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ten days, during which time I received many noble visits and messages from some of the best in the kingdom. Being now fully recovered of my hurts, I desired Sir Robert Harley to go to Sir John Ayres, and tell him, that though I thought he had not so much honour left in him, that I could be any way ambitious to get it, yet that I desired to see him in the field with his sword in his hand; the answer that he sent me was, that he would kill me with a musket out of a window.
The Lords of the Privy Council, who had first sent for my sword, that they might see the little fragment of a weapon with which I had so behaved myself, as perchance the like had not been heard in any credible way, did afterwards command both him and me to appear before them; but I absenting myself on purpose, sent one Humphrey Hill with a challenge to him in an ordinary, which he refusing to receive, Humphrey Hill put it upon the point of his sword, and so let it fall before him and the company then present.
The Lords of the Privy Council had now taken order to apprehend Sir John Ayres; when I, finding nothing else to be done, submitted myself likewise to them. Sir John Ayres had now published everywhere, that the ground of his jealousy, and consequently of his assaulting me, was drawn from the confession of his wife the Lady Ayres. She, to vindicate her honour, as well as free me from this accusation, sent a letter to her aunt the Lady Crook, to this purpose: That her husband Sir John Ayres did lie falsely; but most falsely of all did lie when he said he had it from her confession, for she had never said any such thing.
This letter the Lady Crook presented to me most opportunely as I was going to the Council table before the Lords, who having examined Sir John Ayres concerning the cause of the quarrel against me, found him still persist in his wife's confession of the fact; and now he being withdrawn, I was sent for, when the Duke of Lennox, afterwards of Richmond, telling me that was the ground of his quarrel, and the only excuse he had for assaulting me in that manner; I desired his Lordship to peruse the letter, which I told him was given me as I came into the room. This letter being publicly read by a clerk of the Council, the Duke of Lennox then said, that he thought Sir John Ayres the most miserable man living; for his wife had not only given him the lie, as he found by
her letter, but his father had disinherited him for attempting to kill me in that barbarous fashion, which was most true, as I found afterwards. For the rest, that I might content myself with what I had done, it being more almost than could be believed, but that I had so many witnesses thereof; for all which reasons he commanded me, in the name of his Majesty and all their Lordships, not to send any more to Sir John Ayres, nor to receive any message from him, in the way of fighting, which commandment I observed. Howbeit I must not omit to tell, that some years afterwards, Sir John Ayres, returning from Ireland by Beaumaris, where I then was, some of my servants and followers broke open the doors of the house where he was, and would, I believe, have cut him into pieces, but that I, hearing thereof, came suddenly to the house and recalled them, sending him word also, that I scorned to give him the usage he gave me, and that I would set him free out of the town; which courtesy of mine, as I was told afterwards, he did thankfully acknowledge.
EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY
[From Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, Esq., F. R. S., comprising his Diary from 1659 to 1669. First edited by Lord Braybrooke, 1825; edited, with additions, by H. B. Wheatley, 1893-99.
PEPYS, SAMUEL (1633-1703), diarist; son of John Pepys, a London tailor, was educated at St. Paul's School, London, and Trinity Hall and Magdalene College, Cambridge; M. A., 1660; entered the family of his father's first cousin, Sir Edward Montagu (afterwards first Earl of Sandwich) [q. v.], 1656; 'clerk of the king's ships' and a clerk of the privy seal, 1660; surveyor-general of the victualling office, 1665, in which capacity he showed himself an energetic official and a zealous reformer of abuses; committed to the Tower of London on charge of complicity with the popish plot, and deprived of his offices, 1679, but released, 1680; secretary of the admiralty, 1686; deprived of the secretaryship of the admiralty at the revolution, after which he lived in retirement, chiefly at Clapham. Fifty volumes of his manuscripts are in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. His 'Diary' remained in cipher in Magdalene College, Cambridge, until 1825, when it was deciphered by John Smith and edited by Lord Braybrooke. An enlarged edition by Mynors Bright [q. v.] appeared in 1875-9, and the whole, except a few passages which cannot be printed, was published in eight volumes (1893, &c.) by Mr. Henry B. Wheatley. - Index and Epitome of D. N. B.
"Now, if ever, we should be able to form some notion of that unparalleled figure in the annals of mankind — unparalleled for three good reasons: first, because he was a man known to his contemporaries in a halo of almost historical pomp, and to his remote descendants with an indecent familiarity, like a taproom comrade; second, because he has outstripped all competitors in the art or virtue of a conscious honesty about one's self; and, third, because, being in many ways a very ordinary person, he has yet placed himself before the public eye with such a fulness and such an intimacy of detail as might be envied by a genius like Montaigne. Not then for his own sake only, but as a character in a unique position, endowed with a unique talent, and shedding a unique light upon the lives of the mass of mankind, he is surely worthy of prolonged and patient study. . .
