Tuesday 15 March 1663/64

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon comes Madam Turner and her daughter The., her chief errand to tell me that she had got Dr. Wiverly, her Doctor, to search my brother’s mouth, where Mr. Powell says there is an ulcer, from thence he concludes that he hath had the pox. But the Doctor swears that there is not, nor ever was any, and my brother being very sensible, which I was glad to hear, he did talk with him about it, and he did wholly disclaim that ever he had the disease, or that ever he said to Powell that he had it. All which did put me into great comfort as to the reproach which was spread against him. So I sent for a barrel of oysters, and they dined, and we were very merry, I being willing to be so upon this news. After dinner we took coach and to my brother’s, where contrary to my expectation he continues as bad or worse, talking idle, and now not at all knowing any of us as before. Here we staid a great while, I going up and down the house looking after things. In the evening Dr. Wiverley came again, and I sent for Mr. Powell (the Doctor and I having first by ourselves searched my brother again at his privities, where he was as clear as ever he was born, and in the Doctor’s opinion had been ever so), and we three alone discoursed the business, where the coxcomb did give us his simple reasons for what he had said, which the Doctor fully confuted, and left the fellow only saying that he should cease to report any such thing, and that what he had said was the best of his judgment from my brother’s words and a ulcer, as he supposed, in his mouth. I threatened him that I would have satisfaction if I heard any more such discourse, and so good night to them two, giving the Doctor a piece for his fee, but the other nothing.

I to my brother again, where Madam Turner and her company, and Mrs. Croxton, my wife, and Mrs. Holding. About 8 o’clock my brother began to fetch his spittle with more pain, and to speak as much but not so distinctly, till at last the phlegm getting the mastery of him, and he beginning as we thought to rattle, I had no mind to see him die, as we thought he presently would, and so withdrew and led Mrs. Turner home, but before I came back, which was in half a quarter of an hour, my brother was dead. I went up and found the nurse holding his eyes shut, and he poor wretch lying with his chops fallen, a most sad sight, and that which put me into a present very great transport of grief and cries, and indeed it was a most sad sight to see the poor wretch lie now still and dead, and pale like a stone. I staid till he was almost cold, while Mrs. Croxton, Holden, and the rest did strip and lay him out, they observing his corpse, as they told me afterwards, to be as clear as any they ever saw, and so this was the end of my poor brother, continuing talking idle and his lips working even to his last that his phlegm hindered his breathing, and at last his breath broke out bringing a flood of phlegm and stuff out with it, and so he died.

This evening he talked among other talk a great deal of French very plain and good, as, among others: ‘quand un homme boit quand il n’a poynt d’inclination a boire il ne luy fait jamais de bien.’ I once begun to tell him something of his condition, and asked him whither he thought he should go. He in distracted manner answered me — “Why, whither should I go? there are but two ways: If I go, to the bad way I must give God thanks for it, and if I go the other way I must give God the more thanks for it; and I hope I have not been so undutifull and unthankfull in my life but I hope I shall go that way.” This was all the sense, good or bad, that I could get of him this day.

I left my wife to see him laid out, and I by coach home carrying my brother’s papers, all I could find, with me, and having wrote a letter to, my father telling him what hath been said I returned by coach, it being very late, and dark, to my brother’s, but all being gone, the corpse laid out, and my wife at Mrs. Turner’s, I thither, and there after an hour’s talk, we up to bed, my wife and I in the little blue chamber, and I lay close to my wife, being full of disorder and grief for my brother that I could not sleep nor wake with satisfaction, at last I slept till 5 or 6 o’clock.

38 Annotations

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"I must give God thanks for it"
"Requiescat in Pace et Lux Perpetua luceat eis"poor Tom.

Terry F  •  Link

"a present very great transport of grief and cries"

Hardly unfeeling. What a shock, given what had occurred before!

Terry F  •  Link

"I lay close to my wife, being full of disorder and grief for my brother that I could not sleep nor wake with satisfaction, at last I slept till 5 or 6 o'clock."

After earlier examinations of Tom's body to make sure it was 'clean' -- afterward, Tom's absence remains.

