Age of Reason

Up and to the office to prepare business for the Board, Reeves being gone and I having lent him upon one of the glasses. Here we sat, but to little purpose, nobody coming at us but to ask for money, not to offer us any goods. At noon home to dinner, and then to the office again, being mightily pleased with a Virgin’s head that my wife is now doing of.
In the evening to Lumbard-streete about money, to enable me to pay Sir G. Carteret’s 3000l., which he hath lodged in my hands, in behalf of his son and my Lady Jemimah, toward their portion, which, I thank God, I am able to do at a minute’s warning.
In my [way] I inquired, and find Mrs. Rawlinson is dead of the sickness, and her mayde continues mighty ill. He himself is got out of the house. I met also with Mr. Evelyn in the streete, who tells me the sad condition at this very day at Deptford for the plague, and more at Deale (within his precinct as one of the Commissioners for sick and wounded seamen), that the towne is almost quite depopulated.
Thence back home again, and after some business at my office, late, home to supper and to bed, I being sleepy by my late want of rest, notwithstanding my endeavouring to get a nap of an hour this afternoon after dinner.
So home and to bed.

the Virgin’s head
is now art

hands of a lady portion out
the sad sick and wounded
to sleep at a rest home


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 9 August 1666.

Accounting practice

Up, and with Reeves walk as far as the Temple, doing some business in my way at my bookseller’s and elsewhere, and there parted, and I took coach, having first discoursed with Mr. Hooke a little, whom we met in the streete, about the nature of sounds, and he did make me understand the nature of musicall sounds made by strings, mighty prettily; and told me that having come to a certain number of vibrations proper to make any tone, he is able to tell how many strokes a fly makes with her wings (those flies that hum in their flying) by the note that it answers to in musique during their flying. That, I suppose, is a little too much refined; but his discourse in general of sound was mighty fine.
There I left them, and myself by coach to St. James’s, where we attended with the rest of my fellows on the Duke, whom I found with two or three patches upon his nose and about his right eye, which come from his being struck with the bough of a tree the other day in his hunting; and it is a wonder it did not strike out his eye. After we had done our business with him, which is now but little, the want of money being such as leaves us little to do but to answer complaints of the want thereof, and nothing to offer to the Duke, the representing of our want of money being now become uselesse, I into the Park, and there I met with Mrs. Burroughs by appointment, and did agree (after discoursing of some business of her’s) for her to meet me at New Exchange, while I by coach to my Lord Treasurer’s, and then called at the New Exchange, and thence carried her by water to Parliament stayres, and I to the Exchequer about my Tangier quarter tallys, and that done I took coach and to the west door of the Abby, where she come to me, and I with her by coach to Lissen-greene where we were last, and staid an hour or two before dinner could be got for us, I in the meantime having much pleasure with her, but all honest. And by and by dinner come up, and then to my sport again, but still honest; and then took coach and up and down in the country toward Acton, and then toward Chelsy, and so to Westminster, and there set her down where I took her up, with mighty pleasure in her company, and so I by coach home, and thence to Bow, with all the haste I could, to my Lady Pooly’s, where my wife was with Mr. Batelier and his sisters, and there I found a noble supper, and every thing exceeding pleasant, and their mother, Mrs. Batelier, a fine woman, but mighty passionate upon sudden news brought her of the loss of a dog borrowed of the Duke of Albemarle’s son to line a bitch of hers that is very pretty, but the dog was by and by found, and so all well again, their company mighty innocent and pleasant, we having never been here before. About ten o’clock we rose from table, and sang a song, and so home in two coaches (Mr. Batelier and his sister Mary and my wife and I in one, and Mercer alone in the other); and after being examined at Allgate, whether we were husbands and wives, home, and being there come, and sent away Mr. Batelier and his sister, I find Reeves there, it being a mighty fine bright night, and so upon my leads, though very sleepy, till one in the morning, looking on the moon and Jupiter, with this twelve-foote glasse and another of six foote, that he hath brought with him to-night, and the sights mighty pleasant, and one of the glasses I will buy, it being very usefull.
So to bed mighty sleepy, but with much pleasure. Reeves lying at my house again; and mighty proud I am (and ought to be thankfull to God Almighty) that I am able to have a spare bed for my friends.

how many strokes a fly
makes with her wings
is a wonder the leaves tally

where we nest
with pleasure in everything
but that pretty clock the moon


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 8 August 1666.

