Saturday 1 May 1669

Up betimes. Called up by my tailor, and there first put on a summer suit this year; but it was not my fine one of flowered tabby vest, and coloured camelott tunique, because it was too fine with the gold lace at the hands, that I was afeard to be seen in it; but put on the stuff suit I made the last year, which is now repaired; and so did go to the Office in it, and sat all the morning, the day looking as if it would be fowle. At noon home to dinner, and there find my wife extraordinary fine, with her flowered tabby gown that she made two years ago, now laced exceeding pretty; and, indeed, was fine all over; and mighty earnest to go, though the day was very lowering; and she would have me put on my fine suit, which I did. And so anon we went alone through the town with our new liveries of serge, and the horses’ manes and tails tied with red ribbons, and the standards there gilt with varnish, and all clean, and green refines, that people did mightily look upon us; and, the truth is, I did not see any coach more pretty, though more gay, than ours, all the day. But we set out, out of humour — I because Betty, whom I expected, was not come to go with us; and my wife that I would sit on the same seat with her, which she likes not, being so fine: and she then expected to meet Sheres, which we did in the Pell Mell, and, against my will, I was forced to take him into the coach, but was sullen all day almost, and little complaisant: the day also being unpleasing, though the Park full of coaches, but dusty and windy, and cold, and now and then a little dribbling rain; and, what made it worst, there were so many hackney- coaches as spoiled the sight of the gentlemen’s; and so we had little pleasure. But here was W. Batelier and his sister in a borrowed coach by themselves, and I took them and we to the lodge; and at the door did give them a syllabub, and other things, cost me 12s., and pretty merry. And so back to the coaches, and there till the evening, and then home, leaving Mr. Sheres at St. James’s Gate, where he took leave of us for altogether, he; being this night to set out for Portsmouth post, in his way to Tangier, which troubled my wife mightily, who is mighty, though not, I think, too fond of him. But she was out of humour all the evening, and I vexed at her for it, and she did not rest almost all the night, so as in the night I was forced; to take her and hug her to put her to rest. So home, and after a little supper, to bed.

18 Annotations

Terry W  •  Link

"So many hackney-coaches"
It seems our Sam is getting a little bit snobby since he bought his own coach!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Why it's Mr. Sheres...Mr. Howe, it's our excellent Mr. Sheres. Well met, eh Howe?"

"Well met to be sure, Mr. Creed."

"Indeed...And are we shortly off to Tangier colony, Mr. Sheres? Where Turk and the great Mole await?"


"Makes one proud to be an Englishman to know we send out such a fitting specimen of noble Briton manhood, does it not, Howe?"

"One's breast swells with manly English pride, Mr. Creed."

"And yet so many will regret his departure...His sturdy friends...And of course, the fairest ladies..."

"They will mourn as for the gallant knights of old, Mr. Creed."

"Truly, Mr. Howe. And numbered among them as one of the sturdiest of friends, our own dear Mr. Pepys. And the fair Mrs. Pepys..."

"One of the sturdiest, Mr. Creed."

"Mr. Pepys...And his wife?..."

"Of course...Fate is a fickle thing, Howe."

"O Fortuna, Mr. Creed..."

"And many a noble figure has vanished from the scene before his proper rendezvous with Destiny..."

"Cut down before their time, Mr. Creed...Nothing more tragic."

"Yet...Before even the glory of Britannia overseas...And the gallantry of young knighthood...Is the need to preserve the integrity of Home and Hearth. That most precious of simple virtues..."

"The foundation of all national life and civic virtue, Mr. Creed..."

"And he is most nobly remembered who is taken before Time can sully his memory..."

"One thinks of the sad fate of Emperor Heraclius, Mr. Creed."

"True enough, Howe...Tis truly better to die young with untarnished memory...Than to live to see shame, defeat, failure, or sordid scandal, compromise the same."


"Well, I'm sure you ahsll make a fine splash in the world, Mr. Sheres...Eh, Howe?"

"Most fine...I can see the very ringlets of his fate sweeping out across the great ocean."


"Still no word from Mr. Sheres at Tangier, Sam'l? It's been three months."

