Fire hazard

Up, and to my chamber doing several things there of moment, and then comes Sympson, the Joyner; and he and I with great pains contriving presses to put my books up in: they now growing numerous, and lying one upon another on my chairs, I lose the use to avoyde the trouble of removing them, when I would open a book.
Thence out to the Excise office about business, and then homewards met Colvill, who tells me he hath 1000l. ready for me upon a tally; which pleases me, and yet I know not now what to do with it, having already as much money as is fit for me to have in the house, but I will have it. I did also meet Alderman Backewell, who tells me of the hard usage he now finds from Mr. Fen, in not getting him a bill or two paid, now that he can be no more usefull to him; telling me that what by his being abroad and Shaw’s death he hath lost the ball, but that he doubts not to come to give a kicke at it still, and then he shall be wiser and keepe it while he hath it. But he says he hath a good master, the King, who will not suffer him to be undone, as otherwise he must have been, and I believe him.
So home and to dinner, where I confess, reflecting upon the ease and plenty that I live in, of money, goods, servants, honour, every thing, I could not but with hearty thanks to Almighty God ejaculate my thanks to Him while I was at dinner, to myself.
After dinner to the office and there till five or six o’clock, and then by coach to St. James’s and there with Sir W. Coventry and Sir G. Downing to take the ayre in the Parke. All full of expectation of the fleete’s engagement, but it is not yet. Sir W. Coventry says they are eighty-nine men-of-warr, but one fifth-rate, and that, the Sweepstakes, which carries forty guns. They are most infinitely manned. He tells me the Loyall London, Sir J. Smith (which, by the way, he commends to be the-best ship in the world, large and small), hath above eight hundred men; and moreover takes notice, which is worth notice, that the fleete hath lane now near fourteen days without any demand for a farthingworth of any thing of any kind, but only to get men. He also observes, that with this excesse of men, nevertheless, they have thought fit to leave behind them sixteen ships, which they have robbed of their men, which certainly might have been manned, and they been serviceable in the fight, and yet the fleete well-manned, according to the excesse of supernumeraries, which we hear they have. At least two or three of them might have been left manned, and sent away with the Gottenburgh ships.
They conclude this to be much the best fleete, for force of guns, greatnesse and number of ships and men, that ever England did see; being, as Sir W. Coventry reckons, besides those left behind, eighty-nine men of warr and twenty fire-ships, though we cannot hear that they have with them above eighteen.
The French are not yet joined with the Dutch, which do dissatisfy the Hollanders, and if they should have a defeat, will undo De Witt; the people generally of Holland do hate this league with France.
We cannot think of any business, but lie big with expectation of the issue of this fight, but do conclude that, this fight being over, we shall be able to see the whole issue of the warr, good or bad.
So homeward, and walked over the Parke (St. James’s) with Sir G. Downing, and at White Hall took a coach; and there to supper with much pleasure and to bed.

my books grow numerous
lying one upon another
about the house

but I will get more
they are sweepstakes
they are infinite ships

they might be the best fire
with which to see


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 23 July 1666.

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