Minnes (68), did wait all the morning to speak to members about our business, thinking our business of tickets would come before the House to-day, but we did alter our minds about the petition to the House, sending in the paper to them. But the truth is we were in a great hurry, but it fell out that they were most of the morning upon the business of not prosecuting the first victory; which they have voted one of the greatest miscarriages of the whole war, though they cannot lay the fault anywhere yet, because Harman (43) is not come home. This kept them all the morning, which I was glad of. So down to the Hall, where my wife by agreement stayed for me at Mrs. Michell's, and there was Mercer and the girl, and I took them to Wilkinson's the cook's in King Street (where I find the master of the house hath been dead for some time), and there dined, and thence by one o'clock to the King's house: a new play, "The Duke of Lerma", of Sir Robert Howard's (42): where the King (37) and Court was; and Knepp and Nell (18) spoke the prologue most excellently, especially Knepp, who spoke beyond any creature I ever, heard. The play designed to reproach our King with his mistresses, that I was troubled for it, and expected it should be interrupted; but it ended all well, which salved all. The play a well-writ and good play, only its design I did not like of reproaching the King (37), but altogether a very good and most serious play.
Thence home, and there a little to the office, and so home to supper, where Mercer with us, and sang, and then to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 07 May 1668. 07 May 1668. Up, and to the office, where all the morning. At noon home to dinner, and thither I sent for Mercer to dine with me, and after dinner she and I called Mrs. Turner (45), and I carried them to the Duke of York's (34) house, and there saw "The Man's the Master", which proves, upon my seeing it again, a very good play.
Thence called Knepp from the King's house, where going in for her, the play being done, I did see Beck Marshall come dressed, off of the stage, and looks mighty fine, and pretty, and noble: and also Nell (18), in her boy's clothes, mighty pretty. But, Lord! their confidence! and how many men do hover about them as soon as they come off the stage, and how confident they are in their talk! Here I did kiss the pretty woman newly come, called Pegg, that was Sir Charles Sidly's (29) mistress, a mighty pretty woman, and seems, but is not, modest. Here took up Knepp into our coach, and all of us with her to her lodgings, and thither comes Bannister with a song of hers, that he hath set in Sir Charles Sidly's (29) play for her, which is, I think, but very meanly set; but this he did, before us, teach her, and it being but a slight, silly, short ayre, she learnt it presently. But I did get him to prick me down the notes of the Echo in "The Tempest", which pleases me mightily. Here was also Haynes, the incomparable dancer of the King's house, and a seeming civil man, and sings pretty well, and they gone, we abroad to Marrowbone, and there walked in the garden, the first time I ever was there; and a pretty place it is, and here we eat and drank and stayed till 9 at night, and so home by moonshine.... [Note. Missing text "I all the way having mi mano abaxo la jupe de Knepp com much placer and freedom; but endeavoring afterward to tocar her con mi cosa, ella did strive against that, but yet I do not think that she did find much fault with it, but I was a little moved at my offering it and nor having it."] And so set Mrs. Knepp at her lodging, and so the rest, and I home talking with a great deal of pleasure, and so home to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 07 January 1669. 07 Jan 1669. Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning, and then at noon home to dinner, and thence my wife and I to the King's playhouse, and there saw "The Island Princesse", the first time I ever saw it; and it is a pretty good play, many good things being in it, and a good scene of a town on fire. We sat in an upper box, and the jade Nell (18) come and sat in the next box; a bold merry slut, who lay laughing there upon people; and with a comrade of hers of the Duke's house, that come in to see the play.
Thence home and to the office to do some business, and so home to supper and to bed.
On 08 May 1670 [her illegitimate son] Charles Beauclerk 1st Duke St Albans 1670-1726 was born illegitimately to King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 (39) and Nell Gwyn Actor 1650-1687 (20).
In Feb 1671 Nell Gwyn Actor 1650-1687 (20) moved into the brick townhouse at 79 Pall Mall which was owned by the Crown. She lived there for the rest of her life.
