Widow’s walk

Up, and to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined at home, my brother Balty with me, who is fitting himself to go to sea. So after dinner to my accounts and did proceed a good way in settling them, and thence to the office, where all the afternoon late, writing my letters and doing business, but, Lord! what a conflict I had with myself, my heart tempting me 1000 times to go abroad about some pleasure or other, notwithstanding the weather foule. However I reproached myself with my weaknesse in yielding so much my judgment to my sense, and prevailed with difficulty and did not budge, but stayed within, and, to my great content, did a great deale of business, and so home to supper and to bed. This day I am told that Moll Davis, the pretty girle, that sang and danced so well at the Duke’s house, is dead.

who is fit to go to sea
in the heart

some other weather
I ache so much to sense

but I am old

the pretty girl that sang
and danced is dead


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 17 April 1666.

Undercover

Up, and set my people, Mercer, W. Hewer, Tom and the girle at work at ruling and stitching my ruled book for the Muster-Masters, and I hard toward the settling of my Tangier accounts. At noon dined alone, the girl Mercer taking physique can eat nothing, and W. Hewer went forth to dinner. So up to my accounts again, and then comes Mrs. Mercer and fair Mrs. Turner, a neighbour of hers that my wife knows by their means, to visit me. I staid a great while with them, being taken with this pretty woman, though a mighty silly, affected citizen woman she is. Then I left them to come to me at supper anon, and myself out by coach to the old woman in Pannyer Alley for my ruled papers, and they are done, and I am much more taken with her black maid Nan. Thence further to Westminster, thinking to have met Mrs. Martin, but could not find her, so back and called at Kirton’s to borrow 10s. to pay for my ruled papers, I having not money in my pocket enough to pay for them. But it was a pretty consideration that on this occasion I was considering where I could with most confidence in a time of need borrow 10s., and I protest I could not tell where to do it and with some trouble and fear did aske it here. So that God keepe me from want, for I shall be in a very bad condition to helpe myself if ever I should come to want or borrow.
Thence called for my papers and so home, and there comes Mrs. Turner and Mercer and supped with me, and well pleased I was with their company, but especially Mrs. Turner’s, she being a very pretty woman of person and her face pretty good, the colour of her haire very fine and light.
They staid with me talking till about eleven o’clock and so home, W. Hewer, who supped with me, leading them home. So I to bed.

my ruling itch
cannot find me

with my company face
the color of a clock


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 16 April 1666.

What about the children

(Easter Day). Up and by water to Westminster to the Swan to lay down my cloak, and there found Sarah alone, with whom after I had staid awhile I to White Hall Chapel, and there coming late could hear nothing of the Bishop of London’s sermon. So walked into the Park to the Queene’s chappell, and there heard a good deal of their mass, and some of their musique, which is not so contemptible, I think, as our people would make it, it pleasing me very well; and, indeed, better than the anthem I heard afterwards at White Hall, at my coming back.
I staid till the King went down to receive the Sacrament, and stood in his closett with a great many others, and there saw him receive it, which I did never see the manner of before. But I do see very little difference between the degree of the ceremonies used by our people in the administration thereof, and that in the Roman church, saving that methought our Chappell was not so fine, nor the manner of doing it so glorious, as it was in the Queene’s chappell.
Thence walked to Mr. Pierces, and there dined, I alone with him and her and their children: very good company and good discourse, they being able to tell me all the businesses of the Court; the amours and the mad doings that are there; how for certain Mrs. Stewart do do everything with the King that a mistress should do; and that the King hath many bastard children that are known and owned, besides the Duke of Monmouth. After a great deale of this discourse I walked thence into the Parke with her little boy James with me, who is the wittiest boy and the best company in the world, and so back again through White Hall both coming and going, and people did generally take him to be my boy and some would aske me.
Thence home to Mr. Pierce again; and he being gone forth, she and I and the children out by coach to Kensington, to where we were the other day, and with great pleasure stayed till night; and were mighty late getting home, the horses tiring and stopping at every twenty steps. By the way we discoursed of Mrs. Clerke, who, she says, is grown mighty high, fine, and proud, but tells me an odd story how Captain Rolt did see her the other day accost a gentleman in Westminster Hall and went with him, and he dogged them to Moorefields to a little blind bawdy house, and there staid watching three hours and they come not out, so could stay no longer but left them there, and he is sure it was she, he knowing her well and describing her very clothes to Mrs. Pierce, which she knows are what she wears.
Seeing them well at home I homeward, but the horses at Ludgate Hill made a final stop; so there I ‘lighted, and with a linke, it being about 10 o’clock, walked home, and after singing a Psalm or two and supped to bed.

