Saturday 1 December 1660

This morning, observing some things to be laid up not as they should be by the girl, I took a broom and basted her till she cried extremely, which made me vexed, but before I went out I left her appeased. So to Whitehall, where I found Mr. Moore attending for me at the Privy Seal, but nothing to do to-day.

I went to my Lord St. Albans lodgings, and found him in bed, talking to a priest (he looked like one) that leaned along over the side of the bed, and there I desired to know his mind about making the catch stay longer, which I got ready for him the other day. He seems to be a fine civil gentleman.

To my Lord’s, and did give up my audit of his accounts, which I had been then two days about, and was well received by my Lord. I dined with my Lord and Lady, and we had a venison pasty. Mr. Shepley and I went into London, and calling upon Mr. Pinkney, the goldsmith, he took us to the tavern, and gave us a pint of wine, and there fell into our company old Mr. Flower and another gentleman; who tell us how a Scotch knight was killed basely the other day at the Fleece in Covent Garden, where there had been a great many formerly killed. So to Paul’s Churchyard, and there I took the little man at Mr. Kirton’s and Mr. Shepley to Ringstead’s at the Star, and after a pint of wine I went home, my brains somewhat troubled with so much wine, and after a letter or two by the post I went to bed.

40 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

"...This morning, observing some things to be laid up not as they should be by the girl, I took a broom and basted her till she cried extremely, which made me vexed, but before I went out I left her appeased ..."
Post proelium, praemium.

vincent  •  Link

"...I went to my Lord St. Albans lodgings, and found him in bed, talking to a priest (he looked like one) that leaned along over the side of the bed ..."

Cucullus non facit monachum…
read St Albans, he had a bit of a reputation, if you beleive what one reads.

vincent  •  Link

" brains somewhat troubled with so much wine, and after a letter or two by the post I went to bed..."
A liter(2pints)!!!!!! on 3/4 liter of port[waterford naturally] !!!I'm gone! and after being hi! on a old "deer" too.
"..there I took the little man at Mr. Kirton's and Mr. Shepley to Ringstead's at the Star…” After realising that the little man is Kirton [ a/c to whatnows input he is a little olde ‘bookseller’] Phrase -olgy does confuse sometimes, by any chance, does ringstead meaning “ringside”?

Pauline  •  Link

"... desired to know his mind about making the catch stay longer..."

From November 22: "...some talk with my Lord about getting a catch to carry my Lord St. Albans a goods to France..."

Looks like St. Albans will dally in bed while others must carry out orders on his behalf and be frustrated in the attempt.

Judy Bailey  •  Link

Could he mean "ketch" for "catch"?

From Marriam Webster Online definition of "ketch":
"Etymology: alteration of catch, from Middle English cache
Date: circa 1649
: a fore-and-aft rigged vessel similar to a yawl but with a larger mizzen and with the mizzenmast stepped farther forward"

This seems like a likely substitution.

vincent  •  Link

"..Could he mean 'ketch' for 'catch'?..” see Saturday 6 October 1660 and glossary.
Yes, a very strong possability as he will be asailing soon.

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

Great Heavens! A day of infamy if ever there was one....!
Starts out by spanking the loyal maid Jane, appeasing her(.. what?) dropping in at Alban's digs to joke about his unconvincing priest-chum, a bit of business at my Lord's, nice pie for lunch, pint of wine, on for more wine and latest gossip about who got killed today, home with a thick head.. what a splendid way to start the Xmas season!

Mary  •  Link

The little man at Mr. Kirton's

See the entry for 12th February. This is 'Mr. Kirton's apprentice, the crooked fellow' and not Mr. Kirton himself. He may indeed be small and plainly suffers from some kind of deformity (L&M note that he's a hunchback); however, I'm strongly reminded of the still-current (though declining) use of the terms 'little man' and 'little woman' to describe in a slightly patronising way a person who has a particularly useful trade or craft.

'I have a marvellous little woman in the village who is a good dressmaker'.

'There's a little man in Islington who repairs fountain pens'.

PHE  •  Link

Vincent and a pint of wine?
All your entries today are incomprehensible through either typing the wrong keys (1st two), or peculiar grammar. Have you been up late Pepys-style with a drink or two? (or perhaps I'm just ignorant)

Peter  •  Link

Hands off vincent! He's perfectly lucid and comprehensible in a Joycean stream of consciousness sort of way.

MikeW  •  Link

I too must chime in on Vincent's behalf. His annotations are by far some of the most interesting and rational of those posted. He's also very interactive by answerng questions folks may have and promoting a "conversational" scenario on the annotations page. While trying to parse through different explanations people offer as they attemtp to interpret the diary, I submit that Vincent's approach makes the diary experience much more enjoyable.

vera  •  Link

Vincent, Ringstead's at the Star

Sounds to me like a person's name - perhaps it's a 'chop house' that's part of, or near, an inn? Googled for ringstead and most of the hits come up either as place names or person names. Thanks for the URl to the Latin quotations - always good to broaden the old knowledge!

