Saturday 19 May 1660

Up early, hearing nothing of the child, and went to Scheveling, where I found no getting on board, though the Duke of York sent every day to see whether he could do it or no.

Here I met with Mr. Pinkney and his sons, and with them went back to the Hague, in our way lighting and going to see a woman that makes pretty rock-work in shells, &c., which could I have carried safe I would have bought some of.

At the Hague we went to buy some pictures, where I saw a sort of painting done upon woollen cloth, drawn as if there was a curtain over it, which was very pleasant, but dear.

Another pretty piece of painting I saw, on which there was a great wager laid by young Pinkney and me whether it was a principal or a copy. But not knowing how to decide, it was broken off, and I got the old man to lay out as much as my piece of gold come to, and so saved my money, which had been 24s. lost, I fear.

While we were here buying of pictures, we saw Mr. Edward and his company land. Who told me that they had been at Leyden all night, at which I was very angry with Mr. Pierce, and shall not be friends I believe a good while.

To our lodging to dinner. After that out to buy some linen to wear against to-morrow, and so to the barber’s. After that by waggon to Lausdune, where the 365 children were born. We saw the hill where they say the house stood and sunk wherein the children were born. The basins wherein the male and female children were baptized do stand over a large table that hangs upon a wall, with the whole story of the thing in Dutch and Latin, beginning, “Margarita Herman Comitissa,” &c. The thing was done about 200 years ago.

The town is a little small village which answers much to one of our small villages, such a one as Chesterton in all respects, and one could have thought it in England but for the language of the people.

We went into a little drinking house where there were a great many Dutch boors eating of fish in a boorish manner, but very merry in their way. But the houses here as neat as in the great places. From thence to the Hague again playing at crambo in the waggon, Mr. Edward, Mr. Ibbott, W. Howe, Mr. Pinkney, and I. When we were come thither W. Howe, and Mr. Ibbott, and Mr. Pinckney went away for Scheveling, while I and the child to walk up and down the town, where I met my old chamber-fellow, Mr. Ch. Anderson, and a friend of his (both Physicians), Mr. Wright, who took me to a Dutch house, where there was an exceeding pretty lass, and right for the sport, but it being Saturday we could not have much of her company, but however I staid with them (having left the child with my uncle Pickering, whom I met in the street) till 12 at night. By that time Charles was almost drunk, and then broke up, he resolving to go thither again, after he had seen me at my lodging, and lie with the girl, which he told me he had done in the morning.

Going to my lodging we met with the bellman, who struck upon a clapper, which I took in my hand, and it is just like the clapper that our boys frighten the birds away from the corn with in summer time in England. To bed.

44 Annotations

First Reading

Nix  •  Link

So the boy was with Pierce the whole time?

This somewhat mitigates Samuel's negligence -- Pierce was the ship's surgeon, presumably known to Montague Sr. as a reliable sort. Even so, it would have been hard to explain to Papa. (Having barely escaped having to explain to Mama how the young master managed to wander off into a crowd while I was shopping in Mexico, I can readily sympathize.)

Judith Boles  •  Link

Could someone tell me the date, before sailing, that "the child" came on board? I was surprised to find him in Holland, so must have missed something.

language hat  •  Link

"Lausdune, where the 365 children were born":
The correct spelling is Loosduinen (pronounced something like los-DOI-nen), now a suburb of The Hague. Here's a good summary of the legend of the 365 children, from… :

"The legend of Countess Margaret of Henneberg, Netherlands as described in the book The Two-Headed Boy & Other Medical Marvels by Jan Bonderon (Cornell University Press, 2000) relates one of history's earliest multiple births, the delivery of 365 children in one gestation on Good Friday, 1276.

"According to the legend, the Countess insulted a peasant woman who was nursing newborn twins, saying the only way women could give birth to twins was by having two fathers. The peasant cursed the Countess to give birth to as many children as there are days in the year--a fate which came true the following Good Friday. Each of the babies was supposedly no larger than a worm and all the boys were named 'Jan' and all the girls named 'Elizabeth'. All the babies and the Countess herself died shortly after this supposed delivery of multiples.

