Wednesday 14 February 1665/66

(St. Valentine’s day). This morning called up by Mr. Hill, who, my wife thought, had been come to be her Valentine; she, it seems, having drawne him last night, but it proved not. However, calling him up to our bed-side, my wife challenged him. I up, and made myself ready, and so with him by coach to my Lord Sandwich’s by appointment to deliver Mr. Howe’s accounts to my Lord. Which done, my Lord did give me hearty and large studied thanks for all my kindnesse to him and care of him and his business. I after profession of all duty to his Lordship took occasion to bemoane myself that I should fall into such a difficulty about Sir G. Carteret, as not to be for him, but I must be against Sir W. Coventry, and therefore desired to be neutrall, which my Lord approved and confessed reasonable, but desired me to befriend him privately. Having done in private with my Lord I brought Mr. Hill to kisse his hands, to whom my Lord professed great respect upon my score. My Lord being gone, I took Mr. Hill to my Lord Chancellor’s new house that is building, and went with trouble up to the top of it, and there is there the noblest prospect that ever I saw in my life, Greenwich being nothing to it; and in every thing is a beautiful house, and most strongly built in every respect; and as if, as it hath, it had the Chancellor for its master. Thence with him to his paynter, Mr. Hales, who is drawing his picture, which will be mighty like him, and pleased me so, that I am resolved presently to have my wife’s and mine done by him, he having a very masterly hand. So with mighty satisfaction to the ‘Change and thence home, and after dinner abroad, taking Mrs. Mary Batelier with us, who was just come to see my wife, and they set me down at my Lord Treasurer’s, and themselves went with the coach into the fields to take the ayre. I staid a meeting of the Duke of Yorke’s, and the officers of the Navy and Ordnance. My Lord Treasurer lying in bed of the gowte. Our business was discourse of the straits of the Navy for want of money, but after long discourse as much out of order as ordinary people’s, we come to no issue, nor any money promised, or like to be had, and yet the worke must be done. Here I perceive Sir G. Carteret had prepared himself to answer a choque of Sir W. Coventry, by offering of himself to shew all he had paid, and what is unpaid, and what moneys and assignments he hath in his hands, which, if he makes good, was the best thing he ever did say in his life, and the best timed, for else it must have fallen very foule on him. The meeting done I away, my wife and they being come back and staying for me at the gate. But, Lord! to see how afeard I was that Sir W. Coventry should have spyed me once whispering with Sir G. Carteret, though not intended by me, but only Sir G. Carteret come to me and I could not avoyde it. So home, they set me down at the ‘Change, and I to the Crowne, where my Lord Bruncker was come and several of the Virtuosi, and after a small supper and but little good discourse I with Sir W. Batten (who was brought thither with my Lord Bruncker) home, where I find my wife gone to Mrs. Mercer’s to be merry, but presently come in with Mrs. Knipp, who, it seems, is in towne, and was gone thither with my wife and Mercer to dance, and after eating a little supper went thither again to spend the whole night there, being W. Howe there, at whose chamber they are, and Lawd Crisp by chance. I to bed.

12 Annotations

Lawrence  •  Link

Lord Sandwich, is very mindful of Sam's ability! and obviously can see the tightrope that Sam is walking, and I suppose the studied thanks would be my Lord's way of explaining himself? and would have been of great relief to sam? on a slightly different note, do we know who was Elizabeth's valentine this year?

Peter Last  •  Link

Here I perceive Sir G. Carteret had prepared himself to answer a choque of Sir W. Coventry

Choque is not cited in OED. What does it mean, or is it a misprint?

Bess seems to have got a Valentine, but what about womanising Sam? He didn't even get to spend the night with his wife.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

What Sam seems to be missing when he's late at the office.

Yesterday, "I away home, and there at the office all the afternoon till late at night, and then away home to supper and to bed." Today comes his old friend Thomas Hill, "who, my wife thought, had been come to be her Valentine; she, it seems, having drawne him last night, but it proved not. However, calling him up to our bed-side, my wife challenged him."

So while "he's detained at work on business necessary" (Cole Porter, Kiss Me, Kate, "I hate men")
she's out partying and drawing a Valentine from a hat.
And when Mr. Hill is announced while the Pepsys are still together abed, she cries "Send him up," and flirts with him to tease Sam. (I hear faint strains of music from the court of Louis XIV in the background. A question came up recently whether Sam and Elizabeth regularly share a bed. Here's a case where they apparently did.)

