Albino

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(Lord’s day). Up, and to church, and thence home; and Pelling comes by invitation to dine with me, and much pleasant discourse with him. After dinner, away by water to White Hall, where I landed Pelling, who is going to his wife, where she is in the country, at Parson’s Greene: and myself to Westminster, and there at the Swan I did baiser Frank, and to the parish church, thinking to see Betty Michell; and did stay an hour in the crowd, thinking, by the end of a nose that I saw, that it had been her; but at last the head turned towards me, and it was her mother, which vexed me, and so I back to my boat, which had broke one of her oars in rowing, and had now fastened it again; and so I up to Putney, and there stepped into the church, to look upon the fine people there, whereof there is great store, and the young ladies; and so walked to Barne-Elmes, whither I sent Russel, reading of Boyle’s Hydrostatickes, which are of infinite delight. I walked in the Elmes a good while, and then to my boat, and leisurely home, with great pleasure to myself; and there supped, and W. Hewer with us, with whom a great deal of good talk touching the Office, and so to bed.

the white crow
broke one wing
and fastened it again

stepped into church
to look upon the people
reading of infinite light

walked in the elms
with whom a great deal
of talk

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 25 August 1667.

Bells

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(St. Bartholomew’s day). This morning was proclaimed the peace between us and the States of the United Provinces, and also of the King of France and Denmarke; and in the afternoon the Proclamations were printed and come out; and at night the bells rung, but no bonfires that I hear of any where, partly from the dearness of firing, but principally from the little content most people have in the peace.
All the morning at the office. At noon dined, and Creed with me, at home. After dinner we to a play, and there saw “The Cardinall” at the King’s house, wherewith I am mightily pleased; but, above all, with Becke Marshall. But it is pretty to observe how I look up and down for, and did spy Knipp; but durst not own it to my wife that I see her, for fear of angering her, who do not like my kindness to her, and so I was forced not to take notice of her, and so homeward, leaving Creed at the Temple: and my belly now full with plays, that I do intend to bind myself to see no more till Michaelmas. So with my wife to Mile End, and there drank of Bides ale, and so home. Most of our discourse is about our keeping a coach the next year, which pleases my wife mightily; and if I continue as able as now, it will save us money.
This day comes a letter from the Duke of York to the Board to invite us, which is as much as to fright us, into the lending the King money; which is a poor thing, and most dishonourable, and shows in what a case we are at the end of the war to our neighbours. And the King do now declare publickly to give 10 per cent. to all lenders; which makes some think that the Dutch themselves will send over money, and lend it upon our publick faith, the Act of Parliament. So home and to my office, wrote a little, and then home to supper and to bed.

bells rung in the temple
and my belly full of ale

we are neighbors now
in our public faith

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 24 August 1667.

