Dave Bonta

Lay in bed till 7 o’clock, yet rose with an opinion that it was not 5, and so continued though I heard the clock strike, till noon, and would not believe that it was so late as it truly was. I was hardly ever so mistaken in my life before.
Up and to Sir G. Carteret at his house, and spoke to him about business, but he being in a bad humour I had no mind to stay with him, but walked, drinking my morning draft of whay, by the way, to York House, where the Russia Embassador do lie; and there I saw his people go up and down louseing themselves: they are all in a great hurry, being to be gone the beginning of next week. But that that pleased me best, was the remains of the noble soul of the late Duke of Buckingham appearing in his house, in every place, in the doorcases and the windows.
By and by comes Sir John Hebden, the Russia Resident, to me, and he and I in his coach to White Hall, to Secretary Morrice’s, to see the orders about the Russia hemp that is to be fetched from Archangel for our King, and that being done, to coach again, and he brought me into the City and so I home; and after dinner abroad by water, and met by appointment Mr. Deane in the Temple Church, and he and I over to Mr. Blackbury’s yard, and thence to other places, and after that to a drinking house, in all which places I did so practise and improve my measuring of timber, that I can now do it with great ease and perfection, which do please me mightily.
This fellow Deane is a conceited fellow, and one that means the King a great deal of service, more of disservice to other people that go away with the profits which he cannot make; but, however, I learn much of him, and he is, I perceive, of great use to the King in his place, and so I shall give him all the encouragement I can.
Home by water, and having wrote a letter for my wife to my Lady Sandwich to copy out to send this night’s post, I to the office, and wrote there myself several things, and so home to supper and bed. My mind being troubled to think into what a temper of neglect I have myself flung my wife into by my letting her learn to dance, that it will require time to cure her of, and I fear her going into the country will but make her worse; but only I do hope in the meantime to spend my time well in my office, with more leisure than while she is here.
Hebden, to-day in the coach, did tell me how he is vexed to see things at Court ordered as they are by nobody that attends to business, but every man himself or his pleasures. He cries up my Lord Ashley to be almost the only man that he sees to look after business; and with that ease and mastery, that he wonders at him. He cries out against the King’s dealing so much with goldsmiths, and suffering himself to have his purse kept and commanded by them.
He tells me also with what exact care and order the States of Holland’s stores are kept in their Yards, and every thing managed there by their builders with such husbandry as is not imaginable; which I will endeavour to understand further, if I can by any means learn.

a pinion mistaken
for the remains of an archangel

ought to point
to other places

to drinking away the night
and letting dance cure fear

but we see only a wonder
a kept thing

managed with such husbandry
as is imaginable


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 6 June 1663.

Up and to read a little, and by and by the carver coming, I directed him how to make me a neat head for my viall that is making. About 10 o’clock my wife and I, not without some discontent, abroad by coach, and I set her at her father’s; but their condition is such that she will not let me see where they live, but goes by herself when I am out of sight. Thence to my brother’s, taking care for a passage for my wife the next week in a coach to my father’s, and thence to Paul’s Churchyard, where I found several books ready bound for me; among others, the new Concordance of the Bible, which pleases me much, and is a book I hope to make good use of. Thence, taking the little History of England with me, I went by water to Deptford, where Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten attending the Pay; I dined with them, and there Dr. Britton, parson of the town, a fine man and good company, dined with us, and good discourse. After dinner I left them and walked to Redriffe, and thence to White Hall, and at my Lord’s lodgings found my wife, and thence carried her to see my Lady Jemimah, but she was not within. So to Mr. Turner’s, and there saw Mr. Edward Pepys’s lady, who my wife concurs with me to be very pretty, as most women we ever saw. So home, and after a walk in the garden a little troubled to see my wife take no more pleasure with Ashwell, but neglect her and leave her at home. Home to supper and to bed.

make me a head
that will let me see where I am
out of books and hope

use a history of arson
to turn me to ash


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 5 June 1663.

