Categories
News

Why I don’t do DIY

28 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

Up betimes, after a night in which my eyes itched, and my nose too, for the highness of the pollenne count yesterday. In the morning I with purpose to Gerard Small’s newly malpunctuated ladys wear shoppe, it being my mother’s birthday tomorrow, where I browsed for a gift and selected a small Scarve for her, in Nilon, which is the new Silk, because I think she will find it easy to wash, and not because it was cheaper. At the counter perched the proprieter on a stool, wearing an ancient crested helmet and plain chiffon dress, girded at the waist with a belt. And on his counter sat an owl, stuffed, and beside it on one side rested a discarded spear, and on the other a notebook in which he scribbled anxiosely with a feather quill. He was so engrossed in the task that he did not see me, so I coughed to announce my presence.
  ‘Oh, Mr. Pipes!’ says he, startled at the sight of me, and jumped up from his stool, just managing to catch Minerva’s owl as it tottered, but not her spear as it clattered to the floor. Thereupon drew he himselfe upright, fixed his focus on the door behind me and took deep breaths. After half a dozen inpiracions and expirations he untensed his shoulders and returned his gaze to me. ‘I am confident that my busyness can provide for all your needs, and assure you I will strive to provide a service second to none. I trust you are well?’
  ‘I am well apart from an unnatural wakefulnesse that plagues me,’ say I, slightly puzzled at his affect. ‘I am on a Physick that imbues me with an uncommon vitality, so although I breathe more easily I lie awake all night and cannot rest.’
  ‘Oh!’ says he. ‘I think I had those pills one night at The Octagon. I did not sleep for a week, and then they chucked me out.’
  ‘Maybe something different,’ say I, at which he turns a raspberry red.
  ‘The place was spotless when I left, though.’
  ‘Maybe not, then,’ admit I, recalling the day I jet-washed the patio at five in the morning. ‘Anyway, how is busyness?’
  ‘Busyness could be better,’ says he, and then adds, as if reciting lines he has struggled to learn, or at least believe in, ‘but that does not mean I am a totally useless person.’ Whereupon, flustered by the immediacy of the process, he rushed to write his thoughts in his notebook, muttering the while under his breath the words he wrote — which, if I did catch them correctly, were, ‘Breath’d deeply to increase sense of control. Did…not…ca-ta-stro-phise.’
  ‘Every busynesse hath set-up troubles,’ say I, affabubbly — upon which comment slumps he upon his stool, despondant.
  ‘My only custom since that illiterate sign went up has been half a dozen Scottish dwarfs looking for kilts on the cheap. I did not think to cater for such a height. I am waiting for the sign writer to amend my hyphen, but since the plague tradesmen will do nothing in a hurry!’
  ‘Tell me about it,’ say I. ‘It was only last week that Davey come to fix my radiater, after telling me in January it would be four or five weeks. I got him to service the boiler at the same time, though. Of Barrie the paynter I have seen naught, although his wife Diane tells me he suffered a sprayn to his ankle in an effort not to trip over the cat, and in a separate Incydent to which I am not privy pulled a muscle in the groyn so he could not climb a ladder.’
  ‘My finances are making me very anxious again,’ says he, doalful and biting his lower lip, ‘so I am having Cognitive Pull-Yourselfe-Together Therapie. I must trayn my mind to master my Emocions by a process of thinking through my Reactions. I am writing down my negative Thoughts to get in touch with my Core Beliefs. Perhaps it is as well there are no customers, for it is a full time job.’
  ‘Ah,’ say I, brightly, ‘the Stoicism of the Ancients, re-badged for the modern client. But it is not Therapie you are in need of, Gerard Small. What you are in need of are two small tins of paynte, a step ladder and brushes! Thus shall you put this dissapoyntment behind you and move forwards! Onwards and upwards! Rehyphenated and rejuvenated!’
  ‘But I will make a mess of it, the handiwork will be undone and the sign for which I have payed spoiled forever!’ wails he, downcast. ‘My busyness will spiral into a great Depression and I will become bankrupt and destitute, a starving wretch searching for morsels in effluent on the fetid banks of the Thames, a shadow consumed by thwarted hopes, a wraith ravaged by the corrosion of self doubt…!’
  I put up a hand before things got theatricle. ‘I do not think all of that will happen!’ cry I. And then, hastily: ‘I do not think any of that will happen!’
  ‘It all seems so much. I have such a lot to cognate,’ sniffs he.
