Pepys Diary erasure project

Up, and by coach to Mr. Povy’s, and there got him to signe the payment of Captain Tayler’s bills for the remainder of freight for the Eagle, wherein I shall be gainer about 30l., thence with him to Westminster by coach to Houseman’s [Huysman] the great picture drawer, and saw again very fine pictures, and have his promise, for Mr. Povy’s sake, to take pains in what picture I shall set him about, and I think to have my wife’s. But it is a strange thing to observe and fit for me to remember that I am at no time so unwilling to part with money as when I am concerned in the getting of it most, as I thank God of late I have got more in this month, viz. near 250l., than ever I did in half a year before in my life, I think.
Thence to White Hall with him, and so walked to the old Exchange and back to Povy’s to dinner, where great and good company; among others Sir John Skeffington, whom I knew at Magdalen College, a fellow-commoner, my fellow-pupil, but one with whom I had no great acquaintance, he being then, God knows, much above me. Here I was afresh delighted with Mr. Povy’s house and pictures of perspective, being strange things to think how they do delude one’s eye, that methinks it would make a man doubtful of swearing that ever he saw any thing.
Thence with him to St. James’s, and so to White Hall to a Tangier Committee, and hope I have light of another opportunity of getting a little money if Sir W. Warren will use me kindly for deales to Tangier, and with the hopes went joyfully home, and there received Captain Tayler’s money, received by Will to-day, out of which (as I said above) I shall get above 30l.. So with great comfort to bed, after supper.
By discourse this day I have great hopes from Mr. Coventry that the Dutch and we shall not fall out.

to draw a picture I take pains
to observe more than before

ink all in a fresh light
with perspective to delude one’s eye

it would make a man doubt
that ever he saw anything


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 21 September 1664.

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, at noon to the ‘Change, and there met by appointment with Captain Poyntz, who hath some place, or title to a place, belonging to gameing, and so I discoursed with him about the business of our improving of the Lotterys, to the King’s benefit, and that of the Fishery, and had some light from him in the business, and shall, he says, have more in writing from him. So home to dinner and then abroad to the Fishing Committee at Fishmongers’ Hall, and there sat and did some business considerable, and so up and home, and there late at my office doing much business, and I find with great delight that I am come to my good temper of business again. God continue me in it. So home to supper, it being washing day, and to bed.

the long game is out
the lottery is in

shall the road and the light
come again to be ash


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 20 September 1664.

Up, my wife and I having a little anger about her woman already, she thinking that I take too much care of her at table to mind her (my wife) of cutting for her, but it soon over, and so up and with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen to St. James’s, and there did our business with the Duke, and thence homeward straight, calling at the Coffee-house, and there had very good discourse with Sir —— Blunt and Dr. Whistler about Egypt and other things. So home to dinner, my wife having put on to-day her winter new suit of moyre, which is handsome, and so after dinner I did give her 15l. to lay out in linen and necessaries for the house and to buy a suit for Pall, and I myself to White Hall to a Tangier Committee, where Colonell Reames hath brought us so full and methodical an account of all matters there, that I never have nor hope to see the like of any publique business while I live again. The Committee up, I to Westminster to Jervas’s, and spoke with Jane; who I find cold and not so desirous of a meeting as before, and it is no matter, I shall be the freer from the inconvenience that might follow thereof, besides offending God Almighty and neglecting my business. So by coach home and to my office, where late, and so to supper and to bed.
I met with Dr. Pierce to-day, who, speaking of Dr. Frazier’s being so earnest to have such a one (one Collins) go chyrurgeon to the Prince’s person will have him go in his terms and with so much money put into his hands, he tells me (when I was wondering that Frazier should order things with the Prince in that confident manner) that Frazier is so great with my Lady Castlemayne, and Stewart, and all the ladies at Court, in helping to slip their calfes when there is occasion, and with the great men in curing of their claps that he can do what he please with the King, in spite of any man, and upon the same score with the Prince; they all having more or less occasion to make use of him.
Sir G. Carteret tells me this afternoon that the Dutch are not yet ready to set out; and by that means do lose a good wind which would carry them out and keep us in, and moreover he says that they begin to boggle in the business, and he thinks may offer terms of peace for all this, and seems to argue that it will be well for the King too, and I pray God send it.
Colonell Reames did, among other things, this day tell me how it is clear that, if my Lord Tiviott had lived, he would have quite undone Tangier, or designed himself to be master of it. He did put the King upon most great, chargeable, and unnecessary works there, and took the course industriously to deter, all other merchants but himself to deal there, and to make both King and all others pay what he pleased for all that was brought thither.

little to whistle about
in her winter linen

like a cold surgeon curing us
of all unnecessary dust and ease


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 19 September 1664.

