Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon home to dinner, where I find Balty come out to see us, but looks like death, and I do fear he is in a consumption; he has not been abroad many weeks before, and hath now a well day, and a fit day of the headake in extraordinary torture. After dinner left him and his wife, they having their mother hard by and my wife, and I a wet afternoon to White Hall to have seen my Lady Carteret and Jemimah, but as God would have it they were abroad, and I was well contented at it. So my wife and I to Westminster Hall, where I left her a little, and to the Exchequer, and then presently home again, calling at our man-cooke’s for his help to-morrow, but he could not come. So I home to the office, my people all busy to get a good dinner to-morrow again. I late at the office, and all the newes I hear I put into a letter this night to my Lord Bruncker at Chatham, thus:—
“I doubt not of your lordship’s hearing of Sir Thomas Clifford’s succeeding Sir H. Pollard in the Comptrollership of the King’s house; but perhaps our ill, but confirmed, tidings from the Barbadoes may not yet, it coming but yesterday; viz., that about eleven ships, whereof two of the King’s, the Hope and Coventry, going thence with men to attack St. Christopher’s, were seized by a violent hurricane, and all sunk — two only of thirteen escaping, and those with loss of masts, &c. My Lord Willoughby himself is involved in the disaster, and I think two ships thrown upon an island of the French, and so all the men, to 500, become their prisoners. ‘Tis said, too, that eighteen Dutch men-of-war are passed the Channell, in order to meet with our Smyrna ships; and some, I hear, do fright us with the King of Sweden’s seizing our mast-ships at Gottenburgh. But we have too much ill newes true, to afflict ourselves with what is uncertain. That which I hear from Scotland is, the Duke of York’s saying, yesterday, that he is confident the Lieutenant-Generall there hath driven them into a pound, somewhere towards the mountains.”
Having writ my letter, I home to supper and to bed, the world being mightily troubled at the ill news from Barbadoes, and the consequence of the Scotch business, as little as we do make of it.
And to shew how mad we are at home, here, and unfit for any troubles: my Lord St. John did, a day or two since, openly pull a gentleman in Westminster Hall by the nose, one Sir Andrew Henly, while the judges were upon their benches, and the other gentleman did give him a rap over the pate with his cane, of which fray the judges, they say, will make a great matter: men are only sorry the gentle man did proceed to return a blow; for, otherwise, my Lord would have been soundly fined for the affront, and may be yet for his affront to the judges.
death and torture
in the news tonight
escaping the prison
of what is certain
I drive toward the mountains
which make so low a sound
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 29 November 1666.