Diary of the times of Charles II/Volume 1/The Dowager Countess of Sunderland to Mr. Sidney, January 6


January 6th.

You may see by my writing that I am not so unreasonable as to expect you should write to me oftener than you do. When I hear Tom Pelham brag of your letters, I grumble a little in my mind. I will not congratulate you on your success in Westminster Hall; I have always declared I would not be glad which way soever it did go; though now it were wise to make you some compliment, for I shall never see any other brother again, I believe.

You must needs hear of the abominable disorders amongst us, calling all the women whores and the men rogues in the playhouses—throwing candles and links—calling my Lord Sunderland traitor, but in good company; the Duke, rascal; and all ended in "God bless his Highness, the Duke of Monmouth. We will be for him against all the world." I am told they may be fined a great deal if they are prosecuted. Two of these are knights of shires. Sir Scroope How, and my Lord Wharton's eldest son; the only sufferer yet is Porter. They are ashamed, I hear, and afraid.

I hope the four counsellors who left the King in so formal a way of ostentation will have no great ill effects. My Lord Radnor says he did not come in with them, and he will not go out with them. I cannot slight it, because many more people go against reason than with it. The town says my Lord Halifax is retired too; he is at Rufford a month sooner than he intended; but I hope he will come again, though he does not stay. I am sure he had resolved to be at Rufford all this spring and summer, four or five mouths ago.

What news soever is sent you out of Southampton Square, I will venture a wager is not true of the public; for our private affairs there, I have had a hard task. My sister does suspect that there are some there who have no mind Lucy should be so well married as to Mr. Pierpoint, and I am confident she is in the right, and not to lie, and to keep her from thinking me of her opinion, needs a great wariness, which I have had. Between you and I there is dissembling amongst them. Good Sir John is none of them—but I believe no block can be laid to hinder the marriage. The gentleman proceeds so fairly. He has given his particulars; £200 a year in land, and £5000 more in money, both certain after his aunt's death, who is threescore years old, and has a quarten ague; by whom I believe more will come. To be her heir is something, but if I were 40 years younger than I am, I would not care to be yours.

My brother Felham requires other particulars than he has yet; he thinks that he has given them too generally, which Mr. Pierpoint has sent to his bailiff for. An estate in that family will never be found less than they say. One finds fault that he does not talk, that is better than what they say sometimes; another finds fault with his person, who have little reason, God knows, to meddle with that. I tell them I am not to be bribed; but if any will bring a better, I will quit his party. I have been a little peevish to them, so I shall hear no more; but she is so wise as to find no fault—the worst of him is his complexion, and the smallpox is not out of his face yet; he had them but eight months ago.

I have met my Lady Harvey twice in Mr. Harvey's sad comer, though she does not care to have her there, for she cannot forbear comedy; the last subject was her daughter Lacker thinking her husband handsome. She says, three heads and ten noses could not be uglier than he is. The beauty of one of your sex will be quite spoilt if my Lord Grey does not hinder it. My Lord Shrewsbury has so great a blemish on one eye, that 'tis offensive to look upon it. My Lord Leycester is as unconcerned as if he had lost but a creme from his table. My Lord Lysle the contrary; he has seven or eight or a dozen at dinner with him every day. My Lady Harvey says, to hear him and you talk 'tis a wonder you should disagree in anything. As to the other brother,[1] she wonders nobody shoots him.

The Duchess coining puts every body in abominable humour. My Lord Grey was so good-natured as to carry his wife far from her beloved; he has gone into Sussex, where the Duke of Monmouth is to hunt. The new secretary you will hear of; I know not what he has given. All the town has made my son treasurer but the King, though there is no more probability of any than when you were here, neither has he the desire so much as I have that you should love me as well as you can, who do you more than you care for.

D. Sunderland.

I had a letter just now from Lord Halifax. I find he will not be soon here, but is far from making any meritorious cause of it.



  1. Algernon Sidney.