Dave Bonta

Up by times; and not daring to go by land, did (Griffin going along with me for fear), slip to White Hall by water; where to Mr. Coventry, and, as we used to do, to the Duke; the other of my fellows being come. But we said nothing of our business, the Duke being sent for to the King, that he could not stay to speak with us. This morning came my Lord Windsor to kiss the Duke’s hand, being returned from Jamaica. He tells the Duke, that from such a degree of latitude going thither he begun to be sick, and was never well till his coming so far back again, and then presently begun to be well. He told the Duke of their taking the fort of St. Jago, upon Cuba, by his men; but, upon the whole, I believe that he did matters like a young lord, and was weary of being upon service out of his own country, where he might have pleasure. For methought it was a shame to see him this very afternoon, being the first day of his coming to town, to be at a playhouse.
Thence to my Lord Sandwich, who though he has been abroad again two or three days is falling ill again, and is let blood this morning, though I hope it is only a great cold that he has got.
It was a great trouble to me (and I had great apprehensions of it) that my Lord desired me to go to Westminster Hall, to the Parliament-house door, about business; and to Sir Wm. Wheeler, which I told him I would do, but durst not go for fear of being taken by these rogues; but was forced to go to White Hall and take boat, and so land below the Tower at the Iron-gate; and so the back way over Little Tower Hill; and with my cloak over my face, took one of the watermen along with me, and staid behind a wall in the New-buildings behind our garden, while he went to see whether any body stood within the Merchants’ Gate, under which we pass to go into our garden, and there standing but a little dirty boy before the gate, did make me quake and sweat to think he might be a Trepan. But there was nobody, and so I got safe into the garden, and coming to open my office door, something behind it fell in the opening, which made me start. So that God knows in what a sad condition I should be in if I were truly in the condition that many a poor man is for debt: and therefore ought to bless God that I have no such reall reason, and to endeavour to keep myself, by my good deportment and good husbandry, out of any such condition.
At home I found Mr. Creed with my wife, and so he dined with us, I finding by a note that Mr. Clerke in my absence hath left here, that I am free; and that he hath stopped all matters in Court; I was very glad of it, and immediately had a light thought of taking pleasure to rejoice my heart, and so resolved to take my wife to a play at Court to-night, and the rather because it is my birthday, being this day thirty years old, for which let me praise God.
While my wife dressed herself, Creed and I walked out to see what play was acted to-day, and we find it “The Slighted Mayde.” But, Lord! to see that though I did know myself to be out of danger, yet I durst not go through the street, but round by the garden into Tower Street.
By and by took coach, and to the Duke’s house, where we saw it well acted, though the play hath little good in it, being most pleased to see the little girl dance in boy’s apparel, she having very fine legs, only bends in the hams, as I perceive all women do. The play being done, we took coach and to Court, and there got good places, and saw “The Wilde Gallant,” performed by the King’s house, but it was ill acted, and the play so poor a thing as I never saw in my life almost, and so little answering the name, that from beginning to end, I could not, nor can at this time, tell certainly which was the Wild Gallant. The King did not seem pleased at all, all the whole play, nor any body else, though Mr. Clerke whom we met here did commend it to us. My Lady Castlemaine was all worth seeing tonight, and little Steward. Mrs. Wells do appear at Court again, and looks well; so that, it may be, the late report of laying the dropped child to her was not true.
It being done, we got a coach and got well home about 12 at night. Now as my mind was but very ill satisfied with these two plays themselves, so was I in the midst of them sad to think of the spending so much money and venturing upon the breach of my vow, which I found myself sorry for, I bless God, though my nature would well be contented to follow the pleasure still. But I did make payment of my forfeiture presently, though I hope to save it back again by forbearing two plays at Court for this one at the Theatre, or else to forbear that to the Theatre which I am to have at Easter. But it being my birthday and my day of liberty regained to me, and lastly, the last play that is likely to be acted at Court before Easter, because of the Lent coming in, I was the easier content to fling away so much money.
So to bed.
This day I was told that my Lady Castlemaine hath all the King’s Christmas presents, made him by the peers, given to her, which is a most abominable thing; and that at the great ball she was much richer in jewells than the Queen and Duchess put both together.

like blood in the body
I have no real birthday

I see light go through the street
and dance as all men do

a wild life is whole
and wells up

like a Lent fling
abominable and rich


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 23 February 1662/63.

