Pepys Diary erasure project

Up and to the office, where all the morning busy. At noon, Sir G. Carteret, Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, Sir W. Pen, and myself, were treated at the Dolphin by Mr. Foly, the ironmonger, where a good plain dinner, but I expected musique, the missing of which spoiled my dinner, only very good merry discourse at dinner.
Thence with Sir G. Carteret by coach to White Hall to a Committee of Tangier, and thence back to London, and ‘light in Cheapside and I to Nellson’s, and there met with a rub at first, but took him out to drink, and there discoursed to my great content so far with him that I think I shall agree with him for Bewpers to serve the Navy with. So with great content home and to my office, where late, and having got a great cold in my head yesterday home to supper and to bed.

ice at noon
and I expect spoil

a white light at first
but far and cold


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 27 October 1664.

Up, my people rising mighty betimes, to fit themselves to go by water; and my boy, he could not sleep, but wakes about four o’clock, and in bed lay playing on his lute till daylight, and, it seems, did the like last night till twelve o’clock.
About eight o’clock, my wife, she and her woman, and Besse and Jane, and W. Hewer and the boy, to the water-side, and there took boat, and by and by I out of doors, to look after the flaggon, to get it ready to carry to Woolwich.
That being not ready, I stepped aside and found out Nellson, he that Whistler buys his bewpers of, and did there buy 5 pieces at their price, and am in hopes thereby to bring them down or buy ourselves all we spend of Nellson at the first hand.
This jobb was greatly to my content, and by and by the flaggon being finished at the burnisher’s, I home, and there fitted myself, and took a hackney-coach I hired, it being a very cold and foule day, to Woolwich, all the way reading in a good book touching the fishery, and that being done, in the book upon the statute of charitable uses, mightily to my satisfaction.
At Woolwich; I there up to the King and Duke, and they liked the plate well. Here I staid above with them while the ship was launched, which was done with great success, and the King did very much like the ship, saying, she had the best bow that ever he saw.
But, Lord! the sorry talke and discourse among the great courtiers round about him, without any reverence in the world, but with so much disorder.
By and by the Queene comes and her Mayds of Honour; one whereof, Mrs. Boynton, and the Duchesse of Buckingham, had been very siclee coming by water in the barge (the water being very rough); but what silly sport they made with them in very common terms, methought, was very poor, and below what people think these great people say and do.
The launching being done, the King and company went down to take barge; and I sent for Mr. Pett, and put the flaggon into the Duke’s hand, and he, in the presence of the King, did give it, Mr. Pett taking it upon his knee. This Mr. Pett is wholly beholding to me for, and he do know and I believe will acknowledge it.
Thence I to Mr. Ackworth, and there eat and drank with Commissioner Pett and his wife, and thence to Shelden’s, where Sir W. Batten and his Lady were. By and by I took coach after I had enquired for my wife or her boat, but found none. Going out of the gate, an ordinary woman prayed me to give her room to London, which I did, but spoke not to her all the way, but read, as long as I could see, my book again.
Dark when we came to London, and a stop of coaches in Southwarke. I staid above half an houre and then ‘light, and finding Sir W. Batten’s coach, heard they were gone into the Beare at the Bridge foot, and thither I to them. Presently the stop is removed, and then going out to find my coach, I could not find it, for it was gone with the rest; so I fair to go through the darke and dirt over the bridge, and my leg fell in a hole broke on the bridge, but, the constable standing there to keep people from it, I was catched up, otherwise I had broke my leg; for which mercy the Lord be praised! So at Fanchurch I found my coach staying for me, and so home, where the little girle hath looked to the house well, but no wife come home, which made me begin to fear [for] her, the water being very rough, and cold and darke. But by and by she and her company come in all well, at which I was glad, though angry.
Thence I to Sir W. Batten’s, and there sat late with him, Sir R. Ford, and Sir John Robinson; the last of whom continues still the same foole he was, crying up what power he has in the City, in knowing their temper, and being able to do what he will with them. It seems the City did last night very freely lend the King 100,000l. without any security but the King’s word, which was very noble. But this loggerhead and Sir R. Ford would make us believe that they did it. Now Sir R. Ford is a cunning man, and makes a foole of the other, and the other believes whatever the other tells him. But, Lord! to think that such a man should be Lieutenant of the Tower, and so great a man as he is, is a strange thing to me.
With them late and then home and with my wife to bed, after supper.

I sleep like a boat
touching the fish
without any thought going
through the dark water


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 26 October 1664.