(Lord’s day). Up and to church all of us. At noon comes Anthony and W. Joyce (their wives being in the country with my father) and dined with me very merry as I can be in such company. After dinner walked to Westminster (tiring them by the way, and so left them, Anthony in Cheapside and the other in the Strand), and there spent all the afternoon in the Cloysters as I had agreed with Jane Welsh, but she came not, which vexed me, staying till 5 o’clock, and then walked homeward, and by coach to the old Exchange, and thence to my aunt Wight’s, and invited her and my uncle to supper, and so home, and by and by they came, and we eat a brave barrel of oysters Mr. Povy sent me this morning, and very merry at supper, and so to prayers and to bed.
Last night it seems my aunt Wight did send my wife a new scarfe, laced, as a token for her many givings to her. It is true now and then we give them some toys, as oranges , &c., but my aime is to get myself something more from my uncle’s favour than this.

church can cloy
but not a clock

and so I pray
to be true now

give them some toy
but my aim is thin


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 18 September 1664.

Up and to the office, where Mr. Coventry very angry to see things go so coldly as they do, and I must needs say it makes me fearful every day of having some change of the office, and the truth is, I am of late a little guilty of being remiss myself of what I used to be, but I hope I shall come to my old pass again, my family being now settled again.
Dined at home, and to the office, where late busy in setting all my businesses in order, and I did a very great and a very contenting afternoon’s work.
This day my aunt Wight sent my wife a new scarfe, with a compliment for the many favours she had received of her, which is the several things we have sent her. I am glad enough of it, for I see my uncle is so given up to the Wights that I hope for little more of them. So home to supper and to bed.

to see things go old
makes me fearful of change

I used to be old as a settled business
content with any little ore


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 17 September 1664.

Up betimes and to my office, where all the morning very busy putting papers to rights. And among other things Mr. Gauden coming to me, I had a good opportunity to speak to him about his present, which hitherto hath been a burden to me, that I could not do it, because I was doubtfull that he meant it as a temptation to me to stand by him in the business of Tangier victualling; but he clears me it was not, and that he values me and my proceedings therein very highly, being but what became me, and that what he did was for my old kindnesses to him in dispatching of his business, which I was glad to hear, and with my heart in good rest and great joy parted, and to my business again. At noon to the ‘Change, where by appointment I met Sir W. Warren, and afterwards to the Sun taverne, where he brought to me, being all alone, 100l. in a bag, which I offered him to give him my receipt for, but he told me, no, it was my owne, which he had a little while since promised me and was glad that (as I had told him two days since) it would now do me courtesy; and so most kindly he did give it me, and I as joyfully, even out of myself, carried it home in a coach, he himself expressly taking care that nobody might see this business done, though I was willing enough to have carried a servant with me to have received it, but he advised me to do it myself. So home with it and to dinner; after dinner I forth with my boy to buy severall things, stools and andirons and candlesticks, &c., household stuff, and walked to the mathematical instrument maker in Moorefields and bought a large pair of compasses, and there met Mr. Pargiter, and he would needs have me drink a cup of horse-radish ale, which he and a friend of his troubled with the stone have been drinking of, which we did and then walked into the fields as far almost as Sir G. Whitmore’s, all the way talking of Russia, which, he says, is a sad place; and, though Moscow is a very great city, yet it is from the distance between house and house, and few people compared with this, and poor, sorry houses, the Emperor himself living in a wooden house, his exercise only flying a hawk at pigeons and carrying pigeons ten or twelve miles off and then laying wagers which pigeon shall come soonest home to her house. All the winter within doors, some few playing at chesse, but most drinking their time away. Women live very slavishly there, and it seems in the Emperor’s court no room hath above two or three windows, and those the greatest not a yard wide or high, for warmth in winter time; and that the general cure for all diseases there is their sweating houses, or people that are poor they get into their ovens, being heated, and there lie. Little learning among things of any sort. Not a man that speaks Latin, unless the Secretary of State by chance. Mr. Pargiter and I walked to the ‘Change together and there parted, and so I to buy more things and then home, and after a little at my office, home to supper and to bed. This day old Hardwicke came and redeemed a watch he had left with me in pawne for 40s. seven years ago, and I let him have it. Great talk that the Dutch will certainly be out this week, and will sail directly to Guinny, being convoyed out of the Channel with 42 sail of ships.

morning paper
the temptation to stand by
with my heart in a bag

though I have carried a tick
from miles away
into my bed


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 16 September 1664.

