Sunday 27 March 1664

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed wrangling with my wife about the charge she puts me to at this time for clothes more than I intended, and very angry we were, but quickly friends again. And so rising and ready I to my office, and there fell upon business, and then to dinner, and then to my office again to my business, and by and by in the afternoon walked forth towards my father’s, but it being church time, walked to St. James’s, to try if I could see the belle Butler, but could not; only saw her sister, who indeed is pretty, with a fine Roman nose. Thence walked through the ducking-pond fields; but they are so altered since my father used to carry us to Islington, to the old man’s, at the King’s Head, to eat cakes and ale (his name was Pitts) that I did not know which was the ducking-pond nor where I was. So through F[l]ee[t] lane to my father’s, and there met Mr. Moore, and discoursed with him and my father about who should administer for my brother Tom, and I find we shall have trouble in it, but I will clear my hands of it, and what vexed me, my father seemed troubled that I should seem to rely so wholly upon the advice of Mr. Moore, and take nobody else, but I satisfied him, and so home; and in Cheapside, both coming and going, it was full of apprentices, who have been here all this day, and have done violence, I think, to the master of the boys that were put in the pillory yesterday. But, Lord! to see how the train-bands are raised upon this: the drums beating every where as if an enemy were upon them; so much is this city subject to be put into a disarray upon very small occasions. But it was pleasant to hear the boys, and particularly one little one, that I demanded the business. He told me that that had never been done in the city since it was a city, two prentices put in the pillory, and that it ought not to be so. So I walked home, and then it being fine moonshine with my wife an houre in the garden, talking of her clothes against Easter and about her mayds, Jane being to be gone, and the great dispute whether Besse, whom we both love, should be raised to be chamber-mayde or no. We have both a mind to it, but know not whether we should venture the making her proud and so make a bad chamber-mayde of a very good natured and sufficient cook-mayde. So to my office a little, and then to supper, prayers and to bed.

22 Annotations

Matt   Link to this

"...but they are so altered since my father used to carry us to Islington, to the old man's, at the King's Head, to eat cakes and ale (his name was Pitts) that I did not know which was the ducking-pond nor where I was. "

The above sentence is interesting becomes it's potentially revealing about Pepys's intention for writing the diary: if he was only writing it for his personal use, why bother supplying the reason why his father used to carry them to Islington? Surely, if he could remember this event after several decades, he could expect to remember it for a long time to come. Furthermore, if Pepys knew the old man's name, Pitts, why bother to include it?

Perhaps Pepys is intending to use his diary in his old age, which reflects Rider's mention of long-term diary keeping yesterday. Or, maybe he realised that someone else might read his diary, and was therefore providing a few aids to understanding.

Equally likely is that this post is reading too much into the entry, and that Pepys included such detail simply because he liked writing.

Terry F   Link to this

"it being fine moonshine with my wife an houre in the garden"

Mais ou sont les plombes d'antan?

Before the renovations they would walk on the leads, and talk.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...wrangling with my wife about the charge she puts me to at this time for clothes more than I intended."

"What about your new coat? And that damned perriwig?!"

"For business, Mrs. Pepys. Solely for business." indignant, rather martyred look.

"...and very angry we were, but quickly friends
again."

Something tells me Sam must have the ability to make fun of himself...At his own clotheshorse tendencies, at his stinginess...I can't believe he could cool Bess off so quickly in these spats any other way.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Thence walked through the ducking-pond fields; but they are so altered since my father used to carry us to Islington, to the old man's, at the King's Head, to eat cakes and ale (his name was Pitts) that I did not know which was the ducking-pond nor where I was."

Delayed reaction to Tom's death? Trying to view the old places where they were boys together?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"We have both a mind to it, but know not whether we should venture the making her proud and so make a bad chamber-mayde of a very good natured and sufficient cook-mayde."

Didn't I see a similar debate on an episode of "Upstairs, Downstairs"? Hang in there, Besse...The revolution(s) is(are) coming.

cape henry   Link to this

"...wrangling with my wife..." An interesting word that Pepys has employed previously several times. He seems always to use it in the context of real but inconsequential matters involving small amounts of money or odd disputes. The word itself is very old and comes down to us meaning much the same thing it did in Middle English.

Terry F   Link to this

"But it was pleasant to hear the boys, and particularly one little one, that I demanded the business. He told me that that had never been done in the city since it was a city, two prentices put in the pillory, and that it ought not to be so."

What a splendid, fearless and direct news-reporter is our Mr. Pepys!

Cactus Wren   Link to this

" ... and so make a bad chamber-mayde of a very good natured and sufficient cook-mayde."