Vagrants

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Up, and Greeting comes, who brings me a tune for two flageolets, which we played, and is a tune played at the King’s playhouse, which goes so well, that I will have more of them, and it will be a mighty pleasure for me to have my wife able to play a part with me, which she will easily, I find, do. Then abroad to White Hall in a hackney-coach with Sir W. Pen: and in our way, in the narrow street near Paul’s, going the backway by Tower Street, and the coach being forced to put back, he was turning himself into a cellar, which made people cry out to us, and so we were forced to leap out — he out of one, and I out of the other boote; Query, whether a glass-coach would have permitted us to have made the escape? neither of us getting any hurt; nor could the coach have got much hurt had we been in it; but, however, there was cause enough for us to do what we could to save ourselves. So being all dusty, we put into the Castle tavern, by the Savoy, and there brushed ourselves, and then to White Hall with our fellows to attend the Council, by order upon some proposition of my Lord Anglesey, we were called in. The King there: and it was about considering how the fleete might be discharged at their coming in shortly (the peace being now ratified, and it takes place on Monday next, which Sir W. Coventry said would make some clashing between some of us twenty to one, for want of more warning, but the wind has kept the boats from coming over), whether by money or tickets, and cries out against tickets, but the matter was referred for us to provide an answer to, which we must do in a few days. So we parted, and I to Westminster to the Exchequer, to see what sums of money other people lend upon the Act; and find of all sizes from 1000l. to 100l. nay, to 50l., nay, to 20l., nay, to 5l.: for I find that one Dr. Reade, Doctor of Law, gives no more, and others of them 20l.; which is a poor thing, methinks, that we should stoop so low as to borrow such sums. Upon the whole, I do think to lend, since I must lend, 300l., though, God knows! it is much against my will to lend any, unless things were in better condition, and likely to continue so.
Thence home and there to dinner, and after dinner by coach out again, setting my wife down at Unthanke’s, and I to the Treasury-chamber, where I waited, talking with Sir G. Downing, till the Lords met. He tells me how he will make all the Exchequer officers, of one side and t’other, to lend the King money upon the Act; and that the least clerk shall lend money, and he believes the least will 100l.: but this I do not believe. He made me almost ashamed that we of the Navy had not in all this time lent any; so that I find it necessary I should, and so will speedily do it, before any of my fellows begin, and lead me to a bigger sum.
By and by the Lords come; and I perceive Sir W. Coventry is the man, and nothing done till he comes. Among other things, I hear him observe, looking over a paper, that Sir John Shaw is a miracle of a man, for he thinks he executes more places than any man in England; for there he finds him a Surveyor of some of the King’s woods, and so reckoned up many other places, the most inconsistent in the world.
Their business with me was to consider how to assigne such of our commanders as will take assignements upon the Act for their wages; and the consideration thereof was referred to me to give them an answer the next sitting: which is a horrid poor thing: but they scruple at nothing of honour in the case.
So away hence, and called my wife, and to the King’s house, and saw “The Mayden Queene,” which pleases us mightily; and then away, and took up Mrs. Turner at her door, and so to Mile End, and there drank, and so back to her house, it being a fine evening, and there supped. The first time I ever was there since they lived there; and she hath all things so neat and well done, that I am mightily pleased with her, and all she do. So here very merry, and then home and to bed, my eyes being very bad.
I find most people pleased with their being at ease, and safe of a peace, that they may know no more charge or hazard of an ill-managed war: but nobody speaking of the peace with any content or pleasure, but are silent in it, as of a thing they are ashamed of; no, not at Court, much less in the City.

a narrow street
people escape on the wind like down

into a paper woods
a place with no door

and there they live
nobody speaking of the city

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 23 August 1667.

Elimination round

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Up, and to the office; whence Lord Bruncker, J. Minnes, W. Pen, and I, went to examine some men that are put in there, for rescuing of men that were pressed into the service: and we do plainly see that the desperate condition that we put men into for want of their pay, makes them mad, they being as good men as ever were in the world, and would as readily serve the King again, were they but paid. Two men leapt overboard, among others, into the Thames, out of the vessel into which they were pressed, and were shot by the soldiers placed there to keep them, two days since; so much people do avoid the King’s service! And then these men are pressed without money, and so we cannot punish them for any thing, so that we are forced only to make a show of severity by keeping them in prison, but are unable to punish them. Returning to the office, did ask whether we might visit Commissioner Pett, to which, I confess, I have no great mind; and it was answered that he was close prisoner, and we could not; but the Lieutenant of the Tower would send for him to his lodgings, if we would: so we put it off to another time. Returned to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon to Captain Cocke’s to dinner; where Lord Bruncker and his Lady, Matt. Wren, and Bulteale, and Sir Allen Apsly; the last of whom did make good sport, he being already fallen under the retrenchments of the new Committee, as he is Master Falconer; which makes him mad, and swears that we are doing that the Parliament would have done — that is, that we are now endeavouring to destroy one another. But it was well observed by some at the table, that they do not think this retrenching of the King’s charge will be so acceptable to the Parliament, they having given the King a revenue of so many 100,000l.‘s a-year more than his predecessors had, that he might live in pomp, like a king. After dinner with my Lord Bruncker and his mistress to the Kings playhouse, and there saw “The Indian Emperour;” where I find Nell come again, which I am glad of; but was most infinitely displeased with her being put to act the Emperour’s daughter; which is a great and serious part, which she do most basely. The rest of the play, though pretty good, was not well acted by most of them, methought; so that I took no great content in it. But that, that troubled me most was, that Knipp sent by Moll to desire to speak to me after the play; and she beckoned to me at the end of the play, and I promised to come; but it was so late, and I forced to step to Mrs. Williams’s lodgings with my Lord Bruncker and her, where I did not stay, however, for fear of her shewing me her closet, and thereby forcing me to give her something; and it was so late, that for fear of my wife’s coming home before me, I was forced to go straight home, which troubled me. Home and to the office a little, and then home and to my chamber to read, and anon, late, comes home my wife, with Mr. Turner and Mrs. Turner, with whom she supped, having been with Mrs. Turner to-day at her daughter’s school, to see her daughters dancing, and the rest, which she says is fine. They gone, I to supper and to bed. My wife very fine to-day, in her new suit of laced cuffs and perquisites.
This evening Pelling comes to me, and tells me that this night the Dutch letters are come, and that the peace was proclaimed there the 19th inst., and that all is finished; which, for my life, I know not whether to be glad or sorry for, a peace being so necessary, and yet the peace is so bad in its terms.

