Distancing

Up, and having dressed myself, to the office a little, and out, expecting to have seen the pretty daughter of the Ship taverne at the hither end of Billiter Lane (whom I never yet have opportunity to speak to). I in there to drink my morning draught of half a pint of Rhenish wine; but a ma doleur elle and their family are going away thence, and a new man come to the house. So I away to the Temple, to my new bookseller’s; and there I did agree for Rycaut’s late History of the Turkish Policy, which costs me 55s.; whereas it was sold plain before the late fire for 8s., and bound and coloured as this is for 20s.; for I have bought it finely bound and truly coloured, all the figures, of which there was but six books done so, whereof the King and Duke of York, and Duke of Monmouth, and Lord Arlington, had four. The fifth was sold, and I have bought the sixth. So to enquire out Mrs. Knipp’s new lodging, but could not, but do hear of her at the Playhouse, where she was practising, and I sent for her out by a porter, and the jade come to me all undressed, so cannot go home to my house to dinner, as I had invited her, which I was not much troubled at, because I think there is a distance between her and Mrs. Pierce, and so our company would not be so pleasant. So home, and there find all things in good readiness for a good dinner, and here unexpectedly I find little Mis. Tooker, whom my wife loves not from the report of her being already naught; however, I do shew her countenance, and by and by come my guests, Dr. Clerke and his wife, and Mrs. Worshipp, and her daughter; and then Mr. Pierce and his wife, and boy, and Betty; and then I sent for Mercer; so that we had, with my wife and I, twelve at table, and very good and pleasant company, and a most neat and excellent, but dear dinner; but, Lord! to see with what envy they looked upon all my fine plate was pleasant; for I made the best shew I could, to let them understand me and my condition, to take down the pride of Mrs. Clerke, who thinks herself very great. We sat long, and very merry, and all things agreeable; and, after dinner, went out by coaches, thinking to have seen a play, but come too late to both houses, and then they had thoughts of going abroad somewhere; but I thought all the charge ought not to be mine, and therefore I endeavoured to part the company, and so ordered it to set them all down at Mrs. Pierces; and there my wife and I and Mercer left them in good humour, and we three to the King’s house, and saw the latter end of the “Surprisall,” a wherein was no great matter, I thought, by what I saw there. Thence away to Polichinello, and there had three times more sport than at the play, and so home, and there the first night we have been this year in the garden late, we three and our Barker singing very well, and then home to supper, and so broke up, and to bed mightily pleased with this day’s pleasure.

having dressed myself I drink
my morning wine
my new book of fire

is finely bound and colored
all the figures
I have undressed

the distance between
all things in readiness
for love or worship

so that we eat what
we think to have
and therefore part with


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 8 April 1667.

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