The Pepys Principle!

Bergie   Link to this

Matt . . .
"The above sentence is interesting . . . why bother supplying the reason why his father used to carry them to Islington? . . . if Pepys knew the old man's name, Pitts, why bother to include it?

The sentence reads as if Pepys couldn't recall the name at first and nudged his memory by writing down details of the visits. It worked: the name came to him before he reached the end of his sentence, but it appears later in the sentence than if it had been available immediately.

Mary   Link to this

ducking-ponds.

These are not the kind of ducking-ponds where one might discover a ducking-stool, but rather ponds where the sport of setting dogs to chase ducks was practised. L&M notes that there were ducking-ponds in both Islington and Clerkenwell.

Dudley   Link to this

St James the Less Clerkenwell.

Paul Dyson   Link to this

"wrangling with my wife"
At the University of Cambridge, a wrangler is a student who has completed the third year (called Part II) of the Mathematical Tripos with first-class honours.

The highest-scoring student is named the "senior wrangler"; the second highest-scoring student is the "second wrangler"; the third highest is the "third wrangler", and so on.

(From Wikipedia)

Perhaps this term derives from the time when examinations were conducted orally, and (in the good old days) in Latin!

cape henry   Link to this

The memories at the ducking-ponds might also be merely a case of encountering a once-familiar landscape that has been altered and clicking into place, sort of one by one, those things and incidents formerly associated with that place. These would seem to be pleasant boyhood memories jotted down perhaps simply to recall them. Who hasn't returned to a place to find it much changed and done, more or less, the same? This observation, however, does not make any less interesting the intriguing question of whether or not Pepys was writing for posterity.

Bradford   Link to this

Thanks, Mary---one had been pondering the juxtaposition of the belle Butler and ducking the eye-wandering tight-fisted husband. Drat.

Wouldn't it be easier, then as now, to find a new chambermaid than another good cook?

Terry F   Link to this

"Wouldn't it be easier...to find a new chambermaid than another good cook?"

Perhaps not: if the chambermaid is to be Elizabeth's intimate and companion on some trips abroad (shopping, etc..), Elizabeth is seeking a compatible and Samuel her contentment? Personality upstairs, technical skills down.

jeannine   Link to this

"Personality upstairs, technical skills down"
Plus with Sam's love of a good meal there could be hell to pay if he traded in his great gourmet cook Besse for a lesser skilled run of the mill cook, now if he traded her in for someone from the Julia Child gene pool, it might just work out....but it's doubtful he'll risk it.

JonTom Kittredge   Link to this

Trading the "Gourmet Cook"
But Besse is the sous-chef, isn't she, rather than the chef de cuisine? Or, at least, I assume cook-mayde here means kitchen maid, rather than cook.

Australian Susan   Link to this

I think "cook-mayde" means she was a maid AND a cook or it could just be that all female servants were called "maydes" of one form or another in the 17th century and it was only later that the more important female servant was called just "cook".

Mary   Link to this

cook-mayde

Australian Susan's second thought looks the better; that 'cook'modifies'mayde, cf. cook-maid; chamber-maid, lady's-maid, parlour-maid etc.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

Thence walked through the ducking-pond fields; but they are so altered since my father used to carry us to Islington, ... that I did not know which was the ducking-pond nor where I was.

(la forme d'une ville
Change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel)

Pedro   Link to this

Again in the absence of Dirk. In Earls Colne Ralph Josselin...

March. 27: Cold but good weather, god be praised, the lord abundant in his goodness towards us, a cheerful Sabbath, god good in the word, his goodness, christ, pardon(,) presence sweet to my soul. lord quicken my heart to walk with thee

When I come to review the ways of god towards me in the year past, I find it mercy and truth, he still smiles on us, he has added a little Rebekah to our number and the rest grow up. my public liberty strangely continued to me, and people, I have purchased this year a close cost 28li. for my son Thomas , my receipts more than expenses by 8li. received. 168li.18s.4d. laid out. 160li.13s.2d. my stock as good as last spring. my debts were than due to me 20li. more than now. so that I have saved clearly about 8li. and my building which was at least 40li. now I have about 15li. in money and my tenants owe me. 70li. blessed been god

http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/diary/7...

Terry F   Link to this

"But, Lord! to see how the train-bands are raised upon this: the drums beating every where as if an enemy were upon them; so much is this city subject to be put into a disarray upon very small occasions."

Methinks Pepys lacks the perspective of the authorities on yesterday's felonies. Cf. this post: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/03/26/#c16...

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