Up betimes, and my wife and Ashwell and I whiled away the morning up and down while they got themselves ready, and I did so watch to see my wife put on drawers, which poor soul she did, and yet I could not get off my suspicions, she having a mind to go into Fenchurch Street before she went out for good and all with me, which I must needs construe to be to meet Pembleton, when she afterwards told me it was to buy a fan that she had not a mind that I should know of, and I believe it is so. Specially I did by a wile get out of my boy that he did not yesterday go to Pembleton’s or thereabouts, but only was sent all that time for some starch, and I did see him bringing home some, and yet all this cannot make my mind quiet.
At last by coach I carried her to Westminster Hall, and they two to Mrs. Bowyer to go from thence to my wife’s father’s and Ashwell to hers, and by and by seeing my wife’s father in the Hall, and being loth that my wife should put me to another trouble and charge by missing him to-day, I did employ a porter to go from a person unknown to tell him his daughter was come to his lodgings, and I at a distance did observe him, but, Lord! what a company of questions he did ask him, what kind of man I was, and God knows what. So he went home, and after I had staid in the Hall a good while, where I heard that this day the Archbishop of Canterbury, Juxon, a man well spoken of by all for a good man, is dead; and the Bishop of London is to have his seat. Home by water, where by and by comes Dean Honiwood, and I showed him my double horizontal diall, and promise to give him one, and that shall be it. So, without eating or drinking, he went away to Mr. Turner’s, where Sir J. Minnes do treat my Lord Chancellor and a great deal of guests to-day with a great dinner, which I thank God I do not pay for; and besides, I doubt it is too late for any man to expect any great service from my Lord Chancellor, for which I am sorry, and pray God a worse do not come in his room.
So I to dinner alone, and so to my chamber, and then to the office alone, my head aching and my mind in trouble for my wife, being jealous of her spending the day, though God knows I have no great reason. Yet my mind is troubled. By and by comes Will Howe to see us, and walked with me an hour in the garden, talking of my Lord’s falling to business again, which I am glad of, and his coming to lie at his lodgings at White Hall again.
The match between Sir J. Cutts and my Lady Jemimah, he says, is likely to go on; for which I am glad.
In the Hall to-day Dr. Pierce tells me that the Queen begins to be brisk, and play like other ladies, and is quite another woman from what she was, of which I am glad. It may be, it may make the King like her the better, and forsake his two mistresses, my Lady Castlemaine and Stewart.
He gone we sat at the office till night, and then home, where my wife is come, and has been with her father all the afternoon, and so home, and she and I to walk in the garden, giving ear to her discourse of her father’s affairs, and I found all well.
So after putting things in order at my office, home to supper and to bed.

the soul of suspicion
about all this quiet

they should employ me
at a company of questions

a man well spoken
for a dead man

falling and coming to lie
like brisk ice in the discourse of air


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 4 June 1663.

Up betimes, and studying of my double horizontal diall against Dean Honiwood comes to me, who dotes mightily upon it, and I think I must give it him.
So after talking with Sir W. Batten, who is this morning gone to Guildhall to his trial with Field, I to my office, and there read all the morning in my statute-book, consulting among others the statute against selling of offices, wherein Mr. Coventry is so much concerned; and though he tells me that the statute do not reach him, yet I much fear that it will.
At noon, hearing that the trial is done, and Sir W. Batten come to the Sun behind the Exchange I went thither, where he tells me that he had much ado to carry it on his side, but that at last he did, but the jury, by the judge’s favour, did give us but 10l. damages and the charges of the suit, which troubles me; but it is well it went not against us, which would have been much worse.
So to the Exchange, and thence home to dinner, taking Deane of Woolwich along with me, and he dined alone with my wife being undressed, and he and I spent all the afternoon finely, learning of him the method of drawing the lines of a ship, to my great satisfaction, and which is well worth my spending some time in, as I shall do when my wife is gone into the country. In the evening to the office and did some business, then home, and, God forgive me, did from my wife’s unwillingness to tell me whither she had sent the boy, presently suspect that he was gone to Pembleton’s, and from that occasion grew so discontented that I could hardly speak or sleep all night.

sun behind her dress
the lines of a hip

on a country evening
so content I hardly speak


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 3 June 1663.