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and finished Sir W. Warren’s great contract for timber, with great content to me, because just in the terms I wrote last night to Sir W. Warren and against the terms proposed by Sir W. Batten.
At noon home to dinner, and there found Creed and Hawley. After dinner comes in Mrs. Ingram, the first time to make a visit to my wife. After a little stay I left them and to the Committee of the Fishery, and there did make my report of the late public collections for the Fishery, much to the satisfaction of the Committee, and I think much to my reputation, for good notice was taken of it and much it was commended.
So home, in my way taking care of a piece of plate for Mr. Christopher Pett, against the launching of his new great ship tomorrow at Woolwich, which I singly did move to His Royall Highness, and did obtain it for him, to the value of twenty pieces. And he, under his hand, do acknowledge to me that he did never receive so great a kindness from any man in the world as from me herein. So to my office, and then to supper, and then to my office again, where busy late, being very full now a days of business to my great content, I thank God, and so home to bed, my house being full of a design, to go to-morrow, my wife and all her servants, to see the new ship launched.

we eat timber because
the night proposed it

and the fish ate fish
much to the satisfaction of Christ

we eat the world
being very full now of God


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 25 October 1664.

Up and in Sir J. Minnes’ coach (alone with Mrs. Turner as far as Paternoster Row, where I set her down) to St. James’s, and there did our business, and I had the good lucke to speak what pleased the Duke about our great contract in hand with Sir W. Warren against Sir W. Batten, wherein the Duke is very earnest for our contracting.
Thence home to the office till noon, and then dined and to the ‘Change and off with Sir W. Warren for a while, consulting about managing his contract. Thence to a Committee at White Hall of Tangier, where I had the good lucke to speak something to very good purpose about the Mole at Tangier, which was well received even by Sir J. Lawson and Mr. Cholmely, the undertakers, against whose interest I spoke; that I believe I shall be valued for it. Thence into the galleries to talk with my Lord Sandwich; among other things, about the Prince’s writing up to tell us of the danger he and his fleete lie in at Portsmouth, of receiving affronts from the Dutch; which, my Lord said, he would never have done, had he lain there with one ship alone: nor is there any great reason for it, because of the sands. However, the fleete will be ordered to go and lay themselves up at the Cowes. Much beneath the prowesse of the Prince, I think, and the honour of the nation, at the first to be found to secure themselves. My Lord is well pleased to think, that, if the Duke and the Prince go, all the blame of any miscarriage will not light on him; and that if any thing goes well, he hopes he shall have the share of the glory, for the Prince is by no means well esteemed of by any body.
Thence home, and though not very well yet up late about the Fishery business, wherein I hope to give an account how I find the Collections to have been managed, which I did finish to my great content, and so home to supper and to bed.
This day the great O’Neale died; I believe, to the content of all the Protestant pretenders in Ireland.

at the undertaker’s I
shall lie in the light
I shall have no body
to give to age to tend


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 24 October 1664.

(Lord’s day). Up and to church. At noon comes unexpected Mr. Fuller, the minister, and dines with me, and also I had invited Mr. Cooper with one I judge come from sea, and he and I spent the whole afternoon together, he teaching me some things in understanding of plates. At night to the office, doing business, and then home to supper. Then a psalm, to prayers, and to bed.

an unexpected minister the hole
teaching me something of night
of sin and psalm


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 23 October 1664.

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon comes my uncle Thomas and his daughter Mary about getting me to pay them the 30l. due now, but payable in law to her husband. I did give them the best answer I could, and so parted, they not desiring to stay to dinner. After dinner I down to Deptford, and there did business, and so back to my office, where very late busy, and so home to supper and to bed.

morning comes out
in the best art

no ring to own or business
to busy up


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 22 October 1664.

Up and by coach to Mr. Cole’s, and there conferred with him about some law business, and so to Sir W. Turner’s, and there bought my cloth, coloured, for a suit and cloake, to line with plush the cloak, which will cost me money, but I find that I must go handsomely, whatever it costs me, and the charge will be made up in the fruit it brings.
Thence to the Coffee-house and ‘Change, and so home to dinner, and then to the office all the afternoon, whither comes W. Howe to see me, being come from, and going presently back to sea with my Lord. Among other things he tells me Mr. Creed is much out of favour with my Lord from his freedom of talke and bold carriage, and other things with which my Lord is not pleased, but most I doubt his not lending my Lord money, and Mr. Moore’s reporting what his answer was I doubt in the worst manner. But, however, a very unworthy rogue he is, and, therefore, let him go for one good for nothing, though wise to the height above most men I converse with.
In the evening (W. Howe being gone) comes Mr. Martin, to trouble me again to get him a Lieutenant’s place for which he is as fit as a foole can be. But I put him off like an asse, as he is, and so setting my papers and books in order: I home to supper and to bed.

a color change
in the sea at evening
setting my books in order


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 21 October 1664.