At the office all the morning, then to the ‘Change, and so home to dinner, where Luellin dined with us, and after dinner many people came in and kept me all the afternoon, among other the Master and Wardens of Chyrurgeon’s Hall, who staid arguing their cause with me; I did give them the best answer I could, and after their being two hours with me parted, and I to my office to do business, which is much on my hands, and so late home to supper and to bed.

at the office so many kept
their best answer
their two parted hands


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 15 September 1664.

Up, and wanting some things that should be laid ready for my dressing myself I was angry, and one thing after another made my wife give Besse warning to be gone, which the jade, whether out of fear or ill-nature or simplicity I know not, but she took it and asked leave to go forth to look a place, and did, which vexed me to the heart, she being as good a natured wench as ever we shall have, but only forgetful.
At the office all the morning and at noon to the ‘Change, and there went off with Sir W. Warren and took occasion to desire him to lend me 100l., which he said he would let the have with all his heart presently, as he had promised me a little while ago to give me for my pains in his two great contracts for masts 100l., and that this should be it. To which end I did move it to him, and by this means I hope to be, possessed of the 100l. presently within 2 or 3 days.
So home to dinner, and then to the office, and down to Blackwall by water to view a place found out for laying of masts, and I think it will be most proper. So home and there find Mr. Pen come to visit my wife, and staid with them till sent for to Mr. Bland’s, whither by appointment I was to go to supper, and against my will left them together, but, God knows, without any reason of fear in my conscience of any evil between them, but such is my natural folly. Being thither come they would needs have my wife, and so Mr. Bland and his wife (the first time she was ever at my house or my wife at hers) very civilly went forth and brought her and W. Pen, and there Mr. Povy and we supped nobly and very merry, it being to take leave of Mr. Bland, who is upon going soon to Tangier. So late home and to bed.

I made a jade city for the heart
to have a heart in

I hope to be possessed by evil
but very civilly


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 14 September 1664.

Up and, to the office, where sat busy all morning, dined at home and after dinner to Fishmonger’s Hall, where we met the first time upon the Fishery Committee, and many good things discoursed of concerning making of farthings, which was proposed as a way of raising money for this business, and then that of lotterys, but with great confusion; but I hope we shall fall into greater order.
So home again and to my office, where after doing business home and to a little musique, after supper, and so to bed.

where I fish
where the fish course and eat
we fall into greater order
into a music


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 13 September 1664.

Up, and to my cozen Anthony Joyce’s, and there took leave of my aunt James, and both cozens, their wives, who are this day going down to my father’s by coach. I did give my Aunt 20s., to carry as a token to my mother, and 10s. to Pall.
Thence by coach to St. James’s, and there did our business as usual with the Duke; and saw him with great pleasure play with his little girle, like an ordinary private father of a child.
Thence walked to Jervas’s, where I took Jane in the shop alone, and there heard of her, her master and mistress were going out. So I went away and came again half an hour after. In the meantime went to the Abbey, and there went in to see the tombs with great pleasure. Back again to Jane, and there upstairs and drank with her, and staid two hours with her kissing her, but nothing more. Anon took boat and by water to the Neat Houses over against Fox Hall to have seen Greatorex dive, which Jervas and his wife were gone to see, and there I found them (and did it the rather for a pretence for my having been so long at their house), but being disappointed of some necessaries to do it I staid not, but back to Jane, but she would not go out with me. So I to Mr. Creed’s lodgings, and with him walked up and down in the New Exchange, talking mightily of the convenience and necessity of a man’s wearing good clothes, and so after eating a messe of creame I took leave of him, he walking with me as far as Fleete Conduit, he offering me upon my request to put out some money for me into Backewell’s hands at 6 per cent. interest, which he seldom gives, which I will consider of, being doubtful of trusting any of these great dealers because of their mortality, but then the convenience of having one’s money, at an houre’s call is very great.
Thence to my uncle Wight’s, and there supped with my wife, having given them a brave barrel of oysters of Povy’s giving me.
So home and to bed.

I carry my mother like a child
upstairs and down

talking of the necessity
of wearing good clothes

offering my hands which I trust
because of their mortality

her having given them
giving me me


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 12 September 1664.