  ‘The job is perfecktly feasible with SMART goals,’ say I. ‘Specific, which is that we obliterate the troublesome hyphen; Measurable, which is about two inches; Achievable, which I’ll come back to; Realistic, which it is or I would not be suggesting it; and Time-limited, which means…well, it slightly depends on Achievable.’
  ‘You will be able to help? You have the wherewithall and skill to paint words and pictures upon a board?’ asks he, brightening a little.
  ‘Me?’ scoff I in disbelief, as much as if he hath suggested I might spend ninety valuable minutes of my life watching a game of football. ‘No, of course not me! Who do you think I am, René McGritte?’
  Whereupon he regarded me with a certain suspicion. ‘So, when you say “Achievable”…?’
  ‘It will become apparent,’ say I. ‘Trust me.’
  And so at five a-clock in the afternoon rolled up to the premices a figure in decoraters garb, compleat with all the gear, viz.: paynte, a long roller, brushes and a step Ladder which he erected outside, to the interest of passers by and the bemusement of staff at The Physicians, idling opposite.
  ‘You would not believe the trouble I have had getting all this,’ grumbles Mr. M. Jones. ‘First of all I had to go to Quayle and Block at the Exchange for a roller the right size, which upon my return home I found to have a wire along its axis so it would not fit its holder, which obliged me to go back to change it; then I discovered that the holder required a screw-in fitting to slot on to the extension poal, which on my second return they did not have. In the end I went to Screw Fix and — ’
  ‘Do you really need a roller for such a small task?’ venture I, though with some hesitacion for it is not my field of expertise.
  ‘I can assure you, it is the way a Professionalle would tackle the job,’ says he. ‘Roller for the big bits, brush for the edges and detail.’
  ‘Well, you love this kind of thing,’ say I, adding a blandishment ‘— and are so good at it — ’ and bribery ‘ — and afterwards you shall come to mine, where we shall sit in the evening sun and share a rum and violet. Or a pint of snayle water. Your choice.’
  ‘Very well,’ says Mr. Jones, and proceeds to marshal his assistants. ‘Now, there is a little breeze from the north-west which may prove troublesome, so someone must stabilise the base of my ladder, here — ’ at which Minerva places in position a chunky foot clad in a delicate sandal with little gold wings — ‘and another must hand me my equipment and paynts, thus — ’ which I feel not beyond my compytence, so voluntear. Mr. M. Jones then frowns.
  ‘To paint the detail in a manner becoming a Proffesional I must steady my hand by resting my forearm upon a mahl Stick, which I have forgot.’ He casts around for a substitute. ‘Aha!’ says he happily, spying something indoors. He emerges with his improvisacion.
  And so before an increasingly sizeable audience which hath gathered to watch, Mr. Jones ascends his ladder equipped for his purpose — in one hand his roller and in the other this final accessory, a soft and suitable rest that he hath skewered up its backside with the tip of Minerva’s spear.
  ‘That is my stuffed owl!’ wails the Goddess of Wisdom and Commerce.
  ‘Just support the ladder,’ says Mr. Jones, balancing his roller with difficultie, for he seems not to have enough hands. ‘Now, Pepys, if you could pour a little paynt into that tray — ’
  I felt that by now Mr. Jones was playing to the audience, and that all that was lacking was a drum roll. But with all the faffing around it was now the time of day when peaks the pollenne Count, and I felt a little itch begin within my nose, which as Mr. Jones reached precariosely forward I was unable to suppress.
  ‘A-CHOO-OO-OO!!!
  ‘Yelp!
  ‘What the — ?
  Thus in an instant, ripping the shoppe sign from its bracket in a vain attempt at equilibrium, came Mr. Jones crashing down, narrowly missing the Daughter of Zeus — who, still in his great state of anxiose tension, had at the sound of my great sneeze leapt back a yard leaving the ladder unsupported — but landing upon myself with a panel of splintered wood in his hands, and with the ladders and all the paraphernalia pertayning to the Projeckt on top, which leaves us covered in gold and black paint like two summer wasps squashed by Jackson Pollack. Whereupon there was a great round of truly appreciative applause from our audience, who shouted their helpful encouragements to improve the process next time.
  ‘Why didn’t you take it down and do it inside?’ came from the urchin across the lane.
  ‘Call a professionall next time!’ chortles a man with a crutch in overalls, adding, ‘See you Thursday, Mr. Pepys! Moon Shimmer for the bathroom, was it?’
  ‘Morning Light, Barry,’ growl I through gritted teeth. ‘As I have told you twice.’
  As the spectators disperse, Mr. Jones thrusts the broken sign at our unscathed Deity.
  ‘Reframe that, Athena!’ snaps he.

