Pepys Diary erasure project

(Sunday). Up and at my chamber all the forenoon, at evening my accounts, which I could not do sooner, for the last month, and, blessed be God! am worth 1400l. odd money, something more than ever I was yet in the world. Dined very well at noon, and then to my office, and there and in the garden discoursed with several people about business, among others Mr. Howell, the turner, who did give me so good a discourse about the practices of the Paymaster J. Fenn that I thought fit to recollect all when he was gone, and have entered it down to be for ever remembered.
Thence to my chamber again to settle my Tangier accounts against tomorrow and some other things, and with great joy ended them, and so to supper, where a good fowl and tansy, and so to bed. Newes being come that our fleete is pursuing the Dutch, who, either by cunning, or by being worsted, do give ground, but nothing more for certain. Late to bed upon my papers being quite finished.

a god odd as the world

who practices that great joy

the owl is who I give ground to


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 4 June 1665.

Up and to White Hall, where Sir G. Carteret did go with me to Secretary Morris, and prevailed with him to let Mr. Hater be released upon bail for his appearance. So I at a loss how to get another besides myself, and got Mr. Hunt, who did patiently stay with me all the morning at Secretary Morris’s chamber, Mr. Hater being sent for with his keeper, and at noon comes in the Secretary, and upon entering [into] recognizances, he for 200l., and Mr. Hunt and I for 100l. each for his appearance upon demand, he was released, it costing him, I think, above 3l.. I thence home, vexed to be kept from the office all the morning, which I had not been in many months before, if not some years. At home to dinner, and all the afternoon at the office, where late at night, and much business done, then home to supper and to bed.
All this day by all people upon the River, and almost every where else hereabout were heard the guns, our two fleets for certain being engaged; which was confirmed by letters from Harwich, but nothing particular: and all our hearts full of concernment for the Duke, and I particularly for my Lord Sandwich and Mr. Coventry after his Royall Highnesse.

go with me
stay with me
keep me from the ice

night and the river
gun for our hearts


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 3 June 1665.

Lay troubled in mind abed a good while, thinking of my Tangier and victualling business, which I doubt will fall. Up and to the Duke of Albemarle, but missed him. Thence to the Harp and Ball and to Westminster Hall, where I visited “the flowersin each place, and so met with Mr. Creed, and he and I to Mrs. Croft’s to drink and did, but saw not her daughter Borroughes. I away home, and there dined and did business. In the afternoon went with my tallys, made a fair end with Colvill and Viner, delivering them 5000l. tallys to each and very quietly had credit given me upon other tallys of Mr. Colvill for 2000l. and good words for more, and of Mr. Viner too. Thence to visit the Duke of Albemarle, and thence my Lady Sandwich and Lord Crew. Thence home, and there met an expresse from Sir W. Batten at Harwich, that the fleete is all sailed from Solebay, having spied the Dutch fleete at sea, and that, if the calmes hinder not, they must needs now be engaged with them.
Another letter also come to me from Mr. Hater, committed by the Council this afternoon to the Gate House, upon the misfortune of having his name used by one, without his knowledge or privity, for the receiving of some powder that he had bought.
Up to Court about these two, and for the former was led up to my Lady Castlemayne’s lodgings, where the King and she and others were at supper, and there I read the letter and returned; and then to Sir G. Carteret about Hater, and shall have him released to-morrow, upon my giving bail for his appearance, which I have promised to do. Sir G. Carteret did go on purpose to the King to ask this, and it was granted. So home at past 12, almost one o’clock in the morning.
To my office till past two, and then home to supper and to bed.

doubt flowers in each place I drink
each quiet home with the misfortune
of having me within

about my art
about my purpose
and I rant till past two


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 2 June 1665.

