Wednesday 11 May 1664

Up and all day, both forenoon and afternoon, at my office to see it finished by the joyners and washed and every thing in order, and indeed now my closet is very convenient and pleasant for me. My uncle Wight came to me to my office this afternoon to speak with me about Mr. Maes’s business again, and from me went to my house to see my wife, and strange to think that my wife should by and by send for me after he was gone to tell me that he should begin discourse of her want of children and his also, and how he thought it would be best for him and her to have one between them, and he would give her 500l. either in money or jewells beforehand, and make the child his heir. He commended her body, and discoursed that for all he knew the thing was lawful. She says she did give him a very warm answer, such as he did not excuse himself by saying that he said this in jest, but told her that since he saw what her mind was he would say no more to her of it, and desired her to make no words of it. It seemed he did say all this in a kind of counterfeit laugh, but by all words that passed, which I cannot now so well set down, it is plain to me that he was in good earnest, and that I fear all his kindness is but only his lust to her. What to think of it of a sudden I know not, but I think not to take notice yet of it to him till I have thought better of it. So with my mind and head a little troubled I received a letter from Mr. Coventry about a mast for the Duke’s yacht, which with other business makes me resolve to go betimes to Woolwich to-morrow. So to supper and to bed.

57 Annotations

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"I fear all his kindness is but only his lust to her"
Sam,I knew it and methinks you knew it too, quite while ago.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Not quite sure I'd resolve to go betimes to Woolwich and leave my wife alone, after what happened today, but Elizabeth obviously knows how to take care of herself.

Wonder what convinced ol' Unc that the time was right to bring up the subject?

Terry F  •  Link

"Wonder what convinced ol' Unc that the time was right to bring up the subject?"

Had Elizabeth's presence at the recent series of Pepys family funerals, lastly Judith Scott, caught his eye and he shared Samuel's dismal line of thought?

26 April 1664: "My wife gone this afternoon to the buriall of my she-cozen Scott, a good woman; and it is a sad consideration how the Pepys's decay, and nobody almost that I know in a present way of encreasing them."

cape henry  •  Link

Does Sam's oddly muted reaction to this revelation strike anyone else as strange? This is a person of such powerful jealousy that the thought of finding the dancing master in a corner of the church drives him to distraction. I tend to agree with ADA above that he must have been aware that Wight's affections were somewhat tainted, but the openness of this 'offer' is stunning. So he decides to "not take notice of it to him...?" Perplexing.

Terry F  •  Link

Perhaps Uncle Wight can't dance?

Maurie Beck  •  Link

Cape Henry - Does Sam's oddly muted reaction to this revelation strike anyone else as strange?

People do not perceive all threats equally. We have no way of knowing if Sam and Elizabeth have ever talked about Uncle Wight, the old codger. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they both didn't get a good laugh out of it. Pembleton, on the other hand, was a dance master who knew how to handle ladies. Sam knew that any dance master worth his salt was not only in it for the money, but the dalliances. What better way to further those dalliances than making a woman feel special, especially when husbands had so many other duties.

Jesse  •  Link

"till I have thought better of it"

For Pepys measured response to Uncle Wight refer e.g. to: where "[Pepys is] apt to think that he [U.W.] do mean us well, and to give us something if he should die without children." Pepys may understand/rationalize that Uncle Wight's desire for an heir for his estate may be in part sincere. Thus he hopes to play a little with fire hoping not to get his fingers burned.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Do you believe it?! That old..." a distraught Bess waves hands at the conclusion of her tale...

"Shocking...Positively shocking...My poor, poor wretch..." Sam shaking head. "Well, this explains quite a bit...Quite a bit."

"I never want to see that...Uggh...Again."

"Hmmn? Oh...Yes...Well..."

"He's lucky to be an old man as well as your uncle..." Bess eyes a thoughtful Sam. "I mean, given your raging jealousy and all... You'd deal with him soundly, t'were it otherwise."

"Hmmn? Oh...Yes...Soundly. Hmmn. 500Ls you say?"

"Hmm-hmmn." Nods. "Just can't believe it...A child with him? Oh..."

"Yes, monstrous...And he'd've made it his heir, eh?"

"Just trying to buy the sin away, as if he could. We should denounce him to your Aunt...To the world!"

