Against solitude

(Lord’s day). Up sooner than usual on Sundays, and to walk, it being exceeding hot all night (so as this night I begun to leave off my waistcoat this year) and this morning, and so to walk in the garden till toward church time, when my wife and I to church, where several strangers of good condition come to our pew, where the pew was full. At noon dined at home, where little Michell come and his wife, who continues mighty pretty. After dinner I by water alone to Westminster, where, not finding Mrs. Martin within, did go towards the parish church, and in the way did overtake her, who resolved to go into the church with her that she was going with (Mrs. Hargrave, the little crooked woman, the vintner’s wife of the Dog) and then go out again, and so I to the church, and seeing her return did go out again myself, but met with Mr. Howlett, who, offering me a pew in the gallery, I had no excuse but up with him I must go, and then much against my will staid out the whole church in pain while she expected me at home, but I did entertain myself with my perspective glass up and down the church, by which I had the great pleasure of seeing and gazing at a great many very fine women; and what with that, and sleeping, I passed away the time till sermon was done, and then to Mrs. Martin, and there staid with her an hour or two, and there did what I would with her, and after been here so long I away to my boat, and up with it as far as Barne Elmes, reading of Mr. Evelyn’s late new book against Solitude, in which I do not find much excess of good matter, though it be pretty for a bye discourse. I walked the length of the Elmes, and with great pleasure saw some gallant ladies and people come with their bottles, and basket, and chairs, and form, to sup under the trees, by the waterside, which was mighty pleasant. I to boat again and to my book, and having done that I took another book, Mr. Boyle’s of Colours, and there read, where I laughed, finding many fine things worthy observation, and so landed at the Old Swan, and so home, where I find my poor father newly come out of an unexpected fit of his pain, that they feared he would have died. They had sent for me to White Hall and all up and down, and for Mr. Holliard also, who did come, but W. Hewer being here did I think do the business in getting my father’s bowel, that was fallen down, into his body again, and that which made me more sensible of it was that he this morning did show me the place where his bowel did use to fall down and swell, which did trouble me to see. But above all things the poor man’s patience under it, and his good heart and humour, as soon as he was out of it, did so work upon me, that my heart was sad to think upon his condition, but do hope that a way will be found by a steel truss to relieve him. By and by to supper, all our discourse about Brampton, and my intentions to build there if I could be free of my engagement to my Uncle Thomas and his son, that they may not have what I have built, against my will, to them whether I will or no, in case of me and my brothers being without heirs male; which is the true reason why I am against laying out money upon that place, together with my fear of some inconvenience by being so near Hinchingbroke; being obliged to be a servant to that family, and subject to what expence they shall cost me; and to have all that I shall buy, or do, esteemed as got by the death of my uncle, when indeed what I have from him is not worth naming. After supper to read and then to bed.

a little crooked dog
sleeping on a boat

and I reading a book
against solitude

under the trees
where an old swan

is against me being
so near


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 26 May 1667.

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