Up and by water to White Hall and so to St. James’s, to Mr. Coventry; where I had an hour’s private talk with him. Most of it was discourse concerning his own condition, at present being under the censure of the House, being concerned with others in the Bill for selling of offices. He tells me, that though he thinks himself to suffer much in his fame hereby, yet he values nothing more of evil to hang over him for that it is against no statute, as is pretended, nor more than what his predecessors time out of mind have taken; and that so soon as he found himself to be in an errour, he did desire to have his fees set, which was done; and since that he hath not taken a token more. He undertakes to prove, that he did never take a token of any captain to get him employed in his life beforehand, or demanded any thing: and for the other accusation, that the Cavaliers are not employed, he looked over the list of them now in the service, and of the twenty-seven that are employed, thirteen have been heretofore always under the King; two neutralls, and the other twelve men of great courage, and such as had either the King’s particular commands, or great recommendation to put them in, and none by himself. Besides that, he says it is not the King’s nor Duke’s opinion that the whole party of the late officers should be rendered desperate. And lastly, he confesses that the more of the Cavaliers are put in, the less of discipline hath followed in the fleet; and that, whenever there comes occasion, it must be the old ones that must do any good, there being only, he says, but Captain Allen good for anything of them all.
He tells me, that he cannot guess whom all this should come from; but he suspects Sir G. Carteret, as I also do, at least that he is pleased with it. But he tells me that he will bring Sir G. Carteret to be the first adviser and instructor of him what to make his place of benefit to him; telling him that Smith did make his place worth 5000l. and he believed 7000l. to him the first year; besides something else greater than all this, which he forbore to tell me.
It seems one Sir Thomas Tomkins of the House, that makes many mad motions, did bring it into the House, saying that a letter was left at his lodgings, subscribed by one Benson (which is a feigned name, for there is no such man in the Navy), telling him how many places in the Navy have been sold. And by another letter, left in the same manner since, nobody appearing, he writes him that there is one Hughes and another Butler (both rogues, that have for their roguery been turned out of their places), that will swear that Mr. Coventry did sell their places and other things.
I offered him my service, and will with all my heart serve him; but he tells me he do not think it convenient to meddle, or to any purpose, but is sensible of my love therein.
So I bade him good morrow, he being out of order to speak anything of our office business, and so away to Westminster Hall, where I hear more of the plot from Ireland; which it seems hath been hatching, and known to the Lord Lieutenant a great while, and kept close till within three days that it should have taken effect. The term ended yesterday, and it seems the Courts rose sooner, for want of causes, than it is remembered to have done in the memory of man.
Thence up and down about business in several places, as to speak with Mr. Phillips, but missed him, and so to Mr. Beacham, the goldsmith, he being one of the jury to-morrow in Sir W. Batten’s case against Field. I have been telling him our case, and I believe he will do us good service there.
So home, and seeing my wife had dined I went, being invited, and dined with Sir W. Batten, Sir J. Minnes, and others, at Sir W. Batten’s, Captain Allen giving them a Foy dinner, he being to go down to lie Admiral in the Downs this summer. I cannot but think it a little strange that having been so civil to him as I have been he should not invite me to dinner, but I believe it was but a sudden motion, and so I heard not of it.
After dinner to the office, where all the afternoon till late, and so to see Sir W. Pen, and so home to supper and to bed.
To-night I took occasion with the vintner’s man, who came by my direction to taste again my tierce of claret, to go down to the cellar with him to consult about the drawing of it; and there, to my great vexation, I find that the cellar door hath long been kept unlocked, and above half the wine drunk. I was deadly mad at it, and examined my people round, but nobody would confess it; but I did examine the boy, and afterwards Will, and told him of his sitting up after we were in bed with the maids, but as to that business he denies it, which I can remedy, but I shall endeavour to know how it went.
My wife did also this evening tell me a story of Ashwell stealing some new ribbon from her, a yard or two, which I am sorry to hear, and I fear my wife do take a displeasure against her, that they will hardly stay together, which I should be sorry for, because I know not where to pick such another out anywhere.

I value nothing
more than error

desire life before
the service of courage

the old must suspect
that the mad motions of the heart

serve no purpose
but love or hatching

the sudden motion of a cellar door
long kept locked

and half the wine drunk
as a remedy


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 2 June 1663.

Begun again to rise betimes by 4 o’clock, and made an end of “The Adventures of Five Houres,” and it is a most excellent play.
So to my office, where a while and then about several businesses, in my way to my brother’s, where I dined (being invited) with Mr. Peter and Dean Honiwood, where Tom did give us a very pretty dinner, and we very pleasant, but not very merry, the Dean being but a weak man, though very good.
I was forced to rise, being in haste to St. James’s to attend the Duke, and left them to end their dinner; but the Duke having been a-hunting to-day, and so lately come home and gone to bed, we could not see him, and Mr. Coventry being out of the house too, we walked away to White Hall and there took coach, and I with Sir J. Minnes to the Strand May-pole; and there ‘light out of his coach, and walked to the New Theatre, which, since the King’s players are gone to the Royal one, is this day begun to be employed by the fencers to play prizes at. And here I came and saw the first prize I ever saw in my life: and it was between one Mathews, who did beat at all weapons, and one Westwicke, who was soundly cut several times both in the head and legs, that he was all over blood: and other deadly blows they did give and take in very good earnest, till Westwicke was in a most sad pickle. They fought at eight weapons, three bouts at each weapon. It was very well worth seeing, because I did till this day think that it has only been a cheat; but this being upon a private quarrel, they did it in good earnest; and I felt one of their swords, and found it to be very little, if at all blunter on the edge, than the common swords are. Strange to see what a deal of money is flung to them both upon the stage between every bout. But a woful rude rabble there was, and such noises, made my head ake all this evening. So, well pleased for once with this sight, I walked home, doing several businesses by the way. In my way calling to see Commissioner Pett, who lies sick at his daughter, a pretty woman, in Gracious Street, but is likely to be abroad again in a day or two. At home I found my wife in bed all this day of her months.
I went to see Sir Wm. Pen, who has a little pain of his gout again, but will do well. So home to supper and to bed.
This day I hear at Court of the great plot which was lately discovered in Ireland, made among the Presbyters and others, designing to cry up the Covenant, and to secure Dublin Castle and other places; and they have debauched a good part of the army there, promising them ready money. Some of the Parliament there, they say, are guilty, and some withdrawn upon it; several persons taken, and among others a son of Scott’s, that was executed here for the King’s murder.
What reason the King hath, I know not; but it seems he is doubtfull of Scotland: and this afternoon, when I was there, the Council was called extraordinary; and they were opening the letters this last post’s coming and going between Scotland and us and other places. Blessed be God, my head and hands are clear, and therefore my sleep safe. The King of France is well again.