"Ummn...Well, we mustn't disgrace the family, dear. If it can be avoided. God will surely provide punishment in time...Say, do you suppose that was merely meant as an initial offer? I mean, I can't help wondering to just how monstrous an extent he might have let his lust rise...Ummn, had he been given or felt some encouragement."


"I just mean...For the sake of knowing how deeply ensnared in sin my uncle's soul is....A thousand pounds, you think?"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Yeah, I dunno about Woolwich either, Sam...500Ls would pay for a goodly number of thugs. And especially since given his mysterious involvement with the somehow sinisterly disreputable Mr. Maes, I'd guess Unc didn't make the bulk of his fortune selling fish...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...and discoursed that for all he knew the thing was lawful..."

So, this sort of evasive thinking runs in the family?

Miss Ann fr Home  •  Link

Well, just goes to show even families in those days had an uncle "like that". Won't Christmas dinner be interesting this year? Did they have turkey-basters in those days? Sorry about that one folks.

I would have thought Sam is feeling a whole mixture of emotions:- the money, the possibility of a child, the no doubt not-too-distant death of Uncle, (he is old afterall) but it's interesting that he hasn't raised the spectre of jealousy, which seems to jump up and bite him whenever he sees the poor old dance instructor.

I'm not too happy about Sam's reaction, I'll have to sleep on it.

It's great to see that Bess can really handle herself in almost any situation. I do wish someone would unearth her diaries -- oh what an interesting read they would be. Anyone know Dr Who? Maybe he could travel back and see what he can do to influence her to take up diary writing.

Fred Bloggs  •  Link

Does Robert Gertz actually think that his little discourses are remotely amusing.

Apart from the fact that he must be American to write like that, the contributions he makes are completely puerile

Michael McCollough  •  Link

Dunno how Robert feels about his writing, but I find it amusing and so do many others here. It hasn't been that long since the last time we went through this.

Bob T  •  Link

Robert Gertz posts are of the "aren't we clever witty fellows" type. They are harmless, and appeal to some people, mostly Brits I suspect. Just don't bother reading them, I don't.

language hat  •  Link

What Bob T said. They don't interest me, so I skip them. They clearly appeal to a lot of people, so good for him and them. And let's try not to be nasty about fellow Pepysians, shall we?

Terry F  •  Link

Robert Gertz's psychdramas exploring motives do touch a possible Pepys nerve or two on occasion -- some interpretation of the text being conjectural, his 'dramas' self-consciously and transparently, which some of us count a virtue.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Elizabeth's REACTION, and telling Samuell is really remarkable.
This being a period of Puritanical & licentious Thought, many differing Dogmas, clearly opens up a vista of Elizabeth strong characture.

There be those that talk of the Royal prodigeny and failure of the Queen herself to supply a prodigal [sic {progeny}] son to keep power on the correct genetic path, so it be correct to have a harem of providers, then there be those that be running around condemning this outrageous conduct.

Sam be taking a leaf out of a Jesuit saying about lets not be hasty, before weighing the advantages, pro and con.

Samuell and Elizabeth did not have the modern medical advantages to solve the dilemma of not filling the terms of wedded bliss, passing of the baton of knowledge to the next generation..

To have or not to have a baby, that be the question, no matter whose sperm and/or egg it be.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

RE: Viewpoints or interpretations be as varied as there be people, I do not like communism but I will read their output, just so that I may get a another version on life.
Everything is so much opining except where it can be proved not so.

It be nice to see birds of a feather in one field not being aware of the Hawke.

Locke is quoted as saying "our Ignorance is infinitely larger than our Knowledge."
So lets see the other interpretations.

I am very sure that my ramblings and immature quotes create much bile too.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Only one version of life to be printed: The Kings:

Bill to continue the Act for regulating the Press.
Then the Lord Viscount Say et Seale reported, That the Committee have considered of the Bill for regulating Printing; and think it fit to pass as it is, without any Amendment."
Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, "An Act for Continuance of an Act for regulating the Press."
The Question being put, "Whether this Bill shall pass?"
It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

From: 'House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 12 May 1664', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11: 1660-1666, pp. 613-15. URL: Date accessed: 12 May 2007.

