Fast away

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and among other things Sir W. Warren came about some contract, and there did at the open table, Sir W. Batten not being there; openly defy him, and insisted how Sir W. Batten did endeavour to oppose him in everything that he offered. Sir W. Pen took him up for it, like a counterfeit rogue, though I know he was as much pleased to hear him talk so as any man there. But upon his speaking no more was said but to the business. At noon we broke up and I to the ‘Change awhile, and so home again to dinner, my head aching mightily with being overcharged with business. We had to dinner, my wife and I, a fine turkey and a mince pie, and dined in state, poor wretch, she and I, and have thus kept our Christmas together all alone almost, having not once been out, but to-morrow my vowes are all out as to plays and wine, but I hope I shall not be long before I come to new ones, so much good, and God’s blessing, I find to have attended them. Thence to the office and did several businesses and answered several people, but my head aching and it being my great night of accounts, I went forth, took coach, and to my brother’s, but he was not within, and so I back again and sat an hour or two at the Coffee [house], hearing some simple discourse about Quakers being charmed by a string about their wrists, and so home, and after a little while at my office, I home and supped, and so had a good fire in my chamber and there sat till 4 o’clock in the morning making up my accounts and writing this last Journall of the year. And first I bless God I do, after a large expense, even this month, by reason of Christmas, and some payments to my father, and other things extraordinary, find that I am worth in money, besides all my household stuff, or any thing of Brampton, above 800l., whereof in my Lord Sandwich’s hand, 700l., and the rest in my hand. So that there is not above 5l. of all my estate in money at this minute out of my hands and my Lord’s. For which the good God be pleased to give me a thankful heart and a mind careful to preserve this and increase it.
I do live at my lodgings in the Navy Office, my family being, besides my wife and I, Jane Gentleman, Besse, our excellent, good-natured cookmayde, and Susan, a little girle, having neither man nor boy, nor like to have again a good while, living now in most perfect content and quiett, and very frugally also; my health pretty good, but only that I have been much troubled with a costiveness which I am labouring to get away, and have hopes of doing it. At the office I am well, though envied to the devil by Sir William Batten, who hates me to death, but cannot hurt me. The rest either love me, or at least do not show otherwise, though I know Sir W. Pen to be a false knave touching me, though he seems fair.
My father and mother well in the country; and at this time the young ladies of Hinchingbroke with them, their house having the small-pox in it.
The Queene after a long and sore sicknesse is become well again; and the King minds his mistresse a little too much, if it pleased God! but I hope all things will go well, and in the Navy particularly, wherein I shall do my duty whatever comes of it.
The great talke is the designs of the King of France, whether against the Pope or King of Spayne nobody knows; but a great and a most promising Prince he is, and all the Princes of Europe have their eye upon him. My wife’s brother come to great unhappiness by the ill-disposition, my wife says, of his wife, and her poverty, which she now professes, after all her husband’s pretence of a great fortune, but I see none of them, at least they come not to trouble me.
At present I am concerned for my cozen Angier, of Cambridge, lately broke in his trade, and this day am sending his son John, a very rogue, to sea.
My brother Tom I know not what to think of, for I cannot hear whether he minds his business or not; and my brother John at Cambridge, with as little hopes of doing good there, for when he was here he did give me great cause of dissatisfaction with his manner of life. Pall with my father, and God knows what she do there, or what will become of her, for I have not anything yet to spare her, and she grows now old, and must be disposed of one way or other.
The Duchesse of York, at this time, sicke of the meazles, but is growing well again.
The Turke very far entered into Germany, and all that part of the world at a losse what to expect from his proceedings.
Myself, blessed be God! in a good way, and design and resolution of sticking to my business to get a little money with doing the best service I can to the King also; which God continue! So ends the old year.

like a counterfeit head
blessing no one
or a hand all out of hands

like a devil
who cannot touch
or a god of poverty

spare measle
ticking tin
so ends the old year


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 31 December 1663.

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