The burning

Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon rose and to my closet, and finished my report to my Lord Treasurer of our Tangier wants, and then with Sir J. Minnes by coach to Stepney to the Trinity House, where it is kept again now since the burning of their other house in London. And here a great many met at Sir Thomas Allen’s feast, of his being made an Elder Brother; but he is sick, and so could not be there. Here was much good company, and very merry; but the discourse of Scotland, it seems, is confirmed, and that they are 4000 of them in armes, and do declare for King and Covenant, which is very ill news. I pray God deliver us from the ill consequences we may justly fear from it. Here was a good venison pasty or two and other good victuals; but towards the latter end of the dinner I rose, and without taking leave went away from the table, and got Sir J. Minnes’ coach and away home, and thence with my report to my Lord Treasurer’s, where I did deliver it to Sir Philip Warwicke for my Lord, who was busy, my report for him to consider against to-morrow’s council. Sir Philip Warwicke, I find, is full of trouble in his mind to see how things go, and what our wants are; and so I have no delight to trouble him with discourse, though I honour the man with all my heart, and I think him to be a very able and right honest man. So away home again, and there to my office to write my letters very late, and then home to supper, and then to read the late printed discourse of witches by a member of Gresham College, and then to bed; the discourse being well writ, in good stile, but methinks not very convincing. This day Mr. Martin is come to tell me his wife is brought to bed of a girle, and I promised to christen it next Sunday.

burning the otherland
are we on the side of light

is the man with all ink right
to let witches become a sun


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 24 November 1666.

Soloist

Up, and with Sir J. Minnes to White Hall, where we and the rest attended the Duke of York, where, among other things, we had a complaint of Sir William Jennings against his lieutenant, Le Neve, one that had been long the Duke’s page, and for whom the Duke of York hath great kindness. It was a drunken quarrel, where one was as blameable as the other. It was referred to further examination, but the Duke of York declared, that as he would not favour disobedience, so neither drunkenness, and therein he said very well.
Thence with Sir W. Coventry to Westminster Hall, and there parted, he having told me how Sir J. Minnes do disagree from the proposition of resigning his place, and that so the whole matter is again at a stand, at which I am sorry for the King’s sake, but glad that Sir W. Pen is again defeated, for I would not have him come to be Comptroller if I could help it, he will be so cruel proud. Here I spoke with Sir G. Downing about our prisoners in Holland, and their being released; which he is concerned in, and most of them are. Then, discoursing of matters of the House of Parliament, he tells me that it is not the fault of the House, but the King’s own party, that have hindered the passing of the Bill for money, by their popping in of new projects for raising it: which is a strange thing; and mighty confident he is, that what money is raised, will be raised and put into the same form that the last was, to come into the Exchequer; and, for aught I see, I must confess I think it is the best way.
Thence down to the Hall, and there walked awhile, and all the talk is about Scotland, what news thence; but there is nothing come since the first report, and so all is given over for nothing.
Thence home, and after dinner to my chamber with Creed, who come and dined with me, and he and I to reckon for his salary, and by and by comes in Colonel Atkins, and I did the like with him, and it was Creed’s design to bring him only for his own ends, to seem to do him a courtesy, and it is no great matter. The fellow I hate, and so I think all the world else do. Then to talk of my report I am to make of the state of our wants of money to the Lord Treasurer, but our discourse come to little. However, in the evening, to be rid of him, I took coach and saw him to the Temple and there ‘light, and he being gone, with all the haste back again and to my chamber late to enter all this day’s matters of account, and to draw up my report to my Lord Treasurer, and so to bed. At the Temple I called at Playford’s, and there find that his new impression of his ketches are not yet out, the fire having hindered it, but his man tells me that it will be a very fine piece, many things new being added to it.

drunk on sake again
I could sing in a confident way about nothing
so I do

I want the evening light
in my chamber to tell me
many things


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 23 November 1666.

