Sunday 24 May 1663

(Lord’s day). Having taken one of Mr. Holliard’s pills last night it brought a stool or two this morning, and so forebore going to church this morning, but staid at home looking over my papers about Tom Trice’s business, and so at noon dined, and my wife telling me that there was a pretty lady come to church with Peg Pen to-day, I against my intention had a mind to go to church to see her, and did so, and she is pretty handsome. But over against our gallery I espied Pembleton, and saw him leer upon my wife all the sermon, I taking no notice of him, and my wife upon him, and I observed she made a curtsey to him at coming out without taking notice to me at all of it, which with the consideration of her being desirous these two last Lord’s days to go to church both forenoon and afternoon do really make me suspect something more than ordinary, though I am loth to think the worst, but yet it put and do still keep me at a great loss in my mind, and makes me curse the time that I consented to her dancing, and more my continuing it a second month, which was more than she desired, even after I had seen too much of her carriage with him. But I must have patience and get her into the country, or at least to make an end of her learning to dance as soon as I can. After sermon to Sir W. Pen’s, with Sir J. Minnes to do a little business to answer Mr. Coventry to-night. And so home and with my wife and Ashwell into the garden walking a great while, discoursing what this pretty wench should be by her garb and deportment; with respect to Mrs. Pen she may be her woman, but only that she sat in the pew with her, which I believe he would not let her do.

So home, and read to my wife a fable or two in Ogleby’s AEsop, and so to supper, and then to prayers and to bed. My wife this evening discoursing of making clothes for the country, which I seem against, pleading lack of money, but I am glad of it in some respects because of getting her out of the way from this fellow, and my own liberty to look after my business more than of late I have done. So to prayers and to bed.

This morning it seems Susan, who I think is distracted, or however is since she went from me taught to drink, and so gets out of doors 2 or 3 times a day without leave to the alehouse, did go before 5 o’clock to-day, making Griffin rise in his shirt to let her out to the alehouse, she said to warm herself, but her mistress, falling out with her about it, turned her out of doors this morning, and so she is gone like an idle slut. I took a pill also this night.

27 Annotations

Australian Susan  •  Link

Does anybody else suspect Elizabeth is just showing attention to Mr P in order to get money for clothes from notoriously stingy husband???

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Very fishy, wife tell hubby about yon new lass then suggest new outfits.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Ogilby's Aesop

The fables of Aesop paraphras’d in verse, and adorn’d with sculpture / by John Ogilby.
London : Printed by Thomas Warren for Andrew Crook, at the Green Dragon in St. Pauls church-yard, 1651.
82 full-page engravings, presumably after C. Cleyn, comprising frontispiece (Aesop among the animals) which is signed F. Cleyn", portrait of Ogilby and 80 engravings.

A splendedly illustrated and luxurious quarto volume; is is just simple co-incidence that Ogilby started life as a dancing master?

jeannine  •  Link

Okay I've had enough!
Sam isn't feeling well, Elizabeth says there is a pretty lady at church so, Sam goes to church to LEER at her in front of his wife. Ooops, Sam spies Mr. P LEERING at his wife and flips his cookies. How ridiculous is that! Then he goes home and is "discoursing what this pretty wench should be by her garb and deportment" with his wife. I just wish that Elizabeth had mentioned just how nice Mr. P looked today all dressed up for church and how wonderful his garb and deportment are too! The only standards for behavior that our Sam is showing today are "double standards". I hope she gets a whole new wardrobe ~~she deserves it.

jeannine  •  Link

"I took a pill also this night"...
gee, can't wait until tomorrow's entry now can we....

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Jeannine, I'm sure Sam didn't leer -- he probably was very discrete as he checked out the new hottie at church. Elizabeth, on the other hand, curtsies out loud to Mr. Pembleton without so much as an excuse to her hubby ... what a brazen hussy!

On a more serious note, seems as if Susan's been getting into the cooking wine (or ale, anyway) a bit, and it's gotten the best of her. Wonder who taught her to drink?

Bradford  •  Link

Does one have to be taught? DIY seems to work.
Oh, if only there had been a pill to purge the self-ailing mind!

dirk  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin's diary: the weather report --- in the Rev's usual style...

"God good in outward mercies, the yet liberty I have, my great unworthiness may cause god to shorten my time here if it please thee, awaken my spirit to more fruitfulness for thy name sake. weather warm and dry."

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"...Jeannine, I’m sure Sam didn’t leer .." Nae just peered intently over the top of his common prayer book discreetly, until the nape of her neck doth redden, and then there be a pin in his rump.

judyj  •  Link

So, there are two reasons for Sam to go to church:
1) Opportunity to watch pretty ladies
2) Opportunity to monitor certain men who might be watching his pretty wife

Sometimes when Pepys gets so focused on business and the goings on of the king and nobility, we forget how young this couple was.

jean-paul buquet  •  Link

Hope this is not too much off subject, but i've just had the terrifying thought of somebody starting a website featuring Rev. Josselin's diary! What an unsufferable bore he was!
i thank Samuel, Phil, and everybody who haunts the comments page, a little more every day!
PS: Go Elizabeth!

JohnT  •  Link

An unusual repetition about prayers before bed. Sam's diary entries can sometimes ramble and frequently leap from topic to topic ( and register to register). The entries do not always follow the day through chronologically. But he seldom repeats himself. Maybe it is because the reference is formulaic for a Sunday. Or else, since it was plainly written the day after,it was not written at a single sitting.

On a slightly indelicate note, why does he record taking the pill the day after by which time he would presumably know the outcome, or otherwise?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Bess is clearly having a grand time...Little Sam'l for once is rushing home ummn "to dance" every evening and no doubt barely able to conceal his feeling at the sight of Mr. P "leering" at her in church.

