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January 21, 1677

Why have you forsaken me?

Current mood: Sanctimonious

Today has been triply vexed, and my head is so full of religion that I believe I could recite all the psalms from end to end without mistaking a word. I have been to Mattins and stayed for Eucharist, and we are home now, having just taken luncheon—where the discussion did not once deviate from today's sermon, which was made the more difficult for me by the fact that my only material recollection of its contents and qualities was that it was exceedingly long. I have but a few minutes to post now, as my mother-in-law, Mrs. Mary Turner, has a full day of the most exquisite tortures planned for me, ending with Evensong and an early bed, without so much as a drop of ale allowed from morning to night to dull the agonies that she inflicts upon me with each shrill, hysterical utterance that emerges (like a poisoned dart) from betwixt her carious, yellow teeth. Why do you spurn me, Lord? Why must I go about mourning, with the enemy oppressing me?

See? Psalms. Hundreds of them. Rattling around my head with such a clamour that I cannot tell what is my own thought and what is an imposter from the Book of Common Prayer. Business goes ill as well, though I have had little time to think on it today. Patrick approached me on Thursday to present his scheme for making some headway in the tea trade. It is his notion, if I understand him rightly, that we can make capital by managing operations in India ourselves rather than investing in the operations of the Dutch. This seems to me to be an exceedingly risky plan, and I said as much to him. Nonetheless, he persists in his belief that his own connections with the Indian nobility would give us an advantage over the Dutch venture—a notion which does not impress me, as I have it from a reliable source that his most recent visit to India ended with his running naked from a Rajah's palace, pursued by a family of angry gibbons. I shall not be quite so easily parted from my money.

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