holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and vexed a little to be forced to pay 40s. for a glass of my coach, which was broke the other day, nobody knows how, within the door, while it was down; but I do doubt that I did break it myself with my knees. After dinner, my wife and I to the Duke’s playhouse, and there did see King Harry the Eighth; and was mightily pleased, better than I ever expected, with the history and shows of it. We happened to sit by Mr. Andrews, our neighbour, and his wife, who talked so fondly to his little boy. Thence my wife and I to the ’Change; but, in going, our neere horse did fling himself, kicking of the coachbox over the pole; and a great deal of trouble it was to get him right again, and we forced to ’light, and in great fear of spoiling the horse, but there was no hurt. So to the ’Change, and then home, and there spent the evening talking, and so to supper and to bed.

I broke the other
within myself

the expected
story of a boy

a near horse
a fear horse

but there was no hurt
in talking

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 30 December 1668.

Noise cancelling

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and at the Office all the morning, and at noon to dinner, and there, by a pleasant mistake, find my uncle and aunt Wight, and three more of their company, come to dine with me to-day, thinking that they had been invited, which they were not; but yet we did give them a pretty good dinner, and mighty merry at the mistake. They sat most of the afternoon with us, and then parted, and my wife and I out, thinking to have gone to a play, but it was too far begun, and so to the ’Change, and there she and I bought several things, and so home, with much pleasure talking, and then to reading, and so to supper and to bed.

the morning din
is lean company

with the mist gone
too far
to change things

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 29 December 1668.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, called up by drums and trumpets; these things and boxes having cost me much money this Christmas already, and will do more. My wife down by water to see her mother, and I with W. Hewer all day together in my closet making some advance in the settling of my accounts, which have been so long unevened that it troubles me how to set them right, having not the use of my eyes to help me. My wife at night home, and tells me how much her mother prays for me and is troubled for my eyes; and I am glad to have friendship with them, and believe they are truly glad to see their daughter come to live so well as she do. So spent the night in talking, and so to supper and to bed.

drums and trumpets
all together in my closet
settling in for
the night

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 28 December 1668.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

(Lord’s day). Walked to White Hall and there saw the King at chapel; but staid not to hear anything, but went to walk in the Park, with W. Hewer, who was with me; and there, among others, met with Sir G. Downing, and walked with him an hour, talking of business, and how the late war was managed, there being nobody to take care of it, and telling how, when he was in Holland, what he offered the King to do, if he might have power, and they would give him power, and then, upon the least word, perhaps of a woman, to the King, he was contradicted again, and particularly to the loss of all that we lost in Guinny. He told me that he had so good spies, that he hath had the keys taken out of De Witt’s pocket when he was a-bed, and his closet opened, and papers brought to him, and left in his hands for an hour, and carried back and laid in the place again, and keys put into his pocket again. He says that he hath always had their most private debates, that have been but between two or three of the chief of them, brought to him in an hour after, and an hour after that, hath sent word thereof to the King, but nobody here regarded them. But he tells me the sad news, that he is out of all expectations that ever the debts of the Navy will be paid, if the Parliament do not enable the King to do it by money; all they can hope for to do out of the King’s revenue being but to keep our wheels a-going on present services, and, if they can, to cut off the growing interest: which is a sad story, and grieves me to the heart.
So home, my coach coming for me, and there find Balty and Mr. How, who dined with me; and there my wife and I fell out a little about the foulness of the linen of the table, but were friends presently, but she cried, poor heart! which I was troubled for, though I did not give her one hard word.
Dinner done, she to church, and W. How and I all the afternoon talking together about my Lord Sandwich’s suffering his business of the prizes to be managed by Sir R. Cuttance, who is so deep in the business, more than my Lord knows of, and such a loggerhead, and under such prejudice, that he will, we doubt, do my Lord much wrong. In the evening, he gone, my wife to read to me and talk, and spent the evening with much pleasure, and so to supper and to bed.

body of land
lost as a hand
in a pocket

body of debt
able to keep wheels going
in the heart

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 27 December 1668.

Go sign

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Lay long with pleasure, prating with my wife, and then up, and I a little to the Office, and my head busy setting some papers and accounts to rights, which being long neglected because of my eyes will take me up much time and care to do, but it must be done. So home at noon to dinner, and then abroad with my wife to a play, at the Duke of York’s house, the house full of ordinary citizens. The play was “Women Pleased,” which we had never seen before; and, though but indifferent, yet there is a good design for a good play. So home, and there to talk, and my wife to read to me, and so to bed.

long as my papers the road
ordinary citizens never see

yet there is a go sign
go home

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 26 December 1668.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

(Christmas-day). Up, and continued on my waistcoat, the first day this winter, and I to church, where Alderman Backewell, coming in late, I beckoned to his lady to come up to us, who did, with another lady; and after sermon, I led her down through the church to her husband and coach, a noble, fine woman, and a good one, and one my wife shall be acquainted with. So home, and to dinner alone with my wife, who, poor wretch! sat undressed all day, till ten at night, altering and lacing of a noble petticoat: while I by her, making the boy read to me the Life of Julius Caesar, and Des Cartes’ book of Musick — the latter of which I understand not, nor think he did well that writ it, though a most learned man. Then, after supper, I made the boy play upon his lute, which I have not done twice before since he come to me; and so, my mind in mighty content, we to bed.

