Up, it being very cold weather again after a good deal of warm summer weather, and to the office, where I settled to do much business to-day. By and by sent for to Sir G. Carteret to discourse of the business of the Navy, and our wants, and the best way of bestowing the little money we have, which is about 30,000l., but, God knows, we have need of ten times as much, which do make my life uncomfortable, I confess, on the King’s behalf, though it is well enough as to my own particular, but the King’s service is undone by it. Having done with him, back again to the office, and in the streets, in Mark Lane, I do observe, it being St. David’s day, the picture of a man dressed like a Welchman, hanging by the neck upon one of the poles that stand out at the top of one of the merchants’ houses, in full proportion, and very handsomely done; which is one of the oddest sights I have seen a good while, for it was so like a man that one would have thought it was indeed a man.1 Being returned home, I find Greeting, the flageolet-master, come, and teaching my wife; and I do think my wife will take pleasure in it, and it will be easy for her, and pleasant. So I, as I am well content with the charge it will occasion me. So to the office till dinner-time, and then home to dinner, and before dinner making my wife to sing. Poor wretch! her ear is so bad that it made me angry, till the poor wretch cried to see me so vexed at her, that I think I shall not discourage her so much again, but will endeavour to make her understand sounds, and do her good that way; for she hath a great mind to learn, only to please me; and, therefore, I am mighty unjust to her in discouraging her so much, but we were good friends, and to dinner, and had she not been ill with those and that it were not Friday (on which in Lent there are no plays) I had carried her to a play, but she not being fit to go abroad, I to the office, where all the afternoon close examining the collection of my papers of the accounts of the Navy since this war to my great content, and so at night home to talk and sing with my-wife, and then to supper and so to bed with great pleasure. But I cannot but remember that just before dinner one of my people come up to me, and told me a man come from Huntingdon would speak with me, how my heart come into my mouth doubting that my father, who has been long sicke, was dead. It put me into a trembling, but, blessed be [God]! it was no such thing, but a countryman come about ordinary business to me, to receive 50l. paid to my father in the country for the Perkins’s for their legacy, upon the death of their mother, by my uncle’s will. So though I get nothing at present, at least by the estate, I am fain to pay this money rather than rob my father, and much good may it do them that I may have no more further trouble from them. I hear to-day that Tom Woodall, the known chyrurgeon, is killed at Somerset House by a Frenchman, but the occasion Sir W. Batten could not tell me.
- From “Poor Robin’s Almanack” for 1757 it appears that, in former times in England, a Welshman was burnt in effigy on this anniversary. Mr. W. C. Hazlitt, in his edition of Brand’s “Popular Antiquities,” adds “The practice to which Pepys refers … was very common at one time; and till very lately bakers made gingerbread Welshmen, called taffies, on St. David’s day, which were made to represent a man skewered” (vol. i., pp. 60,61). ↩