Up by four o’clock in the morning, and at five by water to Woolwich, there to see the manner of tarring, and all the morning looking to see the several proceedings in making of cordage, and other things relating to that sort of works, much to my satisfaction. At noon came Mr. Coventry on purpose from Hampton Court to see the same, and dined with Mr. Falconer, and after dinner to several experiments of Hemp, and particularly some Milan hemp that is brought over ready dressed. Thence we walked talking, very good discourse all the way to Greenwich, and I do find most excellent discourse from him. Among other things, his rule of suspecting every man that proposes any thing to him to be a knave; or, at least, to have some ends of his own in it. Being led thereto by the story of Sir John Millicent , that would have had a patent from King James for every man to have had leave to have given him a shilling; and that he might take it of every man that had a mind to give it, and being answered that that was a fair thing, but what needed he a patent for it, and what he would do to them that would not give him. He answered, he would not force them; but that they should come to the Council of State, to give a reason why they would not. Another rule is a proverb that he hath been taught, which is that a man that cannot sit still in his chamber (the reason of which I did not understand him), and he that cannot say no (that is, that is of so good a nature that he cannot deny any thing, or cross another in doing any thing), is not fit for business. The last of which is a very great fault of mine, which I must amend in. Thence by boat; I being hot, he put the skirt of his cloak about me; and it being rough, he told me the passage of a Frenchman through London Bridge, where, when he saw the great fall, he begun to cross himself and say his prayers in the greatest fear in the world, and soon as he was over, he swore “Morbleu! c’est le plus grand plaisir du monde,” being the most like a French humour in the world.1 To Deptford, and there surprised the Yard, and called them to a muster, and discovered many abuses, which we shall be able to understand hereafter and amend. Thence walked to Redriffe, and so to London Bridge, where I parted with him, and walked home and did a little business, and to supper and to bed.
- When the first editions of this Diary were printed no note was required here. Before the erection of the present London Bridge the fall of water at the ebb tide was great, and to pass at that time was called “Shooting the bridge”. It was very hazardous for small boats. The ancient mode, even in Henry VIII.’s time, of going to the Tower and Greenwich, was to land at the Three Cranes, in Upper Thames Street, suffer the barges to shoot the bridge, and to enter them again at Billingsgate. See Cavendish’s “Wolsey,” p. 40, ed. 1852]