Saturday 23 November 1661

To Westminster with my wife (she to her father’s), and about 10 o’clock back again home, and there I to the office a little, and thence by coach with Commissioner Pett to Cheapside to one Savill, a painter, who I intend shall do my picture and my wife’s. Thence I to dinner at the Wardrobe, and so home to the office, and there all the afternoon till night, and then both Sir Williams to my house, and in comes Captain Cock, and they to cards. By and by Sir W. Batten and Cock, after drinking a good deal of wine, went away, and Sir W. Pen staid with my wife and I to supper, very pleasant, and so good night. This day I have a chine of beef sent home, which I bespoke to send, and did send it as a present to my uncle Wight.

18 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...with my wife (she to her father's)…” Wonder what Alex is up to these days? More tries with the perpetual motion machine, perhaps?

David Cooper   Link to this

So Sam will have their portrait done. Yet for the past few days he has been worried about expenses. It is hard to fathom. Is he just an impulsive spender? How does he know what he can afford? Would the concept of a budget exist in seventeenth century England?

john lauer   Link to this

Does Sam imply two separate pictures?

vicenti   Link to this

budget? vs status ?? So many are caught up in the giving the impression of have a money tree or satisfying the " Joneses ": The New England Mob would not have survived if it was for those had to be indentured, due to debt begot. It is sad that we who are short of the ever ready must always, in front of others that we do have it. A marvelous thing that marker we use to get what we must have to prove we are real. Oh! how we hate to say " sorry old chap, tapped out"
there are thems that must spend, wot they got,
then there thems must spend wot not got,
then there are thems not spend a farthing, no matter wot.
then there are thems that spend only wot they got

Sean   Link to this

Sam writes that he had dinner at the wardrobe and then had supper with his wife and Sir W. Pen. When he writes "dinner" does he actually mean lunch? Just wondering.

Clement   Link to this

Re: lunch or dinner
Yes, in many English-speaking regions on both sides of the pond a noon-time 'dinner' is and was the largest meal of the day, usually taken at one's own table as welcome sustenance after a morning's hard labor, and before an afternoon's, um, more hard labor.

This is due to all cultures being primarily agrarian until a short time ago.

Supper, or the evening meal, was lighter, and so healthier than the more modernly urban habit of stuffing one's gullet before "so"ing "to bed."

So, as with many words, definition varies with changes in geography, as further illustrated in C. Howard's croon, "She was bred in ol' Kentucky, but she's just a crum up here..."

Mary   Link to this

"who shall do my picture..."

According to an L&M footnote, there were two portraits, neither of which appears to have survived. Nothing is known for certain of the artist in question, though he may be the same man named as a member of the Painter-Stainers' Company in 1677.

Ruben   Link to this

to see Samuel's picture look at:
but not by this painter and not this year.
We already commented about this picture, so if you want to read a little, try the search engine, as proposed 48 hours ago by Glyn.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this


Yesterday it was "Captain Cocke" and today it's "Captain Cock." Reluctantly passing by my inner 11-year-old's desire to riff on this wonderful name, I'll instead ask the group: Why the spelling variation? Is this a result of sloppy editing or misinterpretation of the shorthand? Or was Sam really that variable in his spelling? I've noticed this in his treatment of other names, but IIRC it happens mostly with people who are acquaintances rather than friends, and he seems to know the good captain rather well.

"Vincenti"? Vincent, have you gone all Mediterranean on us? ;-)

Bob T   Link to this

Re: lunch or dinner

I don't want to complicate things, (I do really :-) ), but in eastern Canada people had their "Lunch" at lunch times, because they were working in the fields or woods. Their main meal was in the evening which they still call supper. A typical day at a lumber camp started with a huge breakfast, which had to include fruit pies of some sort. Lunch was a fairly light meal taken in situ, and supper was another blow-out; these people were consuming about 4,000 caleries per day minimum.

In Sam's time, the working day depended on the amount of sunlight available, except for those rich enough to use candles. Therefore it is most likely that he put in as much worktime as he could while there was daylight, and then kicked back and had his main meal when it got dark. Of course, as we have seen, he was grazing on wine and oysters all day long.