"Afraid not, Bess. But sea travel and communication can be uncertain. Eh, Mr. Creed?"

"Most uncertain, Mr. Pepys."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"our new liveries of serge"

"From early Saxon times, most English wool ("staples") was exported. In the early sixteenth century it went mainly to a Royal monopoly at Calais (then an English possession) and was woven into cloth in France or the Low Countries. However, with the capture of Calais by the French on 7 January 1558, England began expanding its own weaving industry. This was greatly enhanced by the European Wars of Religion (Eighty Years' War, French Wars of Religion); in 1567 Calvinist refugees from the Low Countries included many skilled serge weavers, while Huguenot refugees in the early eighteenth century included many silk and linen weavers. Denim is a cotton fabric with a similar weave; its name is believed to be derived from "serge de Nîmes" after Nîmes in France."

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Ouch. Sam's fine day more than somewhat spoiled. No pretty Betty, Elizabeth stand-offish -- don't sit next to me -- rain, cold, hoi polloi in hackneys, and Mr. Sheres. I wonder where Elizabeth asked him to sit?

Linda F  •  Link

I would think that she asked him to sit opposite her.
I wonder where Mr. Sheres sat.

Peter Last  •  Link

There are many reasons for great sadness as we come to the end of the Diary, but one in particular has been the great pleasure from the contributions of Robert Gerz. Many, many thanks for them!

Peter Last  •  Link

My apologies to Robert! He's Gertz, of course.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

The weather in the UK has been pretty fowle and lowering for the past week. Some things don't change.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"The weather in the UK has been pretty fowle"

When smale fowles maken melodye? :)

john  •  Link

"and, against my will, I was forced to take [Sheres] into the coach,"

As in most marriages, give and take (Game theory notwithstanding).

languagehat  •  Link

A wonderful entry. This sentence alone could get someone hooked on Pepys:

"And so anon we went alone through the town with our new liveries of serge, and the horses’ manes and tails tied with red ribbons, and the standards there gilt with varnish, and all clean, and green refines, that people did mightily look upon us; and, the truth is, I did not see any coach more pretty, though more gay, than ours, all the day."

And then the artful transition to the unpleasantness that spoiled that should-have-been-glorious outing -- it's like a perfect short story, ending with a hug and to bed.

("Refine," by the way, is "a type of fine broadcloth.")

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Oh, Creed?"


"I did wonder...I mean you are wealthy enough now to forego such...Activities as we engaged in tonight."

"A final act of friendship, Howe...And of course, as a married man I must do my bit for the upholding of sacred values."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I would wonder if Sam has considered the entry for the Diary of Henry Sheres might include familiar territory this day... "Sat alongside my dear Bess and though her husband sat across from us in the coach I did endeavor..."

Linda F  •  Link

After inducing Sam to wear the new suit so fine that he fears violating some unwritten sumptuary law by wearing it in public, Elisabeth does not want him to sit next to her. (Question: did he do so anyway? The passage is unclear, and if he did, this could be why Elisabeth was out of humor -- at least until the appearance of Sheres.) It is extraordinary that after so much jealousy on his part, Sam is not at all disturbed by Elisabeth's fondness for Sheres.

Ruben  •  Link

Dear Robert, may be the Diary of Henry Sheres said "Sat alongside my dear Bess and though su marido sat across from us in the coach I did endeavor…”?

rob van hugte  •  Link

Robert Gertz; you once again made me laugh out loud in an otherwise silent office and Ruben made it even worse...

I really am going to miss this.

Thanks guys.

Dorothy  •  Link

Given the size of the coaches and the bulkiness of the clothing they were wearing, I am not surprised Bess would want each of them to sit alone. I suppose sitting on the other seat would make him less visible to the public in general and he wants to show off. But that doesn't fit with his worry about being overdressed.

Is their coach open or closed? I assumed it was closed because of the mention of glass in the windows. If they are in a closed carriage I would think no one could see them anyway.

nix  •  Link

Robert G -- I think this one may be your masterwork (but you still have four weeks to top it). Thanks for brightening a lot of mornings over the years.

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