Saturday 17 March 1659/60

This morning bade adieu in bed to the company of my wife. We rose and I gave my wife some money to serve her for a time, and what papers of consequence I had. Then I left her to get her ready and went to my Lord’s with my boy Eliezer to my Lord’s lodging at Mr. Crew’s. Here I had much business with my Lord, and papers, great store, given me by my Lord to dispose of as of the rest. After that, with Mr. Moore home to my house and took my wife by coach to the Chequer in Holborn, where, after we had drank, &c., she took coach and so farewell. I staid behind with Tom Alcock and Mr. Anderson, my old chamber fellow at Cambridge his brother, and drank with them there, who were come to me thither about one that would have a place at sea. Thence with Mr. Hawly to dinner at Mr. Crew’s. After dinner to my own house, where all things were put up into the dining-room and locked up, and my wife took the keys along with her. This day, in the presence of Mr. Moore (who made it) and Mr. Hawly, I did before I went out with my wife, seal my will to her, whereby I did give her all that I have in the world, but my books which I give to my brother John, excepting only French books, which my wife is to have.

In the evening at the Admiralty, I met my Lord there and got a commission for Williamson to be captain of the Harp frigate, and afterwards went by coach taking Mr. Crips with me to my Lord and got him to sign it at table as he was at supper. And so to Westminster back again with him with me, who had a great desire to go to sea and my Lord told me that he would do him any favour. So I went home with him to his mother’s house by me in Axe Yard, where I found Dr. Clodius’s wife and sat there talking and hearing of old Mrs. Crisp playing of her old lessons upon the harpsichon till it was time to go to bed. After that to bed, and Laud, her son lay with me in the best chamber in her house, which indeed was finely furnished.

22 Annotations

Keith Wright  •  Link

Perhaps this entry was later carefully written up from notes made at the time; but in the part which concludes with the sealing of Pepys’s will there is a sobriety of tone, followed by an exactness of circumstantial detail (old Mrs. Crisp playing "her old lessons" on the harpsichon), which suggests the extra attention paid to an event far removed from the daily routine. On the eve of departure, even the most sanguine traveler may tacitly sense the possibility that this might prove a voyage from which one will not return.

mw  •  Link

For me, interesting details and important events are best noted at the time. One may be unable to write in which case notes are a possible solution however notes and subsequent writing up have become an anathema to me. I may well comment on an event again but rarely am I able to capture that detail or the correct event intensity that is part of daily diary writing. Also knowing the value of the daily write up I often cannot be bothered with a later attempt.

Certainly the second paragraph adds to the gravitas of Sam's departure and the relevence of his will in that process. Keith, granted Sam's use of shorthand and the precise detail I suspect this was written at or very near the time.

What is of growing interest is the development of Sam's literary style.

Mary  •  Link

Sam and Elizabeth

Today's entry clearly shows Sam's real affection for Elizabeth. Comment has been made upon the fact that he always calls her 'my wife' in the Diaries, never by name, but this would have been normal at this time (indeed well into the 19th Century in certain milieux) and implies no necessary distance or coolness. Married couples regularly addressed one another as 'Husband' or 'Wife'(or Mr./Mrs., Sir/Madam, My Lord/My Lady/Lady)except in their most intimate moments.

Sam probably spins in his grave every day as we make free with his Christian name.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

I'm puzzled by the mention of a "Mr. Crips" and a "Mrs. Crisps" in the space of 5 lines within a single diary entry. Is this possibly a transposition of characters that occurred while Sam was drafting the entry or perhaps one that crept in when the shorthand was translated? Are they related in any way or is this simple coincidence?

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Written then or later?
My guess is that Mr Pepys wrote this entry this day or the next. He gets things out of order, which implies to me that he was writing "off the cuff."

For instance, he first writes about saying farewell to his wife, and then only later mentions that they had locked up their belongings and Mrs. Pepys had taken the key before she left. And *then* he describes the making of the will, which also happened before his wife left.

I agree that tone is more sober, and affecting, than we're used to. That might be another hint that he wrote this while he was still in the grip of the emotions of this farewell.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"This morning bade adieu in bed to the company of my wife."

I bet he did, I bet he did!!

But seriously, folks, I agree with the points above that this entry stands out both for its affection expressed to Elizabeth and for its somberness of tone. A very affecting entry, one that brings us even closer to the man behind the diary.

And Keith W, at least now we know who gets Sam's books!

j a gioia  •  Link

events out of order?

i am not so sure. reading between the lines: "This morning bade adieu in bed to the company of my wife..." one suspects a conjugal farewell, distinct from the later parting at the coach.

clearly our man is not looking forward to the voyage. the making of the will, the house and posessions locked with his wife having the (only!) key; staying this last night in a strange house listening to an old woman play the harpsichord. the melancholy rises from this passage like a fog.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"Mr. Crips" and "Mrs.Crisp" are probably son and mother, although the antecedents are difficult to follow. Sam refers to going to "...his mother’s house by me in Axe Yard…” and the two obvious antecedents are “my Lord” or “Mr. Crips.” If Mountagu ‘s mother lived in Axe Yard, we’d probably have been aware. My money’s on option B.

A misspelling has likely crept in, somewhere in the past 350 years.