John Evelyn's Diary 01 March 1671. 01 Mar 1671. I caused Mr. Gibbon (22) to bring to Whitehall his excellent piece of carving, where being come, I advertised his Majesty (40), who asked me where it was; I told him in Sir Richard Browne's (66) (my father-in-law) chamber, and that if it pleased his Majesty (40) to appoint whither it should be brought, being large and though of wood, heavy, I would take care for it. "No", says the King (40), "show me the way, I'll go to Sir Richard's (66) chamber", which he immediately did, walking along the entries after me; as far as the ewry, till he came up into the room, where I also lay. No sooner was he entered and cast his eyes on the work, but he was astonished at the curiosity of it; and having considered it a long time, and discoursed with Mr. Gibbon (22), whom I brought to kiss his hand, he commanded it should be immediately carried to the Queen's (32) side to show her. It was carried up into her bedchamber, where she and the King (40) looked on and admired it again; the King (40), being called away, left us with the Queen (32), believing she would have bought it, it being a crucifix; but, when his Majesty (40) was gone, a French peddling woman, one Madame de Boord, who used to bring petticoats and fans, and baubles, out of France to the ladies, began to find fault with several things in the work, which she understood no more than an ass, or a monkey, so as in a kind of indignation, I caused the person who brought it to carry it back to the chamber, finding the Queen (32) so much governed by an ignorant Frenchwoman, and this incomparable artist had his labor only for his pains, which not a little displeased me; and he was fain to send it down to his cottage again; he not long after sold it for £80, though well worth £100, without the frame, to Sir George Viner (32).
His Majesty's (40) Surveyor, Mr. Wren (47), faithfully promised me to employ him (22). I having also bespoke his Majesty (40) for his work at Windsor Castle, which my friend, Mr. May (49), the architect there, was going to alter, and repair universally; for, on the next day, I had a fair opportunity of talking to his Majesty (40) about it, in the lobby next the Queen's (32) side, where I presented him with some sheets of my history. I thence walked with him through St James' Park to the garden, where I both saw and heard a very familiar discourse between ... and Mrs. Nelly (21), as they called an impudent comedian, she looking out of her garden on a terrace at the top of the wall, and ... [Note. the elipsis here is John Evelyn being coy about the King's (40) conversation with Nell Gwyn.] standing on the green walk under it. I was heartily sorry at this scene. Thence the King (40) walked to the Duchess of Cleveland (30), another lady of pleasure, and curse of our nation.
On 21 Dec 1676 [her illegitimate son] Charles Beauclerk 1st Duke St Albans 1670-1726 (6) was created 1st Earl Burford, 1st Baron Heddington by King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 (46).
Around1680 Simon Pietersz Verelst 1644-1710 (36). Portrait of Nell Gwyn Actor 1650-1687 (29).
John Evelyn's Diary 24 January 1682. 24 Jan 1682. To the Royal Society, where at the Council we passed a new law for the more accurate consideration of candidates, as whether they would really be useful; also concerning the honorary members, that none should be admitted but by diploma.
This evening I was at the entertainment of the Morocco Ambassador at the Duchess of Portsmouth's (32) glorious apartments at Whitehall, where was a great banquet of sweetmeats and music; but at which both the Ambassador and his retinue behaved themselves with extraordinary moderation and modesty, though placed about a long table, a lady between two Moors, and among these were the King's (51) natural children, namely, Lady Lichfield (17) and Sussex (20), the Duchess of Portsmouth (32), Nelly (31), etc., concubines, and cattle of that sort, as splendid as jewels and excess of bravery could make them; the Moors neither admiring nor seeming to regard anything, furniture or the like, with any earnestness, and but decently tasting of the banquet. They drank a little milk and water, but not a drop of wine; they also drank of a sorbet and jacolatt [Note. This may be chocolate?]; did not look about, or stare on the ladies, or express the least surprise, but with a courtly negligence in pace, countenance, and whole behavior, answering only to such questions as were asked with a great deal of wit and gallantry, and so gravely took leave with this compliment, that God would bless the Duchess of Portsmouth (32) and the Prince (9), her son meaning the little Duke of Richmond. The King (51) came in at the latter end, just as the Ambassador was going away. In this manner was this slave (for he was no more at home) entertained by most of the nobility in town, and went often to Hyde Park on horseback, where he and his retinue showed their extraordinary activity in horsemanship, and flinging and catching their lances at full speed; they rode very short, and could stand upright at full speed, managing their spears with incredible agility. He went sometimes to the theaters, where, upon any foolish or fantastical action, he could not forbear laughing, but he endeavored to hide it with extraordinary modesty and gravity. In a word, the Russian Ambassador, still at Court behaved himself like a clown compared to this civil heathen.
On 05 Jan 1684 [her illegitimate son] Charles Beauclerk 1st Duke St Albans 1670-1726 (13) was created 1st Duke St Albans 1C 1684 by King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 (53).