Unmapping

Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and my Lord Bruncker did show me Hollar’s new print of the City, with a pretty representation of that part which is burnt, very fine indeed; and tells me that he was yesterday sworn the King’s servant, and that the King hath commanded him to go on with his great map of the City, which he was upon before the City was burned, like Gombout of Paris, which I am glad of.
At noon home to dinner, where my wife and I fell out, I being displeased with her cutting away a lace handkercher sewed about the neck down to her breasts almost, out of a belief, but without reason, that it is the fashion. Here we did give one another the lie too much, but were presently friends, and then I to my office, where very late and did much business, and then home, and there find Mr. Batelier, and did sup and play at cards awhile. But he tells me the newes how the King of France hath, in defiance to the King of England, caused all his footmen to be put into vests, and that the noblemen of France will do the like; which, if true, is the greatest indignity ever done by one Prince to another, and would incite a stone to be revenged; and I hope our King will, if it be so, as he tells me it is: being told by one that come over from Paris with my Lady Fanshaw, who is come over with the dead body of her husband, and that saw it before he come away. This makes me mighty merry, it being an ingenious kind of affront; but yet it makes me angry, to see that the King of England is become so little as to have the affront offered him.
So I left my people at cards, and so to my chamber to read, and then to bed. Batelier did bring us some oysters to-night, and some bottles of new French wine of this year, mighty good, but I drank but little.
This noon Bagwell’s wife was with me at the office, and I did what I would, and at night comes Mrs. Burroughs, and appointed to meet upon the next holyday and go abroad together.

show me the city before the city
like another lie in the lay of the land

a foot is the greatest indignity done to a stone
a kind of affront

as if appointed to meet
on the holy road


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 22 November 1666.

Lepidopterist

Up, with Sir W. Batten to Charing Cross, and thence I to wait on Sir Philip Howard, whom I find dressing himself in his night-gown and turban like a Turke, but one of the finest persons that ever I saw in my life. He had several gentlemen of his owne waiting on him, and one playing finely on the gittar: he discourses as well as ever I heard man, in few words and handsome. He expressed all kindness to Balty, when I told him how sick he is: he says that, before he comes to be mustered again, he must bring a certificate of his swearing the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and having taken the Sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England. This, I perceive, is imposed on all, and he will be ready to do. I pray God he may have his health again to be able to do it. Being mightily satisfied with his civility, I away to Westminster Hall, and there walked with several people, and all the discourse is about some trouble in Scotland I heard of yesterday, but nobody can tell the truth of it.
Here was Betty Michell with her mother. I would have carried her home, but her father intends to go with her, so I lost my hopes. And thence I to the Excise Office about some tallies, and then to the Exchange, where I did much business, and so home to dinner, and then to the office, where busy all the afternoon till night, and then home to supper, and after supper an hour reading to my wife and brother something in Chaucer with great pleasure, and so to bed.

I wait like a guitar
for the sacrament of an ear

nobody can tell
the truth of a moth
lost in the busy night


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 21 November 1666.

Pax Americana

Called up by Mr. Sheply, who is going into the country to-day to Hinchingbroke, I sent my service to my Lady, and in general for newes: that the world do think well of my Lord, and do wish he were here again, but that the publique matters of the State as to the war are in the worst condition that is possible. By and by Sir W. Warren, and with him half an hour discoursing of several businesses, and some I hope will bring me a little profit. He gone, and Sheply, I to the office a little, and then to church, it being thanksgiving-day for the cessation of the plague; but, Lord! how the towne do say that it is hastened before the plague is quite over, there dying some people still,1 but only to get ground for plays to be publickly acted, which the Bishops would not suffer till the plague was over; and one would thinke so, by the suddenness of the notice given of the day, which was last Sunday, and the little ceremony. The sermon being dull of Mr. Minnes, and people with great indifferency come to hear him.
After church home, where I met Mr. Gregory, who I did then agree with to come to teach my wife to play on the Viall, and he being an able and sober man, I am mightily glad of it. He had dined, therefore went away, and I to dinner, and after dinner by coach to Barkeshire-house, and there did get a very great meeting; the Duke of York being there, and much business done, though not in proportion to the greatness of the business, and my Lord Chancellor sleeping and snoring the greater part of the time. Among other things I declared the state of our credit as to tallys to raise money by, and there was an order for payment of 5000l. to Mr. Gawden, out of which I hope to get something against Christmas. Here we sat late, and here I did hear that there are some troubles like to be in Scotland, there being a discontented party already risen, that have seized on the Governor of Dumfreeze and imprisoned him, but the story is yet very uncertain, and therefore I set no great weight on it.
I home by Mr. Gawden in his coach, and so with great pleasure to spend the evening at home upon my Lyra Viall, and then to supper and to bed. With mighty peace of mind and a hearty desire that I had but what I have quietly in the country, but, I fear, I do at this day see the best that either I or the rest of our nation will ever see.

who is the new world order for
which hope-thin Christ

like free prison the weight
of quiet in our nation


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 20 November 1666.

