Thursday 2 March 1664/65

Begun this day to rise betimes before six o’clock, and, going down to call my people, found Besse and the girle with their clothes on, lying within their bedding upon the ground close by the fireside, and a candle burning all night, pretending they would rise to scoure. This vexed me, but Besse is going and so she will not trouble me long. Up, and by water to Burston about my Lord’s plate, and then home to the office, so there all the morning sitting. At noon dined with Sir W. Batten (my wife being gone again to-day to buy things, having bought nothing yesterday for lack of Mrs. Pierces company), and thence to the office again, where very busy till 12 at night, and vexed at my wife’s staying out so late, she not being at home at 9 o’clock, but at last she is come home, but the reason of her stay I know not yet. So shut up my books, and home to supper and to bed.

34 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Begun this day to rise betimes before six o’clock"

Is this an announcement of a new habit? resolve projected forward = "Today I began the practice of rising before six o’clock", or?....

dirk   Link to this

John Evelyn's diary today:

"I went with his Ma[jes]ty into the lobbie behind the House of Lords, where I saw the King and the rest of the Lords robe themselves, and got into the House of Lords in a corner neere the woolsack, on w[hi]ch the Lord Chancellor sits next below the throne: the King sate in all the regalia, the crown imperial on his head, the scepter and globe, &c. The D[uke] of Albemarle bare the sword, the D[uke] of Ormond the cap of dignity. The rest of the Lords robed and in their places: -- a most splendid and august convention. Then came the Speaker and the House of Commons, and at the barr made a speech, and afterwards presented severall bills, a nod onely passing them, the cleark saying "Le Roy le veult", as to public bills; as to private, "Soit faite comme il est desirè". Then his Ma[jes]ty made a handsome but short speech, commanding my Lo[rd] Privy Seale to prorogue the Parliam[en]t, which he did, the Chancellor being ill and absent. I had not before seene this ceremony"

A brief translation of the French:
"Le Roy le veult" = "The King wants it"
"Soit faite comme il est desirè" = "Be done as it is wished"

(Yes, I know de accent on the last "è" of desirè is wrong, but that's how Evelyn wrote it down...)

CGS   Link to this

Parliament prorogued.

And accordingly Mr. Speaker, with the House, went up to the Lords, to attend his Majesty; who was pleased to prorogue the Parliament to the One-and-twentieth of June next ensuing.
see H's of C/L side line

dirk   Link to this

"the woolsack, on w[hi]ch the Lord Chancellor sits" (Evelyn's diary entry for today)

I'm not familiar with British parliamentay custom. Could someone explain why the Chancellor is supposed to sit on a woolsack???

dirk   Link to this

"the woolsack, on w[hi]ch the Lord Chancellor sits" (Evelyn's diary entry for today)

I'm not familiar with British parliamentay custom. Could someone explain why the Chancellor is supposed to sit on a woolsack???

Carl in Boston   Link to this

“Le Roy le veult” = “The King wants it”
“Soit faite comme il est desirè” = “Be done as it is wished”
I will bet these bills were put up jobs, ones that no one had objection to and agreed upon in advance. The only reason to serve up these softballs to the King was to allow him to hit them out of the park with a nod of his head, thus confirming his royal authority. This with wigs (unpowdered) and robes in every corner to awe the populace.
What's about this Mrs Pierce, the great beauty? This is the first I have heard of her.

Carl in Boston   Link to this

The woolsack per Evelyn (yay, Evelyn)
Upon which the British wealth was founded, based on sheep wool being raised in the Midlands and exported all over Europe from Britain. Many is the Wool Church in the English Midlands erected to God by a grateful magnate whose wealth was built upon wool, especially in the Cotswolds. The woolsack upon which the Lord Chancellor sat was to remind him from whence his comfort came, and indeed from whence came the riches of Britain, and so to do nothing to mess up the works.
These wool churches can be seen today, and wool stalls in the middle of the town square by the usual crossroads cross, still functioning hundreds of years later, and reminders that our bequests to a church will continue to do good long after we pass away.

CGS   Link to this

The Woolsack is the seat of the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords,
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Wools...

