Thursday 25 February 1663/64

Up and to the office, where we sat, and thence with Mr. Coventry by coach to the glasshouse and there dined, and both before and after did my Lord Peterborough’s accounts. Thence home to the office, and there did business till called by Creed, and with him by coach (setting my wife at my brother’s) to my Lord’s, and saw the young ladies, and talked a little with them, and thence to White Hall, a while talking but doing no business, but resolved of going to meet my Lord tomorrow, having got a horse of Mr. Coventry to-day. So home, taking up my wife, and after doing something at my office home, God forgive me, disturbed in my mind out of my jealousy of my wife tomorrow when I am out of town, which is a hell to my mind, and yet without all reason. God forgive me for it, and mend me. —[Sam measures his wife’s morals by his own yardstick. D.W.]— So home, and getting my things ready for me, weary to bed.

18 Annotations

tel   Link to this

Sam's jealousy of Bess is obviously a permanent problem - not just aroused by the sight of Pemberton or others. I wonder if this dates back to the unexplained seperation pre the diary? Perhaps at one time Bess had as much of a roving eye as Sam himself. Maybe his philandering is merely a reaction to that, exacerbated by their inability to have children for which he blamed himself. Or am I just looking for excuses for him?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Never been nor (spoiler)

will there be any serious indication of Bess being unfaithful despite (at her own telling to Sam in 1669) a number of passes made at her, one having been by Lord Sandwich via Ferrers. It seems certain she's aware of her effect on men, likes to flirt a bit, and enjoys pinching Sam's jealousy from time to time. She bears strong resentment of some of his more oppressive acts and has a long memory of them. The most surprising thing perhaps is how devoted she seems to have remained to him over the long haul.

Certainly it's possible Sam may feel Bess neglects or is indifferent to him at times...And in fact (spoiler)

he will refer to her indifference once in a while. On the whole, however, he's quite happy with her and has (spoiler)

by his own admission no excuse to philander except his own desire and perhaps a wistful wish to emulate the high-born figures he now mingles with.

***

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Sam measures his wife's morals by his own yardstick. D.W."

I think Sam's statements here make it clear he does not. He's at his charming best here admitting that he is solely to blame for his jealousy and should strive to "mend". In other entries he's gone further and admitted he would deserve for her to behave as he has but that all such feeling is his own guilt.

Bess would probably have appreciated the jealousy, though...Within reasonable limits.

Terry F   Link to this

The Pepys's "inability to have children" (so far)...

...would, methinks, normally have been supposed the woman's -- Elizabeth's -- problem: cf. Henry VIII's serial search fo an appropriate heir; though in Samuel's case, there is the complicating matter of the effects of the operation to remove Ye Stone, which might include sterility, though it's not clear the notion is in play....

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Wonder if Balty's made it to Holland?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"001...Your mission...Whether you wish to accept it or not...Is to proceed to the Hague, penetrate their Naval Council and obtain the details of the counteroffensive we know they are planning against our African conquests."

"Aw, sis...I mean." eyes stern frown. "E."

"You have your orders, St. Michel. England expects every man and all that..." Bess grimly waving her sighing brother off.
***

Against the most secure military establishment in Western Europe...Hey this ain't no Chatham...And the finest minds of a Republic bent on world conquest.

Against the fiendish agents of its allies/rivals...

"The Pope, Mr. St. Michel...Is most interested in seeing the two Protestant superpowers in deadly conflict."

"Ah, my dear Balty...Allow me to offer ..." alluring smile..."That which my King Louis would be most willing to give would you follow your true destiny as a Frenchman."

"St. Michel...Balthazar St. Michel."

Australian Susan   Link to this

The inability to have children was at this time, centuries before and centuries afterwards *always* put down to the female! Or any other problem: in the 1960s, Earl Spencer packed his wife off to a gynaecologist because she kept having girl children when he wanted a boy.
Sam, to his credit, (well, in the diary anyway) never talks about blaming Elizabeth for this, but I am sure that was what was in his mind - and she did have gynaecological problems anyway.

Pedro   Link to this

Meanwhile on the West African Coast...

Holmes is anchored off Cape Sierra Leone...

"Here I went ashore to see what had become of a plantation of the Kernells of China oranges I put in a fine plain field I met withall the first voyage I was there in the Henrietta (1661), about a mile above the watering place upon the side of a small Rivolet that makes the watering place, which is one of the best watering places in the world. I went to the place where I made my plantation and found the River, but the fine plain where I had put my seed the voyage before I could not find for a good while, for all the plain was overrun with Brairs, Bushes and weeds that it was impossible to find it out...I looked up towards the Topps of some fine young straight trees I saw growing there. I had not the confidence to say they were orange trees by reason they were grown to that bigness and height, but at last we all concluded that they were orange trees and confirm us in that opinion found several of ye stocks that we set the seed by in the ground...The trees were at that time in their blossoms, and did look the finest that I ever saw. I had on shore with me several men that I had with me at the first planting."

