In absentia

Up and to the office where all the morning, and among other things got Sir G. Carteret to put his letters to Captain Taylor’s bill by which I am in hopes to get 5l., which joys my heart. We had this morning a great dispute between Mr. Gauden, Victualler of the Navy, and Sir J. Lawson, and the rest of the Commanders going against Argier, about their fish and keeping of Lent; which Mr. Gauden so much insists upon to have it observed, as being the only thing that makes up the loss of his dear bargain all the rest of the year.
At noon went home and there I found that one Abrahall, who strikes in for the serving of the King with Ship chandlery ware, has sent my wife a Japan gowne, which pleases her very well and me also, it coming very opportune, but I know not how to carry myself to him, I being already obliged so far to Mrs. Russell, so that I am in both their pays.
To the Exchange, where I had sent Luellin word I would come to him, and thence brought him home to dinner with me. He tells me that W. Symon’s wife is dead, for which I am sorry, she being a good woman, and tells me an odde story of her saying before her death, being in good sense, that there stood her uncle Scobell.
Then he began to tell me that Mr. Deering had been with him to desire him to speak to me that if I would get him off with these goods upon his hands, he would give me 50 pieces, and further that if I would stand his friend to helpe him to the benefit of his patent as the King’s merchant, he could spare me 200l. per annum out of his profits. I was glad to hear both of these, but answered him no further than that as I would not by any thing be bribed to be unjust in my dealings, so I was not so squeamish as not to take people’s acknowledgment where I had the good fortune by my pains to do them good and just offices, and so I would not come to be at any agreement with him, but I would labour to do him this service and to expect his consideration thereof afterwards as he thought fit. So I expect to hear more of it.
I did make very much of Luellin in hopes to have some good by this business, and in the evening received some money from Mr. Moore, and so went and settled accounts in my books between him and me, and I do hope at Christmas not only to find myself as rich or more than ever I was yet, but also my accounts in less compass, fewer reckonings either of debts or moneys due to me, than ever I have been for some years, and indeed do so, the goodness of God bringing me from better to a better expectation and hopes of doing well. This day I heard my Lord Barkeley tell Sir G. Carteret that he hath letters from France that the King hath unduked twelve Dukes, only to show his power and to crush his nobility, who he said he did see had heretofore laboured to cross him. And this my Lord Barkeley did mightily magnify, as a sign of a brave and vigorous mind, that what he saw fit to be done he dares do.
At night, after business done at my office, home to supper and to bed.
I have forgot to set down a very remarkable passage that, Lewellen being gone, and I going into the office, and it begun to be dark, I found nobody there, my clerks being at the burial of a child of W. Griffin’s, and so I spent a little time till they came, walking in the garden, and in the mean time, while I was walking Mrs. Pen’s pretty maid came by my side, and went into the office, but finding nobody there I went in to her, being glad of the occasion. She told me as she was going out again that there was nobody there, and that she came for a sheet of paper. So I told her I would supply her, and left her in the office and went into my office and opened my garden door, thinking to have got her in, and there to have caressed her, and seeming looking for paper, I told her this way was as near a way for her, but she told me she had left the door open and so did not come to me. So I carried her some paper and kissed her, leading her by the hand to the garden door and there let her go. But, Lord! to see how much I was put out of order by this surprisal, and how much I could have subjected my mind to have treated and been found with this wench, and how afterwards I was troubled to think what if she should tell this and whether I had spoke or done any thing that might be unfit for her to tell. But I think there was nothing more passed than just what I here write.

dead before her death
hands as spare as any in a compass

at her own dark burial
finding nobody

paper looking for paper
a door open to a door


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 12 December 1663.

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