Homilist

(Lord’s day). Up, and going down to the water side, I met Sir John Robinson, and so with him by coach to White Hall, still a vain, prating, boasting man as any I know, as if the whole City and Kingdom had all its work done by him. He tells me he hath now got a street ordered to be continued, forty feet broad, from Paul’s through Cannon Street to the Tower, which will be very fine. He and others this day, where I was in the afternoon, do tell me of at least six or eight fires within these few days; and continually stirs of fires, and real fires there have been, in one place or other, almost ever since the late great fire, as if there was a fate sent people for fire. I walked over the Park to Sir W. Coventry’s. Among other things to tell him what I hear of people being forced to sell their bills before September for 35 and 40 per cent. loss, and what is worst, that there are some courtiers that have made a knot to buy them, in hopes of some ways to get money of the King to pay them, which Sir W. Coventry is amazed at, and says we are a people made up for destruction, and will do what he can to prevent all this by getting the King to provide wherewith to pay them. We talked of Tangier, of which he is ashamed; also that it should put the King to this charge for no good in the world: and now a man going over that is a good soldier, but a debauched man, which the place need not to have. And so used these words: “That this place was to the King as my Lord Carnarvon says of wood, that it is an excrescence of the earth provided by God for the payment of debts.” Thence away to Sir G. Carteret, whom I find taking physic. I staid talking with him but a little, and so home to church, and heard a dull sermon, and most of the best women of our parish gone into the country, or at least not at church. So home, and find my boy not there, nor was at church, which vexed me, and when he come home I enquired, he tells me he went to see his mother. I send him back to her to send me some token that he was with her. So there come a man with him back of good fashion. He says he saw him with her, which pacified me, but I did soundly threaten him before him, and so to dinner, and then had a little scolding with my wife for not being fine enough to go to the christening to-day, which she excused by being ill, as she was indeed, and cried, but I was in an ill humour and ashamed, indeed, that she should not go dressed. However, friends by and by, and we went by water to Michell’s, and there his little house full of his father and mothers and the kindred, hardly any else, and mighty merry in this innocent company, and Betty mighty pretty in bed, but, her head akeing, not very merry, but the company mighty merry, and I with them, and so the child was christened; my wife, his father, and her mother, the witnesses, and the child’s name Elizabeth. So we had gloves and wine and wafers, very pretty, and talked and tattled, and so we away by water and up with the tide, she and I and Barker, as high as Barne Eimes, it being a fine evening, and back again to pass the bridges at standing water between 9 and 10 at night, and then home and to supper, and then to bed with much pleasure. This day Sir W. Coventry tells me the Dutch fleete shot some shot, four or five hundred, into Burnt-Island in the Frith, but without any hurt; and so are gone.

the great fire says
we are a people made for destruction
an excrescence of the earth

I find it a dull sermon
and go home to a cold little house
full of night


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 5 May 1667.

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