Terpsichorean

Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and home to dinner, and then to the office again, being pretty good friends with my wife again, no angry words passed; but she finding fault with Mercer, suspecting that it was she that must have told Mary, that must have told her mistresse of my wife’s saying that she was crooked. But the truth is, she is jealous of my kindnesse to her. After dinner, to the office, and did a great deale of business. In the evening comes Mr. Reeves, with a twelve-foote glasse, so I left the office and home, where I met Mr. Batelier with my wife, in order to our going to-morrow, by agreement, to Bow to see a dancing meeting. But, Lord! to see how soon I could conceive evil fears and thoughts concerning them; so Reeves and I and they up to the top of the house, and there we endeavoured to see the moon, and Saturne and Jupiter; but the heavens proved cloudy, and so we lost our labour, having taken pains to get things together, in order to the managing of our long glasse. So down to supper and then to bed, Reeves lying at my house, but good discourse I had from him: in his own trade, concerning glasses, and so all of us late to bed.
I receive fresh intelligence that Deptford and Greenwich are now afresh exceedingly afflicted with the sickness more than ever.

angry at my crooked foot
the dancing moon
in my glass


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 7 August 1666.

Improvisational

Up, and to the office a while, and then by water to my Lady Montagu’s, at Westminster, and there visited my Lord Hinchingbroke, newly come from Hinchingbroke, and find him a mighty sober gentleman, to my great content. Thence to Sir Ph. Warwicke and my Lord Treasurer’s, but failed in my business; so home and in Fenchurch-streete met with Mr. Battersby; says he, “Do you see Dan Rawlinson’s door shut up?” (which I did, and wondered). “Why,” says he, “after all the sickness, and himself spending all the last year in the country, one of his men is now dead of the plague, and his wife and one of his mayds sicke, and himself shut up;” which troubles me mightily. So home; and there do hear also from Mrs. Sarah Daniel, that Greenwich is at this time much worse than ever it was, and Deptford too: and she told us that they believed all the towne would leave the towne and come to London; which is now the receptacle of all the people from all infected places. God preserve us! So by and by to dinner, and, after dinner in comes Mrs. Knipp, and I being at the office went home to her, and there I sat and talked with her, it being the first time of her being here since her being brought to bed. I very pleasant with her; but perceive my wife hath no great pleasure in her being here, she not being pleased with my kindnesse to her. However, we talked and sang, and were very pleasant. By and by comes Mr. Pierce and his wife, the first time she also hath been here since her lying-in, both having been brought to bed of boys, and both of them dead. And here we talked, and were pleasant, only my wife in a chagrin humour, she not being pleased with my kindnesse to either of them, and by and by she fell into some silly discourse wherein I checked her, which made her mighty pettish, and discoursed mighty offensively to Mrs. Pierce, which did displease me, but I would make no words, but put the discourse by as much as I could (it being about a report that my wife said was made of herself and meant by Mrs. Pierce, that she was grown a gallant, when she had but so few suits of clothes these two or three years, and a great deale of that silly discourse), and by and by Mrs. Pierce did tell her that such discourses should not trouble her, for there went as bad on other people, and particularly of herself at this end of the towne, meaning my wife, that she was crooked, which was quite false, which my wife had the wit not to acknowledge herself to be the speaker of, though she has said it twenty times. But by this means we had little pleasure in their visit; however, Knipp and I sang, and then I offered them to carry them home, and to take my wife with me, but she would not go: so I with them, leaving my wife in a very ill humour, and very slighting to them, which vexed me. However, I would not be removed from my civility to them, but sent for a coach, and went with them; and, in our way, Knipp saying that she come out of doors without a dinner to us, I took them to Old Fish Streete, to the very house and woman where I kept my wedding dinner, where I never was since, and there I did give them a jole of salmon, and what else was to be had. And here we talked of the ill-humour of my wife, which I did excuse as much as I could, and they seemed to admit of it, but did both confess they wondered at it; but from thence to other discourse, and among others to that of my Lord Bruncker and Mrs. Williams, who it seems do speake mighty hardly of me for my not treating them, and not giving her something to her closett, and do speake worse of my wife, and dishonourably, but it is what she do of all the world, though she be a whore herself; so I value it not. But they told me how poorly my Lord carried himself the other day to his kinswoman, Mrs. Howard, and was displeased because she called him uncle to a little gentlewoman that is there with him, which he will not admit of; for no relation is to be challenged from others to a lord, and did treat her thereupon very rudely and ungenteely. Knipp tells me also that my Lord keeps another woman besides Mrs. Williams; and that, when I was there the other day, there was a great hubbub in the house, Mrs. Williams being fallen sicke, because my Lord was gone to his other mistresse, making her wait for him, till his return from the other mistresse; and a great deale of do there was about it; and Mrs. Williams swounded at it, at the very time when I was there and wondered at the reason of my being received so negligently.
I set them both at home, Knipp at her house, her husband being at the doore; and glad she was to be found to have staid out so long with me and Mrs. Pierce, and none else; and Mrs. Pierce at her house, and am mightily pleased with the discretion of her during the simplicity and offensiveness of my wife’s discourse this afternoon. I perceive by the new face at Mrs. Pierces door that our Mary is gone from her.
So I home, calling on W. Joyce in my coach, and staid and talked a little with him, who is the same silly prating fellow that ever he was, and so home, and there find my wife mightily out of order, and reproaching of Mrs. Pierce and Knipp as wenches, and I know not what. But I did give her no words to offend her, and quietly let all pass, and so to bed without any good looke or words to or from my wife.

