Pepys Diary erasure project

Slept, and lay long; then up and my Lord [Crew] and Sir G. Carteret being gone abroad, I first to see the bridegroom and bride, and found them both up, and he gone to dress himself. Both red in the face, and well enough pleased this morning with their night’s lodging.
Thence down and Mr. Brisband and I to billiards: anon come my Lord and Sir G. Carteret in, who have been looking abroad and visiting some farms that Sir G. Carteret hath thereabouts, and, among other things, report the greatest stories of the bigness of the calfes they find there, ready to sell to the butchers, as big, they say, as little Cowes, and that they do give them a piece of chalke to licke, which they hold makes them white in the flesh within.
Very merry at dinner, and so to talk and laugh after dinner, and up and down, some to [one] place, some to another, full of content on all sides.
Anon about five o’clock, Sir G. Carteret and his lady and I took coach with the greatest joy and kindnesse that could be from the two familys or that ever I saw with so much appearance, and, I believe, reality in all my life.
Drove hard home, and it was night ere we got to Deptford, where, with much kindnesse from them to me, I left them, and home to the office, where I find all well, and being weary and sleepy, it being very late, I to bed.

the bridegroom and bride
both red in the morning

they give them a piece of chalk to lick
which makes them white in the flesh

with so much appearance
reality was left to sleep


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 1 August 1665.

Up, and very betimes by six o’clock at Deptford, and there find Sir G. Carteret, and my Lady ready to go: I being in my new coloured silk suit, and coat trimmed with gold buttons and gold broad lace round my hands, very rich and fine. By water to the Ferry, where, when we come, no coach there; and tide of ebb so far spent as the horse-boat could not get off on the other side the river to bring away the coach. So we were fain to stay there in the unlucky Isle of Doggs, in a chill place, the morning cool, and wind fresh, above two if not three hours to our great discontent. Yet being upon a pleasant errand, and seeing that it could not be helped, we did bear it very patiently; and it was worth my observing, I thought, as ever any thing, to see how upon these two scores, Sir G. Carteret, the most passionate man in the world, and that was in greatest haste to be gone, did bear with it, and very pleasant all the while, at least not troubled much so as to fret and storm at it.
Anon the coach comes: in the mean time there coming a News thither with his horse to go over, that told us he did come from Islington this morning; and that Proctor the vintner of the Miter in Woodstreet, and his son, are dead this morning there, of the plague; he having laid out abundance of money there, and was the greatest vintner for some time in London for great entertainments.
We, fearing the canonicall hour would be past before we got thither, did with a great deal of unwillingness send away the license and wedding ring. So that when we come, though we drove hard with six horses, yet we found them gone from home; and going towards the church, met them coming from church, which troubled us. But, however, that trouble was soon over; hearing it was well done: they being both in their old cloaths; my Lord Crew giving her, there being three coach fulls of them. The young lady mighty sad, which troubled me; but yet I think it was only her gravity in a little greater degree than usual. All saluted her, but I did not till my Lady Sandwich did ask me whether I had saluted her or no. So to dinner, and very merry we were; but yet in such a sober way as never almost any wedding was in so great families: but it was much better. After dinner company divided, some to cards, others to talk. My Lady Sandwich and I up to settle accounts, and pay her some money. And mighty kind she is to me, and would fain have had me gone down for company with her to Hinchingbroke; but for my life I cannot.
At night to supper, and so to talk; and which, methought, was the most extraordinary thing, all of us to prayers as usual, and the young bride and bridegroom too and so after prayers, soberly to bed; only I got into the bridegrooms chamber while he undressed himself, and there was very merry, till he was called to the bride’s chamber, and into bed they went. I kissed the bride in bed, and so the curtaines drawne with the greatest gravity that could be, and so good night.
But the modesty and gravity of this business was so decent, that it was to me indeed ten times more delightfull than if it had been twenty times more merry and joviall.
Whereas I feared I must have sat up all night, we did here all get good beds, and I lay in the same I did before with Mr. Brisband, who is a good scholler and sober man; and we lay in bed, getting him to give me an account of home, which is the most delightfull talke a man can have of any traveller: and so to sleep. My eyes much troubled already with the change of my drink.
Thus I ended this month with the greatest joy that ever I did any in my life, because I have spent the greatest part of it with abundance of joy, and honour, and pleasant journeys, and brave entertainments, and without cost of money; and at last live to see the business ended with great content on all sides.
This evening with Mr. Brisband, speaking of enchantments and spells; I telling him some of my charms; he told me this of his owne knowledge, at Bourdeaux, in France. The words these:
Voyci un Corps mort,
Royde come un Baston,
Froid comme Marbre,
Leger come un esprit,
Levons to au nom de Jesus Christ.
He saw four little girles, very young ones, all kneeling, each of them, upon one knee; and one begun the first line, whispering in the eare of the next, and the second to the third, and the third to the fourth, and she to the first. Then the first begun the second line, and so round quite through, and, putting each one finger only to a boy that lay flat upon his back on the ground, as if he was dead; at the end of the words, they did with their four fingers raise this boy as high as they could reach, and he [Mr. Brisband] being there, and wondering at it, as also being afeard to see it, for they would have had him to have bore a part in saying the words, in the roome of one of the little girles that was so young that they could hardly make her learn to repeat the words, did, for feare there might be some sleight used in it by the boy, or that the boy might be light, call the cook of the house, a very lusty fellow, as Sir G. Carteret’s cook, who is very big, and they did raise him in just the same manner.
This is one of the strangest things I ever heard, but he tells it me of his owne knowledge, and I do heartily believe it to be true. I enquired of him whether they were Protestant or Catholique girles; and he told me they were Protestant, which made it the more strange to me.
Thus we end this month, as I said, after the greatest glut of content that ever I had; only under some difficulty because of the plague, which grows mightily upon us, the last week being about 1700 or 1800 of the plague.
My Lord Sandwich at sea with a fleet of about 100 sail, to the Northward, expecting De Ruyter, or the Dutch East India fleet.
My Lord Hinchingbroke coming over from France, and will meet his sister at Scott’s-hall.
Myself having obliged both these families in this business very much; as both my Lady, and Sir G. Carteret and his Lady do confess exceedingly, and the latter do also now call me cozen, which I am glad of.
So God preserve us all friends long, and continue health among us.

