Friday 14 September 1660

(Office day). I got 42l. 15s. appointed me by bill for my employment of Secretary to the 4th of this month, it being the last money I shall receive upon that score.

My wife went this afternoon to see my mother, who I hear is very ill, at which my heart is very sad.

In the afternoon Luellin comes to my house, and takes me out to the Mitre in Wood Street, where Mr. Samford, W. Symons and his wife, and Mrs. Scobell, Mr. Mount and Chetwind, where they were very merry, Luellin being drunk, and I being to defend the ladies from his kissing them, I kissed them myself very often with a great deal of mirth. Parted very late, they by coach to Westminster, and I on foot.

11 Annotations

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"I kissed them very often" Can you believe SP,his mother is dying and he is frolicking with the ladies...Shame

chris bailey   Link to this

The 42 pounds was apparently a portion of Sam's salary as sec. to Mountagu, covering 78 days service. This doesn't seem very much. Can anyone give a modern estimate of its value?

Paul Brewster   Link to this

his mother is dying
We may be overdoing it a bit here. As a plot spoiler, tomorrow he'll write of an improvement in her condition. He probably doesn't know that as he writes this entry. But as I think we'll see on other occasions, SP doesn't appear to be at his best when dealing with illness or death.
By the way, his mother will die in 1667.

Larry Bunce   Link to this

Really old prices are hard to translate, simce some things were very expensive compared to now, and other things really cheap. For comparisons within this diary so far, Samuel Pepys' salary back in January was 35 pounds per year, and he is currently trying to rent out his old house for about 40 pounds per year. I would assume rent for a house in Westminster (or anywhere in Greater London) would be several times that in 2003.

Tim Haas   Link to this

According to Economic History Sources ( http://eh.net/hmit/ppowerbp/ ), 42l. 15s. has the same purchasing power as £3870.48 in 2002, or about $6,215.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"to defend the ladies from his kissing them, I kissed them myself very often"
From this and *many* similar entries, past and I suspect yet to come, I suggest we have to see wenching not as 21st-century Westerners do (now it would get you and your employer sued!), but simply as a permissible social play, "a night out with the boys." Out of the same period decorum that discourages loud farting but chortles at the silent-but-deadly waft, you might not flaunt it before your wife, but you wouldn't bring a troubled morning-after conscience to Sunday church. (This is an age of bear-baiting, dueling, pisspots in mixed company, and heavy slapstick.) Add to that a certain fatalism about death (birth, childbirth, any sort of injury or ague) and we may, just possibly, see it as a kind of emotional refuge, a participatory Restoration Boob Tube ...

Nix   Link to this

The 42 pounds looks like the payment he was asking Downing for (see entry of Sept. 3).

Let's not be priggish. There's nothing unusual (or shameful) about a man whose "heart is very sad" looking for diversion or oblivion.

Paul Brewster   Link to this

The 42 pounds looks like the payment he was asking Downing for (see entry of Sept. 3).
Not according to L&M: This money is for his service as a Secratary to Montagu at sea. It's pro rata share for 78 days service on an annual salary of £200. With Downing he was earning about £50 per year. As a plot spoiler, he doesn’t see the money for his service with Downing while at sea until January 10th.

Glyn   Link to this

William Symons brought his wife to the Mitre tavern, so why didn't Pepys also bring his wife Elizabeth? It's perfectly respectable for women to visit taverns accompanied by their husbands. But perhaps she's too busy overseeing the builders, or perhaps she's fastidious about going to smoke-filled pubs?

If Pepys mother and father are still living in Salisbury Court near St Brides church (are they?) then he passes their house every day on his way to work, surely he could stop off for a few minutes.

Pauline   Link to this

Sam and Elisabeth spent separate afternoons.
She was unavailable to accompany him because she had set out to visit his mother and later reports that she is not well at all; meanwhile Sam ends up at the Mitre kissing the women.
I think that he reports these two "afternoons" in a certain order does not mean that he knew the outcome of the first while partaking in the second.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"who I hear is very ill"
Kudos to Pauline for careful reading! I think she's absolutely right, Sam didn't hear of his mother's illness until Elizabeth got home, so he's not as insensitive as might be inferred from the linear text.

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