The coming storm

Up, and with Sir J. Minnes to St. James’s, where every body going to the House, I away by coach to White Hall, and after a few turns, and hearing that our accounts come into the House but to-day, being hindered yesterday by other business, I away by coach home, taking up my wife and calling at Bennet’s, our late mercer, who is come into Covent Garden to a fine house looking down upon the Exchange; and I perceive many Londoners every day come; and Mr. Pierce hath let his wife’s closett, and the little blind bed chamber, and a garret to a silke man for 50l. fine, and 30l. per annum, and 40l. per annum more for dieting the master and two prentices. So home, not agreeing for silk for a petticoat for her which she desired, but home to dinner and then back to White Hall, leaving my wife by the way to buy her petticoat of Bennet, and I to White Hall waiting all day on the Duke of Yorke to move the King for getting Lanyon some money at Plymouth out of some oyle prizes brought in thither, but could get nothing done, but here Mr. Dugdale I hear the great loss of books in St. Paul’s Church-yarde, and at their Hall also, which they value about 150,000l.; some booksellers being wholly undone, among others, they say, my poor Kirton. And Mr. Crumlu all his books and household stuff burned; they trusting St. Fayth’s, and the roof of the church falling, broke the arch down into the lower church, and so all the goods burned. A very great loss. His father hath lost above 1000l. in books; one book newly printed, a Discourse, it seems, of Courts. Here I had the hap to see my Lady Denham: and at night went into the dining-room and saw several fine ladies; among others, Castlemayne, but chiefly Denham again; and the Duke of Yorke taking her aside and talking to her in the sight of all the world, all alone; which was strange, and what also I did not like. Here I met with good Mr. Evelyn, who cries out against it, and calls it bitchering, for the Duke of Yorke talks a little to her, and then she goes away, and then he follows her again like a dog. He observes that none of the nobility come out of the country at all to help the King, or comfort him, or prevent commotions at this fire; but do as if the King were nobody; nor ne’er a priest comes to give the King and Court good council, or to comfort the poor people that suffer; but all is dead, nothing of good in any of their minds: he bemoans it, and says he fears more ruin hangs over our heads. Thence away by coach, and called away my wife at Unthanke’s, where she tells me she hath bought a gowne of 15s. per yard; the same, before her face, my Lady Castlemayne this day bought also, which I seemed vexed for, though I do not grudge it her, but to incline her to have Mercer again, which I believe I shall do, but the girle, I hear, has no mind to come to us again, which vexes me. Being come home, I to Sir W. Batten, and there hear our business was tendered to the House to-day, and a Committee of the whole House chosen to examine our accounts, and a great many Hotspurs enquiring into it, and likely to give us much trouble and blame, and perhaps (which I am afeard of) will find faults enow to demand better officers. This I truly fear. Away with Sir W. Pen, who was there, and he and I walked in the garden by moonlight, and he proposes his and my looking out into Scotland about timber, and to use Pett there; for timber will be a good commodity this time of building the City; and I like the motion, and doubt not that we may do good in it. We did also discourse about our Privateer, and hope well of that also, without much hazard, as, if God blesses us, I hope we shall do pretty well toward getting a penny. I was mightily pleased with our discourse, and so parted, and to the office to finish my journall for three or four days, and so home to supper, and to bed. Our fleete abroad, and the Dutch too, for all we know; the weather very bad; and under the command of an unlucky man, I fear. God bless him, and the fleete under him!

I hear all the great books
being burned

and the roof falling
in on the world

the poor will demand
better fear

moonlight will be a commodity
like a private god


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 26 September 1666.

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