Self improvement

Up, and by water to White Hall; and there to the Duke of York, to shew myself, after my journey to Chatham, but did no business to-day with him: only after gone from him, I to Sir T. Clifford’s; and there, after an hour’s waiting, he being alone in his closet, I did speak with him, and give him the account he gave me to draw up, and he did like it very well: and then fell to talk of the business of the Navy and giving me good words, did fall foul of the constitution, and did then discover his thoughts, that Sir J. Minnes was too old, and so was Colonel Middleton, and that my Lord Brouncker did mind his mathematics too much. I did not give much encouragement to that of finding fault with my fellow-officers; but did stand up for the constitution, and did say that what faults there were in our Office would be found not to arise from the constitution, but from the failures of the officers in whose hands it was. This he did seem to give good ear to; but did give me of myself very good words, which pleased me well, though I shall not build upon them any thing. Thence home; and after dinner by water with Tom down to Greenwich, he reading to me all the way, coming and going, my collections out of the Duke of York’s old manuscript of the Navy, which I have bound up, and do please me mightily. At Greenwich I come to Captain Cocke’s, where the house full of company, at the burial of James Temple, who, it seems, hath been dead these five days. Here I had a very good ring, which I did give my wife as soon as I come home. I spent my time there walking in the garden, talking with James Pierce, who tells me that he is certain that the Duke of Buckingham had been with his wenches all the time that he was absent, which was all the last week, nobody knowing where he was. The great talk is of the King’s being hot of late against Conventicles, and to see whether the Duke of Buckingham’s being returned will turn the King, which will make him very popular: and some think it is his plot to make the King thus, to shew his power in the making him change his mind. But Pierce did tell me that the King did certainly say, that he that took one stone from the Church, did take two from his Crown. By and by the corpse come out; and I, with Sir Richard Browne and Mr. Evelyn, in their coach to the church, where Mr. Plume preached. But I, in the midst of the sermon, did go out, and walked all alone, round to Deptford, thinking para have seen the wife of Bagwell, which I did at her door, but I could not conveniently go into her house, and so lost my labour: and so to the King’s Yard, and there my boat by order met me; and home, where I made my boy to finish the reading of my manuscript, and so to supper and to bed. My new chamber-maid, that comes in the room of Jane; is come, Jane and Tom lying at their own lodging this night: the new maid’s name is Matt, a proper and very comely maid; so as when I was in bed, the thought de ella did make me para hazer in mi mano. This day also our cook-maid Bridget went away, which I was sorry for; but, just at her going she was found to be a thief, and so I was the less trouble for it; but now our whole house will, in a manner, be new which, since Jane is gone, I am not at all sorry for, for that my late differences with my wife about poor Deb. will not be remembered. So to bed after supper, and to sleep with great content.

I hew myself raw
like a thought in mathematics

finding failures
to build upon

green as a burial
in the garden

absent as a lost manuscript
going to a thief

I am not at all sorry
to be asleep

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 29 March 1669.

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