Dave Bonta

(Lord’s day). Up, and I and my wife to church, where Pembleton appeared, which, God forgive me, did vex me, but I made nothing of it. So home to dinner, and betimes my wife and I to the French church and there heard a good sermon, the first time my wife and I were there ever together. We sat by three sisters, all pretty women. It was pleasant to hear the reader give notice to them, that the children to be catechized next Sunday were them of Hounsditch and Blanche Chapiton. Thence home, and there found Ashwell come to see my wife (we having called at her lodging the other day to speak with her about dressing my wife when my Lord Sandwich dines here), and is as merry as ever, and speaks as disconcerned for any difference between us on her going away as ever. She being gone, my wife and I to see Sir W. Pen and there supped with him much against my stomach, for the dishes were so deadly foule that I could not endure to look upon them.
So after supper home to prayers and to bed.

if God made nothing
if he heard me

if I were to catechize
the ditch and the well

if I called the peak my Lord
disconcerned for any difference

if I were so dead
that I could not look up


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 17 January 1663/64.

Up, and having paid some money in the morning to my uncle Thomas on his yearly annuity, to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon I to the ‘Change about some pieces of eight for Sir J. Lawson. There I hear that Collonell Turner is found guilty of felony at the Sessions in Mr. Tryan’s business, which will save his life. So home and met there J. Harper come to see his kinswoman our Jane. I made much of him and made him dine with us, he talking after the old simple manner that he used to do. He being gone, I by water to Westminster Hall, and there did see Mrs. Lane, and de là, elle and I to the caberet at the Cloche in the street du roy; and there, after some caresses, je l’ay foutée sous de la chaise deux times, and the last to my great pleasure; mais j’ai grand peur que je l’ay fait faire aussi elle même. Mais after I had done, elle commencait parler as before and I did perceive that je n’avais fait rien de danger à elle. Et avec ça, I came away; and though I did make grand promises à la contraire, nonobstant je ne la verrai pas long time. So by coach home and to my office, where Browne of the Minerys brought me an Instrument made of a Spyral line very pretty for all questions in Arithmetique almost, but it must be some use that must make me perfect in it.
So home to supper and to bed, with my mind ‘un peu troubled pour ce que fait’ to-day, but I hope it will be ‘la dernier de toute ma vie.’

no laws will save us

the old simple manner that used to do
being gone

danger is an instrument
made of questions

I must be at home with hope


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 16 January 1663/64.

Up and to my office, where all the morning, and among other things Mr. Turner with me, and I did tell him my mind about the Controller his master and all the office, and my mind touching himself too, as he did carry himself either well or ill to me and my clerks, which I doubt not but it will operate well.
Thence to the ‘Change, and there met my uncle Wight, who was very kind to me, and would have had me home with him, and so kind that I begin to wonder and think something of it of good to me.
Thence home to dinner, and after dinner with Mr. Hater by water, and walked thither and back again from Deptford, where I did do something checking the iron business, but my chief business was my discourse with Mr. Hater about what had passed last night and to-day about the office business, and my resolution to do him all the good I can therein.
So home, and my wife tells me that my uncle Wight hath been with her, and played at cards with her, and is mighty inquisitive to know whether she is with child or no, which makes me wonder what his meaning is, and after all my thoughts, I cannot think, unless it be in order to the making his will, that he might know how to do by me, and I would to God my wife had told him that she was.

things turn in my mind
doubt will operate as water
for something iron

but what passed last night
can I be with child

what can I be making
that might know me


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 15 January 1663/64.

