Monday 13 March 1664/65

Up betimes, this being the first morning of my promise upon a forfeite not to lie in bed a quarter of an hour after my first waking. Abroad to St. James’s, and there much business, the King also being with us a great while. Thence to the ‘Change, and thence with Captain Tayler and Sir W. Warren dined at a house hard by for discourse sake, and so I home, and there meeting a letter from Mrs. Martin desiring to speak with me, I (though against my promise of visiting her) did go, and there found her in her childbed dress desiring my favour to get her husband a place. I staid not long, but taking Sir W. Warren up at White Hall home, and among other discourse fell to a business which he says shall if accomplished bring me 100l.. He gone, I to supper and to bed. This day my wife begun to wear light-coloured locks, quite white almost, which, though it makes her look very pretty, yet not being natural, vexes me, that I will not have her wear them. This day I saw my Lord Castlemayne at St. James’s, lately come from France.

23 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...there found her in her childbed dress desiring my favour to get her husband a place."

May we all have so devoted a spouse as Martin or Bagwell. Hard put to say which one is most willing to go that extra mile.

I wonder... (No, not you, dear)

"Bess? I was just...Thinking about some things. And I was wondering...Suppose I really needed your help, with regards to my career... I mean, really needed..."

"Sam'l. I am not going to sleep with your uncle."

"Certainly not..." Oh...Slightly disappointed look...

Bet Mrs. Bagwell'd sleep with unk for her Will...

"But say...Our future as well as my career...It all rested on your doing just, say... I dunno... Leaving your childbed to solicit Lord Sandwich for..."

"Lord Sandwich? Well, that's different. He was making eyes at my new gown, wasn't he? What do you want me to do? I think I can safely say I'm ready to go the limit...Uh, for you, darling."

Australian Susan   Link to this

Sam seems to be venturing into two perilous areas today: going to see Mrs M - why oh why? Does he fear some kind of blackmail/exposure? Or he is driven by low appetites (action replay of the Bagwell affair?).
And then, he criticises his wife's hair. Down the centuries, the warning claxon rings! Do not go there , husband, do not go there! And after he'd seemed to be so proud of her yesterday at the Sandwiches' with her new lace and so on. Foolish Sam.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Abroad to St. James’s, and there much business, the King also being with us a great while."

According to an earlier observation of Lord Annesley recorded by SP 27 February, this sentence's 2nd and 3rd clauses are not unrelated. "At last it come to this, my Lord Annesly, says he, 'I think we must be forced to get the King to come to every committee; for I do not see that we do any thing at any time but when he is here.'” http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/02/27/

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"This day my wife begun to wear light-coloured locks, quite white almost, which, though it makes her look very pretty, yet not being natural, vexes me, that I will not have her wear them."

Were the "light-coloured locks" Bess wore some she purchased or her own chemically-treated? If the latter, by what? One hopes not white lead!! But what else, since hydrogen peroxide was first used to bleach hair in 1867 at the Paris World’s Fair. http://www.womensnet.com/advice/facts-info/abou...

Carl in Boston   Link to this

Most excellent on the hair coloring, with Elizabeth leading the way with light colored locks. I had no idea hydrogen peroxide was around in 1867, and more than a laboratory curiosity, was put to work in a useful way to lighten hair. Samuel Pepys foreshadows all.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

A medieval recipe for lye from “The Trotula, an English Translation of the medieval Compendium of Women’s Medicine”

“For coloring the hair so that it is golden. Take the exterior shell of a walnut and the bark of the tree itself and cook them in water, and with this water mix alum and oak apples, and with these mixed things you will smear the head (having first washed it), placing upon the hair leaves and trying them with a bandage for two days; you will be able to color {the hair}. And comb the head so that whatever adheres to the hair as excess comes off. Then place a coloring which is made from oriental crocus, dragon’s blood, and henna (whose larger part has been mixed with a decoction of brazil wood), and thus let the women remain for three days, and on the fourth day let her be washed with hot water, and never will {this coloring} be removed easily.”

http://www.dragonslaire.org/Articles/Journey_to...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

So a periwig is ok but... Sam's "I will not have her wear them" suggests to me the locks are not her real hair.

Clearly all that wicked Betsy Pierce's fault...Lord knows what evils she led our Bess into on that wild orgy.

"Excuse me, sir...?" Sam's attention caught. Orgy? "What was that you annotated?"

"No offense, my dear Mr Pepys."

"No, no...But as to this 'orgy' business... Sir, as a person of the future...Would you perhaps be speaking from...True knowledge?"

"Sir, I am sure that your wife is above any..."

"Yes, certainly...An innocent lamb in the hands of the worldly. Still, if you did perhaps have any...Details?"

"Maybe you'd like directions?"

"Well...If not too much trouble, sir."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Whoa...Almost let the best news pass.

"Roger?!"

"Palmer?!"

"Sire...Barbara. Hello, Buckingham, Arlington. Bit crowded in that bed aren't you all?"

Terry Foreman   Link to this

L&M remind that 24 March 1662, about the same time of year, Pepys was also confronted with Elizabeth's changing her hair style: "By and by comes La Belle Pierce to see my wife, and to bring her a pair of peruques of hair, as the fashion now is for ladies to wear; which are pretty, and are of my wife’s own hair, or else I should not endure them." No comment about their color; but today's appear not to be hers. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/03/24/

Mary   Link to this

Light coloured locks.

Dear me, Elizabeth is doing her best to be very fashionable, wearing light coloured locks that will team beautifully with her new, ash-coloured suit (I take this to mean a very pale, silvery grey) and Sam can only carp that it's all unnatural. Perhaps she looks just too fetching, and has stirred up Sam's possessive jealousy again.

andy   Link to this

This day my wife begun to wear light-coloured locks, quite white almost, which, though it makes her look very pretty, yet not being natural, vexes me, that I will not have her wear them.