Dave  •  Link

I see no problem with Robert Gertz' posts. It's harmless fun, I have to be honest and say that I do tend to skip through the longer ones but overall they are amusing, and which Pepsyian hasn't wondered how a particular event has panned out, Robert is putting into words what a lot of people may have pondered. As for him being an American - or not - is irrelevant., I would imagine Pepys has many fans worldwide. Keep on posting Robert.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Well, Fred, etc, some thought my analysis of Coventry's lighting on Sam as a potential member of the Duke's technocrat team a while back was on the money. But with the exception of things like plague, which is in my field, I prefer the lighter side when here. As for my dialogues, some of my things catch the wave and amuse some, some don't. They're easy though, I have fun with them, and as I always say they're done with affection for Sam and co...

"Such levity...Why you remind me of the Three Stooges..."

Anyway enough of that...

(So, I please some in Britain and America?...Wow.)

Jacqueline Gore  •  Link

Dr. Gertz's commentaries and dialogues are a major reason I come here to read every day.

Pedro  •  Link

You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

But as a Brit I don't find "Friends" funny at all. Perhaps I'm getting old and grumpy!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Whoa! Enough. Thanks. We're letting slip one of Sam's most hilarious and subtly revealing entries... The million dollar/pound question being how can a remotely loving husband let this "indecent proposal" pass?

Terry F  •  Link

Uncle Wight propositions the wife of Pepys, Solicitor for his client, Maes

"Mr. Maes's business" was introduced to Pepys by the would-be father of his child, Uncle Wight, Maes's merchant patron.

4 February 1663/64: "comes my uncle Wight and Mr. Maes with the state of their case, which he told me very discreetly, and I believe is a very hard one"

10 February 1663/64 SP quite by accident hears the backstory of some mercantile flim-flam and comes to "understand Mr. Maes' business better than...before."

12 February 1663/64: "hearing that my uncle Wight had been at my house, I went to him to the Miter, and there with him and Maes, Norbury, and Mr. Rawlinson till late"

16 February 1663/64: "my uncle Wight and Mr. Maes came to me, and after discourse about Maes' business to supper very merry"

1 March 1663/64: "my uncle Wight...told me how Mr. Maes had like to have been trapanned yesterday, but was forced to run for it;"

Whatever "Mr. Maes's business" is, we have so far not been told what Pepys's interest in it is. It does seem to license his hanging around the House of Lords.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sorry, had to leave a mo...

Does he fear Uncle Wight? Certainly it would not be impossible for a wealthy man of this time to put a troublesome nephew out of the way.

Is he simply greedily hoping for a legacy still? Keep quiet and ole Uncle might put something on the table if only to buy Bess' silence.

Does he just find the idea too comical? I can't believe the man who blanches at another man catching sight of his wife in church would find any proposal of this nature comical enough to ignore.

Of course this is real life and in real life it would be hard to denounce one's uncle and spend the rest of your life fighting with half or more of the family over it...Still, I can't imagine letting ole Wight do that to one's wife and slip away. Well, we'll see, won't we?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I agree, Terry, and I suspect Uncle Wight has his fingers in some very dangerously deep pies.

Glyn  •  Link

And moving on - have people seen the news item in Phil Gyford's own log for May 1st?

I think people should email them and recommend this site for the prize, even if it doesn't fit into their criteria. They should go by the spirit rather than the letter of their laws.

Paul Dyson  •  Link

how he thought it would be best for him and her to have one between them

A newspaper article today (about "love-children" presenting themselves to middle-aged fathers who were unaware of their existence) includes the following:

"Indeed, studies suggest that as many as one in six of us may have a father out there who is different to the one we thought we had. One piece of research in the 70s accidentally discovered that up to 30% of a group of around 250 women had a child who could not have been the offspring of its putative father."

Not quite the same situation as a potential Wight-Pepys co-operation, obviously, but a diverting thought. No doubt, apart from strong moral and social considerations, the young Bess found Uncle Wight a good deal less than an attractive mate and this must have outweighed her desire for a child, her probable awareness that she was not going to achieve that with Sam's assistance, the significant financial offer and the future financial security of the baby. Had she been interested in having the child she could probably have kept it from Sam, but accepting the monetary incentives would surely have made him and others aware of its actual paternity. It would have been a very public slight; the lads at the office would have capitalised on it for years!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Wight may have hopefully played on Bess' (expressed?, possibly often?) desire for a child, but I doubt his intention was anything other than to secure her as his mistress.

Interesting that he chose this time to make his move...What could have led him to think this was the day of opportunity? And has he seized his ambitious nephew up well enough to believe that Sam might hesitate to make trouble if the prize were large enough?

