The year begins without great drama, although Pepys’ apprentice Will Hewer causes trouble when he’s drunk on the 6th and is the subject of political suspicion on the 8th. A resolution of Pepys’ dispute with Thomas Trice seems possible, as both sides would like to resolve their differences.
At home Pepys decides to learn musical composition from John Birchensha on the 13th and has several lessons. He pays for the paintings of himself and his wife on the 16th and at the end of the month orders workmen to make alterations to his cellar.
Finally, Pepys’ concerns about finding a bride for his brother Tom diminish and he dismisses one potential woman as not being wealthy enough.
Pepys settles the Sturtlow affair with his brother Tom on the 11th. There is further disagreement over the matter between Pepys and his uncle Thomas, which Pepys’ legal-minded cousin Tom tries to clear up.
On the 15th Pepys was sworn in as a Younger Brother at Trinity House. The Pepys’ portraits arrive at home on the 22nd although Samuel is still sitting for a miniature painting by the same artist this month. As well as his more usual practicing of playing music he shows a keen interest in composing songs.
He celebrates his birthday on the 23rd and says “if I have a heart to be contented, I think I may reckon myself as happy a man as any is in the world, for which God be praised.”
Pepys begins the month with a trip to see Romeo and Juliet, but is less than impressed: “It is a play of itself the worst that ever I heard in my life”. On the 3rd he makes “some strict rules” for his future expenditure in the hope he can save enough to “grow rich”. He spends much of the month working hard at the office, finding “great pleasure in it, and a growing content”. On the 26th Pepys ex-maid, Jane, returns to the fold for wages of 3l. a year.
With Jane returning to the Pepys household, their maid of six months, Nell, departs on the 1st. Pepys spends some time wondering how he can convince his wife to visit Brampton so it would be easier for him to make a trip to Portsmouth on navy business. She doesn’t want to go and on the 21st he’s forced to tell her of his leaving the following day without her. He spends the rest of the month on the coast working and relaxing with colleagues who also travelled from London.
Pepys returns to London, a journey of a couple of days by coach. The big event of the month is the return of the the Queen from Portugal. She arrives at Portsmouth before heading to Hampton Court where the royal court is now based. Tongues have been wagging more than usual about the King’s pregnant mistress, Barbara Palmer and on the 21st Pepys describes the King’s enjoyable visit to her house. But by the end of the month Pepys says “the King is pleased enough with [the Queen] which, I fear, will put Madam Castlemaine’s [Palmer’s] nose out of joynt.”
Pepys’ master, Sir Edward Mountagu also returns with the Queen and on the 23rd Pepys is pleased to see him home safe and sound.
The midsummer month sees Pepys hard at work, often rising at 4am and avoiding the frivolities (such as wine and plays) that he’s so enjoyed previously. Towards the end of the month he seems content with his new way of life:
My mind is now in a wonderful condition of quiet and content, more than ever in all my life, since my minding the business of my office, which I have done most constantly; and I find it to be the very effect of my late oaths against wine and plays, which, if God please, I will keep constant in, for now my business is a delight to me, and brings me great credit, and my purse encreases too.
One of the few breaks from work (apart from his Sunday attendance at church) is to witness the public beheading of the republican Henry Vane at Tower Hill on the 14th.
In July Pepys continues working hard, avoiding all but the odd glass of wine. Mr. Creed tries to tempt him to see a play on the 5th, but he manages to resist the pastime he used to love so much. Much of his work this month involves learning about or testing various kinds of navy materiel: timber, hemp, tar and flags. He also begins to improve himself by taking regular lessons in mathematics from Mr. Cooper, beginning with learning his multiplication tables.
On the domestic front, work begins on expanding the Pepys household on the 14th, with workmen removing the tiles and building more rooms above the existing storeys. Unfortunately July sees some unseasonably bad weather — “it raining all day long as hard within doors as without” — leaving the house wet and muddy. Because of the disruption and the state of the house Samuel and Elizabeth agree she should move temporarily to Brampton with a maid and the servant, leaving on the 28th.
Much of last month’s business continues through August: the workmen put the roof back on the house, but work continues; Elizabeth is still in the country; and Pepys continues to avoid much in the way of alcohol and entertainment in order to work hard. He had been staying at William Penn’s house while Penn was away, but upon his return from Ireland on the 30th, Pepys finds new lodgings nearby while the builders continue work.
