Bad neighborhood

Up, and with my wife, setting her down by her father’s in Long Acre, in so ill looked a place, among all the whore houses, that I was troubled at it, to see her go thither. Thence I to White Hall and there walked up and down talking with Mr. Pierce, who tells me of the King’s giving of my Lord Fitz-Harding two leases which belong indeed to the Queene, worth 20,000l. to him; and how people do talk of it, and other things of that nature which I am sorry to hear. He and I walked round the Park with great pleasure, and back again, and finding no time to speak with my Lord of Albemarle, I walked to the ‘Change and there met my wife at our pretty Doll’s, and so took her home, and Creed also whom I met there, and sent her hose, while Creed and I staid on the ‘Change, and by and by home and dined, where I found an excellent mastiffe, his name Towser, sent me by a chyrurgeon. After dinner I took my wife again by coach (leaving Creed by the way going to Gresham College, of which he is now become one of the virtuosos) and to White Hall, where I delivered a paper about Tangier to my Lord Duke of Albemarle in the council chamber, and so to Mrs. Hunt’s to call my wife, and so by coach straight home, and at my office till 3 o’clock in the morning, having spent much time this evening in discourse with Mr. Cutler, who tells me how the Dutch deal with us abroad and do not value us any where, and how he and Sir W. Rider have found reason to lay aside Captain Cocke in their company, he having played some indiscreet and unfair tricks with them, and has lost himself every where by his imposing upon all the world with the conceit he has of his own wit, and so has, he tells me, Sir R. Ford also, both of whom are very witty men.
He being gone Sir W. Rider came and staid with me till about 12 at night, having found ourselves work till that time, about understanding the measuring of Mr. Wood’s masts, which though I did so well before as to be thought to deal very hardly against Wood, yet I am ashamed I understand it no better, and do hope yet, whatever be thought of me, to save the King some more money, and out of an impatience to breake up with my head full of confused confounded notions, but nothing brought to a clear comprehension, I was resolved to sit up and did till now it is ready to strike 4 o’clock, all alone, cold, and my candle not enough left to light me to my owne house, and so, with my business however brought to some good understanding, and set it down pretty clear, I went home to bed with my mind at good quiet, and the girl sitting up for me (the rest all a-bed). I eat and drank a little, and to bed, weary, sleepy, cold, and my head akeing.

my own acre
among the whorehouses of the Lord

I walk ’round it
finding no time to speak

walk my mastiff on by the virtuosos
with their discreet tricks

who are witty till 12 at night
and I am ashamed to sit alone

my candle not enough to light
my own ache


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 17 February 1663/64.

Leave a Reply