Seer

(Lord’s day). Up pretty early, and having last night bespoke a coach, which failed me this morning, I walked as far as the Temple, and there took coach, and to my Lord’s lodgings, whom I found ready to go to chappell; but I coming, he begun, with a very serious countenance, to tell me that he had received my late letter, wherein first he took notice of my care of him and his honour, and did give me thanks for that part of it where I say that from my heart I believe the contrary of what I do there relate to be the discourse of others; but since I intended it not a reproach, but matter of information, and for him to make a judgment of it for his practice, it was necessary for me to tell him the persons of whom I have gathered the several particulars which I there insist on. I would have made excuses in it; but, seeing him so earnest in it, I found myself forced to it, and so did tell him Mr. Pierce; the chyrurgeon, in that of his Lordship’s living being discoursed of at Court; a mayd servant that I kept, that lived at Chelsy school; and also Mr. Pickering, about the report touching the young woman; and also Mr. Hunt, in Axe Yard, near whom she lodged. I told him the whole city do discourse concerning his neglect of business; and so I many times asserting my dutifull intention in all this, and he owning his accepting of it as such. That that troubled me most in particular is, that he did there assert the civility of the people of the house, and the young gentlewoman, for whose reproach he was sorry. His saying that he was resolved how to live, and that though he was taking a house, meaning to live in another manner, yet it was not to please any people, or to stop report, but to please himself, though this I do believe he might say that he might not seem to me to be so much wrought upon by what I have writ; and lastly, and most of all, when I spoke of the tenderness that I have used in declaring this to him, there being nobody privy to it, he told me that I must give him leave to except one. I told him that possibly somebody might know of some thoughts of mine, I having borrowed some intelligence in this matter from them, but nobody could say they knew of the thing itself what I writ. This, I confess, however, do trouble me, for that he seemed to speak it as a quick retort, and it must sure be Will. Howe, who did not see anything of what I writ, though I told him indeed that I would write; but in this, I think, there is no great hurt.
I find him, though he cannot but owne his opinion of my good intentions, and so, he did again and again profess it, that he is troubled in his mind at it; and I confess, I think I may have done myself an injury for his good, which, were it to do again, and that I believed he would take it no better, I think I should sit quietly without taking any notice of it, for I doubt there is no medium between his taking it very well or very ill.
I could not forbear weeping before him at the latter end, which, since, I am ashamed of, though I cannot see what he can take it to proceed from but my tenderness and good will to him.
After this discourse was ended, he began to talk very, cheerfully of other things, and I walked with him to White Hall, and we discoursed of the pictures in the gallery, which, it may be, he might do out of policy, that the boy might not see any, strangeness in him; but I rather think that his mind was somewhat eased, and hope that he will be to me as he was before. But, however, I doubt not when he sees that I follow my business, and become an honour to him, and not to be like to need him, or to be a burden to him, and rather able to serve him than to need him, and if he do continue to follow business, and so come to his right witts again, I do not doubt but he will then consider my faithfulnesse to him, and esteem me as he ought.
At chappell I had room in the Privy Seale pew with other gentlemen, and there heard Dr. Killigrew, preach, but my mind was so, I know not whether troubled, or only full of thoughts of what had passed between my Lord and me that I could not mind it, nor can at this hour remember three words. The anthem was good after sermon, being the fifty-first psalme, made for five voices by one of Captain Cooke’s boys, a pretty boy. And they say there are four or five of them that can do as much. And here I first perceived that the King is a little musicall, and kept good time with his hand all along the anthem.
Up into the gallery after sermon and there I met Creed. We saluted one another and spoke but not one word of what had passed yesterday between us, but told me he was forced to such a place to dinner and so we parted.
Here I met Mr. Povy, who tells me how Tangier had like to have been betrayed, and that one of the King’s officers is come, to whom 8,000 pieces of eight were offered for his part.
Hence I to the King’s Head ordinary, and there dined, good and much company, and a good dinner: most of their discourse was about hunting, in a dialect I understand very little.
Thence by coach to our own church, and there my mind being yet unsettled I could mind nothing, and after sermon home and there told my wife what had passed, and thence to my office, where doing business only to keep my mind employed till late; and so home to supper, to prayers, and to bed.

night is coming
and the whole city is in on it

though nobody told me
I know what I see

I sit quietly with the strangeness
my mind full of voices
like a dialect I understand nothing of


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 22 November 1663.

2 Comments


  1. “night is coming / and the whole city is in on it”

    Yup. Great poem. Didn’t know Pepys had it in him, but I guess he wrote through a convulsive decade.

    Reply

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