Vagrants

Up, and Greeting comes, who brings me a tune for two flageolets, which we played, and is a tune played at the King’s playhouse, which goes so well, that I will have more of them, and it will be a mighty pleasure for me to have my wife able to play a part with me, which she will easily, I find, do. Then abroad to White Hall in a hackney-coach with Sir W. Pen: and in our way, in the narrow street near Paul’s, going the backway by Tower Street, and the coach being forced to put back, he was turning himself into a cellar, which made people cry out to us, and so we were forced to leap out — he out of one, and I out of the other boote; Query, whether a glass-coach would have permitted us to have made the escape? neither of us getting any hurt; nor could the coach have got much hurt had we been in it; but, however, there was cause enough for us to do what we could to save ourselves. So being all dusty, we put into the Castle tavern, by the Savoy, and there brushed ourselves, and then to White Hall with our fellows to attend the Council, by order upon some proposition of my Lord Anglesey, we were called in. The King there: and it was about considering how the fleete might be discharged at their coming in shortly (the peace being now ratified, and it takes place on Monday next, which Sir W. Coventry said would make some clashing between some of us twenty to one, for want of more warning, but the wind has kept the boats from coming over), whether by money or tickets, and cries out against tickets, but the matter was referred for us to provide an answer to, which we must do in a few days. So we parted, and I to Westminster to the Exchequer, to see what sums of money other people lend upon the Act; and find of all sizes from 1000l. to 100l. nay, to 50l., nay, to 20l., nay, to 5l.: for I find that one Dr. Reade, Doctor of Law, gives no more, and others of them 20l.; which is a poor thing, methinks, that we should stoop so low as to borrow such sums. Upon the whole, I do think to lend, since I must lend, 300l., though, God knows! it is much against my will to lend any, unless things were in better condition, and likely to continue so.
Thence home and there to dinner, and after dinner by coach out again, setting my wife down at Unthanke’s, and I to the Treasury-chamber, where I waited, talking with Sir G. Downing, till the Lords met. He tells me how he will make all the Exchequer officers, of one side and t’other, to lend the King money upon the Act; and that the least clerk shall lend money, and he believes the least will 100l.: but this I do not believe. He made me almost ashamed that we of the Navy had not in all this time lent any; so that I find it necessary I should, and so will speedily do it, before any of my fellows begin, and lead me to a bigger sum.
By and by the Lords come; and I perceive Sir W. Coventry is the man, and nothing done till he comes. Among other things, I hear him observe, looking over a paper, that Sir John Shaw is a miracle of a man, for he thinks he executes more places than any man in England; for there he finds him a Surveyor of some of the King’s woods, and so reckoned up many other places, the most inconsistent in the world.
Their business with me was to consider how to assigne such of our commanders as will take assignements upon the Act for their wages; and the consideration thereof was referred to me to give them an answer the next sitting: which is a horrid poor thing: but they scruple at nothing of honour in the case.
So away hence, and called my wife, and to the King’s house, and saw “The Mayden Queene,” which pleases us mightily; and then away, and took up Mrs. Turner at her door, and so to Mile End, and there drank, and so back to her house, it being a fine evening, and there supped. The first time I ever was there since they lived there; and she hath all things so neat and well done, that I am mightily pleased with her, and all she do. So here very merry, and then home and to bed, my eyes being very bad.
I find most people pleased with their being at ease, and safe of a peace, that they may know no more charge or hazard of an ill-managed war: but nobody speaking of the peace with any content or pleasure, but are silent in it, as of a thing they are ashamed of; no, not at Court, much less in the City.

a narrow street
people escape on the wind like down

into a paper woods
a place with no door

and there they live
nobody speaking of the city

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 23 August 1667.

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