"It would have been a very public slight; the lads at the office would have capitalised on it for years!"

"Uh, Pepys. Just wanted to...Ummn, hmmn...Hee...Congratulate you again on the happy news." Batten smiles broadly.

"Oh, aye, Will. A toast to our stout lad who has...Mmmn..hee...Finally hit the mark as it were, after so very long." Penn chimes in, likewise beaming.

"I have heard many tales of men achieving...Success...After a long drought...But this must be hailed as...Ha...Ummn...Truly miraculous." Minnes grins.

"Praise God, Sir John." Penn notes, solemnly.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Pepys prior remarks on uncle Wright's behavior

"So rode home and there found my uncle Wight. 'Tis an odd thing as my wife tells me his caressing her and coming on purpose to give her visits, but I do not trouble myself for him at all, but hope the best and very good effects of it."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

The 'completely puerile' contribution by Robert Gertz

"... Say, do you suppose that was merely meant as an initial offer? I mean, I can't help wondering to just how monstrous an extent he might have let his lust rise...Ummn, had he been given or felt some encouragement."


"I just mean...For the sake of knowing how deeply ensnared in sin my uncle's soul is....A thousand pounds, you think?"

appears to be entirely consistent with Pepys' prior remarks about Uncle Wright.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

More of Pepys prior thoughts about uncle Wight's behavior

" ... but to-day he told her plainly that had she a child it should be his heir, and that should I or she want he would be a good friend to us, and did give my wife instructions to consent to all his wife says at any time, she being a pettish woman, which argues a design I think he has of keeping us in with his wife in order to our good sure, and he declaring her jealous of him that so he dares not come to see my wife as otherwise he would do and will endeavour to do. It looks strange putting all together, but yet I am in hopes he means well. ...[discusses Wight's intended legacies to others] ..., which vexed [me] to think that he should bestow so much upon his wife's friends daily as he do, but it cannot be helped for the time past, and I will endeavour to remedy it for the time to come. ..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Well, Michael what can I say except...Thanks and...

Nobody ever put one over on Fred C. Bloggs. (whoever he really is.)

Ok, done.

jeannine  •  Link

Today's entry and Elizabeth's character....

Interesting to be reading this on Mother's Day and thanks to the other Pepysians who have shared their views on the Uncle Wight parenting proposal above. When I really read through Sam's entry line by line today (in undistracted detail!) what struck me is that today we do get some points revealed about Elizabeth's character -and I mean separate from the usual "speculation" that we add to the mix, based on our desire to better understand her. So today in Sam's translation of the events we find out the following "facts" (to use the word "facts" loosely):

1. "he should begin discourse of her want of children and his also" -so we now know that Elizabeth did in fact want a child, which we have all speculated on from time to time

2. "and how he thought it would be best for him and her to have one between them, and he would give her 500l. either in money or jewells beforehand, and make the child his heir" -the proposal was given with an upfront guarantee of money and/or jewels and a tail end promise of being his heir -this would reduce any thoughts that Elizabeth would be left dangling, at least in the upfront stage leading to sex

3. "She says she did give him a very warm answer, such as he did not excuse himself by saying that he said this in jest" -she had the presence of mind and grace to refuse him in a polite and warm manner, without fanfare or a scene, which is a side of Elizabeth that we don't often hear about from Sam. This to me, is a rather mature response to a situation which may have taken her by surprise but seems to be done without damaging the relationship with Uncle Wight.

4. "and desired her to make no words of it" -Elizabeth tells Sam. This speaks in so many ways of her relationship with Sam. In many marriages of the times (and perhaps, sadly, even today) many spouses in the same position would never have mentioned this to their partner, but the fact that she did mention it, handled it well, and left the situation in "good standing" where nobody lost face is amazing.

5. "I fear all his kindness is but only his lust to her" -perhaps more indication of her beauty, or not to read into it more than it actually says-she has an obvious level of sex appeal.

It must have caused her some emotional effort to navigate herself through the discussion with Uncle Wight and diplomatically address the issues. It must have also struck some notes as to her desire for a child. An offer of money and jewels of that magnitude could have certainly changed her life for the better (she could have secretly supported her entire family on the side for the rest of their lives, hidden the cash from Sam as a nest egg in the event he died, etc.). She had a chance to not only be a mother, but to be set perhaps for life, but declined and then went straight to Sam. Although Sam ends his day with his "mind and head a little troubled", I would hope that on one hand he is proud of his wife who has handled herself and Uncle Wight with kindness, dignity and grace, and perhaps, in doing so, knowingly or not, gave up her only chance to have a child.

