Thursday 4 June 1663

Up betimes, and my wife and Ashwell and I whiled away the morning up and down while they got themselves ready, and I did so watch to see my wife put on drawers, which poor soul she did, and yet I could not get off my suspicions, she having a mind to go into Fenchurch Street before she went out for good and all with me, which I must needs construe to be to meet Pembleton, when she afterwards told me it was to buy a fan that she had not a mind that I should know of, and I believe it is so. Specially I did by a wile get out of my boy that he did not yesterday go to Pembleton’s or thereabouts, but only was sent all that time for some starch, and I did see him bringing home some, and yet all this cannot make my mind quiet. At last by coach I carried her to Westminster Hall, and they two to Mrs. Bowyer to go from thence to my wife’s father’s and Ashwell to hers, and by and by seeing my wife’s father in the Hall, and being loth that my wife should put me to another trouble and charge by missing him to-day, I did employ a porter to go from a person unknown to tell him his daughter was come to his lodgings, and I at a distance did observe him, but, Lord! what a company of questions he did ask him, what kind of man I was, and God knows what. So he went home, and after I had staid in the Hall a good while, where I heard that this day the Archbishop of Canterbury, Juxon, a man well spoken of by all for a good man, is dead; and the Bishop of London is to have his seat. Home by water, where by and by comes Dean Honiwood, and I showed him my double horizontal diall, and promise to give him one, and that shall be it. So, without eating or drinking, he went away to Mr. Turner’s, where Sir J. Minnes do treat my Lord Chancellor and a great deal of guests to-day with a great dinner, which I thank God I do not pay for; and besides, I doubt it is too late for any man to expect any great service from my Lord Chancellor, for which I am sorry, and pray God a worse do not come in his room. So I to dinner alone, and so to my chamber, and then to the office alone, my head aching and my mind in trouble for my wife, being jealous of her spending the day, though God knows I have no great reason. Yet my mind is troubled. By and by comes Will Howe to see us, and walked with me an hour in the garden, talking of my Lord’s falling to business again, which I am glad of, and his coming to lie at his lodgings at White Hall again. The match between Sir J. Cutts and my Lady Jemimah, he says, is likely to go on; for which I am glad. In the Hall to-day Dr. Pierce tells me that the Queen begins to be brisk, and play like other ladies, and is quite another woman from what she was, of which I am glad. It may be, it may make the King like her the better, and forsake his two mistresses, my Lady Castlemaine and Stewart. He gone we sat at the office till night, and then home, where my wife is come, and has been with her father all the afternoon, and so home, and she and I to walk in the garden, giving ear to her discourse of her father’s affairs, and I found all well, so after putting things in order at my office, home to supper and to bed.

27 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

Of course, none of us have ever gone to such lengths to avoid meeting an in-law, or out-law, or other semi-relative. There is almost an element of hysteria in this elaborate scenario of sending a messenger to bear your tidings, yet sticking around to scope out the results. Certainly a husband suspicious of his wife spending an afternoon with her rarely seen father has got problems that have problems.

TerryF   Link to this

Elizabeth "put on drawers... yet I could not get off my suspicions"

On 15 May, "my wife did wear drawers to-day as she used to do" - suggesting it was ordinary, though Australian Susan did say it was a sign of loose morals, again it seems otherwise. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/05/15/#c47569

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

boys be boys 'wot' no garter.
Bishop of London be Sheldon, who had turned his old Palalce into deluxe Tenements,in order to receive a nice supplementury income.
According to L&M "Yet my mind* is troubled"
* MS. 'mine'

Miss Ann   Link to this

This jealousy of Sam's is starting to consume him and take him away from his eternal learnings. Poor Bess must prove her innocence at all times - what ever happened to "innocent until proved guilty"?
I can emphathise with Sam in relation to the in-laws, my ex-mother-in-law is the obvious subject of all those dreaful "dragon" jokes we hear, except that in every single one that I've heard she fits the descriptions to a "t". I avoid her by living in another state, poor Sam is living in the same town.
And, how about the father-in-law grilling the poor porter about Sam - maybe the French don't like the English either.
I'm fascinated about the drawers debate, he thinks it is important enough to note in his diary, and even watched her put them on, with a sympathetic air but I still can't decide what it all means.

