Black dog

Up early and to the Dock, and with the Storekeeper and other officers all the morning from one office to another. At noon to the Hill-house in Commissioner Pett’s coach, and after seeing the guard-ships, to dinner, and after dining done to the Dock by coach, it raining hard, to see “The Prince” launched, which hath lain in the Dock in repairing these three years. I went into her and was launched in her. Thence by boat ashore, it raining, and I went to Mr. Barrow’s, where Sir J. Minnes and Commissioner Pett; we staid long eating sweetmeats and drinking, and looking over some antiquities of Mr. Barrow’s, among others an old manuscript Almanac, that I believe was made for some monastery, in parchment, which I could spend much time upon to understand. Here was a pretty young lady, a niece of Barrow’s, which I took much pleasure to look on.
Thence by barge to St. Mary Creek; where Commissioner Pett (doubtful of the growing greatness of Portsmouth by the finding of those creeks there), do design a wett dock at no great charge, and yet no little one; he thinks towards 10,000l. And the place, indeed, is likely to be a very fit place, when the King hath money to do it with.
Thence, it raining as hard as it could pour down, home to the Hillhouse, and anon to supper, and after supper, Sir J. Minnes and I had great discourse with Captain Cox and Mr. Hempson about business of the yard, and particularly of pursers’ accounts with Hempson, who is a cunning knave in that point.
So late to bed and, Mr. Wayth being gone, I lay above in the Treasurer’s bed and slept well.
About one or two in the morning the curtains of my bed being drawn waked me, and I saw a man stand there by the inside of my bed calling me French dogg 20 times, one after another, and I starting, as if I would get out of the bed, he fell a-laughing as hard as he could drive, still calling me French dogg, and laid his hand on my shoulder. At last, whether I said anything or no I cannot tell, but I perceived the man, after he had looked wistly upon me, and found that I did not answer him to the names that he called me by, which was Salmon, Sir Carteret’s clerk, and Robt. Maddox, another of the clerks, he put off his hat on a suddaine, and forebore laughing, and asked who I was, saying, “Are you Mr. Pepys?” I told him yes, and now being come a little better to myself, I found him to be Tom Willson, Sir W. Batten’s clerk, and fearing he might be in some melancholy fit, I was at a loss what to do or say. At last I asked him what he meant. He desired my pardon for that he was mistaken, for he thought verily, not knowing of my coming to lie there, that it had been Salmon, the Frenchman, with whom he intended to have made some sport. So I made nothing of it, but bade him good night, and I, after a little pause, to sleep again, being well pleased that it ended no worse, and being a little the better pleased with it, because it was the Surveyor’s clerk, which will make sport when I come to tell Sir W. Batten of it, it being a report that old Edgeborough, the former Surveyor, who died here, do now and then walk.

rain on the almanac
which I understand as a doubtful sign

wet ink
like a rain-drawn dog

a dog that did not answer
to the name melancholy


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 11 July 1663.

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