Bradford  •  Link

A very astute and thorough analysis, Jeannine.
But not to be pedantic (which means the speaker is about to be): in the phrase "her want of children and his also," the noun "want" signifies, in its oldest sense (back to the 13C), a "deficiency, lack" as well as the later sense of "something wanted: need, desire" (all these Merriam-Webster). Uncle is more likely to be able to observe that she, as he, lacks children, rather than knowing her inward condition of desiring to bear them.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Bess definitely shines here, Jeannine. And the evidence of her maturity and self-confidence displayed here belies not only Sam's occasional tendency to suggest "flightiness" in her but the scorn heaped upon her by several nineteenth and twentieth century famed and not-so-famed interpreters of the Diary.

Ruben  •  Link

Thank you Jeannine for your interesting summing up of this difficult situation.
I have some points to make:
1) I am sure this extraordinary proposition was no surprise for Elizabeth, who of course noted that the uncle had his eye where he shouldnt.
2) In those days, I understand the woman was to blame if "she had no issue". Here, I presume, we see an astute way of saying to Sam that may be she is not to be blamed for her barren state.
3) not long ago Tom and a cousin passed away. Nothing better than death to bring to the fore our desire to procreate. All the Pepys tribe would had been in a desire to see young Pepyses.
4) I would like to know if this "arrangement" was proposed with Mary (the uncle's wife) in the knowing. After all she lost all her children and a little Pepys would have make her happy?...

Dave  •  Link

Elizabeth was only 24 at this time and seems to have handled a very awkward situation extremely well given the possible consequences of offending a powerful and somewhat dangerous relative. No doubt she would have also been fretting over Sams reaction not only to her actions but also Uncles rather seedy proposition. She was certainly between a rock and a hard place but belied her young age by not only dealing with the lecherous Uncle very astutely, but also having the courage to tell her Husband all the gory details.
What puzzles me - and I gather many others from reading previous posts - is Sams reaction to the news. We know he could be insanely jealous to the point of paranoia, we know he was ashamed at some of his jealous thoughts and actions, so why take the news so lightly? Could it be that he knew all along that Uncle Wight was about to make this proposition? Had they planned this together? Did Uncle Wight make this proposition to Sam first? Given Sams' desire to make money, his wish to make it into Uncles' will and his love of children, then this is a perfect solution so long as there were no further liasions once Elizabeth was pregnant and of course if Elizabeth were a willing participant. Has she scotched his plans? Must he now show false anger? How to do so without annoying Uncle Wight? We may never know, but then that is the drug that is Pepys' diary, it allows our imagination to work overtime.

Terry F  •  Link

"Elizabeth was only 24 at this time...."

Dave, my instinct too, and I similarly remarked on SP's youth on a previous occasion. It was observed in reply that 31 years old then was not what it is now, that he'd mixed comfortably with men of status, held positions of great responsibility in the Navy Office, etc., had displayed the sharp elbows and cunning of a veteran of office-political scrimmages, etc. Might it likewise be observed that Elizabeth appears to have been navigating the social waters with skill and independence, etc., without reducing the admiration that's been accorded her for her handling of Uncle Wight's proposition?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Somewhat belatedly, may I add that RG's literary efforts are much appreciated in Australia as well as the UK and the USA.

Just one more point on the Wight proposal: what struck me was that in those days, failure to have children was universally laid at the door of the wife, yet here is Uncle Wight making the assumption that it is Sam who does not have the ability. Maybe it had become family folklore because of Sam's operation? Was Uncle Wight present at that momentous occasion? And saw just what the operation entailed? I wonder. And Sam doesn't comment on this at all.(the connection between his childlessness and the operation).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Unc Wight has had Bess coming to his house for months now on a regular basis. She very likely has expressed her and Sam's regret...Perhaps even her guilt...At not producing a child many times and Wight, as I said earlier, methinks is hopefully playing on her vulnerability.

"...for all he knew the thing was lawful..."

Bet the tongue drilled right through the cheek on that one...

As for the 500Ls I convinced that was meant as the pallative for Sam...

Say how does that compare to Redford's million dollar offer? I'm guessing it would very roughly correspond to about $200,000 in modern dollars?

