Friday 22 November 1661

Within all the morning, and at noon with my wife, by appointment to dinner at the Dolphin, where Sir W. Batten, and his lady and daughter Matt, and Captain Cocke and his lady, a German lady, but a very great beauty, and we dined together, at the spending of some wagers won and lost between him and I; and there we had the best musique and very good songs, and were very merry and danced, but I was most of all taken with Madam Cocke and her little boy, which in mirth his father had given to me. But after all our mirth comes a reckoning of 4l., besides 40s. to the musicians, which did trouble us, but it must be paid, and so I took leave and left them there about eight at night. And on foot went to the Temple, and then took my cozen Turner’s man Roger, and went by his advice to Serjeant Fountaine and told him our case, who gives me good comfort in it, and I gave him 30s. fee. So home again and to bed. This day a good pretty maid was sent my wife by Mary Bowyer, whom my wife has hired.

14 Annotations

Eric Walla  •  Link

Oh Lord, why must you tempt your servant so? Did the maid have to be pretty as well as good? Could good not have sufficed?

And I'm not clear on the Musician business: Sam says what they must be paid, that it must be done, and that he must leave before the party breaks up. So does he pay or not?

daniel  •  Link


my God! as a professional musician this is a real eye-opener! how much, out of curiosity, would this amount be in today's circumstances?

dirk  •  Link

£194.32 (in 2002)
according to
(Take this as a sound *approximation* of present value.)

Background Info / Money / Values today
for further comments on present value of 17th c currency.

Mary  •  Link

An expensive evening out.

Now Sam and party have spent as much on one evening's entertainment as he gritted his teeth over spending on Elizabeth's lace for the kerchief. Will a vow against wagering follow, and have as mcuh success as his frequent vows against theatre-going?

andy  •  Link

But after all our mirth comes a reckoning

absolutely, Sam! Look forward to the sermon on Sunday.

Pedro.  •  Link

"a German lady, but a very great beauty"

Would this infer that Sam did not normally find that German women were attractive?

Simon  •  Link

So, if I'm reading that site correctly, the whole evening's entertainment cost about £4,100 in today’s money!? Wow, the boy can party…

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"about £4,100 in today's money!?”

Using the site that Dirk referenced, it’s about £583 as of 2002 (where that site’s calculations end), but that probably fails to take into account that the values of different services and commodities change at different rates over the years.

But it is a party of seven adults and one child, eight hours’ food, drink and entertainment, so perhaps the bill is not out of line (although it’s well outside my budget!)

Glyn  •  Link

"and her little boy, which in mirth his father had given to me."

Is this a joke about his childlessness?

Glyn  •  Link

I haven't been counting, but there seems to have been a big turnover of female servants in the Pepys' household since Jane left. (In contrast, the male servants - Will and Wayneman - hasn't seen any changes.) Is it just one of those things, is it because Samuel is a better boss to the boys than Elizabeth is to the girls, or could there be any other reasons?

guye ffalkes  •  Link

partying: A party of five with muscians {"...there we had the best musique and very good songs..."} and "'ors dervis", champers, Lobster [maine of course ]selection of vin blanc et rouge. Ask ye monied friends? how much change, would one get from 5.0GL's.

Grahamt  •  Link

"and her little boy, which in mirth his father had given to me."
I don’t think this is a jest at Samual and Elizabeth’s childlessness, but one of those cruel jokes we parents play on our children (after a bottle or two of wine) “Here take you take him, we don’t need him…” Which our children remind us of for years right into our dotage. After all, what is parenthood without the guilt?

Conrad  •  Link

Pedro, I think he means, that even though this man's lady is not English, ie., not one of 'us' she is acceptable because she is a great beauty. I wonder what Captain Cocke & Sam were betting on, & did Sam win or lose 4 pounds. The business hours of Serjeant Fountaine seem to be excessive, but then again he receives 30 shillings for his services. It would appear to have been an expensive day for Sam. Thank goodness the maid is pretty.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"a German lady, but a very great beauty"
I think Sam's modest 'but' signals something about the way he (and Restoration society) view women:
* Ladies are married.
* Great beauties are not -- or if married, the husband is safely stashed elsewhere (e.g. My Lady Castlemaine).
There may also be something about how ladies dress versus beauties (I happily muse about differences in hairdo, diamond necklaces, cleavage ...).

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