Notes on the office of hope

Up and to the office, whither Sir W. Pen came, the first time that he has come downstairs since his late great sickness of the gout. We with Mr. Coventry sat till noon, then I to the Change ward, to see what play was there, but I liked none of them, and so homeward, and calling in at Mr. Rawlinson’s, where he stopped me to dine with him and two East India officers of ships and Howell our turner. With the officers I had good discourse, particularly of the people at the Cape of Good Hope, of whom they of their own knowledge do tell me these one or two things: viz, that when they come to age, the men do cut off one of the stones of each other, which they hold doth help them to get children the better and to grow fat. That they never sleep lying, but always sitting upon the ground. That their speech is not so articulate as ours, but yet understand one another well. That they paint themselves all over with the grease the Dutch sell them (who have a fort there) and soot. After dinner drinking five or six glasses of wine, which liberty I now take till I begin my oath again, I went home and took my wife into coach, and carried her to Westminster; there visited Mrs. Ferrer, and staid talking with her a good while, there being a little, proud, ugly, talking lady there, that was much crying up the Queen-Mother’s Court at Somerset House above our own Queen’s; there being before no allowance of laughing and the mirth that is at the other’s; and indeed it is observed that the greatest Court now-a-days is there. Thence to White Hall, where I carried my wife to see the Queen in her presence-chamber; and the maydes of honour and the young Duke of Monmouth playing at cards.
Some of them, and but a few, were very pretty; though all well dressed in velvet gowns. Thence to my Lord’s lodgings, where Mrs. Sarah did make us my Lord’s bed, and Mr. Creed I being sent for, sat playing at cards till it was late, and so good night, and with great pleasure to bed.

the officers of hope
sleep sitting up

understand one another with ease
after five or six glasses of wine

take a little crying
above all mirth

and in the presence of the young
play at playing


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

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