Rush hour

Up, and to the office, where all the morning, and, at noon to dinner, and Mr. Cooke dined with us, who is lately come from Hinchingbroke, who is also come to town: The family all well. Then I to the office, where very busy to state to Mr. Coventry the account of the victuals of the fleete, and late at it, and then home to supper and to bed.
This evening, Sir W. Pen come into the garden, and walked with me, and told me that he had certain notice that at Flushing they are in great distraction. De Ruyter dares not come on shore for fear of the people; nor any body open their houses or shops for fear of the tumult: which is a very good hearing.

inching to town
all of us

into the lush body
of tumult


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 4 August 1666.

Heat

Up and to the office, where Sir W. Batten and I sat to contract for some fire-ships. I there close all the morning. At noon home to dinner, and then abroad to Sir Philip Warwicke’s at White Hall about Tangier one quarter tallys, and there had some serious discourse touching money, and the case of the Navy, wherein all I could get of him was that we had the full understanding of the treasure as much as my Lord Treasurer himself, and knew what he can do, and that whatever our case is, more money cannot be got till the Parliament. So talked of getting an account ready as soon as we could to give the Parliament, and so very melancholy parted. So I back again, calling my wife at her sister’s, from whose husband we do now hear that he was safe this week, and going in a ship to the fleete from the buoy of the Nore, where he has been all this while, the fleete being gone before he got down. So home, and busy till night, and then to Sir W. Pen, with my wife, to sit and chat, and a small supper, and home to bed.
The death of Everson, and the report of our success, beyond expectation, in the killing of so great a number of men, hath raised the estimation of the late victory considerably; but it is only among fools: for all that was but accidental. But this morning, getting Sir .W. Pen to read over the Narrative with me, he did sparingly, yet plainly, say that we might have intercepted their Zealand squadron coming home, if we had done our parts; and more, that we might have spooned before the wind as well as they, and have overtaken their ships in the pursuite, in all the while.

fire touching all I had
my melancholy art
my home till death

all that was accidental
but in the narrative I say
we might have done more
we might have spooned


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 3 August 1666.

Looking backward

[Up] and to the office, where we sat, and in discourse at the table with Sir W. Batten, I was obliged to tell him it was an untruth, which did displease him mightily, and parted at noon very angry with me. At home find Lovett, who brought me some papers varnished, and showed me my crucifix, which will be very fine when done. He dined with me and Balty’s wife, who is in great pain for her husband, not hearing of him since the fight; but I understand he was not in it, going hence too late, and I am glad of it. Thence to the office, and thither comes to me Creed, and he and I walked a good while, and then to the victualling office together, and there with Mr. Gawden I did much business, and so away with Creed again, and by coach to see my Lord Bruncker, who it seems was not well yesterday, but being come thither, I find his coach ready to carry him abroad, but Tom, his footman, whatever the matter was, was lothe to desire me to come in, but I walked a great while in the Piatza till I was going away, but by and by my Lord himself comes down and coldly received me. So I soon parted, having enough for my over officious folly in troubling myself to visit him, and I am apt to think that he was fearfull that my coming was out of design to see how he spent his time [rather] than to enquire after his health. So parted, and I with Creed down to the New Exchange Stairs, and there I took water, and he parted, so home, and then down to Woolwich, reading and making an end of the “Rival Ladys,” and find it a very pretty play. At Woolwich, it being now night, I find my wife and Mercer, and Mr. Batelier and Mary there, and a supper getting ready. So I staid, in some pain, it being late, and post night. So supped and merrily home, but it was twelve at night first. However, sent away some letters, and home to bed.

an untruth might fix me
if I walk with it

yesterday is road enough
I am full of time

the new stairs took me
down to a rival now

night and a supper
getting ready

night as night
first let me be


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 2 August 1666.

