Saturday 29 August 1668

Up, and all the morning at the Office, where the Duke of York’s long letter was read, to their great trouble, and their suspecting me to have been the writer of it. And at noon comes, by appointment, Harris to dine with me and after dinner he and I to Chyrurgeon’s-hall, where they are building it new, very fine; and there to see their theatre; which stood all the fire, and, which was our business, their great picture of Holben’s, thinking to have bought it, by the help of Mr. Pierce, for a little money: I did think to give 200l. for it, it being said to be worth 1000l.; but it is so spoiled that I have no mind to it, and is not a pleasant, though a good picture. Thence carried Harris to his playhouse, where, though four o’clock, so few people there at “The Impertinents,” as I went out; and do believe they did not act, though there was my Lord Arlington and his company there. So I out, and met my wife in a coach, and stopped her going thither to meet me; and took her, and Mercer, and Deb., to Bartholomew Fair, and there did see a ridiculous, obscene little stage-play, called “Marry Andrey;” a foolish thing, but seen by every body; and so to Jacob Hall’s dancing of the ropes; a thing worth seeing, and mightily followed, and so home and to the office, and then to bed. Writing to my father to-night not to unfurnish our house in the country for my sister, who is going to her own house, because I think I may have occasion myself to come thither; and so I do, by our being put out of the Office, which do not at all trouble me to think of.

6 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Well?" Penn eyes his fellow officers...Sir John and Lord Brouncker looking grim. "I'd say gentlemen, it's clear His Grace did not write this damned thing. Apart from his being incapable, no offense to His Grace intended, as a man of action, for such prolonged concentration on administrative matters, he certainly couldn't have such detailed information. At least not without a mole in this office."

"And I think we can all guess who that bug-eyed, periwigged mole might be." Brouncker, grimly.

"One of the new boys, you think?" Mennes blinks.

"No, Sir John..." Penn, frowning... "Not one of the new boys...We mean Pepys."

"Ah...Right...Yes..." Mennes nods carefully.

Can't say as I can argue with the Letter as to Mennes...Penn notes to self.

"Well, the question is, gentlemen...Apart from having the little creature drowned or poisoned...What do we do?" Brouncker regards his office mates.

"All I can say is...I do not 'promote a work ethic that deadens the efficiency of His Majesty's Royal Navy'..." Penn fumes.

"Ha-heh...That was good." Mennes, chuckling.

"Oh? Well I found...'The lack of ability on the part of His Majesty's Comptroller to perform even the slightest part of his duties requires that certain members of the Naval Office perform his duties as well as their own, significantly reducing office performance on a daily basis...' hilarious."


"And where does he get off commenting on my frequent sick days? I have the gout, you know. He's off half the time either at the eye doctor or taking physic. And the little land-lubber never hesitates to rush for home when his wife has an ache. Though frankly, I suspect it's often another woman making use of his 'compassionate services'."

"Good fellow with the ladies..." Mennes, nodding... "He was all morning the other day with that poor widow Burroughs...Decent consideration for them, one must give him that."

"From the sounds coming from his closet, it was pretty intense consideration." Brouncker grins.

Hmmn...? Mennes, blinks.

Well, he still thinks it's sweet how kind I am to my housekeeper, Mrs. Williams...Brouncker eyes Mennes. May the plague take me before I reach such a state.

"And this 'inattention to detail in preparation of office forms'...Lord, classic Pepys, the little paper-pusher..." Penn continues.

"It did say you were especially notorious in that regard..." Mennes notes.

Amazing how he can recover from senility when it's to protect his rear...Penn thinks, glaring.

"I should bother with forms...I, the general-at-sea who conquered Jamaica in '55?!!"

Lord, not Jamaica again...Brouncker, Mennes...

"Well, regardless..." Brouncker, hastily. "The man obviously has the Duke's ear..."

"Lord, when Montagu went down, I thought for sure we had the little ... at last." Penn sighs. "But he got that in with Coventry and once Coventry was won...His Grace was sure to follow."

"He is a busy little fellow, and obliging." Mennes, considering.

"He should be obliging us. He's Clerk of the Acts not Lord High Admiral...He's never commanded a ship or fought an action. He should be what he was meant to be, our chief clerk, subordinate."

"Well, he has it all now...Acts, the Duke's ear, probably the King's as well...And we seem likely headed out the door." Mennes, shrewdly.

"Perhaps we should simply make use of him in our responses..." Brouncker suggests. "He's not anxious to let it be known that he's the Duke's stool pigeon, so lets get him to draft responses. Use the same talents that got us into this mess to get us out...After all, all His Grace really cares about is getting Parliament off his royal back, not promoting the ideas of the Clerk of the Acts. Let our dear expert on office administration explain away our faults...We remained tied together after all, if Parliament does move against us, he goes down too, regardless of whatever head-patting His Grace may do."

Hmmn...Penn, Mennes.

Glyn  •  Link

" by our being put out of the Office, which do not at all trouble me to think of."

Does this mean that Pepys thinks he might lose his job, but no longer is frightened by that possibility? If so, that's a great change from the timid clerk of a few years ago.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

The timid clerk of a few years ago didn't have 5,000L of his own stashed away. Makes a difference.

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