Pepys Diary erasure project

(Office day). But this day was the first that we do begin to sit in the afternoon, and not in the forenoon, and therefore I went into Cheapside to Mr. Beauchamp’s, the goldsmith, to look out a piece of plate to give Mr. Fox from my Lord, for his favour about the 4,000l., and did choose a gilt tankard. So to Paul’s Churchyard and bought “Cornelianum. dolium.” So home to dinner, and after that to the office till late at night, and so Sir W. Pen, the Comptroller, and I to the Dolphin, where we found Sir W. Batten, who is seldom a night from hence, and there we did drink a great quantity of sack and did tell many merry stories, and in good humours we were all. So home and to bed.

The first gin
and here I am in the ice.
Here is night in a sack.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 14 November 1660.

Early going to my Lord’s I met with Mr. Moore, who was going to my house, and indeed I found him to be a most careful, painful, and able man in business, and took him by water to the Wardrobe, and shewed him all the house; and indeed there is a great deal of room in it, but very ugly till my Lord hath bestowed great cost upon it.
So to the Exchequer, and there took Spicer and his fellow clerks to the Dog tavern, and did give them a peck of oysters, and so home to dinner, where I found my wife making of pies and tarts to try her oven with, which she has never yet done, but not knowing the nature of it, did heat it too hot, and so a little overbake her things, but knows how to do better another time.
At home all the afternoon. At night made up my accounts of my sea expenses in order to my clearing off my imprest bill of 30l. which I had in my hands at the beginning of my voyage; which I intend to shew to my Lord to-morrow. To bed.

I took water
to the sea
in my hands.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 13 November 1660.

Lay long in bed to-day. Sir Wm. Batten went this morning to Deptford to pay off the Wolf. Mr. Comptroller and I sat a while at the office to do business, and thence I went with him to his house in Lime Street, a fine house, and where I never was before, and from thence by coach (setting down his sister at the new Exchange) to Westminster Hall, where first I met with Jack Spicer and agreed with him to help me to tell money this afternoon. Hence to De Cretz, where I saw my Lord’s picture finished, which do please me very well. So back to the Hall, where by appointment I met the Comptroller, and with him and three or four Parliament men I dined at Heaven, and after dinner called at Will’s on Jack Spicer, and took him to Mr. Fox’s, who saved me the labour of telling me the money by giving me 3000l. by consent (the other 1000l. I am to have on Thursday next), which I carried by coach to the Exchequer, and put it up in a chest in Spicer’s office. From thence walked to my father’s, where I found my wife, who had been with my father to-day, buying of a tablecloth and a dozen of napkins of diaper, the first that ever I bought in my life.
My father and I took occasion to go forth, and went and drank at Mr. Standing’s, and there discoursed seriously about my sister’s coming to live with me, which I have much mind for her good to have, and yet I am much afeard of her ill-nature.
Coming home again, he and I, and my wife, my mother and Pall, went all together into the little room, and there I told her plainly what my mind was, to have her come not as a sister in any respect, but as a servant, which she promised me that she would, and with many thanks did weep for joy, which did give me and my wife some content and satisfaction.
So by coach home and to bed.
The last night I should have mentioned how my wife and I were troubled all night with the sound of drums in our ears, which in the morning we found to be Mr. Davys’s jack, but not knowing the cause of its going all night, I understand to-day that they have had a great feast to-day.

We pay the wolf
with a fine house
in heaven.

Save me from nature—
not a sister
but a servant.

All night it drums
in our ears.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 12 November 1660.

(Lord’s day). This morning I went to Sir W. Batten’s about going to Deptford to-morrow, and so eating some hog’s pudding of my Lady’s making, of the hog that I saw a fattening the other day at her house, he and I went to Church into our new gallery, the first time it was used, and it not being yet quite finished, there came after us Sir W. Pen, Mr. Davis, and his eldest son. There being no woman this day, we sat in the foremost pew, and behind us our servants, and I hope it will not always be so, it not being handsome for our servants to sit so equal with us.
This day also did Mr. Mills begin to read all the Common Prayer, which I was glad of.
Home to dinner, and then walked to Whitehall, it being very cold and foul and rainy weather. I found my Lord at home, and after giving him an account of some business, I returned and went to my father’s where I found my wife, and there we supped, and Dr. Thomas Pepys, who my wife told me after I was come home, that he had told my brother Thomas that he loved my wife so well that if she had a child he would never marry, but leave all that he had to my child, and after supper we walked home, my little boy carrying a link, and Will leading my wife.
So home and to prayers and to bed.
I should have said that before I got to my Lord’s this day I went to Mr. Fox’s at Whitehall, when I first saw his lady, formerly Mrs. Elizabeth Whittle, whom I had formerly a great opinion of, and did make an anagram or two upon her name when I was a boy. She proves a very fine lady, and mother to fine children.
To-day I agreed with Mr. Fox about my taking of the 4000l. of him that the King had given my Lord.