Categories
News

Wakefulnesse

27 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

Today comes down my dose of Prendyslone to 15 grains, for which great relief, though my sleep, which is rarely good, hath improved less than I hoped, and now is also the season for hay Fever, which afflicktion I was to have grew out of, but after three centurys have not. After dinner, read in the gazette that the Secretarie for the Plague, Mr. Handcock, hath yesterday sent a letter to the First Lord of the Treasurie, and in it he resigns for his constitutional inabilitie to keep a Special Distance, or indeed any form of Distance, between him and an aide, which was come to light when a strong eyeglass spied him very clearly wanting to hacer lo que el voudrais con ella. I did hear that in the great construcktions of the Inkers in Perew the stones are so close-hewn that the blade of a Knife can not slip between them, and so seemed it with him and Mrs. Ginalolladangelo. None knows why the First Lord of the Treasurie hath not sacked him, even those upon his own benchs. I wondered that the King might dissolve Parlyament, as he is wont upon a whim, or the Queene adjourn her weekly meet with the First Lord, for she must rue them and, as it seems to me a certainty, have better things to do on a Wendesday like watch ‘Garden Resckew’ and ‘Escape to the Countrie’, as doth my mother.
  After dinner took my exercise up the lane, where saw that above the former butchers premises hung outside a new sign, resplendent in a varnished frame, with bright gold lettering on black paynte-werk and advertising, though with a small but important punctuacional solecism, so that the shoppe is now announced to the publick as Gerard ~ Small Ladys Fashions, which cannot be good for sales. After supper all a-sneeze with the hay Fever despite my steroyds, it being the time of day when the grass releaseth its Pollenne. And so, sniffling, to bed, though my night restless.

Categories
News

Sleeplessnesse

21 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

By Messenger this morning that one Sarah hath called at my father’s purposing to tell him the result of his investigacions, which is to say that they are unchanged, which pleaseth him greatly, and myselfe also, as much, if not more, and all they require of him is to attend again in December. 

 

22 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

Unable to find either the timepiece I wear upon my wrist or my spectacles, which is a great Nuisance and I cannot think where they are gone, only that I put them down together or that someone hath stole them both. 

 

23 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

Discovered my watch in the basket that holds dirty linen, at the bottom of it, but of my spectacles no sign. After breakfast to Mr.’s Alton & Murphy, where purchased replacements, but at home discover’d they are too strong and I must hold a book too close to my eyes, though in the shoppe they seemed to my satisfaction, for which I am vexed. Once more found it difficult to get to sleep after I put out the candles, and after only a short while asleep awakened by the sound of chomping, and so found Banjo beneath the bed eating a shrew. Awake thereafter so read a little more of the life of Thos. Cromwell by Rev. MacCulloch, though in truth I think it the most boring book I read in many a year. I persevire with it only that I am acquainted with the author as a person of Honour in the Worshipful Company of the Liber Faciei, of which I am a member, though I have never met the man and only hoped the book would send me to sleep, which it did not. 

 

26 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

After supper Mr. M. Jones saw my spectacles glinting in the sun in my garden on the top of my box hedgeing, where I had looked more than once for them and did not see them, and I cannot imagine how I did not see them when I looked, but am mightily pleased, though two new pares that I purchased on the Line came today so now I have three.

Categories
News

Insomnia

14 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

Up, but the night restless with only a little little sleep for I have found it difficult to breath through my nose these last nights, and for many previose, which hath given me a great insomnia, so after breakfast sent the Messenger to Dr. Burnett to request a course of Prenydsolone, which hath helped before to clear the matter (which I find now to be called chronic Rhinosinusities, for which I tick all the boxes), though not without adverse affects. And Dr. Burnett hath obliged so I have put myselfe on thirty grains each day with the intent to reduce after five days, which is Saturday, to 25 grains, and thence to nothing by a reduction each few days.

