Wednesday 13 February 1660/61

At the office all the morning; dined at home, and poor Mr. Wood with me, who after dinner would have borrowed money of me, but I would lend none. Then to Whitehall by coach with Sir W. Pen, where we did very little business, and so back to Mr. Rawlinson’s, where I took him and gave him a cup of wine, he having formerly known Mr. Rawlinson, and here I met my uncle Wight, and he drank with us, and with him to Sir W. Batten’s, whither I sent for my wife, and we chose Valentines against to-morrow. My wife chose me, which did much please me; my Lady Batten Sir W. Pen, &c. Here we sat late, and so home to bed, having got my Lady Batten to give me a spoonful of honey for my cold.

13 Annotations

First Reading

John Wayne  •  Link

Last year John Simmons wrote "A valentine was a special person chosen on this day, definitely not one’s husband."

Well, pilgrim, guess this year proved ya wrong.

Judith Boles  •  Link

Does anyone know who "poor Mr. Wood" is? There is a William Wood listed under People, but no information on him.

Bradford  •  Link

And who did Pepys choose for his Valentine? He chooses not to say.

Poor Mr. Wood of Wapping has shown up somewhere before; he worked with Batten and his son-in-law Castle, and sold timber and made masts. "Pepys profoundly distrusted them all," says the L&M Companion, whence these facts.

daniel  •  Link

honey for a cold...

charming to see a remedy we all know.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Valentine" I suspect "my Lady Batten" is his Honey;

apparently  •  Link

Apparently only women choose Valentines. Men are chosen.

alex  •  Link

I don't see anything on Conrad's page that clarifies this.

Conrad  •  Link

Alex re:

The History of Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.

The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feast. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.

alex  •  Link

But that's 1400 years before Samuel Pepys' time. Obviously Valentine's customs had changed, since Pepys says the women are doing the picking.

language hat  •  Link

St. Valentine:
There are at least three candidates for the "original saint," and I'm pretty sure all stories about their lives are apocryphal. A sensible account of early history can be found here:…

Phil  •  Link

Rather after the fact, but there is a link in the diary entry to the Background Info page on St Valentine's Day, where information about the occasion would be better placed.

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