Death grip

Before I was up, my brother’s man came to tell me that my cozen, Edward Pepys, was dead, died at Mrs. Turner’s, for which my wife and I are very sorry, and the more for that his wife was the only handsome woman of our name.
So up and to the office, where the greatest business was Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten against me for Sir W. Warren’s contract for masts, to which I may go to my memorandum book to see what past, but came off with conquest, and my Lord Barkely and Mr. Coventry well convinced that we are well used.
So home to dinner, and thither came to me Mr. Mount and Mr. Luellin, I think almost foxed, and there dined with me and very merry as I could be, my mind being troubled to see things so ordered at the Board, though with no disparagement to me at all.
At dinner comes a messenger from the Counter with an execution against me for the 30l. 10s., given the last verdict to Field. The man’s name is Thomas, of the Poultry Counter. I sent Griffin with him to the Dolphin, where Sir W. Batten was at dinner, and he being satisfied that I should pay the money, I did cause the money to be paid him, and Griffin to tell it out to him in the office. He offered to go along with me to Sir R. Ford, but I thought it not necessary, but let him go with it, he also telling me that there is never any receipt for it given, but I have good witness of the payment of it.
They being gone, Luellin having again told me by myself that Deering is content to give me 50l. if I can sell his deals for him to the King, not that I did ever offer to take it, or bid Luellin bargain for me with him, but did tacitly seem to be willing to do him what service I could in it, and expect his thanks, what he thought good.
Thence to White Hall by coach, by the way overtaking Mr. Moore, and took him into the coach to me, and there he could tell me nothing of my Lord, how he stands as to his thoughts or respect to me, but concludes that though at present he may be angry yet he will come to be pleased again with me no doubt, and says that he do mind his business well, and keeps at Court.
So to White Hall, and there by order found some of the Commissioners of Tangier met, and my Lord Sandwich among the rest, to whom I bowed, but he shewed me very little if any countenance at all, which troubles me mightily.
Having soon done there, I took up Mr. Moore again and set him down at Pauls, by the way he proposed to me of a way of profit which perhaps may shortly be made by money by fines upon houses at the Wardrobe, but how I did not understand but left it to another discourse.
So homeward, calling upon Mr. Fen, by Sir G. Carteret’s desire, and did there shew him the bill of Captain Taylor’s whereby I hope to get something justly.
Home and to my office, and there very late with Sir W. Warren upon very serious discourse, telling him how matters passed to-day, and in the close he and I did fall to talk very openly of the business of this office, and (if I was not a little too open to tell him my interest, which is my fault) he did give me most admirable advice, and such as do speak him a most able and worthy man, and understanding seven times more than ever I thought to be in him. He did particularly run over every one of the officers and commanders, and shewed me how I had reason to mistrust every one of them, either for their falsenesse or their over-great power, being too high to fasten a real friendship in, and did give me a common but a most excellent saying to observe in all my life. He did give it in rhyme, but the sense was this, that a man should treat every friend in his discourse and opening his mind to him as of one that may hereafter be his foe. He did also advise me how I should take occasion to make known to the world my case, and the pains that I take in my business, and above all to be sure to get a thorough knowledge in my employment, and to that add all the interest at Court that I can, which I hope I shall do.
He staid talking with me till almost 12 at night, and so good night, being sorry to part with him, and more sorry that he should have as far as Wapping to walk to-night. So I to my Journall and so home, to supper and to bed.

the dead hands of conquest
are a field given over to ice

how I fall is my fault
under every commander

how I trust the power
in a common rhyme

how I take occasion
to know the world


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 15 December 1663.

Leave a Reply