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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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