Tuesday 26 May 1663

Lay long in bed talking and pleasing myself with my wife. —[We have had several examples such as this, in the past few days diary, of Mr. Wheatley tiring of his self-imposed work of censorship. D.W.]— So up and to my office a while and then home, where I found Pembleton, and by many circumstances I am led to conclude that there is something more than ordinary between my wife and him, which do so trouble me that I know not at this very minute that I now write this almost what either I write or am doing, nor how to carry myself to my wife in it, being unwilling to speak of it to her for making of any breach and other inconveniences, nor let it pass for fear of her continuing to offend me and the matter grow worse thereby. So that I am grieved at the very heart, but I am very unwise in being so.

There dined with me Mr. Creed and Captain Grove, and before dinner I had much discourse in my chamber with Mr. Deane, the builder of Woolwich, about building of ships. But nothing could get the business out of my head, I fearing that this afternoon by my wife’s sending every [one] abroad and knowing that I must be at the office she has appointed him to come. This is my devilish jealousy, which I pray God may be false, but it makes a very hell in my mind, which the God of heaven remove, or I shall be very unhappy. So to the office, where we sat awhile.

By and by my mind being in great trouble I went home to see how things were, and there I found as I doubted Mr. Pembleton with my wife, and nobody else in the house, which made me almost mad, and going up to my chamber after a turn or two I went out again and called somebody on pretence of business and left him in my little room at the door (it was the Dutchman, commander of the King’s pleasure boats, who having been beat by one of his men sadly, was come to the office to-day to complain) telling him I would come again to him to speak with him about his business. So in great trouble and doubt to the office, and Mr. Coventry nor Sir G. Carteret being there I made a quick end of our business and desired leave to be gone, pretending to go to the Temple, but it was home, and so up to my chamber, and as I think if they had any intention of hurt I did prevent doing anything at that time, but I continued in my chamber vexed and angry till he went away, pretending aloud, that I might hear, that he could not stay, and Mrs. Ashwell not being within they could not dance. And, Lord! to see how my jealousy wrought so far that I went softly up to see whether any of the beds were out of order or no, which I found not, but that did not content me, but I staid all the evening walking, and though anon my wife came up to me and would have spoke of business to me, yet I construed it to be but impudence, and though my heart full yet I did say nothing, being in a great doubt what to do. So at night, suffered them to go all to bed, and late put myself to bed in great discontent, and so to sleep.

15 Annotations

Bradford  •  Link

"No rest the guilty find
From the pursuing Furies of the mind."
---set by Handel in "Hercules"
And the only sure guilt Pepys can find is that of his own jealousy, based upon no just evidence except that of his fear.

Perhaps it would be useful to remind ourselves, once again, that we are observing a young man of 30 and his much younger wife of 22. (Today that would be almost a generation gap, even with our longer life expectancy.) He is a man devoted to specificity and clear facts, with no strong imaginative faculty---except when it comes to ways in which he might be wronged. She is a woman who would like, now and then, a little more enjoyment in life beyond household chores (even "merrily" shared as with Ashwell yesterday) and fawning on her spouse. They are destined to clash, but quick to make up---so far.

One hopes that none of Sam's fantods will be visited upon the apparently unsuspecting Elizabeth. She would have to be a mistress of deceit and timing suitable for the staging of bedroom farce to conduct an affair in these circumstances. And as for Sam's own punishment, is he not serving the sentence now?

Pedro  •  Link

They are destined to clash, but quick to make up—-so far.

Also it must be remembered that Elizabeth had left Sam for several months before the Diary began.

TerryF  •  Link

Not long ago Elizabeth was afforded other diversions -

Samuel took her to many plays and, if memory serves, she enjoyed a social whirl and made merry with him (and wine?) with others.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Poor Sam

Havng been in this state, I know it is mastering. Elizabeth is knowingly or not (and I suspect knowingly) acting in a way to magnify Sam's suspicion and jealousy.

David Goldfarb  •  Link

Is it possible that Wheatley simply didn't understand what "pleasing myself" probably meant?

