192 DIARY OF LONDON
description of Africa and Greece, and who, being a knight
of a very fair estate and young, had now newly entered
into holy orders.
27th December, 1683. I went to visit Sir John Chardin,
a French gentleman, who traveled three times by land
into Persia, and had made many curious researches in his
travels, of which he was now setting forth a relation. It
being in England this year one of the severest frosts
that has happened of many years, he told me the cold in
Persia was much greater, the ice of an incredible thick-
ness ; that they had little use of iron in all that country,
it being so moist (though the air admirably clear and
healthy) that oil would not preserve it from rusting, so
that they had neither clocks nor watches; some padlocks
they had for doors and boxes.
3oth December, 1683. Dr. Sprat, now made Dean of
Westminster, preached to the King at Whitehall, on Matt.
vi 24. Recollecting the passages of the past year, I gave
God thanks for his mercies, praying his blessing for the
ist January, 1683-84. The weather continuing intoler-
ably severe, streets of booths were set up on the Thames;
the air was so very cold and thick, as of many years there
had not been the like. The smallpox was very mortal.
2d January, 1684. I dined at Sir Stephen Fox's: after
dinner came a fellow who ate live charcoal, glowingly
ignited, quenching them in his mouth, and then champ-
ing and swallowing them down. There was a dog also
which seemed to do many rational actions.
6th January, 1684. The river quite frozen.
9th January, 1684. I went across the Thames on the
ice, now become so thick as to bear not only streets of
booths, in which they roasted meat, and had divers. shops
of wares," quite across as in a town, but coaches, carts,
and horses passed over. So I went from Westminster
stairs to Lambeth, and dined with the Archbishop: where
I met my Lord Bruce, Sir George Wheeler, Colonel Cooke,
and several divines. After dinner and discourse with his
Grace till evening prayers, Sir George Wheeler and I
walked over the ice from Lambeth stairs to the Horse-
roth January, 1684. I visited Sir Robert Reading, where
after supper we had music, but not comparable to thatd the excellentster of a man, Lordors of Hercules, fight with the Centaurs,