Up and to the office, where all the morning, and at noon all of us, viz., Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Batten at one end, and Mr. Coventry, Sir J. Minnes and I (in the middle at the other end, being taught how to sit there all three by my sitting so much the backwarder) at the other end, to Sir G. Carteret’s, and there dined well. Here I saw Mr. Scott, the bastard that married his youngest daughter. Much pleasant talk at table, and then up and to the office, where we sat long upon our design of dividing the Controller’s work into some of the rest of our hands for the better doing of it, but he would not yield to it, though the simple man knows in his heart that he do not do one part of it. So he taking upon him to do it all we rose, I vexed at the heart to see the King’s service run after this manner, but it cannot be helped.
Thence to the Old James to the reference about Mr. Bland’s business. Sir W. Rider being now added to us, and I believe we shall soon come to some determination in it. So home and to my office, did business, and then up to Sir W. Pen and did express my trouble about this day’s business, he not being there, and plainly told him what I thought of it, and though I know him a false fellow yet I adventured, as I have done often, to tell him clearly my opinion of Sir W. Batten and his design in this business, which is very bad.
Hence home, and after a lecture to my wife in her globes, to prayers and to bed.

the backward bastard
that married his troll hands

in his heart no part
of a rose

but business business business
low as a glob


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 14 January 1663/64.

Up and to my office a little, and then abroad to many several places about business, among others to the geometrical instrument makers, and through Bedlam (calling by the way at an old bookseller’s and there fell into looking over Spanish books and pitched upon some, till I thought of my oathe when I was going to agree for them, and so with much ado got myself out of the shop glad at my heart and so away) to the African House to look upon their book of contracts for several commodities for my information in the prices we give in the Navy.
So to the Coffee [house] where extraordinary good discourse of Dr. Whistler’s upon my question concerning the keeping of masts, he arguing against keeping them dry, by showing the nature of corruption in bodies and the several ways thereof. So to the ‘Change, and thence with Sir W. Rider to the Trinity House to dinner, and then home and to my office till night, and then with Mr. Bland to Sir T. Viner’s about pieces of eight for Sir J. Lawson, and so back to my office, and there late upon business, and so home to supper and to bed.

the road places us in a bedlam
of oath and whistle
arguing bodies
and the several ways to ride
to home and to office

and the land
in back of us


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 13 January 1663/64.

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon to the ‘Change awhile, and so home, getting things against dinner ready, and anon comes my uncle Wight and my aunt, with their cozens Mary and Robert, and by chance my uncle Thomas Pepys. We had a good dinner, the chief dish a swan roasted, and that excellent meate. At dinner and all day very merry. After dinner to cards, where till evening, then to the office a little, and to cards again with them, and lost half-a-crowne. They being gone, my wife did tell me how my uncle did this day accost her alone, and spoke of his hoping she was with child, and kissing her earnestly told her he should be very glad of it, and from all circumstances methinks he do seem to have some intention of good to us, which I shall endeavour to continue more than ever I did yet. So to my office till late, and then home to bed, after being at prayers, which is the first time after my late vowe to say prayers in my family twice in every week.

chance is a wan meat

after cards
to cards again
lost as a kiss at prayers


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 12 January 1663/64.