 

15 June, in the year of our Lord 2021 

Awake very betimes, it dawning at four a-clock, and full of beans with the Prednysolone, so after a cup of tea set to work with some wood Stayne and a little bee’s wax on a mark on one of my Spendor SA2 musical speakers, where the colour was lost, which hath been there for more years than I am able to remember, after a spillage of some liquid upon it, yet only now, shortly after sunrise and by virtue of medicacion, have I shown any inclinacion to sort it out. Conked out at two a-clock after dinner.

 

16 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

All night awake with a great deal of energie on account of the go fast pills, my mind showing a great activity which would not stop, so up and tidied a cupboard, and that being done set about some washing and to clean my bedroom, all this before seven a’clock in the morning. In the knowledge it will not last, I set to think that I should engage a mayde, as did my wife and I in Seething Lane, but it will require some thought for all did not end happily with such maydes. 

 

18 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

Vimming with brim, so today took exercise with Mr. M. Jones, where we walked around the head land at the Estuary and there saw a great many terns, more than I ever saw in my life, I think, which made a great noise and smelled a great deal from the state of their nests. Dined out of doors on sandwiches which Mr. M. Jones bought from the Co-operatife shoppe, the one of a chicken ticker and the other a cocktale of some Prawnes, together with some fried slyced potatos in a bag with some cheese and an onion, and drank some orange and passion Fruit from a bottle of light glass that you can squash and take home to recicle. Very merry. But by supper very tired. 

Categories
News

A new Musical Box

9 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

Up, and after breakfast by coach to visit my mother and father, whence with my father to the Hospitalle, where they again laid him, as he tells me, upon a stretcher, while one pushed and another pulled him slowly through the Contryvance that shines the magick light through his body, to make another etching of what is inside, it being three month since the last; but they did not allow me to be with him for fear of the Covey plague. By and by home, he with me in good humour, save that he will not know the outcome of the business for some days, which makes him ill at ease. 

 

 10 June, in the year of our Lord 2021

Up, and with the comfort of discourse with my mother and father, after dinner I to Mr. Brady’s shop on the King’s Way in Warren town, where I have not been for thirty five years, or more, where I purposed to listen, by arrangement, to a new Musical Box, for my old hath broke and the big silver coins that make it sound are of no use, to which I must add that they are all a-spill upon the floors of the house, there being no more room upon shelfs for them. And there one Jon shew me his latest invencion, which I think to buy, whereby the Contrapcion accepts one of the big silver coins into itself, commits to its memory what is on it, and spits it out — then Lord! but at a touch of a magick screen it will sound with all the music it has learned, which I did never think to hear in my life. And it is of an excellent good qualitie, as if an entire band of practiced fiddlers, trumpets and kettle-drums, or all the entire Chapel Royal, were in the very room. Discoursed there for an hour and a half upon the Musick of the lute, which I found much to the liking of the fellow Jon. He knows a fine lutenist who will play by invitacion in a Skandinavican church near Mr. Lewises shoppe, on Park lane, which I think he told me was St. Olave’s but is surely not correckt, for I am buried in St. Olave’s and never heard a lute there. Thence to see if Mr. Ian Jones and his wife Regina was home, where they were, and merry discourse and a fine afternoon tea of scones with jam and some rich cream. And there Mr. Jones shew me a circlet akin to musical tiara onlie it is set on the back of the head, and sits upon the ears like the arms of my eye glasses, but the other way round; and the music from it cometh not into the ear, nor doth an ear piece block the Canals, but it doth touch the calvarium at the temples, and so transmits its sounds through the Petrous bone — it being such a fine piece of work that I am determined I shall have my own Æropex, by Aftershokz (which it is called). And so home by Mr. M. Jones house for supper, and to bed.

Categories
News

A feline bereavement

28 May, in the year of our Lord 2021

Up, and after breakfast, by a Messenger come from Mr. R. Owen, did learn of his cat, stricken by a sudden infirmity that made him wail and curl up, it being of a nature so extreme that Mr. Owen took him to the Veterynarean. Later, that the cat was found not to be able to piss, and they could not unblock his Outlet, even after an hour of trying over it (all of which put me in mind of my being cut of the stone at Mrs. Turner’s in Salisbury Court, though, praise be to God! my outcome was a greater success). After dinner comes news that naught was to be done and poor Socs hath been put to sleep. All of which is a sad matter, for to have an animal in a house is like to have someone there of the family, and the loss as much a loss. Though I am glad to have had a good Chirurgeon, and not be put to sleep.