Patricia  •  Link

Sadly, I'm long after the fair here, but I will add my 2¢ worth anyway:

Robert Gertz, Fred Bloggs called you an American! Now THERE'S an insult! (nudge, nudge, wink, wink--which, come to think of it, is probably what the dirty old Uncle said to Mrs. P)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Lets send "Fred Bloggs"("Sam Peeps", etc?) on his merry, probably nonexistent way...I deeply appreciate the support and understand the criticism but Sam must be livid by now. So, onward.

Before my wife sees and all hell breaks loose...So, quick...

C.J.Darby  •  Link

Keep it up Robert, I keep hoping that your contributions will come out in book form
at some time as I think they are both amusing and insightful.

language hat  •  Link

"her want of children and his also"

As Bradford said, this simply means "lack" -- no psychological insight implied.

"She says she did give him a very warm answer"

I do not read this "warm" as having the modern sense, though that did exist in Pepys' day, but took it in the earlier sense (much more common in the 17th century) of what we now use "hot" or "heated" for, which I believe makes more sense in this context anyway. OED:

9. a. Of fighting, conflict, an onset: Vigorously conducted; pressing hard on or harassing the foe; also fig. Of a combatant: Dangerous to tackle. Of a locality: Dangerous to live in, inhabited by turbulent spirits. Phr. warm work, hot fighting. to make it (or things) warm for (a person): to attack or 'go for' him, to involve in hostilities or broils.
1627 J. TAYLOR (Water P.) Armado C2, The Sweat, a vessell of warme imployment or hot seruice. 1667 Hatton Corr. (Camden) 53 You may easily imagine this does give us a warme alarum. 1682 BUNYAN Holy War 235 They had from the Camp of Shaddai such frequent, warm, and terrifying alarms. 1726 G. SHELVOCKE Voy. round World 163, I saw the Mercury standing out of the bay, by which I judged the ship was too warm for her. [...]

10. a. Of persons, party-feeling, controversy, etc.: Ardent, zealous, keen; eager, excited, heated. Const. for, upon.
Very common in the 17th and 18th c.; now somewhat rare.
1390 GOWER Conf. III. 230 Yong conseil, which is to warm, Er men be war doth ofte harm. 1668 TEMPLE Let. to Ld. Keeper Wks. 1731 II. 99 Which I could not have known, if the Marquis were not a very warm Talker, and sometimes farther than he intended. 1682 BUNYAN Holy War (1905) 314 Then said the warm man, and true hearted Mr. Zeal-for-God, Cut them off. 1687 ATTERBURY Answ. Consid. Spirit Luther 20 Yet the Pamphlet is very warm with Luther for impiously accusing the Religious of uncleanness. [...] 1737 WATERLAND Eucharist 113 Smalcius, a warm Man, and who seldom knew any Bounds. [...]

11. Hot-tempered, angry.
1547 Q. CATHERINE PARR in S. Haynes St. Papers (1740) 61 My Lord your Brother hathe thys Afternone a lyttell made me warme. Yt was fortunate we war so muche dystant, for I suppose els I schulde have bytten hym. 1581 A. HALL Iliad IX. 168 This warme and bitter wrath it grew of strife. 1712 ADDISON Spect. No. 440 {page}4 This insensibly grew into some warm Words. [...] 1719 DE FOE Crusoe II. (Globe) 505, I.. begun to be a little warm with him. [...]

Paul Dyson  •  Link

Bess' warm answer

I confess I had interpreted this to mean that Bess effectively told Uncle Wight to go forth and multiply elsewhere i.e. "warm" in the sense of "heated" rather than "polite". He evidently attempted no defence of his overture, since she left him in no doubt at all of her hostility to it.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Sam's Response
I wouldn't take SP's muted response to the Uncle Wight incident as meaning he wasn't deeply disturbed by it. Sometimes we react less to something unexpected, simply because it *is* unexpected, than we would have if we had forseen, and dreaded, it.

Language like, "strange to think that...," "words that passed, which I cannot now so well set down," and "what to think of it of a sudden I know not," sound to me like he was caught off guard and is having trouble regaining his bearings. Maybe he should have forseen this. Maybe, as some have said, he knew it, deep down, but if so, I think it was buried deeply indeed.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I remember in the great film "Hobson's Choice" Charles Laughton's 19th century Henry Hobson character being referred to as a "warm" man in the sense of being rather comfortably wealthy. "A warm man like you..."

