✹ About Wednesday 14 March 1659/60 Ensign Tom on 22 Mar 2023 • Link “Thence by coach, it raining hard, to Mrs. Jem, where I staid a while, and so home …” Pepys has had a very busy day as he takes up his duties as secretary to Lord Montagu. The last thing he does on his way home this rainy March evening is stop by to visit Lord Montagu’s young daughter Jemima. He writes that he “staid a while”, which I take to mean this visit was longer than the usual ‘just checking-in’ type of visit he has been paying to Jemima in previous weeks. This visit with Jemima likely had a special significance for Pepys. After all, he had known her since she was a child and it’s easy to imagine him feeling towards her as an older brother. Sam had just come from seeing Lord Montagu at Sir Henry Wright’s home, and he would have wanted to give Jemima as much information as he safely could about her father’s upcoming diplomatic mission to Holland. I can imagine Sam speaking to Jemima in an upbeat, reassuring manner to help dispel any fears she may have felt about the hazards he and her father might face from fog, foul weather, or Dunkirk privateers during their cross-Channel voyage. Nevertheless, there was still a chance that Sam and Jemima might never see each other again, and this realization would have lent a degree of poignancy to their conversation. By the standards of his time, Pepys was a mature man, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suppose that he was still young enough to feel a sense of excitement at the prospect of being part of such a momentous enterprise as restoring the House of Stuart to the throne of England. What’s more, he would have felt a thrill of expectation at the thought of boarding ship and going to sea, even if he would be wielding a quill instead of a cutlass. With these thoughts swirling in his brain (although perhaps I’m letting my imagination get the better of me here), I think Sam would have been tempted to dramatize his role as secretary to Lord Montagu and play the dashing hero while talking to Jemima. He would have wanted to share his sense of adventure with someone, and Jemima was the one person in his circle he might have felt most comfortable doing so. I can imagine him adopting a knowing nautical manner as he told her how he’d be packing his sea-chest that night, just as Hawkins and Drake and, more recently Blake, had packed their sea chests in preparation for their own glorious maritime exploits in years past. If Sam the tailor’s son now tried to cast himself in the role of a salty old English sea-dog, Jemima was old enough to be an attentive and appreciative audience without being so worldly-wise as to roll her eyes and puncture his pretensions. Pepys was to see Jemima again the next day when they shared a coach to their respective homes; but according to the diary, almost five months would pass until the two met again on August 4th when they would have dinner together alone at Lord Montagu’s residence. No doubt, they would have had a lot of catching up to do.