Friday 13 March 1667/68

Up betimes to my office, where to fit myself for attending the Parliament again, not to make any more speech, which, while my fame is good, I will avoid, for fear of losing it; but only to answer to what objections will be made against us. Thence walked to the Old Swan and drank at Michell’s, whose house is going up apace. Here I saw Betty, but could not baiser la, and so to Westminster, there to the Hall, where up to my cozen Roger Pepys at the Parliament door, and there he took me aside, and told me how he was taken up by one of the House yesterday, for moving for going on with the King’s supply of money, without regard to the keeping pace therewith, with the looking into miscarriages, and was told by this man privately that it did arise because that he had a kinsman concerned therein; and therefore he would prefer the safety of his kinsman to the good of the nation, and that there was great things against us and against me, for all my fine discourse the other day. But I did bid him be at no pain for me; for I knew of nothing but what I was very well prepared to answer; and so I think I am, and therefore was not at all disquieted by this. Thence he to the House, and I to the Hall, where my Lord Brouncker and the rest waiting till noon and not called for by the House, they being upon the business of money again, and at noon all of us to Chatelin’s, the French house in Covent Garden, to dinner — Brouncker, J. Minnes, W. Pen, T. Harvey, and myself — and there had a dinner cost us 8s. 6d. a-piece, a damned base dinner, which did not please us at all, so that I am not fond of this house at all, but do rather choose the Beare. After dinner to White Hall to the Duke of York, and there did our usual business, complaining of our standing still in every-respect for want of money, but no remedy propounded, but so I must still be. Thence with our company to the King’s playhouse, where I left them, and I, my head being full of to-morrow’s dinner, I to my Lord Crew’s, there to invite Sir Thomas Crew; and there met with my Lord Hinchingbroke and his lady, the first time I spoke to her. I saluted her; and she mighty civil and; with my Lady Jemimah, do all resolve to be very merry to-morrow at my house. My Lady Hinchingbroke I cannot say is a beauty, nor ugly; but is altogether a comely lady enough, and seems very good-humoured, and I mighty glad of the occasion of seeing her before to-morrow. Thence home; and there find one laying of my napkins against tomorrow in figures of all sorts, which is mighty pretty; and, it seems, it is his trade, and he gets much money by it; and do now and then furnish tables with plate and linnen for a feast at so much, which is mighty pretty, and a trade I could not have thought of. I find my wife upon the bed not over well, her breast being broke out with heat, which troubles her, but I hope it will be for her good. Thence I to Mrs. Turner, and did get her to go along with me to the French pewterer’s, and there did buy some new pewter against to-morrow; and thence to White Hall, to have got a cook of her acquaintance, the best in England, as she says. But after we had with much ado found him, he could not come, nor was Mr. Gentleman in town, whom next I would have had, nor would Mrs. Stone let her man Lewis come, whom this man recommended to me; so that I was at a mighty loss what in the world to do for a cooke, Philips being out of town. Therefore, after staying here at Westminster a great while, we back to London, and there to Philips’s, and his man directed us to Mr. Levett’s, who could not come, and he sent to two more, and they could not; so that, at last, Levett as a great kindness did resolve he would leave his business and come himself, which set me in great ease in my mind, and so home, and there with my wife setting all things in order against to-morrow, having seen Mrs. Turner at home, and so late to bed.

9 Annotations

Christopher Squire   Link to this

What a day! Here he is, wealthy, successful & respected but he cannot command a cook for his important dinner party tomorrow. Two hundred years later this was known as the Servant Problem, the staple of conversation among the employing classes.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...not to make any more speech, which, while my fame is good, I will avoid, for fear of losing it..."

Always leave 'em wanting more...

***
"My Lady Hinchingbroke I cannot say is a beauty, nor ugly; but is altogether a comely lady enough, and seems very good-humoured, and I mighty glad of the occasion of seeing her before to-morrow."

Danger! Danger, Lord Hinchingbroke!

***
Interesting that the party setting designer wasn't someone Sam could consult as to a chef...Already that specialized.

Where's our invitation?

Carl in Boston   Link to this

Mr. Levett’s, who could not come, and he sent to two more, and they could not; so that, at last, Levett as a great kindness did resolve he would leave his business and come himself
Mr Levett the cook, gives up his business for the day to cook for Sam. I hope Levett charged Sam a lot of money for the favor. Sam is spending 8 shillings a person at Chatelin's for a dinner he didn't like, when a shilling was a day's wages. Something is odd about this whole passage. Where is Sam's regular cook in all of this?

djc   Link to this

"what in the world to do for a cooke, Philips being out of town. "

is Philips the regular cook?

Alan Kerr   Link to this

I've spent the past several months playing catch-up with this wonderful document, and I really appreciate the work and insight of all the regular annotators.

Regarding the cook situation, does Pepys not currently have a cookmaid named Nell? I assume she would be adequate to serve the everyday needs of the household, but not, perhaps, for such a fancy do as Sam is planning. This calls for a celebrity chef, sort of the Gordon Ramsay (shudder!) of the day.

language hat   Link to this

Seems odd he waited until the last minute to try to get a cook. He won't make that mistake the next time, I expect.

Margaret   Link to this

"...there find one laying of my napkins against tomorrow in figures of all sorts, which is mighty pretty; and, it seems, it is his trade, and he gets much money by it...."

I've seen this on a cruise ship, only it was with towels--every day a different towel animal. I had no idea the fashion went back so far. I love these little insights that Pepys gives us.

Mary   Link to this

What is also interesting is that Pepys makes the rounds of no fewer than seven caterers before securing Mr. Levett's personal services. Apparently this was a flourishing trade.

Glyn   Link to this

Mr Levett owned the Ship tavern in Bartholomew Lane and was a renowned cook and the official cook to the Carpenters Company from 1659 until at least the 1670s. I've put some more information about him on his page.

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