Orality

Up and with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen by water to White Hall and they to St. James’s. I stopped with Sir G. Carteret to desire him to go with us, and to enquire after money. But the first he cannot do, and the other as little, or says, “when we can get any, or what shall we do for it?” He, it seems, is employed in the correspondence between the City and the King every day, in settling of things. I find him full of trouble, to think how things will go. I left him, and to St. James’s, where we met first at Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and there did what business we can, without any books. Our discourse, as every thing else, was confused. The fleete is at Portsmouth, there staying a wind to carry them to the Downes, or towards Bullen, where they say the Dutch fleete is gone, and stays. We concluded upon private meetings for a while, not having any money to satisfy any people that may come to us. I bought two eeles upon the Thames, cost me six shillings. Thence with Sir W. Batten to the Cock-pit, whither the Duke of Albemarle is come. It seems the King holds him so necessary at this time, that he hath sent for him, and will keep him here. Indeed, his interest in the City, being acquainted, and his care in keeping things quiet, is reckoned that wherein he will be very serviceable. We to him; he is courted in appearance by every body. He very kind to us; I perceive he lays by all business of the fleete at present, and minds the City, and is now hastening to Gresham College, to discourse with the Aldermen. Sir W. Batten and I home (where met by my brother John, come to town to see how things are with us), and then presently he with me to Gresham College; where infinity of people, partly through novelty to see the new place, and partly to find out and hear what is become one man of another. I met with many people undone, and more that have extraordinary great losses. People speaking their thoughts variously about the beginning of the fire, and the rebuilding of the City. Then to Sir W. Batten’s, and took my brother with me, and there dined with a great company of neighbours; and much good discourse; among others, of the low spirits of some rich men in the City, in sparing any encouragement to the poor people that wrought for the saving their houses. Among others, Alderman Starling, a very rich man, without children, the fire at next door to him in our lane, after our men had saved his house, did give 2s. 6d. among thirty of them, and did quarrel with some that would remove the rubbish out of the way of the fire, saying that they come to steal. Sir W. Coventry told me of another this morning, in Holborne, which he shewed the King that when it was offered to stop the fire near his house for such a reward that came but to 2s. 6d. a man among the neighbours he would, give but 18d. Thence to Bednall Green by coach, my brother with me, and saw all well there, and fetched away my journall book to enter for five days past, and then back to the office where I find Bagwell’s wife, and her husband come home. Agreed to come to their house to-morrow, I sending him away to his ship to-day. To the office and late writing letters, and then to Sir W. Pen’s, my brother lying with me, and Sir W. Pen gone down to rest himself at Woolwich. But I was much frighted and kept awake in my bed, by some noise I heard a great while below stairs; and the boys not coming up to me when I knocked. It was by their discovery of people stealing of some neighbours’ wine that lay in vessels in the streets. So to sleep; and all well all night.

without books
everything was a mouth
the wind
the downs
money
time
and a body with its rich well
was wine


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 8 September 1666.

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