Lawrence  •  Link

" and Mrs. Ashwell not being within they could not dance." Maybe that's the answer Australian Susan, Ashwell perhaps of visiting Mum and Dad, she wasn't there to play for them, and if Pembleton brought a musician with him, it would be more of a charge to Sam?

andy  •  Link

pleasing myself with my wife

I don't think this is the same thing that "pleasuring myself" (with or without his wife) would be...

Ima Fake  •  Link

Why are we reading a censored version?

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"Why are we reading a censored version?"

This "censored" version is Henry Wheatley's 1893 transcription of the diary. It reflects his Victorian sensibilities. And it's out of copyright (one of the most important reasons that we're using it) and it was already available on line.

A more recent transcription of the diary, by Latham and Mathews (you'll see references to "L&M" here on the site) is still under copyright.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...till he went away, pretending aloud, that I might hear, that he could not stay, and Mrs. Ashwell not being within they could not dance."

Poor Pembleton...It's looking very much as if he's catching on to being at some risk in this little game and anxious not to give offense. An irresistible crack at winning an important court-connected client who could have opened many profitable doors is proving to be an increasingly dangerous situation.

And Bess is just lovin' it...Sam can tell us endlessly how well he conceals his jealously and edginess but she's well aware she's finally caught his fixed attention. Likely he's not been panting around like this since the courtship days.

He's a lucky moron to have such a fundamentally devoted and loving wife. Fear the day, Sam, when she doesn't care enough to drive you crazy...

The Forgotten Dutchman...

"Ummn...I vould aske ye to pardon me, sir."

"Commander de Gens, Sir? What are you doing here so late? The office is long closed, sir."

"Aye, young Mister er...Hewer, sir. Would ye ve so gud as to inquire if your Master, Herr...er Mister Peeps vould be able to see me now? I haf been waiting all de day to make my formal complaint against this rogues mann who beat me...An affront to our Majesty as vell as meself, sir."

"But sir, Mr. Pepys is long gone to bed. I only came to check things as the night porter told me he'd seen a light."


Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hmmn...Wheatley ponders.

"Pleasing myself with my wife..."


Ah, no doubt giving her educational and moral instruction in the early morning hours for benefit of her soul and to cure the bodily infirmities associated with a lack of early rising...

Much as I do with my own wife...

[Cut to shot of Mrs. Wheatley hacking at some meat in her kitchen...Take that, you supercilious bastard!...And that, you pompous little...!!]

Yes, exempleary...Pass.

Bradford  •  Link

As Lawrence points out, the music for dancing seems to have been supplied by Ashwell tickling the ivories. (Were tryangle keys made of ivory?) Maybe she played and stamped her feet while Liz and Pembleton were snogging too? Maybe not. And I'll take the side that maybe the woman just likes to dance, and if Sam voiced his grounds for suspicion to her, she'd call him the 17thC version of idiot for misconstruing her innocent actions.

Jesse  •  Link

"to see how my jealousy wrought so far"

It's hard to get a clear picture. Is it convention that seems to keep Sam from more casually broaching the subject with the Mrs.? And what exactly was the convention, if any, among Pembleton's clients? How about appearances? I don't recall any significant comment or notice from others about the wife's new found 'interest'. Was it just bad form to demonstrate any unfavorable notice (jealous or otherwise) unless hard evidence of infidelity was provided?

Patricia  •  Link

Ah, the poor forgotten Dutchman! LOL! By placing him in the house, Samuel can scotch any rumours that might arise about Mrs. P's behaviour. "Alone? Oh no, they weren't alone--the Dutchman was there."
Mrs. P is often discovered entertaining one or another of Pepys friends/relatives/co-workers, but always with the servants in the house. Samuel often visits women, or sits with women while waiting for their husbands to come home. There must have been some social protocol for this sort of thing.

Mary Ellen  •  Link

It would be nice if people would stop excusing this couple on the pretense of them 'being so young' and 'only 30' and etc, etc. I do not see them as being so very young or that 8 years is such a large number between their two ages. I would offer, however, that since they both did get married fairly young... that they might not have had enough experience in how to handle jealousies that might arise between them. It is obvious to me that Sam is unable to control his imagination and refuses to bring it out into the open, to have it validated by his wife.

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