Maurie Beck  •  Link

My my my, from a barrel of oysters to a death rattle. Dying was so uncivilized, not like today in our modern hospitals, where it hardly happens at all. What a day for Sam.

Glyn  •  Link

"and so he died"

God damn William and Anthony Joyce. They told Sam so very, very authoritatively that Tom, his brother, had syphilis, as if they had heard it from Tom himself. We and Sam know now that they had absolutely no evidence for that. Some people speak ill of the dead, they speak ill of the barely living. I'm glad Pepys has spoken his mind to the first doctor, for myself I would also be considering physical violence against the Joyces.

Sam made his first visit of the day confidently expecting to find Tom getting better, and ends the day seeing him dead. As other people have said, poor Tom.

Lea  •  Link

Translation of Tom's French:

quand un homme boit quand il n'a poynt d'inclination a boire il ne luy fait jamais de bien - "When a man drinks when he has no inclination to drink, it never does him any good."

If you were wondering. What a sad entry!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Jane Turner comes round with her 12 year old daughter to discuss whether or not poor Tom had syphilis: there seems not to have been a problem about The being present and knowing these details.
Typical of Sam to attend to business also and take away all the papers he can find and to write to his father as soon as possible. Although he doesn't comment on this, it must have been a difficult letter to write, even if father Pepys in Brampton was half expecting it.
Before the death, it is the male Drs who attend, but then the corpse becomes the property of the women to lay out, which happens whilst Sam is rummaging around for papers.
Sam records the details which strike him - the loose jaw of his dead brother, the temperature of the body.

"I lay close to my wife, being full of disorder and grief for my brother that I could not sleep nor wake with satisfaction, at last I slept till 5 or 6 o'clock."
That sentence really spoke down the centuries to me - I have done the exact same thing: we cling to those we love for very life in the midst of grief, despair and death's finality.

Glyn  •  Link

Tom had a life-long speech impediment and a lot of people had difficulty in understanding him. Yet at the end he spoke in French 'very plain and good'. Perhaps when no longer worried if people could understand him he spoke more clearly?

JWB  •  Link

"...no inclination to drink..."

"If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink" John 7:37

Glyn  •  Link

Click on Lea's name above - her website looks interesting although distressingly Pepys-light.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Once again it's Jane Turner to the rescue, bless her and all the Jane Turners of all eras and places who always come through for us.

And perhaps not fully realizing it in his grief, Sam has recorded from his tongue-tied brother an eloquent and noble fairwell. May we all have as much reason to hope as Tom did.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I wonder when and how Tom picked up French? Did the basic education extend to languages? Did he learn for the sake of business, or maybe to try and cure his speech impediment? Or perhaps another slight hint that he and Bess got on fairly well?

Well, interesting that Thomas Pepys is now far more famous than many "great" men of his day.

Terry F  •  Link

"we up to bed, my wife and I in the little blue chamber, and I lay close to my wife"

Yesterday's quarrels over dresses and lace and concerns about brave clothes for the Mr. are quite forgotten. What a difference a death makes.

Clement  •  Link

The Ides of March see the last breath for poor Tom too.
(from "Julius Caesar", as Lucius sleeps:)
"Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber:
Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies,
Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
Therefore thou sleep'st so sound."
ACT II Scene 1

I can sadly empathize with Sam "being full of disorder and grief" which well describes the disorienting loss of a sibling. Not really knowing what to do with his fragile and fluttering emotions he compulsively collects all of papers he can find to take home.

It was touching to see Sam's impulse was to memorialize the last sensible words he knows of his brother's, especially after his recent caddish behavior.

Does anyone know if the text of his letter to their father is available? It would be interesting to see how he glosses this event therein. Not sure what he means by "telling him what hath been said." I assume the tone is business-like, with little or none of the emotion he displayed in the diary.

Clement  •  Link

"I threatened him that I would have satisfaction if I heard any more such discourse"

I believe this is the most agressive statment we've seen Pepys make to another adult man in the diary.

Ruben  •  Link

Thank you all for the sensible words. Tom was part of this diary and we will miss him.
The only words we will remember from him are in French, in spite of him being only a tailor, in London, more than 300 years ago. Where did he pick up French?! May be this were the only French words he knew?