Life continues much the same, and Pepys does an admirable job of summing things up on the final day of the month:
“My condition at present is this:— I have long been building, and my house to my great content is now almost done. But yet not so but that I shall have dirt, which troubles me too, for my wife has been in the country at Brampton these two months, and is now come home a week or two before the house is ready for her. My mind is somewhat troubled about my best chamber, which I question whether I shall be able to keep or no. I am also troubled for the journey which I must needs take suddenly to the Court at Brampton, but most of all for that I am not provided to understand my business, having not minded it a great while, and at the best shall be able but to make a bad matter of it, but God, I hope, will guide all to the best, and I am resolved to-morrow to fall hard to it. I pray God help me therein, for my father and mother and all our well- doings do depend upon my care therein. My Lord Sandwich has lately been in the country, and very civil to my wife, and hath himself spent some pains in drawing a plot of some alterations in our house there, which I shall follow as I get money. As for the office, my late industry hath been such, as I am become as high in reputation as any man there, and good hold I have of Mr. Coventry and Sir G. Carteret, which I am resolved, and it is necessary for me, to maintain by all fair means. Things are all quiett, but the King poor, and no hopes almost of his being otherwise, by which things will go to rack, especially in the Navy. The late outing of the Presbyterian clergy by their not renouncing the Covenant as the Act of Parliament commands, is the greatest piece of state now in discourse. But for ought I see they are gone out very peaceably, and the people not so much concerned therein as was expected. My brother Tom is gone out of town this day, to make a second journey to his mistress at Banbury, of which I have good expectations, and pray God to bless him therein. My mind, I hope, is settled to follow my business again, for I find that two days’ neglect of business do give more discontent in mind than ten times the pleasure thereof can repair again, be it what it will.”
Pepys hoped to settle some of the disputes arising from his uncle Robert’s will, and this month he travelled to Brampton to attend a court hearing on the 14th, at which some matters were resolved. Not everything is settled however, with uncle Thomas still laying claim to property on the 29th. Also this month, the lengthy arrangements for brother Tom’s marriage fell through, thanks to an error on the part of Mr Cooke, much to the annoyance of everyone concerned. At the end of the month, Pepys summarises his situation, and despite being tired of the continuing work on his home, he’s otherwise happy:
In all other things as happy a man as any in the world, for the whole world seems to smile upon me, and if my house were done that I could diligently follow my business, I would not doubt to do God, and the King, and myself good service. And all I do impute almost wholly to my late temperance, since my making of my vowes against wine and plays, which keeps me most happily and contentfully to my business; which God continue! Public matters are full of discontent, what with the sale of Dunkirk, and my Lady Castlemaine, and her faction at Court; though I know not what they would have more than to debauch the king, whom God preserve from it! And then great plots are talked to be discovered, and all the prisons in town full of ordinary people, taken from their meeting-places last Sunday. But for certain some plots there hath been, though not brought to a head.
Pepys is busy on both the domestic and professional fronts this month. Building and decorating work on his home finally comes to an end and eventually everything is clean and order. However, Elizabeth isn’t happy — she wants someone to keep her company. Although Samuel has reservations, not least about the expense, he is surprisingly pleased with the likely candidate, Winifred Gosnell: “I am mightily pleased with her humour and singing.” The legal proceedings concerning Uncle Robert’s will rumble on throughout the month. On wider public matters, at the end of the month Pepys summarises:
Publique matters in an ill condition of discontent against the height and vanity of the Court, and their bad payments: but that which troubles most, is the Clergy, which will never content the City, which is not to be reconciled to Bishopps: the more the pity that differences must still be. Dunkirk newly sold, and the money brought over; of which we hope to get some to pay the Navy
Work is the main focus of Pepys’ life in December, with plenty of tasks to complete. Homelife is, as ever, a distraction however and it’s all change in the Pepys’ household. Sarah (the chamber maid) must leave, much to Pepys’ regret, because his wife finds her “ill-natured”. Jane is promoted to her place. Jane’s brother, Wayneman is not so lucky and Pepys decides he must be let go for “his naughty tricks”. Susan starts work on the 10th as “our cook-mayde, a pretty willing wench, but no good cook”. Winifred Gosnell also stays for a few days as Elizabeth’s companion, but although Pepys likes her, he is still wary of the expense. One the last day of the year he writes a lengthy summary of his position.