Pauline Benson  •  Link

Mr. Crips and Mrs.Crisp and Old Mrs. Crisp and Laud
I too was reading it that Sam and Mr. Crisp (Crips) go home to Mr. Crisp's mother's house, where Sam will stay until his departure. I wonder, though, if "old Mrs. Crisp" isn't a third person, the grandmother of Mr. Crisp and mother-in-law of Mrs. Crisp? And Mr. Crisp has a younger brother, Laud. I assume younger, still a child, because of Sam uses his first name.

Keith Wright  •  Link

When in doubt, copy:
CRISP (CRIPPS). "Pepys's friend and neighbour, Mrs. Crisp, lived in a roomy house . . . near the s.-w. corner of Axe Yard, . . . Her son Laud was by 1663 an officer of the King's Wardrobe," but despite petitioning to join the Chapel Royal ("Pepys admired his voice"), "He was still in the Wardrobe in 1667." (Companion, pp. 81-82)
J. A. Gioia has the right take, I think: it seems there are private then public farewells, in the order described.

Pauline  •  Link

OK, Keith, I'm seeing one Mrs. Crisp
And Mr. Crisp doesn't have a wife. Is Mr. Crisp Laud?

Eric Walla  •  Link

I agree that the signing of the will ...

... stands outside the main chronology of the text (as Sam notes himself), but I believe it in error to suggest that the locking up of the household belongings is out of sequence (this passage is stated quite strongly to be after dinner and after Elizabeth's departure). Obviously Mrs. Pepys has one key and Sam a duplicate. I assume the most basic locks of this time were not overly complicated affairs.

Pauline  •  Link

"...after Elizabeth’s departure..."
Elizabeth gets on the coach before dinner, Sam goes to his house after dinner. I think he just observes that all things have been locked up, maybe looks around the other rooms sentimentally. I think the moving and locking was done before and Elizabeth took the keys. He likely has things for his voyage and his clothes, etc., available outside the locked room. Maybe he went back to grab his tooth twig.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

Many Restoration theatregoers found Shakespeare crude and old-fashioned, preferring the smoother and more 'regular' works of Ben Jonson.

Dryden, in his Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668), said that Shakespeare had 'the largest and most comprehensive soul' but that 'He is many times flat, insipid; his Comick wit degenerating into clenches; his serious swelling into Bombast. But he is alwayes great...'

Interested parties can read the whole of Dryden's essay on…

Eric Walla  •  Link

Yes, Pauline, I think you've got it ...

... "where all things were put up" must refer to a true past tense, and touchingly Sam was observing both that all was done properly and that his wife truly was gone away. Either that or he had a bottle stashed away and he couldn't get to it!

mary  •  Link

no bottle of wine

I've added a background note on wine and bottles.

Esme  •  Link

I still haven't quite fathomed how dangerous things are thought to be. I noticed when the plan was laid for Mrs Pepys' stay in the country that it fitted the pattern of the family preparing for a sudden flight from the capital. This entry looks all too casual to support this view ... except, oddly, some of the expected occurrences connected with such a plan have happened.

If the tide turned back to Parliamentarianism, the Montagu and Pepys families are perhaps especially at risk as they could be accused of being turncoats (although that maybe wasn't unusual). So don't put Mrs Pepys in a Montagu household, where she might get caught up in a house arrest. Don't keep her in town with family members, where she might be out visiting friends when the signal to run was received. Much better (if she is willing) to plant her out of town along the road down which the family might have to retreat, with the family valuables in her safekeeping.

Yesterday they visited Mr Pepys Senior, and could have picked up valuables. She would hardly have been sent off with them without escort -- and we were told yesterday that Will Bowyer is going with her. If he couldn't, is the trip booked for Saturday so that Sam himself could go, and get back again for work on Monday?

On the other hand, an escort might have been provided routinely, without there being valuables involved. It could be natural to say goodbye to the senior Pepyses. Huntsmore is on the way West, are there any Pepys roots there? And this is a private diary written in code of a sort, so concealment of motives seems unnecessary.

Pauline  •  Link

Elizabeth in flight or in danger?
I would guess that arrangements have been made for Elizabeth to board with the Bowyers because it is not "proper" for a young woman of her class (as Sam's wife, the striving-to-better-themselves class) to reside alone while her protective male (father, brother, husband, guardian) is away in service to the navy. Sam is going to live on a ship.

The Bowyers were probably chosen for some of the following reasons: they were friends of Elizabeth, they had room for Elizabeth and her maid and her dog, they had many daughters, they wanted her, Sam wanted her to be happy wherever she was going to be, it was considered healthful to be in the country, women of a the better classes often lived in the country, times are in transition and there are soldiers in London. I don't think she was in any danger as the wife of the secretary of the commander of the fleet.

michael f vincent  •  Link

"bade adieu in bed to the company of my wife " private, first things first.
i a gioia, thanks
Safety and stench:
Remember- Its not a done deal yet lots of pitfalls, so care has to made cover ones derriere. Politics are still very volatile. The streets are not that safe.

Lisa  •  Link

"I did before I went out with my wife, seal my will to her, whereby I did give her all that I have in the world, but my books which I give to my brother John, excepting only French books, which my wife is to have."
Two days ago he said he was giving all his books to John. Perhaps Elizabeth reminded him she might like to have the books written in her native language, French.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Of the five wills Pepys made in the period of the diary (this being the first), no trace apparently remains. (L&M footnote)

Autumnbreeze Movies  •  Link

Am I wrong in thinking that English would've been the native language of Elizabeth Pepys's Irish mother and so it was also Elizabeth's native language, as well as French after her father and her stay in France?

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