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed and went not out all day; but after dinner to Sir W. Batten’s and Sir W. Pen’s, where discoursing much of yesterday’s trouble and scandal; but that which troubled me most was Sir J. Minnes coming from Court at night, and instead of bringing great comfort from thence (but I expected no better from him), he tells me that the Duke and Mr. Coventry make no great matter of it. So at night discontented to prayers, and to bed.

all day in a scandal of comfort
I make no great matter

at night
discontented prayers


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 22 February 1662/63.

Up and to the office, where Sir J. Minnes (most of the rest being at the Parliament-house), all the morning answering petitions and other business. Towards noon there comes a man in as if upon ordinary business, and shows me a writ from the Exchequer, called a Commission of Rebellion, and tells me that I am his prisoner in Field’s business; which methought did strike me to the heart, to think that we could not sit in the middle of the King’s business. I told him how and where we were employed, and bid him have a care; and perceiving that we were busy, he said he would, and did withdraw for an hour: in which time Sir J. Minnes took coach and to Court, to see what he could do from thence; and our solicitor against Field came by chance and told me that he would go and satisfy the fees of the Court, and would end the business. So he went away about that, and I staid in my closett, till by and by the man and four more of his fellows came to know what I would do; I told them stay till I heard from the King or my Lord Chief Baron, to both whom I had now sent. With that they consulted, and told me that if I would promise to stay in the house they would go and refresh themselves, and come again, and know what answer I had: so they away, and I home to dinner, whither by chance comes Mr. Hawley and dined with me.
Before I had dined, the bayleys come back again with the constable, and at the office knock for me, but found me not there; and I hearing in what manner they were come, did forbear letting them know where I was; so they stood knocking and enquiring for me.
By and by at my parler-window comes Sir W. Batten’s Mungo, to tell me that his master and lady would have me come to their house through Sir J. Minnes’s lodgings, which I could not do; but, however, by ladders, did get over the pale between our yards, and so to their house, where I found them (as they have reason) to be much concerned for me, my lady especially.
The fellows staid in the yard swearing with one or two constables, and some time we locked them into the yard, and by and by let them out again, and so kept them all the afternoon, not letting them see me, or know where I was. One time I went up to the top of Sir W. Batten’s house, and out of one of their windows spoke to my wife out of one of ours; which methought, though I did it in mirth, yet I was sad to think what a sad thing it would be for me to be really in that condition. By and by comes Sir J. Minnes, who (like himself and all that he do) tells us that he can do no good, but that my Lord Chancellor wonders that we did not cause the seamen to fall about their ears: which we wished we could have done without our being seen in it; and Captain Grove being there, he did give them some affront, and would have got some seamen to have drubbed them, but he had not time, nor did we think it fit to have done it, they having executed their commission; but there was occasion given that he did draw upon one of them and he did complain that Grove had pricked him in the breast, but no hurt done; but I see that Grove would have done our business to them if we had bid him. By and by comes Mr. Clerke, our solicitor, who brings us a release from our adverse atturney, we paying the fees of the commission, which comes to five marks, and pay the charges of these fellows, which are called the commissioners, but are the most rake-shamed rogues that ever I saw in my life; so he showed them this release, and they seemed satisfied, and went away with him to their atturney to be paid by him. But before they went, Sir W. Batten and my lady did begin to taunt them, but the rogues answered them as high as themselves, and swore they would come again, and called me rogue and rebel, and they would bring the sheriff and untile his house, before he should harbour a rebel in his house, and that they would be here again shortly.
Well, at last they went away, and I by advice took occasion to go abroad, and walked through the street to show myself among the neighbours, that they might not think worse than the business is. Being met by Captn. Taylor and Bowry, whose ship we have hired for Tangier, they walked along with me to Cornhill talking about their business, and after some difference about their prices we agreed, and so they would have me to a tavern, and there I drank one glass of wine and discoursed of something about freight of a ship that may bring me a little money, and so broke up, and I home to Sir W. Batten’s again, where Sir J. Lawson, Captain Allen, Spragg, and several others, and all our discourse about the disgrace done to our office to be liable to this trouble, which we must get removed.
Hither comes Mr. Clerke by and by, and tells me that he hath paid the fees of the Court for the commission; but the men are not contented with under 5l. for their charges, which he will not give them, and therefore advises me not to stir abroad till Monday that he comes or sends to me again, whereby I shall not be able to go to White Hall to the Duke of York, as I ought.
Here I staid vexing, and yet pleased to see every body, man and woman, my Lady and Mrs. Turner especially, for me, till 10 at night; and so home, where my people are mightily surprized to see this business, but it troubles me not very much, it being nothing touching my particular person or estate.
Being in talk to-day with Sir W. Batten he tells me that little is done yet in the Parliament-house, but only this day it was moved and ordered that all the members of the House do subscribe to the renouncing of the Covenant, which is thought will try some of them.
There is also a bill brought in for the wearing of nothing but cloth or stuffs of our own manufacture, and is likely to be passed.
Among other talk this evening, my lady did speak concerning Commissioner Pett’s calling the present King bastard, and other high words heretofore; and Sir W. Batten did tell us, that he did give the Duke or Mr. Coventry an account of that and other like matters in writing under oath, of which I was ashamed, and for which I was sorry, but I see there is an absolute hatred never to be altered there, and Sir J. Minnes, the old coxcomb, has got it by the end, which troubles me for the sake of the King’s service, though I do truly hate the expressions laid to him. To my office and set down this day’s journall, and so home with my mind out of order, though not very sad with it, but ashamed for myself something, and for the honour of the office much more. So home and to bed.