Terry F   Link to this

"Many is the Wool Church in the English Midlands erected to God by a grateful magnate whose wealth was built upon wool, especially in the Cotswolds."

and any churche dedicated to St Blaise: "According to his Acta he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded.

"In iconography, Blaise is often shown with the instruments of his martyrdom, iron combs. The similarity of these instruments of torture to wool combs led to his adoption as patron of wool combers in particular, and the wool trade in general.
....
"In Cornwall the village of St Blazey derives from his name, where the parish church is still dedicated to Saint Blaise. Indeed, the council of Oxford in 1222 forbade all work on his festival.[1] In Italy he is known as San Biagio.

"There is a church dedicated to Saint Blaise in the Devon hamlet of Haccombe, near Newton Abbot. Also one at Shanklin on the Isle of Wight and another at Milton near Abingdon in the Royal County of Berkshire.....

"According to Brand's Popular Antiquities (1813), in areas of the English countryside it was the custom to light bonfires on St. Blaise's feast day, February 3 - evidently inspired by the sound of the word blaze."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Blaise

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Vexed, vexed, vexed, life is just one damned thing after another. Sam is really sweating the small stuff. Little does he know that a much bigger problem is just around the corner, that will make today's trials seem petty indeed.

Terry F   Link to this

"Besse is going and so she will not trouble me long."

See 10 November 1664
"Up, and not finding my things ready, I was so angry with Besse as to bid my wife for good and all to bid her provide herself a place, for though she be very good-natured, she hath no care nor memory of her business at all." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/11/10/

Linda F   Link to this

St. Blaise: As proof against illnesses of the throat, priests still bless our throats on his feast day with two blessed candles joined by a ribbon. Beautiful church dedicated to St. Blaise in Dubrovnik. Very nice statue of him at the front of St. Patrick's Church (modelled on the Cathedral at Ely, but smaller)in New Orleans.

andy   Link to this

and vexed at my wife’s staying out so late, she not being at home at 9 o’clock, but at last she is come home, but the reason of her stay I know not yet

sauce for the gander, Sam, may be sauce for the goose too.

Pedro   Link to this

“Upon which the British wealth was founded, based on sheep wool being raised in the Midlands and exported all over Europe from Britain.”

Carl, as someone living in the Midlands, I would not associate the area with the great wool production, except on the borders of Wales and the Cotswolds. Much greater would be Yorkshire, East Anglia and the West Country.

http://www.sheepcentre.co.uk/wool.htm

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"These wool churches can be seen today, ..."

For me I would particularly associate them with East Anglia, Suffolk and Norfolk:

http://www.suffolkchurches.co.uk/Lavenham.htm
http://www.suffolkchurches.co.uk/Longmelford.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/content/image_gall...
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3724/is...
http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/

[And though not "wool," the lantern of Ely cathedral is spectacular:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/trail/church_state...]

Robert Gertz   Link to this


Mrs. Elizabeth Pierce, ever pregnant wife of court surgeon, gossip, and friend-o-Sam, James. A woman who I suspect sees through Sam pretty well and is amused by him. Carl, her role in the famous Portsmouth trip is not to be missed... (From April 27, 1662 on.)

***

"...vexed at my wife’s staying out so late, she not being at home at 9 o’clock, but at last she is come home, but the reason of her stay I know not yet."

"Bess?"

"Yeah...?"

"Bess, it's so late. You were to be home hours ago."

"Oh, did you check in on me? That's-hic-so wheat, er sweet."

"Bess? What were you doing? Have you been..."

"Jes a lil' ale with my pal, Bessie Pierce...Yeah, hee...We's the Bess'...Get it?"

"Bess?! What were you two wantons doing so late? As your husband and moral guide, Mrs. Pepys, I must..."

"She said u'd shay dat...And said to shay, put a stick in yer mug, pal. Yer out alla time, sos why not me? Yea... 'Sides we wuz conductin' a experimen'...Natchural Philoso...That place u go ter... U otta be prud da me, honey. Ohhh...Did you really come home to check on me...?"

