3 June

Came home through the Merchant’s Gate into our garden at the Navy Office. Seeing a person standing there, staring over the picket fence, did make me quake and sweat that it might be a bailiff. Fortunately it was but an old crone, and I got in safely. The servants were late spreading my shirts to dry on the lavender bushes. I admonished them for their laziness and demanded my best one be ready for the morrow.
4 June

As I looked out onto the Privy garden, Lady Castlemaine’s maids were laying out to dry her smocks and linen petticoats, the finest I ever saw, with rich lace at the bottom. It did me good to look upon them, imagining the fragrance that would cling to those garments as their mistress dressed. I thought one of the girls waved to me, and shrank back behind the shutter lest they thought me perverse but when I peeped again it was to someone outside on Tower Hill.
6 June

About 11 home, it being a fine moonshine, and so my wife and I did come into the garden. It has the best walks of gravel, and a mixture of statues and handsome pots, filled with such a flower or greenery as the season of the year will bear; no borders as spoil the walks in other gardens, just sweet smelling bushes. Hearing a disturbance by the gate, I sent Mrs Pepys home, and went to investigate. From behind a wall, I watched as a maidservant passed something over the fence.
7 June

I thought the gardeners had been overly zealous with the pruning today, but then overheard a group of girls near the back door. They talked of rich pickings of lavender and a deal with a grandmother who lives in the almshouses.
8 June

Passed the old woman on Seething Lane, selling lavender nosegays to keep the London air sweet for those who carried them. Thought upon rebuking her, then instead considered how my discretion might curry favour with the wenches in Lady C’s household.
And so to the office…..
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Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
1 year ago

I love, love, love this story! In a few deft words, you’ve painted a new portrait of a man many of us first learned about in high school – quite a character, this one! Through your clever writing, we see his attraction to the ladies, his trouble with bailiffs, his way with servants, his outwardly respectable life which doesn’t quite mesh with his inner thoughts! I love the way you use the language and vernacular of the times and of the historical diary. Anyone reading this story would be tempted to learn more about Mr. Samuel Pepys!

This is a great example of flash fiction, and how to get the most out of just a few words. Congratulations!

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
1 year ago
Reply to  Susan Dawson

Oh wow – I wasn’t a zen garden club writer, so I clicked on the pink box above your story and it showed me all the old zen garden prompts. Now I see what you mean. It might be helpful to other people who read your story to see that prompt:

lavender flowers
reach above the picket fence –
Grandma is watching

Now I’m even more impressed with the way you worked lavender seamlessly into the story. I guess the old crone is the grandmother and of course you mentioned the picket fence. Fun is right.

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
1 year ago

I really enjoyed how you made history come alive, Susan. Looking forward to more of your stories on the new site 🙂

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musing mind
musing mind (@musing-mind)
1 year ago

I loved the writing style; a story in diary format. Learnt a lot.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Hi Susan, I am often amazed at all the different styles of writing we have here in the Voice Club, you can actually see, given the time, the person/s behind the writing, and that adds to the story. I see you having a very active imagination, (always thinking how?) you really love expressing all of your feelings, have this inner drive, and love the beauty in nature and what you see around you. Wonderful qualities Susan. I love this write, I like the way you chose this style of writing. Thank you for sharing your gift – Eric.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Hi, Susan. Congratulations on this one. You always have a clever writing style. Hope to read more stories from you here in Voice club.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
1 year ago

I haven’t thought of writing in a diary format, but after reading your story I will certainly try it! It feels more realistic and authentic. It is after all a biography, a personal testimony, that shows the character’s feelings and thoughts.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
1 year ago

And thank you, Susan, for sharing your wonderful story with us and inspiring us to try out something different.

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
10 months ago

Hello Susan. How nice that you are the Featured Voice on the new Stars page. You’ve always been one of the writers I admired most, so I decided to go back and read all of your stories again. This one is one of my favorites. It is exceedingly clever, and accurately portrays the man, his writing style and his period of time. Congratulations for being featured! Our new members will enjoy reading all your great stories.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
10 months ago
Reply to  Susan Dawson

Congratulations for being featured, Susan.

Chris
Chris (@chris)
10 months ago
Reply to  Susan Dawson

Hi Susan – Congrats on being a featured voice star! I have also been AWOL, but now glad to return to the Voice Club. I had writers block recently, but now really hope to get back to writing. After checking your star page, and all your wonderful stories, I got some new inspiration! Thanks  ? 

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