Pepys Diary erasure project

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.

(Lord’s day). In the morn to our own church, where Mr. Mills did begin to nibble at the Common Prayer, by saying “Glory be to the Father, &c.” after he had read the two psalms; but the people had been so little used to it, that they could not tell what to answer. This declaration of the King’s do give the Presbyterians some satisfaction, and a pretence to read the Common Prayer, which they would not do before because of their former preaching against it.
After dinner to Westminster, where I went to my Lord’s, and having spoke with him, I went to the Abbey, where the first time that ever I heard the organs in a cathedral! Thence to my Lord’s, where I found Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, and with him and Mr. Sheply, in our way calling at the Bell to see the seven Flanders mares that my Lord has bought lately, where we drank several bottles of Hull ale. Much company I found to come to her, and cannot wonder at it, for she is very pretty and wanton.
Hence to my father’s, where I found my mother in greater and greater pain of the stone. I staid long and drank with them, and so home and to bed. My wife seemed very pretty to-day, it being the first time I had given her leave to wear a black patch.

Mills nibble at prayer.
So little satisfaction!
I hear organs and a bell,
and wonder at the pain of the stone.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 4 November 1660.

Saturday. At home all the morning. In the afternoon to White Hall, where my Lord and Lady were gone to kiss the Queene’s hand.
To Westminster Hall, where I met with Tom Doling, and we two took Mrs. Lane to the alehouse, where I made her angry with commending of Tom Newton and her new sweetheart to be both too good for her, so that we parted with much anger, which made Tom and me good sport. So home to write letters by the post, and so to bed.

Sat all afternoon on the hand
I took to the alehouse,
where I made her and her sweetheart part
and go home to write.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 3 November 1660.

Office. Then dined at home, and by chance Mr. Holliard called at dinner time and dined with me, with whom I had great discourse concerning the cure of the King’s evil, which he do deny altogether any effect at all.
In the afternoon I went forth and saw some silver bosses put upon my new Bible, which cost me 6s. 6d. the making, and 7s. 6d. the silver, which, with 9s. 6d. the book, comes in all to 1l. 3s. 6d. From thence with Mr. Cooke that made them, and Mr. Stephens the silversmith to the tavern, and did give them a pint of wine. So to White Hall, where when I came I saw the boats going very thick to Lambeth, and all the stairs to be full of people. I was told the Queen was a-coming; so I got a sculler for sixpence to carry me thither and back again, but I could not get to see the Queen; so come back, and to my Lord’s, where he was come; and I supt with him, he being very merry, telling merry stories of the country mayors, how they entertained the King all the way as he come along; and how the country gentlewomen did hold up their heads to be kissed by the King, not taking his hand to kiss as they should do. I took leave of my Lord and Lady, and so took coach at White Hall and carried Mr. Childe as far as the Strand, and myself got as far as Ludgate by all the bonfires, but with a great deal of trouble; and there the coachman desired that I would release him, for he durst not go further for the fires. So he would have had a shilling or 6d. for bringing of me so far; but I had but 3d. about me and did give him it. In Paul’s church-yard I called at Kirton’s, and there they had got a mass book for me, which I bought and cost me twelve shillings; and, when I came home, sat up late and read in it with great pleasure to my wife, to hear that she was long ago so well acquainted with. So to bed.
I observed this night very few bonfires in the City, not above three in all London, for the Queen’s coming; whereby I guess that (as I believed before) her coming do please but very few.

A great evil I saw:
a book comes
to give stairs to people,
but they hold up their heads
to be kissed, not to kiss.
And so bonfires
desire the book
and read it with pleasure
to that long night, the city.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 2 November 1660.

This morning Sir W. Pen and I were mounted early, and had very merry discourse all the way, he being very good company.
We came to Sir W. Batten’s, where he lives like a prince, and we were made very welcome. Among other things he showed us my Lady’s closet, where was great store of rarities; as also a chair, which he calls King Harry’s chair, where he that sits down is catched with two irons, that come round about him, which makes good sport. Here dined with us two or three more country gentle men; among the rest Mr. Christmas, my old school-fellow, with whom I had much talk. He did remember that I was a great Roundhead when I was a boy, and I was much afraid that he would have remembered the words that I said the day the King was beheaded (that, were I to preach upon him, my text should be “The memory of the wicked shall rot”); but I found afterwards that he did go away from school before that time.
He did make us good sport in imitating Mr. Case, Ash, and Nye, the ministers, which he did very well, but a deadly drinker he is, and grown exceeding fat. From his house to an ale-house near the church, where we sat and drank and were merry, and so we mounted for London again, Sir W. Batten with us. We called at Bow and drank there, and took leave of Mr. Johnson of Blackwall, who dined with us and rode with us thus far.
So home by moonlight, it being about 9 o’clock before we got home.

I batten like a mad king
on remembered words.
My text should be: “The memory
of the wicked shall rot.”
After I go, I make sport
in imitating the dead,
grown fat on moonlight.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 1 November 1660.