"Mrs. Pepys! Come in my closet..."

"Sur, hon..."

"Mrs. Pepys!" Firm shut of door... "The servants."

"Dey's only the two of dem...Come on, Sam'l. Lemme tel ya bout our experimen... See..."

"Mrs. Pepys, in future I shall see that you have no further contact with this wanton Mrs. Pierce...And further..."

"Shed up...Any way, Bessie's alwas gettin' preggers, ya know? And I don't..." mournful sigh...

"I seriously doubt that Mrs..."

"So we decided to see if it was your fault or mine..."
hard stare.
***

Rex Gordon   Link to this

More on Saint Blaise ...

From The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker, Harper & Row, 1983: Saint Blaise may be a spurious canonization of the Slavic horse god Vlaise, or Vlas, a consort of the lunar Diana. (The church in Dubrovnik may illustrate this Slavic origin.) "He was Christianized about the 8th century, but kept his pagan function as a patron of animals. Charms read aloud in churches claimed he could heal any sick beast. The myth of his martyrdom was dressed up with the traditional seven priestesses, who gathered up his sacred blood. In England he was known as Blazey."

djc   Link to this

podcast of ODNB entry for Elizabeth Pepys
http://www.oxforddnb.com/public/audio/Oxford_Bi...

jeannine   Link to this

“I went with his Ma[jes]ty into the lobbie behind the House of Lords, where I saw the King and the rest of the Lords robe themselves, and got into the House of Lords in a corner neere the woolsack, on w[hi]ch the Lord Chancellor sits next below the throne: the King sate in all the regalia, the crown imperial on his head, the scepter and globe, &c”

A little OT for Sam, but from Evelyn’s Diary entry above (thank you Dirk) an interesting note. In the movie called “Charles II: The Power and the Passion (BBC Original Version) or “The Last King” (A&E US version) there is a scene towards the end of the movie where Charles is getting dressed in his full robes, crown, scepter, etc. and getting ready to disband Parliament (at the end of his reign). In the DVD note to the move, the people who actually we used to dress Charles (Rufus Sewall) in that scene were not actors, but the actual experts in historical clothing, who had worked on the movie costuming, etc. The commentator explained that it would have been ‘too hard’ to have trained actors to learn the proper way to ‘dress’ the King, as each layer involved a lot of little details and several people were attending to him just to dress him. It was an amazing scene to see the grandeur and spectacular clothing, crown, etc,. The clothing must have been very difficult to move in as it must have weighed a ton!

dirk   Link to this

Further on wool & the Cotswolds:

Historically the Cotswolds were the best known region for sheep and wool up to the 1700s. Many international treaties (i.a. with the Low Countries) involved the exchange of wool for cloth.

Etymology:
"Comes from the name of a man in the 12th century that owned high forest land - he was called Codwald. Also another explanation is that the word 'COT' meant an animal Pen (sheep in this instance) or containment and Wolds means rolling Hills."
http://www.cotswolds.info/cotswolds-heritage.shtml
[Personally I have my doubts about the second explanation. I sounds too easy. LH?]

"The demise, and now the good fortune, of the Cotswolds was due to the increasing manufacture of cloth in the 16th and 17th centuries leading to a forgotten wool industry and a forgotten Cotswolds. Hence the villages have undertaken no change for 300 years and are now to be marvelled at for their perfect preservation and beauty that only exists in this most unique of regions in the United Kingdom."
http://www.cotswolds.info/tour-worcestershire-g...

An INTERESTING SIDENOTE - not really a SPOILER ?!:

"During the 14th and 15th centuries the protection of this national product was of great importance, and an act was passed in the reign of King Charles II for the express purpose of increasing the consumption of English wool. -- Subsequent to the BURIAL IN WOOL ACTS 1667 and 1678 all bodies were to be buried in wool only, unless they have died from the Plague and an affidavit sworn accordingly. The penalty for not doing so was £5. These were repealed in 1814.

It was decreed that: "No corps should be buried in anything other than what is made of sheep's wool only; or put into any coffin lined or faced with any material but sheep's wool, on pain of forfeiture of £5." -- In addition, an affidavit to that effect was required not later than 8 days after the burial.