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

LH: much thanks: It pays to never assume.
Re: Motherhood:
Not all females be mothers, there be those that want and are fortunate to have, and are good mothers.
There are those that be unable to, but be desperate to be.
There are those that bare children but fail to nurture them.
Then there be those that do not have children and and not be saddened by the fact.
Unfortunately the world fails to apprecate the various states and requires all to be in the same state.
Reasons for the variation be as varied as the possibilities that one can think of.

Dave  •  Link

......"I'm guessing it would roughly correspond to about $200,000 in modern dollars?"............

Robert I have just found a site that converts earlier monetary values into modern day equivalents.

Using this site it calculated that £500 would equate to only £53,870.67p. Given that in 1660 Sams' salary was about £50 per year, which equated to £5,387 it struck me that in those days you got an awful lot for your money. He could afford to rent a house in a good part of Westminster and employ a maid, today you really couldn't rent a garage for £5,000 a year in Westminster.

Dave  •  Link

......"I'm guessing it would roughly correspond to about $200,000 in modern dollars?"............

Robert I have just found a site that converts earlier monetary values into modern day equivalents.

Using this site it calculated that £500 would equate to only £53,870.67p. Given that in 1660 Sams' salary was about £50 per year, which equated to £5,387 it struck me that in those days you got an awful lot for your money. He could afford to rent a house in a good part of Westminster and employ a maid, today you really couldn't rent a garage for £5,000 a year in Westminster.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Re: wot be money worth, I find the official valuations very mis leading.
Basic worth,
How many hours work it takes to get 1800 calories of food a day?
How many hours of slavery to get enough clothing to stay warm?
How many hours of scrubbing floors to have bed and board?
Most important of all, how many hours of burning the midnight oil needed to keep a mistress?

In Sams time it took 2 years wages Clerical [see his clerks income] when he was at the Axe to get a coach and pair, he had to have shanks pony to get from A to B, But he did have a live-in daily, how many can have some one to do dirty work.
The fair coach fare be one nominal hour of income [a bob] for Sam in the days of garret living.

How much be it on the underground from Westminster to the Tower, today? most working folks can afford it now, not so then.

A new House could be had for 300 smackers [L] then impossible for most and still be.

Elizabeth could have a nice income of 40 L per annum,[annuity at the time for 500L] nearly as much as her inlaws, which cold have been very tempting if Samuell had been a brute.

Samuels purchasing power be of the superior nature, along with many of betters, not of the middling sort.
Samuells income reported be of level that would equate to Knight, his unreported income puts him into the Baronial class, not unlike many whose modern income is unreported. Then as now, working for a wage keeps many poor. Tis why 90 percent of money be in the hands of ten percent.

language hat  •  Link

"Using this site it calculated that £500 would equate to only £53,870.67p. Given that in 1660 Sams' salary was about £50 per year, which equated to £5,387 it struck me that in those days you got an awful lot for your money."

It strikes me that their calculations are wrong. Clearly Sam's income was worth considerably more than £5,387 in today's money.

Dave  •  Link

" It strikes me that their calculations are wrong"

I tend to agree with you LH, I was surprised at the £5,387 the site calculated, but I think cumsaluisgrano has thrown up some relevant points, as a working man I presently need to earn a minimum of £15,000 to live a modest lifestyle but if you strip away all the modern trappings IE. car, petrol, phone, utilities, television, holidays etc, then what would I need to find? House rental, candles, coal or wood, food and clothes with a little put aside for the odd clyster. I could probably just survive on £5,000 but alas I doubt I could employ a maid.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I suspect there were quite a few Uncle Wights trying to father off-spring when their brood either died off unexpectedly early, or a beloved wife turned out to be barren. Does anyone know of other examples -- other than Charles II's 'infatuation' with Monmouth?

Slightly off the point, in 1677: "... following a scandal, John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester posed under the name “Dr. Bendo,” who claimed to be able to treat infertility in young women with great success. It’s fair to say that a lot of the women who came to his private surgery did indeed get up the duff, so I suppose the claim was technically correct." See:

Also slightly off the point, I recall one Duke of Devonshire had 13 daughters before he sired the necessary boy ... and about four Duchesses died in the process. Their family portrait featuring the longed-for baby boy and all his sisters hangs in Powderham Castle near Exeter.

The production of an heir was serious business to both men and women.

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