Sunday 12 May 1667

(Lord’s day). Up, and to my chamber, to settle some accounts there, and by and by down comes my wife to me in her night-gown, and we begun calmly, that upon having money to lace her gown for second mourning, she would promise to wear white locks no more in my sight, which I, like a severe fool, thinking not enough, begun to except against, and made her fly out to very high terms and cry, and in her heat told me of keeping company with Mrs. Knipp, saying, that if I would promise never to see her more — of whom she hath more reason to suspect than I had heretofore of Pembleton — she would never wear white locks more. This vexed me, but I restrained myself from saying anything, but do think never to see this woman — at least, to have her here more, but by and by I did give her money to buy lace, and she promised to wear no more white locks while I lived, and so all very good friends as ever, and I to my business, and she to dress herself. Against noon we had a coach ready for us, and she and I to White Hall, where I went to see whether Sir G. Carteret was at dinner or no, our design being to make a visit there, and I found them set down, which troubled me, for I would not then go up, but back to the coach to my wife, and she and I homeward again, and in our way bethought ourselves of going alone, she and I, to go to a French house to dinner, and so enquired out Monsieur Robins, my perriwigg-maker, who keeps an ordinary, and in an ugly street in Covent Garden, did find him at the door, and so we in; and in a moment almost had the table covered, and clean glasses, and all in the French manner, and a mess of potage first, and then a couple of pigeons a la esterve, and then a piece of boeuf-a -la-mode, all exceeding well seasoned, and to our great liking; at least it would have been anywhere else but in this bad street, and in a perriwigg-maker’s house; but to see the pleasant and ready attendance that we had, and all things so desirous to please, and ingenious in the people, did take me mightily. Our dinner cost us 6s., and so my wife and I away to Islington, it being a fine day, and thence to Sir G. Whitmore’s house, where we ‘light, and walked over the fields to Kingsland, and back again; a walk, I think, I have not taken these twenty years; but puts me in mind of my boy’s time, when I boarded at Kingsland, and used to shoot with my bow and arrows in these fields. A very pretty place it is; and little did any of my friends think I should come to walk in these fields in this condition and state that I am. Then took coach again, and home through Shoreditch; and at home my wife finds Barker to have been abroad, and telling her so many lies about it, that she struck her, and the wench said she would not stay with her: so I examined the wench, and found her in so many lies myself, that I was glad to be rid of her, and so resolved having her go away to-morrow. So my wife and W. Hewer and I to supper, and then he and I to my chamber to begin the draught of the report from this office to the Duke of York in the case of Mr. Carcasse, which I sat up till midnight to do, and then to bed, believing it necessary to have it done, and to do it plainly, for it is not to be endured the trouble that this rascal hath put us to, and the disgrace he hath brought upon this office.

24 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"pigeons a la esterve, and then a piece of boeuf-a-la-mode"

L&M have "pigeons a l'esteuvé" = stewed pigeons.

and note "boeuf a-la-mode" = beef casserole

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"mess of potage"

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

In the French style: soup first.

Worth a birthright.

Eric Walla   Link to this

Wow. Now THAT'S a diary entry. What main themes weren't on display in this one?

Nix   Link to this

"an ordinary . . . in an ugly street in Covent Garden . . . a mess of potage first, and then a couple of pigeons a la esterve, and then a piece of boeuf-a -la-mode, all exceeding well seasoned, and to our great liking" --

Sounds like Rules, until you get to the sixpence price. But Rules won't open for another 130 years. Today potage is L7.50, pigeon is L21.95 and boeuf is L23.95.

http://www.rules.co.uk/menus/

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Pembleton gone but not forgotten by either Pepys... Clever of our girl to bring him up.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

However there is no matter that cannot be resolved by a good French dinner...Pat yourself on the back for that one, Samuel.

mary k mcintyre   Link to this

No church today, hmm? But another wonderful word-portrait of Elizabeth.

I was in St. Olave's 3 weeks ago, spending a restless day in London while waiting to hear if my flight was cancelled. A quartet of singers rehearsed in the choir loft while I stood in the chancel and admired Elizabeth's memorial, high up on the wall near the left side of the altar.