"The legend is obviously just that--a fanciful tale--but there is a church in Loosduinen in The Netherlands which has two wooden plaques on the wall commemorating this legendary birth. And Countess Margaret was a real noblewoman (her brother was the King of the Holy Roman Empire). In real life she died on that fateful Good Friday, leaving behind her husband and a boy, Poppo, and a girl, Judith."

An interesting versified account can be read in an unpublished early Stuart poem, The Newe Metamorphosis, which is the subject of a very well done website:…
The story of the 365 children is at this page:…
You can start with line 738 ("Neere to the Hag[u]e as she thus trauailed...") if you want to come in at the start of the real action (where the poor mother is insulted by the rich lady and asks Jupiter to revenge her).

Paul Brewster  •  Link

my uncle Pickering
per Wheatley: "There were several Pickerings so it is not easy to say which of them Pepys would style 'uncle.'"

Paul Brewster  •  Link

women could give birth to twins was by having two fathers
L&M: "it being a common superstition that twins were the fruit of adultery"

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Lausdune, where the 365 children were born
L&M add the following "This was a famous story and a visit to Loosduinen was almost compulsory for all sight-seers. Pepys later acquired a ballad on the subject."

L&M goes on to date the birth to Good Friday 1277 and notes that half were boys and half girls "(the odd one over being a hermaphrodite)".

The footnote goes on to say that "the allegation that the Countess's house sank into the ground does not appear to occur in the printed accounts and may be an inspired addition made by the local guides. Pepys's date (about 200 years out) is also given in 1623 by James Howell ... Erasmus and Sir Thomas Browne were among the many who believed the tale. ... The basin and inscription are still in the church."

Mary  •  Link

Pepys enjoys his pun

on the boors (boer = farmer, peasant, countryman)eating in a boorish manner

Grahamt  •  Link

Boers and boors:
The SOED prefers Pepys' spelling of boor for a Dutch or German peasant. Boer is now a South African of Dutch descent, an Afrikaner.
Boorish originally meant characteristic of boors, and later, rude, ill-mannered; coarse, uncultured.
Neighbour is from the same root (the nigh/near boor)
Good pun though!

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"where the 365 children were born" It could have been the case of a "Mola Hydatiforme" a gynecological condition where women expel grape like tissue! You know how gossip can get out of hand!

andy thomas  •  Link

"to a Dutch house, where there was an exceeding pretty lass, and right for the sport, but it being Saturday we could not have much of her company..."

Sam with his roving eye again...

Colin Gravois  •  Link

With his Lord's child not accounted for, Sam may not have had much sleep last night, but he's off again early in the morning sightseeing and such, seemingly oblivious as to the child's whereabouts. Was he really that much concerned yesterday as he made out he was? Now, besides the lassies and his musik, Sam loves all games of chance. Anyone know what crambo is? Or did I miss something a little ways back?

Glyn  •  Link

I'm as puzzled as Judith. There are a lot of people arriving and departing, and I suspect that Montagu's son must have joined the group only in the last couple of days or so, or Pepys would have mentioned him earlier. Presumably he crossed the Channel in another ship. But this is all just supposition. It's funny that the first time we hear of him is when he disappears.

Nix  •  Link

There's much that's puzzling in this whole sojourn on-shore --

Two days ago Samuel met the king. From all that has gone before, and from the personality he has displayed, I would have expected him to relate this as an overwhelming experience, with extensive details about the scene, the conversation, what everyone was wearing, and his own emotions. Instead, he simply told us that the king seemed to be a very sober man. We can laugh about the erroneous first impression, but it is startling how little the star-struck diarist makes of the whole thing.

I assume he is writing later, from notes, possibly when they are under way back to England with the king on board, so he would have been trying to get things down when he had an odd free moment. But it still seems incongruous that he devotes so much more attention to the monuments in the Hague than to either the meeting with the king or the disappearance of young Montague. (Apologies for the length of this post.)