The hog, fattening, is
our common weather.
I found a home after
giving my wife
a child, a child.
And after supper, my ink
is a mother to greed.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 11 November 1660.

Up early. Sir Wm. Batten and I to make up an account of the wages of the officers and mariners at sea, ready to present to the Committee of Parliament this afternoon. Afterwards came the Treasurer and Comptroller, and sat all the morning with us till the business was done.
So we broke up, leaving the thing to be wrote over fair and carried to Trinity House for Sir Wm. Batten’s hand. When staying very long I found (as appointed) the Treasurer and Comptroller at Whitehall, and so we went with a foul copy to the Parliament house, where we met with Sir Thos. Clarges and Mr. Spry, and after we had given them good satisfaction we parted.
The Comptroller and I to the coffee-house, where he shewed me the state of his case; how the King did owe him about 6000l.. But I do not see great likelihood for them to be paid, since they begin already in Parliament to dispute the paying of the just sea-debts, which were already promised to be paid, and will be the undoing of thousands if they be not paid.
So to Whitehall to look but could not find Mr. Fox, and then to Mr. Moore at Mr. Crew’s, but missed of him also. So to Paul’s Churchyard, and there bought Montelion, which this year do not prove so good as the last was; so after reading it I burnt it.
After reading of that and the comedy of the Rump, which is also very silly, I went to bed. This night going home, Will and I bought a goose.

The wages of the sea, fair or foul,
will be the undoing
of thousands they could not find,
a missed church,
the last reading of the night…


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 10 November 1660.

Lay long in bed this morning though an office day, because of our going to bed late last night. Before I went to my office Mr. Creed came to me about business, and also Mr. Carter, my old Cambridge friend, came to give me a visit, and I did give them a morning draught in my study. So to the office, and from thence to dinner with Mr. Wivell at the Hoop Tavern, where we had Mr. Shepley, Talbot, Adams, Mr. Chaplin and Osborne, and our dinner given us by Mr. Ady and another, Mr. Wine, the King’s fishmonger. Good sport with Mr. Talbot, who eats no sort of fish, and there was nothing else till we sent for a neat’s tongue.
From thence to Whitehall where I found my Lord, who had an organ set up to-day in his dining-room, but it seems an ugly one in the form of Bridewell.
Thence I went to Sir Harry Wright’s, where my Lord was busy at cards, and so I staid below with Mrs. Carter and Evans (who did give me a lesson upon the lute), till he came down, and having talked with him at the door about his late business of money, I went to my father’s and staid late talking with my father about my sister Pall’s coming to live with me if she would come and be as a servant (which my wife did seem to be pretty willing to do to-day), and he seems to take it very well, and intends to consider of it. Home and to bed.

I went to dinner with
the king’s fishmonger,
who eats no sort of fish
and sent for a tongue.
The ugly bride was busy
at cards. The lute came
to live with me as a servant.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 9 November 1660.

This morning Sir Wm. and the Treasurer and I went by barge with Sir Wm. Doyley and Mr. Prin to Deptford, to pay off the Henrietta, and had a good dinner. I went to Mr. Davys’s and saw his house (where I was once before a great while ago) and I found him a very pretty man. In the afternoon Commissioner Pett and I went on board the yacht, which indeed is one of the finest things that ever I saw for neatness and room in so small a vessel. Mr. Pett is to make one to outdo this for the honour of his country, which I fear he will scarce better.
From thence with him as far as Ratcliffe, where I left him going by water to London, and I (unwilling to leave the rest of the officers) went back again to Deptford, and being very much troubled with a sudden looseness, I went into a little alehouse at the end of Ratcliffe, and did give a groat for a pot of ale, and there I did shit. So went forward in my walk with some men that were going that way a great pace, and in our way we met with many merry seamen that had got their money paid them to-day.
We sat very late doing the work and waiting for the tide, it being moonshine we got to London before two in the morning. So home, where I found my wife up, she shewed me her head which was very well dressed to-day, she having been to see her father and mother.
So to bed.