Waked this morning by 4 o’clock by my wife to call the mayds to their wash, and what through my sleeping so long last night and vexation for the lazy sluts lying so long again and their great wash, neither my wife nor I could sleep one winke after that time till day, and then I rose and by coach (taking Captain Grove with me and three bottles of Tent, which I sent to Mrs. Lane by my promise on Saturday night last) to White Hall, and there with the rest of our company to the Duke and did our business, and thence to the Tennis Court till noon, and there saw several great matches played, and so by invitation to St. James’s; where, at Mr. Coventry’s chamber, I dined with my Lord Barkeley, Sir G. Carteret, Sir Edward Turner, Sir Ellis Layton, and one Mr. Seymour, a fine gentleman; were admirable good discourse of all sorts, pleasant and serious.
Thence after dinner to White Hall, where the Duke being busy at the Guinny business, the Duke of Albemarle, Sir W. Rider, Povy, Sir J. Lawson and I to the Duke of Albemarle’s lodgings, and there did some business, and so to the Court again, and I to the Duke of York’s lodgings, where the Guinny company are choosing their assistants for the next year by ballotting. Thence by coach with Sir J. Robinson, Lieutenant of the Tower, he set me down at Cornhill, but, Lord! the simple discourse that all the way we had, he magnifying his great undertakings and cares that have been upon him for these last two years, and how he commanded the city to the content of all parties, when the loggerhead knows nothing almost that is sense.
Thence to the Coffee-house, whither comes Sir W. Petty and Captain Grant, and we fell in talke (besides a young gentleman, I suppose a merchant, his name Mr. Hill, that has travelled and I perceive is a master in most sorts of musique and other things) of musique; the universal character; art of memory; Granger’s counterfeiting of hands and other most excellent discourses to my great content, having not been in so good company a great while, and had I time I should covet the acquaintance of that Mr. Hill.
This morning I stood by the King arguing with a pretty Quaker woman, that delivered to him a desire of hers in writing. The King showed her Sir J. Minnes, as a man the fittest for her quaking religion, saying that his beard was the stiffest thing about him, and again merrily said, looking upon the length of her paper, that if all she desired was of that length she might lose her desires; she modestly saying nothing till he begun seriously to discourse with her, arguing the truth of his spirit against hers; she replying still with these words, “O King!” and thou’d him all along.
The general talke of the towne still is of Collonell Turner, about the robbery; who, it is thought, will be hanged.
I heard the Duke of York tell to-night, how letters are come that fifteen are condemned for the late plot by the judges at York; and, among others, Captain Oates, against whom it was proved that he drew his sword at his going out, and flinging away the scabbard, said that he would either return victor or be hanged.
So home, where I found the house full of the washing and my wife mighty angry about Will’s being here to-day talking with her mayds, which she overheard, idling of their time, and he telling what a good mayd my old Jane was, and that she would never have her like again. At which I was angry, and after directing her to beat at least the little girl, I went to the office and there reproved Will, who told me that he went thither by my wife’s order, she having commanded him to come thither on Monday morning. Now God forgive me! how apt I am to be jealous of her as to this fellow, and that she must needs take this time, when she knows I must be gone out to the Duke, though methinks had she that mind she would never think it discretion to tell me this story of him, to let me know that he was there, much less to make me offended with him, to forbid him coming again. But this cursed humour I cannot cool in myself by all the reason I have, which God forgive me for, and convince me of the folly of it, and the disquiet it brings me.
So home, where, God be thanked, when I came to speak to my wife my trouble of mind soon vanished, and to bed. The house foul with the washing and quite out of order against to-morrow’s dinner.

the tower knows nothing of the hill

travel is a sort of music
counterfeiting hands and discourses

not fit for paper that still word away

like a man gone out
of his quiet mind


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 11 January 1663/64.

(Lord’s day). Lay in bed with my wife till 10 or 11 o’clock, having been very sleepy all night. So up, and my brother Tom being come to see me, we to dinner, he telling me how Mrs. Turner found herself discontented with her late bad journey, and not well taken by them in the country, they not desiring her coming down, nor the burials of Mr. Edward Pepys’s corpse there. After dinner I to the office, where all the afternoon, and at night my wife and I to my uncle Wight’s, and there eat some of their swan pie, which was good, and I invited them to my house to eat a roasted swan on Tuesday next, which after I was come home did make a quarrels between my wife and I, because she had appointed a wash to-morrow. But, however, we were friends again quickly. So to bed. All our discourse to-night was Mr. Tryan’s late being robbed; and that Collonell Turner (a mad, swearing, confident fellow, well known by all, and by me), one much indebted to this man for his very livelihood, was the man that either did or plotted it; and the money and things are found in his hand, and he and his wife now in Newgate for it; of which we are all glad, so very a known rogue he was.

sleep to me
is a bad journey taken
in the country of a corpse

where night and day
quarrel and point
and turn in at one gate


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 10 January 1663/64.

