Wednesday 29 August 1660

(Office day). Before I went to the office my wife and I examined my boy Will about his stealing of things, but he denied all with the greatest subtlety and confidence in the world. To the office, and after office then to the Church, where we took another view of the place where we had resolved to build a gallery, and have set men about doing it. Home to dinner, and there I found my wife had discovered my boy Will’s theft and a great deal more than we imagined, at which I was vexed and intend to put him away.

To my office at the Privy Seal in the afternoon, and from thence at night to the Bull Head, with Mount, Luellin, and others, and hence to my father’s, and he being at my uncle Fenner’s, I went thither to him, and there sent for my boy’s father and talked with him about his son, and had his promise that if I will send home his boy, he will take him notwithstanding his indenture.

Home at night, and find that my wife had found out more of the boy’s stealing 6s. out of W. Hewer’s closet, and hid it in the house of office, at which my heart was troubled. To bed, and caused the boy’s clothes to be brought up to my chamber. But after we were all a-bed, the wench (which lies in our chamber) called us to listen of a sudden, which put my wife into such a fright that she shook every joint of her, and a long time that I could not get her out of it. The noise was the boy, we did believe, got in a desperate mood out of his bed to do himself or William [Hewer] some mischief. But the wench went down and got a candle lighted, and finding the boy in bed, and locking the doors fast, with a candle burning all night, we slept well, but with a great deal of fear.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

House of Office

Nothing to do with officework – it is, in fact, the privy (or rest room, comfort station, toilet, lavatory). It was for centuries known as the “house of office” because it was where people went “to do their business” (which is a phrase that they used).…

The House of Office must have been an outhouse in the yard, away from the house, so would have been a better place to hide stolen goods than inside a crowded home.

Incidentally, Pepys has used the phrase “house of office” at least one before, back on January 20th, when he was on a drinking spree before meeting Betty Lane (Martin):…

Paul Brewster  •  Link

about his stealing of things, as we doubted yesterday; but he denied all
L&M add the phrase "as we doubted yesterday;".

chip  •  Link

He goes to the uncle's house and then sends for the boy's father. There must have been urchins in the street ready to run errands for a farthing or two. I still find it strange that the wench sleeps in the same room. I would rather empty my own chamber pot. Now when I read L&M I expect the names to be underlined and in blue, as a link. I think Phil is associating these for us.

vincent  •  Link

"... , where we took another view of the place where we had resolved to build a gallery, and have set men about doing it. ..." 'tis raw power and nice piece of grandisement. Oh! that vulgar common herd. No longer does he have to suffer standing elbow to elbow and (not seeing those pretty head scarfs) and Kneeling on the hard stone . That swing of the head etc., or Am i wrong He just wants to hear every enunciated word of the sermon. 'Tis a long long way from St Brides.

Roger Miller  •  Link

The Will confusion - an explanation

1) The boy Will (surname unknown) is one of Pepys' servants and is in trouble today.

2) William Hewer is another of Pepys' servants.

3) Wayneman Birch is the brother of Jane Birch, Pepys' maid.

4) William Birch is another older brother of Jane Birch.

5) William Wayneman is a confusing combination of 1 and 3 created by Wheatly.

Mary  •  Link

..if I will send home his boy...
Pepys is being compassionate here; at a time when the theft of any goods to the value of 12d. (one shilling) was a capital offence and this lad has stolen at least six times that amount, he is is being let off very lightly.

This boy was apparently an indentured servant to Pepys. I take the reference
'notwithstanding his indenture' to mean that the father will take him back immediately and make no bones about the fact that the contract of indenture between Pepys and the father of the boy Will is being summarily broken.

Roger Miller  •  Link

It wasn't very gallant of Sam to let the wench confront the possible intruder rather than go himself!

S. Spoelstra  •  Link

On this same day,Ralph Josselin vicar of Earls Colne, put down in his diary:

"this day the King passed the act of pardon, I was glad I was so well employed on a day when so memorable an act was passed."

What with all those things that go "bump" in the night, you tend to lose the overall perspective ?

Glyn  •  Link

Chip's comment re "I still find it strange that the wench sleeps in the same room."

This was completely commonplace at that time, they seem to have had less ideas of maintaining personal space - and we know that men would regularly share beds together without a second thought.

I am sure that Sam and Elizabeth are sleeping in what is called a "tester bed"

It would be like the above, but would have curtains or drapes around it to close it off from the rest of the room: they did need at least some seclusion!

Jane the servant would have slept in the same room but on a smaller bed which would have been on small wheels or castors. During the day, this smaller bed would be rolled underneath the double bed to free up more floorspace.

An example of these two beds can be seen in one of the bedrooms at Marble Hill House, Twickenham.

So when Sam said yesterday that he was going to call for the girl to get him a drink of water in the night, he wouldn't have needed to call very far.

vincent  •  Link

"tis all in the mind" and the economics of the times. In the Hospitals, 10 to 30 shared a room , living and dieing , the fitter would help the nurses with the chores etc., In the military they were 3 or 4 beds to an 7ft x 3ft (Barracks)floorspace with 2 ft between bunks('twas fun to be had coming less than sober on Saturday night). The sailors slept in Hammocks wherever they could sling them (on the smaller ships), Orderly like. In 12ft x 12ft tent 4 men would share that space for months at a time. Schools had long dorms open to view. Only now that their is more affluence, that privacy has come to lesser sort (i.e.than a squire).

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"To bed, and caused the boy’s clothes to be brought up to my chamber."


Terry Foreman  •  Link

"this day the King passed the act of pardon," and other Bills the Commons and the King had wanted passed:

Bills passed.…

Then His Majesty was graciously pleased to give His Royal Assent to these Bills following; the Titles whereof were read by the Clerk of the Crown; and the Royal Assent was pronounced by the Clerk of the Parliaments:

The Titles of the said Bills are as follow; (videlicet,)

"An Act for Confirmation of Judicial Proceedings."

"An Act for restraining the taking of excessive Usury."

"An Act for a perpetual Anniversary Thanksgiving on the 29th of May."

"An Act of Free and General Pardon, Indemnity, and Oblivion."

To all these Bills, the Royal Assent was pronounced in these Words,

"Le Roy le veult."

Robin Peters  •  Link

"To bed, and caused the boy’s clothes to be brought up to my chamber."
Was this because the boy's clothes were supplied by the master and would be kept back if he was dismissed? or just to stop him doing a runner with his ill gotten goods?

Bill  •  Link

As per Terry, I think he's been grounded. What's more interesting to me is that he must have very few clothes.

Mirabai Knight  •  Link

Is saying "the wench which" as opposed to "the wench who" as dehumanizing in Sam's dialect as it would be in ours?

Bryan  •  Link

"the wench which"

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
which (pron.) ... In Middle English used as a relative pronoun where Modern English would use who, as still in the Lord's Prayer.

So, Mirabai, this is one sin we can say that Sam is not guilty of.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"about his stealing of things, as we doubted yesterday; but he denied all
L&M add the phrase "as we doubted yesterday;"."

DOUBT : to fear, to suspect; to wonder, be perplexed as to

L&M Large Glossary in the Companion (Vol. 10), etc. Pepys uses the word "doubt" frequently, with connotations now lost.

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