Friday, December 23, 2011

Samuel Pepys and the Story of the Prince's Fortune

I expect you're wondering how things are going on the Sameul Pepys front. You'll be pleased to hear that a finished manuscript called Sameul Pepys: Lust for Glory is being prodded around the book publishers of London, and once they've all told me to fuck off, I'll be offering for sale on Lulu and the Kindle Store in the new year.

In the mean time, he's been up to no good, as usual...

June 13th 1663: Office Day. Up betimes and to myne ofices whereI finde a letter await'ng me of one Prince Bartholomew Abacha, once of a kingdom on the western coast of Africa, now sadly befall'n on hard times.

"Dear Insert Name Here" his missive starts. "I was until very recently a member of a not'd royal family, but have been unjustly banish'd by my cousin Sameul and his wicked Grand Vizier. At the moment, I find myself impoverish'd, but have a chest full of gold and treasures in a secret location, to the value of FOUR MILLION ENGLISH SHILLINGS, and I seek your assistance in repatriating this fortune to your country.

"If, by the kindess of your heart, you choose to assist me, I will share three-tenths of the sum with you, keeping six-tenths for myself and the rest for fees &c. Please reply with all due despatch with your name and banking details, but - pray - do not divulge the contents of this letter to another living soul as you will place both our lives in the great'st peril.

"Your new best pal, Prince Bartholomew Abacha."
Who cannot fail to be mov'd by such a terrible story of woe? I immediately pen a reply, and send it by messenger to Prince Bartholomew's local agent, one Reginald Kray (no relation) in Bethnal Green. My act of charity will make us both very rich indeed, and I celebrate my good fortune with a slap-up rook pie and a two-shilling slattern.

Several weeks later:

July 25th 1663: Office day, or would be if I still had an office. Sent my last groat to Prince Bartholomew, in order to bribe a petty official so that a bill of lading be alter'd to read 'Dead camel: For export only - do not open' on his trunk so that it be load'd onto a ship to these shores. This after pay'ng bribes to many other petty officials and pay'ng fees for all sorts of ship's captains and export documents. Have sold my priceless collection of wigs to ensure that the trunk is brought up from Weymouth without the custom men find'ng out; and my second best pantaloons to cover the dental insurance of the coach driver in case - I am told - "some cur should punch him in the teeth, totally by accident, these things happen you know".

Cld not afford a slattern, and will have to resort to the joys of Madam Palm this evening. Am beginning to think that Mr Kray may not be all that he appears and might actually be some sort of villain.

July 26th 1663: I am indebted to Mr Kray for allowing me to complete my diary as I teeter on the edge of London Bridge with an anvil tied round my ankles. Alas, who will pay the 27,000 pounds I owe him for the unexpect'd Acting As Middle Man For My Pal Prince Bartholomew Fee that has suddenly aris'n. Luckily, I am to be let off the debt if I agree to have my head nail'd to a coffee table, which is the very least I dserve for the lack of respect I have shown him. Lovely chap, that Mr Kray. Lovely.

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