Churchyard

Up, and by coach to St. James’s, and with Sir W. Coventry a great while talking about several businesses, but especially about accounts, and how backward our Treasurer is in giving them satisfaction, and the truth is I do doubt he cannot do better, but it is strange to say that being conscious of our doing little at this day, nor for some time past in our office for want of money, I do hang my head to him, and cannot be so free with him as I used to be, nor can be free with him, though of all men, I think, I have the least cause to be so, having taken so much more pains, while I could do anything, than the rest of my fellows. Parted with him, and so going through the Park met Mr. Mills, our parson, whom I went back with to bring him to W. Coventry, to give him the form of a qualification for the Duke of York to sign to, to enable him to have two livings: which was a service I did, but much against my will, for a lazy, fat priest. Thence to Westminster Hall, and there walked a turn or two with Sir William Doyly, who did lay a wager with me, the Treasurership would be in one hand, notwithstanding this present Commission, before Christmas: on which we did lay a poll of ling, a brace of carps, and a pottle of wine; and Sir W. Pen and Mr. Scowen to be at the eating of them. Thence down by water to Deptford, it being Trinity Monday, when the Master is chosen, and there, finding them all at church, and thinking they dined, as usual, at Stepny, I turned back, having a good book in my hand, the Life of Cardinal Wolsey, wrote by his own servant, and to Ratcliffe; and so walked to Stepny, and spent, my time in the churchyard, looking over the gravestones, expecting when the company would come by. Finding no company stirring, I sent to the house to see; and, it seems, they dine not there, but at Deptford: so I back again to Deptford, and there find them just sat down. And so I down with them; and we had a good dinner of plain meat, and good company at our table: among others, my good Mr. Evelyn, with whom, after dinner, I stepped aside, and talked upon the present posture of our affairs; which is, that the Dutch are known to be abroad with eighty sail of ships of war, and twenty fire-ships; and the French come into the Channell with twenty sail of men-of-war, and five fireships, while we have not a ship at sea to do them any hurt with; but are calling in all we can, while our Embassadors are treating at Bredah; and the Dutch look upon them as come to beg peace, and use them accordingly; and all this through the negligence of our Prince, who hath power, if he would, to master all these with the money and men that he hath had the command of, and may now have, if he would mind his business. But, for aught we see, the Kingdom is likely to be lost, as well as the reputation of it is, for ever; notwithstanding so much reputation got and preserved by a rebel that went before him. This discourse of ours ended with sorrowful reflections upon our condition, and so broke up, and Creed and I got out of the room, and away by water to White Hall, and there he and I waited in the Treasury-chamber an hour or two, where we saw the Country Receivers and Accountants for money come to attend; and one of them, a brisk young fellow, with his hat cocked like a fool behind, as the present fashion among the blades is, committed to the Serjeant. By and by, I, upon desire, was called in, and delivered in my report of my Accounts. Present, Lord Ashly, Clifford, and Duncomb, who, being busy, did not read it; but committed it to Sir George Downing, and so I was dismissed; but, Lord! to see how Duncomb do take upon him is an eyesore, though I think he deserves great honour, but only the suddenness of his rise, and his pride. But I do like the way of these lords, that they admit nobody to use many words, nor do they spend many words themselves, but in great state do hear what they see necessary, and say little themselves, but bid withdraw. Thence Creed and I by water up to Fox Hall, and over against it stopped, thinking to see some Cock-fighting; but it was just being done, and, therefore, back again to the other side, and to Spring Garden, and there eat and drank a little, and then to walk up and down the garden, reflecting upon the bad management of things now, compared with what it was in the late rebellious times, when men, some for fear, and some for religion, minded their business, which none now do, by being void of both. Much talk of this and, other kinds, very pleasant, and so when it was almost night we home, setting him in at White Hall, and I to the Old Swan, and thence home, where to supper, and then to read a little, and so to bed.

I cannot do better at doing little
than a parson with two livings

I turn my rat step
over the gravestones

finding no company stirring
just a table
like an accountant

brisk and busy
only to manage the void


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 3 June 1667.

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