in the dead town
and all the infected places

I make words out of
other times and doors

other discourse and hubbub
other wonder

and the same
reproaching quiet


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 6 August 1666.

Vacant

(Lord’s day). Up, and down to the Old Swan, and there called Betty Michell and her husband, and had two or three a long salutes from her out of sight of ‘su mari’, which pleased me mightily, and so carried them by water to West minster, and I to St. James’s, and there had a meeting before the Duke of Yorke, complaining of want of money, but nothing done to any purpose, for want we shall, so that now our advices to him signify nothing. Here Sir W. Coventry did acquaint the Duke of Yorke how the world do discourse of the ill method of our books, and that we would consider how to answer any enquiry which shall be made after our practice therein, which will I think concern the Controller most, but I shall make it a memento to myself.
Thence walked to the Parish Church to have one look upon Betty Michell, and so away homeward by water, and landed to go to the church, where, I believe, Mrs. Horsely goes, by Merchant-tailors’ Hall, and there I find in the pulpit Elborough, my old schoolfellow and a simple rogue, and yet I find him preaching a very good sermon, and in as right a parson-like manner, and in good manner too, as I have heard any body; and the church very full, which is a surprising consideration; but I did not see her.
So home, and had a good dinner, and after dinner with my wife, and Mercer, and Jane by water, all the afternoon up as high as Morclacke with great pleasure, and a fine day, reading over the second part of the, “Siege of Rhodes,” with great delight. We landed and walked at Barne-elmes, and then at the Neat Houses I landed and bought a millon, and we did also land and eat and drink at Wandsworth, and so to the Old Swan, and thence walked home. It being a mighty fine cool evening, and there being come, my wife and I spent an houre in the garden, talking of our living in the country, when I shall be turned out of the office, as I fear the Parliament may find faults enough with the office to remove us all, and I am joyed to think in how good a condition I am to retire thither, and have wherewith very well to subsist. Nan, at Sir W. Pen’s, lately married to one Markeham, a kinsman of Sir W. Pen’s, a pretty wench she is.

nothing to signify nothing
I make a meme

simple yet right
like an evening in the country


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 5 August 1666.

Rush hour

Up, and to the office, where all the morning, and, at noon to dinner, and Mr. Cooke dined with us, who is lately come from Hinchingbroke, who is also come to town: The family all well. Then I to the office, where very busy to state to Mr. Coventry the account of the victuals of the fleete, and late at it, and then home to supper and to bed.
This evening, Sir W. Pen come into the garden, and walked with me, and told me that he had certain notice that at Flushing they are in great distraction. De Ruyter dares not come on shore for fear of the people; nor any body open their houses or shops for fear of the tumult: which is a very good hearing.

inching to town
all of us

into the lush body
of tumult


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 4 August 1666.

