Saturday 3 October 1668

[In this part of the “Diary” no entry occurs for thirteen days, though there are several pages left blank. During the interval Pepys went into the country, as he subsequently mentions his having been at Saxham, in Suffolk, during the king’s visit to Lord Crofts, which took place at this time (see October 23rd, host). He might also probably have gone to Impington to fetch his wife. The pages left blank were never filled up. — B.]

[On this day Pepys and the Mountagu family returned to London. — P.G.]

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Terry Foreman   Link to this

Meanwhile, elsewhere, Thomas Cromwell the only son of Wingfield Cromwell, 2nd Earl of Ardglass and Mary Russell succeeded to the title of 3rd Earl of Ardglass, in the Peerage of Ireland, in preparation for his matriculation at Christ Church, University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Cromwell,_3...

LKvM   Link to this

I guess Montagu (Mountagu, mount acute) would be Spitzberg in German or Pointed Mountain / Mountain Peak in English.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Sam, followed by Bess, blinking in the candlelight as their hoods are removed…

“Sam’l? What the devil is going on here?” Bess eyes bench of hooded figures silently watching them.

“Damned if I know…” frown… “But Bess…Since when do we use ‘devil’…?”

Devilish look…

“Enough, you two…Your foolish disregard for propriety’s doomed you now, Pepys.” One of the figures fumes at Sam.

“Creed?” Sam eyes him…

“Mr. Creed?” Bess echoes.

“Creed…” the figure at the middle of the bench, with sigh in voice… “Didn’t I say…No talking except for our unknown foreman?…”

Unknown foreman frowning Creed’s way…The once-in-a-lifetime chance to shine, blown away…

Uh… Creed, rather put down…

“Sire?...” Sam stares at the middle figure… “Your Majesty, if I’ve offended…”

“The Majesty?” Bess hisses… “King Charles?...”

“No, Louis the XIV…Of course King Charles…Your Majesty…”

“Oh…What’s the use…” Charles sighs again, pulling off hoods… “You can take them off everyone…”

Uh…One starts to remove, hesitates…

“Povy…You may as well be comfortable…” Charles notes. Povy reluctantly doffing hood…Pepys, Mrs. P., nod…Others hesitate yet…

“What is going on here?” Bess cries.

And who is that grubby little fellow next to the king?...She hisses to Sam…

No idea…Hiss back… But he fits the bill of “the unknown foreman”…

“Star Chamber proceedings, Mrs. Pepys…Sorry if your holiday ended a bit abruptly…” Jamie Stuart, further down the bench, removes hood…

A bit…Bess nods…

Being sacked from behind…Literally, with burlap…While strolling about the fair…

“Your Grace?” Sam, a tad miffed…

After all I’ve done for him…

Well, Sir Will Coventry always said that thing about not putting trust…Or one’s good credit…In princes...

Wait… “Star Chamber?” Sam blinks…

Whoa…The big time…Bess looks round…

“But Sam’l…Didn’t Parliament abolish Star Chamber proceedings in 1641?” she asks.

“They…More or less…Did…” Sam notes carefully… “So everyone (who doesn’t need to or mustn’t know) says…”

“So everyone believes…” a muffled voice from beneath judicial robbing… “But the chamber itself was left intact…And this being a critical situation, we thought reviving the Chamber as an extra-legal organ of government justified.”

“Mr. Evelyn?...” Sam stares…

I know I’d not yet wangled an invitation to the sacred presence at home but I sensed a kinship…
***

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Really big time…Bess, eagerly glancing round…

So…We merit our own Star Chamber…Hmmn…If we live, we really have to have our best chamber done up like this…

“But if you’d like to register a complaint with Parliament as to extra-legal judicial procedings…” Creed, sneering…

“Truly not going to happen…” nasty grin…

Always knew the man was Evil personified…Sam glares…Out-knaving Penn himself…

“But your Majesty…” Sam, pleading… “Surely after so many years of faithful service (And I can count them out for you), your devoted CofA deserves a little information on the nature of what he’s to be charged with…”

“This is Star Chamber, Pepys…We don’t need to give any one the right time of day.” Creed, arrogance oozing…

Lord, he is a nasty fellow with a dollop of power bestowed...Bess notes to Sam.

“Creed…” Charles waves him back…

And…’My wife certainly doesn’t merit such vile treatment’…Bess thinks, eyeing Sam narrowly…What? he stares back…

Het-hum…The unknown…Truly unknown…Foreman coughs to suggest it is time for his big moment…

“Right…Foreman?”

“How did that fellow get on this panel?” Povy hisses to the still-hooded figure next to him…

“Before Creed blew his big mouth we needed one to speak for all…Preferably one no one knew to identify…But with a grudge against our Pepys.”

“Ah…One of the betrayed husbands?...Or disappointed cooperative ones?...No?...Uh…Angry unpaid seaman?...Fuming laid-off dockworker?”

