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shillings a-day, beside lawful cheating. However, he gives a private sum to his colonel ; but it is very cheap: his colonel loves him well, but is surprised to see him have so many friends. So he is now quite off my
hands. I left the company early to-night, at lord-treasurer's; but the secretary followed me, to desire I would
with him to W- Mr Lewis's man came in before I could finish that word beginning with a W, which ought to be Windsor, and brought me a very handsome rallying letter from Dr Arbuthnot, to tell me he had, in compliance to me, given up his brother's pretensions in favour of Bernage, this very morning; that the queen had spoken to Mr Granville to make the company easy in the other's having the captainship. Whether they have done it to oblige me or no, I must own it so. he this very morning begged her majesty to give Mr Bernage the company. I am mighty well pleased to have succeeded so well; but you will think me tedious, although you like the man, as I think,
Windsor, 28. I came here a day sooner than ordiñary, at Mr Secretary's desire, and supped with him and Prior, and two private ministers from France, and a French priest. I know not the two ministers' names; but they are come about the peace. The names the secretary called them, I suppose, were feigned; they were good rational men. * We have already settled all things with France, and very much to the honour and advantage
* These were Mons. Mesnager, deputy of the Council of Commerce in France, and the Abbe Du Bois. The French priest was the Abbe Gualtier, a person originally employed by Marshal TalJard, then prisoner of war in England, to receive and forward his letters from France, but who gradually insinuated himself into more important confidence.
of England; and the queen is in mighty good humour. All this news is a mighty secret ; the people in general know that a peace is forwarding. The Earl of Strafford is to go soon to Holland, and let them know what we have been doing: and then there will be the devil and all to pay; but we'll make them swallow it with a pox. The French ministers staid with us till one, and the secretary and I sat up talking till two; so you will own 'tis late, sirrahs, and time for
saucy Presto to go to bed and sleep adazy ; and God bless poor little MD: I hope they are now fast asleep, and dreaming of Presto.
29. Lord-treasurer came to-night, as usual, at half an hour after eight, as dark as pitch. I am weary of chiding him ; so I commended him for observing his friend's advice, and coming so early, &c. I was two hours with Lady Oglethorp to-night, and then supped with lordtreasurer, after dining at the green cloth : I staid till two ; this is the effect of lord-treasurer being here ; I must
sup with him, and he keeps cursed hours. Lordkeeper and the secretary were absent; they cannot sit up
with him. This long sitting up makes the periods in my letters so short. I design to stay here all the next week, to be at leisure by myself, to finish something of weight I have upon my hands, and which must soon be done. I shall then think of returning to Ireland, if these people will let me; and I know nothing else they have for me to do. I gave Dr Arbuthnot my thanks for his kindness to Bernage, whose commission is now signed. Methinks I long to know something of Stella's health, how it continues after Wexford waters.
30. The queen was not at chapel to-day, and all for the better, for we had a dunce to preach : she has a little of the gout. I dined with my brother Masham, and a moderate company, and would not go to lord-treasurer's till after supper at eleven o'clock, and pretended I had mistaken the hour ; so I ate nothing : and a little after twelve the company broke up, the keeper and secretary refusing to stay ; so I saved this night's debauch. Prior went away yesterday with his Frenchmen, and a thousand reports are raised in this town. Some said, they knew one to be the Abbe de Polignac : others swore it was the Abbe du Bois. The Whigs are in a rage about the peace ; but we'll wherret them, I warrant, boys. Go, go, go to the dean's, and don't mind politics, young women, they are not good after the waters; they are stark naught : they strike up into the head. Go, get two black aces, and fish for a manilio.
Oct. 1. Sir John Walters, * an honest drunken fellow, is now in waiting, and invited me to the green
cloth today, that he might not be behind hand with Colonel Godfrey, who is a Whig. I was engaged to the mayor's feast with Mr Masham ; but waiting to take leave of lord-treasurer, I came too late, and so returned sneaking to the green cloth, and did not see my lord-treasurer neither ; but was resolved not to lose two dinners for him. I took leave to-day of my friend and solicitor Lord Rivers, who is commanded by the queen to set out for Hanover on Thursday. The secretary does not go to town till tomorrow; he and I, and two friends more, drank a sober bottle of wine here at home, and parted at twelve ; he goes by seven to-morrow morning, so I shall not see him. I have power over his cellar in his absence, and make little use of it. Lord Dartmouth and my friend Lewis stay here this week; but I can never work out a dinner from Dartmouth. Masham has promised to provide for me : I squired his lady out of her chaise to-day, and must visit her in a day or two. So you have had a long fit of the finest weather in the world ; but I am every day in pain that it will go off. I have done no business to-day: I am very idle.
* Sir John Walters, member for the city of Oxford, was made clerk comptroller of the board of green cloth, 11th Feb. 1710-11, in room of Colonel Griffin, deceased.
2. My friend Lewis and I, to avoid over much eating and great tables, dined with honest Jemmy Eckershall, clerk of the kitchen, now in waiting; and I bespoke my dinner : but the cur had your acquaintance Lovet, the gentleman porter, to be our company. Lovet, toward the end of dinner, after twenty wrigglings, said he had the honour to see me formerly at Moor Park, and thought he remembered
my face. I said, I thought I remembered him, and was glad to see him, &c. and I escaped for that much, for he was very pert. It has rained all this day, and I doubt our good weather is gone. I have been very idle this afternoon, playing at twelvepenny picquet with Lewis : I won seven shillings, which is the only money I won this year : I have not played above four times, and I think always at Windsor. Cards are very dear : there is a duty on them of sixpence a pack, which spoils small gamesters.
3. Mr Masham sent this morning to desire I would ride out with him, the weather growing again very fine. I was very busy, and sent my excuses ; but desired he would provide me a dinner. I dined with him, his lady, and her sister, Mrs Hill, who invites us to-morrow to dine with her, and we are to ride out in the morning. I sat with Lady Oglethorp till eight this evening, then was going home to write ; looked about for the woman that keeps the key of the house : she told me Patrick had it. I cooled my heels in the cloisters till nine, then went in to the music ineeting, where I had been often desired to go; but was weary in half an hour of their fine stuff, and stole out so privately, that every body saw me; and cooled my heels in the cloisters again till after ten : then came in Patrick. I went up, shut the chamber door, and gave him two or three swingeing cuffs on the ear, and I have strained the thumb of my left hand with pulling him, which I did not feel until he was gone. He was plaguily afraid and humbled.
4. It was the finest day in the world, and we got out before eleven, a noble caravan of us. The Duchess of Shrewsbury in her own chaise with one horse, and Miss Touchet with her ; Mrs Masham and Mrs Scarborow, one of the dressers, in one of the queen's chaises : Miss Forester and Miss Scarborow, two maids of honour, and Mrs Hill on horseback. The Duke of Shrewsbury, Mr Masham, George Fielding, Arbuthnot, and I, on horseback too. Mrs Hill's horse was hired for Miss Scarborow, but she took it in civility, her own horse was galled and could not be rid, but kicked and winced : the hired horse was not worth eighteenpence. I borrowed coat, boots, and horse, and in short we had all the difficulties, and more than we used to have in making a party from Trim to Longfield's. * My coat was light camlet, faced with red velvet, and silver buttons. We rode in the great park and the forest about a dozen miles, and the duchess and I had much conversation; we got home by two, and Mr Masham, his lady, Arbuthnot and I, dined with Mrs Hill. Arbuthnot made us all melan
* Mr Longfield lived at Killibride, about four miles from Trim.