Up, having lain long, and then by coach with W. Hewer to the Excise Office, and so to Lilly’s, the Varnisher; who is lately dead, and his wife and brother keep up the trade, and there I left my French prints to be put on boards:, and, while I was there, a fire burst out in a chimney of a house over against his house, but it was with a gun quickly put out. So to White Hall, and did a little business there at the Treasury chamber, and so homeward, calling at the laceman’s for some lace for my new suit, and at my tailor’s, and so home, where to dinner, and Mr. Sheres dined, with us, who come hither to-day to teach my wife the rules of perspective; but I think, upon trial, he thinks it too hard to teach her, being ignorant of the principles of lines. After dinner comes one Colonel Macnachan, one that I see often at Court, a Scotchman, but know him not; only he brings me a letter from my Lord Middleton, who, he says, is in great distress for 500l. to relieve my Lord Morton with, but upon, what account I know not; and he would have me advance it without order upon his pay for Tangier, which I was astonished at, but had the grace to deny him with an excuse. And so he went away, leaving me a little troubled that I was thus driven, on a sudden, to do any thing herein; but Creed, coming just now to see me, he approves of what I have done. And then to talk of general matters, and, by and by, Sheres being gone, my wife, and he, and I out, and I set him down at Temple Bar, and myself and wife went down the Temple upon seeming business, only to put him off, and just at the Temple gate I spied Deb. with another gentlewoman, and Deb. winked on me and smiled, but undiscovered, and I was glad to see her. So my wife and I to the ’Change, about things for her; and here, at Mrs. Burnett’s shop, I am told by Betty, who was all undressed, of a great fire happened in Durham-Yard last night, burning the house of one Lady Hungerford, who was to come to town to it this night; and so the house is burned, new furnished, by carelessness of the girl sent to take off a candle from a bunch of candles, which she did by burning it off, and left the rest, as is supposed, on fire. The King and Court were here, it seems, and stopped the fire by blowing up of the next house.
The King and Court went out of town to Newmarket this morning betimes, for a week. So home, and there to my chamber, and got my wife to read to me a little, and so to supper and to bed.
Coming home this night I did call at the coachmaker’s, and do resolve upon having the standards of my coach gilt with this new sort of varnish, which will come but to 40s.; and, contrary to my expectation, the doing of the biggest coach all over comes not to above 6l., which is [not] very much.
I see only what I know not
astonished at the grace
in undiscovered things
for the fur of fire
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 26 April 1669.