A Eldridge   Link to this

"and I did so watch to see my wife put on drawers, which poor soul she did"
Rather delicate for a mere male to discuss but could this have anything to do with Bess's "months"? Some form of protective clothing when out in public - also less likely to be playing away with Pemberton?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

It continues to be a puzzle, Sam's refusal to have anything to do with his wife's parents. My only guess is that Alexander behaved badly and laid on the aristocratic pretensions when Sam married his daughter. "Marry with the son of a tailor?!" and a good deal of Sam's and Bess' affection may stem from her defiance of Papa's angry refusal (However glad he may have been in fact to get the expense of her off his hands and however good an excuse not to provide a dowry it may have been-my missus says "Eureka! That's it-Alex proudly weaseled out of a dowry by claiming Sam wasn't worthy when Sam knew perfectly well he had nothing.").

Still to leave the poor man wondering about the mysterious porter-sender...

And I still wish Sam had a better relationship with him so we could get a gander at his inventions...(well, there's always fictional alternative universes).

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Poor Bess, nervous about a stupid fan...But why would she have hesitated to tell Sam that Wayneman was sent out for starch the other night? Would he have considered it a foolish extravagance?

A. Hamilton   Link to this

and I found all well, so after putting things in order at my office, home to supper and to bed.

Does Bess know that her secretive acts stir up Sam's jealousy? Does she want more romantic attention or is she just reacting against Sam's close scrutiny of all her decisions? In any event, she puts Sam's mind at (temporary?) rest by day's end. Sam's insecurity is easily roused but quickly placated, it seems.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"and I whiled away the morning walking up and down while they got themselves ready"
So what else is new?

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: Does Bess know that her secretive acts stir up Sam’s jealousy?

I've been wondering about this, too -- is she doing these things to keep Sam engaged in the relationship? -- but given the way he describes their interaction on May 27th:
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/05/27/
where she chides him for his "old disease of jealousy" and he leaves her "crying in a great discontent", I don't think so.

That said, watching Sam's self-torment and inner dialogue ("Yet my mind is troubled") is fascinating.

language hat   Link to this

“put on drawers… yet I could not get off my suspicions”

I too am curious about this. It seems to contradict Australian Susan's theory.

This agonizing over what he realizes are paranoid suspicions is fascinating (and painful).

jeannine   Link to this

"I still wish Sam had a better relationship with him " Robert, from reading the biographies of Elizabeth my guess would be that Sam avoided him because he was poor. There will be times that Elizabeth will not tell Sam where her parents are living because they are living in such pitiful conditions. Section IV of the article on Elizabeth is about her father and gives detail from the Delaforce biography concerning Alexandre's life.
http://www.pepysdiary.com/indepth/2006/05/31/a_...

TerryF   Link to this

Re Samuel and his in-laws:

Does he avoid them because they are poor (he hasn't shunned poor Pepys relations), or because, as you say, Elizabeth is proud? -- as are they both! poor souls!

Great in-depth article, Jeannine!

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Relationship be not mathematical, no rule not even sine tables work.
a likes b ; b likes c; c likes d:
a hates c ; d be dispised by b:

TerryF   Link to this

a likes b; b likes c; c likes d: a hates c; d be dispised by b:

An in Aqua Scripto sociogram; and it be true.

dirk   Link to this

"But why would she have hesitated to tell Sam that Wayneman was sent out for starch the other night?"

Robert, maybe she wasn't hesitating to tell Sam at all --- maybe she was taking a stand against his irritating jealousy?

After all, she was a temperamental woman herself and by simply not answering a question which she saw as unjustified, she may have been making a point (knowing of course that Sam would find out eventually, and feel ashamed).

jeannine   Link to this

"In the Hall to-day Dr. Pierce tells me that the Queen begins to be brisk, and play like other ladies, and is quite another woman from what she was, of which I am glad. It may be, it may make the King like her the better, and forsake his two mistresses, my Lady Castlemaine and Stewart."
Alas for our Queen, this wish won't be so! Catherine has been married to Charles a little over a year and has endured a lifetimes of heartaches already, but, she is persevering and trying to please her husband, the King. "She took up dancing to please the King and entered with zest into the Court ballets and junketings... In time Catherine learnt to play her part so well that everybody thought her a happy woman. She was always devising entertainments for the amusement of the King and her ladies, at which she seemed the gayest of the gay."(Ponsonby p. 135)
And NO it it NOT noted if Mr. Pembleton was her dance teacher, but at least her husband did not have a fit of jealousy(spoiler...at least not yet!)

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Well, Dirk from the way Sam described it she was hesitant and a little nervous to say where Wayneman went...Though perhaps in his suspicious mood he simply imagined both her hesitation and nervousness. I was curious to know if perhaps starch was a little luxury that Bess liked but Sam felt was a frivolous waste (except when his own clothes are to benefit, of course).
***

Someone did mention Capt Queeg before...