the office is a prison
we promise to go to

but I do not know
where I am with the sea

I walk the street to show myself
among neighbors

discourse of something
that may bring a little money

touch nothing but stuff
of our own manufacture

like writing in a journal
with no self


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 21 February 1662/63.

Up and by water with Commissioner Pett to Deptford, and there looked over the yard, and had a call, wherein I am very highly pleased with our new manner of call-books, being my invention. Thence thinking to have gone down to Woolwich in the Charles pleasure boat, but she run aground, it being almost low water, and so by oars to the town, and there dined, and then to the yard at Mr. Ackworth’s, discoursing with the officers of the yard about their stores of masts, which was our chief business, and having done something therein, took boat and to the pleasure boat, which was come down to fetch us back, and I could have been sick if I would in going, the wind being very fresh, but very pleasant it was, and the first time I have sailed in any one of them. It carried us to Cuckold’s Point, and so by oars to the Temple, it raining hard, where missed speaking with my cosen Roger, and so walked home and to my office; there spent the night till bed time, and so home to supper and to bed.

water or ground
which was our sure boat

the wind in a sail
one of them is speaking


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 20 February 1662/63.

Up and to my office, where abundance of business all the morning. Dined by my wife’s bedside, she not being yet well. We fell out almost upon my discourse of delaying the having of Ashwell, where my wife believing that I have a mind to have Pall, which I have not, though I could wish she did deserve to be had. So to my office, where by and by we sat, this afternoon being the first we have met upon a great while, our times being changed because of the parliament sitting. Being rose, I to my office till twelve at night, drawing out copies of the overcharge of the Navy, one to send to Mr. Coventry early to-morrow. So home and to bed, being weary, sleepy, and my eyes begin to fail me, looking so long by candlelight upon white paper.
This day I read the King’s speech to the Parliament yesterday; which is very short, and not very obliging; but only telling them his desire to have a power of indulging tender consciences, not that he will yield to have any mixture in the uniformity of the Church’s discipline; and says the same for the Papists, but declares against their ever being admitted to have any offices or places of trust in the kingdom; but, God knows, too many have.

morning fell almost as a pall
over the bed

my eyes fail me looking so long
upon white uniformity


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 19 February 1662/63.

Up, leaving my wife sick as last night in bed. I to my office all the morning, casting up with Captain Cocke their accounts of 500 tons of hemp brought from Riga, and bought by him and partners upon account, wherein are many things worth my knowledge. So at noon to dinner, taking Mr. Hater with me because of losing them, and in the afternoon he and I alone at the office, finishing our account of the extra charge of the Navy, not properly belonging to the Navy, since the King’s coming in to Christmas last; and all extra things being abated, I find that the true charge of the Navy to that time hath been after the rate of 374,743l. a-year. I made an end by eleven o’clock at night, and so home to bed almost weary.
This day the Parliament met again, after their long prorogation; but I know not any thing what they have done, being within doors all day.

I bought many things worth my hate
alone at the office

coming into Christmas time
the year is again a door


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 18 February 1662/63.