Now Samuel, the older brother has Pall (whom I could not find in the "people" chapter), and John to care for.
Ah! John, this good for nothing brother. Will he one day become more responsible and make a career?
And Pall, another problem that only Sam can attend, considering that his parents were old and more or less dependent on him. If he could only get her an husband, but she is so old...

PHE  •  Link

A moving entry. Two things I find strange (in today's context, but probably representative of the times and of Sam himself):
(i) that he provided so much detail on the lead up to Tom's death. In view of the significance and grief of the event, this seems 'clinical'. It is perhaps another example of Sam being the objective observer of his own life, as if he is describing the scene as a viewer rather than participant
(ii) that he left his brother's side when he presumed (and correctly as it turned out) that he was so close to the death. Why did he not stay to give him some comfort? I think its partly due to the 'matter-of-fact' view of death at the time, and partly due to Sam's own selfish squeamishness.

GrahamT  •  Link

It seems Powell is a quack who, having made his unfounded diagnosis of pox, then invents symptoms to prove it. No wonder Sam threatens him with a duel.

Pedro  •  Link

Tomalin and the French connection.

"The one thing that Tom had an aptitude for seems to have been French which he managed to speak fluently. So did Sam: another mystery, for where did they learn it? Not at school. Good French grammars were printed and sold in London, but Tom seems more likely to have picked it up directly. It is possible that the Pepys' had a French lodger, since anyone with spare rooms and uncertain income took in lodgers, as Tom did himself when he was in charge at Salisbury Court later."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Undoubtedly a quack...And we get strong support for Sam's low view of the Joyces by their unquestioning acceptance of his diagnosis. Geesh, they would have gone off the other day and not told him of Tom's true condition, then they blab to the world that he's dying of VD after calling in a fellow whose diagnosis Jane Turner questioned from the start. (Again, thank God for the feisty Jane T. and may she continue to train Theophilia to be like her.)

"Consumption, Mother...Look at Cousin Tom's face. The fellow's an idiot."

"The?! Will you put that blanket down?!"

I don't think Sam meant his demand for satisfaction would result in a duel...He's no coward but a bit more sensible than to risk getting his head blown off by a lucky shot. I think he meant the Clerk of the Acts would see Mr. Powell dealt with harshly by the King's Justice.

It's a shame though understandable given Sam's disorder and grief that we don't get anything as to Bess' take on this sad day. However, she certainly has been and in the closing scene of the day, is, there for him. I'll like to think that yesterday her "high stomach" came down and she decided to make friends as she cooled her heels and realized her husband needed her as he struggled to carry on on one of the worst days of his life.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Jane Turner comes through. And so does Sam.

jeannine  •  Link

"I went up and found the nurse holding his eyes shut"
Just as some have discussed Sam's departure when Tom's death is near, there are those unsung heros who provide comfort and care for those who are dying and aren't afraid to be with that person right up to the end. There is something in the character of these people who can reach beyond their own discomfort with a situation to put the needs and cares of the elderly, sick, dying, etc. ahead of the difficulties of watching them through the process. They don't turn their backs and leave, but deal with it and stay. The world is a better place because of them.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Yes, Jeannine ...

My wife says, "The greatest kindness you can do for another is to be with them as they die."

Lawrence  •  Link

Bless him, he's gone from a corruptible place to an un-corruptible one.

JWB  •  Link

Wiverly over Powell?

Well Wiverly was Madam Turner's agent, she who yesterday was "full now of the disease which my brother is troubled with, and talks of it mightily," while Powell was Tom's agent. I think we should suspend judgment on the merits of their respective diagnoses.

Eric Walla  •  Link

"I threatened him that I would have satisfaction if I heard any more such discourse"

I immediately thought this line meant a challenge to a duel, but Robert made me realize my connection depends entirely on a stock phrase trotted out in period films. Would this indeed have been the conclusion of anyone hearing this phrase, or could it suggest any number of legal and less-than-legal means of satisfaction? Even if it signified a challenge, would it be a common occurrence that the suggestion was made in the heat of emotion and withdrawn when cooler heads prevailed? (or again from the movies, if you challenged would you be honor bound to carry it out, if only in show?) This is reality, after all. As so many have pointed out, a very touching reality that transcends time.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"I had no mind to see him die"
I could not fault Sam, after all he, Tom, was not recognizing anybody.