shot by soldiers in a show of severity
a prisoner
the morning wren
the last falcon

we now destroy one another
like kings
infinitely displeased with
our promised life

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 22 August 1667.

Roll call

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Up, and my wife and I fell out about the pair of cuffs, which she hath a mind to have to go to see the ladies dancing to-morrow at Betty Turner’s school; and do vex me so that I am resolved to deny them her. However, by-and-by a way was found that she had them, and I well satisfied, being unwilling to let our difference grow higher upon so small an occasion and frowardness of mine. Then to the office, my Lord Bruncker and I all the morning answering petitions, which now by a new Council’s order we are commanded to set a day in a week apart for, and we resolve to do it by turn, my Lord and I one week and two others another. At noon home to dinner, and then my wife and I mighty pleasant abroad, she to the New Exchange and I to the Commissioners of the Treasury, who do sit very close, and are bringing the King’s charges as low as they can; but Sir W. Coventry did here again tell me that he is very serious in what he said to Sir W. Pen and me yesterday about our lending of money to the King; and says that people do talk that we had had the King’s ships at his cost to take prizes, and that we ought to lend the King money more than other people. I did tell him I will consider it, and so parted; and do find I cannot avoid it. So to Westminster Hall and there staid a while, and thence to Mrs. Martin’s, and there did take a little pleasure both with her and her sister. Here sat and talked, and it is a strange thing to see the impudence of the woman, that desires by all means to have her mari come home, only that she might be at liberty to have me para toker her, which is a thing I do not so much desire. Thence by coach, took up my wife, and home and out to Mile End, and there drank, and so home, and after some little reading in my chamber, to supper and to bed.
This day I sent my cozen Roger a tierce of claret, which I give him.
This morning come two of Captain Cooke’s boys, whose voices are broke, and are gone from the Chapel, but have extraordinary skill; and they and my boy, with his broken voice, did sing three parts; their names were Blaewl and Loggings; but, notwithstanding their skill, yet to hear them sing with their broken voices, which they could not command to keep in tune, would make a man mad — so bad it was.

in school we grow close
to the void

here is a strange thing
to not desire to be

boys sing their names
with broken voices

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 21 August 1667.

