Wednesday 6 May 1668

Up, and to the office, and thence to White Hall, but come too late to see the Duke of York, with whom my business was, and so to Westminster Hall, where met with several people and talked with them, and among other things understand that my Lord St. John is meant by Mr. Woodcocke, in “The Impertinents.”1 Here met with Mrs. Washington, my old acquaintance of the Hall, whose husband has a place in the Excise at Windsor, and it seems lives well. I have not seen her these 8 or 9 years, and she begins to grow old, I perceive, visibly. So time do alter, and do doubtless the like in myself. This morning the House is upon the City Bill, and they say hath passed it, though I am sorry that I did not think to put somebody in mind of moving for the churches to be allotted according to the convenience of the people, and not to gratify this Bishop, or that College. Thence by water to the New Exchange, where bought a pair of shoe-strings, and so to Mr. Pierces, where invited, and there was Knepp and Mrs. Foster and here dined, but a poor, sluttish dinner, as usual, and so I could not be heartily merry at it: here saw her girl’s picture, but it is mighty far short of her boy’s, and not like her neither; but it makes Hales’s picture of her boy appear a good picture. Thence to White Hall, walked with Brisband, who dined there also, and thence I back to the King’s playhouse, and there saw “The Virgin Martyr,” and heard the musick that I like so well, and intended to have seen Knepp, but I let her alone; and having there done, went to Mrs. Pierces back again, where she was, and there I found her on a pallet in the dark …, that is Knepp. And so to talk; and by and by did eat some curds and cream, and thence away home, and it being night, I did walk in the dusk up and down, round through our garden, over Tower Hill, and so through Crutched Friars, three or four times, and once did meet Mercer and another pretty lady, but being surprized I could say little to them, although I had an opportunity of pleasing myself with them, but left them, and then I did see our Nell, Payne’s daughter, and her je did desire venir after me, and so elle did see me to, Tower Hill to our back entry there that comes upon the degres entrant into nostra garden …, and so parted, and je home to put up things against to-morrow’s carrier for my wife; and, among others, a very fine salmon-pie, sent me by Mr. Steventon, W. Hewer’s uncle, and so to bed.

  1. Whilst Positive walks, like Woodcock in the park, Contriving projects with a brewer’s clerk.

    Andrew Marvell’s “Instructions to a Painter,” part iii., to which is subjoined the following note: “Sir Robert Howard, and Sir William Bucknell, the brewer.” — Works, ed. by Capt. E. Thompson, vol. iii., p. 405.—B.

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The above two ellipses hide more of what transpires when the cat's away:

"intended to have seen Knipp, but I let her alone; and having there done, went to Mrs. Pierce's back again where she was, and there I found her asleep on a pallet in the dark, where yo did poner mi mano under her jupe and tocar su cosa and waked her; that is, Knipp."

"then I did see our Nell, Payne's daughter, and her yo did desear venga after migo, and so ella did seque me to Tower Hill to our back entry there that comes upon the degres entrant into nostra garden; and there ponendo the key in the door, yo tocar sus mamelles con mi mano and su cosa with mi cosa et yo did dar-la a shilling; and so parted, and yo home to put up things against to-morrow's carrier for my wife;...."

L&M text.

Carl in Boston   Link to this

I have not seen her these 8 or 9 years, and she begins to grow old, I perceive, visibly. So time do alter, and do doubtless the like in myself.
Alas, poor Carl, I knew him well. A fellow of infinite fancy and jest.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Now what could be more welcome than a "special delivery" wake-up call from Sam Pepys. Sam, you've gone off the deep end and you need help. Now.

Though I can't help but think of that episode of "Coach" with poor Christine waking to find Hayden and his wacko band of lunies about to give her more anesthesia gas.

Not with Nell, Sam! She's home all day with Bess, you idiot.

Mary   Link to this

Let's hope the current weather is not too warm, otherwise that salmon pie might be a little high by the time that it gets to Brampton.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Secret meeting of what is becoming the proto-Whig party...

"Gentlemen. I believe our efforts to bring down Admiral Sir William Penn should be wound down. I say it is a waste of effort that will do no good for our true cause."

"But to bring down Penn...We were sure it would weaken the Duke." anxious voice.

"We are simply pruning low-lying branches...And Penn is securing himself. We do Prince Rupert more help than our cause here...Penn is not the key to weakening York."

"Coventry then...The best man he and Charles have."

"A great man in a bad cause..." sigh... "But he's already isolated...His noble character is his greatest flaw for the Duke and King. They can't bear his constant efforts to redirect them to a proper path of conduct. No spoiled child can accept direction from a servant."

"But what do we then?" another voice. "Do we abandon all hope of securing Parliament as an institution and let York and his autocratic pretensions triumph?"

"And his Papist leanings...?!" a cry...

"Not at all but we must strike at a better target. Gentlemen, there is one key man in the adminstration, in the Naval Office in fact...Who is vulnerable...Admittedly for rather petty reasons, but..."

"Pepys, you mean? But he's not vulnerable. Not even Warren will testify against him on corruption."

"I'm not talking about corruption, gentlemen...Financial anyway...No, our investigations would proceed along a different course. But I can assure you, a course that Mr. Pepys will be unable to defend himself from. Gentlemen, may I ask our waiting friend to enter? Clarkson, bring her in."

Young woman in servant's clothes enters...

"Gentlemen, Mrs. Nell Payne...Cookservant to Mr. Pepys."

"Better known as...?" Nell, with flourish, pulls wig...

"Mrs. Elizabeth Knepp, if I may say...England's greatest actress, gentlemen."

"And I'd have to be..." Knepp smiles.

john   Link to this

"her yo did desear venga after migo,and so ella did seque me to Tower Hill"

How old is Nell at this time? Either this is a case of runaway hormones or she has something political in mind.

language hat   Link to this

john, I think you're misunderstanding the passage. It means "I did desire her to come after me, and she did follow me to Tower Hill." She had nothing in mind except not losing her job.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...yo tocar sus mamelles con mi mano and su cosa with mi cosa et yo did dar-la a shilling; and so parted..."

Doesn't leave much to the imagination. Hard to believe Sam would take such a chance with a servant girl like Nell unless Bess is used to getting reports on things like this by now and has an unspoken agreement with Sam that as long as it goes no further...Which of course it already has with Martin and Bagwell...But what Bess doesn't know, won't hurt him, is perhaps Sam's philosophy.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

...And Doll Lane...And Diana Crisp...And probably Mrs. Burroughs...And...

I'm still gagging a bit over poor Knepp's wake-up call.

john   Link to this

Yes, language hat, my error. I thought that he was writing from her viewpoint (although why, I know not).

Mary   Link to this

Young Nell had best be very careful.

The following link shows what happened to one careless young woman just a few years later than this.

http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/librarie...

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