"The starch, yes...It was the starch that made me see what was up. It was just like back in '55 when she used to go out for things, never saying where she was off to and one day gone for months. Yes, the starch...Anyone could see what was really up. Most of you gentlemen are married, you'll agree with me and understand why I had to stay at home and neglect my duties here at the office...The starch was the key."

Minnes eyes Penn who eyes Batten who eyes Coventry...

"Uh, yes, Pepys, I think we get it about the um, starch..." Coventry nods sympathetically at his once fair-haired boy.

High-strung fellow like that, you can see it coming...Burning along, the bright light of the office and one day he just...Snaps.

"But we really wanted to know the coding key to your contracts book...Before you head off on your permanent rest leave."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Does he have to keep fiddling with those bladder stones of his...?" Minnes hisses to Penn.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Why the "La divide", just another male with his sand box of glories past and no monies to show for it[ Those of us that have survived the hurdles of life, reaching and failing their level of incompetence and reverting to their idle self only to end up with enhanced memories, will Know] :
Beau-Pere be 70 and Belle-Mere be 58, both Ancien, et Mauvaise [ or faible, mediocre, pauvre] and Monsieur he be arrogance et orgueil homme. Who would tell Sam in no easy words that he from the wrong genetic pool.

dirk   Link to this

"perhaps starch was a little luxury"

Robert, I didn't find any indication as to starch prices in Sam's time, but William Cecil (1520 -1598) wrote:

"Is it not a very lamentable thing that we should bestow that upon starch to the setting forth of vanity and pride which would staunch the hunger of many that starve in the streets for want of bread?"
http://www.thrednedlestrete.com/artificers/Star...

This seems to suggest that starch wasn't exactly cheap. At the time starch was wheat-based -- as the following text makes clear:

"When contemplating Rembrandt's famous Night Watch (1642), for example, we usually never think about how the elaborate clothing immortalized by the masters of baroque art was pressed. As late as the 17th century, pressing techniques did not use heat, at least not in Europe. For years, the impeccable attire of royalty and nobility was maintained by rubbing, mangling and otherwise manipulating the fabric. One of the main reasons why ironing was restricted to cold pressing was that wheat-based starch, the preferred stiffening agent, turned yellow when subjected to heat."
http://www.panknin-solutions.com/news_ironing_e...

Starch was used to stiffen collars and cuffs -- and the ladies' intricate hair stylings that would be gaining popularity soon...

Bradford   Link to this

So Sam's wardrobe could profit from such a common household item, too. I'm not sure whether Cecil is suggesting it's expensive, or stretching (a bit far for modern tastes) to make a point. It almost seems like an allusion to the Disciples' pious query, after the Fallen Woman had anointed the feet of Jesus with precious perfume, "Could not that money have been used to benefit the poor?"---but not a very apt one.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Drawers
I have found two websites which deal with underwear and what women did when they mesntruated. OK men You Have Been Warned - you dion't have to read about this if you don't want to!
Information given seems to say that women rarely wore underpants at this time and if they did, they were often open crotch ones as this made it easier to "use the bathroom" and cope with their "months".
Anyway, see what you think:
http://www.mum.org/whatwore.htm
http://www.mum.org/underhis.htm

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Starch...

So in conclusion, it's likely Bess had good reason to be apprehensive about sending Wayneman out for the said little item.

"My God, Bess! Starch?!! By the Mass, I just thought you were setting up some sort of lewd rendezvous with Pembleton!"