Pedro  •  Link

"I threatened him that I would have satisfaction if I heard any more such discourse"

There is no sworde to bee feared more than the Learned pen.

Nix  •  Link

"I threatened him that I would have satisfaction" --

The imputation of a "loathsome and infectious disease" is slander per se. That means the injured party can sue without having to prove financial injury. Samuel might have picked this up in his recent legal reading, or it might have been common knowledge as well as common law.

Generally, claims for defamation are considered personal, so under the common law they died with the injured party. However, to the extent that the slander reflected on the family, other family members might have had a claim.

TomC  •  Link

I've been "lurking" at this site for four years now, and this is the most touching entry that I've ever read. It truly shows us his humanity.

What a testament to Sam that he faithfully makes his diary entry in spite of the trauma of his brother's death. My grandmother died in December, 2005, my partner in January 2006 and I could not bring myself back to writing in my journal until March.

JWB  •  Link

And Powell is suspressed. Perhaps rightly so, but not rightly on Wiverly and Sam's prejudices.

jeannine  •  Link

"Does anyone know if the text of his letter to their father is available? It would be interesting to see how he glosses this event therein". (little spoiler)

Clement, I looked through the 3 books of Sam's letters which I own and did not find this letter. Heath's book "The Letters of Samuel Pepys and his Family Circle" included i) fragments of a letter from Tom to Paulina (Pal); ii) Sam's letter to his Cozen Scott setting forth the balance of Tom's accounts after the burial, etc. and iii) a rather interesting inventory of the Tailor shop. What jumped out to me on reading Tom's letter to Pal was his rather sad ending to her which read:

"Not else at presant but all frinds Loves to you with my most Humble duty to father and mother true Love to your good self (sister Pal) I take Leve as Ever to be
Your truly Loving Brother
till Death

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Poor Pall, looks like she's lost her Balty. Beautiful, Jeannine, thanks.

Araucaria  •  Link

Possible causes for clear speech near death ...

A college classmate of mine had a painfully difficult stutter for years. He later found by accident, when talking over a telephone connection with a delayed echo feedback, that his stuttering disappeared completely. He theorized that stuttering arises from a faulty auditory feedback in the brain, and has developed hearing-aid-like devices to help people eliminate their stutter. Here is a book he wrote on the subject:


In poor Tom's case, perhaps in the end stage of TB his auditory nerves were affected to the point where he had a naturally delayed auditory feedback, and it short-circuited the stutter.

Bradford  •  Link

One does not know till the moment comes whether you will be compelled to stay or compelled to go. Let us all hope we can meet the test when it comes, for come it will.

Quite the shock, coming up this entry unawares, though it does recall the epitaph for a tombstone commemorated by Auden: "I expected this, but not so soon!"

Maurie Beck  •  Link

"I threatened him that I would have satisfaction if I heard any more such discourse"

I doubt that most such threats would ever result in a duel. Most men don't have the skill nor the temperament for a fight. In Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa), the different factions have their own heavily armed militias who are cut through like butter by Sanjuro, the ronin, the only one who knows how to fight. I'm sure Powell backed down from Sam with his hackles up.

Ramona H  •  Link

I thank you all for today's annotations --the French translation, the closing remarks in the letter to
Pall, but especially Glyn's "God damn the Joyce's".

Kevin Peter  •  Link

Tom's death was quite a shock to me as well. I wasn't aware of when he died. Indeed, I was somehow under the impression he would outlast the diary, so I was expecting him to recover just like he had recovered from all his previous illnesses. So it really surprised me when Sam came back to find that he had died.

Very sad. I feel the same as when Sir Robert Slingsby, who Sam was fond of, died back in 1661. Just like Slingsby, Tom was someone who was interesting to read about. It's as if something will now be missing from the diary.

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