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"...what a splendid way to start the Xmas season!"

I would think that any celebrations of Christmas, 1660 will be low-key. The recently-fallen Puritan administration likely suppressed Christmas celebrations as too Papist. Judging from Sam's ongoing descriptions, the Church of England is still in the early stages of returning to its own traditions, and the Presbyterians are unlikely to leapfrog them.

vincent  •  Link

eye before ee or is it ee before the eye I cannae see need more claret.

vincent  •  Link

"I took a broom and basted her till she cried extremely, which made me vexed, but before I went out I left her appeased "After the battle, the reward

vincent  •  Link

"little man" good reasoning. Thanks Mary.

helena murphy  •  Link

"I took a broom and basted her..."evidently domestic violence 17th century style and as in most cases down to the present day it goes unreported by the hapless victim.At least the extremity of his behaviour brings Pepys to his senses and he appeases her before he leaves. I think that he learns along the way to master this tendency to physically hit out when he is impatient and for this he must be praised too,but I cannot help but feel sympathy for Jane in this instance.

Nix  •  Link

Jane's lot was a hard one --

In the context of her times she probably counted herself lucky that she had a master who would repent after beating her. Like poor people in most places, then and now, she didn't have much choice. Her main alternative probably would have been prostitution.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Pepys and Papists

St. Albans (according to a note for this date in the L&M version), was "one of the leading Catholics at Court." At the beginning of 1660, wouldn't it have been close to unthinkable that a Catholic would be an influential member of the governing circles, even favored by the head of state?

Maybe I'm reading too much into Pepys's description of visiting St. Albans, but something about the way he comments on the possible priest and the comment, that St. Albans "seems to be a fine civil gentleman" sounds like someone trying hard to be tolerant (which is admirable, of course). You could easily view Pepys's statements as nothing unusual in his diary, but it seems likely to me that he would have been a bit tense over at St. Albans's home. Tolerating Catholics would probably be something quite novel for 1660.

It's easy to imagine a modern equivalent of Pepys's reaction: A member of a frequently despised minority group moves next door and you're soon in a conversation with someone who reports a little breathlessly that the new neighbor is "really very nice." But alert eyes have spotted something that just might be one of those things that would send the bigots up the wall (in Pepys's case a possible priest sighting -- right in the home of an influential Londoner! Wouldn't Pepys's mother be scandalized!).

Wouldn't some (a few of Pepys's old drinking buddies, for instance) be suspicious of Catholics in high office, and wonder if they might be agents of the Pope? And here's the ambassador to Catholic France, no less! But this is after the revolution, and none dare call it treason -- it's the Puritans who have to watch themselves.

Mary  •  Link

Lucky Jane

One of the great advantages for Jane in working for the Pepys household is that her job gives her a sound roof over her head and her food all found. Furthermore, at a time when the upstairs/downstairs division between master and servant had yet to become established in the middle classes, she is genuinely part of the household and shares some of its comforts whilst attending to her work.

Prostitution would not have been the only, or necessarily the most probable, occupation open to her if she had not found this or a similar position, but other jobs could have left her scratching around for both bed and board.

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

I agree with Peter and Mike W : let Vincent run! This classicism is fun - a bit like being back at school but without the threat of a beating for using the wrong tense, case etc. I have just loaded my Greek keyboard character set, but it does not seem to support 'classical Greek' for which fact let us all be thankful. We stop at Latin, agreed?

J A Gioia  •  Link

st. albans, penn & carteret

diary readers from the eastern u.s. seaboard keep stumbling over local post offices. what with all the names from the new administration apparently settled on the colonies, it's a shame there isn't a pepys, new york.

Glyn  •  Link

What you would NOT have had at Christmas

Celebrations of Christmas may be low key, but that is probably because they always were rather than for any political reasons.

Let's not forget that Christmas is not an especially important Christian festival. And at that time city dwellers and the upper classes tended to regard it as more as something for country people.

You might have the day off, but you would be back at work on December 26th (just as Americans still do, apparently).

People in Pepys time would NOT have had a Christmas tree, Christmas cards, Christmas stockings for presents (they might have a shoe! for the children), Christmas turkey, and there would be no Santa Clause dressed in (coca-cola) red, if he was there at all he would be dressed in green. Modern Christmas is more to do with Charles Dickens and Disney than religion (and God bless them for it).

