Monday 20 May 1667

Up betimes, and comes my flagelette master to set me a new tune, which I played presently, and shall in a month do as much as I desire at it. He being gone, I to several businesses in my chamber, and then by coach to the Commissioners of Excise, and so to Westminster Hall, and there spoke with several persons I had to do with. Here among other news, I hear that the Commissioners for the Treasury were named by the King yesterday; but who they are nobody could tell: but the persons are the Lord Chancellor, the two Secretaries, Lord Ashly, and others say Sir W. Coventry and Sir John Duncomb, but all conclude the Duke of Albemarle; but reports do differ, but will be known in a day or two. Having done my business, I then homeward, and overtook Mr. Commander; so took him into a coach with me, and he and I into Lincoln’s Inne Fields, there to look upon the coach-houses to see what ground is necessary for coach-house and horses, because of that that I am going about to do, and having satisfied myself in this he and I to Mr. Hide’s to look upon the ground again behind our house, and concluded upon his going along with us to-morrow to see some stables, he thinking that we demand more than is necessary. So away home, and then, I, it being a broken day, and had power by my vows, did walk abroad, first through the Minorys, the first time I have been over the Hill to the postern-gate, and seen the place, since the houses were pulled down about that side of the Tower, since the fire, to find where my young mercer with my pretty little woman to his wife lives, who lived in Lumbard streete, and I did espy them, but took no notice now of them, but may do hereafter. Thence down to the Old Swan, and there saw Betty Michell, whom I have not seen since her christening. But, Lord! how pretty she is, and looks as well as ever I saw her, and her child (which I am fain to seem very fond of) is pretty also, I think, and will be. Thence by water to Westminster Hall, and there walked a while talking at random with Sir W. Doyly, and so away to Mrs. Martin’s lodging, who was gone before, expecting me, and there je hazer what je vellem cum her and drank, and so by coach home (but I have forgot that I did in the morning go to the Swan, and there tumbling of la little fille, son uncle did trouver her cum su neckcloth off, which I was ashamed of, but made no great matter of it, but let it pass with a laugh), and there spent the evening with my wife at our flagelets, and so to supper, and after a little reading to bed. My wife still troubled with her cold. I find it everywhere now to be a thing doubted whether we shall have peace or no, and the captain of one of our ships that went with the Embassadors do say, that the seamen of Holland to his hearing did defy us, and called us English dogs, and cried out against peace, and that the great people there do oppose peace, though he says the common people do wish it.

11 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" find where my young mercer with my pretty little woman to his wife lives, who lived in Lumbard streete, and I did espy them, but took no notice now of them, but may do hereafter."

Charming, Sam. But for the fact that it would hurt poor Bess to be subjected to this kind of crap I could wish to see you kicked around by Sandwich or even better young Hinchingbroke ("Yes, my young lord, get the hell out of my own home and stay out so you can have my wife, yes, sir.") the way you screw with the lives of these poor families. Bagwell, admittedly, seems a sly manipulator who probably laughs up his sleeves at you but whether Mrs. B. joins in the fun or no, she and the poor Mitchells and poor Finch don't deserve this.

Pity the uncle wasn't of my mind...It would be interesting to read your account of being laid up for months with a broken jaw. Oh, well...To be fair, if you'd stay with ladies like that who actually welcomed or at least seemed to welcome your attentions...Or even poor Knipp who really does seem to benefit from having you in her otherwise rather sad private life...One could accept a honest and generally good man who wants to get all the life he can in a time of short life and easy death. But this icy manipulation of lives for fun because you can is a sad thing to see growing in you.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Maybe Hell is a place where, having endlessly lived the sad and suffering lives of all their victims, Stalin and Hitler dream hopelessly and tormentedly of giving back those lives and doing some good while Sam Pepys sadly wishes he could take this day back and spend it tending Bess...And never can.

tg  •  Link

and then, I, it being a broken day, and had power by my vows, did walk abroad
... to find where my young mercer with my pretty little woman to his wife lives.

