Tuesday 14 June 1664

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and had great conflict about the flags again, and am vexed methought to see my Lord Berkely not satisfied with what I said, but however I stop the King’s being abused by the flag makers for the present. I do not know how it may end, but I will do my best to preserve it. So home to dinner, and after dinner by coach to Kensington. In the way overtaking Mr. Laxton, the apothecary, with his wife and daughters, very fine young lasses, in a coach; and so both of us to my Lady Sandwich, who hath lain this fortnight here at Deane Hodges’s. Much company came hither to-day, my Lady Carteret, &c., Sir William Wheeler and his lady, and, above all, Mr. Becke, of Chelsy, and wife and daughter, my Lord’s mistress, and one that hath not one good feature in her face, and yet is a fine lady, of a fine taille, and very well carriaged, and mighty discreet. I took all the occasion I could to discourse with the young ladies in her company to give occasion to her to talk, which now and then she did, and that mighty finely, and is, I perceive, a woman of such an ayre, as I wonder the less at my Lord’s favour to her, and I dare warrant him she hath brains enough to entangle him. Two or three houres we were in her company, going into Sir H. Finche’s garden, and seeing the fountayne, and singing there with the ladies, and a mighty fine cool place it is, with a great laver of water in the middle and the bravest place for musique I ever heard. After much mirthe, discoursing to the ladies in defence of the city against the country or court, and giving them occasion to invite themselves to-morrow to me to dinner, to my venison pasty, I got their mother’s leave, and so good night, very well pleased with my day’s work, and, above all, that I have seen my Lord’s mistresse. So home to supper, and a little at my office, and to bed.

21 Annotations

Terry F   Link to this

"a fine lady, of a fine taille, and very well carriaged" -- YOO-hah!

"taille"

Fr. for figure, shape (cut)

Pepys starts with Betty Becke's face (nothing there to admire), then her figure (very n-i--i-ize), then her mind (VERY impressive).

cape henry   Link to this

"...conflict about the flags again..." Not certain what this is about, but surmise that the lords are wanting the king to pay for their personal flags. These would have been elaborate, hand made, and very expensive.

Any other ideas why this would have been an issue?

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... discoursing to the ladies in defence of the city against the country ..."

"At the large foot of a fair hollow tree,
Close to ploughed ground, seated commodiously,
His ancient and hereditary house,
There dwelt a good substantial country mouse:
Frugal, and grave, and careful of the main,
Yet one who once did nobly entertain
A city mouse, well coated, sleek, and gay,
A mouse of high degree, which lost his way,
Wantonly walking forth to take the air,
And arrived early, and alighted there,
For a day's lodging. ....

Yet the nice guest's epicurean mind
(Though breeding made him civil seem, and kind)
Despised this country feast, and still his thought
Upon the cakes and pies of London wrought.
"Your bounty and civility," said he,
"Which I'm surprised in these rude parts to see,
Show that the gods have given you a mind
Too noble for the fate which here you find.
Why should a soul, so virtuous and so great,
Lose itself thus in an obscure retreat?
Let savage beasts lodge in a country den,
You should see towns, and manners know, and men;
And taste the generous luxury of the court,
Where all the mice of quality resort;
Where thousand beauteous shes about you move,
And by high fare are pliant made to love.
We all ere long must render up our breath,
No cave or hole can shelter us from death.
Since life is so uncertain and so short,
Let's spend it all in feasting and in sport.
Come, worthy sir, come with me, and partake
All the great things that mortals happy make.
..."

Abraham Cowley, THE COUNTRY MOUSE.
A Paraphrase upon Horace, II Book, Satire vi.
http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/et...

Terry F   Link to this

Michael, excellent! I'd not made that connection Pepys should have back to Horace:
http://www.tonykline.co.uk/PITBR/Latin/HoraceSa...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

connection ... back to Horace

or further back, to Aesop:-

http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_a...

Terry F   Link to this

"...conflict about the flags again..."

cape henry, this seems to be a resumption of a dispute over what was recorded by Pepys as about whose "bewpers" (see Glossary) were better value, recorded 14 March 1663 http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/03/14/

Paul Chapin   Link to this

OED re 'taille':
1. Cut, shape, form; shape of the bust from the shoulders to the waist; figure, build, make. In Dress-making, the waist or bodice of a gown; the style or fit of this.
1663 Pepys Diary 13 July, Mrs. Stewart,+with her sweet eye, little Roman nose, and excellent taille, is now the greatest beauty I ever saw. 1697 Vanbrugh Relapse iv. vi, You would not think it impossible a person of a worse taille than mine might be a modern man of quality.

Australian Susan   Link to this

"...and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and had great conflict about the flags again, and am vexed methought to see my Lord Berkely not satisfied with what I said, but however I stop the King's being abused by the flag makers for the present. " Oh doesn't this just sound like yet another day at the office today - arguing about something we thought had been settled and we spend the whole *********** morning on it and STILL nothing is decided. Can't you just smell the tedium?

But then doesn't Sam have a rollicking good time - spying out My Lord's mistress and getting all sweaty-palmed over her and showing off his musical skills and flirting away with ladies in pleasant surroundings. Wonder what Lady Sandwich thought of all this. How much does she know?
And finally, it's venison pasty time again!! And Sam, all fired up with pleasure at the ladies'company invites them all to dine. Does Bess know? Would have loved to be a fly on the wall (or a mouse in the wainscot) to listen to Sam explaining it all to her.....

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

"Wonder what Lady Sandwich thought of all this. How much does she know?" The offspring dothe know according to Samuell, but as most wives, they be the last to accept what they know untill it be too late.
How many options did her ladyship really have?
Not many and the mean streets of London be mean.
Honor or ethics, are not very comforting.

