Up, after talking with my wife with pleasure, about her learning on the flageolet a month or two again this winter, and all the rest of the year her painting, which I do love, and so to the office, where sat all the morning, and here Lord Anglesey tells us again that a fleete is to be set out; and that it is generally, he hears, said, that it is but a Spanish rhodomontado; and that he saying so just now to the Duke of Albemarle, who come to town last night, after the thing was ordered, he told him a story of two seamen: one wished all the guns of the ship were his, and that they were silver; and says the other, “You are a fool, for, if you can have it for wishing, why do you not wish them gold?” — “So,” says he, “if a rhodomontado will do any good, why do you not say 100 ships?” And it is true; for the Dutch and French are said to make such preparations as 50 sail will do no good.
At noon home to dinner with my gang of clerks, in whose society I am mightily pleased, and mightily with Mr. Gibson’s talking; he telling me so many good stories relating to the warr and practices of commanders, which I will find a time to recollect; and he will be an admirable help to my writing a history of the Navy, if ever I do.
So to the office, where busy all the afternoon and evening, and then home. My work this night with my clerks till midnight at the office was to examine my list of ships I am making for myself and their dimensions, and to see how it agrees or differs from other lists, and I do find so great a difference between them all that I am at a loss which to take, and therefore think mine to be as much depended upon as any I can make out of them all. So little care there has been to this day to know or keep any history of the Navy.
winter and all I wish is silver
a true sail
I am writing a history of midnight
I am making myself see
so great a difference
between take and care
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 16 January 1668.