Up, and with Mr. Butts to look into the baths, and find the King and Queen’s full of a mixed sort, of good and bad, and the Cross only almost for the gentry. So home and did the like with my wife,
and did pay my guides, two women, 5s.
one man, 2s. 6d.
woman to lay my foot-cloth, 1s.
So to our inne, and there eat and paid reckoning, 1l. 8s. 6d.
lent the coach man, 10s.
Before I took coach, I went to make a boy dive in the King’s bath, 1s.
I paid also for my coach and a horse to Bristol, 1l. 1s. 6d.
Took coach, and away, without any of the company of the other stage-coaches, that go out of this town to-day; and rode all day with some trouble, for fear of being out of our way, over the Downes, where the life of the shepherds is, in fair weather only, pretty. In the afternoon come to Abebury, where, seeing great stones like those of Stonage standing up, I stopped, and took a countryman of that town, and he carried me and shewed me a place trenched in, like Old Sarum almost, with great stones pitched in it, some bigger than those at Stonage in figure, to my great admiration: and he told me that most people of learning, coming by, do come and view them, and that the King did so: and that the Mount cast hard by is called Selbury, from one King Seall buried there, as tradition says.
I did give this man 1s.
So took coach again, seeing one place with great high stones pitched round, which, I believe, was once some particular building, in some measure like that of Stonage. But, about a mile off, it was prodigious to see how full the Downes are of great stones; and all along the vallies, stones of considerable bigness, most of them growing certainly out of the ground so thick as to cover the ground, which makes me think the less of the wonder of Stonage, for hence they might undoubtedly supply themselves with stones, as well as those at Abebury.
In my way did give to the poor and menders of the highway 3s.
Before night, come to Marlborough, and lay at the Hart; a good house, and a pretty fair town for a street or two; and what is most singular is, their houses on one side having their pent-houses supported with pillars, which makes it a good walk. My wife pleased with all, this evening reading of “Mustapha” to me till supper, and then to supper, and had musique whose innocence pleased me,
and I did give them 3s.
So to bed, and lay well all night, and long, so as all the five coaches that come this day from Bath, as well as we, were gone out of the town before six.
I go on one foot
into the company of stones
standing like old people
hard as tradition
stones growing out of the ground
thick as wonder
stones at the poor house
having their aches
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 15 June 1668 (Pepys’ notes for an unfinished entry)