Easter is for the glorious
children of amours

bastard children that know
the best world going

children grown odd in the fields
watching the horses


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 15 April 1666.

Deracinated

Up about seven and finished our papers, he and I, and I delivered him tallys and some money and so away I to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon dined at home and Creed with me, then parted, and I to the office, and anon called thence by Sir H. Cholmley and he and I to my chamber, and there settled our matters of accounts, and did give him tallys and money to clear him, and so he being gone and all these accounts cleared I shall be even with the King, so as to make a very clear and short account in a very few days, which pleases me very well. Here he and I discoursed a great while about Tangier, and he do convince me, as things are now ordered by my Lord Bellasses and will be by Norwood (men that do only mind themselves), the garrison will never come to any thing, and he proposes his owne being governor, which in truth I do think will do very well, and that he will bring it to something. He gone I to my office, where to write letters late, and then home and looked over a little more my papers of accounts lately passed, and so to bed.

in our paper office
in our cleared wood
that only mind will ever own
where to write
letters home to


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 14 April 1666.

Vigil

Up, being called up by my wife’s brother, for whom I have got a commission from the Duke of Yorke for Muster-Master of one of the divisions, of which Harman is Rere-Admirall, of which I am glad as well as he. After I had acquainted him with it, and discoursed a little of it, I went forth and took him with me by coach to the Duke of Albemarle, who being not up, I took a walk with Balty into the Parke, and to the Queene’s Chappell, it being Good Friday, where people were all upon their knees very silent; but, it seems, no masse this day. So back and waited on the Duke and received some commands of his, and so by coach to Mr. Hales’s, where it is pretty strange to see that his second doing, I mean the second time of her sitting, is less like Mrs. Pierce than the first, and yet I am confident will be most like her, for he is so curious that I do not see how it is possible for him to mistake.
Here he and I presently resolved of going to White Hall, to spend an houre in the galleries there among the pictures, and we did so to my great satisfaction, he shewing me the difference in the payntings, and when I come more and more to distinguish and observe the workmanship, I do not find so many good things as I thought there was, but yet great difference between the works of some and others; and, while my head and judgment was full of these, I would go back again to his house to see his pictures, and indeed, though, I think, at first sight some difference do open, yet very inconsiderably but that I may judge his to be very good pictures. Here we fell into discourse of my picture, and I am for his putting out the Landskipp, though he says it is very well done, yet I do judge it will be best without it, and so it shall be put out, and be made a plain sky like my wife’s picture, which will be very noble.
Thence called upon an old woman in Pannier Ally to agree for ruling of some paper for me and she will do it pretty cheap. Here I found her have a very comely black mayde to her servant, which I liked very well.
So home to dinner and to see my joiner do the bench upon my leads to my great content. After dinner I abroad to carry paper to my old woman, and so to Westminster Hall, and there beyond my intention or design did see and speak with Betty Howlett, at her father’s still, and it seems they carry her to her own house to begin the world with her young husband on Monday next, Easter Monday. I please myself with the thoughts of her neighbourhood, for I love the girl mightily.
Thence home, and thither comes Mr. Houblon and a brother, with whom I evened for the charter parties of their ships for Tangier, and paid them the third advance on their freight to full satisfaction, and so, they being gone, comes Creed and with him till past one in the morning, evening his accounts till my head aked and I was fit for nothing, however, coming at last luckily to see through and settle all to my mind, it did please me mightily, and so with my mind at rest to bed, and he with me and hard to sleep.

the Good Friday people
all on their knees

silent as if at
the first sight of sky

he will come like a howl
and unrot them

so they become one ache
no mind to sleep


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 13 April 1666.

Hobby farmer

Up and to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined at home and so to my office again, and taking a turne in the garden my Lady Pen comes to me and takes me into her house, where I find her daughter and a pretty lady of her acquaintance, one Mrs. Lowder, sister, I suppose, of her servant Lowder’s, with whom I, notwithstanding all my resolution to follow business close this afternoon, did stay talking and playing the foole almost all the afternoon, and there saw two or three foolish sorry pictures of her doing, but very ridiculous compared to what my wife do. She grows mighty homely and looks old. Thence ashamed at myself for this losse of time, yet not able to leave it, I to the office, where my Lord Bruncker come; and he and I had a little fray, he being, I find, a very peevish man, if he be denied what he expects, and very simple in his argument in this business (about signing a warrant for paying Sir Thos. Allen 1000l. out of the groats); but we were pretty good friends before we parted, and so we broke up and I to the writing my letters by the post, and so home to supper and to bed.

all morning I turn
the garden up

standing in the rows
I look at myself

a simple argument for oats
before art broke me


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 12 April 1666.