a weak man I was forced
to play at life

the head was a sad weapon
ink has only been a cheat

words blunter on the edge than swords
are flung to a rude rabble

like an army guilty of murder
I open my hands and sleep


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 1 June 1663.

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed talking with my wife, and do plainly see that her distaste (which is beginning now in her again) against Ashwell arises from her jealousy of me and her, and my neglect of herself, which indeed is true, and I to blame; but for the time to come I will take care to remedy all.
So up and to church, where I think I did see Pembleton, whatever the reason is I did not perceive him to look up towards my wife, nor she much towards him; however, I could hardly keep myself from being troubled that he was there, which is a madness not to be excused now that his coming to my house is past, and I hope all likelyhood of her having occasion to converse with him again.
Home to dinner, and after dinner up and read part of the new play of “The Five Houres’ Adventures,” which though I have seen it twice; yet I never did admire or understand it enough, it being a play of the greatest plot that ever I expect to see, and of great vigour quite through the whole play, from beginning to the end.
To church again after dinner (my wife finding herself ill of her months did not go), and there the Scot preaching I slept most of the sermon.
This day Sir W. Batten’s son’s child is christened in the country, whither Sir J. Minnes, and Sir W. Batten, and Sir W. Pen are all gone. I wonder, and take it highly ill that I am not invited by the father, though I know his father and mother, with whom I am never likely to have much kindness, but rather I study the contrary, are the cause of it, and in that respect I am glad of it. Being come from church, I to make up my month’s accounts, and find myself clear worth 726l., for which God be praised, but yet I might have been better by 20l. almost had I forborne some layings out in dancing and other things upon my wife, and going to plays and other things merely to ease my mind as to the business of the dancing-master, which I bless God is now over and I falling to my quiet of mind and business again, which I have for a fortnight neglected too much.
This month the greatest news is, the height and heat that the Parliament is in, in enquiring into the revenue, which displeases the Court, and their backwardness to give the King any money. Their enquiring into the selling of places do trouble a great many among the chief, my Lord Chancellor (against whom particularly it is carried), and Mr. Coventry; for which I am sorry. The King of France was given out to be poisoned and dead; but it proves to be the measles: and he is well, or likely to be soon well again.
I find myself growing in the esteem and credit that I have in the office, and I hope falling to my business again will confirm me in it, and the saving of money which God grant!
So to supper, prayers, and bed.
My whole family lying longer this morning than was fit, and besides Will having neglected to brush my clothes, as he ought to do, till I was ready to go to church, and not then till I bade him, I was very angry, and seeing him make little matter of it, but seeming to make it a matter indifferent whether he did it or no, I did give him a box on the ear, and had it been another day should have done more. This is the second time I ever struck him.

my taste is for madness
like a verse I never understand enough

I expect to find each child
gone to be born

and I fall into neglect
ward of a poisoned well

all my prayers lying
in an indifferent box


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 31 May 1663.