Sam, this is a career asset, not a liability.

I wonder what the equivalent of Hello! magazine was then? "Navy celeb's young wife goes blonde"

GrahamT   Link to this

"my promise ... not to lie in bed a quarter of an hour after my first waking"
I hope this applies only to work days, and not to his Lord's Day "lay abed long with my wife"

dirk   Link to this

"not to lie in bed a quarter of an hour after my first waking"

"which, though it makes her look very pretty, yet not being natural, vexes me, that I will not have her wear them"

All very homely matters - and so recognizable...

jeannine   Link to this

"This day my wife begun to wear light-coloured locks, quite white almost, which, though it makes her look very pretty, yet not being natural, vexes me, that I will not have her wear them."

Let's hope our hero thinks this one over before squelching Elizabeth's new fashion, or no doubt she'll be fuming on this.

I can just picture Sam blowing off on this and Elizabeth literally boiling over. Then an emergency meeting of the Royal Society will be called and they'll trace the true start to global warming --- a woman's new fashion and her husband's vexations! It's nice to know that one way or another we can blame Sam for everything.......

rob van Hugte   Link to this

I nice bit of Pepysiania on the Dutch radio.

This week a spinet/harpsichord was sold at Sothebys that is the oldest surviving instrument of its kind by a British maker. It was valued at 8 - 12000 Pounds and sold for a staggering 46000 Pounds.

Originally it was built for none other than our chap for the sum of 5 Pounds.

I wonder if the buyer is also reading this diary...

Mary   Link to this

The Trotula.

The nostrum that Terry cites sounds as if the inclusion of henna in the ingredients would have produced the sort of red-gold colour (not a bright, brassy yellow) that was to become very fashionable in the reign of Elizabeth Tudor.

The presence of walnut and oak-apple in the preparatory mixture is a little surprising. Walnut produces a rich, brown stain on organic materials and oak-apples were used as a source of good, black colouring for ink from a very early date.

JWB   Link to this

"...desiring my favour to get her husband a place. "

And "...I saw my Lord Castlemayne at St. James’s".

This coincidence seem artful to anyone else?

DiPhi   Link to this

Rob, thanks for the information on the spinet. Here is additional information and a photo. Quite lovely!

http://www.ukauction.info/2008/03/06/seminal-en...

Carl in Boston   Link to this

The spinet. Beautiful in the picture, and you can see why Pepys calls his a "triangle", which it is. If it were proved truly Pepys' triangle, the price at auction would have been far higher. I hope the new owner plays it, and has parties and has a player to play it while someone dressed up as Elizabeth (wearing a whisk and ash colored ball gown, and light colored wig on top) sings to the accompaniment of the triangle.
Once I knelt down on one knee at Liberace's Museum in Las Vegas before his Pleyel piano, owned and played by Chopin himself, and gently touched the keys in a C chord.

tonyt   Link to this

The spinet. I think it worth noting that the spinet seems to have been auctioned by Bonham's not Sotheby's (not that I can afford to go anywhere near either). Also it said to be the same as an instrument owned by Pepys rather than the one he actually owned. (Spoiler. The latter could well have been lost in the Navy Office fire of the 1670s.)

Michael Robinson   Link to this

English Spinet by Charles Haward, circa 1668

height 868 mm (34 3/16in) inscribed on the name board; CAROLUS HAWARD fecit . The case of walnut with brass accessories, the soundboard and circular rose with inked and additional decoration, the arcaded four octave keyboard of Ebony with fauna decoration and ivory accidentals, the later stand of oak.

Bonhams Sale 16003 - Fine Musical Instruments, 10 Mar 2008 - Lot 22.
Sold for £38,000 plus Premium and tax

Bonhams full catalogue description, with photos and 'flash':-
http://www.bonhams.com/cgi-bin/public.sh/pubweb...

Spoiler (from Catalogue entry)
According to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (p 320 Vol 8, 1993), Pepys entry in his diary for 4th April 1668 'called upon Hayward, that makes Virginnals and did there like of a little espinette.... I had a mind to a small harpsichon, but this takes up less room ( see also his entries for 10,13, and 15 July).

Carl in Boston   Link to this

Spoiler. The latter (the spinet or triangle) could well have been lost in the Navy Office fire of the 1670s.)
Pepys' books survived and were in his house, therefore his house survived. Wherefore and ergo, his triangle survived. This triangle sold at auction might be the very triangle of triangles, but with a cloud over its history. The coin is in the air as to if this is the one, I know which way my bet is going.
Fine Art Auctions at the $200 mark are fun. Sometimes oriental rugs go for $100, sometimes people go nuts and a chest of drawers offered at $3,000 goes for $17,000. You never know what will happen.

tonyt   Link to this

Spoiler continued. Claire Tomalin ('Pepys, The Unequalled Self') is quite specific that Pepys' house was destroyed in the Navy Office fire of 29th January 1672/3 - along with the offices and more than twenty others round about. 'Pepys had time to save his books, including the six volumes of his Diary, otherwise very little.'

The only primary source which Claire Tomalin quotes - the Navy Office minute book for 30th January 1672/3 - says that the fire started between 3 am. and 4 am. in Lord Brouncker's lodging and 'in six hours time Laid in ashes the said office, with Severall of the houses about it'. This suggests that Claire Tomalin was also using some other source to come up with 20+ houses destroyed.

It also, however, casts doubt on whether Pepys was able to save 'very little else'. If he had several hours to save his books ( ? and bookcases - it has been suggested that at least one of the bookcases in the Pepys Library at Magdalen College, Cambridge, dates back to the diary period) then it is quite possible that he managed to save a spinet too even if it had to be dismantled.

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