Marriage be needed and common for the union of raising future generations, it should be a partnership, democratic in concept, but rarely has been, is or will be.

It be like a credit card, useful, provide some security, helpful but enslaving for one who does not have a counter force to force equality.

It be great that HOPE [ estrogen or be it faith in Religion ] be so strong to hide the reality of situation.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

It is sad to see Sam utterly ignoring the feelings of Lady Jem, not even wondering if she is aware of the cruelty of the situation. Certainly Lord Sandwich is behaving brutality even if my Lady's clueless of Betty's status. There was a time when the major thought on Sam's mind would be how to protect Lady Jemina in such a matter.

"I got their mother's leave..."

All daughters of the Beckes? Or is Sam talking about the Montagu girls along with Miss Becke? They were, according to him earlier, visiting at the Becke home and likely my Lord is using that acquaintance as the excuse to allow his mistress and her family to come calling. If so, I wonder if it's tied to his earlier insistence to Sam that Miss Becke was much maligned and of good character. It's always possible the relationship was at least at first fairly innocent with a bored, recovering Sandwich and his guitar paying court as minstrel to a sweet and clever girl...Perhaps he's trying in some way to prove the innocence (or near innocence) of their association. "I would hardly have her to my home, friend to my daughters if..."
***

"Bess?! Guess what a wonderful thing I've done for you today?! Remember the other day you were blubbering to Creed and me about how you get no female company of quality all day to talk to while I'm off and about?" Sam beaming, with an 'I am just one hell of a wonderful guy' expression...

***

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...I stop the King's being abused by the flag makers for the present. I do not know how it may end, but I will do my best to preserve it."

Does that mean he continues to get to supply the flags? That was his plan earlier, and if he did pull it off and has been making a tidy sum it would explain some of his previous unexplained gains. If so, I assume he's doing it via merchant friends without his hand showing. Be interesting to get the details if any.

I get the feeling he's keeping a number of rather under-the-table arrangements out of Diary space. For example, I would bet he's playing more of a role with Uncle Wight and good ole Iuduco (I can just see a young Peter Lorre playing him) and their sugar smuggling (and whatever else) deals than he lets on. Surely he's not letting Unc drop by for all those conferences with the shifty Mr. Maes in tow simply in hopes of being remembered in the will.

Bradford   Link to this

"I dare warrant him she hath brains enough to entangle him: no airhead she, and under her influence both "I ever" ("in my life") and the Venison Pasty both return!

Dave   Link to this

"I stop the King's being abused by the flagmakers for the present."

http://www.fotw.net/flags/xf-rati.html

According to this site Pepys wrote
"It is in general to be noted that the bewper (bunting) from which colours are made being 22" in breadth and half that breadth or 11" in ordinary discourse by the name of a breadth being wrought into colours every such breadth is allowed half a yard (18") for its fly."

But by 1742 the breadth had decreased to 10".

The site doesn't say when Pepys wrote this but could the flagmakers be trying to introduce smaller flags while still charging the same price and therefore Pepys introduced an official standard size of flag?

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

One of the well known ways to increase profits, is by reducing size or quantity and charge the same and if possible more.

A good one was Cider, it be a shilling per quart, and then put it into 1/3rd pint bottle and charge 2 shillings, another case was a box of matches, that sold for a 50 per box for a 1d then to keep it at a penny, reduce the quantity by few, each 3 months then finaly end up with 20 matches then the fill the box up back to fifty and charge 6d.

This is the standard way of denying inflation.

Terry F   Link to this

Folks, The cause célèbre - about the Flags/Bewpers

Friday 22 May 1663
"Took boat at Greenwich and to Deptford, where I did the same thing, and found Davis, the storekeeper, a knave, and shuffling in the business of Bewpers, being of the party with Young and Whistler to abuse the King, but I hope I shall be even with them." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/05/22/

See the L&M footnote 1 to this text:
http://books.google.com/books?id=x8XJdM6OWlIC&p...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Going even further back...August 13, 1662.

"and I do find it the greatest cheat that I have yet found; they having eightpence per yard allowed them by pretence of a contract, where no such thing appears; and it is threepence more than was formerly paid, and than I now offer the Board to have them done." Sam's motives while certainly honorable are not entirely disinterested... In 1670 (see pg 279 of Tomalin) during the Brooke House commission hearings Sam was to actually be charged with wrongful dealings that included the private manufacture of flags for the Navy.

Nix   Link to this

Taille --

This would presumably share the same linguistic origins as "tailor".

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Tail[e] from a] appendages on Mammals 2] to taxing of the lessors or entailing, to cutting to fit clothing to the female form.

b. Now only as Fr., in form taille (tj). A tax formerly levied upon the unprivileged classes in France. a1533

tail n1: # 3
1690 CROWNE Eng. Friar v. Wks. 1874 IV. 111 Madam, speak to the ladies now I am here, to let down their trains; 'tis not manners in the presence of a man o' my quality, to cock up their tails.

GrahamT   Link to this

Taille means to cut, so a tailor/tailleur cut the cloth to size, a couturier (from coudre) sewed it.
Taille is also used to mean to cut/sculpt stone, so a more literal translation of "a fine taille" might be "well sculpted", i.e. a fine shape.
see http://portail.atilf.fr/cgi-bin/dico1look.pl?st...

It isn't anything to do with tails or taxes.

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

"It isn't anything to do with tails or taxes."
in this context that be so, but the word [misused] on its own can lead to many other meanings.
Modern form be two nowns, one having 10 variations of shaded meanings or not so subtle, along with a verb and an adjective.

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

"It isn't anything to do with tails or taxes."
in this context that be so, but the word [misused] on its own can lead to many other meanings.
Modern form be two nowns, one having 10 variations of shaded meanings or not so subtle, along with a verb and an adjective.

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