Sunday 7 July 1667

(Lord’s day). Up, and to my chamber, there to settle some papers, and thither comes Mr. Moore to me and talked till church time of the news of the times about the peace and the bad consequences of it if it be not improved to good purpose of fitting ourselves for another war. He tells me he heard that the discontented Parliament-men are fearful that the next sitting the King will put for a general excise, by which to raise him money, and then to fling off the Parliament, and raise a land-army and keep them all down like slaves; and it is gotten among them, that Bab. May, the Privy-purse, hath been heard to say that 300l. a-year is enough for any country gentleman; which makes them mad, and they do talk of 6 or 800,000l. gone into the Privy-purse this war, when in King James’s time it arose but to 5,000l., and in King Charles’s but 10,000l. in a year. He tells me that a goldsmith in town told him that, being with some plate with my Lady Castlemayne lately, she directed her woman (the great beauty), “Wilson,” says she, “make a note for this, and for that, to the Privy-purse for money.” He tells me a little more of the baseness of the courses taken at Court in the case of Mr. Moyer, who is at liberty, and is to give 500l. for his liberty; but now the great ones are divided, who shall have the money, the Duke of Albemarle on one hand, and another Lord on the other; and that it is fain to be decided by having the person’s name put into the King’s warrant for his liberty, at whose intercession the King shall own that he is set at liberty; which is a most lamentable thing, that we do professedly own that we do these things, not for right and justice sake, but only to gratify this or that person about the King. God forgive us all! Busy till noon, and then home to dinner, and Mr. Moore come and dined with us, and much more discourse at and after dinner of the same kind, and then, he gone, I to my office busy till the evening, and then with my wife and Jane over to Half-way house, a very good walk; and there drank, and in the cool of the evening back again, and sang with pleasure upon the water, and were mightily pleased in hearing a boatfull of Spaniards sing, and so home to supper and to bed. Jane of late mighty fine, by reason of a laced whiske her mistress hath given her, which makes her a very gracefull servant. But, above all, my wife and I were the most surprised in the beauty of a plain girle, which we met in the little lane going from Redriffe-stairs into the fields, one of the prettiest faces that we think we ever saw in our lives.

13 Annotations

Glyn   Link to this

Of course, there were no photographs/films/adverts of international beauties for people to make comparisons about, so the only ones you saw were the people that you actually met. Sam and Elizabeth have a habit of talking about women's attractiveness, for example going to Grays Inn field on a Sunday to see people promenade in their fashionable best clothes - sometimes argue quite heatedly about it as well.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...then to fling off the Parliament, and raise a land-army and keep them all down like slaves..."

"Excellent notion...I must remember that." Jamie, reading. Eyes Coventry as they sit in Naval Office. "And here I thought our Pepys might be writing something scurrilous about our person during this crisis. What good fortune for him I learned shorthand to keep in touch with Charlie during all those years in exile, someone translating might have deliberately distorted his work."

"I'd never doubted Samuel, your Grace."

"Well, when I'm king his good faith shall be rewarded. We should be off. You know, Sir Will, I rather like the bit further on about the tax on fortunes above 300Ls...The lad really is full of great observations."

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"...the case of Mr. Moyer, who is at liberty, and is to give 500l. for his liberty; but now the great ones are divided, who shall have the money, the Duke of Albemarle on one hand, and another Lord on the other; and that it is fain to be decided by having the person’s name put into the King’s warrant for his liberty, at whose intercession the King shall own that he is set at liberty;"

16 May Pepys's Journall says (in part): "Mr. Moyer, the merchant, having procured an order from the King and Duke of York and Council, with the consent of my Lord Chancellor, and by assistance of Lord Arlington, for the releasing out of prison his brother, Samuel Moyer, who was a great man in the late times in Haberdashers’-hall, and was engaged under hand and seal to give the man that obtained it so much in behalf of my Lord Chancellor; but it seems my Lady Duchess of Albemarle had before undertaken it for so much money, but hath not done it." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/05/16/

Are we to understand that at least both the greats Albemarle and Arlington are involved in this petty, sordid affair? The stench of corruption overwhelms.

Ruben   Link to this

"Are we to understand that at least both the greats Albemarle and Arlington are involved in this petty, sordid affair?"

Qui multum habet, plus cupito!
Free translation: The more you have, the more you want.
It was true when Seneca put that on paper and probably was already an old saying.

Mary   Link to this

"the beauty of a plain girl"

This sounds like a contradiction in terms to modern ears. However, I suspect that "plain" here refers to the girl's dress. She is dressed "plain" - i.e. in Puritan fashion, in dull colours and without any sort of adornment, not even buttons (which were considered 'fancy' then and still are in some traditions).

I wouldn't advise Sam to take a cue from this observation and suggest that Elizabeth's beauty would be set off even better by plain fashions if she were to give up her silver lace, fine petticoats, earrings and other fancy adornments.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Poor tormented Moyer. It is hard to believe Monck once held the kingdom's fate in his hands. Rather amazing he and others haven't personally approached Sam and demanded a cut. Perhaps Sam is saved by their lack of imagination (some busybody clerk in the Naval Office is amassing a fortune in kickbacks?) but I suppose also they've some weird logic of their own that allows them to harass and fleece a formerly well-placed Commonwealth administrator.

classicist   Link to this

What goes round, comes round. Moyer's Committee for Compounding, which set fines in exchange allowing the Commonwealth's better-off opponents to keep their estates, was notorious in its day. The Verneys' struggles with (and expenditure on) it are probably the best documented (Adrian Tinniswood's THE VERNEYS has the details) but many others suffered as well.

Phoenix   Link to this

"Jane of late mighty fine, by reason of a laced whiske her mistress hath given her, which makes her a very gracefull servant."

Indeed.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=3JZB2YLqsu0C&pg...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Elizabethan whisks are frequently seen in portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and consist of a wired frame covered with sheer fabric. The whisk frame typically appears to surround her shoulders and sometimes her head in an almost-haloed effect. http://www.verymerryseamstress.com/elizabethanw...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"my wife and I were the most surprised in the beauty of a plain girle"

Agreeing with Glyn, L&M say in the Select Glossary "plain" means "unaffected."

Mary   Link to this

plain beauty.

I might go as far as to substitute 'unadorned' for 'unaffected' in this context, but remain convinced that the epithet implies more here than simple, workaday lack of style or fashion.

The Mennonites that I encountered some years ago in Belize and the Amish of Pennsylvania today refer to themselves as 'plain people' and this alludes to their simplicity of dress as much as to their practice, manners and customs. The term has a long history in this context.

I think that Sam and Elizabeth perceived the girl to be 'plain' in just this way; she is remarkable to them in that her beauty cries out for admiration, though her modest style is calculated to be self-effacing.

I wonder whether Language Hat has a view?

language hat   Link to this

I agree with Mary, and I couldn't have put it better than "she is remarkable to them in that her beauty cries out for admiration, though her modest style is calculated to be self-effacing."

Fern   Link to this

A less modest lady also recognised the value of plain beauty. If I remember correctly, the astonishingly beautiful Lily Langtry caused a stir when she entered London society in a plain black dress, thus standing out from the fashionable crowd. At that stage she only had this one 'good' dress but luckily she was still in mourning for one of her parents...

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