Visionary

Up betimes to the settling of my last month’s accounts, and I bless God I find them very clear, and that I am worth 5700l., the most that ever my book did yet make out. So prepared to attend the Duke of Yorke as usual, but Sir W. Pen, just as I was going out, comes home from Sheernesse, and held me in discourse about publique business, till I come by coach too late to St. James’s, and there find that every thing stood still, and nothing done for want of me. Thence walked over the Parke with Sir W. Coventry, who I clearly see is not thoroughly pleased with the late management of the fight, nor with any thing that the Generalls do; only is glad to hear that De Ruyter is out of favour, and that this fight hath cost them 5,000 men, as they themselves do report. And it is a strange thing, as he observes, how now and then the slaughter runs on one hand; there being 5,000 killed on theirs, and not above 400 or 500 killed and wounded on ours, and as many flag-officers on theirs as ordinary captains in ours; there being Everson, and the Admiral and Vice- Admiral of Freezeland on theirs, and Seamour, Martin, and ——, on ours. I left him going to Chappell, it being the common fast day, and the Duke of York at Chappell. And I to Mrs. Martin’s, but she abroad, so I sauntered to or again to the Abbey, and then to the parish church, fearfull of being seen to do so, and so after the parish church was ended, I to the Swan and there dined upon a rabbit, and after dinner to Mrs. Martin’s, and there find Mrs. Burroughs, and by and by comes a pretty widow, one Mrs. Eastwood, and one Mrs. Fenton, a maid; and here merry kissing and looking on their breasts, and all the innocent pleasure in the world. But, Lord! to see the dissembling of this widow, how upon the singing of a certain jigg by Doll, Mrs. Martin’s sister, she seemed to be sick and fainted and God knows what, because the jigg, which her husband (who died this last sickness) loved. But by and by I made her as merry as is possible, and towzed and tumbled her as I pleased, and then carried her and her sober pretty kinswoman Mrs. Fenton home to their lodgings in the new market of my Lord Treasurer’s, and there left them. Mightily pleased with this afternoon’s mirth, but in great pain to ride in a coach with them, for fear of being seen.
So home, and there much pleased with my wife’s drawing today in her pictures, and so to supper and to bed very pleasant.

just as I was going out
everything stood still

I see the generals
and their wounded flag freeze
as fearful of being seen
as a rabbit

and in the wood
the innocent singing
of a god who died


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 1 August 1666.

Settler’s quandary

Good friends in the morning and up to the office, where sitting all the morning, and while at table we were mightily joyed with newes brought by Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten of the death of De Ruyter, but when Sir W. Coventry come, he told us there was no such thing, which quite dashed me again, though, God forgive me! I was a little sorry in my heart before lest it might give occasion of too much glory to the Duke of Albemarle.
Great bandying this day between Sir W. Coventry and my Lord Bruncker about Captain Cocke, which I am well pleased with, while I keepe from any open relyance on either side, but rather on Sir W. Coventry’s.
At noon had a haunch of venison boiled and a very good dinner besides, there dining with me on a sudden invitation the two mayden sisters, Bateliers, and their elder brother, a pretty man, understanding and well discoursed, much pleased with his company.
Having dined myself I rose to go to a Committee of Tangier, and did come thither time enough to meet Povy and Creed and none else. The Court being empty, the King being gone to Tunbridge, and the Duke of Yorke a-hunting. I had some discourse with Povy, who is mightily discontented, I find, about his disappointments at Court; and says, of all places, if there be hell, it is here. No faith, no truth, no love, nor any agreement between man and wife, nor friends. He would have spoke broader, but I put it off to another time; and so parted.
Then with Creed and read over with him the narrative of the late [fight], which he makes a very poor thing of, as it is indeed, and speaks most slightingly of the whole matter.
Povy discoursed with me about my Lord Peterborough’s 50l. which his man did give me from him, the last year’s salary I paid him, which he would have Povy pay him again; but I have not taken it to myself yet, and therefore will most heartily return him, and mark him out for a coxcomb.
Povy went down to Mr. Williamson’s, and brought me up this extract out of the Flanders’ letters to-day come: That Admiral Everson, and the Admiral and Vice-Admiral of Freezeland, with many captains and men, are slain; that De Ruyter is safe, but lost 250 men out of his own ship; but that he is in great disgrace, and Trump in better favour; that Bankert’s ship is burned, himself hardly escaping with a few men on board De Haes; that fifteen captains are to be tried the seventh of August; and that the hangman was sent from Flushing to assist the Council of Warr. How much of this is true, time will shew.
Thence to Westminster Hall and walked an hour with Creed talking of the late fight, and observing the ridiculous management thereof and success of the Duke of Albemarle.
Thence parted and to Mrs. Martin’s lodgings, and sat with her a while, and then by water home, all the way reading the Narrative of the late fight in order, it may be, to the making some marginal notes upon it.
At the Old Swan found my Betty Michell at the doore, where I staid talking with her a pretty while, it being dusky, and kissed her and so away home and writ my letters, and then home to supper, where the, brother and Mary Batelier are still and Mercer’s two sisters. They have spent the time dancing this afternoon, and we were very merry, and then after supper into the garden and there walked, and then home with them and then back again, my wife and I and the girls, and sang in the garden and then to bed.
Colville was with me this morning, and to my great joy I could now have all my money in, that I have in the world. But the times being open again, I thinke it is best to keepe some of it abroad.
Mighty well, and end this month in content of mind and body. The publique matters looking more safe for the present than they did, and we having a victory over the Dutch just such as I could have wished, and as the kingdom was fit to bear, enough to give us the name of conquerors, and leave us masters of the sea, but without any such great matters done as should give the Duke of Albemarle any honour at all, or give him cause to rise to his former insolence.

