We rose early in the morning to get things ready for My Lord, and Mr. Sheply going to put up his pistols (which were charged with bullets) into the holsters, one of them flew off, and it pleased God that, the mouth of the gun being downwards, it did us no hurt, but I think I never was in more danger in my life, which put me into a great fright.
About eight o’clock my Lord went; and going through the garden my Lord met with Mr. William Montagu, who told him of an estate of land lately come into the King’s hands, that he had a mind my Lord should beg. To which end my Lord writ a letter presently to my Lord Chancellor to do it for him, which (after leave taken of my Lord at White Hall bridge) I did carry to Warwick House to him; and had a fair promise of him, that he would do it this day for my Lord. In my way thither I met the Lord Chancellor and all the judges riding on horseback and going to Westminster Hall, it being the first day of the term, which was the first time I ever saw any such solemnity.
Having done there I returned to Whitehall, where meeting with my brother Ashwell and his cozen Sam. Ashwell and Mr. Mallard, I took them to the Leg in King Street and gave them a dish of meat for dinner and paid for it.
From thence going to Whitehall I met with Catan Stirpin in mourning, who told me that her mistress was lately dead of the small pox, and that herself was now married to Monsieur Petit, as also what her mistress had left her, which was very well. She also took me to her lodging at an Ironmonger’s in King Street, which was but very poor, and I found by a letter that she shewed me of her husband’s to the King, that he is a right Frenchman, and full of their own projects, he having a design to reform the universities, and to institute schools for the learning of all languages, to speak them naturally and not by rule, which I know will come to nothing. From thence to my Lord’s, where I went forth by coach to Mrs. Parker’s with my Lady, and so to her house again. From thence I took my Lord’s picture, and carried it to Mr. de Cretz to be copied.
So to White Hall, where I met Mr. Spong, and went home with him and played, and sang, and eat with him and his mother. After supper we looked over many books, and instruments of his, especially his wooden jack in his chimney, which goes with the smoke, which indeed is very pretty.
I found him to be as ingenious and good-natured a man as ever I met with in my life, and cannot admire him enough, he being so plain and illiterate a man as he is.
From thence by coach home and to bed, which was welcome to me after a night’s absence.
We rose early for bullets;
one flew off.
The mouth of the gun
should beg to eat
and learn all languages,
and be so illiterate
as to welcome absence.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 23 October 1660.