Categories
News

The Orrery

26 May, in the year of our Lord 2021

Up, and saw from my window up stairs a buzzard upon a fence post, which contented me much at breakfast. After, some correspondence from Sir Alex. Anstey, that I worked with, that he is moved to the Bath, his wife with him, his daughter in Poole, so between them they can swim a lot. Thence by coach to Whitehall, seeing a great dark plume ris above its roof, where were many comings and goings, and a great throng, and much smoke that comes from a Committee room. And one there says to me that the First Lord of the Treasurie and the Secretary for the Plague hath been badly injured by some incendiery acts of the man which went to Durham, and hath now wroke revenge.
   Back on foot by Cheapside, where by surprise I did come upon the pillory, and in it Mr. Jas. MacSporran, which startled me, who was stood there for his misdemeaners. And they have thrown cabbages at him, and slops they would put in a cesspit, and though my detaynement would not have arose save for his action, which I rue, and though our relacions are worsened from the deed, I did feel a sorryness for him that is greater than I did think to feel, and the feeling closed around me and disturbed me.
   After dinner I went to the Apothecary to buy a cake of Castile soap, but on spying the Physicians premices open, thence across the lane, where I did find the Physician in his back room, wearing no less than two pairs of eye glasses, and on the frame of one of them, fixed with a with a clip and a metal arm, a watchmakers lens also, as if he had made his own Microscope and set it upon his nose, and he crouched in a great concentracion of mind at a table where [he] adjusted a delicate mechanism with some fine tools.
   ‘That is an admirable contryvance,’ say I.
   He did not take his eyes off the job and continued to tinker.
   ‘It is an Orrery. These globes here…revolve around this globe here…which is the Sun. It is driven by the workings of a clock and an array of cogs, and this — ’ (whereupon he tapped the larger of two small globes on brass sticks, the smaller attached to the larger so as to circle around it) ‘ — is our little world, on which we make our little lifes. Have you come with aught in mind?’
  ‘Naught save that I am come via Cheapside from Whitehall, where there is a great Eruption, with much smoke and the windows blackened, as if another Fawkes hath lit another keg within, and there is much talk of a great harm to the Gouvernement from it, for their management of the plague.’
   ‘I saw that coming,’ says he. ‘It is no surprise. Their ranks will close in the manner of all who govern, to limit the damage and protect the body Politic. And they will go on the offensive to divert attack and diflect accusation. But I suspect it is Cheapside that weighs more on your mind.’
   At which paused I, considering how to go. ‘Cheapside makes me ill at ease.’
   The Physician continued to tinker, a-justing his watchmans lens. ‘Cheapside, where is pilloried my former surly aide, our tetchy butcher and your one-time friend. Is that not true?’
   ‘It is true. A man whose actions saw me gaoled.’
   ‘A man whose actions saw him ruined.’
   ‘A man who tests my amity to its utmost.’
   ‘A man whose flaws are bared for all the world to see.’
   Whereupon the Physician set aside his watch repairman’s lens, and his eyeglasses one after the other on the table, and rubbed his reddened eyes. Then did he push himself back in his chair, and gaze upon the wall before him, which he doth without a focus, as if speaking his thoughts to him selfe alone.
   ‘I know what preys your mind. You are asking yourselfe the worth of a friendship tested,’ says he, gently. ‘But by his own doing our friend hath left himself naught save such a friendship, and knows it. Take away that and all he hath left is gone. He may cease to exist. Many will be compassionate. Compassion is not a rare coin. But a person in crisis needs more than compassion. They need help to see they can be courageous; to see they can be resilient; to see that they need not be crushed. It is a foolish man who hurrys to judge another, for we are not given to see the entirety of things. And when we are shown it, we may choose not to believe it. People believe the Sun to orbit the Earth because of what they observe, but do not pause to consider what they would observe if the Earth were to orbit the Sun.’ Thereupon tapped he the mechanism before him. ‘This arrangement describes our world in clockwork, Pepys. But its circles are fixed, indifferent. It doth not explain our substance. It doth not explain our lifes. It doth not explain our faults, and it doth not forgive our failures. Those are to our conscience and our values. Those are down to us. And of all things, Sam, a friendship is a generosity. It is not a transaction. It is for the wealth of the soul.’
   So the Physician returned to the precision of his work and we said no more, and after a while I quietly moved to leave. And after, I to my garden, wherein my work is to the great good of it, though I must have a care for the stitches that there are still in my finger, which makes me to think I must not do too much in the rooting out of cleavers, or goose grass, where there is a lot. For supper comes Mr. M. Jones and with him Mr. Redz. Holyfield, who did bring some China food, and we eat it with a pint or two of wine, and all merry with discourse of the discomfit of the First Lord and his Covey lieutenant, and what they will reply when they have slept on it. Mr. Holyfield tells us he is to star in a play, I think it is, they are making about cooking cakes, which is in the form of a Competicion with others, to judge their prowess in the skills of bakery, and he will be on the magick screen in November, and hopes not to be knocked out in round one.
  Tonight comes the Moon very close to the Earth: a Super Moon, as the supersticious say, or its perigee syzygy, in a precision the Physician would prize, and it is very large when low in the sky. But for all its fine Ingenuities, the orrery doth not predict it, for its wheels run on a fixity of path, and we would do well to perceive when our minds do the same. Before bed I saw the buzzard back upon his post, which I never saw before twice in a day.