Heat

Up and to the office, where Sir W. Batten and I sat to contract for some fire-ships. I there close all the morning. At noon home to dinner, and then abroad to Sir Philip Warwicke’s at White Hall about Tangier one quarter tallys, and there had some serious discourse touching money, and the case of the Navy, wherein all I could get of him was that we had the full understanding of the treasure as much as my Lord Treasurer himself, and knew what he can do, and that whatever our case is, more money cannot be got till the Parliament. So talked of getting an account ready as soon as we could to give the Parliament, and so very melancholy parted. So I back again, calling my wife at her sister’s, from whose husband we do now hear that he was safe this week, and going in a ship to the fleete from the buoy of the Nore, where he has been all this while, the fleete being gone before he got down. So home, and busy till night, and then to Sir W. Pen, with my wife, to sit and chat, and a small supper, and home to bed.
The death of Everson, and the report of our success, beyond expectation, in the killing of so great a number of men, hath raised the estimation of the late victory considerably; but it is only among fools: for all that was but accidental. But this morning, getting Sir .W. Pen to read over the Narrative with me, he did sparingly, yet plainly, say that we might have intercepted their Zealand squadron coming home, if we had done our parts; and more, that we might have spooned before the wind as well as they, and have overtaken their ships in the pursuite, in all the while.

fire touching all I had
my melancholy art
my home till death

all that was accidental
but in the narrative I say
we might have done more
we might have spooned


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 3 August 1666.

Looking backward

[Up] and to the office, where we sat, and in discourse at the table with Sir W. Batten, I was obliged to tell him it was an untruth, which did displease him mightily, and parted at noon very angry with me. At home find Lovett, who brought me some papers varnished, and showed me my crucifix, which will be very fine when done. He dined with me and Balty’s wife, who is in great pain for her husband, not hearing of him since the fight; but I understand he was not in it, going hence too late, and I am glad of it. Thence to the office, and thither comes to me Creed, and he and I walked a good while, and then to the victualling office together, and there with Mr. Gawden I did much business, and so away with Creed again, and by coach to see my Lord Bruncker, who it seems was not well yesterday, but being come thither, I find his coach ready to carry him abroad, but Tom, his footman, whatever the matter was, was lothe to desire me to come in, but I walked a great while in the Piatza till I was going away, but by and by my Lord himself comes down and coldly received me. So I soon parted, having enough for my over officious folly in troubling myself to visit him, and I am apt to think that he was fearfull that my coming was out of design to see how he spent his time [rather] than to enquire after his health. So parted, and I with Creed down to the New Exchange Stairs, and there I took water, and he parted, so home, and then down to Woolwich, reading and making an end of the “Rival Ladys,” and find it a very pretty play. At Woolwich, it being now night, I find my wife and Mercer, and Mr. Batelier and Mary there, and a supper getting ready. So I staid, in some pain, it being late, and post night. So supped and merrily home, but it was twelve at night first. However, sent away some letters, and home to bed.

an untruth might fix me
if I walk with it

yesterday is road enough
I am full of time

the new stairs took me
down to a rival now

night and a supper
getting ready

night as night
first let me be


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 2 August 1666.

Visionary

Up betimes to the settling of my last month’s accounts, and I bless God I find them very clear, and that I am worth 5700l., the most that ever my book did yet make out. So prepared to attend the Duke of Yorke as usual, but Sir W. Pen, just as I was going out, comes home from Sheernesse, and held me in discourse about publique business, till I come by coach too late to St. James’s, and there find that every thing stood still, and nothing done for want of me. Thence walked over the Parke with Sir W. Coventry, who I clearly see is not thoroughly pleased with the late management of the fight, nor with any thing that the Generalls do; only is glad to hear that De Ruyter is out of favour, and that this fight hath cost them 5,000 men, as they themselves do report. And it is a strange thing, as he observes, how now and then the slaughter runs on one hand; there being 5,000 killed on theirs, and not above 400 or 500 killed and wounded on ours, and as many flag-officers on theirs as ordinary captains in ours; there being Everson, and the Admiral and Vice- Admiral of Freezeland on theirs, and Seamour, Martin, and ——, on ours. I left him going to Chappell, it being the common fast day, and the Duke of York at Chappell. And I to Mrs. Martin’s, but she abroad, so I sauntered to or again to the Abbey, and then to the parish church, fearfull of being seen to do so, and so after the parish church was ended, I to the Swan and there dined upon a rabbit, and after dinner to Mrs. Martin’s, and there find Mrs. Burroughs, and by and by comes a pretty widow, one Mrs. Eastwood, and one Mrs. Fenton, a maid; and here merry kissing and looking on their breasts, and all the innocent pleasure in the world. But, Lord! to see the dissembling of this widow, how upon the singing of a certain jigg by Doll, Mrs. Martin’s sister, she seemed to be sick and fainted and God knows what, because the jigg, which her husband (who died this last sickness) loved. But by and by I made her as merry as is possible, and towzed and tumbled her as I pleased, and then carried her and her sober pretty kinswoman Mrs. Fenton home to their lodgings in the new market of my Lord Treasurer’s, and there left them. Mightily pleased with this afternoon’s mirth, but in great pain to ride in a coach with them, for fear of being seen.
So home, and there much pleased with my wife’s drawing today in her pictures, and so to supper and to bed very pleasant.

