Journalist

We rose, and he about his business, and I to my house to look over my workmen; but good God! how I do find myself by yesterday’s liberty hard to be brought to follow business again, but however, I must do it, considering the great sweet and pleasure and content of mind that I have had since I did leave drink and plays, and other pleasures, and followed my business.
So to my office, where we sat till noon, and then I to dinner with Sir W. Pen, and while we were at it coming my wife to the office, and so I sent for her up, and after dinner we took coach and to the Duke’s playhouse, where we saw “The Duchess of Malfy” well performed, but Betterton and Ianthe to admiration. That being done, home again, by coach, and my wife’s chamber got ready for her to lie in to-night, but my business did call me to my office, so that staying late I did not lie with her at home, but at my lodgings.
Strange to see how easily my mind do revert to its former practice of loving plays and wine, having given myself a liberty to them but these two days; but this night I have again bound myself to Christmas next, in which I desire God to bless me and preserve me, for under God I find it to be the best course that ever I could take to bring myself to mind my business.
I have also made up this evening my monthly ballance, and find that, notwithstanding the loss of 30l. to be paid to the loyall and necessitous cavaliers by act of Parliament, yet I am worth about 680l., for which the Lord God be praised. My condition at present is this:—
I have long been building, and my house to my great content is now almost done. But yet not so but that I shall have dirt, which troubles me too, for my wife has been in the country at Brampton these two months, and is now come home a week or two before the house is ready for her.
My mind is somewhat troubled about my best chamber, which I question whether I shall be able to keep or no. I am also troubled for the journey which I must needs take suddenly to the Court at Brampton, but most of all for that I am not provided to understand my business, having not minded it a great while, and at the best shall be able but to make a bad matter of it, but God, I hope, will guide all to the best, and I am resolved to-morrow to fall hard to it. I pray God help me therein, for my father and mother and all our well-doings do depend upon my care therein.
My Lord Sandwich has lately been in the country, and very civil to my wife, and hath himself spent some pains in drawing a plot of some alterations in our house there, which I shall follow as I get money.
As for the office, my late industry hath been such, as I am become as high in reputation as any man there, and good hold I have of Mr. Coventry and Sir G. Carteret, which I am resolved, and it is necessary for me, to maintain by all fair means.
Things are all quiett, but the King poor, and no hopes almost of his being otherwise, by which things will go to rack, especially in the Navy.
The late outing of the Presbyterian clergy by their not renouncing the Covenant as the Act of Parliament commands, is the greatest piece of state now in discourse. But for ought I see they are gone out very peaceably, and the people not so much concerned therein as was expected.
My brother Tom is gone out of town this day, to make a second journey to his mistress at Banbury, of which I have good expectations, and pray God to bless him therein. My mind, I hope, is settled to follow my business again, for I find that two days’ neglect of business do give more discontent in mind than ten times the pleasure thereof can repair again, be it what it will.

how sweet an ink followed my pen
into a better night

how easily I revert to loving
the God of raised dirt

what a journey I take
suddenly under the sand

here things are all quiet
and go very peaceably out of mind


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 30 September 1662.

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