Tuesday 13 April 1669

Up, and at the Office a good while, and then, my wife going down the River to spend the day with her mother at Deptford, I abroad, and first to the milliner’s in Fenchurch Street, over against Rawlinson’s, and there, meeting both him and her in the shop, I bought a pair of gloves, and fell to talk, and found so much freedom that I stayed there the best part of the morning till towards noon, with great pleasure, it being a holiday, and then against my will away and to the ‘Change, where I left W. Hewer, and I by hackney-coach to the Spittle, and heard a piece of a dull sermon to my Lord Mayor and Aldermen, and thence saw them all take horse and ride away, which I have not seen together many a-day; their wives also went in their coaches; and, indeed, the sight was mighty pleasing. Thence took occasion to go back to this milliner’s [in Fenchurch Street], whose name I now understand to be Clerke; and there, her husband inviting me up to the balcony, to see the sight go by to dine at Clothworker’s-Hall, I did go up and there saw it go by: and then; there being a good piece of cold roast beef upon the tables and one Margetts, a young merchant that lodges there, and is likely to marry a sister of hers, I staid and eat, and had much good conversation with her, who hath the vanity to talk of her great friends and father, one Wingate, near Welling;, that hath been a Parliament-man. Here also was Stapely: the rope-merchant, and dined with us; and, after spending most of the afternoon also, I away home, and there sent for W. Hewer, and he and I by water to White Hall to look among other things, for Mr. May, to unbespeak his dining with me to-morrow. But here being in the court-yard, God would have it, I spied Deb., which made my heart and head to work, and I presently could not refrain, but sent W. Hewer away to look for Mr. Wren (W. Hewer, I perceive, did see her, but whether he did see me see her I know not, or suspect my sending him away I know not, but my heart could not hinder me), and I run after her and two women and a man, more ordinary people, and she in her old clothes, and after hunting a little, find them in the lobby of the chapel below stairs, and there I observed she endeavoured to avoid me, but I did speak to her and she to me, and did get her pour dire me ou she demeurs now, and did charge her para say nothing of me that I had vu elle, which she did promise, and so with my heart full of surprize and disorder I away, and meeting with Sir H. Cholmley walked into the Park with him and back again, looking to see if I could spy her again in the Park, but I could not. And so back to White Hall, and then back to the Park with Mr. May, but could see her, no more, and so with W. Hewer, who I doubt by my countenance might see some disorder in me, we home by water, and there I find Talbot Pepys, and Mrs. Turner, and Betty, come to invite us to dinner on Thursday; and, after drinking, I saw them to the water-side, and so back home through Crutched Friars, and there saw Mary Mercer, and put off my hat to her, on the other side of the way, but it being a little darkish she did not, I think, know me well, and so to my office to put my papers in order, they having been removed for my closet to be made clean, and so home to my wife, who is come home from Deptford. But, God forgive me, I hardly know how to put on confidence enough to speak as innocent, having had this passage to-day with Deb., though only, God knows, by accident. But my great pain is lest God Almighty shall suffer me to find out this girl, whom indeed I love, and with a bad amour, but I will pray to God to give me grace to forbear it. So home to supper, where very sparing in my discourse, not giving occasion of any enquiry where I have been to-day, or what I have done, and so without any trouble to-night more than my fear, we to bed.

14 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"with W. Hewer, who I doubt by my countenance might see some disorder in me"

I.e., "who I fear by my countenance might see some disorder in me"

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"it being a holiday"

See Rex Gordon's annotation 2 April 1662:

The Spital (Hospital) Sermons …

… usually on charity, were given at Easter in Spital Square, Spitalfields, and attended by Bluecoat boys of Christ’s Hospital, with representatives of four other royal hospitals - St Bartholomew’s, Bridewell, Bethlehem (Bedlam)and St Thomas’s. Originally five in number, the sermons dwindled in the later 17th century to three, later to two, and nowadays to one. They have been delivered continuously, except for the interregnum, since the time of Richard II. (L&M’s note to today’s entry) http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/04/02/#c29592

Mary   Link to this

"But my great pain is lest God Almighty shall suffer me to find out this girl, whom indeed I love, and with a bad amour, but I will pray to God to give me grace to forbear it."

Nice try, Sam. So failure, if failure there be, won't be entirely your own fault, then?

Ruben   Link to this

"I hardly know how to put on confidence enough to speak as innocent, having had this passage to-day with Deb., though only, God knows, by accident."..."and I run after her... and after hunting a little, find them in the lobby of the chapel..."
Mmmmm...(incongruence)...

arby   Link to this

Right, Ruben, "by accident" ended at the moment he spied her. "God knows..."

ONeville   Link to this

Sam loses all self control when he sees Deb. She must have been very special to him and beautiful in her 'old clothes'. We can all castigate him from a distance, but I admire him for his honesty and acceptance of a natural human response.

Teresa Forster   Link to this

"but my heart could not hinder me"

This is so vivid, so real. How can these diary entries cut off in just a few weeks time? Sam, we all so want you to keep going.

AnnieC   Link to this

"to unbespeak his dining with me to-morrow."
Unbespeak - what a marvellous word.

AnnieC   Link to this

By the way, I wonder how many other readers read "my wife going down the River to spend the day with her mother at Deptford," and thought "Oh-oh, stick to him like glue, Will."

arby   Link to this

Thanks, Annie, unbespeak slid right past me. And thank you all for similar illuminations over the years.
Boy howdy, Teresa, I couldn't agree with you more. I'm still in denial. Isn't helping much. Thanks all, rb

Australian Susan   Link to this

Sam does not seem to realise what a difficult position he puts the faithful Will Hewer in.

Ruben   Link to this

We only know about Samuel's broken heart because he was willing to put that on paper. Who can say if Beth was ALL THE TIME with her mother in Deptford and not who knows where, with who knows whom?
Will Hewer never married, WHY?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...found so much freedom that I stayed there the best part of the morning till towards noon, with great pleasure, it being a holiday..." How much freedom?

Yes, I Castigate you Sam...After all you're only telling truth to yourself. And you're breaking numerous promises to Bess who has been incredibly generous to you despite your bullying and selfishness, not to mention your rampant philandering. Still, I do respect your honesty and admire it and your frequent willingness to try and see Bess' side... "My poor wife whom God knows..."

I rather hope she's fooling around with Sheares...Will is too much a Sam and Bess' boy to be a worthy lover. Still, when all is said and done, I think Sam was horrified to have this record of how he'd wasted precious time in the last months. I do believe he truly loved Bess above all women and this Deb thing is a transitory affair that grabbed him for a short time.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

"with a bad amour"

What a marvelous tension-filled phrase, capturing in a pithy way the licentious but guilt-wracked influence of the Restoration court on men like Sam born into the mores of the Commonwealth.

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