Writing life

I up, with my head troubled to think of the issue of this morning, so made ready and to the office, where Mr. Gawden comes, and he and I discoursed the business well, and thinks I shall get off well enough; but I do by Sir W. Coventry’s silence conclude that he is not satisfied in my management of my place and the charge it puts the King to, which I confess I am not in present condition through my late laziness to give any good answer to. But here do D. Gawden give me a good cordiall this morning, by telling me that he do give me five of the eight hundred pounds on his account remaining in my hands to myself, for the service I do him in my victualling business, and 100l. for my particular share of the profits of my Tangier imployment as Treasurer. This do begin to make my heart glad, and I did dissemble it the better, so when Sir W. Coventry did come, and the rest met, I did appear unconcerned, and did give him answer pretty satisfactory what he asked me; so that I did get off this meeting without any ground lost, but rather a great deal gained by interposing that which did belong to my duty to do, and neither [Sir] W. Coventry nor (Sir) W. Pen did oppose anything thereunto, which did make my heart very glad. All the morning at this work, Sir W. Pen making a great deal of do for the fitting him in his setting out in his employment, and I do yield to any trouble that he gives me without any contradiction. Sir W. Coventry being gone, we at noon to dinner to Sir W. Pen’s, he inviting me and my wife, and there a pretty good dinner, intended indeed for Sir W. Coventry, but he would not stay. So here I was mighty merry and all our differences seemingly blown over, though he knows, if he be not a fool, that I love him not, and I do the like that he hates me. Soon as dined, my wife and I out to the Duke’s playhouse, and there saw “Heraclius,” an excellent play, to my extraordinary content; and the more from the house being very full, and great company; among others, Mrs. Steward, very fine, with her locks done up with puffes, as my wife calls them: and several other great ladies had their hair so, though I do not like it; but my wife do mightily — but it is only because she sees it is the fashion. Here I saw my Lord Rochester and his lady, Mrs. Mallet, who hath after all this ado married him; and, as I hear some say in the pit, it is a great act of charity, for he hath no estate. But it was pleasant to see how every body rose up when my Lord John Butler, the Duke of Ormond’s son, come into the pit towards the end of the play, who was a servant to Mrs. Mallet, and now smiled upon her, and she on him. I had sitting next to me a woman, the likest my Lady Castlemayne that ever I saw anybody like another; but she is a whore, I believe, for she is acquainted with every fine fellow, and called them by their name, Jacke, and Tom, and before the end of the play frisked to another place. Mightily pleased with the play, we home by coach, and there a little to the office, and then to my chamber, and there finished my Catalogue of my books with my own hand, and so to supper and to bed, and had a good night’s rest, the last night’s being troublesome, but now my heart light and full of resolution of standing close to my business.

my head is ready but I am not
give me a morning

give me five hundred hands
and one pen like a mallet

so I like a whore might finish
my book and rest


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 4 February 1667.

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