Up, and by coach to Sir G. Downing, where Mr. Gawden met me by agreement to talke upon the Act. I do find Sir G. Downing to be a mighty talker, more than is true, which I now know to be so, and suspected it before, but for all that I have good grounds to think it will succeed for goods and in time for money too, but not presently. Having done with him, I to my Lord Bruncker’s house in Covent-Garden, and, among other things, it was to acquaint him with my paper of Pursers, and read it to him, and had his good liking of it. Shewed him Mr. Coventry’s sense of it, which he sent me last post much to my satisfaction. Thence to the ‘Change, and there hear to our grief how the plague is encreased this week from seventy to eighty-nine. We have also great fear of our Hambrough fleete, of their meeting the Dutch; as also have certain newes, that by storms Sir Jer. Smith’s fleet is scattered, and three of them come without masts back to Plymouth, which is another very exceeding great disappointment, and if the victualling ships are miscarried will tend to the losse of the garrison of Tangier. Thence home, in my way had the opportunity I longed for, of seeing and saluting Mrs. Stokes, my little goldsmith’s wife in Paternoster Row, and there bespoke some thing, a silver chafing-dish for warming plates, and so home to dinner, found my wife busy about making her hangings for her chamber with the upholster. So I to the office and anon to the Duke of Albemarle, by coach at night, taking, for saving time, Sir W. Warren with me, talking of our businesses all the way going and coming, and there got his reference of my pursers’ paper to the Board to consider of it before he reads it, for he will never understand it I am sure. Here I saw Sir W. Coventry’s kind letter to him concerning my paper, and among others of his letters, which I saw all, and that is a strange thing, that whatever is writ to this Duke of Albemarle, all the world may see; for this very night he did give me Mr. Coventry’s letter to read, soon as it come to his hand, before he had read it himself, and bid me take out of it what concerned the Navy, and many things there was in it, which I should not have thought fit for him to have let any body so suddenly see; but, among other things, find him profess himself to the Duke a friend into the inquiring further into the business of Prizes, and advises that it may be publique, for the righting the King, and satisfying the people and getting the blame to be rightly laid where it should be, which strikes very hard upon my Lord Sandwich, and troubles me to read it. Besides, which vexes me more, I heard the damned Duchesse again say to twenty gentlemen publiquely in the room, that she would have Montagu sent once more to sea, before he goes his Embassy, that we may see whether he will make amends for his cowardice, and repeated the answer she did give the other day in my hearing to Sir G. Downing, wishing her Lord had been a coward, for then perhaps he might have been made an Embassador, and not been sent now to sea. But one good thing she said, she cried mightily out against the having of gentlemen Captains with feathers and ribbands, and wished the King would send her husband to sea with the old plain sea Captains, that he served with formerly, that would make their ships swim with blood, though they could not make legs as Captains nowadays can.
It grieved me to see how slightly the Duke do every thing in the world, and how the King and every body suffers whatever he will to be done in the Navy, though never so much against reason, as in the business of recalling tickets, which will be done notwithstanding all the arguments against it. So back again to my office, and there to business and so to bed.
I find more than ground
or grief under me
among other things the damned
a sea of feathers
the legs and body
of a tick
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 10 January 1666.