Up and to my office, and there we sat all the morning, and at noon my wife being gone to Chelsey with her brother and sister and Mrs. Lodum, to see the wassell at the school, where Mary Ashwell is, I took home Mr. Pett and he dined with me all alone, and much discourse we had upon the business of the office, and so after dinner broke up and with much ado, it raining hard, which it has not done a great while now, but only frost a great while, I got a coach and so to the Temple, where discoursed with Mr. W. Montagu about borrowing some money for my Lord, and so by water (where I have not been a good while through cold) to Westminster to Sir W. Wheeler’s, whom I found busy at his own house with the Commissioners of Sewers, but I spoke to him about my Lord’s business of borrowing money, and so to my Lord of Sandwich, to give him an account of all, whom I found at cards with Pickering; but he made an end soon: and so all alone, he and I, after I had given him an account, he told me he had a great secret to tell me, such as no flesh knew but himself, nor ought; which was this: that yesterday morning Eschar, Mr. Edward Montagu’s man, did come to him from his master with some of the Clerks of the Exchequer, for my Lord to sign to their books for the Embassy money; which my Lord very civilly desired not to do till he had spoke with his master himself. In the afternoon, my Lord and my Lady Wright being at cards in his chamber, in comes Mr. Montagu; and desiring to speak with my Lord at the window in his chamber, he begun to charge my Lord with the greatest ingratitude in the world: that he that had received his earldom, garter, 4000l. per annum, and whatever he is in the world, from him, should now study him all the dishonour that he could; and so fell to tell my Lord, that if he should speak all that he knew of him, he could do so and so. In a word, he did rip up all that could be said that was unworthy, and in the basest terms they could be spoken in. To which my Lord answered with great temper, justifying himself, but endeavouring to lessen his heat, which was a strange temper in him, knowing that he did owe all he hath in the world to my Lord, and that he is now all that he is by his means and favour. But my Lord did forbear to increase the quarrel, knowing that it would be to no good purpose for the world to see a difference in the family; but did allay him so as that he fell to weeping. And after much talk (among other things Mr. Montagu telling him that there was a fellow in the town, naming me, that had done ill offices, and that if he knew it to be so, he would have him cudgelled) my Lord did promise him that, if upon account he saw that there was not many tradesmen unpaid, he would sign the books; but if there was, he could not bear with taking too great a debt upon him. So this day he sent him an account, and a letter assuring him there was not above 200l. unpaid; and so my Lord did sign to the Exchequer books. Upon the whole, I understand fully what a rogue he is, and how my Lord do think and will think of him for the future; telling me that thus he has served his father my Lord Manchester, and his whole family, and now himself: and which is worst, that he hath abused, and in speeches every day do abuse, my Lord Chancellor, whose favour he hath lost; and hath no friend but Sir H. Bennet, and that (I knowing the rise of the friendship) only from the likeness of their pleasures, and acquaintance, and concernments, they have in the same matters of lust and baseness; for which, God forgive them! But he do flatter himself, from promises of Sir H. Bennet, that he shall have a pension of 2000l. per annum, and be made an Earl. My Lord told me he expected a challenge from him, but told me there was no great fear of him, for there was no man lies under such an imputation as he do in the business of Mr. Cholmely, who, though a simple sorry fellow, do brave him and struts before him with the Queen, to the sport and observation of the whole Court.
He did keep my Lord at the window, thus reviling and braving him above an hour, my Lady Wright being by; but my Lord tells me she could not hear every word, but did well know what their discourse was; she could hear enough to know that. So that he commands me to keep it as the greatest secret in the world, and bids me beware of speaking words against Mr. Montagu, for fear I should suffer by his passion thereby.
After he had told me this I took coach and home, where I found my wife come home and in bed with her sister in law in the chamber with her, she not being able to stay to see the wassel, being so ill of her termes, which I was sorry for. Hither we sent for her sister’s viall, upon which she plays pretty well for a girl, but my expectation is much deceived in her, not only for that, but in her spirit, she being I perceive a very subtle witty jade, and one that will give her husband trouble enough as little as she is, whereas I took her heretofore for a very child and a simple fool. I played also, which I have not done this long time before upon any instrument, and at last broke up and I to my office a little while, being fearful of being too much taken with musique, for fear of returning to my old dotage thereon, and so neglect my business as I used to do.
Then home and to bed.
Coming home I brought Mr. Pickering as far as the Temple, who tells me the story is very true of a child being dropped at the ball at Court; and that the King had it in his closett a week after, and did dissect it; and making great sport of it, said that in his opinion it must have been a month and three hours old; and that, whatever others think, he hath the greatest loss (it being a boy, as he says), that hath lost a subject by the business.
He tells me, too, that the other story, of my Lady Castlemaine’s and Stuart’s marriage, is certain, and that it was in order to the King’s coming to Stuart, as is believed generally. He tells me that Sir H. Bennet is a Catholique, and how all the Court almost is changed to the worse since his coming in, they being afeard of him. And that the Queen-Mother’s Court is now the greatest of all; and that our own Queen hath little or no company come to her, which I know also to be very true, and am sorry to see it.

only the flesh
that embassy
from a world with no future

only such a simple window
could keep secret the very story
we dissect


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 17 February 1662/63.