“Overworker joiner…From Pepys’ fifth home remodel…”

“Ah, yes…I remember how he treated those poor fellows.” Povy sighs… “You have my sympathies, Mr. Foreman.”

Wave from the UF…Always appreciate a little regard for the workingman, sir…

“Lord Sandwich?” Pepys eyes hooded figure next to Povy…Sandwich, shrugging, removes hood…

“But, my lord…?”

“You’ve crossed the line on this one, Pepys.” Sandwich frowns… “I can’t help you now. Though I appreciate that 500L loan.”

“But…”

“Something about a Diary?...” Bess asks, innocently…

Joint eye-roll among the Board…

“Mrs. Pepys…” Charles shakes head… “You can drop the ‘poor wretch’ bit…Entertaining as it may have been to some whether the lout chuckling at your boorish mate and his overbearing ways or the sympathetic soul weeping over your sufferings.”

“You’ve read it…?” Pepys, eyeing the group.

“Who in London hasn’t since it was serialized in the Gazette?...” James shaking head. “And given the details…Not to mention the constant physical descriptions…And of course your use of your actual address…Calling yourselves ‘Anonymous’ didn’t really provide much cover.”

Damn…I knew that mentioning Seething Lane in such detail would be our undoing…Bess sighs.

But Sam’l was so proud of all the remodeling…

Robert Gertz   Link to this

“Well…Sire…If the work has given offense…To any of you…” Sam eyes group collectively…

Given who’s here…I’d say we’d managed to give offense to the whole crowd pretty well unless that fellow on the end isn’t…Bess eyes hooded figure on left who, groaning, puts leg carefully on provided stool.

Nope, Admiral Sir Will is here too…We are definitely screwed.

“A work of fiction, intended merely to pull a few beards, Sire.” Sam tries. “But if you mean to suppress it for the offense given…Certainly we would be willing to disavow any knowledge…”

Right…Stand up for our art…Bess frowns.

“Pepys…” Charles shakes head… “Pepys…God knows, you know I’m a liberal and tolerant man, if a bit on the cynical belief in man’s essentially degenerate, untrue and faithless nature, side…” Wave of hand… “I like Quakers, I quietly push for Catholic civil rights…And I’m the last person who would take offense at a little risqué truth-telling about the antics of our dear Court and foibles of our adminstration. Indeed I’m pleased to tell you I’ve been an avid fan since your serialized Diary hit the London Gazette stands. I’d never suppress such a joyous, honest look into the human soul.”

Well…Bess, beaming…So nice to be appreciated in one’s own time among one’s social (if intellectually inferior) superiors…

“But…”

Sam eyes Bess, Bess, Sam…

But…You knew there’d be a “but”. Didn’t I always say there’s sure to be a but, one day?

“But, this, Samuel…This truly is a bit beyond the pale.”

“Beyond the pale, Pepys…” Creed, insistent…Charles frowning as he eyes the overly eager sycophant…Why did we let the fellow on the board? Oh, yes, the informer marrying into Sandwich’s clan…

“Yes…Well, not to worry, really, Pepys…Your value as our greatest naval administrator leaves your position reasonably secure, especially in these times of chaos and upset…But, as to your work…”

Uh-oh…Bess eyes Sam desperately…Our baby in danger…

“And again, no one…” finger raised… “No one…Has enjoyed your Diary’s serialized tales of Court intrigue, political strife, desperate crises, and…more than one Charles Stuart, Pepys.”

Easy enough for him…Penn glares. No one called him a vile knave who hasn’t the faintest notion of how to run an office, made him the laughing stock of London as some worn-out old vainglorious fellow forever prating on past glories…Not to mention those cracks about our housekeeping. Well, at least he did note my sufferings from gout… In fact, cut out my bits and I’d let the damned thing stand…Penn thinks. Never thought an office and daily life in a city could be made so entertaining.

“You know I love the passages where it goes on about that Mrs. Pierce and her multiple pregnancy defense strategy…But I’ve always wonder if ole Pierce could really have been up to the task that constantly.” Povy notes quietly to the other figure, still hooded, on his left… “There were a number of potential stand-ins at Court.”

“Really…” the figure to left, James Pierce, pulling off hood, frowns…

“Yes, a delight that’s warmed hearts all over England during these miserable years with its tales bursting with life in the midst of tragedy and drama…But now…We have a problem, Pepys.” Charles, shaking head…

“A big problem, Pepys!” Creed cuts in…

“Creed…Marrying into the tail end of the aristocracy does not suddenly raise you to the equivalent of my rank.” Charles frowns at him.

“Do we really have to end the whole thing?” the joiner/foreman hisses to Evelyn beside him. “My wife loves the fumbling philanderings and the comic bits in the naval office.”

