Wednesday 26 September 1666

Up, and with Sir J. Minnes to St. James’s, where every body going to the House, I away by coach to White Hall, and after a few turns, and hearing that our accounts come into the House but to-day, being hindered yesterday by other business, I away by coach home, taking up my wife and calling at Bennet’s, our late mercer, who is come into Covent Garden to a fine house looking down upon the Exchange; and I perceive many Londoners every day come; and Mr. Pierce hath let his wife’s closett, and the little blind bed chamber, and a garret to a silke man for 50l. fine, and 30l. per annum, and 40l. per annum more for dieting the master and two prentices. So home, not agreeing for silk for a petticoat for her which she desired, but home to dinner and then back to White Hall, leaving my wife by the way to buy her petticoat of Bennet, and I to White Hall waiting all day on the Duke of Yorke to move the King for getting Lanyon some money at Plymouth out of some oyle prizes brought in thither, but could get nothing done, but here Mr. Dugdale I hear the great loss of books in St. Paul’s Church-yarde, and at their Hall also, which they value about 150,000l.; some booksellers being wholly undone, among others, they say, my poor Kirton. And Mr. Crumlu all his books and household stuff burned; they trusting St. Fayth’s, and the roof of the church falling, broke the arch down into the lower church, and so all the goods burned. A very great loss. His father hath lost above 1000l. in books; one book newly printed, a Discourse, it seems, of Courts. Here I had the hap to see my Lady Denham: and at night went into the dining-room and saw several fine ladies; among others, Castlemayne, but chiefly Denham again; and the Duke of Yorke taking her aside and talking to her in the sight of all the world, all alone; which was strange, and what also I did not like. Here I met with good Mr. Evelyn, who cries out against it, and calls it bitchering, —[This word was apparently of Evelyn’s own making.]— for the Duke of Yorke talks a little to her, and then she goes away, and then he follows her again like a dog. He observes that none of the nobility come out of the country at all to help the King, or comfort him, or prevent commotions at this fire; but do as if the King were nobody; nor ne’er a priest comes to give the King and Court good council, or to comfort the poor people that suffer; but all is dead, nothing of good in any of their minds: he bemoans it, and says he fears more ruin hangs over our heads. Thence away by coach, and called away my wife at Unthanke’s, where she tells me she hath bought a gowne of 15s. per yard; the same, before her face, my Lady Castlemayne this day bought also, which I seemed vexed for, though I do not grudge it her, but to incline her to have Mercer again, which I believe I shall do, but the girle, I hear, has no mind to come to us again, which vexes me. Being come home, I to Sir W. Batten, and there hear our business was tendered to the House to-day, and a Committee of the whole House chosen to examine our accounts, and a great many Hotspurs enquiring into it, and likely to give us much trouble and blame, and perhaps (which I am afeard of) will find faults enow to demand better officers. This I truly fear. Away with Sir W. Pen, who was there, and he and I walked in the garden by moonlight, and he proposes his and my looking out into Scotland about timber, and to use Pett there; for timber will be a good commodity this time of building the City; and I like the motion, and doubt not that we may do good in it. We did also discourse about our Privateer, and hope well of that also, without much hazard, as, if God blesses us, I hope we shall do pretty well toward getting a penny. I was mightily pleased with our discourse, and so parted, and to the office to finish my journall for three or four days, and so home to supper, and to bed. Our fleete abroad, and the Dutch too, for all we know; the weather very bad; and under the command of an unlucky man, I fear. God bless him, and the fleete under him!

17 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The Royal Society today at Gresham College — from the Hooke Folio Online

Sept. 26. 1666. (Transfusion by Dr. Lower)
mr. D Cox mr. T. Coxe mr King & mr Hooke are appointed curators of this expt. in priuate by themselues. in case of successe in publique before the Society. Godderd, merret clark crone Ball Drs. to be present at the Expt.

(taylors present of petrifyd wood -

http://webapps.qmul.ac.uk/cell/Hooke/hooke_foli...