"The whole world, town or country, was to Pepys a garden of Armida. Wherever he went, his steps were winged with the most eager expectation; whatever he did, it was done with the most lively pleasure. An insatiable curiosity in all the shows of the world and all the secrets of knowledge, filled him brimful of the longing to travel, and supported him in the toils of study. Rome was the dream of his life; he was never happier than when he read or talked of the Eternal City. When he was in Holland, he was 'with child' to see any strange thing. Meeting some friends and singing with them in a palace near the Hague, his pen fails him to express his passion of delight, ‘the more so because in a heaven of pleasure and in a strange country.' He must go to see all famous executions. He must needs visit the body of a murdered man, defaced 'with a broad wound,' he says, 'that makes my hand now shake to write of it.' He learned to dance, and was 'like to make a dancer.' He learned to sing, and walked about Gray's Inn Fields 'humming to myself (which is now my constant practice) the trillo.' He learned to play the lute, the flute, the flageolet, and the theorbo, and it was not the fault of his intention if he did not learn the harpsichord or the spinet. He learned to compose songs, and burned to give forth ‘a scheme and theory of music not yet ever made in the world.' When he heard 'a fellow whistle like a bird exceeding well,' he promised to return another day and give an angel for a lesson in the art. Once, he writes, 'I took the Bezan back with me, and with a brave gale and tide reached up that night to the Hope, taking great pleasure in learning the seamen's manner of singing when they sound the depths.' If he found himself rusty in his Latin grammar, he must fall to it like a schoolboy. He was a member of Harrington's Club till its dissolution, and of the Royal Society before it had received the name. Boyle's 'Hydrostatics' was 'of infinite delight' to him, walking in Barnes Elms. We find him comparing Bible concordances, a captious judge of sermons, deep in Descartes and Aristotle. We find him, in a single year, studying timber and the measurement of timber; tar and oil, hemp, and the process of preparing cordage; mathematics and accounting; the hull and the rigging of ships from a model; and 'looking and improving himself of the (naval) stores with' - hark to the fellow! 'great delight.' His familiar spirit of delight was not the same with Shelley's; but how true it was to him through life! He is only copying something, and behold, he 'takes great pleasure to rule the lines, and have the capital words wrote with red ink;' he has only had his coal-cellar emptied and cleaned, and behold, 'it do please him exceedingly.' A hog's harslett is 'a piece of meat he loves.' He cannot ride home in my Lord Sandwich's coach, but he must exclaim with breathless gusto, 'his noble, rich coach.'
When he is bound for a supper party, he anticipates a 'glut of pleasure.' When he has a new watch, 'to see my childishness,' says he, 'I could not forbear carrying it in my hand and seeing what o'clock it was an hundred times.' To go to Vauxhall, he says, and 'to hear the nightingales and other birds, hear fiddles, and there a harp and here a Jew's trump, and here laughing, and there fine people walking, is mighty divertizing.' And the nightingales, I take it, were particularly dear to him; and it was again with great pleasure' that he paused to hear them as he walked to Woolwich, while the fog was rising and the April sun broke through.". ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, "Samuel Pepys," in Familiar Studies of Men and Books, 1882. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.]
April 8th, 1661. About eight o'clock, we took barge at the Tower, Sir William Batten and his lady, Mrs. Turner, Mr. Fowler, and I. A very pleasant passage, and so to Gravesend, where we dined, and from thence a coach took them, and me and Mr. Fowler, with some others, come from Rochester to meet us, on horseback. At Rochester, where alight at Mr. Alcock's, and there drank, and had good sport, with his bringing out so many sorts of cheese. Then to the Hill-house at Chatham, where I never was before, and I found a pretty pleasant house, and am pleased with the armes that hang up there. Here we supped very merry, and late to bed; Sir William telling me that old Edgeborrow, his predecessor, did die and walk in my chamber, did make me somewhat afraid, but not so much as, for mirth sake, I did seem. So to bed, in the Treasurer's chamber.
9th. Lay and slept well till three in the morning, and then waking, and by the light of the moon I saw my pillow (which overnight I flung from me) stand upright, but, not bethinking myself what it might be, I was a little afraid, but sleep overcome all, and so lay till nigh morning, at which time I had a candle brought me, and a good fire made, and in general it was a great pleasure all the time I staid here to see how I am respected and honoured by all people; and I find that I begin to know now how to receive so much reverence, which, at the beginning, I could not tell how to do. Sir William and I by coach to the dock, and there viewed all the storehouses, and the old goods that are this day to be sold, which was great pleasure to me, and so back again by coach home, where we had a good dinner, and, among other strangers that come, there was Mr. Hempson and his wife, a pretty woman, and speaks Latin; Mr. Allen, and two daughters of his, both very tall,
and the youngest1 very handsome, so much as I could not forbear to love her exceedingly, having, among other things, the best hand that ever I saw. After dinner, we went to fit books and things (Tom Hater having this morning come to us) for the sale, by an inch of candle, and very good sport we and the ladies that stood by had, to see the people bid. Among other things sold there was all the State's armes, which Sir W. Batten bought; intending to set up some of the images in his garden, and the rest to burn on the Coronacion night. The sale being done, the ladies and I, and Captain Pitt, and Mr. Castle took barge, and down we went to see the Sovereigne which we did, taking great pleasure therein, singing all the way, and among other pleasures, I put my Lady, Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Hempson, and the two Mrs. Allens, into the lanthorn, and I went in and kissed them, demanding it as a fee due to a principall officer, with all which we were exceeding merry, and drunk some bottles of wine, and neat's tongue, &c. Then back again home, and so supped, and, after much mirth, to bed.
Ioth. In the morning to see the Dock-houses. First, Mr. Pett's, the builder, and there was very kindly received, and among other things he did offer my Lady Batten a parrot, the best I ever saw, that knew Mingo so soon as it saw him, having been bred formerly in the house with them; but for talking and singing I never heard the like. My Lady did accept of it. Then to see Commissioner Pett's house, he and his family being absent, and here I wondered how my Lady Batten walked up and down with curious looks to see how neat and rich everything is; and indeed both the house and garden is most handsome, saying that she would get it, for it belonged formerly to the Surveyor of the Navy. Then on board the Prince, now in the dock, and indeed it has one and no more rich cabins for carved work, but no gold in her. After that, back home, and there eat a little dinner. Then to Rochester, and there saw the Cathedrall, which is now fitting for use, and the organ then a-tuning. Then away thence, observing the great doors of the church, as they say, covered with the skins of the Danes. And also had much mirth at a tombe. So to the Salutacione tavern, where Mr. Alcock and many of the towne come and entertained
2 i.e. Coats of arms.