Horseman

Up betimes and my father with me, and he and I all the morning and Will Stankes private, in my wife’s closet above, settling our matters concerning our Brampton estate, &c., and I find that there will be, after all debts paid within 100l., 50l. per annum clear coming towards my father’s maintenance, besides 25l. per annum annuities to my Uncle Thomas and Aunt Perkins. Of which, though I was in my mind glad, yet thought it not fit to let my father know it thoroughly, but after he had gone out to visit my uncle Thomas and brought him to dinner with him, and after dinner I got my father, brother Tom, and myself together, I did make the business worse to them, and did promise 20l. out of my own purse to make it 50l. a year to my father, propounding that Stortlow may be sold to pay 200l. for his satisfaction therein and the rest to go towards payment of debts and legacies. The truth is I am fearful lest my father should die before debts are paid, and then the land goes to Tom and the burden of paying all debts will fall upon the rest of the land. Not that I would do my brother any real hurt. I advised my father to good husbandry and to living within the compass of 50l. a year, and all in such kind words, as not only made, them but myself to weep, and I hope it will have a good effect. That being done, and all things agreed on, we went down, and after a glass of wine we all took horse, and I, upon a horse hired of Mr. Game, saw him out of London, at the end of Bishopsgate Street, and so I turned and rode, with some trouble, through the fields, and then Holborn, &c., towards Hide Park, whither all the world, I think, are going, and in my going, almost thither, met W. Howe coming galloping upon a little crop black nag; it seems one that was taken in some ground of my Lord’s, by some mischance being left by his master, a thief; this horse being found with black cloth ears on, and a false mayne, having none of his own; and I back again with him to the Chequer, at Charing Cross, and there put up my own dull jade, and by his advice saddled a delicate stonehorse of Captain Ferrers’s, and with that rid in state to the Park, where none better mounted than I almost, but being in a throng of horses, seeing the King’s riders showing tricks with their managed horses, which were very strange, my stone-horse was very troublesome, and begun to, fight with other horses, to the dangering him and myself, and with much ado I got out, and kept myself out of harm’s way.
Here I saw nothing good, neither the King, nor my Lady Castlemaine, nor any great ladies or beauties being there, there being more pleasure a great deal at an ordinary day; or else those few good faces that there were choked up with the many bad ones, there being people of all sorts in coaches there, to some thousands, I think.
Going thither in the highway, just by the Park gate, I met a boy in a sculler boat, carried by a dozen people at least, rowing as hard as he could drive, it seems upon some wager.
By and by, about seven or eight o’clock, homeward; and changing my horse again, I rode home, coaches going in great crowds to the further end of the town almost. In my way, in Leadenhall Street, there was morris-dancing which I have not seen a great while. So set my horse up at Game’s, paying 5s. for him. And so home to see Sir J. Minnes, who is well again, and after staying talking with him awhile, I took leave and went to hear Mrs. Turner’s daughter, at whose house Sir J. Minnes lies, play on the harpsicon; but, Lord! it was enough to make any man sick to hear her; yet I was forced to commend her highly.
So home to supper and to bed, Ashwell playing upon the tryangle very well before I went to bed.
This day Captain Grove sent me a side of pork, which was the oddest present, sure, that was ever made any man; and the next, I remember I told my wife, I believe would be a pound of candles, or a shoulder of mutton; but the fellow do it in kindness, and is one I am beholden to.
So to bed very weary, and a little galled for lack of riding, praying to God for a good journey to my father, of whom I am afeard, he being so lately ill of his pain.

all morning in my mind with no compass
I turn towards the world

going on a delicate stone horse
to see the stone faces of the crowd

I hear lies enough
to make any man sick

the oddest present
would be a pound of candles for God


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 1 May 1663.

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