Up betimes, and Creed and I by water to Fleet Street, and my brother not being ready, he and I walked to the New Exchange, and there drank our morning draught of whay, the first I have done this year; but I perceive the lawyers come all in as they go to the Hall, and I believe it is very good.
So to my brother’s, and there I found my aunt James, a poor, religious, well-meaning, good soul, talking of nothing but God Almighty, and that with so much innocence that mightily pleased me. Here was a fellow that said grace so long like a prayer; I believe the fellow is a cunning fellow, and yet I by my brother’s desire did give him a crown, he being in great want, and, it seems, a parson among the fanatiques, and a cozen of my poor aunt’s, whose prayers she told me did do me good among the many good souls that did by my father’s desires pray for me when I was cut of the stone, and which God did hear, which I also in complaisance did own; but, God forgive me, my mind was otherwise. I had a couple of lobsters and some wine for her, and so, she going out of town to-day, and being not willing to come home with me to dinner, I parted and home, where we sat at the office all the morning, and after dinner all the afternoon till night, there at my office getting up the time that I have of late lost by not following my business, but I hope now to settle my mind again very well to my business.
So home, and after supper did wash my feet, and so to bed.

no change in the law
they believe is good

a soul with so much innocence
might pray to a stone

God is forgive me other-
wise

wine and night settle my mind
I wash my feet


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 30 May 1663.

This day is kept strictly as a holy-day, being the King’s Coronation. We lay long in bed, and it rained very hard, rain and hail, almost all the morning. By and by Creed and I abroad, and called at several churches; and it is a wonder to see, and by that to guess the ill temper of the City at this time, either to religion in general, or to the King, that in some churches there was hardly ten people in the whole church, and those poor people.
So to a coffee-house, and there in discourse hear the King of France is likely to be well again.
So home to dinner, and out by water to the Royall Theatre, but they not acting to-day, then to the Duke’s house, and there saw “The Slighted Mayde,” wherein Gosnell acted Pyramena, a great part, and did it very well, and I believe will do it better and better, and prove a good actor.
The play is not very excellent, but is well acted, and in general the actors, in all particulars, are better than at the other house.
Thence to the Cocke alehouse, and there having drunk, sent them with Creed to see the German Princess, at the Gatehouse, at Westminster, and I to my brother’s, and thence to my uncle Fenner’s to have seen my aunt James (who has been long in town and goes away to-morrow and I not seen her), but did find none of them within, which I was glad of, and so back to my brother’s to speak with him, and so home, and in my way did take two turns forwards and backwards through the Fleete Ally to see a couple of pretty whores that stood off the doors there, and God forgive me I could scarce stay myself from going into their houses with them, so apt is my nature to evil after once, as I have these two days, set upon pleasure again.
So home and to my office to put down these two days’ journalls, then home again and to supper, and then Creed and I to bed with good discourse, only my mind troubled about my spending my time so badly for these seven or eight days; but I must impute it to the disquiet that my mind has been in of late about my wife, and for my going these two days to plays, for which I have paid the due forfeit by money and abating the times of going to plays at Court, which I am now to remember that I have cleared all my times that I am to go to Court plays to the end of this month, and so June is the first time that I am to begin to reckon.

rain all morning
hardly ten people in church

coffee-house like a theater
where the play is not well acted

on my way back through the alley
a couple of pretty whores

I go into the house
as quiet as money


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 29 May 1663.

Up this morning, and my wife, I know not for what cause, being against going to Chelsey to-day, it being a holy day (Ascension Day) and I at leisure, it being the first holy day almost that we have observed ever since we came to the office, we did give Ashwell leave to go by herself, and I out to several places about business. Among others to Dr. Williams, to reckon with him for physique that my wife has had for a year or two, coming to almost 4l. Then to the Exchange, where I hear that the King had letters yesterday from France that the King there is in a [way] of living again, which I am glad to hear.
At the coffee-house in Exchange Alley I bought a little book, “Counsell to Builders,” by Sir Balth. Gerbier. It is dedicated almost to all the men of any great condition in England, so that the Epistles are more than the book itself, and both it and them not worth a turd, that I am ashamed that I bought it.
Home and there found Creed, who dined with us, and after dinner by water to the Royall Theatre; but that was so full they told us we could have no room. And so to the Duke’s House; and there saw “Hamlett” done, giving us fresh reason never to think enough of Betterton.
Who should we see come upon the stage but Gosnell, my wife’s maid? but neither spoke, danced, nor sung; which I was sorry for. But she becomes the stage very well.
Thence by water home, after we had walked to and fro, backwards and forwards, six or seven times in the Temple walks, disputing whether to go by land or water. By land home, and thence by water to Halfway House, and there eat some supper we carried with us, and so walked home again, it being late we were forced to land at the dock, my wife and they, but I in a humour not willing to daub my shoes went round by the Custom House. So home, and by and by to bed, Creed lying with me in the red chamber all night.

today is the first holy day
we observe by living

almost any gland is worth a dinner
so full and so giving

who should we age into
if not a shoe


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 28 May 1663.