Up and to the office, where sat all the morning, at noon to the ‘Change, and there did some business, and home to dinner, whither Creed comes, and after dinner I put on my new silke camelott sute; the best that ever I wore in my life, the sute costing me above 24l.. In this I went with Creed to Goldsmiths’ Hall, to the burial of Sir Thomas Viner; which Hall, and Haberdashers also, was so full of people, that we were fain for ease and coolness to go forth to Pater Noster Row, to choose a silke to make me a plain ordinary suit. That done, we walked to Cornehill, and there at Mr. Cade’s stood in the balcon and saw all the funeral, which was with the blue-coat boys and old men, all the Aldermen, and Lord Mayor, &c., and the number of the company very great; the greatest I ever did see for a taverne. Hither come up to us Dr. Allen, and then Mr. Povy and Mr. Fox. The show being over, and my discourse with Mr. Povy, I took coach and to Westminster Hall, where I took the fairest flower, and by coach to Tothill Fields for the ayre till it was dark. I ‘light, and in with the fairest flower to eat a cake, and there did do as much as was safe with my flower, and that was enough on my part. Broke up, and away without any notice, and, after delivering the rose where it should be, I to the Temple and ‘light, and come to the middle door, and there took another coach, and so home to write letters, but very few, God knows, being by my pleasure made to forget everything that is. The coachman that carried [us] cannot know me again, nor the people at the house where we were.
Home to bed, certain news being come that our fleete is in sight of the Dutch ships.

I put on my best suit
to go to the burial
of an ordinary blue flower

we do not live in the light
and come to forget everything

a coachman cannot know us
where we were


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 1 June 1665.

Up, and to my office, and to Westminster, doing business till noon, and then to the ‘Change, where great the noise and trouble of having our Hambrough ships lost; and that very much placed upon Mr. Coventry’s forgetting to give notice to them of the going away of our fleete from the coast of Holland. But all without reason, for he did; but the merchants not being ready, staid longer than the time ordered for the convoy to stay, which was ten days. Thence home with Creed and Mr. Moore to dinner. Anon we broke up, and Creed and I to discourse about our Tangier matters of money, which vex me. So to Gresham College, staid a very little while, and away and I home busy, and busy late, at the end of the month, about my month’s accounts, but by the addition of Tangier it is rendered more intricate, and so (which I have not done these 12 months, nor would willingly have done now) failed of having it done, but I will do it as soon as I can. So weary and sleepy to bed. I endeavoured but missed of seeing Sir Thomas Ingram at Westminster, so went to Houseman’s the Painter, who I intend shall draw my wife, but he was not within, but I saw several very good pictures.

where is our lost
and laced-up time

we broke up
about matters of money

intricate as an ear
my wife was within


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 31 May 1665.

Lay long, and very busy all the morning, at noon to the ‘Change, and thence to dinner to Sir G. Carteret’s, to talk upon the business of insuring our goods upon the Hambrough [ships]. Here a very fine, neat French dinner, without much cost, we being all alone with my Lady and one of the house with her.
Thence home and wrote letters, and then in the evening, by coach, with my wife and mother and Mercer, our usual tour by coach, and eat at the old house at Islington; but, Lord! to see how my mother found herself talk upon every object to think of old stories. Here I met with one that tells me that Jack Cole, my old schoolefellow, is dead and buried lately of a consumption, who was a great crony of mine.
So back again home, and there to my closet to write letters. Hear to my great trouble that our Hambrough ships, valued of the King’s goods and the merchants’ (though but little of the former) to 200,000l. [are lost]. By and by, about 11 at night, called into the garden by my Lady Pen and daughter, and there walked with them and my wife till almost twelve, and so in and closed my letters, and home to bed.

I am all alone with her letters
in the evening
her old talk upon every object

dead letters that call to my pen
so close


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 30 May 1665.

Lay long in bed, being in some little pain of the wind collique, then up and to the Duke of Albemarle, and so to the Swan, and there drank at Herbert’s, and so by coach home, it being kept a great holiday through the City, for the birth and restoration of the King. To my office, where I stood by and saw Symson the joyner do several things, little jobbs, to the rendering of my closet handsome and the setting up of some neat plates that Burston has for my money made me, and so home to dinner, and then with my wife, mother, and Mercer in one boat, and I in another, down to Woolwich. I walking from Greenwich, the others going to and fro upon the water till my coming back, having done but little business. So home and to supper, and, weary, to bed. We have every where taken some prizes. Our merchants have good luck to come home safe: Colliers from the North, and some Streights men just now. And our Hambrough ships, of whom we were so much afeard, are safe in Hambrough. Our fleete resolved to sail out again from Harwich in a day or two.

a little wind for the little boat
going to and fro
on one little sail


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 29 May 1665.