Australian Susan   Link to this

Hotspurs

Probably a reference to Harry Hotspur of the Percy family from Henry IV. Although a real person, it was the Shakespearian model of his character which was probably referred to here - a rash man acting swiftly without thought.

See http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/hotspur.htm for historical information

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_IV,_Part_1

for information on Shakespeare's Hotspur

Interesting example here of profiteering from the fire with the Pearses charging enormous rents and Sam and Sir W Pen hoping to make money from importing timber down from the north with an eye to all the rebuilding.

Love Evelyn's coined word "bitchering".

Another example here of Royalty dining in public for people to gawp at: and Sam is dissatisfied in his Puritan soul to see a person he admires behaving in a public place in a manner he considers reprehensible.

Rather convoluted sentence construction here (so common in Sam!), but are to conclude that Sam gave way on the silk or was it an inferior petticoat Bess purchased from Bennett's?

CGS   Link to this

".... Here I met with good Mr. Evelyn, who cries out against it, and calls it bitchering, —..."
OED:

bitchery: 1. Lewdness, harlotry. 1532..
1704 T. BROWN Wks. (1760) III. 94 (D.) The roguery of their lawyers, the bitchery of their paramours.
to bitch:
1. intr. Obs. a. To frequent the company of lewd women. b. To call any one ‘bitch.’
1675 C. COTTON Poet. Wks. (1765) 177 Jove, thou now art going a Bitching.
1687 {emem} Aeneid Burl. (1692) 43. 1709 Ramb. Fuddle-Caps 6 In wonderful Rage went to Cursing and Bitching.
to bitch 2:
1. trans. To hang back. rare.
1777 BURKE Letter in Corresp. (1844) II. 157 Norton [Speaker] bitched a little at last; but though he would recede, Fox stuck to his motion.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

They may be governed by a spleen but I doubt the Parliamentary investigators will be harebrained.

Well, not all of them anyway...

(Always rather liked Will's Harry H, thoughtless but good-hearted...And the one of the more loving husbands in Shakespeare, sincerely mourned by his wife.)

Australian Susan   Link to this

Wonderful 1960s production of HIV done by RSC at Stratford with Roy Dotrice as Hotspur (and Ian Holm as Hal). Sorry for the off topic nostalgia.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

' ... my wife at Unthanke’s, where she tells me she hath bought a gowne of 15s. per yard; the same, before her face, my Lady Castlemayne this day bought also, ..."

EP perhaps has drawn her own conclusions about the fate of some of the missing funds and therefore has an awareness of the rapid growth in and order of magnitude of SP's current worth.

" ... whether this account of ours [about 2,200,000.l paid still owing above 900,000l.l] will not put my Lord Treasurer to a difficulty to tell what is become of all the money the Parliament have ‘give’ in this time for the war, which hath amounted to about 4,000,000l., which nobody there could answer; ..."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/09/23/

Mr. Gunning   Link to this

So many fortunes lost in burnt books. I am surprised the booksellers had such large stocks, considering how few could read and the novel had not yet been invented, had it?

Does anyone know what percentage of the people could read? I assume there were no newspapers yet but I understand there would have been pamphlets.

Bitchering!

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"Does anyone know what percentage of the people could read? "

For an introduction to the issues see:
http://www.folger.edu/html/folger_institute/hab...
upper right, second down, is a link to a decent introductory bibliography.

Ruben   Link to this

thank you, MR, for the link to Folger. In image 4 (Comenius), from 1685, we see that Pepys was not the only one with books arranged in his library from small to big.

JWB   Link to this

"...will find faults enow to demand better officers. This I truly fear." Pepys

"What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig. I am ashamed to beg." Luke 16

Louise H   Link to this

Re: literacy rates at the time. Liza Picard quotes D. Cressy's "Literacy and the Social Order" for the following rates of illiteracy for the period 1580-1700:

merchants: 0%
goldsmiths 3%
drapers 12%
mariners 23%
sailors 29%
clothworkers 30%
butchers 35%
bricklayers 38%
carpenters 40%
watermen 67%

I.e., 33% of watermen could at least sign their name. Higher than I would have thought.

Mary   Link to this

petticoat politics.