Return of the native

Lay pretty long in bed talking with pleasure with my wife, and then up and all the morning at my own chamber fitting some Tangier matters against the afternoon for a meeting. This morning also came Mr. Caesar, and I heard him on the lute very finely, and my boy begins to play well. After dinner I carried and set my wife down at her brother’s, and then to Barkeshire-house, where my Lord Chancellor hath been ever since the fire, but he is not come home yet, so I to Westminster Hall, where the Lords newly up and the Commons still sitting. Here I met with Mr. Robinson, who did give me a printed paper wherein he states his pretence to the post office, and intends to petition the Parliament in it. Thence I to the Bull-head tavern, where I have not been since Mr. Chetwind and the time of our club, and here had six bottles of claret filled, and I sent them to Mrs. Martin, whom I had promised some of my owne, and, having none of my owne, sent her this. Thence to my Lord Chancellor’s, and there Mr. Creed and Gawden, Cholmley, and Sir G. Carteret walking in the Park over against the house. I walked with Sir G. Carteret, who I find displeased with the letter I have drawn and sent in yesterday, finding fault with the account we give of the ill state of the Navy, but I said little, only will justify the truth of it. Here we walked to and again till one dropped away after another, and so I took coach to White Hall, and there visited my Lady Jemimah, at Sir G. Carteret’s lodgings. Here was Sir Thomas Crew, and he told me how hot words grew again to-day in the House of Lords between my Lord Ossory and Ashly, the former saying that something said by the other was said like one of Oliver’s Council. Ashly said that he must give him reparation, or he would take it his owne way. The House therefore did bring my Lord Ossory to confess his fault, and ask pardon for it, as he was also to my Lord Buckingham, for saying that something was not truth that my Lord Buckingham had said. This will render my Lord Ossory very little in a little time. By and by away, and calling my wife went home, and then a little at Sir W. Batten’s to hear news, but nothing, and then home to supper, whither Captain Cocke, half foxed, come and sat with us, and so away, and then we to bed.

sitting I have no wind
and six bottles

walking I have all
my old words again

saying something its own way
calling up a fox


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 19 November 1666.

Light verses

(Lord’s day). Up by candle-light and on foote to White Hall, where by appointment I met Lord Bruncker at Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and there I read over my great letter, and they approved it: and as I do do our business in defence of the Board, so I think it is as good a letter in the manner, and believe it is the worst in the matter of it, as ever come from any office to a Prince.
Back home in my Lord Bruncker’s coach, and there W. Hewer and I to write it over fair; dined at noon, and Mercer with us, and mighty merry, and then to finish my letter; and it being three o’clock ere we had done, when I come to Sir W. Batten; he was in a huffe, which I made light of, but he signed the letter, though he would not go, and liked the letter well. Sir W. Pen, it seems, he would not stay for it: so, making slight of Sir W. Pen’s putting so much weight upon his hand to Sir W. Batten, I down to the Tower Wharf, and there got a sculler, and to White Hall, and there met Lord Bruncker, and he signed it, and so I delivered it to Mr. Cheving, and he to Sir W. Coventry, in the cabinet, the King and councill being sitting, where I leave it to its fortune, and I by water home again, and to my chamber, to even my Journall; and then comes Captain Cocke to me, and he and I a great deal of melancholy discourse of the times, giving all over for gone, though now the Parliament will soon finish the Bill for money. But we fear, if we had it, as matters are now managed, we shall never make the best of it, but consume it all to no purpose or a bad one. He being gone, I again to my Journall and finished it, and so to supper and to bed.

light on a fence
I believe in the clock

light on the wharf
we consume to no purpose


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 18 November 1666.