Up (my underlip being mightily swelled, I know not how but by overrubbing it, it itching) and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon I home to dinner, and by discourse with my wife thought upon inviting my Lord Sandwich to a dinner shortly. It will cost me at least ten or twelve pounds; but, however, some arguments of prudence I have, which however I shall think again upon before I proceed to that expence.
After dinner by coach I carried my wife and Jane to Westminster, leaving her at Mr. Hunt’s, and I to Westminster Hall, and there visited Mrs. Lane, and by appointment went out and met her at the Trumpet, Mrs. Hare’s, but the room being damp we went to the Bell tavern, and there I had her company, but could not do as I used to do (yet nothing but what was honest) for that she told me she had those. So I to talk about her having Hawley, she told me flatly no, she could not love him. I took occasion to enquire of Howlett’s daughter, with whom I have a mind to meet a little to see what mettle the young wench is made of, being very pretty, but she tells me she is already betrothed to Mrs. Michell’s son, and she in discourse tells me more, that Mrs. Michell herself had a daughter before marriage, which is now near thirty years old, a thing I could not have believed.
Thence leading her to the Hall, I took coach and called my wife and her mayd, and so to the New Exchange, where we bought several things of our pretty Mrs. Dorothy Stacy, a pretty woman, and has the modestest look that ever I saw in my life and manner of speech. Thence called at Tom’s and saw him pretty well again, but has not been currant. So homeward, and called at Ludgate, at Ashwell’s uncle’s, but she was not within, to have spoke to her to have come to dress my wife at the time my Lord dines here. So straight home, calling for Walsingham’s Manuals at my bookseller’s to read but not to buy, recommended for a pretty book by Sir W. Warren, whose warrant however I do not much take till I do read it.
So home to supper and to bed, my wife not being very well since she came home, being troubled with a fainting fit, which she never yet had before since she was my wife.

lip swelled by over-rubbing
the trumpet
could do nothing but a flat

could not howl
in the pretty mode recommended
for a fainting fit


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 9 January 1663/64.

Up and all the morning at my office and with Sir J. Minnes, directing him and Mr. Turner about keeping of their books according to yesterday’s work, wherein I shall make them work enough. At noon to the ‘Change, and there long, and from thence by appointment took Luellin, Mount, and W. Symons, and Mr. Pierce, the chirurgeon, home to dinner with me and were merry. But, Lord! to hear how W. Symons do commend and look sadly and then talk bawdily and merrily, though his wife was dead but the other day, would make a dogg laugh. After dinner I did go in further part of kindness to Luellin for his kindness about Deering’s 50l. which he procured me the other day of him.
We spent all the afternoon together and then they to cards with my wife, who this day put on her Indian blue gowne which is very pretty, where I left them for an hour, and to my office, and then to them again, and by and by they went away at night, and so I again to my office to perfect a letter to Mr. Coventry about Department Treasurers, wherein I please myself and hope to give him content and do the King service therein.
So having done, I home and to teach my wife a new lesson in the globes, and to supper, and to bed.
We had great pleasure this afternoon; among other things, to talk of our old passages together in Cromwell’s time; and how W. Symons did make me laugh and wonder to-day when he told me how he had made shift to keep in, in good esteem and employment, through eight governments in one year (the year 1659, which were indeed, and he did name them all), and then failed unhappy in the ninth, viz. that of the King’s coming in. He made good to me the story which Luellin did tell me the other day, of his wife upon her death-bed; how she dreamt of her uncle Scobell, and did foretell, from some discourse she had with him, that she should die four days thence, and not sooner, and did all along say so, and did so.
Upon the ‘Change a great talke there was of one Mr. Tryan, an old man, a merchant in Lyme-Streete, robbed last night (his man and mayde being gone out after he was a-bed), and gagged and robbed of 1050l. in money and about 4000l. in jewells, which he had in his house as security for money. It is believed by many circumstances that his man is guilty of confederacy, by their ready going to his secret till in his desk, wherein the key of his cash-chest lay.

work shall make work
a dog after a deer

blue as ice
the globe ages
through eight governments

in the death-bed dream
of a hangman


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 8 January 1663/64.