O for the coat of a dog
in a chill wind
or a bear
pleasant as a storm

the woods are canonical
for trouble
being full of such
extraordinary rooms

curtains of light
where I go to sleep
enchantments
whispering in the ear

flat on the ground
as if dead
fingers as high
as they could reach

saying the words that make
the words strange
I believe that only
will preserve us


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 31 July 1665.

(Lord’s day). Up, and in my night gowne, cap and neckcloth, undressed all day long, lost not a minute, but in my chamber, setting my Tangier accounts to rights. Which I did by night to my very heart’s content, not only that it is done, but I find every thing right, and even beyond what, after so long neglecting them, I did hope for. The Lord of Heaven be praised for it!
Will was with me to-day, and is very well again. It was a sad noise to hear our bell to toll and ring so often to-day, either for deaths or burials; I think five or six times.
At night weary with my day’s work, but full of joy at my having done it, I to bed, being to rise betimes tomorrow to go to the wedding at Dagenhams.
So to bed, fearing I have got some cold sitting in my loose garments all this day.

my heart’s every heave
a sad noise to hear
at night in bed


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 30 July 1665.

Up betimes, and after viewing some of my wife’s pictures, which now she is come to do very finely to my great satisfaction beyond what I could ever look for, I went away and by water to the office, where nobody to meet me, but busy all the morning. At noon to dinner, where I hear that my Will is come in thither and laid down upon my bed, ill of the headake, which put me into extraordinary fear; and I studied all I could to get him out of the house, and set my people to work to do it without discouraging him, and myself went forth to the Old Exchange to pay my fair Batelier for some linnen, and took leave of her, they breaking up shop for a while; and so by coach to Kate Joyce’s, and there used all the vehemence and rhetorique I could to get her husband to let her go down to Brampton, but I could not prevail with him; he urging some simple reasons, but most that of profit, minding the house, and the distance, if either of them should be ill. However, I did my best, and more than I had a mind to do, but that I saw him so resolved against it, while she was mightily troubled at it. At last he yielded she should go to Windsor, to some friends there. So I took my leave of them, believing that it is great odds that we ever all see one another again; for I dare not go any more to that end of the towne.
So home, and to writing of letters — hard, and then at night home, and fell to my Tangier papers till late, and then to bed, in some ease of mind that Will is gone to his lodging, and that he is likely to do well, it being only the headake.

out of work
they break up

all the vehemence and rhetoric
of wind in the night


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 29 July 1665.

