Making history

Up, and by water to White Hall, and there with the Office attended the Duke of York, and staid in White Hall till about noon, and so with W. Hewer to the Cocke, and there he and I dined alone with great content, he reading to me, for my memory’s sake, my late collections of the history of the Navy, that I might represent the same by and by to the Duke of York; and so, after dinner, he and I to White Hall, and there to the Duke of York’s lodgings, whither he, by and by, by his appointment come: and alone with him an hour in his closet, telling him mine and W. Coventry’s advice touching the present posture of the Navy, as the Duke of Buckingham and the rest do now labour to make changes therein; and that it were best for him to suffer the King to be satisfied with the bringing in of a man or two which they desire. I did also give the Duke of York a short account of the history of the Navy, as to our Office, wherewith he was very well satisfied: but I do find that he is pretty stiff against their bringing in of men against his mind, as the Treasures were, and particularly against Child’s coming in, because he is a merchant. After much discourse with him, we parted; and [he to] the Council, while I staid waiting for his telling me when I should be ready to give him a written account of the administration of the Navy. This caused me to wait the whole afternoon, till night. In the mean time, stepping to the Duchess of York’s side to speak with Lady Peterborough; I did see the young Duchess, a little child in hanging sleeves; dance most finely, so as almost to ravish me, her ears were so good: taught by a Frenchman that did heretofore teach the King, and all the King’s children, and the Queen-Mother herself, who do still dance well. Thence to the council door and Mr. Chevins took me into the back stairs, and they with his friend, Mr. Fowkes, for whom he is very solicitous in some things depending in this Office, he did make me, with some others that he took in (among others, Alderman Backwell), eat a pickled herring, the largest I ever saw, and drink variety of wines till I was almost merry; but I did keep in good tune; and so, after the Council was up, I home; and there find my wife not yet come home from Deptford, where she hath been all this day to see her mother, but she come and by, and so to talk, and supper, and to bed. This night I did bring home from the King’s potticary’s, in White Hall by Mr. Cooling’s direction, a water that he says did him mighty good for his eyes. I pray God it may do me good; but, by his description, his disease was the same as mine, and this do encourage me to use it.

reading for memory’s sake
a history of the present

I make changes to it
you a child still

and me in an office
pickled in wine and rage

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 2 April 1669.

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