Glyn  •  Link

"I saw a sort of painting done upon woollen cloth, drawn as if there was a curtain over it"

This is obviously an example of a "trompe l'oeil (deceiving the eye)painting - showing a 3-dimensional object on a 2-dimensional surface. I know that Pepys was attracted to them throughout his life (see diary entry for 11 April 1669). And I know that some of the best artists were Dutch or Belgian. Background Info has nothing. Any ideas?

Laura K  •  Link

Montague's son was mentioned earlier, several times.

The first mention I find is 10 May: "In the afternoon, while my Lord and we were at musique in the great cabin below, comes in a messenger to tell us that Mr. Edward Montagu, my Lord's son, was come to Deal, who afterwards came on board with Mr. Pickering with him. The child was sick in the evening.”

Nix  •  Link

The painting with the curtain --

There's no indication who did it, or what it showed, but the artist was in distinguished company, with the likes of Vermeer --

"Much has been written about the trompe-l'oeil effect of the curtain. It is a pictorial artifice used by many other Dutch masters and in keeping with an old European tradition. Rembrandt, Gerard Dou, Nicolaes Maes, and many still-life and even landscape painters made use of such curtains as a means of simulating effects that now seem theatrical."…

or Titian --…

Michiel van der Leeuw  •  Link

The 365 children
There is a (more or less) rational explanation for this story. Margaret, daughter of count Floris IV of Holland, married Herman, count of Hennenberg. The curse should have been that she had "as many children as there were days LEFT in the year". As the new year started with Easter, she gave birth on Good Friday to twins, one called John and one called Elizabeth.

Laura Brown  •  Link

The trompe l'oeil artist

I wonder if this could possibly have been Cornelius Gijsbrechts, whose work seems to have consisted entirely of trompe l'oeil paintings. At this time he would have been starting his career in Antwerp, but later in the decade he found great popularity at the court of Christian V of Denmark. The National Gallery in London had an exhibition of his paintings a few years ago. Here's a review of it:…

For more information on the hydatiform mole, which A. De Araujo mentioned above, see:…
I don't know whether this could be mistaken for a massive multiple birth, but it does seem to have attracted some folklore of its own. Readers of Florence King's 'Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady' may recall the discussion of the 'watery mole.' But I have to say that the Loosduinen story sounds more like a fairy tale -- perhaps a pre-Christian myth? -- that came to be accepted as fact over time.

Grahamt  •  Link

Could the curtain painting have been Adriaen van der Spelt or Frans van Mieris?
Here is A Trompe l'Oeil with a Flower Piece and a Curtain: (1658)…
The reproduction, unfortunately, is small and attributed only to van der Spelt, but is a collaboration with van Mieris, a specialist in curtain painting.

roosh  •  Link

The king's first appearance: I too was disappointed. The whole force of the narrative so far would lead us all(including Pepys) to expect a more impressive entrance. But Pepys is writing a diary, not fiction, and so he is stuck with the reality. His first meeting with the king was very ordinary and so he just gives it a brief mention.
I hope at some point we will have a more impressive portrait befitting the hero of this part of the diary.

inter alia  •  Link

More info on Gijsbrechts here:…
The self portrait on the page is actually a detail from a still life, with something that is described as a 'Flower-Patterned Table-Cover' but is hanging up like a curtain. Click on the portrait to see the complete picture.

tamara  •  Link

It's a parlour game where you have to give a rhyme to the other team's line (or something like that). I think there's a "dumb crambo" version which is more like charades, too. And I guess crambo would work well when you're traveling--they're in a wagon or something, right? Kind of like kids playing geography or whatever in the car nowadays.

Rich Merne  •  Link

As to where Pepys was 'cut for the stone', somewhere before Dec. '61, I seem to recollect a reference to a Mrs. Turner (maybe)or something like it, and an indication that it may well have been in her house. My copy is the Everyman one of the early 1900s. Can anybody clarify.
Rich Merne

mary  •  Link

Pepys' operation.