(Lord’s day). By water to the Duke of Albemarle, where I hear that Nixon is condemned to be shot to death, for his cowardice, by a Council of War. Went to chapel and heard a little musique, and there met with Creed, and with him a little while walking, and to Wilkinson’s for me to drink, being troubled with winde, and at noon to Sir Philip Warwicke’s to dinner, where abundance of company come in unexpectedly; and here I saw one pretty piece of household stuff, as the company increaseth, to put a larger leaf upon an oval table. After dinner much good discourse with Sir Philip, who I find, I think, a most pious, good man, and a professor of a philosophical manner of life and principles like Epictetus, whom he cites in many things. Thence to my Lady Sandwich’s, where, to my shame, I had not been a great while before. Here, upon my telling her a story of my Lord Rochester’s running away on Friday night last with Mrs. Mallett, the great beauty and fortune of the North, who had supped at White Hall with Mrs. Stewart, and was going home to her lodgings with her grandfather, my Lord Haly, by coach; and was at Charing Cross seized on by both horse and foot men, and forcibly taken from him, and put into a coach with six horses, and two women provided to receive her, and carried away. Upon immediate pursuit, my Lord of Rochester (for whom the King had spoke to the lady often, but with no successe) was taken at Uxbridge; but the lady is not yet heard of, and the King mighty angry, and the Lord sent to the Tower. Hereupon my Lady did confess to me, as a great secret, her being concerned in this story. For if this match breaks between my Lord Rochester and her, then, by the consent of all her friends, my Lord Hinchingbroke stands fair, and is invited for her. She is worth, and will be at her mother’s death (who keeps but a little from her), 2500l. per annum. Pray God give a good success to it! But my poor Lady, who is afeard of the sickness, and resolved to be gone into the country, is forced to stay in towne a day or two, or three about it, to see the event of it. Thence home and to see my Lady Pen, where my wife and I were shown a fine rarity: of fishes kept in a glass of water, that will live so for ever; and finely marked they are, being foreign. So to supper at home and to bed, after many people being with me about business, among others the two Bellamys about their old debt due to them from the King for their victualling business, out of which I hope to get some money.

condemned to
an abundance of stuff

I find a philosophical
manner of life

like a fine fish kept
in a glass of water


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 28 May 1665.

Up, and to the office, where all the morning; at noon dined at home, and then to my office again, where late, and so to bed, with my mind full of fears for the business of this office and troubled with that of Tangier, concerning which Mr. Povy was with me, but do give me little help, but more reason of being troubled. So that were it not for our Plymouth business I would be glad to be rid of it.

my mind full of fears
were it not for our mouth
I would be glad to be rid of it


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 27 May 1665.

Up at 4 o’clock, and all the morning in my office with W. Hewer finishing my papers that were so long out of order, and at noon to my bookseller’s, and there bespoke a book or two, and so home to dinner, where Creed dined with me, and he and I afterwards to Alderman Backewell’s to try him about supplying us with money, which he denied at first and last also, saving that he spoke a little fairer at the end than before. But the truth is I do fear I shall have a great deale of trouble in getting of money. Thence home, and in the evening by water to the Duke of Albemarle, whom I found mightily off the hooks, that the ships are not gone out of the River; which vexed me to see, insomuch that I am afeard that we must expect some change or addition of new officers brought upon us, so that I must from this time forward resolve to make myself appear eminently serviceable in attending at my office duly and no where else, which makes me wish with all my heart that I had never anything to do with this business of Tangier. After a while at my office, home to supper vexed, and to bed.

my books spoke to me
about the end

but I fear I shall have
a great deal of evening

the hooks are gone
out of the river

I expect some new time
to make myself a wish


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 26 May 1665.