Retiring admiral

My wife and I this morning to the Paynter’s, and there she sat the last time, and I stood by and did tell him some little things to do, that now her picture I think will please me very well; and after her, her little black dogg sat in her lap; and was drawn, which made us very merry; so home to dinner, and so to the office; and there late finishing our estimate of the debts of the Navy to this day; and it come to near 374,000l.
So home, and after supper, and my barber had trimmed me, I sat down to end my journell for this year, and my condition at this time, by God’s blessing, is thus:
My health (only upon catching cold, which brings great pain in my back … as it used to be when I had the stone) is very good, and so my wife’s in all respects:
My servants, W. Hewer, Sarah, Nell, and Wayneman: my house at the Navy Office. I suppose myself to be worth about 500l. clear in the world, and my goods of my house my own, and what is coming to me from Brampton, when my father dies, which God defer. But, by my uncle’s death, the whole care and trouble of all, and settling of all lies upon me, which is very great, because of law-suits, especially that with T. Trice, about the interest of 200l., which will, I hope, be ended soon.
My chiefest thought is now to get a good wife for Tom, there being one offered by the Joyces, a cozen of theirs, worth 200l. in ready money. I am also upon writing a little treatise to present to the Duke, about our privilege in the seas, as to other nations striking their flags to us. But my greatest trouble is, that I have for this last half year been a very great spendthrift in all manner of respects, that I am afeard to cast up my accounts, though I hope I am worth what I say above. But I will cast them up very shortly
I have newly taken a solemn oath about abstaining from plays and wine, which I am resolved to keep according to the letter of the oath which I keep by me. The fleet hath been ready to sail for Portugall, but hath lacked wind this fortnight, and by that means my Lord is forced to keep at sea all this winter, till he brings home the Queen, which is the expectation of all now, and the greatest matter of publique talk.

Her little black dog
is our navy.
I end this year
less one lie,
the seas striking
their flags to us—
cast up all winter
on public talk.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 31 December 1661.

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