Short-order cook

To the office all the morning. My wife and people at home busy to get things ready for tomorrow’s dinner. At noon, without dinner, went into the City, and there meeting with Greatorex, we went and drank a pot of ale. He told me that he was upon a design to go to Teneriffe to try experiments there. With him to Gresham Colledge (where I never was before), and saw the manner of the house, and found great company of persons of honour there.
Thence to my bookseller’s, and for books, and to Stevens, the silversmith, to make clean some plate against to-morrow, and so home, by the way paying many little debts for wine and pictures, &c., which is my great pleasure.
Home and found all things in a hurry of business, Slater, our messenger, being here as my cook till very late.
I in my chamber all the evening looking over my Osborn’s works and new Emanuel Thesaurus Patriarchae.
So late to bed, having ate nothing to-day but a piece of bread and cheese at the ale-house with Greatorex, and some bread and butter at home.

The city: a great experiment,
there where I never found

a clean plate against tomorrow,
paying many little debts

and all things in a hurry of business.
As cook, looking over my work,

I ate nothing but bread and cheese
and bread and butter.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 23 January 1660/61.

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