Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
At the very beginning of the diary Kate Sterpin is an unmarried maidservant to Elizabeth Pye, who lives in New Palace Yard, and is a neighbour of the Pepys. She's a good friend to both of them - the first time we meet her is on 13 January when Sam and Elizabeth make a special visit to her, and on 22 March Sam takes leave of her before going off to sea "and very sorry she was to part with me". Pepys had a talent for making genuine friendships with a wide range of people from all levels of society including the humblest as here, and always seems pleased to meet her. She does not appear very often in the Diaries - or at least isn't important enough to be often mentioned in them specifically - but one can imagine Kate keeping Elizabeth company at home while Pepys is on his nightly travels.
Kate is sometimes referred to as "Catan" in this diary but that's a misprint for "Catau". According to LanguageHat Catau is an old French nickname for Katharine or Kate: the French connection is intriguing and one wonders when she first began to be called it. She is a close friend of Elizabeth Pepys, who is French, and will soon marry a Frenchman.
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