Blizzard

(A holyday). Lay long; then up, and to the office, where vexed to meet with people come from the fleete at the Nore, where so many ships are laid up and few going abroad, and yet Sir Thomas Allen hath sent up some Lieutenants with warrants to presse men for a few ships to go out this winter, while every day thousands appear here, to our great trouble and affright, before our office and the ticket office, and no Captains able to command one-man aboard.
Thence by water to Westminster, and there at the Swan find Sarah is married to a shoemaker yesterday, so I could not see her, but I believe I shall hereafter at good leisure. Thence by coach to my Lady Peterborough, and there spoke with my Lady, who had sent to speak with me. She makes mighty moan of the badness of the times, and her family as to money. My Lord’s passionateness for want thereof, and his want of coming in of rents, and no wages from the Duke of York. No money to be had there for wages nor disbursements, and therefore prays my assistance about his pension. I was moved with her story, which she largely and handsomely told me, and promised I would try what I could do in a few days, and so took leave, being willing to keep her Lord fair with me, both for his respect to my Lord Sandwich and for my owne sake hereafter, when I come to pass my accounts.
Thence to my Lord Crew’s, and there dined, and mightily made of, having not, to my shame, been there in 8 months before. Here my Lord and Sir Thomas Crew, Mr. John, and Dr. Crew, and two strangers. The best family in the world for goodness and sobriety. Here beyond my expectation I met my Lord Hinchingbroke, who is come to towne two days since from Hinchingbroke, and brought his sister and brother Carteret with him, who are at Sir G. Carteret’s. After dinner I and Sir Thomas Crew went aside to discourse of public matters, and do find by him that all the country gentlemen are publickly jealous of the courtiers in the Parliament, and that they do doubt every thing that they propose; and that the true reason why the country gentlemen are for a land-tax and against a general excise, is, because they are fearful that if the latter be granted they shall never get it down again; whereas the land-tax will be but for so much; and when the war ceases, there will be no ground got by the Court to keep it up. He do much cry out upon our accounts, and that all that they have had from the King hath been but estimates both from my Lord Treasurer and us, and from all people else, so that the Parliament is weary of it. He says the House would be very glad to get something against Sir G. Carteret, and will not let their inquiries die till they have got something.
He do, from what he hath heard at the Committee for examining the burning of the City, conclude it as a thing certain that it was done by plots; it being proved by many witnesses that endeavours were made in several places to encrease the fire, and that both in City and country it was bragged by several Papists that upon such a day or in such a time we should find the hottest weather that ever was in England, and words of plainer sense. But my Lord Crew was discoursing at table how the judges have determined in the case whether the landlords or the tenants (who are, in their leases, all of them generally tied to maintain and uphold their houses) shall bear the losse of the fire; and they say that tenants should against all casualties of fire beginning either in their owne or in their neighbour’s; but, where it is done by an enemy, they are not to do it. And this was by an enemy, there having been one convicted and hanged upon this very score. This is an excellent salvo for the tenants, and for which I am glad, because of my father’s house.
After dinner and this discourse I took coach, and at the same time find my Lord Hinchingbroke and Mr. John Crew and the Doctor going out to see the ruins of the City; so I took the Doctor into my hackney coach (and he is a very fine sober gentleman), and so through the City. But, Lord! what pretty and sober observations he made of the City and its desolation; till anon we come to my house, and there I took them upon Tower Hill to shew them what houses were pulled down there since the fire; and then to my house, where I treated them with good wine of several sorts, and they took it mighty respectfully, and a fine company of gentlemen they are; but above all I was glad to see my Lord Hinchingbroke drink no wine at all. Here I got them to appoint Wednesday come se’nnight to dine here at my house, and so we broke up and all took coach again, and I carried the Doctor to Chancery Lane, and thence I to White Hall, where I staid walking up and down till night, and then got almost into the play house, having much mind to go and see the play at Court this night; but fearing how I should get home, because of the bonefires and the lateness of the night to get a coach, I did not stay; but having this evening seen my Lady Jemimah, who is come to towne, and looks very well and fat, and heard how Mr. John Pickering is to be married this week, and to a fortune with 5000l., and seen a rich necklace of pearle and two pendants of dyamonds, which Sir G. Carteret hath presented her with since her coming to towne, I home by coach, but met not one bonefire through the whole town in going round by the wall, which is strange, and speaks the melancholy disposition of the City at present, while never more was said of, and feared of, and done against the Papists than just at this time. Home, and there find my wife and her people at cards, and I to my chamber, and there late, and so to supper and to bed.

it is winter
and we speak
with passionate hands

in the world beyond
there will be no ground
that is not white

I go bone by bone
through the whole
strange city


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 5 November 1666.

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