Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Samuel Pepys: Ye worst week of myne lyfe

Samuel Pepys: Ye worst week of myne lyfe

26th November 1666: Up betimes, I fynde myselfe call'd to court by His Majesty to discuss matters regardynge His Majesty's Navy. On my arrival I fynde, to my dismay, that I have miss'd ye memo, and it is Dresse Downe Friday, whereupon I am greatly mock'd by the assembl'd nobility. Luckily, Mistress Hannan had a spare peek-a-boo ensemble, and I was lately suitably attir'd for ye occasion.
But alas! Ne'er since the days of Cromwell has so much brown-hatting been seen in polite society, and I was squarely caught offe myne guard by the syghte of unfetter'd gentlemenne's serpants. After a rough-and tumble with ye monstrously hang'd Duke of Buckingham, I may never sit on my poor bottom agayne. And so to bed, face down.

27th November 1666: Up betimes and to Highburye in ye village of Islyngton, where I didst witnesse a street brawle betwixt the villagers of ye Arsenal, and those of neighbouring Tottynghamme, whereupon a football match broke out. A gallic gentl'man call'd Henry didst astounde ye crowde with his trick'ry before cruelly behead'd by a Tottynghamme ruffian to the consternation of ye assembl'd crowde.
E'en though he has been deade these last two score and tenne yeares, we cannot forgette ye wordes of ye Barde of Stratforde, ye Brummie Gitte in this foule circumstance:
"My olde man sayde
Be a Tottynghamme fan
I sayde F'k offe, bollockes
Yr a c'nte!"

For, in my humbl'st opinion, ne'er have truer wordes been spok'n, but alas, I receiv'd some peasant's foote up my rear passage, and I'truth, it went right up ye hole and I was forc'd to crawl ye last two miles home. And so to bed, where, in myne agonies, I could not even summon the will to pull myself unto sleep.

28th November 1666: Office day, but myne bottom is still givynge me gyppe from the rogerynge I suffer'd at ye handes of ye Duke of Buckingham this last Friday, so I sent a boy out for a number of soothing balms from a quack physician I have knowledge of in ye village of Chelsea. I direct'd my darling wife to apply the lotion but alas, Mrs Pepys didst become mightily confus'd over which cream to employ. In her womanly bewilderment she became confound'd by the labels on ye bottles, and was under ye impression that ye newly imported "Chilly Paste", by the very sound of its name, would be ye medicine to sooth my throbbynge cleft. Making a poultice from ye entire jar, she slapp'd it on my tender ring and ballsack and bade me a good nyghte.

29th November 1666: It was not a good nyghte, for I spent the best part of seven hours, half naked and submerg'd in ye coolynge waters of ye Thames untille ye Nyght Watch did attempt to arrest me for "showynge a false light to shippynge", to whit, my glowynge bollockes which had attract'd a barge-full of amused onlookers who had been charg'd tuppence each for the privilege.
I was greatly encourag'd in my foulest of agonies by the sympathetic cries of Mrs Pepys, as she wallow'd in the grief of her infernal but honest wifely mistake. She wailed all nyghte in her despair, imploring God himself to call her a useless slutte and fill her with his red hot cream in my stead. I am tolde that it tooke three of my stoutest manservants to hold down her wrythnge body, and I reward'd the exhausted fellowes well the followinge morning. No wonder my employ is the most eagerly sought after in this City, & I do not know where I would be withoute that kindest of women.

30th November 1666: Once again to ye Dockes at Chatham to inspect the fleet and to pay off a number of ships. Twas a terryble ordeal, as ye roades were rutted and I feared that my very bunghole would rupture from the jarring and rockynge of the coach. Luckily, a Jack Tar didst espy me in my predicament, and tolde me of a remedy for my very ailment the sea dogs use on board ship involvynge a hammock and ye ramrod from ye shippe's largest gunne. Interest'd as I am at the welfare of the men under my charge, I shall follow this matelot below decks where a number of his stout shipmates promise to assist him in this strange yet traditional procedure, of which I shall write more anon.

1st December 1666: Alas, I am undone, ripp'd asunder, and I feare I shall never walk agayne.

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