Service was never so fun.

And soon she'll be heading off to Brampton's bucolic joys...And perhaps the courteous charm of Capt Ferrers' visits?

Need we point out, Sam that if she was head over heels about Mr. P she would hardly be so willing to head out of London.

Unless of course Mr. Pembleton has a few students outside London...

"By the way, Pembleton..." a relieved, Bess just off to Brampton, the lessons at last complete, Sam can afford a little courtesy. "...where do you reside in London?"

"Oh, I don't live in London, Mr. Pepys. No, much too expensive for a mere dancing master. In fact, by good fortune in that I will be able to pay my respects to your good wife, my family resides very near your father's property in...Mr. Pepys?..." Pounds back as Sam chokes.

Don McCahill  •  Link


We must be careful not to judge Sam by 21st century morals. He is a product of the 17th century and at that time women were pretty much possessions. One acquired as many as one could, and protected that ones he had as best he could.

I'm not saying it is right, but at that time it seemed so.

alanB  •  Link

It has to be said that between Pembie's leering and Sam's oggling of this pretty unknown wench, Our Sam is in great danger of falling between two stools ;)

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Mr Holliard's pills"
Do we know the ingredients? maybe senna?

jeannine  •  Link

King Leer

Forebore church because I did great stool
Hearing a beauty there I start to drool

Against my intention I’m fast on my way
Never occurring to me to actually pray

With my subtle glances the lady I do see
Whose looks of beauty do heartily impress me

In the gallery I see that snake Pembleton
Leering at my wife in front of most everyone

I observe to him she makes a curtsey
And fear that she do to be coyly flirtsy

My suspicions cause me to think the worst
Jealousy the sin of which I am cursed

My secret plan is to soon send her away
Putting end to dance and suspected foreplay

What my poor wife does fail to see
Is her only reason for being is to please me

I know public displays and looks of affection
Should remain private to avoid their detection

I hide my lusts in the pages of my diary
Expressing inner thoughts that are carnal and fiery

In those hidden words it is certainly most clear
That in my heart I am King of the Leer

Sjoerd  •  Link

Queen of Mean Jeannine

"he 'll never hear the end of it" springs to mind.

Ebo  •  Link

"... she is gone like an idle slut."

Am I right in thinking that has a different meaning in Pepys's day than it does now -- that it's a more general term of opprobrium?

Joe  •  Link

"Bess is clearly having a grand time."

Indeed, it was just three weeks ago today that Pepys noted that Elizabeth was "jealous of my freedom with Ashwell, which I must avoid giving occasion of" ( ). I can't help wondering, though, if Ashwell and Pembleton aren't the ones having the grandest time of all orchestrating this little domestic drama....

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Jeannine, I have to say though I was hard on Sam the other day regarding his casual reference to striking Bess for less offense, I think we have to be fair. For one thing Bess herself encouraged Sam to come and see the pretty lady and remember that this is a form of entertainment, seeing and being seen at the time. The lady even becomes a subject of entertaining discussion among the whole 'family circle' later.

As for the double standard, yes...But again, this is Samuel Pepys' private diary and the man should be allowed the human right to do his peeving, whining, and occasional lapses into hypocrisy and the rest in what he would regard as private space. I seriously doubt many of us in our enlightened, modern age would fare much better than he if all our private thoughts were to be laid open for display. I know I wouldn't, which is why you shall never be reading a revealing private diary of mine.

Though with all his faults I rather hope Bess has somehow gotten her chance to read the Diary in some afterlife existence. After a few years, decades, centuries of letting him have it, I think she'd be touched...I hope so.


(sorry, Ms. Morrisette, you're dead)

"What the hell is that...?" Sam stares at the racket.

"You...Son of a louse-pricking..." Bess waves the Diary at him.

Gulp...oh, well...Inevitable...But what the hell is...

"Bess, that infernal wailing...God hasn't rescinded my in here? Bess, you didn't...Speak to Him?"

"Nothing you wouldn't deserve...If this entry..." Waves a particularly dangerous entry in face.

"I can explain...It was..." thinks fast, ah...Fantasy...No, this is Heaven, I'd never get away with it.

And who is that dark-haired young lady, apparently the source of the well, perhaps not so hideous wailing...
Yes, the good ole dodge...

"Bess, who is that lady? A fiend from Hell?"

"You...You...You Oughta Know!..." screams the young lady.

"Ms. Morrisette is my new acquaintance...And I think her song just about says it all, you..."

"That is a song?" Sam's barely made through Mozart by now...His enrapturement by the music to come the most heavenly thing about Heaven.

"Twenty-first century...When we come into our own."

"Hmmn...well, it does have a certain..."

"Are you listening to the words you little...?"

"Oh...Right...Now, Bess. Darling."

"If Mr. Pembleton weren't a faithful husband..." door slam...

One hour later...Head peep...

"Sam'l? Samuel?!" Oh, nice card. Pearls, eh? Well, one must make...


"Miss Morrisette?"

"Ummn...Darling...Ms. Morrisette was so kind about showing me everything about..."

"You mean...Showing you everything!" Throws empty pearls box...

No way she's going to throw the pearls after waiting this long...Sam runs for cover...

"Ms. Morrisette? After all you said about..."

"I'm sorry, Bess." Nervous titter... "The little guy is just so damned charming..."

"Get out..."

"Right...Ummn if he still wants that lesson..."

"GET OUT!!!"


A. Hamilton  •  Link

Sam backslides -- with more than a little encouragement from Elizabeth, who is playing an interesting game with his mind. She is clearly no pushover.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam may groan and complain and pontificate but I think he generally rather fancies Bess' spirit...Much as he would never admit that to himself or us.

Tyciol  •  Link

I had not heard slut used in such a way til now.

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