Belated Christmas letter

At the end of the last and the beginning of this year, I do live in one of the houses belonging to the Navy Office, as one of the principal officers, and have done now about half a year. After much trouble with workmen I am now almost settled; my family being, myself, my wife, Jane, Will. Hewer, and Wayneman, my girle’s brother.
Myself in constant good health, and in a most handsome and thriving condition. Blessed be Almighty God for it. I am now taking of my sister to come and live with me. As to things of State.—The King settled, and loved of all. The Duke of York matched to my Lord Chancellor’s daughter, which do not please many. The Queen upon her return to France with the Princess Henrietta. The Princess of Orange lately dead, and we into new mourning for her.
We have been lately frighted with a great plot, and many taken up on it, and the fright not quite over. The Parliament, which had done all this great good to the King, beginning to grow factious, the King did dissolve it December 29th last, and another likely to be chosen speedily.
I take myself now to be worth 300l. clear in money, and all my goods and all manner of debts paid, which are none at all.
Called up this morning by Mr. Moore, who brought me my last things for me to sign for the last month, and to my great comfort tells me that my fees will come to 80l. clear to myself, and about 25l. for him, which he hath got out of the pardons, though there be no fee due to me at all out of them.
Then comes in my brother Thomas, and after him my father, Dr. Thomas Pepys, my uncle Fenner and his two sons (Anthony’s only child dying this morning, yet he was so civil to come, and was pretty merry) to breakfast; and I had for them a barrel of oysters, a dish of neat’s tongues, and a dish of anchovies, wine of all sorts, and Northdown ale. We were very merry till about eleven o’clock, and then they went away.
At noon I carried my wife by coach to my cozen, Thomas Pepys, where we, with my father, Dr. Thomas, cozen Stradwick, Scott, and their wives, dined. Here I saw first his second wife, which is a very respectfull woman, but his dinner a sorry, poor dinner for a man of his estate, there being nothing but ordinary meat in it. To-day the King dined at a lord’s, two doors from us. After dinner I took my wife to Whitehall, I sent her to Mrs. Pierces (where we should have dined today), and I to the Privy Seal, where Mr. Moore took out all his money, and he and I went to Mr. Pierces; in our way seeing the Duke of York bring his Lady this day to wait upon the Queen, the first time that ever she did since that great business; and the Queen is said to receive her now with much respect and love; and there he cast up the fees, and I told the money, by the same token one 100l. bag, after I had told it, fell all about the room, and I fear I have lost some of it.
That done I left my friends and went to my Lord’s, but he being not come in I lodged the money with Mr. Shepley, and bade good night to Mr. Moore, and so returned to Mr. Pierces, and there supped with them, and Mr. Pierce, the purser, and his wife and mine, where we had a calf’s head carboned, but it was raw, we could not eat it, and a good hen. But she is such a slut that I do not love her victualls.
After supper I sent them home by coach, and I went to my Lord’s and there played till 12 at night at cards at Best with J. Goods and N. Osgood, and then to bed with Mr. Shepley.

This year, trouble settled
in with me, and I mourn
the dying of tongues
and ordinary doors.
Time is no old token.
I have lost friends and
a calf’s head at cards.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 1 January 1660/61.

2 Comments


  1. Man, do I ever love these erasure poems. The words, the striking way they’re presented, everything. Please don’t ever stop.

    Reply

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