John Evelyn's Diary 30 March 1684. 30 Mar 1684. Easter day. The Bp. of Rochester [Dr. Turner] (46) preach'd before, the King (53) after which his Ma*, accompanied with three of his natural sonns, the Dukes of Northumberland (18), Richmond, and [her illegitimate son] St. Alban's (13) (sons of Portsmouth (34), Cleaveland (43), and Nelly (34)), went up to the Altar; ye three boyes entering before the King (53) within the railes, at the right hand, and three Bishops on the left, viz. London (52) (who officiated), Durham (51), and Rochester (46), with the Sub-dean Dr. Holder. the King (53) kneeling before the Altar, zaking his offering, the Bishop first receiv'd, and then his Ma* after which he retir'd to a canopied seate on the right hand. Note, there was perfume burnt before the Office began. I had receiv'd ye Sacrament at Whitehall early with the Lords and Household, ye Bp. of London officiating. Then went to St. Martin's, where Dr. Tenison (47) preach'd (recover'd from yc small-pox); then went againe to Whitehall as above. In the afternoone went to St. Martin's againe.
John Evelyn's Diary 04 February 1685. 04 Feb 1685. Prayers were solemnly made in all the Churches, especialy in both ye Court Chapells, where the Chaplaines reliev'd one another every halfe quarter of an houre from the time he began to be in danger till he expir'd, according to the forme prescrib'd in the Church Offices. Those who assisted his Majesty's (54) devotions were, the Abp. of Canterbury (68), the Bishops of London (53), Durham (52), and Ely (47), but more especialy Dr. Ken, the Bp. of Bath and Wells (47) receiving the Holy Sacrament, but his Ma* told them he would consider of it, which he did so long 'till it was too late. Others whisper'd that the Bishops and Lords, except the Earles of Bath (56) and Feversham (44), being order'd to withdraw the night before, Hurlston, the 'Priest, had presumed to administer the Popish Offices. He gave his breeches and keys to yc Duke (51), who was almost continually kneeling by his bed-side, and in teares. He also recommended to him the care of his natural children, all except the Duke of Monmouth (35), now in Holland, and in his displeasure. He intreated the Queene (46) to pardon him (not without cause); who a little before had sent a Bishop to excuse her not more frequently visiting him, in reguard of her excessive griefe, and withall, that his Ma* (54) would forgive it if at any time she had offended him. He spake to ye Duke (51) to be kind to the Dutchesse of Cleaveland (44), and especialy Portsmouth (35), and that Nelly (35) might not starve.
John Evelyn's Diary 06 January 1686. 06 Jan 1686. Passed the Privie Seale, amongst others, the creation of Mrs. Sedley J (concubine to) Countesse of Dorchester (28), which the Queene took very grievously (27), so as for two dinners, standing neere her I observed she hardly eate one morsel, nor spake one word to the King (52), or to any about her, tho' at other times she us'd to be extreamly pleasant, full of discourse and good humour. The Roman Catholics were also very angry, because they had so long valu'd the sanctity of their religion and proselytes. Dryden (54) the famous playwriter, and his two sonns, and Mrs. Nelly (35) (Misse to ye late) were said to go to masse; such proselytes were no greate losse to the church. This night was burnt to the ground my Lord Mountague's (75) palace in Bloomsbury, than wch for painting and furniture there was nothing more glorious in England. This happen'd by the negligence of a servant, airing, as they call it, some of the goods by the fire in a moist season; indeede so wet and mild a winter had scarce ben seene in man's memory. At this Seale there also pass'd the creation of Sr H. Walgrave (25) to be a Peere. He had married one of the King's natural daughters (19) by Mrs. Churchill (48). These two Seales my brother Commissioners pass'd in the morning before I came to towne, at. wch I was not displeas'd. We likewise pass'd Privy Seales for 5.2/6,000 upon severall accounts, pensions, guards, wardrobes, pri vie purse, &c. besides divers pardons, and one more wch I must not forget (and wch by Providence I was not present at) one Mr. Lytcott to be Secretary to the Ambassador to Rome. We being three Commissioners, any two were a quorum.
Before 14 Nov 1687 Simon Pietersz Verelst 1644-1710 (43). Portrait of Nell Gwyn Actor 1650-1687 (37).
On 14 Nov 1687 Nell Gwyn Actor 1650-1687 (37) died.