Cloistered

Up, and to the office, where all the morning. At noon home to dinner, and in the afternoon shut myself in my chamber, and there till twelve at night finishing my great letter to the Duke of York, which do lay the ill condition of the Navy so open to him, that it is impossible if the King and he minds any thing of their business, but it will operate upon them to set all matters right, and get money to carry on the war, before it be too late, or else lay out for a peace upon any termes. It was a great convenience to-night that what I had writ foule in short hand, I could read to W. Hewer, and he take it fair in short hand, so as I can read it to-morrow to Sir W. Coventry, and then come home, and Hewer read it to me while I take it in long-hand to present, which saves me much time. So to bed.

where I shut myself in
the night lay open
that impossible hand

I read and read and read


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 17 November 1666.

Turkey day

Up again betimes to attend the examination of Mr. Gawden’s accounts, where we all met, but I did little but fit myself for the drawing my great letter to the Duke of York of the state of the Navy for want of money. At noon to the ‘Change, and thence back to the new taverne come by us; the Three Tuns, where D. Gawden did feast us all with a chine of beef and other good things, and an infinite dish of fowl, but all spoiled in the dressing.
This noon I met with Mr. Hooke, and he tells me the dog which was filled with another dog’s blood, at the College the other day, is very well, and like to be so as ever, and doubts not its being found of great use to men; and so do Dr. Whistler, who dined with us at the taverne. Thence home in the evening, and I to my preparing my letter, and did go a pretty way in it, staying late upon it, and then home to supper and to bed, the weather being on a sudden set in to be very cold.

I fit myself
for the wing of want

an infinite fowl
filled with blood and whistle

who dined with us at home
ate to be eaten


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 16 November 1666.

Post-natal

This come Mr. Shepley (newly out of the country) to see me; after a little discourse with him, I to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon home, and there dined, Shepley with me, and after dinner I did pay him 70l., which he had paid my father for my use in the country. He being gone, I took coach and to Mrs. Pierce’s, where I find her as fine as possible, and himself going to the ball at night at Court, it being the Queen’s birth-day, and so I carried them in my coach, and having set them into the house, and gotten Mr. Pierce to undertake the carrying in my wife, I to Unthanke’s, where she appointed to be, and there told her, and back again about business to White Hall, while Pierce went and fetched her and carried her in. I, after I had met with Sir W. Coventry and given him some account of matters, I also to the ball, and with much ado got up to the loft, where with much trouble I could see very well. Anon the house grew full, and the candles light, and the King and Queen and all the ladies set: and it was, indeed, a glorious sight to see Mrs. Stewart in black and white lace, and her head and shoulders dressed with dyamonds, and the like a great many great ladies more, only the Queen none; and the King in his rich vest of some rich silke and silver trimming, as the Duke of York and all the dancers were, some of cloth of silver, and others of other sorts, exceeding rich. Presently after the King was come in, he took the Queene, and about fourteen more couple there was, and began the Bransles. As many of the men as I can remember presently, were, the King, Duke of York, Prince Rupert, Duke of Monmouth, Duke of Buckingham, Lord Douglas, Mr. Hamilton, Colonell Russell, Mr. Griffith, Lord Ossory, Lord Rochester; and of the ladies, the Queene, Duchess of York, Mrs. Stewart, Duchess of Monmouth, Lady Essex Howard, Mrs. Temples, Swedes Embassadress, Lady Arlington; Lord George Barkeley’s daughter, and many others I remember not; but all most excellently dressed in rich petticoats and gowns, and dyamonds, and pearls.
After the Bransles, then to a Corant, and now and then a French dance; but that so rare that the Corants grew tiresome, that I wished it done. Only Mrs. Stewart danced mighty finely, and many French dances, specially one the King called the New Dance, which was very pretty; but upon the whole matter, the business of the dancing of itself was not extraordinary pleasing. But the clothes and sight of the persons was indeed very pleasing, and worth my coming, being never likely to see more gallantry while I live, if I should come twenty times.
About twelve at night it broke up, and I to hire a coach with much difficulty, but Pierce had hired a chair for my wife, and so she being gone to his house, he and I, taking up Barker at Unthanke’s, to his house, whither his wife was come home a good while ago and gone to bed. So away home with my wife, between displeased with the dull dancing, and satisfied at the clothes and persons. My Lady Castlemayne, without whom all is nothing, being there, very rich, though not dancing. And so after supper, it being very cold, to bed.

at my birth a ball of light
like some sort of pearl
danced in the hole of itself

I live with difficulty
it is dull without dancing
and so cold


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 15 November 1666.