Al Pinkham   Link to this

A quote from Will Rogers - Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like.

Mary   Link to this

Sam's mealtimes.

Sam's dinner (at lunchtime) was the main meal of his day, partly because he took nothing substantial in the way of breakfast as a general rule. His usual 'breakfast' was his morning draft (small beer, possibly whey), though on a few occasions when he was in company with others he would eat something a bit more substantial. The final meal of the day, supper, was a lighter meal, often something cold or just bread and cheese.

Rex Gordon   Link to this

Cocke or Cock?

In the 17th century spelling varied, even among educated people. It was not uncommon for a writer to spell the same word (or name) in several different ways. (Just 40 or 50 years before Sam is writing, Shakespeare was spelling his own name half a dozen different ways in various documents.) Spelling did not become standardized until later.

Glyn   Link to this

I hope that, somewhere in the world, there has survived a painting of Samuel or Elizabeth Pepys with the inscription "Portrait of an unknown man/woman". That's certainly not impossible. I suppose the likeliest possibility is that the paintings were destroyed in the fire in the Pepys house in the 1670s (after the end of the diary), but they could also have passed to his heirs or to Will Hewer on his death, and to their heirs on their deaths, and eventually been separated and forgotten about, or sold off. If you go around English stately homes or museums, it's astounding how many paintings there are of unidentified people.

Clement   Link to this

Re: Spelling Standardization
The notion of standardized spelling in English didn't exist until the printing press created ever-widening circles of dissemination, and began to create homogenization of spelling and definition.

By the time Pepys wrote his diary presses had been churning away for a couple hundred years, and an increasingly larger body of printed work, read by those interested in reading and writing, began to establish regular patterns, shorn of local dialect.

Until that time spelling was phonetic. So the "standarized" spellings we have today are largely phonetic pronounciations memorialized from the 16th c. That explains the the unpronounced "ght" combinations that made us sound a little more Scottish 400 years ago.

Remember that even "grammar" school education in Pepys's time was primarily Latin and Greek.

For this reason it may seem a little odd that Claire Tomalin makes judgements about the level of formal education amongst Pepys's acquantainces by examining their spelling, but what she's probably inferring is that more educated people tended to read and right more, in whatever languages they were fluent, and were therefor more exposed to what were becoming by that time standard spellings for common words.

vicente   Link to this

names ? :,"...what's in a name ? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet...": the Bard's R & J II ii 43
'Tis the bane of all those that want to know which of their forbears were hung for good, or for being bad , searching the records
"Vincenti"? Vincent, have you gone all Mediterranean on us? ;-) just being 17C -tised., along with my addled mind.
Samual Peppis has many variations, people, I doth think spelt by Sound , as for stadardised spelling, the first Dictionaries were comeing into vogue at this time to organise meanings and spellings, so one may speak with a common tongue.
Judgements always will abound based on being accepted by ones ‘piers’ [or birds of a feather flocking to gether]
Dirk’s lead at

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: Spelling

Thanks for the background, all ... I guess what I'm most surprised by was not the fact that there was little standardization of spelling in those daze, but that one person would spell the same word -- a proper name, even! -- in different ways. Seems a bit counter-intuitive to me.

Off to get ready for a feast of thanks ... best wishes to Phil and the other Pepys Peeps, wherever you may be. This site, and the annotations, are among the things that make me thankful.

Ruben   Link to this

to Vicente, Vincent, Vincenti
usually I restrain myself from deviations (that I like very much) but let me now, that most readers already left this Saturday for other, newer Pepys days tell you that I appreciate very much your way of using all the different facets of your name.
As in Spanish, there is a proverb that says: "A donde vas Vicente? - A donde va la gente...", meaning: Where are you going Vicente? - Where everyone goes...
In your case and in this site I think the right way to say it would be:
"A donde va la gente? - A donde va Vicente..., meaning: Where is everyone going? they are following Vicente!
And so, may I say thank you for your annotations!

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