Today Sam comes home early to find Elizabeth gone out; she drops by with Mrs Knipp (Knepp)to say they are going dancing with Mary Mercer at the chamber of
W. Howe of "the poor sorry rubys" who "likes to sing and play the viol and violin."

The information from Michael Robinson that Elizabeth Knepp -- who likes to flirt and whose husband seems always angry --later took the role of Mrs. Fidget in "The Country Wife" adds spice to this narrative, I think. Poor Sam.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

choque = shock

See the first definition in the third listing for shock in the OED. This entry of Sam's is cited as a figurative use in the sense of an encounter of two armed mounted men in a joust.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Hill, look at this magnificent prospect!" Sam waves hand out over Clarendon's vast new estate.

"Magnificent, Pepys...Uh, we do have permission from the Earl to be here?"

"Hill...You are speaking to the Royal Navy's Clerk of the Acts...Companion and advisor to both Duke of York and the King himself and..."

Oops...Both eye brick struck by the Royal Navy's (ex-?) Clerk of the Acts' arm now headed earthward. Striking a loose board on the way down.

Which of course spins round and tips over to fall on its own, striking a section of scaffolding in its turn...

Which, naturally, trembles, and part of which, with what could be taken for as a gentle sigh, begins to almost delicately fold downward, a number of its boards, securing ropes, and several piles of loose brick, ready for the resumption of work, following the original brick, board, and folding section downward...

"Perhaps we should be..." Hill begins...

"Leaving...Yes, we've seen all, I'd say."

Sounds of crumbling, nails tearing loose...Stonework below making loud, echoing cracking sounds as numerous bricks hit...

If only Bess could have seen us doing that leap to the last rope still hanging to swing ourselves down...And have missed the initial bit...Sam thinks, sadly...As he and Hill race to escape the falling bricks, boards, fine stonework, precious newly installed upper sculpture...

"You know, Hill. Suppose, while we spent this entire last two hours making music in a small, utterly forgettable alehouse, I decided I would I pay for your Valentine gift and help you convince Bess you were only joking this morning about not having anything for her?"


"Yes, I'd say it was a good thing we were nowhere near the Earl's new place this morning...Though a shame we didn't see what happened to occasion such a..."

The entire unfinished structure settles behind them to the ground with a massive roar and cloud of dust.

"...disaster." Hill finishes.

"Indeed. Cabbie! Unthanks the tailor!" Sam calls.

Lawrence  •  Link

Choque? in Spanish means collision! not sure that was what sam meant though?

cgs  •  Link


Could be slang for dense or just full of it????

"...Here I perceive Sir G. Carteret had prepared himself to answer a choque of Sir W. Coventry, by offering of himself to shew all he had paid,..."

Chock and chuck appear to have been originally variants of the same word, which are now somewhat differentiated. Though they appear late, they may possibly go back to ONF. *chuque, choque, chouque (mod.Pic. choke, Norm. chouque) = OF. çuche, zuche, çouche, souche ‘log or block of wood’; cf. It. ciocco a burning log, block of wood, stump; also ciocca bunch, cluster, tuft, etc. In Eng. the word appears to have been influenced by CHOKE, with which it is occas. confounded under the forms choke, choak.]

1. A lumpy piece of wood, esp. for burning; a block or log, dial. a ‘clog’.

.......c. chock-a-block (Naut.), said of a tackle with the two blocks run close together so that they touch each other{em}the limit of hoisting; transf. jammed or crammed close together; also of a place or person, crammed with, chock-full of.

ME < AF choque (cf. modern Picard choke big log, Normandy dial. chouque), OF çoche (F soche); of uncert. orig.

mary k mcintyre  •  Link

I think Andrew H has it right... "chock" as in a full-frontal challenge by Coventry, met by Carteret.

cgs  •  Link

Mary K says all, one uses a choque to prevent a runaway wagon or to stop a plane from moving, one choques the wheels in front and back.
Thus block Sir W. Coventry moves.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... and in every thing is a beautiful house, and most strongly built in every respect; ..."

A tangible form of the rewards of Government service to which SP aspires?

language hat  •  Link

"choque" = "shock" (not "chock")

Just so we're all clear.

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