Up and to the office, where all the morning. At noon my uncle Thomas came, dined with me, and received some money of me. Then I to my office, where I took in with me Bagwell’s wife, and there I caressed her, and find her every day more and more coming with good words and promises of getting her husband a place, which I will do. So we parted, and I to my Lord Sandwich at his lodgings, and after a little stay away with Mr. Cholmely to Fleete Streete; in the way he telling me that Tangier is like to be in a bad condition with this same Fitzgerald, he being a man of no honour, nor presence, nor little honesty, and endeavours: to raise the Irish and suppress the English interest there; and offend every body, and do nothing that I hear of well, which I am sorry for.
Thence home, by the way taking two silver tumblers home, which I have bought, and so home, and there late busy at my office, and then home to supper and to bed.

where am I with my bag of sand
like a bad condition
with this little nest to press rest
every body a nothing that I am taking
home and home and home


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 20 October 1664.

Up and to my office all the morning. At noon dined at home; then abroad by coach to buy for the office “Herne upon the Statute of Charitable Uses,” in order to the doing something better in the Chest than we have done, for I am ashamed to see Sir W. Batten possess himself so long of so much money as he hath done. Coming home, weighed, my two silver flaggons at Stevens’s. They weigh 212 oz. 27 dwt., which is about 50l., at 5s. per oz., and then they judge the fashion to be worth above 5s. per oz. more — nay, some say 10s. an ounce the fashion. But I do not believe, but yet am sorry to see that the fashion is worth so much, and the silver come to no more.
So home and to my office, where very busy late. My wife at Mercer’s mother’s, I believe, W. Hewer with them, which I do not like, that he should ask my leave to go about business, and then to go and spend his time in sport, and leave me here busy. To supper and to bed, my wife coming in by and by, which though I know there was no hurt in it; I do not like.

I am ashamed to possess
so much I judge to be ash

but am sorry to see
no more of it

like the sport
I know as hurt


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 19 October 1664.

Up and to the office, where among other things we made a very great contract with Sir W. Warren for 3,000 loade of timber. At noon dined at home. In the afternoon to the Fishery, where, very confused and very ridiculous, my Lord Craven’s proceedings, especially his finding fault with Sir J. Collaton and Colonell Griffin’s report in the accounts of the lottery-men. Thence I with Mr. Gray in his coach to White Hall, but the King and Duke being abroad, we returned to Somersett House. In discourse I find him a very worthy and studious gentleman in the business of trade, and among-other things he observed well to me, how it is not the greatest wits, but the steady man, that is a good merchant: he instanced in Ford and Cocke, the last of whom he values above all men as his oracle, as Mr. Coventry do Mr. Jolliffe. He says that it is concluded among merchants, that where a trade hath once been and do decay, it never recovers again, and therefore that the manufacture of cloath of England will never come to esteem again; that, among other faults, Sir Richard Ford cannot keepe a secret, and that it is so much the part of a merchant to be guilty of that fault that the Duke of Yoke is resolved to commit no more secrets to the merchants of the Royall Company; that Sir Ellis Layton is, for a speech of forty words, the wittiest man that ever he knew in his life, but longer he is nothing, his judgment being nothing at all, but his wit most absolute. At Somersett House he carried me in, and there I saw the Queene’s new rooms, which are most stately and nobly furnished; and there I saw her, and the Duke of Yorke and Duchesse were there. The Duke espied me, and came to me, and talked with me a very great while about our contract this day with Sir W. Warren, and among other things did with some contempt ask whether we did except Polliards, which Sir W. Batten did yesterday (in spite, as the Duke I believe by my Lord Barkely do well enough know) among other things in writing propose.
Thence home by coach, it raining hard, and to my office, where late, then home to supper and to bed.
This night the Dutch Embassador desired and had an audience of the King. What the issue of it was I know not. Both sides I believe desire peace, but neither will begin, and so I believe a warr will follow. The Prince is with his fleet at Portsmouth, and the Dutch are making all preparations for warr.

a raven on the road
studious in the business of decay

the secret to life is being
no use at all


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 18 October 1664.