Dave Bonta

To the Privy Seal this morning about business, in my way taking leave of my mother, who goes to Brampton to-day. But doing my business at the Privy Seal pretty soon, I took boat and went to my uncle Fenner’s, and there I found my mother and my wife and Pall (of whom I had this morning at my own house taken leave, and given her 20s. and good counsel how to carry herself to my father and mother), and so I took them, it being late, to Beard’s, where they were staid for, and so I put them into the waggon, and saw them going presently, Pall crying exceedingly. Then in with my wife, my aunt Bell and Charles Pepys, whom we met there, and drank, and so to my uncle Fenner’s to dinner (in the way meeting a French footman with feathers, who was in quest of my wife, and spoke with her privately, but I could not tell what it was, only my wife promised to go to some place to-morrow morning, which do trouble my mind how to know whither it was), where both his sons and daughters were, and there we were merry and dined.
After dinner news was brought that my aunt Kite, the butcher’s widow in London, is sick ready to die and sends for my uncle and me to come to take charge of things, and to be entrusted with the care of her daughter. But I through want of time to undertake such a business, I was taken up by Antony Joyce, which came at last to very high words, which made me very angry, and I did not think that he would ever have been such a fool to meddle with other people’s business, but I saw he spoke worse to his father than to me and therefore I bore it the better, but all the company was offended with him, so we parted angry he and I, and so my wife and I to the fair, and I showed her the Italians dancing the ropes, and the women that do strange tumbling tricks and so by foot home vexed in my mind about Antony Joyce.

A man with feathers was in quest
of a kite, but through want of time
was taken up by joy.

High words would have been better,
but all the company was dancing
and tumbling, vexed about joy.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 5 September 1661.

In the morning to the Privy Seal to do some things of the last month, my Lord Privy Seal having been some time out of town. Then my wife came to me to Whitehall, and we went and walked a good while in St. James’s Park to see the brave alterations, and so to Wilkinson’s, the Cook’s, to dinner, where we sent for Mrs. Sarah and there dined and had oysters, the first I have eat this year, and were pretty good. After dinner by agreement to visit Mrs. Symonds, but she is abroad, which I wonder at, and so missing her my wife again to my mother’s (calling at Mrs. Pierce’s, who we found brought to bed of a girl last night) and there staid and drank, and she resolves to be going to-morrow without fail. Many friends come in to take their leave of her, but a great deal of stir I had again tonight about getting her to go to see my Lady Sandwich before she goes, which she says she will do tomorrow. So I home.

A seal came
for the oysters—
a good, broad bed—
and stayed
to stir sand.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 4 September 1661.

In the morning to my cozen Thos. Pepys, executor, and there talked with him about my uncle Thomas, his being in the country, but he could not advise me to anything therein, not knowing what the other has done in the country, and so we parted.
And so to Whitehall, and there my Lord Privy Seal, who has been out of town this week, not being yet come, we can have no seal, and therefore meeting with Mr. Battersby the apothecary in Fenchurch Street to the King’s Apothecary’s chamber in Whitehall, and there drank a bottle or two of wine, and so he and I by water towards London. I landed at Blackfriars and so to the Wardrobe and dined, and then back to Whitehall with Captain Ferrers, and there walked, and thence to Westminster Hall, where we met with Mr. Pickering, and so all of us to the Rhenish wine house (Prior’s), where the master of the house is laying out some money in making a cellar with an arch in his yard, which is very convenient for him. Here we staid a good while, and so Mr. Pickering and I to Westminster Hall again, and there walked an hour or two talking, and though he be a fool, yet he keeps much company, and will tell all he sees or hears, and so a man may understand what the common talk of the town is, and I find by him that there are endeavours to get my Lord out of play at sea, which I believe Mr. Coventry and the Duke do think will make them more absolute; but I hope, for all this, they will not be able to do it. He tells me plainly of the vices of the Court, and how the pox is so common there, and so I hear on all hands that it is as common as eating and swearing. From him by water to the bridge, and thence to the Mitre, where I met my uncle and aunt Wight come to see Mrs. Rawlinson (in her husband’s absence out of town), and so I staid with them and Mr. Lucas and other company, very merry, and so home, where my wife has been busy all the day making of pies, and had been abroad and bought things for herself, and tells that she met at the Change with my young ladies of the Wardrobe and there helped them to buy things, and also with Mr. Somerset, who did give her a bracelet of rings, which did a little trouble me, though I know there is no hurt yet in it, but only for fear of further acquaintance.
So to bed. This night I sent another letter to Sir W. Pen to offer him the return of his tankard upon his leaving of 30s. at a place where it should be brought. The issue of which I am to expect.

The apothecary is making with
his hands as common as water
the bridge to absence
where she met
her little night.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 2 September 1661.

(Lord’s day). Last night being very rainy [the rain] broke into my house, the gutter being stopped, and spoiled all my ceilings almost. At church in the morning, and dined at home with my wife. After dinner to Sir W. Batten’s, where I found Sir W. Pen and Captain Holmes. Here we were very merry with Sir W. Pen about the loss of his tankard, though all be but a cheat, and he do not yet understand it; but the tankard was stole by Sir W. Batten, and the letter, as from the thief, wrote by me, which makes very good sport.
Here I staid all the afternoon, and then Captain Holmes and I by coach to White Hall; in our way, I found him by discourse, to be a great friend of my Lord’s, and he told me there was many did seek to remove him; but they were old seamen, such as Sir J. Minnes (but he would name no more, though I do believe Sir W. Batten is one of them that do envy him), but he says he knows that the King do so love him, and the Duke of York too, that there is no fear of him. He seems to be very well acquainted with the King’s mind, and with all the several factions at Court, and spoke all with so much frankness, that I do take him to be my Lord’s good friend, and one able to do him great service, being a cunning fellow, and one (by his own confession to me) that can put on two several faces, and look his enemies in the face with as much love as his friends. But, good God! what an age is this, and what a world is this! that a man cannot live without playing the knave and dissimulation. At Whitehall we parted, and I to Mrs. Pierce’s, meeting her and Madam Clifford in the street, and there staid talking and laughing with them a good while, and so back to my mother’s, and there supped, and so home and to bed.