 

27 May, in the year of our Lord 2021

This morning delivered of an invoice: In respckt of Advice given on Wendsday 26th, inst., by the Physician in Diseases of the Intugement, Venus and the Pox ~ the Sum of 2s. 3d. Singed: Geo. Erchin, per pro the afore Mencioned.

Categories
News

An operation in perspective

19 May, in the year of our Lord 2021

Up very betimes for the operacion on my finger, the cats fed and ablucions performed. But then a Querfuffle and the Messenger to and forth to the Hospitalle while they find me a place to admit me. That done, which takes two hours, along comes Mr. M. Jones to take me there, where I find myselfe, at noon, bedded and changed. And some there recognise me, and say, ‘Are you not Mr. Pepys who used to work for the Naval Board?’ and I say, ‘The very same,’ and would feel esteemed by it, only that I am in a gowne unseemly for its skimpynesse, and worse, it ties poorly at the back, so I am embarrassed to be seen in it, lest they think, ‘If I were Mr. Pepys who used to work for the Naval Board I would not wear those underpants.’
  The ward I am on is newly built, I am told, and they have named it ‘SDEC’, which is ‘Same Day Emergincie Care’ — and Lord, but in it are so many poor souls, with a griping of the guts from the bloody Flux, with useless limbs a-flail and shattered bones that poke through flesh, and some with the smallpox who will not see the end of day; and there is much moaning and such a crying out that I did not hear since the Plague, and a stench of putrid bowels and rancid fat, and it embarraces me to think of my being there for such a small thing as I have, so I keep on my masque and keep to my room, wherein is a single bed and a frayed linen sheet, and a creaking chair and a window to the north, and I walk as least I must on the floor, though the sawdust there is freshly swept and softens the sound of the cockroach on the stone beneath. After a little while comes a nurse, though a little girl, and very young, and checks the tension in my vesseles, which is high, and asks about the Physick I take, only she cannot spell rosuverstattine so she leaves it out. By and by comes my Chirurgeon Mr. Jesudason, a fine and thoughtfulle fellow, with a name from the East Indyes, I think, but the same manner of speech as I did hear in Liverpuddle, who puts me to ease, and examines my finger by the light of a bright lamp, and explayns he will cut here, and here, and raise a flappe here, and remove my Cyste here, and stitch it all together…so! — which will take no more than half an hour. And says he that today he has with him a second hand chirurgeon, if it doth not discomfit me, who is there by his courtesie for she is freshly come to work beside him, and I mind not at all, though I wonder why they cannot afford a new one. Thence, I am wheeled by porters, very merry and of a Drolling sort of men, on labyrinthine ways, meeting along gloomy corrydors with divers wraiths of the City, till we end on the floor of a great vaulted theatre, where rise tier upon tier of carved wooden benches, so much that they are lost in gloom and echo above me, and the reflections of candles all around me glint on the varnish, and macabre shadows are thrown on panelled walls. I lie on a board with my arm outstretched, on a great oak table at my side. And my chirurgeons, there being no fewer than three, incl. a Trainy, gather themselfs around me. Then am I at the mercy of severalle pairs of hands, as they hold me down while one comes with a great syringe and a needle as large as a lance, and Lord — !
  But nothing much, save a little discomfort in my hand, not worse than that of passing a very hard stool, and better than when I was cut of the stone, and I feel my finger become as cold as ice, and cannot move it, nor feel any thing of a pain thereto when they prick it, which is as strange and mysteriose a thing as any I saw in my life. At length my chirurgeon asks if I wish to watch, which I do, whereupon he moves a candle closer and it doth amaze me to see my own finger cut, the skin reflected back and the white bone all a-shine. He shows me on his finger tip a tiny piece of gelly, which gleams in the flickering light, as if it were the contents of a bulls eye, and dangles before my eyes the tiny bloody sac he hath cut from me.
