1673-74 JOHN EVELYN 9th December, 1673. I saw again the Italian Duchess and her brother, the Prince Reynaldo. 2oth December, 1673. I had some discourse with certain strangers, not unlearned, who had been born not far from Old Nineveh; they assured me of the ruins being still extant, and vast and wonderful were the buildings, vaults, pillars, and magnificent fragments;* but they could say little of the Tower of Babel that satisfied me. But the description of the amenity and fragrancy of the country for health and cheerfulness, delighted me; so sensibly they spoke of the excellent air and climate in respect of our cloudy and splenetic country. 24th December, 1673. Visited the prisoners at Ludgate, taking orders about the releasing of some. 3oth December, 1673. I gave Almighty God thanks for his infinite goodness to me the year past, and begged his mercy and protection the year following; afterward, invited my neighbors to spend the day with me. 5th January, 1673-74. I saw an Italian opera in music, the first that had been in England of this kind. 9th January, 1674. Sent for by his Majesty to write something against the Hollanders about the duty of the Flag and Fishery. Returned with some papers. 25th March, 1674. I dined at Knightsbridge, with the Bishops of Salisbury, Chester, and Lincoln, my old friends. 29th May, 1674. His Majesty's birthday and Restora- tion. Mr. Demalhoy, Roger L'Estrange, and several of my friends, came to dine with me on the happy occasion. 27th June, 1674. Mr. Dryden, the famous poet and now laureate, came to give me a visit. It was the an- niversary of my marriage, and the first day I went into my new little cell and cabinet, which I built below to- ward the south court, at the east end of the parlor. 9th July, 1674. Paid ^£360 for purchase of Dr. Ja- combe's son's share in the mill and land at Deptford, which I bought of the Beechers. 22d July, 1674. I went to Windsor with my wife and son to see ray daughter Mary, who was there with my Lady Tuke and to do my duty to his Majesty. .Next day, to a great entertainment at Sir Robert Holrnes's at *The remarkable discoveries of Mr. Layard give now a curious inter- est to this notice by Evelyn.ah, Ivii. 8.