11 December, in the year of our Lord 2020
After dinner, went by coach to Mr. Ben Jones in Holy island, where for an hour with some merry discourse; and there I found him well and he hath a cat, eight months, which is very small and light and enquisative, though he keeps it inside, for he lives on the first floor and hath no garden, so he calls it a flat cat. (Nearby is a road, so he is fearfull lest a coach hit it, and makes it flatter.) Then home.
12 December, in the year of our Lord 2020
Up, but another murky day. I in a fit of enthusiasme to the Gymnaseum, but few there, and none that I knew, so having no reason other than to exercise, I did it for an hour.1 But I worry that I must pay for it tomorrow, for I have not done it, only once I think, and not so much, since my father began his treatement with the magick rays.
By the same token, after dinner, word by the Messenger from my father that he hath reciev’d a letter from a nurse who tends him at the Hospitalle, and in it says that he will ‘be receiving an appointment to see Dr. P— or one of his deputys in Januarie however if you have problems in the meantime you may contact myself’. Which is well and in good order for the intent, but lamentable, I think, in the execution of the writing of it. Consistencie of grammar, uniformitie of punctuacian and concistency of spelling is a thing in which I pride myself in my Journalle — as, I hope, is plain to behold in the reading of it, for claritie of expresion is to be esteemed above all, and I think to best any man in that skill — and which I endeavore to continue, may God help me, as long as my eyes allow; so I think it proper to expect the same excelence in others, especially in a position of responsibility, but in that sentence alone in the letter to my father are two solescismes that vex me. The first is the use without any punctuacion what so ever around it of ‘however’, which useage now seems as pernitious as the plague itself; yet I am vexed more by the second, which is ‘contact myself’. ‘Me’ is a satisfactory objeck proknoun; ‘myself’, on the other hand, is reflexive or emphatique. What is wrong with ‘me’? It is wholely good and proper English to write ‘you may contact me’, and a great Error otherwise. It is, in fact, what I myself learned at Pauls schoole.
13 December, in the year of our Lord 2020
Lords day. Ached a lot all day.
1. Reliable contemporary sources tell us that Pepys’ exercise hour in fact comprised no more than 45 minutes.