War-time

Up betimes and to setting my Brampton papers in order and looking over my wardrobe against summer, and laying things in order to send to my brother to alter. By and by took boat intending to have gone down to Woolwich, but seeing I could not get back time enough to dinner, I returned and home. Whither by and by the dancing-master came, whom standing by, seeing him instructing my wife, when he had done with her, he would needs have me try the steps of a coranto, and what with his desire and my wife’s importunity, I did begin, and then was obliged to give him entry-money 10s., and am become his scholler. The truth is, I think it a thing very useful for a gentleman, and sometimes I may have occasion of using it, and though it cost me what I am heartily sorry it should, besides that I must by my oath give half as much more to the poor, yet I am resolved to get it up some other way, and then it will not be above a month or two in a year. So though it be against my stomach yet I will try it a little while; if I see it comes to any great inconvenience or charge I will fling it off.
After I had begun with the steps of half a coranto, which I think I shall learn well enough, he went away, and we to dinner.
And by and by out by coach, and set my wife down at my Lord Crew’s, going to see my Lady Jem. Montagu, who is lately come to town, and I to St. James’s; where Mr. Coventry, Sir W. Pen and I staid a good while for the Duke’s coming in, but not coming, we walked to White Hall; and meeting the King, we followed him into the Park, where Mr. Coventry and he talked of building a new yacht, which the King is resolved to have built out of his privy purse, he having some contrivance of his own. The talk being done, we fell off to White Hall, leaving the King in the Park, and going back, met the Duke going towards St. James’s to meet us. So he turned back again, and to his closett at White Hall; and there, my Lord Sandwich present, we did our weekly errand, and so broke up; and I down into the garden with my Lord Sandwich (after we had sat an hour at the Tangier Committee); and after talking largely of his own businesses, we begun to talk how matters are at Court: and though he did not flatly tell me any such thing, yet I do suspect that all is not kind between the King and the Duke, and that the King’s fondness to the little Duke do occasion it; and it may be that there is some fear of his being made heir to the Crown. But this my Lord did not tell me, but is my guess only; and that my Lord Chancellor is without doubt falling past hopes. He being gone to Chelsey by coach I to his lodgings, where my wife staid for me, and she from thence to see Mrs. Pierce and called me at Whitehall stairs (where I went before by land to know whether there was any play at Court to-night) and there being none she and I to Mr. Creed to the Exchange, where she bought something, and from thence by water to White Fryars, and wife to see Mrs. Turner, and then came to me at my brother’s, where I did give him order about my summer clothes, and so home by coach, and after supper to bed to my wife, with whom I have not lain since I used to lie with my father till to-night.

in war-time the master of money
must give the poor
some other stomach

but the new contrivance
of king and sandwich
broke down into sand

our sin matters little
fear is the only wife now
with whom I lie


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 4 May 1663.

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