Cipher

Up, and to the office, where all the morning, and at noon home, where my wife not very well, but is to go to Mr. Mills’s child’s christening, where she is godmother, Sir J. Minnes and Sir R. Brookes her companions. I left her after dinner (my clerks dining with me) to go with Sir J. Minnes, and I to the office, where did much business till after candlelight, and then my eyes beginning to fail me, I out and took coach to Arundell House, where the meeting of Gresham College was broke up; but there meeting Creed, I with him to the taverne in St. Clement’s Churchyard, where was Deane Wilkins, Dr. Whistler, Dr. Floyd, a divine admitted, I perceive, this day, and other brave men; and there, among other things of news, I do hear, that upon the reading of the House of Commons’s Reasons of the manner of their proceedings in the business of my Lord Chancellor, the Reasons were so bad, that my Lord Bristoll himself did declare that he would not stand to what he had, and did still, advise the Lords to concur to, upon any of the Reasons of the House of Commons; but if it was put to the question whether it should be done on their Reasons, he would be against them; and indeed it seems the Reasons — however they come to escape the House of Commons, which shews how slightly the greatest matters are done in this world, and even in Parliaments were none of them of strength, but the principle of them untrue; they saying, that where any man is brought before a judge, accused of Treason in general, without specifying the particular, the judge do there constantly and is obliged to commit him. Whereas the question being put by the Lords to my Lord Keeper, he said that quite the contrary was true: and then, in the Sixth Article (I will get a copy of them if I can) there are two or three things strangely asserted to the diminishing of the King’s power, as is said, at least things that heretofore would not have been heard of. But then the question being put among the Lords, as my Lord Bristoll advised, whether, upon the whole matter and Reasons that had been laid before them, they would commit my Lord Clarendon, it was carried five to one against it; there being but three Bishops against him, of whom Cosens and Dr. Reynolds were two, and I know not the third. This made the opposite Lords, as Bristoll and Buckingham, so mad, that they declared and protested against it, speaking very broad that there was mutiny and rebellion in the hearts of the Lords, and that they desired they might enter their dissents, which they did do, in great fury. So that upon the Lords sending to the Commons, as I am told, to have a conference for them to give their answer to the Commons’s Reasons, the Commons did desire a free conference: but the Lords do deny it; and the reason is, that they hold not the Commons any Court, but that themselves only are a Court, and the Chief Court of judicature, and therefore are not to dispute the laws and method of their own Court with them that are none, and so will not submit so much as to have their power disputed. And it is conceived that much of this eagerness among the Lords do arise from the fear some of them have, that they may be dealt with in the same manner themselves, and therefore do stand upon it now. It seems my Lord Clarendon hath, as is said and believed, had his horses several times in his coach, ready to carry him to the Tower, expecting a message to that purpose; but by this means his case is like to be laid by. From this we fell to other discourse, and very good; among the rest they discourse of a man that is a little frantic, that hath been a kind of minister, Dr. Wilkins saying that he hath read for him in his church, that is poor and a debauched man, that the College have hired for 20s. to have some of the blood of a sheep let into his body; and it is to be done on Saturday next. They purpose to let in about twelve ounces; which, they compute, is what will be let in in a minute’s time by a watch. They differ in the opinion they have of the effects of it; some think it may have a good effect upon him as a frantic man by cooling his blood, others that it will not have any effect at all. But the man is a healthy man, and by this means will be able to give an account what alteration, if any, he do find in himself, and so may be usefull. On this occasion, Dr. Whistler told a pretty story related by Muffet, a good author, of Dr. Caius, that built Keys College; that, being very old, and living only at that time upon woman’s milk, he, while he fed upon the milk of an angry, fretful woman, was so himself; and then, being advised to take it of a good-natured, patient woman, he did become so, beyond the common temper of his age. Thus much nutriment, they observed, might do. Their discourse was very fine; and if I should be put out of my office, I do take great content in the liberty I shall be at of frequenting these gentlemen’s company. Broke up thence and home, and there to my wife in her chamber, who is not well (of those), and there she tells me great stories of the gossiping women of the parish — what this, and what that woman was; and, among the rest, how Mrs. Hollworthy is the veriest confident bragging gossip of them all, which I should not have believed; but that Sir R. Brookes, her partner, was mighty civil to her, and taken with her, and what not. My eyes being bad I spent the evening with her in her chamber talking and inventing a cypher to put on a piece of plate, which I must give, better than ordinary, to the Parson’s child, and so to bed, and through my wife’s illness had a bad night of it, and she a worse, poor wretch!

my child my candlelight
my brave new world my keeper

my rebellion in the heart
my frantic blood

living only on woman’s milk
my cipher of a child

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 21 November 1667.

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