Up betimes, and down to Deptford, where, after a little discourse with Sir G. Carteret, who is much displeased with the order of our officers yesterday to remove the office to Deptford, pretending other things, but to be sure it is with regard to his own house (which is much because his family is going away). I am glad I was not at the order making, and so I will endeavour to alter it. Set out with my Lady all alone with her with six horses to Dagenhams; going by water to the Ferry. And a pleasant going, and good discourse; and when there, very merry, and the young couple now well acquainted. But, Lord! to see in what fear all the people here do live would make one mad, they are afeard of us that come to them, insomuch that I am troubled at it, and wish myself away. But some cause they have; for the chaplin, with whom but a week or two ago we were here mighty high disputing, is since fallen into a fever and dead, being gone hence to a friend’s a good way off. A sober and a healthful man. These considerations make us all hasten the marriage, and resolve it upon Monday next, which is three days before we intended it. Mighty merry all of us, and in the evening with full content took coach again and home by daylight with great pleasure, and thence I down to Woolwich, where find my wife well, and after drinking and talking a little we to bed.

alone with horses
you see in what fear
people live

mad at the dead
at Monday
even at my drink


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 28 July 1665.

Called up at 4 o’clock. Up and to my preparing some papers for Hampton Court, and so by water to Fox Hall, and there Mr. Gauden’s coach took me up, and by and by I took up him, and so both thither, a brave morning to ride in and good discourse with him. Among others he begun with me to speak of the Tangier Victuallers resigning their employment, and his willingness to come on. Of which I was glad, and took the opportunity to answer him with all kindness and promise of assistance. He told me a while since my Lord Berkeley did speak of it to him, and yesterday a message from Sir Thomas Ingram. When I come to Hampton Court I find Sir T. Ingram and Creed ready with papers signed for the putting of Mr. Gawden in, upon a resignation signed to by Lanyon and sent to Sir Thos. Ingram. At this I was surprized but yet was glad, and so it passed but with respect enough to those that are in, at least without any thing ill taken from it. I got another order signed about the boats, which I think I shall get something by. So dispatched all my business, having assurance of continuance of all hearty love from Sir W. Coventry, and so we staid and saw the King and Queene set out toward Salisbury, and after them the Duke and Duchesse, whose hands I did kiss. And it was the first time I did ever, or did see any body else, kiss her hand, and it was a most fine white and fat hand. But it was pretty to see the young pretty ladies dressed like men, in velvet coats, caps with ribbands, and with laced bands, just like men. Only the Duchesse herself it did not become. They gone, we with great content took coach again, and hungry come to Clapham about one o’clock, and Creed there too before us, where a good dinner, the house having dined, and so to walk up and down in the gardens, mighty pleasant. By and by comes by promise to me Sir G. Carteret, and viewed the house above and below, and sat and drank there, and I had a little opportunity to kiss and spend some time with the ladies above, his daughter, a buxom lass, and his sister Fissant, a serious lady, and a little daughter of hers, that begins to sing prettily. Thence, with mighty pleasure, with Sir G. Carteret by coach, with great discourse of kindnesse with him to my Lord Sandwich, and to me also; and I every day see more good by the alliance. Almost at Deptford I ‘light and walked over to Half-way House, and so home, in my way being shown my cozen Patience’s house, which seems, at distance, a pretty house. At home met the weekly Bill, where above 1000 encreased in the Bill, and of them, in all about 1,700 of the plague, which hath made the officers this day resolve of sitting at Deptford, which puts me to some consideration what to do. Therefore home to think and consider of every thing about it, and without determining any thing eat a little supper and to bed, full of the pleasure of these 6 or 7 last days.

whose kiss
was the first ever
was it like velvet

like a hungry clock
for the house
to spend time with

it begins to sing
as we reconsider
what to do or be


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 27 July 1665.

