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one of the greater Ministers of State in England, and one of the King's Cabinet, that we had little left to agree on between the Dutch and us towards a peace, but only the place of treaty; which do astonish me to hear, but I am glad of it, for I fear the consequence of the war. But he says that the King, having all the money he is like to have, we shall be sure of a peace in a little time.
9th. To Mrs. Pierce's, by appointment, where we find good company: a fair lady, my Lady Prettyman, Mrs. Corbet, Knipp; and for men, Captain Downing, Mr. Lloyd, Sir W. Coventry's clerk, and one Mr. Tripp, who dances well. After our first bout of dancing, Knipp and I to sing, and Mercer and Captain Downing, who loves and understands musick, would by all means have my song of “Beauty, retire:” which Knipp had spread abroad, and he extols it above any thing he ever heard. Going to dance again, and then comes news that White Hall was on fire; and presently more particulars, that the Horse-guard was on fire; and so we run up to the garret, and find it so; a horrid great fire; and by and by we saw and heard part of it blown up with powder. The ladies begun presently to be afraid : one fell into fits. The whole town in an alarm. Drums beat and trumpets, and the Horse-guards every where spread, running up and down in the street. And I begun to have mighty apprehensions how things might be, for we are in expectation, from common fame, this night, or to-morrow, to have a massacre, by the having 80 many fires one after another, as that in the City,
Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Matthew Mennes, K.B., and wife of Sir John Prettyman, Bart., M.P. for Leicester.
and at same time begun in Westminster, by the Palace, but put out; and since in Southwarke, to the burning down some houses ; and now this do make all people conclude there is something extraordinary in it; but nobody knows what. By and by comes news that the fire is slackened; so then we were a little cheered up again, and to supper, and pretty merry. But, above all, there comes in the dumb boy that I knew in Oliver's time, who is mightily acquainted here, and with Downing; and he made strange signs of the fire, and how the King was abroad, and many things they understood, but I could not, which I wondered at, and discoursing with Downing about it, “Why,” says he, " it is only a little use, and you will understand him, and make him understand you with as much ease as may be.” So I prayed him to tell him that I was afraid that my coach would be gone, and that he should go down and steal one of the seats out of the coach and keep it, and that would make the coachman to stay. He did this, so that the dumb boy did go down, and, like à cunning rogue, went into the coach, pretending to sleep; and, by and by, fell to his work, but finds the seats nailed to the coach. So he could not do it; however, stayed there, and stayed the coach till the coachman's patience was quite spent, and beat the dumb boy by force, and so went away. So the dumb boy came up, and told him all the story, which they below did see all that passed, and knew it to be true. After supper, another dance or two, and then news that the fire is as great as ever, which puts us all to our wits’end; and I mightily anxious to go home, but the coach being gone, and it being about ten at night, and rainy
dirty weather, I knew not what to do; but to walk out with Mr. Batelier, myself resolving to go home on foot, and leave the women there. And so did; but at the Savoy got a coach, and come back and took up the women; and so, having, by people come from the fire, understood that the fire was overcome and all well, we merrily parted, and home. Stopped by several guards and constables quite through the town, round the wall, as we went, all being in arms. Being come home, we to cards, till two in the morning, and drinking lamb'swool. So to bed.
10th. The Parliament did fall foul of our accounts again yesterday; and we must arme to have them examined, which I am sorry for: it will bring great trouble to me, and shame upon the office. With my Lord Brouncker and Sir Thomas Harvy, to Cocke's house, and there Mrs. Williams and other company, and an excellent dinner. Mr. Temple’s wife, after dinner, fell to play on the harpsichon, till she so tired everybody, that I left the house without taking leave, and no creature left standing by her to hear her. Read an hour, to make an end of Potter's discourse of 666, which I like all along, but his close is most excellent; and, whether it be right or wrong, is mighty ingenious. This is the fatal day that every body hath discoursed for a long time to be the day that the Papists, or I know not who, have designed to commit a massacre upon; but, however, I trust in God we shall rise tomorrow morning as well as ever. I hear that my Lady Denham is exceeding sick, even to death, and that she
Lamb's-wool is a vulgar beverage made of ale, mixed with sugar, nutmeg, and the pulp of roasted apples.
says, and every body else discourses, that she is poisoned; and Creed tells me, that it is said that there hath been a design to poison the King. What the meaning of all these sad signs is, the Lord only knows; but every day things look worse and worse. God fit us for the worst !
11th. (Lord's day.) To church, myself and wife, where the old dunce Meriton, of St. Martin's, Westminster, did make a very good sermon, beyond my expectation. To my uncle Wight's, and their entertainment so bad, that I am in pain to be there. Wooly's wife, a silly woman, and not very handsome, but no spirit in her at all; and their discourse mean, and the fear of the troubles of the times hath made them not to bring their plate to town, since it was carried out upon the business of the fire, so that they drink in earth and a wooden can, which I do not like.
12th. Creed tells me of my Lady Denham, whom every body says is poisoned, and she hath said it to the Duke of York; but is upon the mending hand, though the town says she is dead this morning. Going to Sir R. Viner's, I did get such a splash and spots of dirt upon my new vest, that I was out of countenance to be seen in the street. This day I received 450 pieces of gold more of Mr. Stokes, but cost me 22 d. change; but I am well contented with it, I having now nearly £2,800 in gold, and will not rest till I get full £3,000. Home to dinner, though Sir R. Viner would have staid us to dine with him, he being sheriffe; but, poor man, was so out of countenance, that he had no wine ready to drink to us, his butler being out of the way, though we know him to be a very liberal man. I took my wife out, intending to have gone and have seen my Lady Jemimah, at White Hall, but so great a stop there was at the New Exchange, that we could not pass in half an hour, and therefore 'light, and then home. My wife and all the maids [being] abed but Jane, whom I put confidence in—she and I, and my brother, and Tom, and W. Hewer, did bring up all the remainder of my money, and my plate-chest, out of the cellar, and placed the money in my study, with the rest, and the plate in my dressing-room; but indeed I am in great pain to think how to dispose of my money, it being wholly unsafe to keep it all in coin in one place. Creed and I did stop, the Duke of York being just going away from seeing of it, at Paul's, and in the ConvocationHouse-Yard did there see the body of Robert Braybrooke, Bishop of London, that died 1404. He fell down in the tomb out of the great church into St. Fayth's this late fire, and is here seen his skeleton with the flesh on; but all tough and dry like a spongy dry leather, or touchwood all upon his bones. His head turned aside. A great man in his time, and Lord Chancellor; and [his skeleton] now exposed to be handled and derided by some, though admired for its duration by others. Many flocking to see it.
13th. To Bishopsgate Street, and there bought some drinking-glasses, a case of knives, and other things, in expectation of my Lord Hinchingbroke's coming to dine with me. So home, and do here receive notice from my Lord Hinchingbroke that he is not well, and so not in condition to come, which I am not in much trouble for, because of the disorder my house is in, by the bricklayers coming to mend the chimney in my