were there no such thing as hell here
no faith no truth no love
would it matter
would I have taken it to heart

how much of this is true
the marginal swan
the dancing girls
this open road of a body

is it enough to give us
the name of conquerors


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 31 July 1666.

Reader’s remorse

Up, and did some business in my chamber, then by and by comes my boy’s Lute-Master, and I did direct him hereafter to begin to teach him to play his part on the Theorbo, which he will do, and that in a little time I believe. So to the office, and there with Sir W. Warren, with whom I have spent no time a good while. We set right our business of the Lighters, wherein I thinke I shall get 100l.. At noon home to dinner and there did practise with Mercer one of my new tunes that I have got Dr. Childe to set me a base to and it goes prettily. Thence abroad to pay several debts at the end of the month, and so to Sir W. Coventry, at St. James’s, where I find him in his new closett, which is very fine, and well supplied with handsome books. I find him speak very slightly of the late victory: dislikes their staying with the fleete up their coast, believing that the Dutch will come out in fourteen days, and then we with our unready fleete, by reason of some of the ships being maymed, shall be in bad condition to fight them upon their owne coast: is much dissatisfied with the great number of men, and their fresh demands of twenty-four victualling ships, they going out but the other day as full as they could stow. I asked him whether he did never desire an account of the number of supernumeraries, as I have done several ways, without which we shall be in great errour about the victuals; he says he has done it again and again, and if any mistake should happen they must thanke themselves. He spoke slightly of the Duke of Albemarle, saying, when De Ruyter come to give him a broadside — “Now,” says he, chewing of tobacco the while, “will this fellow come and give, me two broadsides, and then he will run;” but it seems he held him to it two hours, till the Duke himself was forced to retreat to refit, and was towed off, and De Ruyter staid for him till he come back again to fight. One in the ship saying to the Duke, “Sir, methinks De Ruyter hath given us more: than two broadsides;” — “Well,” says the Duke, “but you shall find him run by and by,” and so he did, says Sir W. Coventry; but after the Duke himself had been first made to fall off.
The Resolution had all brass guns, being the same that Sir J. Lawson had in her in the Straights.
It is observed that the two fleetes were even in number to one ship.
Thence home; and to sing with my wife and Mercer in the garden; and coming in I find my wife plainly dissatisfied with me, that I can spend so much time with Mercer, teaching her to sing and could never take the pains with her. Which I acknowledge; but it is because that the girl do take musique mighty readily, and she do not, and musique is the thing of the world that I love most, and all the pleasure almost that I can now take. So to bed in some little discontent, but no words from me.

books like ships with fresh
stowaway selves

give me back
my plain words


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 30 July 1666.

Scribal

(Lord’s day). Up and all the morning in my chamber making up my accounts in my book with my father and brother and stating them. Towards noon before sermon was done at church comes newes by a letter to Sir W. Batten, to my hand, of the late fight, which I sent to his house, he at church. But, Lord! with what impatience I staid till sermon was done, to know the issue of the fight, with a thousand hopes and fears and thoughts about the consequences of either. At last sermon is done and he come home, and the bells immediately rung soon as the church was done. But coming to Sir W. Batten to know the newes, his letter said nothing of it; but all the towne is full of a victory. By and by a letter from Sir W. Coventry tells me that we have the victory. Beat them into the Weelings; had taken two of their great ships; but by the orders of the Generalls they are burned. This being, methought, but a poor result after the fighting of two so great fleetes, and four days having no tidings of them, I was still impatient; but could know no more. So away home to dinner, where Mr. Spong and Reeves dined with me by invitation. And after dinner to our business of my microscope to be shown some of the observables of that, and then down to my office to looke in a darke room with my glasses and tube, and most excellently things appeared indeed beyond imagination. This was our worke all the afternoon trying the several glasses and several objects, among others, one of my plates, where the lines appeared so very plain that it is not possible to thinke how plain it was done.
Thence satisfied exceedingly with all this we home and to discourse many pretty things, and so staid out the afternoon till it began to be dark, and then they away and I to Sir W. Batten, where the Lieutenant of the Tower was, and Sir John Minnes, and the newes I find is no more or less than what I had heard before; only that our Blue squadron, it seems, was pursued the most of the time, having more ships, a great many, than its number allotted to her share. Young Seamour is killed, the only captain slain. The Resolution burned; but, as they say, most of her [crew] and commander saved. This is all, only we keep the sea, which denotes a victory, or at least that we are not beaten; but no great matters to brag of, God knows. So home to supper and to bed.

