Human resources

Up by four o’clock to go with Sir W. Batten to Woolwich and Sir J. Minnes, which we did, though not before 6 or 7 by their laying a-bed. Our business was to survey the new wharf building there, in order to the giving more to him that do it (Mr. Randall) than contracted for, but I see no reason for it, though it be well done, yet no better than contracted to be.
Here we eat and drank at the Clerke of the Cheques, and in taking water at the Tower gate, we drank a cup of strong water, which I did out of pure conscience to my health, and I think is not excepted by my oaths, but it is a thing I shall not do again, hoping to have no such occasion. After breakfast Mr. Castle and I walked to Greenwich, and in our way met some gypsys, who would needs tell me my fortune, and I suffered one of them, who told me many things common as others do, but bade me beware of a John and a Thomas, for they did seek to do me hurt, and that somebody should be with me this day se’nnight to borrow money of me, but I should lend him none. She got ninepence of me. And so I left them and to Greenwich and so to Deptford, where the two knights were come, and thence home by water, where I find my closet done at my office to my mind and work gone well on at home; and Ashwell gone abroad to her father, my wife having spoken plainly to her. After dinner to my office, getting my closet made clean and setting some papers in order, and so in the evening home and to bed.
This day Sir W. Batten tells me that Mr. Newburne (of whom the nick-word came up among us for “Arise Tom Newburne”) is dead of eating Cowcoumbers, of which the other day, I heard another, I think Sir Nich. Crisps son.

in business to build order
all a contract I see no reason
for a conscience after breakfast

gypsies tell my fortune at the office
tell who among us
is dead of eating ink


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 22 August 1663.

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