  ‘This is your extensor tendon,’ says he, turning to my hand and pointing out a fibrose streak.
  I have an odd detachmente at seeing my unfeeling anatomie desplayed as a model of Dissection, so ‘Cool,’ say I, for want of aught else.
  At not much more length they are done, onlie with a foul stench from the wound when they staunch my bleeding with a burning iron, and they sew it with a twine of rough gut, and my hand is bound in a great wrapping, which I must wear for five days, and keep it dry. And I am to have only ‘patient-iniciated follow up’, which I say bravely I will try my best not to iniciate. And so the reverse journy to my bed, where I feel a certayne pride, for I can join the ranks of all those others, Saved by Modern Medycine.
  Anon, under the great portico of the doors to that fine Hospitall, I lean against a stone column, and while I await Mr. Jones in his coach to drive into the sun-lighted courtyard and take me home, so is another leaving, who seems to know me, though not I her, and she pauses for a little discourse, a slight woman, of respectfulle mien.
  ‘Have you been in the wars, Mr. Pepys?’ says she.
  ‘I am not long out of theatre,’ say I, inflated by bravado and showing off my bandaged hand. ‘I have had a major operacion on my hand, of several hours duracion and untoward intricacie, but Mr. Jesudason hath managed to save it. All should be well when function returns. Have we met before?’
  ‘I work here, in the kitchens. To make ends meet. You would not remember, but you arranged a Contract for my boy to join a ship.’
  ‘Ah,’ say I. ‘There were very many. But I am glad to have been of service. I hope he hath made a satisfacktery life for himselfe at sea.’
  ‘Well, I would not say it was all satisfacktery. He was taken by Barbary corsairs, chained for weeks in an evil ship’s hold, enslaved at fourteen in a market in Tunice and manacled for two years on a vessel plying the Nile. He has ended up a slave to an Ottoman beylerbey in the Levant.’
  ‘I am sorry to hear that — ’ say I, blanching.
  ‘Oh, it’s not so bad. He’s seen a bit of the world.’ Her weak smile is hid behind her Covey masque, but nothing hides her anxious eyes. ‘Sends back what money he can. And they treat him well, you know. He’s like one of their family now. Nice people, he says — cultured, and all that. He looks after the kids. The girl wants to be a doctor — work in a place like this, I suppose. He likes it there. Good weather. Lots of lemon groves. More one of them than one of us he is, now. And he’s always kept in touch with his Mum. Same day, every year without fail: his birthday, sixteenth of May. I should have heard from him Sunday, but perhaps he’ll ring tonight,’ says she. ‘He Skypes me. Fancy that, Mr. Pepys! He Skypes me, all the way from Gaza.’

Categories
News

Back to the barber

17 May, in the year of our Lord 2021

Today by my coach to visit my parents, who are well, which is to my great content, but Lord! to see so many coaches abroad, it being the first day with another Easement of our confynement for the plague. Since I heared nothing of a Turkey varyant, advantaged myselfe of the Ottoman barbershoppe, where a fine trim to my head and beard and the neck squared off, which is the first time, I think, it was done in more than a year. Tipped the boy 1d., which contented him a great deal.
  My father thinks to change the little magick screen he hath to fit in his pocket, for it is old now and hath difficulty remembering anything, and by a coincydence the Exchange hath sent him an Offer for an upgrade. It crosses my mind to suggest he ask if they offer the same for my mother, for she fits the same cryteria, but silence on the matter is a better course of action. After an early supper comes the mayd, Leanne, to put my mother to bed, who is sweet and goes, and says she does not want to come down again, and we part with all in excellent good spirits.
  Thence home and to bed where read a little in my life of Thos. Cromwell by Rev. MacCulloch in which there is good matter but it a little dry and there are too many people in it and I think too few commas so that I must read too many sentences twice. 