Up, and after doing a little business, down to Deptford with Sir W. Batten, and there left him, and I to Greenwich to the Park, where I hear the King and Duke are come by water this morn from Hampton Court. They asked me several questions. The King mightily pleased with his new buildings there. I followed them to Castle’s ship in building, and there, met Sir W. Batten, and thence to Sir G. Carteret’s, where all the morning with them; they not having any but the Duke of Monmouth, and Sir W. Killigrew, and one gentleman, and a page more. Great variety of talk, and was often led to speak to the King and Duke. By and by they to dinner, and all to dinner and sat down to the King saving myself, which, though I could not in modesty expect, yet, God forgive my pride! I was sorry I was there, that Sir W. Batten should say that he could sit down where I could not, though he had twenty times more reason than I, but this was my pride and folly.
I down and walked with Mr. Castle, who told me the design of Ford and Rider to oppose and do all the hurt they can to Captain Taylor in his new ship “The London,” and how it comes, and that they are a couple of false persons, which I believe, and withal that he himself is a knave too.
He and I by and by to dinner mighty nobly, and the King having dined, he come down, and I went in the barge with him, I sitting at the door. Down to Woolwich (and there I just saw and kissed my wife, and saw some of her painting, which is very curious; and away again to the King) and back again with him in the barge, hearing him and the Duke talk, and seeing and observing their manner of discourse. And God forgive me! though I admire them with all the duty possible, yet the more a man considers and observes them, the less he finds of difference between them and other men, though (blessed be God!) they are both princes of great nobleness and spirits.
The barge put me into another boat that come to our side, Mr. Holder with a bag of gold to the Duke, and so they away and I home to the office. The Duke of Monmouth is the most skittish leaping gallant that ever I saw, always in action, vaulting or leaping, or clambering.
Thence mighty full of the honour of this day, I took coach and to Kate Joyce’s, but she not within, but spoke with Anthony, who tells me he likes well of my proposal for Pall to Harman, but I fear that less than 500l. will not be taken, and that I shall not be able to give, though I did not say so to him. After a little other discourse and the sad news of the death of so many in the parish of the plague, forty last night, the bell always going, I back to the Exchange, where I went up and sat talking with my beauty, Mrs. Batelier, a great while, who is indeed one of the finest women I ever saw in my life. After buying some small matter, I home, and there to the office and saw Sir J. Minnes now come from Portsmouth, I home to set my Journall for these four days in order, they being four days of as great content and honour and pleasure to me as ever I hope to live or desire, or think any body else can live. For methinks if a man would but reflect upon this, and think that all these things are ordered by God Almighty to make me contented, and even this very marriage now on foot is one of the things intended to find me content in, in my life and matter of mirth, methinks it should make one mightily more satisfied in the world than he is. This day poor Robin Shaw at Backewell’s died, and Backewell himself now in Flanders. The King himself asked about Shaw, and being told he was dead, said he was very sorry for it.
The sicknesse is got into our parish this week, and is got, indeed, every where; so that I begin to think of setting things in order, which I pray God enable me to put both as to soul and body.

in the park
they lease new buildings

where the morning grew
they do all the hurt they can

the more a man serves
the less he finds of joy

like the death of so many things
to make me content in my life


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 26 July 1665.

Our good humour in every body continuing, and there I slept till seven o’clock. Then up and to the office, well refreshed, my eye only troubling me, which by keeping a little covered with my handkercher and washing now and then with cold water grew better by night. At noon to the ‘Change, which was very thin, and thence homeward, and was called in by Mr. Rawlinson, with whom I dined and some good company very harmlessly merry. But sad the story of the plague in the City, it growing mightily. This day my Lord Brunker did give me Mr. Grant’s book upon the Bills of Mortality, new printed and enlarged.
Thence to my office awhile, full of business, and thence by coach to the Duke of Albemarle’s, not meeting one coach going nor coming from my house thither and back again, which is very strange. One of my chief errands was to speak to Sir W. Clerke about my wife’s brother, who importunes me, and I doubt he do want mightily, but I can do little for him there as to employment in the army, and out of my purse I dare not for fear of a precedent, and letting him come often to me is troublesome and dangerous too, he living in the dangerous part of the town, but I will do what I can possibly for him and as soon as I can.
Mightily troubled all this afternoon with masters coming to me about Bills of Exchange and my signing them upon my Goldsmiths, but I did send for them all and hope to ease myself this weeke of all the clamour.
These two or three days Mr. Shaw at Alderman Backewell’s hath lain sick, like to die, and is feared will not live a day to an end.
At night home and to bed, my head full of business, and among others, this day come a letter to me from Paris from my Lord Hinchingbroke, about his coming over; and I have sent this night an order from the Duke of Albemarle for a ship of 36 guns to [go] to Calais to fetch him.

our water grew better by night
thin and harmlessly sad

my book on mortality hit back
I was living in the dangerous part of town

I bled hope to ease myself
like a bed full of guns


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 25 July 1665.