I do not yet understand the sea.
A cunning fellow
can put on several faces,
but what world is this
without dissimulation
to meet a cliff and laugh?


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 1 September 1661.

At home and the office all the morning, and at noon comes Luellin to me, and he and I to the tavern and after that to Bartholomew fair, and there upon his motion to a pitiful alehouse, where we had a dirty slut or two come up that were whores, but my very heart went against them, so that I took no pleasure but a great deal of trouble in being there and getting from thence for fear of being seen. From hence he and I walked towards Ludgate and parted. I back again to the fair all alone, and there met with my Ladies Jemimah and Paulina, with Mr. Pickering and Madamoiselle, at seeing the monkeys dance, which was much to see, when they could be brought to do so, but it troubled me to sit among such nasty company. After that with them into Christ’s Hospitall, and there Mr. Pickering bought them some fairings, and I did give every one of them a bauble, which was the little globes of glass with things hanging in them, which pleased the ladies very well.
After that home with them in their coach, and there was called up to my Lady, and she would have me stay to talk with her, which I did I think a full hour. And the poor lady did with so much innocency tell me how Mrs. Crispe had told her that she did intend, by means of a lady that lies at her house, to get the King to be godfather to the young lady that she is in childbed now of; but to see in what a manner my Lady told it me, protesting that she sweat in the very telling of it, was the greatest pleasure to me in the world to see the simplicity and harmlessness of a lady.
Then down to supper with the ladies, and so home, Mr. Moore (as he and I cannot easily part) leading me as far as Fenchurch Street to the Mitre, where we drank a glass of wine and so parted, and I home and to bed.
Thus ends the month. My maid Jane newly gone, and Pall left now to do all the work till another maid comes, which shall not be till she goes away into the country with my mother. Myself and wife in good health. My Lord Sandwich in the Straits and newly recovered of a great sickness at Alicante. My father gone to settle at Brampton, and myself under much business and trouble for to settle things in the estate to our content. But what is worst, I find myself lately too much given to seeing of plays, and expense, and pleasure, which makes me forget my business, which I must labour to amend.
No money comes in, so that I have been forced to borrow a great deal for my own expenses, and to furnish my father, to leave things in order. I have some trouble about my brother Tom, who is now left to keep my father’s trade, in which I have great fears that he will miscarry for want of brains and care.
At Court things are in very ill condition, there being so much emulacion, poverty, and the vices of drinking, swearing, and loose amours, that I know not what will be the end of it, but confusion. And the Clergy so high, that all people that I meet with do protest against their practice. In short, I see no content or satisfaction any where, in any one sort of people.
The Benevolence proves so little, and an occasion of so much discontent every where; that it had better it had never been set up. I think to subscribe 20l.. We are at our Office quiet, only for lack of money all things go to rack. Our very bills offered to be sold upon the Exchange at 10 per cent. loss. We are upon getting Sir R. Ford’s house added to our Office. But I see so many difficulties will follow in pleasing of one another in the dividing of it, and in becoming bound personally to pay the rent of 200l. per annum, that I do believe it will yet scarce come to pass.
The season very sickly every where of strange and fatal fevers.

We monkeys dance
with little globes of glass,
get and forget, our getting
a fatal fever.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 31 August 1661.

At noon my wife and I met at the Wardrobe, and there dined with the children, and after dinner up to my Lady’s bedside, and talked and laughed a good while. Then my wife end I to Drury Lane to the French comedy, which was so ill done, and the scenes and company and every thing else so nasty and out of order and poor, that I was sick all the while in my mind to be there. Here my wife met with a son of my Lord Somersett, whom she knew in France, a pretty man; I showed him no great countenance, to avoyd further acquaintance. That done, there being nothing pleasant but the foolery of the farce, we went home.

At war with the bed
and the scenes and company and everything
else in my mind, I count to one.
Here: be nothing
but the farce.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 30 August 1661.

At the office all the morning, and at noon my father, mother, and my aunt Bell (the first time that ever she was at my house) come to dine with me, and were very merry. After dinner the two women went to visit my aunt Wight, &c., and my father about other business, and I abroad to my bookseller, and there staid till four o’clock, at which time by appointment I went to meet my father at my uncle Fenner’s. So thither I went and with him to an alehouse, and there came Mr. Evans, the taylor, whose daughter we have had a mind to get for a wife for Tom, and then my father, and there we sat a good while and talked about the business; in fine he told us that he hath not to except against us or our motion, but that the estate that God hath blessed him with is too great to give where there is nothing in present possession but a trade and house; and so we friendly ended. There parted, my father and I together, and walked a little way, and then at Holborn he and I took leave of one another, he being to go to Brampton (to settle things against my mother comes) tomorrow morning.
So I home.

On the clock,
by appointment, I talk
to God. There is nothing
but us together,
born to one another,
to settle against.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 29 August 1661.