(Lord’s day). Up, and being ready, walked up and down to Cree Church, to see it how it is; but I find no alteration there, as they say there was, for my Lord Mayor and Aldermen to come to sermon, as they do every Sunday, as they did formerly to Paul’s. Walk back home and to our own church, where a dull sermon and our church empty of the best sort of people, they being at their country houses, and so home, and there dined with me Mr. Turner and his daughter Betty. Her mother should, but they were invited to Sir J. Minnes, where she dined and the others here with me. Betty is grown a fine lady as to carriage and discourse. I and my wife are mightily pleased with her. We had a good haunch of venison, powdered and boiled, and a good dinner and merry. After dinner comes Mr. Pelling the Potticary, whom I had sent for to dine with me, but he was engaged. After sitting an hour to talk we broke up, all leaving Pelling to talk with my wife, and I walked towards White Hall, but, being wearied, turned into St. Dunstan’s Church, where I heard an able sermon of the minister of the place; and stood by a pretty, modest maid, whom I did labour to take by the hand and the body; but she would not, but got further and further from me; and, at last, I could perceive her to take pins out of her pocket to prick me if I should touch her again — which seeing I did forbear, and was glad I did spy her design. And then I fell to gaze upon another pretty maid in a pew close to me, and she on me; and I did go about to take her by the hand, which she suffered a little and then withdrew. So the sermon ended, and the church broke up, and my amours ended also, and so took coach and home, and there took up my wife, and to Islington with her, our old road, but before we got to Islington, between that and Kingsland, there happened an odd adventure: one of our coach-horses fell sick of the staggers, so as he was ready to fall down. The coachman was fain to ’light, and hold him up, and cut his tongue to make him bleed, and his tail. The horse continued shaking every part of him, as if he had been in an ague, a good while, and his blood settled in his tongue, and the coachman thought and believed he would presently drop down dead; then he blew some tobacco in his nose, upon which the horse sneezed, and, by and by, grows well, and draws us the rest of our way, as well as ever he did; which was one of the strangest things of a horse I ever observed, but he says it is usual. It is the staggers.
Staid and eat and drank at Islington, at the old house, and so home, and to my chamber to read, and then to supper and to bed.
how empty is the church
of the body
further and further from the red
road of a ready tongue
to make every part presently dead
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 18 August 1667.