And then up and home, and there dressed myself, and by appointment to Deptford, to Sir G. Carteret’s, between six and seven o’clock, where I found him and my Lady almost ready, and by and by went over to the ferry, and took coach and six horses nobly for Dagenhams, himself and lady and their little daughter, Louisonne, and myself in the coach; where, when we come, we were bravely entertained and spent the day most pleasantly with the young ladies, and I so merry as never more. Only for want of sleep, and drinking of strong beer had a rheum in one of my eyes, which troubled me much. Here with great content all the day, as I think I ever passed a day in my life, because of the contentfulnesse of our errand, and the noblenesse of the company and our manner of going. But I find Mr. Carteret yet as backward almost in his caresses, as he was the first day. At night, about seven o’clock, took coach again; but, Lord! to see in what a pleasant humour Sir G. Carteret hath been both coming and going; so light, so fond, so merry, so boyish (so much content he takes in this business), it is one of the greatest wonders I ever saw in my mind. But once in serious discourse he did say that, if he knew his son to be a debauchee, as many and, most are now-a-days about the Court, he would tell it, and my Lady Jem. should not have him; and so enlarged both he and she about the baseness and looseness of the Court, and told several stories of the Duke of Monmouth, and Richmond, and some great person, my Lord of Ormond’s second son, married to a lady of extraordinary quality (fit and that might have been made a wife for the King himself), about six months since, that this great person hath given the pox to ———; and discoursed how much this would oblige the Kingdom if the King would banish some of these great persons publiquely from the Court, and wished it with all their hearts.
We set out so late that it grew dark, so as we doubted the losing of our way; and a long time it was, or seemed, before we could get to the water-side, and that about eleven at night, where, when we come, all merry (only my eye troubled me, as I said), we found no ferryboat was there, nor no oares to carry us to Deptford. However, afterwards oares was called from the other side at Greenwich; but, when it come, a frolique, being mighty merry, took us, and there we would sleep all night in the coach in the Isle of Doggs. So we did, there being now with us my Lady Scott, and with great pleasure drew up the glasses, and slept till daylight, and then some victuals and wine being brought us, we ate a bit, and so up and took boat, merry as might be; and when come to Sir G. Carteret’s, there all to bed.

in one of my eyes the greatest wonders
and in the other sleep

so with sure glasses
light might be art


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 24 July 1665.

(Lord’s day). Up very betimes, called by Mr. Cutler, by appointment, and with him in his coach and four horses over London Bridge to Kingston, a very pleasant journey, and at Hampton Court by nine o’clock, and in our way very good and various discourse, as he is a man, that though I think he be a knave, as the world thinks him, yet a man of great experience and worthy to be heard discourse. When we come there, we to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and there discoursed long with him, he and I alone, the others being gone away, and so walked together through the garden to the house, where we parted, I observing with a little trouble that he is too great now to expect too much familiarity with, and I find he do not mind me as he used to do, but when I reflect upon him and his business I cannot think much of it, for I do not observe anything but the same great kindness from him. I followed the King to chappell, and there hear a good sermon; and after sermon with my Lord Arlington, Sir Thomas Ingram and others, spoke to the Duke about Tangier, but not to much purpose. I was not invited any whither to dinner, though a stranger, which did also trouble me; but yet I must remember it is a Court, and indeed where most are strangers; but, however, Cutler carried me to Mr. Marriott’s the house-keeper, and there we had a very good dinner and good company, among others Lilly, the painter.
Thence to the councill-chamber, where in a back room I sat all the afternoon, but the councill begun late to sit, and spent most of the time upon Morisco’s Tarr businesse. They sat long, and I forced to follow Sir Thomas Ingram, the Duke, and others, so that when I got free and come to look for Cutler, he was gone with his coach, without leaving any word with any body to tell me so; so that I was forced with great trouble to walk up and down looking of him, and at last forced to get a boat to carry me to Kingston, and there, after eating a bit at a neat inne, which pleased me well, I took boat, and slept all the way, without intermission, from thence to Queenhive, where, it being about two o’clock, too late and too soon to go home to bed, I lay and slept till about four…

being a stranger
where most are strangers
body in a boat


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 23 July 1665.