5 November, in the year of our Lord 2020
Up, it being Gunpowder Treason Day, only we are to have no publick bonfires or fawkesworks, which otherwise make this tedious month bearable, for the First Lord of the Treasurie hath decreed a further Lock Up, taking his U and turning it, which he had said he would not do and now hath, earning him the spleen of those who did not want it as much as of those who had said he must not delay it, which he did, his three new pitiful Tiers lasting no longer than his notion of a moonshot.
Read the gazette, wherein the news all bleak; that the Great Weather Change worsens, that people in the Emperour’s city of Vienna are dead by the hand of a man from the Levant, and that the plague is on the rise again all across Evrope, incl. even in Swedeland, which bragged that the plague would meet the rectitude of Sweades with a proper courtesie, as if it were joining them for tea, which notion is much favoured here by some people who, indifferent to fifty thousand corpses, assert a foul displeasure that any might dare confine their own mean movements and footling meets, but which speaks to me of a distasteful, selfish disposition. The truth is that the relish with which the plague hath plucked life from the Sweades is well-nigh as bad as its reaping here; for that Countrys deaths are ten-fold higher beside its neighbours in the north, and beside all the Baltick and all the cities of the Hanse, and I think it a mighty fine convenience to ignore this, stepping over graves on the way to dine out. The words came into my mind of my mother as she pushed me out of the door in a plague of my youth: ‘You must mingle with the coughers and expectorators of this city, Samuel! And don’t come back till you’re febrile!’, but even at that age I did not wish my Epitaph to be ‘Died in the Cause of Herd Immunitie’.
Messages from Mr. M. Jones these days since, that his Broad Cummerband is neither enstalled, which he had hoped, nor a cummerband, which I had thought, but a tiny tube which should be filled with light that goes from one end of it to the other; only it was not, so a man came, he says, and with him others, who had to light a candle at one end of the tube and go to find where it came out at the other, which was a quarter of a mile away down a hill and round a bend. I have a disquiet that he places such confidence in them, for he said the man came from Oppenreitsch and had a van, and I would not trust a Hollander.
Dinner, and after comes news that the Plymouth Colony hath decided to find a new leader for itself, the present being a Delinquent, but the atmosphear is charged, for the man they must rid themselves of will tell lies, claim Treason and protest Perfidie in his plotting to keep what his inadequacy craves. After supper the night still, tho’ the noises of severalle fyrecrackers in the street and the smell of gunpowder in the mist. I by candle to my correspondence in the office (the nights colder and coming hatefull earlie), where vexed to find that a Constable has wrote to me that my carriage was observed being drove too fast down a hill, which was lately on the way back from seeing my father, and I am to pay 10l and cannot have a lesson on how to drive it because I had one two years and eight months ago, which is too early, so I must pay it. But then it came into my mind that I had made a second journey after six days more, and that again I had wished home with good speed, and so I became afeared that I am to be done twice. And so, in ill humour and troubled with this thought, to bed.