What is a broken day? I assume it means a half day's work because he spends most of it in recreational infidelity. And I read the phrase "had power by my vows" to mean that he had fulfilled his conditions and was now free to do some romping. Since we haven't read about any carousing recently, I'm assuming that was one of his vows. He sure makes up for it today though, doesn't he? Stalking Mrs. Finch, seeing pretty Betty Michell, doing a little more with Betty Martin, and then the shameful tumbling with the barmaid, which he'd almost forgotten about but managed to remember when he was writing this down. His willingness to put it all out there is astonishing at times.

Miss Ann  •  Link

The morals of Sam's day are so very different to today. Sam doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong with taking his pleasure wherever & whenever he can. We can only surmise that all the other men are doing the same thing. When you consider the Court of King Charles II, and his bits on the side, it would appear that men of a certain class/standing can virtually take what they want where they want it without guilt. So glad we've moved on since those days, however I do know many men who seem to be living in the past.

language hat  •  Link

"The morals of Sam’s day are so very different to today.... We can only surmise that all the other men are doing the same thing."

This is untrue, and insulting to all the men who weren't "doing the same thing." The morals of Sam's day were, if anything, stricter than those of these unreligious days. Sam knows perfectly well there's something wrong with what he's doing, but he vaguely hopes to make up for it later and trusts to the forgiveness of God, like so many sinners. And bear in mind that power corrupts, and the higher Sam rises the less he's concerned with the little people he deals with, something common to all times and places.

cum salis grano  •  Link

Humans are not clones, they run the gamut of pure evil to pure good and any where in between.

Humans regards mating, some will always be monogamous [e.g Swan], some will have harems [ e.g horse bull][legal or illegal] others fall by the wayside.
Trying to find a match to owns standards is a very difficult affair, not like the rest of the animal kingdom, they keep to their own kind , mostly, there will always be the mule and the liger etc.of course, humans are nearly always confused by the facade of the other "'uman upright".
The official moral code is dictated by a minority that have the legal force, the rest have other survival codes.
The 13 states of the new world came about by people wanting their own morality to be top dog.

Humans have 3 major sides, Publick, private, and the subconscious. The Publick view reminds me of a hermit crab, they adopt a personae to fit the needs of the day, we only see the view that fits our perception.
Only on a rare occasion do we get a peek at the Private, Ala the diary,and as for the subconscious,it does its thing, processes food, thought, fixes pain and cuts without conscious instruction,[we can help sometimes].
"Nuthing is All",we constantly try to get a monopoly that one size fits all.
"nutin'" is perfect.

cum salis grano  •  Link

Re fidelity, in-spite of atmosphere , one lass, Stuart, kept her moral code, and I do think that were also some males that had the same moral code, not all succumb to the popular mores of the times.
Every day we can read how some can dance around the moral issue, like never lying, just misspoke.
Aristotle said something to effect, good people will always do good , the others will find excuses to cheat.

language hat  •  Link

"good people will always do good, the others will find excuses to cheat."

Exactly, and then they insist that everyone else is like them.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Temple to Ormond
Written from: Brussels
Date: 20 May 1667

The people [of the Netherlands] of all sorts are animated against the French, and express it, to a very extraordinary degree, by their forwardness both to labour and contribute upon all occasions ...

... "Colonel Murphy [In MS: "Morfee".] arrived here some days ago, but has been very ill, and not yet, - as I hear", - (adds the writer), "able to stir from this town. As our scene grows warm, I shall not fail to give your Grace the entertainment of it."

Ormond to Arlington
Written from: Dublin
Date: 20 May 1667

... Sir William Temple gives a description of a country and people surprised by apprehension of an unexpected & dreadful war, yet preparing for their defence by all the ways proper for it ...

... The Duke thinks it to be clear that the King should do nothing that may hazard the drawing of the storm from Spain upon England, or ... interrupt the conclusion of a peace with Holland. ...

... The Commissioners [under the Settlement Acts], have not yet adjourned ...

Michael Robinson  •  Link

For another view of the morals and ethics of the period see:

Francis Harris 'Transformations of Love; The friendship of John Evelyn and Margaret Godolphin' Oxford: OUP, 2002.

It's a very wonderful book, not least for the prose style, by an expert; Harris is one of the senior curators at the British Library who worked on the Evelyn papers.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks for that, MR - looks a really interesting book, which I would like to read! Now if i could only get through the other four piles..........

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