making a book by hand
with what patience I know

a thousand bells rung
as the church burned

or in a microscope how things appear
beyond imagination

I work all afternoon
on one line

no ink as dark
as the blue I pursue


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 29 July 1666.

Cravings

Up, and to the office, where no more newes of the fleete than was yesterday. Here we sat and at noon to dinner to the Pope’s Head, where my Lord Bruncker and his mistresse dined and Commissioner Pett, Dr. Charleton, and myself, entertained with a venison pasty by Sir W. Warren. Here very pretty discourse of Dr. Charleton’s, concerning Nature’s fashioning every creature’s teeth according to the food she intends them; and that men’s, it is plain, was not for flesh, but for fruit, and that he can at any time tell the food of a beast unknown by the teeth. My Lord Bruncker made one or two objections to it that creatures find their food proper for their teeth rather than that the teeth were fitted for the food, but the Doctor, I think, did well observe that creatures do naturally and from the first, before they have had experience to try, do love such a food rather than another, and that all children love fruit, and none brought to flesh, but against their wills at first.
Thence with my Lord Bruncker to White Hall, where no news. So to St. James’s to Sir W. Coventry, and there hear only of the Bredah’s being come in and gives the same small account that the other did yesterday, so that we know not what is done by the body of the fleete at all, but conceive great reason to hope well.
Thence with my Lord to his coach-house, and there put in his six horses into his coach, and he and I alone to Highgate. All the way going and coming I learning of him the principles of Optickes, and what it is that makes an object seem less or bigger and how much distance do lessen an object, and that it is not the eye at all, or any rule in optiques, that can tell distance, but it is only an act of reason comparing of one mark with another, which did both please and inform me mightily. Being come thither we went to my Lord Lauderdale’s house to speake with him, about getting a man at Leith to joyne with one we employ to buy some prize goods for the King; we find [him] and his lady and some Scotch people at supper. Pretty odd company; though my Lord Bruncker tells me, my Lord Lauderdale is a man of mighty good reason and judgement. But at supper there played one of their servants upon the viallin some Scotch tunes only; several, and the best of their country, as they seemed to esteem them, by their praising and admiring them: but, Lord! the strangest ayre that ever I heard in my life, and all of one cast. But strange to hear my Lord Lauderdale say himself that he had rather hear a cat mew, than the best musique in the world; and the better the musique, the more sicke it makes him; and that of all instruments, he hates the lute most, and next to that, the baggpipe.
Thence back with my Lord to his house, all the way good discourse, informing of myself about optiques still, and there left him and by a hackney home, and after writing three or four letters, home to supper and to bed.

nature fashioning teeth for flesh
teeth for teeth
teeth for love

white horses
going and coming

lessen the distance
to joy
or the odd scotch


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 28 July 1666.