Each year in London from November to January the GEFFRY MUSEUM decorates its period rooms in the style that would have been there for Christmas from the 1400s onward: I heartily recommend a visit:…

Hic retearivs  •  Link

Lingva Romanorvm: regina lingvarum!

language hat  •  Link

Yes, most people don't realize it was a minor holiday until the 19th century (when it was promoted by early department stores). Before then it was mainly an occasion for role-reversal (poor people going to the posh houses and more or less demanding goodies -- the origin of the gift-giving theme), which is one reason it was banned in Massachusetts during Colonial times. Here's a good link:…

"Christmas was banned in Massachusetts in 1659, and this law remained for about twenty years. In Boston, public schools stayed open on December 25th until as late as 1870!"

And in England:
"In 1644, when the Puritans controlled the Parliament, it was declared that no observation of Christmas was to be had on December 25th, but, instead, it was to be observed as a normal market-day. It was called 'the Profane Man's Ranting Day.'"

Pauline  •  Link

"the Profane Man's Ranting Day."
Sounds a useful holiday!

Why would the Puritans be opposed to celebrating the birth of Christ?

john lauer  •  Link

Much history of christmas celebrations in Europe, e.g., in the 17th and 18th centuries can be googled, without all the religious bias of the beardsley site above.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

Why would the Puritans be opposed to celebrating the birth of Christ?

I think the 'mass' might have had something to do with it.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Puritans and Christmas
The Puritans wanted to strip away all the "superstitious" parts of Christian observance that had grown up over the years and get back to a pure religion based solely on the Bible and what they imagined the early Church to be like. They were particularly hostile towards icons, statues, and the veneration of the saints (along with their holy days), which they saw as akin to idolatry. They thought that all the holy day traditions, including Christmas festivities, as excuses for revelry, when people should be praying and studying the word of God.

dirk  •  Link


Might the aversion of the Puritans have something to do with that December 25th being (in the pre-Gregorian calendar) the beginning of winter (shortest day/longest night) and in older times the occasion for one of the most important heathen festivals - a festival that actually went on for two weeks.

Phil  •  Link

Because the topic will no doubt be cropping up a lot over the next few weeks (and the same every year), I'd just like to point out the Christmas page in Background Info...…

Charlezzzzz  •  Link

I took a broom and basted her till she cried extremely

Poor Jane! But the word "basted" has a remarkably colloquial modern sound, almost -- but not quite -- a joking sound. Very different from, say, "battered" or "beat." And I wonder how to differentiate "lambasted" from merely "basted."

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

The traditional country celebrations of Christmas did indeed have pagan roots, which were merely rebranded by the early and mediaeval church. For example, carols like 'The Holly And The Ivy', and 'The Boar's Head', refer to pagan customs.

The boar was sacred to the Norse/Germanic fertility god Freyr/Frey, and also to his sister Freyja. At Yule, the Norse winter solstice festival, it was traditional to sacrifice a boar to Freyr. I would imagine, the pagans being practical people, that the head would have been the god's portion, whilst the village folk ate the rest!

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Note, as previously mentioned, the winter solstice would have been on December 11th by Pepys' (Julian) calendar, which then corresponded to December 21st in the Gregorian calendar, at that time still only used in Catholic countries.

Weavethe hawk  •  Link

My goodness, Vincent was verging on the intolerable.

Harvey  •  Link

As good Puritans knew, nothing in the Bible points to December as the season of Christ's birth.

Reading the Diary should convince one that the return of the High Church and its holidays coincided with a sharp decline in public morality. For this and other reasons It is fallacious to think that dislike of a certain religion is necessarily blind prejudice.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

‘baste, Etym: Of uncertain origin, . .
To beat soundly, thrash, cudgel.
. . 1660 S. Pepys Diary 1 Dec. (1970) I. 307, I took a broom and basted her till she cried extremely . . ‘

nothing to do with the still current:

‘baste, Etym: Origin unknown . .
1. a. To moisten (a roasting joint, etc.) by the application of melted fat, gravy, or other liquid, so as to keep it from burning, and improve its flavour.
1509 A. Barclay Brant's Shyp of Folys (Pynson) f. xlix, The fat pygge is baast, the lene cony is brent.
. . 1736 Compl. Family-piece i. ii. 106 Tie your Lobsters to the Spit alive, baste them with Water and Salt . . ‘

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a Scotch knight was killed basely the other day at the Fleece in Covent Garden, where there had been a great many formerly killed."

L&M explain: according to Thomas Rugge (i, f.136r) the murderer was a Scotsman named 'Balindin' [Ballantyne] and his victim Sir John 'Gooscall' [? Godschall] . Aubrey remarked in his Miscellanies published in 1696, that this tavern 'was very unfortunate for Homicides' (p. 31), and that it had become a private house.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.