this winter is a church
undressed all day
making a life of music

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 25 December 1668.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

A cold day. Up, and to the Office, where all the morning alone at the Office, nobody meeting, being the eve of Christmas. At noon home to dinner, and then to the Office busy, all the afternoon, and at night home to supper, and it being now very cold, and in hopes of a frost, I begin this night to put on a waistcoat, it being the first winter in my whole memory that ever I staid till this day before I did so. So to bed in mighty good humour with my wife, but sad, in one thing, and that is for my poor eyes.

cold body of night

cold hopes of a frost

the winter in my eyes

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 24 December 1668.

Stenographer to the powerful

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Met at the Office all the morning, and at noon to the ’Change, and there met with Langford and Mr. Franke, the landlord of my father’s house in Fleet Streete, and are come to an arbitration what my father shall give him to be freed of his lease and building the house again. Walked up and down the ’Change, and discoursed with Sir John Bankes, who thinks this prorogation will please all but the Parliament itself, which will, if ever they meet, be vexed at Buckingham, who yet governs all. He says the Nonconformists are glad of it, and, he believes, will get the upperhand in a little time, for the King must trust to them or nobody; and he thinks the King will be forced to it. He says that Sir D. Gawden is mightily troubled at Pen’s being put upon him, by the Duke of York, and that he believes he will get clear of it, which, though it will trouble me to have Pen still at the Office, yet I shall think D. Gawden do well in it, and what I would advise him to, because I love him. So home to dinner, and then with my wife alone abroad, with our new horses, the beautifullest almost that ever I saw, and the first time they ever carried her, and me but once; but we are mighty proud of them. To her tailor’s, and so to the ’Change, and laid out three or four pounds in lace, for her and me; and so home, and there I up to my Lord Brouncker, at his lodgings, and sat with him an hour, on purpose to talk over the wretched state of this Office at present, according to the present hands it is made up of; wherein he do fully concur with me, and that it is our part not only to prepare for defending it and ourselves, against the consequences of it, but to take the best ways we can, to make it known to the Duke of York; for, till Sir J. Minnes be removed, and a sufficient man brought into W. Pen’s place, when he is gone, it is impossible for this Office ever to support itself. So home, and to supper and to bed.

he who will conform
will get bled
will get clear ink

I would advise him to love
the beautifulest hands
not the pen

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 23 December 1668.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

At the office all the morning, and at noon to the ’Change, thinking to meet with Langford about my father’s house in Fleet Streete, but I come too late, and so home to dinner, and all the afternoon at the office busy, and at night home to supper and talk, and with mighty content with my wife, and so to bed.

o morning
change me
with my father’s house
come home
to a tent

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 22 December 1668.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

My own coach carrying me and my boy Tom, who goes with me in the room of W. Hewer, who could not, and I dare not go alone, to the Temple, and there set me down, the first time my fine horses ever carried me, and I am mighty proud of them, and there took a hackney and to White Hall, where a Committee of Tangier, but little to do, and so away home, calling at the Exchange and buying several little things, and so home, and there dined with my wife and people and then she, and W. Hewer, and I by appointment out with our coach, but the old horses, not daring yet to use the others too much, but only to enter them, and to the Temple, there to call Talbot Pepys, and took him up, and first went into Holborne, and there saw the woman that is to be seen with a beard. She is a little plain woman, a Dane: her name, Ursula Dyan; about forty years old; her voice like a little girl’s; with a beard as much as any man I ever saw, black almost, and grizly; they offered to shew my wife further satisfaction if she desired it, refusing it to men that desired it there, but there is no doubt but by her voice she is a woman; it begun to grow at about seven years old, and was shaved not above seven months ago, and is now so big as any man’s almost that ever I saw; I say, bushy and thick. It was a strange sight to me, I confess, and what pleased me mightily. Thence to the Duke’s playhouse, and saw “Macbeth.” The King and Court there; and we sat just under them and my Lady Castlemayne, and close to the woman that comes into the pit, a kind of a loose gossip, that pretends to be like her, and is so, something. And my wife, by my troth, appeared, I think, as pretty as any of them; I never thought so much before; and so did Talbot and W. Hewer, as they said, I heard, to one another. The King and Duke of York minded me, and smiled upon me, at the handsome woman near me but it vexed me to see Moll Davis, in the box over the King’s and my Lady Castlemayne’s head, look down upon the King, and he up to her; and so did my Lady Castlemayne once, to see who it was; but when she saw her, she looked like fire; which troubled me. The play done, took leave of Talbot, who goes into the country this Christmas, and so we home, and there I to work at the office late, and so home to supper and to bed.

who goes with me
whoever I am

born with a beard
like a red bush
thick as gossip

and a smile
like fire on Christmas

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 21 December 1668.