Sublimation

Up, and to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined at home: Mr. Hunt and his wife, who is very gallant, and newly come from Cambridge, because of the sicknesse, with us. Very merry at table, and the people I do love mightily, but being in haste to go to White Hall I rose, and Mr. Hunt with me, and by coach thither, where I left him in the boarded gallery, and I by appointment to attend the Duke of Yorke at his closett, but being not come, Sir G. Carteret and I did talke together, and [he] advises me, that, if I could, I would get the papers of examination touching the business of the last year’s prizes, which concern my Lord Sandwich, out of Warcupp’s hands, who being now under disgrace and poor, he believes may be brought easily to part with them. My Lord Crew, it seems, is fearfull yet that maters may be enquired into. This I will endeavour to do, though I do not thinke it signifies much.
By and by the Duke of Yorke comes and we had a meeting and, among other things, I did read my declaration of the proceedings of the Victualling hired this yeare, and desired his Royall Highnesse to give me the satisfaction of knowing whether his Royall Highnesse were pleased therewith. He told me he was, and that it was a good account, and that the business of the Victualling was much in a better condition than it was the last yeare; which did much joy me, being said in the company of my fellows, by which I shall be able with confidence to demand my salary and the rest of the subsurveyors.
Thence away mightily satisfied to Mrs. Pierces, there to find my wife. Mrs. Pierce hath lain in of a boy about a month. The boy is dead this day. She lies in good state, and very pretty she is, but methinks do every day grow more and more great, and a little too much, unless they get more money than I fear they do.
Thence with my wife and Mercer to my Lord Chancellor’s new house, and there carried them up to the leads, where I find my Lord Chamberlain, Lauderdale, Sir Robert Murray, and others, and do find it the most delightfull place for prospect that ever was in the world, and even ravishing me, and that is all, in short, I can say of it.
Thence to Islington to our old house and eat and drank, and so round by Kingsland home, and there to the office a little and Sir W. Batten’s, but no newes at all from the fleete, and so home to bed.

with love but no touch
my hand may become a wing

in the company of the dead
I find the light ravishing


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 26 July 1666.

Unholy rollers

Up betimes to write fair my last night’s paper for the Duke, and so along with Sir W. Batten by hackney coach to St. James’s, where the Duke is gone abroad with the King to the Parke, but anon come back to White Hall, and we, after an houre’s waiting, walked thither (I having desired Sir W. Coventry in his chamber to read over my paper about the victualling, which he approves of, and I am glad I showed it him first, it makes it the less necessary to show it the Duke at all, if I find it best to let it alone). At White Hall we find [the Court] gone to Chappell, it being St. James’s-day. And by and by, while they are at chappell, and we waiting chappell being done, come people out of the Parke, telling us that the guns are heard plain. And so every body to the Parke, and by and by the chappell done, and the King and Duke into the bowling-green, and upon the leads, whither I went, and there the guns were plain to be heard; though it was pretty to hear how confident some would be in the loudnesse of the guns, which it was as much as ever I could do to hear them. By and by the King to dinner, and I waited there his dining; but, Lord! how little I should be pleased, I think, to have so many people crowding about me; and among other things it astonished me to see my Lord Barkeshire waiting at table, and serving the King drink, in that dirty pickle as I never saw man in my life. Here I met Mr. Williams, who in serious discourse told me he did hope well of this fight because of the equality of force or rather our having the advantage in number, and also because we did not go about it with the presumption that we did heretofore, when, he told me, he did before the last fight look upon us by our pride fated to be overcome.
He would have me to dine where he was invited to dine, at the Backe-stayres. So after the King’s meat was taken away, we thither; but he could not stay, but left me there among two or three of the King’s servants, where we dined with the meat that come from his table; which was most excellent, with most brave drink cooled in ice (which at this hot time was welcome), and I drinking no wine, had metheglin for the King’s owne drinking, which did please me mightily.
Thence, having dined mighty nobly, I away to Mrs. Martin’s new lodgings, where I find her, and was with her close, but, Lord! how big she is already. She is, at least seems, in mighty trouble for her husband at sea, when I am sure she cares not for him, and I would not undeceive her, though I know his ship is one of those that is not gone, but left behind without men.
Thence to White Hall again to hear news, but found none; so back toward Westminster, and there met Mrs. Burroughs, whom I had a mind to meet, but being undressed did appear a mighty ordinary woman. Thence by water home, and out again by coach to Lovett’s to see my Crucifix, which is not done. So to White Hall again to have met Sir G. Carteret, but he is gone, abroad, so back homewards, and seeing Mr. Spong took him up, and he and I to Reeves, the glass maker’s, and did set several glasses and had pretty discourse with him, and so away, and set down Mr. Spong in London, and so home and with my wife, late, twatling at my Lady Pen’s, and so home to supper and to bed.
I did this afternoon call at my woman that ruled my paper to bespeak a musique card, and there did kiss Nan.
No news to-night from the fleete how matters go yet.

in a chapel of lead
how loud about the Lord we are

who undress a crucifix
to see the maker’s kiss


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 25 July 1666.