just as I was going out
everything stood still

I see the generals
and their wounded flag freeze
as fearful of being seen
as a rabbit

and in the wood
the innocent singing
of a god who died


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 1 August 1666.

Settler’s quandary

Good friends in the morning and up to the office, where sitting all the morning, and while at table we were mightily joyed with newes brought by Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten of the death of De Ruyter, but when Sir W. Coventry come, he told us there was no such thing, which quite dashed me again, though, God forgive me! I was a little sorry in my heart before lest it might give occasion of too much glory to the Duke of Albemarle.
Great bandying this day between Sir W. Coventry and my Lord Bruncker about Captain Cocke, which I am well pleased with, while I keepe from any open relyance on either side, but rather on Sir W. Coventry’s.
At noon had a haunch of venison boiled and a very good dinner besides, there dining with me on a sudden invitation the two mayden sisters, Bateliers, and their elder brother, a pretty man, understanding and well discoursed, much pleased with his company.
Having dined myself I rose to go to a Committee of Tangier, and did come thither time enough to meet Povy and Creed and none else. The Court being empty, the King being gone to Tunbridge, and the Duke of Yorke a-hunting. I had some discourse with Povy, who is mightily discontented, I find, about his disappointments at Court; and says, of all places, if there be hell, it is here. No faith, no truth, no love, nor any agreement between man and wife, nor friends. He would have spoke broader, but I put it off to another time; and so parted.
Then with Creed and read over with him the narrative of the late [fight], which he makes a very poor thing of, as it is indeed, and speaks most slightingly of the whole matter.
Povy discoursed with me about my Lord Peterborough’s 50l. which his man did give me from him, the last year’s salary I paid him, which he would have Povy pay him again; but I have not taken it to myself yet, and therefore will most heartily return him, and mark him out for a coxcomb.
Povy went down to Mr. Williamson’s, and brought me up this extract out of the Flanders’ letters to-day come: That Admiral Everson, and the Admiral and Vice-Admiral of Freezeland, with many captains and men, are slain; that De Ruyter is safe, but lost 250 men out of his own ship; but that he is in great disgrace, and Trump in better favour; that Bankert’s ship is burned, himself hardly escaping with a few men on board De Haes; that fifteen captains are to be tried the seventh of August; and that the hangman was sent from Flushing to assist the Council of Warr. How much of this is true, time will shew.
Thence to Westminster Hall and walked an hour with Creed talking of the late fight, and observing the ridiculous management thereof and success of the Duke of Albemarle.
Thence parted and to Mrs. Martin’s lodgings, and sat with her a while, and then by water home, all the way reading the Narrative of the late fight in order, it may be, to the making some marginal notes upon it.
At the Old Swan found my Betty Michell at the doore, where I staid talking with her a pretty while, it being dusky, and kissed her and so away home and writ my letters, and then home to supper, where the, brother and Mary Batelier are still and Mercer’s two sisters. They have spent the time dancing this afternoon, and we were very merry, and then after supper into the garden and there walked, and then home with them and then back again, my wife and I and the girls, and sang in the garden and then to bed.
Colville was with me this morning, and to my great joy I could now have all my money in, that I have in the world. But the times being open again, I thinke it is best to keepe some of it abroad.
Mighty well, and end this month in content of mind and body. The publique matters looking more safe for the present than they did, and we having a victory over the Dutch just such as I could have wished, and as the kingdom was fit to bear, enough to give us the name of conquerors, and leave us masters of the sea, but without any such great matters done as should give the Duke of Albemarle any honour at all, or give him cause to rise to his former insolence.

were there no such thing as hell here
no faith no truth no love
would it matter
would I have taken it to heart

how much of this is true
the marginal swan
the dancing girls
this open road of a body

is it enough to give us
the name of conquerors


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 31 July 1666.