Her lovely marble head leaned out of its cartouche and turned to look back at the congregation, her lips parted as though to speak. If Sam put this up, he redeemed (a bit) his uneven record as a husband.

A voice behind me asked, "Would you like to see a 17th century ceiling?" and I jumped a foot. The charming priest? choirmaster? unlocked the door beside me and ushered me into the sacristy. "Look up," he suggested. Which I did, and saw an enormous angel -- about 12' long -- with a star over her head.

One-nil for the volcano; definitely worth a flight delay.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"money to lace her gown for second mourning"

second mourning or L&M say also
half mourning

1. traditionally, the second period of mourning, during which black clothes are lightened or replaced by gray, white, or purple [ ameliorated mourning ]

http://www.yourdictionary.com/half-mourning

Pepys apparently proposes a lace for blonde-hair-frontlets swap.

George Robins   Link to this

"she and I, to go to a French house to dinner, and so enquired out Monsieur Robins, my perriwigg-maker, who keeps an ordinary, and in an ugly street in Covent Garden"
I knew I would appear here eventually. At least I know my family lived there in the 1700s. Must start researching further back

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...so my wife and I away to Islington, it being a fine day, and thence to Sir G. Whitmore’s house, where we ‘light, and walked over the fields to Kingsland, and back again; a walk, I think, I have not taken these twenty years; but puts me in mind of my boy’s time, when I boarded at Kingsland, and used to shoot with my bow and arrows in these fields."

A pleasant afternoon of Sam showing the Missus the romping places of his boyhood. Bess gets more interesting the more we see her. Clearly she's engaged and in spite of his boorish behavior at times seems to deeply love our little idiot. Of course for all his flaws he's still the man who married her in a fit of romantic passion, who often shared his march up the ladder with her, who sits by her bed when she's with those..., who went into panic when she fainted, and was terrified when her doctor feared she must be cut. He may call her fool in fits of anger but he seeks her advice fairly often and tries to please her. He may be stingy at times but he appreciates that she doesn't tend to ask for much for herself and she generally gets what she does ask for now that he has money to spare, including money for the aged ps. No doubt he's as charming as a storyteller at the suppertable and in bed as he is here and it must be an exciting saga for her, the tale of ordinary Sam Pepys, tailor's son, taking on the titled bigwigs and dealing with the clever, sometimes unscrupulous, businessmen, merchants, and workmen to do good for the navy and Nation. Painted in heroic colors, naturally...By a master of the art.

Frank G.   Link to this

"Sounds like Rules, until you get to the sixpence price."

The dinner cost six shillings.

Phoenix   Link to this

First, locks for lace. Not enough? How about Knipp for lace? Close enough.

It would be interesting to know if their day together was planned prior to their morning tussle. Or is this Sam's caution just in case Elizabeth's suspicion begins to become more extensive?

classicist   Link to this

Six shillings is a helluva lot of money for a dinner in the 17th C., when soldiers were paid 8 pence a day. Rules is actually quite a lot cheaper!

Nix   Link to this

Yes, I misread -- sorry. Thanks for catching my error.

cum salis grano   Link to this

Money has gone tangential and exponential , in numbers but in pay for a day of basic labour, still about the same buying power for the basic incomes for day's labour.

Carl in Boston   Link to this

in her heat told me of keeping company with Mrs. Knipp, saying, that if I would promise never to see her more — ...— she would never wear white locks more.
Clever Bess, Sam has to Pay to Play. She drives a shrewd bargain, and gives as good as she gets.
All in all, quite a reading for today.

JWB   Link to this

Worth a birthright?

'Eat-em-rite' types mighty partial to lentils.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...comes my wife to me in her night-gown..."

Can't let that pass without a brief thank you, Sam.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Worth a birthright?"

Esau thought so.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

(That last one is a partial concession, JWB.)

Tom Carr   Link to this

Sam has discovered for the first time the joy of unexpected fine dining at a little "hole-in-the-wall". And they're still to be found here in New Haven, New York and Boston.

Nix   Link to this

Tom -- what holes-in-the wall do you recommend in New Haven? I'll be passing through there in a few weeks.

language hat   Link to this

If you're going to NH, don't miss Pepe's Pizza. It's worth the wait.

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