***

ignis fatuus   Link to this

Starch be popular for those stiff collar [Ruffians] types, it even be used to stiffen ones walrus whiskers.
The starch makers easily spotted by the red hands.
Even Pepys gets another listing.
Eliza be making hints about Samuell, that he be starchy about her twinkle toes.
Lifted from the OED:
[In 15th c. sterche, f. sterche STARCH v. to stiffen. Cf. MDu. stercke, MHG. sterke (once, 13th c.), mod.G. stärke starch (from 17th c.), also in the same sense MHG. (13th c.) sterch-chlei (= *sterk-klîe), early mod.G. starkmel ‘amidum’ (Diefenbach).]
1. A substance obtained from flour by removing some of its constituents (now also from other vegetable sources containing ‘starch’ in sense 2), used, in the form of a gummy liquid or paste made with water, to stiffen linen or cotton fabrics in the process of laundry-work, to give a finish to the surface of textile materials, to size paper, and for various other purposes. Also, the gummy liquid or paste made from this substance to prepare it for use.
Starch in its solid form is a white or yellowish white powder (often aggregated in shapeless granules or lumps), odourless, tasteless, and soft to the touch.
c1440 Promp. Parv. 472/2 Starche, for kyrcheys, stibium, gersa. 14.. Lat.-Eng. Voc. in Wr.-Wülcker 568/48 Brella, sterche
1683 PEPYS Diary at Tangier in Life (1841) I. 422 Conge..which is like our water-starch.
1530 PALSGR. 275/2 Starche for lawne, folle flevr.
1549 Act 3 & 4 Edw. VI c. 2 §6 Noe person..shall..put any Flockes, chalke, flower or sterche..upon any sett Clothe.
1583 STUBBES Anat. Abus. Dviij, A certaine kinde of liquide matter which they call Starch, wherin the deuill hath willed them to wash and diue his ruffes wel.
4. fig. Stiffness; esp. of manner or conduct; stiffening. Freq. in phr. to take the starch out of (a person or thing): to remove the stiffness, formality, or pompousness from (someone, etc.), esp. by ridicule; to deflate.
1705 J. DUNTON Life & Err. 461 His Language is always Neat and Fine, but unaffected, free from Starch, or Intricacy
1586 St. Papers Eliz., Dom. 372 [Richard Young to Walsyngham..sends an account of proceedings against the *starch-makers.] 1663 Canterb. Marriage Licences (MS.), John Loft of All Saints, Canterbury, starch~maker.
a1626 BRETON Figure of Four II. (Grosart) 6/2 A needle wench, and a *starch wench.

1604 MIDDLETON Father Hubburd's T. E4, Trulls passing too and fro in the wash-shape of Laundresses, as your Bawdes about London in the manner of *Starch~women.
[f. STARCH n.
A supposed 13th c. instance of this word, in the form sterch (Long Life in OE. Misc. 156) quoted in some Dicts., is illusory; the scribe makes mistakes like drinche for drinke, and the other texts read starc, sterk.]
Of a person, his bearing, etc.: Stiff, unbending; formal. 1717 1st ref:
1. trans. To stiffen, make rigid; to compose (one's countenance) to a severe or formal expression. Obs.
1402 Pol. Poems (Rolls) II. 50 Who tytheth bot our faces [cf. Matt. vi. 16, exterminant (v.r. demoliuntur) facies suas], to be holden holi. ?
c1600 Distr. Emperor III. i. in Bullen Old Pl. (1884) III. 209 Dothe not fawne, Nor croutche, nor crynge, nor startche his countenance.

2. To stiffen (linen, etc.) with starch.
1601 B. JONSON Poetaster IV. i, And aske you, where you bought your lawne? And..who starches you? c1625 in Songs & Poems Costume (Percy Soc.) 111 About his neck a flaunting ruff,..Starched with white and blew.
absol. 1614 STOW Ann. 869/1 [They] made them cambrick Ruffes, and sent them to Mist. Dinghen, to starch... And then they began to send their Daughters..to learne how to starch. 1624 J. TAYLOR (Water P.) Praise Cl. Linen Wks. (1630) II. 169/1 She wrings, she folds, she pleits, she smoothes, she starches.
1642 HOWELL For. Trav. v. 68 If the one hath a Fancy to stars his mustachos.
1664 BUTLER Hud. II. i. 171 It [your beard] does your visage more adorn, Than if 'twere prun'd, and starcht, and lander'd, And cut square by the Russian Standard.
a. To fasten or stick with starch paste; also with on, up. Obs.
1602 DEKKER Satiro-m. E3, I haue a set of letters readie starcht to my hands.
Starching.
1671 DRYDEN Assign. III. i, A Waiting-woman..with mighty Golls, rough-Grain'd, and red with Starching.
1661 WOOD Life 3 May (O.H.S.) I. 395 John Haselwood, a proud, starch'd, formal and sycophantizing clisterpipe.
1662 E. HOPKINS Serm. Funeral A. Grevil (1663) 35 This taught him to outstrip in true wisdome, temperance and fortitude..whatsoever those starch't and formall moralists did.

GrahamT   Link to this

I think Cecil's point about starch is that wheat, that could be used for making bread for the poor, was being used to make starch for vanity and fashion. This is a similar point to that sometimes made today about scarce petroleum being burnt in gas-guzzlers by a few individuals, when it could be used for the benefit of the whole world to provide energy, plastics and medicines.

Patricia   Link to this

re menstrual wear: in the book Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, which is a well-researched fictional account of the life of Grace Marks, who was accused of killing her employer in 1840 in Richmond Hill (Canada), the maids wear special, red underslips when they have their periods.

re the boy's errand: Maybe Mrs. P just doesn't want to be grilled by Sam over every little detail of her household activities. She must be sick of his jealousy--I sure am! Sam is paying for his attack on her private letters last January.

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