Esprit de corps

Up, and breakfast with my Lady. Then come Captains Cuttance and Blake to carry her in the barge on board; and so we went through Ham Creeke to the Soverayne (a goodly sight all the way to see the brave ships that lie here) first, which is a most noble ship. I never saw her before. My Lady Sandwich, my Lady Jemimah, Mrs. Browne, Mrs. Grace, and Mary and the page, my lady’s servants and myself, all went into the lanthorn together. From thence to the Charles, where my lady took great pleasure to see all the rooms, and to hear me tell her how things are when my Lord is there. After we had seen all, then the officers of the ship had prepared a handsome breakfast for her, and while she was pledging my Lord’s health they give her five guns. That done, we went off, and then they give us thirteen guns more. I confess it was a great pleasure to myself to see the ship that I begun my good fortune in. From thence on board the Newcastle, to show my Lady the difference between a great and a small ship. Among these ships I did give away 7l.. So back again and went on shore at Chatham, where I had ordered the coach to wait for us. Here I heard that Sir William Batten and his lady (who I knew were here, and did endeavour to avoyd) were now gone this morning to London. So we took coach, and I went into the coach, and went through the town, without making stop at our inn, but left J. Goods to pay the reckoning. So I rode with my lady in the coach, and the page on the horse that I should have rid on — he desiring it. It begun to be dark before we could come to Dartford, and to rain hard, and the horses to fayle, which was our great care to prevent, for fear of my Lord’s displeasure, so here we sat up for to-night, as also Captains Cuttance and Blake, who came along with us. We sat and talked till supper, and at supper my Lady and I entered into a great dispute concerning what were best for a man to do with his estate — whether to make his elder son heir, which my Lady is for, and I against, but rather to make all equall. This discourse took us much time, till it was time to go to bed; but we being merry, we bade my Lady goodnight, and intended to have gone to the Post-house to drink, and hear a pretty girl play of the cittern (and indeed we should have lain there, but by a mistake we did not), but it was late, and we could not hear her, and the guard came to examine what we were; so we returned to our Inn and to bed, the page and I in one bed, and the two captains in another, all in one chamber, where we had very good mirth with our most abominable lodging.

We all went into the thorn
together—a great pleasure.
We prepared breakfast
for thirteen guns—a pleasure.
How the ship went through
the dark and rain! A pleasure.
We entered into a dispute:
a guard came
to examine our mirth
with our most abominable lodging.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 17 January 1660/61.

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