This took place at the Salisbury Court home of Jane Turner (Sam's cousin) and her husband, who was a successful lawyer. The operation was performed on 26th March 1658 and Pepys took 35 days to recover from the ordeal. His surgeon,Thomas Hollier, was an experienced lithotomist and operated successfully on a total of 30 patients in the same year

Rich Merne  •  Link

Unabridged/uncensored Pepys.
Everywhere I look, I come on the publishers comment, 'except for a few passages which could'nt possibly be printed'. I would like to get a complete copy including the 'funny stuff', and if possible at reasonable cost. It's so frustrating to read an obviously disected (and in some editors' view 'cleaned up') version. Can anybody please please help

mary  •  Link

Complete and unabridged Pepys.

This is the Latham and Matthews edition, Vols.1-9 (text and footnotes), Vol.10 (Companion) and Vol.11 (Index). All published by Harper Collins. Out of print the last time that I enquired in UK, but copies are available through second-hand dealers at varying rates and via the internet.

Be aware: the 'funny stuff' is not backroom merchandise, not even top-shelf merchandise by today's standards.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

Rich - the good people on this site who have a copy of L&M are also being kind enough to fill in the missing bits for the rest of us as we go along, so stick with the site and you'll get to read them eventually without having to find copies of the book.

Rich Merne  •  Link

I feel that essentially, Pepys wrote for himself only, or more exactly; virtually 'to himself'. In spite of his marriage, wide social circle, partying etc., it's clear that he was a very lonely man in the sense of 'the lonliness of the lack of true intimacy'. While it's true that he often discussed with his wife, important family matters such as providing for her after his death etc. it's also very clear that she was really just a chattel as were most women of this period. It seems that such matters were discussed by Pepys in a very one sided way and that she was quite disempowered from input. Of course he would, as would most men of his (or any) time, stoutly profess his love for her but 'love' and 'control' were then and still are, unhappy bed-fellows. His true confidante in his loneliness was his diary; de facto himself. He talked to, he discussed with himself, intimately. As to publication, it was happenstancial. Such a work as the great diary just couldn't be easily set at naught by destruction. It had by procrastination, as it were attained a cogency and being of it's own. Then it becomes easy by the inevitable attrition of fading and death, to let happen what will. It may never have occurred to him at all that any but a very select few could possibly be interested in it. Only this select few would have had the scholarship to examine it and certainly not the vulgar mass. In any case, most of the diary was boring court and political detail, news today and stale tomorrow. I have seen boxes of civil servants diaries which no sane person would bother to read. Pepys though, is rare. He was a one in a million civil servant who was colourful, witty and broad of interest. The times and the person shine through even after all the years. The romance of a glimpse back in time and the subliminal feeling of being almost 'a latter day confidante', still fascinates. Rich Merne

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Nay, I've made Herod Innocent,
For Rhiming to long Parliament.
Now to conclude, we are all damn'd ho
For nothing but a Game at Crambo.
And for a little jingling pleasure,
Condemn'd to Torments without measure.
---The Visions. Roger L'Estrange, 1696.

Bill  •  Link

At least we have Rambo or Rimbaud to "rhime" with Crambo...

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Pepys' entry about meeting the King on the 17th, was very short. Why? He begins that entry saying that he got up early to put down his observations for two days. Which two days? Well, he started the 17th aboard ship, where his diary was, and slept ashore the 17-18-19th. Ergo the "two days" must have been the 15th and 16th. So here it is the evening of the 19th and he has not been back aboard ship to make any entries in his diary. As we follow this narrative, we will reach some point at which he returns to the Naseby to write of his adventures ashore. The result of writing about several very busy days at once, would explain why the entry for meeting Charles was surprisingly brief, and why losing track of "the child", was a matter of concern, but not too much concern, because by the time he was writing about it, the child was safe and sound and all was well.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

'crambo, n. Etym:  apparently a popular variation of crambe n.*
 1. a. A game in which one player gives a word or line of verse to which each of the others has to find a rhyme.
1660   S. Pepys Diary 19 May (1970) I. 149   From hence to The Hague again, playing at Crambo in the waggon . . '