Unthinkability

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Up, and to my chamber to set down my journall for the last three days, and then to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon home to dinner, and then with my wife abroad, set her down at the Exchange, and I to St. James’s, where find Sir W. Coventry alone, and fell to discourse of retrenchments; and thereon he tells how he hath already propounded to the Lords Committee of the Councils how he would have the Treasurer of the Navy a less man, that might not sit at the Board, but be subject to the Board. He would have two Controllers to do his work and two Surveyors, whereof one of each to take it by turns to reside at Portsmouth and Chatham by a kind of rotation; he would have but only one Clerk of the Acts. He do tell me he hath propounded how the charge of the Navy in peace shall come within 200,000l., by keeping out twenty-four ships in summer, and ten in the winter. And several other particulars we went over of retrenchment: and I find I must provide some things to offer that I may be found studious to lessen the King’s charge. By and by comes my Lord Bruncker, and then we up to the Duke of York, and there had a hearing of our usual business, but no money to be heard of — no, not 100l. upon the most pressing service that can be imagined of bringing in the King’s timber from Whittlewood, while we have the utmost want of it, and no credit to provide it elsewhere, and as soon as we had done with the Duke of York, Sir W. Coventry did single [out] Sir W. Pen and me, and desired us to lend the King some money, out of the prizes we have taken by Hogg. He did not much press it, and we made but a merry answer thereto; but I perceive he did ask it seriously, and did tell us that there never was so much need of it in the world as now, we being brought to the lowest straits that can be in the world. This troubled me much. By and by Sir W. Batten told me that he heard how Carcasse do now give out that he will hang me, among the rest of his threats of him and Pen, which is the first word I ever heard of the kind from him concerning me. It do trouble me a little, though I know nothing he can possibly find to fasten on me. Thence, with my Lord Bruncker to the Duke’s Playhouse (telling my wife so at the ’Change, where I left her), and there saw “Sir Martin Marr-all” again, which I have now seen three times, and it hath been acted but four times, and still find it a very ingenious play, and full of variety. So home, and to the office, where my eyes would not suffer me to do any thing by candlelight, and so called my wife and walked in the garden. She mighty pressing for a new pair of cuffs, which I am against the laying out of money upon yet, which makes her angry. So home to supper and to bed.

an oven in the summer
in the winter thin ice

imagine it while we have it
no elsewhere

I need the world to be
the world again

ingenious
full of variety and suffering and light

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 20 August 1667.

Hanging in there

Up, and at the office all the morning very busy. Towards noon I to Westminster about some tallies at the Exchequer, and then straight home again and dined, and then to sing with my wife with great content, and then I to the office again, where busy, and then out and took coach and to the Duke of York’s house, all alone, and there saw “Sir Martin Marr-all” again, though I saw him but two days since, and do find it the most comical play that ever I saw in my life. Soon as the play done I home, and there busy till night, and then comes Mr. Moore to me only to discourse with me about some general things touching the badness of the times, how ill they look, and he do agree with most people that I meet with, that we shall fall into a commonwealth in a few years, whether we will or no; for the charge of a monarchy is such as the kingdom cannot be brought to bear willingly, nor are things managed so well nowadays under it, as heretofore. He says every body do think that there is something extraordinary that keeps us so long from the news of the peace being ratified, which the King and the Duke of York have expected these six days. He gone, my wife and I and Mrs. Turner walked in the garden a good while till 9 at night, and then parted, and I home to supper and to read a little (which I cannot refrain, though I have all the reason in the world to favour my eyes, which every day grow worse and worse by over-using them), and then to bed.

I sing to the house
all alone

I cannot bear
the news these days

I walk in the garden
till my eyes grow over

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 19 August 1667.

Charlatanity

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(Lord’s day). Up, and being ready, walked up and down to Cree Church, to see it how it is; but I find no alteration there, as they say there was, for my Lord Mayor and Aldermen to come to sermon, as they do every Sunday, as they did formerly to Paul’s. Walk back home and to our own church, where a dull sermon and our church empty of the best sort of people, they being at their country houses, and so home, and there dined with me Mr. Turner and his daughter Betty. Her mother should, but they were invited to Sir J. Minnes, where she dined and the others here with me. Betty is grown a fine lady as to carriage and discourse. I and my wife are mightily pleased with her. We had a good haunch of venison, powdered and boiled, and a good dinner and merry. After dinner comes Mr. Pelling the Potticary, whom I had sent for to dine with me, but he was engaged. After sitting an hour to talk we broke up, all leaving Pelling to talk with my wife, and I walked towards White Hall, but, being wearied, turned into St. Dunstan’s Church, where I heard an able sermon of the minister of the place; and stood by a pretty, modest maid, whom I did labour to take by the hand and the body; but she would not, but got further and further from me; and, at last, I could perceive her to take pins out of her pocket to prick me if I should touch her again — which seeing I did forbear, and was glad I did spy her design. And then I fell to gaze upon another pretty maid in a pew close to me, and she on me; and I did go about to take her by the hand, which she suffered a little and then withdrew. So the sermon ended, and the church broke up, and my amours ended also, and so took coach and home, and there took up my wife, and to Islington with her, our old road, but before we got to Islington, between that and Kingsland, there happened an odd adventure: one of our coach-horses fell sick of the staggers, so as he was ready to fall down. The coachman was fain to ’light, and hold him up, and cut his tongue to make him bleed, and his tail. The horse continued shaking every part of him, as if he had been in an ague, a good while, and his blood settled in his tongue, and the coachman thought and believed he would presently drop down dead; then he blew some tobacco in his nose, upon which the horse sneezed, and, by and by, grows well, and draws us the rest of our way, as well as ever he did; which was one of the strangest things of a horse I ever observed, but he says it is usual. It is the staggers.
Staid and eat and drank at Islington, at the old house, and so home, and to my chamber to read, and then to supper and to bed.