‘Tail-end’? Sandwich, fuming…

Though if Creed calls me ‘cousin Ed’ one time…

“Sire?” Sam glancing at the solemnly stern faces…

“This note by you to the Gazette’s editor, explaining why you can’t continue for 13 days because the real author of the Diaries is in the country enjoying a few days’ rest…” Charles leaning forward with frown, holding note… “The real author being…Your wife…”

Whoops…Bess tries to avoid glares from the Board…

Busted…

“A woman…Authoress of these tales…Pepys, have you any conception of what you and your wife have done? And that idiot, the (former) editor in chief of the Gazette who thought publication of said note a brilliant masterstroke, sure to win female readers in droves…By the time we’d learnt of the disaster…It was too late. Too many at the printers and elsewhere had seen the note.”

“But Sire…There are a number of women writers…” Sam offers, feebly… “And it was something of a collaborative effort…”

“A number…” Bess echoes… “And a truly collaborate effort…”

Well, sorta collaborative…He was very helpful on the details for the naval office…

So much for finally achiving recognition…Still, was sweet of Sam to just go ahead like that and tell the Gazette the truth at last…She offers beam and pat of hand…

Though I might have told him this would be the result…

“Yes, but those women writers keep in their place, stick to their proper concerns…Generally…And are known as women and therefore even when a bit…Radical…Are easily dismissed…Whereas, you, Mrs. Pepys…Acting as your husband’s voice, won the trust and heart of millions of Englishmen who thought they were vicariously living the dazzling life of a true Englishman among Englishmen…”

Millions of Englishwomen, too…I should say…Bess thinks…Rather proudly…

“…Now consider the effect when they learn that this odd mix of capable public servant, rogue and bounder, this bon-vivant with the heart of a poet, this practical genius, administrative wizard, and brilliant student of human nature with whom every man and a good number of women would like to share a glass and bawdy tale…And the women often willing to share a bit more (Hah, Bess, triumphant eye to Sam…Told you it would make you as London’s ultimate player)…Is a woman? The implications, Pepys…And I mean Pepys collectively, people…The rendering of the social fabric…Men wondering if their women are really capable of carrying on as they do…Or at least would like to…Abandoning their dull mates for more interesting female company…Women learning there is no male domain they cannot penetrate. The social order will collapse, Pepys. Cathy, my saintly Cathy, already wants to go out on the town for a spree with me…”

All men in room pausing, picturing said Queen Catherine out on said spree with her Charlie…

Boys…Bess, frowning…

“And while I don’t say I don’t expect a grand time…” Charles shrugs… “We can’t have society…Society, Pepys…Upended in this manner…So, we have convened to decide your fate…er, fates.”

Lovely…Sam sighs…Jazz up my rather boring existence, she said…Give me a wild rep that would set me up for sure in the history books, she said…Just a little gloss to brighten the edges of my brilliant administrative success with a little human failing…
Now look what it’s brought us.

“Just so long as we’re together…Eh, darling…” Bess pats hand…

Sam’l?...

“What?”

Narrow look…

“Right…Together…In the almshouse…” he sighs…

Or strolling to the gallows…Though I doubt we’d go…
Together…

Still…One must do the dutiful thing…For love…

“My wife is not to blame, Sire…I wrote the work, truly. The letter was merely a jest.”

“A poor one, Pepys…A poor one…!” Creed fumes…

“You really want that in your family?...” Jamie hisses to Sandwich…

“Blackmail…He knows where our bodies are buried…My personal agent for years…” Sandwich sighs. “Besides, he’s marrying the radical side of the family…Pure dynamite, given his record. I figure two or three years and he’s a dead man, sure to be caught up in their Commonwealthian fantasies of a return to power…”

“There’s comfort…” Jamie nods…

Heh, heh…Admiral Sir Will nearly forgetting gout in gleeful triumph…Shaking fist…Victory at last over the enemy…Just as at Jamaica in ’55…

“Sam’l is being a good husband, Sire…” Bess cuts in… “I am the one you want…”

“A joint project, Sire…” Sam insists…

Well, I did write the more serious aspects of the Office work for you…He eyes Bess’ frowning face…

Right…I believe that ‘joint project’ crap after 8+ years of trying to plow through his contracts and obsequiously turgid business letters…Several panel members frown.

“Well, though our decision is unlikely to be influenced…” Charles eyes the Pepys awaiting their fate… “Perhaps you would wish to tell the Chamber how this dangerous piece of literature came to be and how you embarked on such a potentially deadly road…?”
Chamber collectively leans forward…Yeah…

Potentially deadly?...Sam eyes Bess…

That cannot be good…

She shrugs…Why not?

Right…Doomed anyway…

“Shall I or…?”

“You start it…You did, after all…” Bess smiles…

“Well, Sire…Gentlemen…Back in 1660…I decided to begin a Diary…”
***

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