Vigil

Up, and to the office, full of thoughts how to order the business of our merry meeting to-night. So to the office, where busy all the morning. [While we were sitting in the morning at the office, we were frighted with news of fire at Sir W. Batten’s by a chimney taking fire, and it put me into much fear and trouble, but with a great many hands and pains it was soon stopped.] At noon home to dinner, and presently to the office to despatch my business, and also we sat all the afternoon to examine the loss of The Bredagh, which was done by as plain negligence as ever ship was. We being rose, I entering my letters and getting the office swept and a good fire made and abundance of candles lighted, I home, where most of my company come of this end of the town — Mercer and her sister, Mr. Batelier and Pembleton (my Lady Pen, and Pegg, and Mr. Lowther, but did not stay long, and I believe it was by Sir W. Pen’s order; for they had a great mind to have staid), and also Captain Rolt. And, anon, at about seven or eight o’clock, comes Mr. Harris, of the Duke’s playhouse, and brings Mrs. Pierce with him, and also one dressed like a country-mayde with a straw hat on; which, at first, I could not tell who it was, though I expected Knipp: but it was she coming off the stage just as she acted this day in “The Goblins;” a merry jade. Now my house is full, and four fiddlers that play well. Harris I first took to my closet; and I find him a very curious and understanding person in all pictures and other things, and a man of fine conversation; and so is Rolt. So away with all my company down to the office, and there fell to dancing, and continued at it an hour or two, there coming Mrs. Anne Jones, a merchant’s daughter hard by, who dances well, and all in mighty good humour, and danced with great pleasure; and then sung and then danced, and then sung many things of three voices — both Harris and Rolt singing their parts excellently. Among other things, Harris sung his Irish song — the strangest in itself, and the prettiest sung by him, that ever I heard. Then to supper in the office, a cold, good supper, and wondrous merry. Here was Mrs. Turner also, but the poor woman sad about her lodgings, and Mrs. Markham: after supper to dancing again and singing, and so continued till almost three in the morning, and then, with extraordinary pleasure, broke up only towards morning, Knipp fell a little ill, and so my wife home with her to put her to bed, and we continued dancing and singing; and, among other things, our Mercer unexpectedly did happen to sing an Italian song I know not, of which they two sung the other two parts to, that did almost ravish me, and made me in love with her more than ever with her singing. As late as it was, yet Rolt and Harris would go home to-night, and walked it, though I had a bed for them; and it proved dark, and a misly night, and very windy. The company being all gone to their homes, I up with Mrs. Pierce to Knipp, who was in bed; and we waked her, and there I handled her breasts and did ‘baiser la’, and sing a song, lying by her on the bed, and then left my wife to see Mrs. Pierce in bed to her, in our best chamber, and so to bed myself, my mind mightily satisfied with all this evening’s work, and thinking it to be one of the merriest enjoyment I must look for in the world, and did content myself therefore with the thoughts of it, and so to bed; only the musique did not please me, they not being contented with less than 30s.

how to meet the many
hands of loss

I get candles
to dance with the cold
night wind


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 24 January 1667.

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