Light redactions

To White Hall, having first set my people to worke about setting me rails upon the leads of my wife’s closett, a thing I have long designed, but never had a fit opportunity till now. After having done with the Duke of Yorke, I to Hales’s, where there was nothing found to be done more to my picture, but the musique, which now pleases me mightily, it being painted true. Thence home, and after dinner to Gresham College, where a great deal of do and formality in choosing of the Council and Officers. I had three votes to be of the Council, who am but a stranger, nor expected any. So my Lord Bruncker being confirmed President I home, where I find to my great content my rails up upon my leads. To the office and did a little business, and then home and did a great jobb at my Tangier accounts, which I find are mighty apt to run into confusion, my head also being too full of other businesses and pleasures. This noon Bagwell’s wife come to me to the office, after her being long at Portsmouth. After supper, and past 12 at night to bed.

white lead paint
the president leads us
in confusion

*

head too full
of other pleasures
his long night


Two erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 11 April 1666.

Drone

Up betimes, and many people to me about business. To the office and there sat till noon, and then home and dined, and to the office again all the afternoon, where we sat all, the first time of our resolution to sit both forenoons and afternoons. Much business at night and then home, and though late did see some work done by the plasterer to my new window in the boy’s chamber plastered. Then to supper, and after having my head combed by the little girle to bed. Bad news that the plague is decreased in the general again and two increased in the sickness.

noon
noon
noon
noon

a new window
into my head

a new sickness


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 10 April 1666.

On the shore

Up betimes, and with my Joyner begun the making of the window in my boy’s chamber bigger, purposing it shall be a roome to eat and for having musique in.
To the office, where a meeting upon extraordinary business, at noon to the ‘Change about more, and then home with Creed and dined, and then with him to the Committee of Tangier, where I got two or three things done I had a mind to of convenience to me. Thence by coach to Mrs. Pierce’s, and with her and Knipp and Mrs. Pierce’s boy and girle abroad, thinking to have been merry at Chelsey; but being come almost to the house by coach near the waterside, a house alone, I think the Swan, a gentleman walking by called to us to tell us that the house was shut up of the sicknesse. So we with great affright turned back, being holden to the gentleman; and went away (I for my part in great disorder) for Kensington, and there I spent about 30s. upon the jades with great pleasure, and we sang finely and staid till about eight at night, the night coming on apace and so set them down at Pierce’s, and so away home, where awhile with Sir W. Warren about business, and then to bed.

wind music
in a house by the water
night coming on


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 9 April 1666.

Swander

(Lord’s day). Up, and was in great trouble how to get a passage to White Hall, it raining, and no coach to be had. So I walked to the Old Swan, and there got a scull. To the Duke of Yorke, where we all met to hear the debate between Sir Thomas Allen and Mr. Wayth; the former complaining of the latter’s ill usage of him at the late pay of his ship. But a very sorry poor occasion he had for it. The Duke did determine it with great judgement, chiding both, but encouraging Wayth to continue to be a check to all captains in any thing to the King’s right. And, indeed, I never did see the Duke do any thing more in order, nor with more judgement than he did pass the verdict in this business.
The Court full this morning of the newes of Tom Cheffin’s death, the King’s closett-keeper. He was well last night as ever, flaying at tables in the house, and not very ill this morning at six o’clock, yet dead before seven: they think, of an imposthume in his breast. But it looks fearfully among people nowadays, the plague, as we hear, encreasing every where again.
To the Chappell, but could not get in to hear well. But I had the pleasure once in my life to see an Archbishop (this was of Yorke) in a pulpit.
Then at a loss how to get home to dinner, having promised to carry Mrs. Hunt thither. At last got my Lord Hinchingbroke’s coach, he staying at Court; and so took her up in Axe-yard, and home and dined. And good discourse of the old matters of the Protector and his family, she having a relation to them. The Protector lives in France: spends about 500l. per annum.
Thence carried her home again and then to Court and walked over to St. James’s Chappell, thinking to have heard a Jesuite preach, but come too late. So got a hackney and home, and there to business. At night had Mercer comb my head and so to supper, sing a psalm, and to bed.

rain
and the old swan looks fearful

as if at a loss
how to sing


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 8 April 1666.