Sunday 8 April 1666

(Lord’s day). Up, and was in great trouble how to get a passage to White Hall, it raining, and no coach to be had. So I walked to the Old Swan, and there got a scull. To the Duke of Yorke, where we all met to hear the debate between Sir Thomas Allen and Mr. Wayth; the former complaining of the latter’s ill usage of him at the late pay of his ship. But a very sorry poor occasion he had for it. The Duke did determine it with great judgement, chiding both, but encouraging Wayth to continue to be a check to all captains in any thing to the King’s right. And, indeed, I never did see the Duke do any thing more in order, nor with more judgement than he did pass the verdict in this business. The Court full this morning of the newes of Tom Cheffin’s death, the King’s closett-keeper. He was well last night as ever, flaying at tables in the house, and not very ill this morning at six o’clock, yet dead before seven: they think, of an imposthume in his breast. But it looks fearfully among people nowadays, the plague, as we hear, encreasing every where again. To the Chappell, but could not get in to hear well. But I had the pleasure once in my life to see an Archbishop (this was of Yorke) in a pulpit. Then at a loss how to get home to dinner, having promised to carry Mrs. Hunt thither. At last got my Lord Hinchingbroke’s coach, he staying at Court; and so took her up in Axe-yard, and home and dined. And good discourse of the old matters of the Protector and his family, she having a relation to them. The Protector1 lives in France: spends about 500l. per annum. Thence carried her home again and then to Court and walked over to St. James’s Chappell, thinking to have heard a Jesuite preach, but come too late. So got a hackney and home, and there to business. At night had Mercer comb my head and so to supper, sing a psalm, and to bed.

16 Annotations

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Tom Cheffin

For His ODNB entry 'Chiffinch [Cheffin], Thomas (1600-1666), courtier and royal official ...' available for one week (with portrait attributed to Jacob Huysmans, executed c.1655–60):

Terry W  •  Link

"flaying at tables"

Should read "playing at tables" - i.e. backgammon.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Tom Sheffin's death"
Methinks it was the plague.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

ADA, please say more. Why do you think it was the plague? It was my impression that the plague did not kill suddenly, with no prior symptoms, but that people suffered for at least several days before succumbing, unlike poor Mr. Chiffinch. Is that wrong?

tg  •  Link

"At night had Mercer comb my head and so to supper, sing a psalm, and to bed."

No Miss Tooker available? She seems to have dropped off Sam's radar screen. I thought she had come to stay with the Pepys' but maybe that was only for a night or two.

Mary  •  Link

Septicaemic plague could kill within a matter of hours, but if this had been Chiffinch's malady then one would have expected him to be in worse state than 'not very ill' an hour before his death. However, if plague had appeared on top of a pre-existing, threatening condition (e.g. coronary heart disease) then I suppose that death could have been very sudden. Chiffinch was not a young man.
All pure speculation, of course.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Tom Sheffin's death"
Paul, Mary said it;the septicemic form can kill in a matter of hours,besides he had a bubo;I did some volunteer work with Charitas while I was stationed in Vietnam a while ago and I saw one case like this one.

JWB  •  Link

"The Duke did determine it with great judgement,..."

A small item to remember when later Sam remains loyal to James.

JWB  •  Link

" ...thinking to have heard a Jesuite preach,"

A smaller item to remember when later Sam remains loyal to James.

Mary  •  Link

I don't think that an imposthume can be unequivocally equated with a bubo.

OED impost(h)ume: a purulent swelling or cyst in any part of the body; an abscess.

Septicaemic plague is usually regarded as a different manifestation from either pneumonic or bubonic plague.

And as I said before, it's all a matter of pure speculation unless we are given further information about the state of Chiffinch's illness and corpse.

Nix  •  Link

> “flaying at tables”
> Should read “playing at tables” - i.e. backgammon

Terry W, if Cheffin was anything like me, Samuel had it right!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...thinking to have heard a Jesuite preach..."


Thank God Shaftsbury never got his hands on the Diary.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"so to supper, sing a psalm, and to bed."

SP hasn't reported evening family devotions for quite a few Sundays.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...I had the pleasure once in my life to see an Archbishop (this was of Yorke) in a pulpit......." Sam would have been surprised to discover the present ArchB of York is black!

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