 

18 May, in the year of our Lord 2021

Up, to lay food for Mr. Owens cat, who is out. After, to my Spanish with Señor Iñigo el Vasco, though I think to have un descanso for una semana for the refreshment of el cerebro. Before supper comes the Messenger from the Hospitalle, who says I must confirm in the morning that there is a bed there, for I cannot go where they told me I should go, since none told me to isolate myselfe after the Covey test on Sunday, which miscarriage makes me ill at ease that it may not be done tomorrow, my operacion. 

Categories
News

Divers matters

3 May, in the year of our Lord 2021

A holy day for all the land, though the coldest such in this month of May that I saw in my entire life, with a great storm and much rain with a foul wind (in the gazette that it the worst such since the little Ice Age). Therein also a record of opinion as to the final Denewment from last night of the long storyline of the Constabulary that bore upon my detaynement, to wit that the Conclusion rose to less than was expected of it, there being a disappoyntement widespread among those who kept a date with it, though God forbid that I should engage with such a thing, which I have not nor shall, for Sunday evening is for prayer, and not for watching the magick screen with a pint of wine. The best, I think, is that it seems the whereabouts of Constable Arnott is known by none, nor if he is to come back in another season, for which my mind is greatly eased.
  Before dinner to the gymnaseum, where I have not gone for six months, it under new Management and all changed so I was not sure where to look to exercise, and worse, everyone had thought the same, so many were there, too many I think, and it was as if my years life with the plague had contracted to protect me and I am not yet freed to the presence of so many other.

 

12 May, in the year of our Lord 2021

After breakast with Banjo to the veterynarean, where he does not like to go, who took him for some inoculcacions against the infleünza that a cat can get, and he into his carrier without fuss only mewing a little in my coach.

 

16 May, in the year of our Lord 2021

Up betimes, it now being my routine to wake at six a-clock, onlie that Banjo may wake me earlyer, by his nose in my ear, or when he mews a great noyse like a peevish growl and presents a voal, thinking to delight me, or a shrewe, or a mouse, or a baby bird or a small rabbitte, &c. Tomorrow the First Lord doth entend a change in Covey rules, so that we might sup inside an inn, and the Whitefort Arms, on White fort street, will open its doors, and other taverns along with it, or so all hope; only that we are still in woods where lerks a varyacion of the Covey from the East India Co., so all may change again.
  After breakfast I for a Covey test, which was a little ride away and not with the Physician in my lane, I seated in my coach while a nurse pushed feathers down my throat and up my nose; for I am to have a chirurgeon operate on one of my fingers on Wednesday, where there is a Cyste from a knuckle knobbled with a little artheritis, and will be there for the day. Home, and after dinner took a playne to the door of my chamber closet upstairs so that it would not stick at the top and after 25 years of it, five minutes work hath made it better. After this being done, the same to my side gate where the wood hath swole round two knottes in it so it would not shut, and paynted it.
  After supper to my Journall, which I have neglected these weeks for languishing, a word I did hear pertayne to the stagnacion and want of motivacion brought on by the confinements for the plague for so long, which I think I have. This month last year I was possessed of a greater Energy, which term I did hear from Dr. Young, as perhaps were all, when our confynement was a great, if unbid, noveltie and my mind set to deal with the challenge, as much as I was able. Yet now I am snared by a listlessness and a disinclinacion to action, and am too accustomed to sitting, which it is an easy thing to do, for to make for onselfe a constant stimulacion for the mind is an arduous task for a year. And so I wonder as I write whether I should continue the reports of my days or set it all aside, its purpose spent, though perhaps it is an Apathie that speaks, not I. Before bed, heard a little musick by Mr. J. Dunstaple, I think the most euphoneous I did ever hear in my life, sung by a fine choir.