The following transcripts (although not unique) were found in the Rothbury Parish Register.

"Elizab. Litster, Late of Low Trewitt, deceased, ye 2nd daughter of Edward Litser was buried in nothing but wooling accordyng to ye Act on ye behalf, as does appear by ye affidavit made by Edward Litster and John Vint to Mr. Thom. Collingwood, one of his Majs. Justice of ye Peace, and his certificate under his hand bearing date ye 2nd of 7br., 1678."

"Mary Storrey, of ye Craghead, was wrapt or wound up in nothing but woollen accdng to Stat. on ye behalfe, as appears by Affidavit made by Robt. Storry, ibid, to r. Thom. Hursley, in his certificate under his hand, bearing date ye 5th day 5br., 1678"

http://www.cotswolds.info/cotswolds-heritage.shtml

CGS   Link to this

Large area of woolen Activity, be Thaxted / Finchingfield, Northern Essex, it was bypast by good roads and rail traffic, thereby one can find some remnants of Sheep industry still.
Norwich was another center that died due lack of profit from lambskin .

Australian Susan   Link to this

"...going down to call my people, found Besse and the girle with their clothes on, lying within their bedding upon the ground close by the fireside, and a candle burning all night, pretending they would rise to scoure. This vexed me..."

So, where were the servant women supposed to be sleeping? In a room off the kitchen? I had always assumed they were upstairs somewhere, but this makes clear they were not. many servants slept in front of the kitchen fire up to the beginning of the 20th century (only source of warmth), so i do wonder why Sam was "vexed". Was it the burning candle (potential fire hazard?) Or is it Sam feeling his exercise of power and control is not working here. And why did sleeping in front of the fire, make it easier to get up early to scrub the floors? Or was that to do with the need to keep a candle alight?

Australian Susan   Link to this

Mrs Pierce is to Elizabeth as Victoria Beckham is to Katie Holmes Cruise - I think.

Watch out for more boggling by Sam.
("It cost how much?!")

Carl in Boston   Link to this

Robert my Man
This Mrs Pierce is not to be missed, for the three days April 27, 1662 to April 30, 1662, she rings down through the ages as the True Party Girl (and this in the middle of Lent, what a one she was). Then having 19 children and she was older than she looked. Only Dolly Parton can equal our Mrs. Pierce. Yes, she was older than she looked and she PULLED THE WOOL over everyone's eyes. Pepsyians, arise, seek and find, there has to be a centerfold oil painting by Gainsborough of our delectable Mrs Pierce. Terrible tragedy that Elizabeth's portrait should be murdered, murdered, MURDERED by a Victorian, but that painting is gone, gone, gone. Maybe there's one of Mrs Pierce. She wouldn't be dull, by any means. It's all in the eyes, I look forward to seeing her eyes in her painting.

Carl in Boston   Link to this

One more thing:
If Elizabeth's portrait was MURDERED by a Victorian for showing too much exuberance, then it follows that Elizabeth was quite a one too. Therefore it must be, calculate, calculate, that Mrs Pierce and Elizabeth were a pair of cats out on the town, especially with 20 pounds to lay out on Easter clothing. Maybe when Mrs Pierce had, say, ten pounds to spend on clothing, that Elizabeth would come along to help her spend the money.
At the end of High Spirits, Darryl Hannah says why she prefers a stinking ghost instead of her husband is because the ghost has exuberance, he takes her shopping, and gives her a credit card.

CGS   Link to this

English poverty level income today be 16,000 quid/annum or 43 quid a day and then it be 3d a day.
So 20 quid today scans out to be in the buying of 50,000 pounds i.e 40 % of a nice M.Benz. or a nice outfit fit for a queen. All in nice convenient fitting figures.

Mary   Link to this

Sam's vexation.

Springs from two sources, I suspect. Firstly, that he discovers the maids still abed when The Master is already up and doing.

Secondly, that a candle has been burning all night. Candles cost money, even tallow candles, and households would economise on the use of candles where they could. Sam is annoyed by the waste of good candle-wax.