In the country of the rat
I give a groat for a pot
and shit in it,
waiting for the moon.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 8 November 1660.

(Office day). This day my father came to dine at my house, but being sent for in the morning I could not stay, but went by water to my Lord, where I dined with him, and he in a very merry humour (present Mr. Borfett and Childe).
At dinner: he, in discourse of the great opinion of the virtue—gratitude (which he did account the greatest thing in the world to him, and had, therefore, in his mind been often troubled in the late times how to answer his gratitude to the King, who raised his father), did say it was that did bring him to his obedience to the King; and did also bless himself with his good fortune, in comparison to what it was when I was with him in the Sound, when he durst not own his correspondence with the King; which is a thing that I never did hear of to this day before; and I do from this raise an opinion of him, to be one of the most secret men in the world, which I was not so convinced of before.
After dinner he bid all go out of the room, and did tell me how the King had promised him 4000l. per annum for ever, and had already given him a bill under his hand (which he showed me) for 4000l. that Mr. Fox is to pay him. My Lord did advise with me how to get this received, and to put out 3000l. into safe hands at use, and the other he will make use of for his present occasion. This he did advise with me about with much secresy.
After all this he called for the fiddles and books, and we two and W. Howe, and Mr. Childe, did sing and play some psalmes of Will. Lawes’s, and some songs; and so I went away.
So I went to see my Lord’s picture, which is almost done, and do please me very well.
Hence to Whitehall to find out Mr. Fox, which I did, and did use me very civilly, but I did not see his lady, whom I had so long known when she was a maid, Mrs. Whittle. From thence meeting my father Bowyer, I took him to Mr. Harper’s, and there drank with him. Among other things in discourse he told me how my wife’s brother had a horse at grass with him, which I was troubled to hear, it being his boldness upon my score.
Home by coach, and read late in the last night’s book of Trials, and told my wife about her brother’s horse at Mr. Bowyer’s, who is also much troubled for it, and do intend to go to-morrow to inquire the truth.
Notwithstanding this was the first day of the King’s proclamation against hackney coaches coming into the streets to stand to be hired, yet I got one to carry me home.

Ice is a house I could
not stay in, the answer to
a tune I never hear.

Tell me how I promise forever
in the present, with fiddles and songs
and an old horse at grass.

Which trouble
is the truth, coming into the streets
to stand?


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 7 November 1660.

In the morning with Sir W. Batten and Pen by water to Westminster, where at my Lord’s I met with Mr. Creed. With him to see my Lord’s picture (now almost done), and thence to Westminster Hall, where we found the Parliament met to-day, and thence meeting with Mr. Chetwind, I took them to the Sun, and did give them a barrel of oysters, and had good discourse; among other things Mr. Chetwind told me how he did fear that this late business of the Duke of York’s would prove fatal to my Lord Chancellor.
From thence Mr. Creed and I to Wilkinson’s, and dined together, and in great haste thence to our office, where we met all, for the sale of two ships by an inch of candle (the first time that ever I saw any of this kind), where I observed how they do invite one another, and at last how they all do cry, and we have much to do to tell who did cry last. The ships were the Indian, sold for 1,300l., and the Half-moon, sold for 830l..
Home, and fell a-reading of the tryalls of the late men that were hanged for the King’s death, and found good satisfaction in reading thereof.
At night to bed, and my wife and I did fall out about the dog’s being put down into the cellar, which I had a mind to have done because of his fouling the house, and I would have my will, and so we went to bed and lay all night in a quarrel. This night I was troubled all night with a dream that my wife was dead, which made me that I slept ill all night.

I took a barrel of oysters
and observed how they cry:
An Indian sold the moon.
Men were hanged for a dog
fouling the bed. All night
I dream that my wife
made me ill.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 6 November 1660.

(Office day). Being disappointed of money, we failed of going to Deptford to pay off the Henrietta to-day.
Dined at home, and at home all day, and at the office at night, to make up an account of what the debts of nineteen of the twenty-five ships that should have been paid off, is increased since the adjournment of the Parliament, they being to sit again to-morrow. This 5th of November is observed exceeding well in the City; and at night great bonfires and fireworks. At night Mr. Moore came and sat with me, and there I took a book and he did instruct me in many law notions, in which I took great pleasure. To bed.

Disappointed
at home and at the office
I count ships

and at night, fires,
many in which I took
great pleasure.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 5 November 1660.