Privately Sam has no real objection to Elizabeth having a gown made of expensive, 15-shilling fabric - if it's good enough for the King's prime mistress, it's good enough for Mrs. Pepys. However, he wants to emphasize that expenditure of this magnitude should be specifically cleared with him first, before the purchase is made. And a gown is hardly the petticoat that was the initial object of the search.

Now he can use his apparent displeasure at the whole undertaking as a bargaining tool in his campaign to get Mercer back into the household. He will eventually undertake to say no more about Elizabeth's extravagance if she will agree to Mercer's return.

Robin Peters   Link to this

"calling at Bennet’s, our late mercer, who is come into Covent Garden to a fine house looking down upon the Exchange"
This use of merer signifies, of course, that Mr Bennet was a dealer in fine fabrics, mainly silk. The Mercer mentioned later is Mary Mercer, previously companion to Elizabeth and much missed by Samuel.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... waiting all day on the Duke of Yorke to move the King for getting Lanyon some money at Plymouth out of some oyle prizes brought in thither, ..."

Lanyon is the victualer at Portsmouth, with whom SP has a private arrangement for 300L. p.a. on the Tangier account alone ( http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/07/16/ ). He has been an active promoter Lanyon's financial interests in the past, for example most recently the scare over the audit of Lanyon's account.

" ... after dinner comes Creed to discourse with me about several things of Tangier concernments and accounts, among others starts the doubt, which I was formerly aware of, but did wink at it, whether or no Lanyon and his partners be not paid for more than they should be, which he presses, so that it did a little discompose me; ..."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/08/18/

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: burnt books

Pity the poor booksellers, but in addition I can't help wondering if any authors lost months or years' worth of work -- could original manuscripts waiting to be typeset, printed and sold have been burnt and lost forever?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Something seems wrong here...Bess suddenly decides to jump petticoat to Castlemaine level gown? She'd never do it without some previous hint from Sam that he wanted her to dress for success at Court.

"Mrs. Pepys...The expense! Have you forgotten our pledge to live within our means until we are secured?"

"Sam'l. You had a small fortune in gold in my care...And you tole me 'My dear love, for all your hard labors, poor dear wretch, tis indeed time for you to have a fine new piece. I want you to equal any lady at Court. Your words, sir! Not to mention you said I could equal Castlemaine easily were I dressed like her."

"Shock from the Fire, I'm sure... But, of course, I might be willing to consider indulgence of a little folly were I to receive from my dear wife some little favor..."

"Ok, my sores are better and I'm sure up for..."

"Bess?! No, not...Well, yes...But I was thinking...Perhaps a bit more..."

"I tole you before, my love...I'm not willing to try a threesome..."

"Bess!" nervous glance round... "I mean I want Mercer back."

"She left me alone in the midst of the Fire."

"Well...So did I..."

"Yeah...I'm trying to forget that. A new gown should just about do it."

"The poor girl was just worried about her mother...And I was saving everything we owned..."

"I can either forgive you...Or her...Take your pick."

"My poor wretch...My lil' wretched Bessie...My pitiful little beggar of a wife..."

"My prick................Louse. I don't want her. You and she are always singing together and leaving me out."

Hmmn...Me suspects a hidden meaning here.

"And she told me you like to feel her breasts..."

Not all that hidden, actually...

"Bess...."

"You're a twelve-year old boy, Sam'l. Lucky for you the girl is too sensible to pay you any mind...And I'm too hopeful the poor sweet charmer who swept me off is still in there, somewhere...Lost in his pompousity, the grand CoA for now, but still there."

"Well, I never said no gown. Fine, then...Fine...I risk life and limb...Life and Limb...To save all for us...For You, dearest. And you can't even..."

"Oh, all right...But she won't come. She's stubborn as I am."

"Oh, I have my ways..."

"Yeah...What woman could resist one of your gropes?"

***

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... he proposes his and my looking out into Scotland about timber, and to use Pett there; for timber will be a good commodity this time of building the City; ..."

L&M footnote "Evelyn was now busy with a similar project for making bricks."

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