' . . 3. = crambo
1631   B. Jonson Divell is Asse v. viii. 110 in Wks. II,   F. Ioule, owle, foule, troule, boule. P. Crambe, another of the Diuell's games!
1631   B. Jonson New Inne i. iii. 114   Where every Iouial Tinker, for his chinke, May cry, mine host, to crambe, giue vs drinke; And doe not slinke, but skinke, or else you stinke.
1706   Phillips's New World of Words (ed. 6) ,   Crambe or Crambo, a Term us'd among School-boys, when in Rhiming, he is to forfeit, who repeats a word that was said before.'

meech  •  Link

It is surprising to me, as well, that Pepys had little to say regarding his first meeting with Charles II. Here he is, a participant in the very Restoration of the English Monarchy, but he seems more interested in sight-seeing and shopping like a tourist. I completely understand his interests in seeing the sights, but you'd think that the meeting with the King would be of equal interest. Add to this the fact that he keeps foisting off 'the child' to others while he travels about. Yes, he was worried, but apparently not that worried, since he kept on sight-seeing and after finally finding him (through no effort on his part) soon passes him off to his 'uncle Pickering' who he runs into in the street, while he goes off with an old chum to drink and party. Apparently the first time the child disappeared didn't scare him enough that it kept him from leaving Edward with another person the first chance he gets. It is obvious where his interests lie.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Margaret of Henneberg (1234 – 1276) and the legend of the 365 children

From notes made by her widower, it is known that her death was unusual. Later, however, a legend was formed that she had died in childbirth after giving birth to no fewer than 365 children. An early form of this legend can be found in the 14th-century Tafel van Egmond, which can be found in the University Library of Utrecht. It briefly reports that she died after giving birth to 364 sons and daughters. The children did not survive. They were all buried together in Loosduinen, where an epitaph still exists.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Up early, hearing nothing of the child, and went to Scheveling, where I found no getting on board, though the Duke of York sent every day to see whether he could do it or no."

L&M: The weather was so rough that he did not get on board until 22 May.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Here I met with Mr. Pinkney and his sons, and with them went back to the Hague, in our way lighting and going to see a woman that makes pretty rock-work"

L&M: Miniature grottoes: cf. Phil. Trans., 24/1955; A. R. Wright, Brit. cal. customs, Engl. (ed. T. E. Lones), iii. 40.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Going to my lodging we met with the bellman, ,,,"

Robert Herrick has a little poem in which he wishes good luck to his friends in the form of the nightly addresses of the bellman. Like all Herrick's productions, it is daintily musical:

"From noise of scare fires rest ye free,
From murders benedicite;
From all mischances that may fright
Your pleasing slumbers in the night;
Mercie secure ye all, and keep
The goblin from ye, while ye sleep.
Past one o'clock, and almost two:
My masters all, 'good-day to you!'"

Lightly edited from…

Third Reading

LKvM  •  Link

To me it's disconcerting that Pepys continually refers to Master Edward Montagu as "the child." He's fifteen years old, almost sixteen, and is likely to have been through puberty. I realize that Pepys couldn't call him "boy" because that could imply that Edward was a servant, but "child" doesn't seem correct. The common British term "lad" seems appropriate but apparently it became common much later.

Angela Framptona  •  Link

I wonder whether Pepys is using ‘child’ as a shorter version of ‘child of Lord Montagu’. In the same sense that I am the child of……. [name of parent], and clearly not a child in any other sense.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys might be writing "the child" as a way of expressing his frustration at baby sitting this independent teenager who wandered away to Leiden without permission, or leaving a note or sending word, causing him 2 days of anguish.

Croakers Apprentice  •  Link

Re: the Child. I think this excerpt from Wikipedia explains Pepys’s use of the word for Montagu’s son (think also the poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” by Lord Byron…)

“In the Middle Ages, a childe or child (from Old English: Cild "Young Lord") was a nobleman's son who had not yet attained knighthood or had not yet won his spurs“

RLB  •  Link

"The child" was born early 1647, so by spring 1660 he's 13 years old. In addition, puberty sometimes (often?) started later in those times. Not always: Mary, Princess Royal, mentioned several times in the last week, was apparently early (or at least tried to be, if Wikipedia is to be believed). But it may well have been reasonable to call Edward Mountagu a child at his age. He certainly wasn't a full-grown man.

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