GrahamT   Link to this

It is unlikely that the Cotswolds were named after a Mr Codswald, more likely that he was named after the birthplace of his ancestors. English place names named after people are common, but ancient and not quite so obvious, e.g. Nottingham is the village of Snotte's people. People, recognisably, named after places is much more common (Washington, Lincoln, Clinton, etc.)
Wold, Weald and similar are common parts of English place names (North Wold, The Weald, etc.) and can mean both a wooded area or a deforested rolling plain - both of which exist in the Cotswolds.
Whether Cot- is from a sheep cote, dovecote, cottage, someone's name, or something else, I wouldn't hazard a guess, but again it is a common part of English place names, e.g. Bevercotes, Swadlingcote, Cottingham.
Maybe LH can come up with a more definitive etymology, but British place name etymology is notoriously difficult to pin down because of the many different language roots involved. (Roman, Celtic, Viking, Germanic, Norman, etc, etc.)

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Pity John Pepys Sr. couldn't have been visiting just at this time. Wringing his hands at the news...The horror of the wanton French trollop who'd led his son to slight family and parents and the wicked court lady out together, with money what should have been going to the family coffers to be spent on fripperies and follies...And Lord, son, who knows what else?

"Twenty pounds, son?! You gave the woman twenty pounds?!! Lord, boy, a good year's living could be had on such a sum!"

"Now, Father."

"And look at the time, tis' past nine...What good woman is out on these evil streets at such a time alone without husband or brother?"

Lord, I'd be truly worried if Balty were with them... "Father, please."

"And this harlot surgeon's wife, Pierce. I've heard tales of her, son. Even in Brampton we do hear of the sordid ways of the Court."

"Mrs. Pierce is hardly a harlot, Father. And she's pregnant...Again..." sigh... "Hardly likely she'll do anything to lead Bess astray tonight."

"What shops be open at this hour? What can they be doing but nought? Son, I do not wish to interfere but as your father, I must warn you of the shame you risk bringin' upon yourself and..."

"Sir? Mr. Pepys? A Mrs. Bagwell at the door..."

"Pardon me, Father."

Ruben   Link to this

Dirk and Jeannine remind us today of the effort to keep the King dressed as a King.
Meantime, our diarist keeps mum concerning the Wardrobe, where he wanted his father to end his working years. He, Samuel Pepys, the man with an inherited professional eye in these matters... but coming from below, it could not be.

language hat   Link to this

Cotswolds

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names (which is the best source you're going to find), it's 'high forest land of a person called Cod' (that being a rather unfortunate Old English personal name).

Sharon   Link to this

Regarding woolsacks. One of the most delicious Gilbertian lines ever (pronounced with great feeling by the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe): "It is indeed difficult to sit upon a woolsack stuffed with such thorns as these".

dirk   Link to this

The definitive info ;-) on the Woolsack &c

"The Woolsack
England is very connected to its history, a place where past and present exist side by side. Institutions and traditions develop across the centuries, often retaining relics from the past. The Woolsack, seat of the Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords, is a prime example of this. Woolsacks were placed in the House of Lords for the judges to sit on during the reign of Edward III in the 14th century, when the wool trade was big business. Sitting on a seat stuffed with English wool would remind those present of the trade that underpinned national prosperity.

"Today the Woolsack is still there, simply a cushion covered with red cloth with no back or arms, upon which the Lord Chancellor perches while fulfilling his duties as Speaker of the House. It is the focal point of the House and sits in front of the throne with the even bigger Judges’ Woolsack placed in front of it. Nowadays, the Woolsack is filled with wool gathered from all the countries of the Commonwealth, a reminder of the unity of nations."
http://www.icons.org.uk/nom/nominations/woolsack

Something about dress and etiquette
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/213250.stm

But also this: Tony Blair's reform in 2003!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2003/jun/13/p...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2003/jun/15/crim...

Ellie   Link to this

This is quite good im studying this at school at the moment and it gave me the help i needed thankyou
i was horrified at the thought of 87 children dying in the fire and all the destruction it caused London im glad we managed to rebuild our city thankyou

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