Dream conversion

Up, having had many ugly dreams to-night of my father and my sister and mother’s coming to us, and meeting my wife and me at the gate of the office going out, they all in laced suits, and come, they told me, to be with me this May day. My mother told me she lacked a pair of gloves, and I remembered a pair of my wife’s in my chamber, and resolved she should have them, but then recollected how my mother come to be here when I was in mourning for her, and so thinking it to be a mistake in our thinking her all this while dead, I did contrive that it should be said to any that enquired that it was my mother-in-law, my wife’s mother, that was dead, and we in mourning for. This dream troubled me and I waked. Then I dreamed that I had great pain of the stone in making water, and that once I looked upon my yard in making water at the steps before my door, and there took hold of the end of a thing and pulled it out, and it was a turd; and it came into my mind that I was in the same condition with my aunt Pepys, my uncle Roberts wife. And by and by, on the like occasion, I pulled out something and flung it on the ground — it looked like slime or snot, and presently it swelled and turned into a gray kind of Bird, and I would have taken it into my hand and it run from me to the corner of the door, going into the garden in the entry by Sir J. Mennes’s; and so I waked. These dreams did trouble me mightily all night.
Up, and by coach to St. James’s, and there find Sir W. Coventry and Sir W. Pen above stairs, and then we to discourse about making up our accounts against the Parliament; and Sir W. Coventry did give us the best advice he could for us to provide for our own justification, believing, as everybody do, that they will fall heavily upon us all, though he lay all upon want of money, only a little, he says (if the Parliament be in any temper), may be laid upon themselves for not providing money sooner, they being expressly and industriously warned thereof by him, he says, even to the troubling them, that some of them did afterwards tell him that he had frighted them. He says he do prepare to justify himself, and that he hears that my Lord Chancellor, my Lord Arlington, the Vice Chamberlain and himself are reported all up and down the Coffee houses to be the four sacrifices that must be made to atone the people.
Then we to talk of the loss of all affection and obedience, now in the seamen, so that all power is lost. He told us that he do concur in thinking that want of money do do the most of it, but that that is not all, but the having of gentlemen Captains, who discourage all Tarpaulins, and have given out that they would in a little time bring it to that pass that a Tarpaulin should not dare to aspire to more than to be a Boatswain or a gunner. That this makes the Sea Captains to lose their own good affections to the service, and to instil it into the seamen also, and that the seamen do see it themselves and resent it; and tells us that it is notorious, even to his bearing of great ill will at Court, that he hath been the opposer of gentlemen Captains; and Sir W. Pen did put in, and said that he was esteemed to have been the man that did instil it into Sir W. Coventry, which Sir W. Coventry did owne also, and says that he hath always told the Gentlemen Captains his opinion of them, and that himself who had now served to the business of the sea 6 or 7 years should know a little, and as much as them that had never almost been at sea, and that yet he found himself fitter to be a Bishop or Pope than to be a Sea-Commander, and so indeed he is. I begun to tell him of the experience I had of the great brags made by Sir F. Hollis the other day, and the little proof either of the command or interest he had in his men, which Sir W. Pen seconded by saying Sir Fr. Hollis had told him that there was not a pilot to be got the other day for his fire-ships, and so was forced to carry them down himself, which Sir W. Coventry says, in my conscience, he knows no more to do and understand the River no more than he do Tiber or Ganges. Thence I away with Sir W. Pen to White Hall, to the Treasury Chamber, but to no purpose, and so by coach home, and there to my office to business, and then home to dinner, and to pipe with my wife, and so to the office again, having taken a resolution to take a turn to Chatham to-morrow, indeed to do business of the King’s, but also to give myself the satisfaction of seeing the place after the Dutch have been here. I have sent to and got Creed to go with me by coach betimes to-morrow morning. After having done my business at the office I home, and there I found Coleman come again to my house, and with my wife in our great chamber, which vexed me, there being a bed therein. I staid there awhile, and then to my study vexed, showing no civility to the man. But he comes on a compliment to receive my wife’s commands into the country, whither he is going, and it being Saturday my wife told me there was no other room for her to bring him in, and so much is truth. But I staid vexed in my closet till by and by my cozen Thomas Pepys, of Hatcham, come to see me, and he up to my closet, and there sat talking an hour or two of the sad state of the times, whereof we did talk very freely, and he thinks nothing but a union of religious interests will ever settle us; and I do think that, and the Parliament’s taking the whole management of things into their hands, and severe inquisitions into our miscarriages; will help us. After we had bewailed ourselves and the kingdom very freely one to another (wherein I do blame myself for my freedom of speech to anybody), he gone, and Coleman gone also before, I to the office, whither Creed come by my desire, and he and I to my wife, to whom I now propose the going to Chatham, who, mightily pleased with it, sent for Mercer to go with her, but she could not go, having friends at home, which vexed my wife and me; and the poor wretch would have had anybody else to have gone, but I would like nobody else, so was contented to stay at home, on condition to go to Ispsum next Sunday, which I will do, and so I to the office to dispatch my business, and then home to supper with Creed, and then Creed and I together to bed, very pleasant in discourse. This day talking with Sir W. Batten, he did give me an account how ill the King and Duke of York was advised to send orders for our frigates and fire-ships to come from Gravesend, soon as ever news come of the Dutch being returned into the river, wherein no seamen, he believes, was advised with; for, says he, we might have done just as Warwicke did, when he, W. Batten; come with the King and the like fleete, in the late wars, into the river: for Warwicke did not run away from them, but sailed before them when they sailed, and come to anchor when they come to anchor, and always kept in a small distance from them: so as to be able to take any opportunity of any of their ships running aground, or change of wind, or any thing else, to his advantage. So might we have done with our fire-ships, and we have lost an opportunity of taking or burning a good ship of their’s, which was run aground about Holehaven, I think he said, with the wind so as their ships could not get her away; but we might have done what we would with her, and, it may be, done them mischief, too, with the wind. This seems very probable, and I believe was not considered.

I dream of meeting my love
and she is dead

I dream a stone swelled
and turned into a gray bird

I dream the stairs go down
to the Ganges

and I become religious
and wail like a lost wind


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 29 June 1667.

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