how empty is the church
of the body

further and further from the red
road of a ready tongue

to make every part presently dead
grow strange

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 18 August 1667.

Panem et circenses

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Up, and all the morning at the office, where we sat, and my head was full of the business of Carcasse, who hath a hearing this morning before the Council and hath summonsed at least thirty persons, and which is wondrous, a great many of them, I hear, do declare more against him than for him, and yet he summonses people without distinction. Sure he is distracted. At noon home to dinner, and presently my wife and I and Sir W. Pen to the King’s playhouse, where the house extraordinary full; and there was the King and Duke of York to see the new play, “Queen Elizabeth’s Troubles and the History of Eighty Eight.” I confess I have sucked in so much of the sad story of Queen Elizabeth, from my cradle, that I was ready to weep for her sometimes; but the play is the most ridiculous that sure ever come upon the stage; and, indeed, is merely a shew, only shews the true garbe of the Queen in those days, just as we see Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth painted; but the play is merely a puppet play, acted by living puppets. Neither the design nor language better; and one stands by and tells us the meaning of things: only I was pleased to see Knipp dance among the milkmaids, and to hear her sing a song to Queen Elizabeth; and to see her come out in her night-gowne with no lockes on, but her bare face and hair only tied up in a knot behind; which is the comeliest dress that ever I saw her in to her advantage. Thence home and went as far as Mile End with Sir W. Pen, whose coach took him up there for his country-house; and after having drunk there, at the Rose and Crowne, a good house for Alderman Bides ale, we parted, and we home, and there I finished my letters, and then home to supper and to bed.

we are a people distracted and sucked in
to weep for the most ridiculous shows

as painted puppets tell us
the meaning of things

with no bare face
only lies

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 17 August 1667.

Disaster junkie

Up, and at the office all the morning, and so at noon to dinner, and after dinner my wife and I to the Duke’s playhouse, where we saw the new play acted yesterday, “The Feign Innocence, or Sir Martin Marr-all;” a play made by my Lord Duke of Newcastle, but, as every body says, corrected by Dryden. It is the most entire piece of mirth, a complete farce from one end to the other, that certainly was ever writ. I never laughed so in all my life. I laughed till my head [ached] all the evening and night with the laughing; and at very good wit therein, not fooling. The house full, and in all things of mighty content to me. Thence to the New Exchange with my wife, where, at my bookseller’s, I saw “The History of the Royall Society,” which, I believe, is a fine book, and have bespoke one in quires. So home, and I to the office a little, and so to my chamber, and read the history of 88 in Speede, in order to my seeing the play thereof acted to-morrow at the King’s house. So to supper in some pain by the sudden change of the weather cold and my drinking of cold drink, which I must I fear begin to leave off, though I shall try it as long as I can without much pain. But I find myself to be full of wind, and my anus to be knit together as it is always with cold. Every body wonders that we have no news from Bredah of the ratification of the peace; and do suspect that there is some stop in it. So to bed.

we feign innocence
but I have read
the history of the weather

I fear to leave off
though I find myself
full of wind

the very wonders
that we ah at
do us in

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 16 August 1667.