Up and by coach with Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes to White Hall, and, after we had done our usual business with the Duke, to my Lord Sandwich and by his desire to Sir W. Wheeler, who was brought down in a sedan chair from his chamber, being lame of the gout, to borrow 1000l. of him for my Lord’s occasions, but he gave me a very kind denial that he could not, but if any body else would, he would be bond with my Lord for it. So to Westminster Hall, and there find great expectation what the Parliament will do, when they come two days hence to sit again, in matters of religion. The great question is, whether the Presbyters will be contented to have the Papists have the same liberty of conscience with them, or no, or rather be denied it themselves: and the Papists, I hear, are very busy designing how to make the Presbyters consent to take their liberty, and to let them have the same with them, which some are apt to think they will.
It seems a priest was taken in his vests officiating somewhere in Holborn the other day, and was committed by Secretary Morris, according to law; and they say the Bishop of London did give him thanks for it.
Thence to my Lord Crew’s and dined there, there being much company, and the above-said matter is now the present publique discourse.
Thence about several businesses to Mr. Phillips my attorney, to stop all proceedings at law, and so to the Temple, where at the Solicitor General’s I found Mr. Cholmely and Creed reading to him the agreement for him to put into form about the contract for the Mole at Tangier, which is done at 13s. the Cubical yard, though upon my conscience not one of the Committee, besides the parties concerned, do understand what they do therein, whether they give too much or too little.
Thence with Mr. Creed to see Mr. Moore, who continues sick still, within doors, and here I staid a good while after him talking of all the things either business or no that came into my mind, and so home and to see Sir W. Pen, and sat and played at cards with him, his daughter, and Mrs. Rooth, and so to my office a while, and then home and to bed.

on the wheel of occasions
I am denied liberty

a priest officiating in a cubical
not one little door

and no mind to play cards
with a root


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 16 February 1662/63.

(Lord’s day). This morning my wife did wake me being frighted with the noise I made in my sleep, being a dream that one of our sea maisters did desire to see the St. John’s Isle of my drawing, which methought I showed him, but methought he did handle it so hard that it put me to very horrid pain; and what should this be but my cods, which after I woke were in very great pain for a good while. Which what a strange extravagant dream it was.
So to sleep again and lay long in bed, and then trimmed by the barber, and so sending Will to church, myself staid at home, hanging up in my green chamber my picture of the Soveraigne, and putting some things in order there.
So to dinner, to three more ducks and two teals, my wife and I. Then to Church, where a dull sermon, and so home, and after walking about the house awhile discoursing with my wife, I to my office there to set down something and to prepare businesses for tomorrow, having in the morning read over my vows, which through sicknesse I could not do the last Lord’s day, and not through forgetfulness or negligence, so that I hope it is no breach of my vow not to pay my forfeiture. So home, and after prayers to bed, talking long with my wife and teaching her things in astronomy.

I dream of sea
the raw and horrid cod

I dream in a green chamber
ducks and teals coursing through

I could not reach my wife
her thin astronomy


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 15 February 1662/63.

Up and to my office, where we met and sat all the morning, only Mr. Coventry, which I think is the first or second time he has missed since he came to the office, was forced to be absent. So home to dinner, my wife and I upon a couple of ducks, and then by coach to the Temple, where my uncle Thomas, and his sons both, and I, did meet at my cozen Roger’s and there sign and seal to an agreement. Wherein I was displeased at nothing but my cozen Roger’s insisting upon my being obliged to settle upon them as the will do all my uncle’s estate that he has left, without power of selling any for the payment of debts, but I would not yield to it without leave of selling, my Lord Sandwich himself and my cozen Thos. Pepys being judges of the necessity thereof, which was done. One thing more that troubles me was my being forced to promise to give half of what personal estate could be found more than 372l., which I reported to them, which though I do not know it to be less than what we really have found, yet he would have been glad to have been at liberty for that, but at last I did agree to it under my own handwriting on the backside of the report I did make and did give them of the estate, and have taken a copy of it upon the backside of one that I have. All being done I took the father and his son Thos. home by coach, and did pay them 30l., the arrears of the father’s annuity, and with great seeming love parted, and I presently to bed, my head akeing mightily with the hot dispute I did hold with my cozen Roger and them in the business.

ink is the first
forced temple

I sign and seal an agreement
nothing is as personal as handwriting

I make the state a copy
with great seeming art


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 14 February 1662/63.