From the Secret Diary of
William Byrd

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I rose at 5 o’clock and read a chapter in Hebrew
and four leaves in Lucian. I said my prayers and
ate boiled milk for breakfast. All my sick people
were better, thank God.

I danced my dance, I read a sermon, I said
my prayers and had good health, good thoughts,
good humor, thank God.

I rose at 5 o’clock and read a chapter in Hebrew
and five leaves in Lucian. I danced my dance.
I could not be easy because C-l-y was ill, I
took a melancholy walk. In the evening C-l-y
died and all the people was grieved at it. I
gave the necessary orders about the sick people
who were 12 in number. I said my prayers
and had good health, good thoughts,
good humor, thank God.

I rose at 5 o’clock and read two chapters in Hebrew
and some Greek in Lucian. I shaved with a very
dull razor. I should not have gone to Williamsburg
but resolved to go if possible rather than keep my
wife at home with me. I went to the President’s
where I drank tea and went with him to the Governor’s
and found him at home. We had a short council
more for form than for business. My cold was better
so I ventured among ladies. The governor opened
the ball, a French dance with my wife. Then
I danced with several others among them Colonel
Smith’s son who made a sad freak.

I neglected to say my prayers and had good health,
good thoughts, good humor, thank God.

I rose about 7 o’clock and read a chapter in Hebrew
and six leaves in Lucien. I danced my dance. We had
a terrible quarrel about whipping Eugene, she had a mind
to show her authority but I would not suffer it,
I said my prayers and had good health, good thoughts,
good humor, thank God.
          I lay abed till 9 o’clock this morning to bring my wife
into temper again; I rogered her by way of reconciliation.
I had boiled milk for breakfast and after my wife tempted me
to eat some pancakes with her.
          I said my prayers and had good health, good thoughts,
good humor, thank God. I dreamed a coffin was brought
into my house and thrown into the hall.

I rose about 7 o’clock and read a chapter in Hebrew
and some Greek in Lucian. I said my prayers and ate boiled milk;
I danced my dance.
          Some night this month I dreamed I saw a flaming sword
in the sky and called some company to see it but it
disappeared
          and about a week after my wife and I were walking and we
discovered in the clouds a shining cloud exactly in the shape of
a dart and it seemed to be over my plantation but soon it
disappeared
          my wife about two months since dreamed she saw
an angel in the shape of a big woman who told her
the time was altered and the seasons were changed and
several calamities would follow that confusion
          several of my negroes died after a very unusual fashion
          God avert his judgment from this poor country.