(Summary from Man of War by Ollard)

Lawrence   Link to this

"setting my wife at my brothers"
I wonder what Elizabeth had to say as regards Thomas' health to samuel when she got home? as it's well known the lad's not well.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

Sam's jealousy

While their general acquaintance may have considered the Pepys's infertility Elizabeth's fault, those who knew of Sam's operation for the stone (including Elizabeth) could have had a different suspicion. Certainly Uncle Wight seems to have hit on this as the weak spot in Elizabeth's defenses. Sam recorded the following account from Elizabeth of her visit to Uncle Wight just three days ago. He comments,"It looks strange putting all together, but yet I am in hopes he means well." But perhaps he unconsciously is aware of danger, and his jealousy is an expression of this unease.

"my wife came and told me how kind my uncle Wight had been to her to-day, and that though she says that all his kindness comes from respect to her she discovers nothing but great civility from him, yet but what she says he otherwise will tell me, but to-day he told her plainly that had she a child it should be his heir,"

Ruben   Link to this

The inability to have children
I coincide with A. Susan that women were always (including today) blamed for not having children.
But let's consider the facts:
Samuel and Elizabeth were married by 12.1655.
Samuel had his operation in March 26, 1658. Considering Samuel's, let's call it, interest in sex, and if Elizabeth did not take pills, she should have been pregnant before the operation.
That never happened and I am sorry for both of them.
As Samuel did not have children, he had more time vacated for himself, and he used it to put on paper (something he was good at), things with no immediate consequence or use. And so we got this wonderful diary.
I ask myself if this compulsive writing of inconsequential episodes of daily life was his way of sublimating the pain of a barren lifestile.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

he had more time vacated for himself,... sublimating the pain of a barren lifestile.

Ruben, perhaps you assume the idealized attitudes to and interest in children of the late C 20th./ early C21st.

As the child of a mid C 20th., traditional English family male, or any, parental attention was best avoided; from aged 6/7 - 18/19 you were in school, later at university. A father's (or any parental attention) meant only one thing that you had messed up, and badly at that. The situation simply was that you got on with your life and they got on with theirs and you avoided impinging upon them in any way -- any close contact could have only one result, trouble for you. This was an attitude that was general amongst my contemporaries at school and beyond -- parents and children were to each other a necessary evil.

My parents were paying "cash out" 'till 22. The C 17th. was an harder world: my guess is that SP and his contemporaries were "on their own" at 11 or 12. If SP had not got a place at St. Paul's he would have been in the shop (or on the street) at 14 by the latest.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I have to debate a little...Sam's relationship to John Sr. suggests strong affection and if anything, John, who by all accounts worked miracles to get his talented son to college, seems hurt that Sam is increasingly distant. I can't say from experience about Britain but while there is some of what you describe in some wealthy American families, in working and middle class US families the parental-child relationship has always been on the main very tight. What I've read of Britain suggests similar attitudes at least for those not involved in public (actually private by the US definition) school ("ship 'em off", we like to call it) culture.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

That doesn't mean the relationship of parent and child was/is necessarily blissful. As my sociologist cousin loves to point out the major social problem in her state and probably across the US, cutting across all class lines has been and remains, i-ncest.
(sorry, had to slip by a restriction)

As for working in the shop, nothing brought me closer to my dad than working with him at carpentry and janitorial jobs. Much as Sam despises the labor now, his affection and respect for John recorded in various entries suggest it was a good relationship. (I didn't love it either and ran for a career in science, though I learned a lot and loved the time with him.)

Ruben   Link to this

Human instinct is such that you want to have some kind of continuation (better a male than a female). This instinct did not change lately.
Samuel is always coming back to heirs and legacies. He wanted the inheritance, but he also wanted the inheritance to pass to a future generation. He bequested his library to a younger family member and I am sure he regreted it was not a Pepys Jr. who received it.
As Cole Porter wrote: Birds do it, bees do it, little fish in their pond do it...
And humans are not different.
In all the entries we read how important family ties were for Samuel.
I know that many layers of English society today are different and they act as Michael wrote but this are not Samuel's background or Samuel's mores.

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Homo Sapiens/erectus be simply pleasure seeking animals, with some ability available to think about the consequence of their actions. They have Five major senses to make sense of their surroundings, The controlling sense be the internal one that sends them looking to satisfy the pain of hunger.
Every one experiences differing ways to survive, but survive they must. What scares most of us is that we are not clones. We all be different with simular non interchangeable modules.
So when One thinks of a family module , one looks to the empirical experience of ones own past, then is mystified why the other families are not the same. Nature made it so so that no one error wipes out the whole species.
a non typical example.Eire reliance on spuds.

laura k   Link to this

"As Samuel did not have children, he had more time vacated for himself"

How much time would a man in those days have spent with his children anyway? Parent or no, Sam would have spent more time on business and his own pleasures than on parenting.

"I ask myself if this compulsive writing of inconsequential episodes of daily life was his way of sublimating the pain of a barren lifestile. "

There is absolutely no evidence of this. Personally, I don't think there's even any evidence of Sam *having* any pain regarding not having children. He's never expressed any. I think the "pain of a barren lifestile" is wholly a construct of the modern reader.

laura k   Link to this

"Human instinct is such that you want to have some kind of continuation (better a male than a female). This instinct did not change lately. "

This is quite offensive. If it was instinct, everyone would have it - and everyone does not.

There are strong social pressures to reproduce, but it's not necessary to put this down to instinct, especially as relates to gender.

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