Monday 18 February 1660/61

At the office all the morning, dined at home with a very good dinner, only my wife and I, which is not yet very usual. In the afternoon my wife and I and Mrs. Martha Batten, my Valentine, to the Exchange, and there upon a payre of embroydered and six payre of plain white gloves I laid out 40s. upon her. Then we went to a mercer’s at the end of Lombard Street, and there she bought a suit of Lutestring for herself, and so home. And at night I got the whole company and Sir Wm. Pen home to my house, and there I did give them Rhenish wine and sugar, and continued together till it was late, and so to bed.

It is much talked that the King is already married to the niece of the Prince de Ligne,1 and that he hath two sons already by her: which I am sorry to hear; but yet am gladder that it should be so, than that the Duke of York and his family should come to the crown, he being a professed friend to the Catholiques.

46 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

The good? dinner or home alone?"...with a very good dinner, only my wife and I, which is not yet very usual..." wot is one to think?

shelley  •  Link

Speaking of Cardinal Mazarin: he'll be dead inside a fortnight. I wonder if Pepys will mention it?

vincent  •  Link

The fear of power ending up in a far away land and the money following or was this just plain prejudice based, yet Elizabeth seems to have leanings to RC,she being brainwashed in a Convent? "...he being a professed friend to the Catholiques..."

vincent  •  Link

Interesting character is Mazarin while England had Cromwell; France had Mazarin [he had a nice front man {power, 5-year-old Louis XIV who became king in 1643}[1642 1661]} to blame the failures on].…

Joshua Reynolds  •  Link

Lustring, the note hastily assures is, is the more common spelling of the glossy silken fabric Pepys calls "lutestring." No 17th-century thong, this!

Wish someone would lay out 40s. (in 2004 equivalent with decimalization) on me, even if in white gloves more befitting the White Rabbit.

vincent  •  Link

40 s was 2 quid and young maid got 3 quid a year, so in terms of work it would be 8 months work for a modern chamber maid [income about 5000? pound or so ] but in terms of gold; then about 150 quid [$300 an oz., US of 'oro' being 410 Dollars an oz pure.]. It[silk] was not for the Vulga mob, ye could get gibbeted for robbing goods worth 5 shillings or at least if yer were preety branded T.

Eric Walla  •  Link

I can't remember the rules here ...

... can we censure Sam for giving away the plot here? I almost hear ominous mood music behind that crack about the Duke of York .

daniel  •  Link

it is a bit interesting to hear Sam's opinion about the prince of York considering that later in life he would end up in the Tower on account to his fealty to the then recently ousted king.

dirk  •  Link

Hortense Mancini

In 1660/1661 this girl was 15 years old! Later - between 1664 and 1685 - she was to become one of Charles's best known mistresses...

On Hortense:
"Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin (born circa 1645). Briefly the chief rival of both Nell Gwyn and Louise de Kéroualle, and possibly the most striking in appearance of all Charles II’s mistresses, she was tall with waist-length black hair and eyes that changed colour with the light. Besides her great beauty, she was also known for her compulsive gambling, her skill with guns and swords, and a certain propensity for dressing in men’s clothing.” from:

She would live in London, publish her memoirs there (1676) and die at Chelsea in 1699.

On Charles’s *many* affaires, see:…

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Forty shillings for seven pairs of gloves, and later a purchase of lutestring

A high end shopping trip. As Vincent points out, the gloves alone were worth 8 months of maid service -- or, I note, worth slightly more than one nice hat (35 shillings from some weeks ago). Here again we see the anomaly between the economy of Pepys and ours. Some luxury goods cost about the same as today, but were accessible to a far smaller clientele, due to the wage structure.In some ways this is surprising, since today millions have the purchasing power only available to thousands in Pepys's day. I note that in my adult lifetime truly limited luxury goods -- a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem for example -- have risen in price a hundredfold while all other goods have gone up only ten times.

vincent  •  Link

Eric : "[if]should come": I do think that there was plenty of speculation of, and rumours of, on whom should be running the country, I do not think SP had clairvoiyance but was following the rules of succession on whom could and under what particular conditions the
Divine rights could be imposed for leading the country.

Susan  •  Link

We all know that Catherine of Braganza proved infertile and Charles had no legit. heir, but at this time ,with Charles still unmarried, the presumption for most people was he would have heirs before he died and James would not be King. Charles had illegitimate offspring, so poeple would have expected him to have legitimate ones once he was wed. I think it is very interesting that Pepys at this time is expressing the wish that the Catholic leaning James should not be King, when surely it would have been thought by most people that this was a remote possibility. It seems it was such a strongly felt view that people expressed their fears, even for an unlikely situation.

vincent  •  Link

re: silk : the weather down in Essex was not conducive to the wearing of silk : From Josselyn country"...15[feb]. a winters day. for cold winds snow, sleet, hail, rain, bad weather(.) formerly heard of the welfare of our friends. ...."
"...Feb: 17. Snow, cold wintery weather, a nip for our pleasant warm winter before. ..."…

Xjy  •  Link

Sam's expenses and lifestyle
Less and less a man of the people, if he ever was. No everyman, our Sammy. The humanity he has is obviously despite the conscious workings of his mind.

mary  •  Link

Valentine's Day gifts.

I don't know who the 'lutestring' is for, but the gloves are most likely to be a Valentine's gift for Mrs. Martha. At this rate, no wonder people were careful in their choice of Valentine.

mary  •  Link

Careless reading

Mrs. Martha appears to have bought the fabric for herself ... sorry.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"...I did give them Rhenish wine and sugar..."

Rhine wine - sweetened? Of course, the seventeenth-century palate was not quite the same as ours. I think of that apres-ski classic, gluhwein, but made with white wine, and without the cinnamon and cloves.

Scott  •  Link

Are we sure the gloves were for Sam's Valentine or were they for his wife. I can read it either way. Doesn't the gift seem late and excessive for a Valentine? It has been my experience that Valentine gifts are expected on the 14th not the 18th. Maybe the title of Valentine last more than a day.

Barbara  •  Link

Pepys' Valentine would be the first woman he set his eyes on (often by arrangement) on Valentine's day. He would later buy her the customary present of gloves, in this case several pairs. His wife would expect her gloves to come from her own Valentine. Our Valentine traditions (card from admirer, known or unknown, flowers, dinner out on 14th Feb) can't really be compared.

M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

A Biting Louse

Following the link for Mlle Mancini, I linked further to…
on Restoration fashions. Here several quotes from Pepys, and the salutary reminder that be the fashions as fine as they may, even the upper crust of the day put up with conditions which we today would never endure.

Ruben  •  Link

"it is very interesting that Pepys at this time is expressing the wish that the Catholic leaning James should not be King, when surely it would have been thought by most people that this was a remote possibility."

SP had his own infertility problem at home.
"we are married a few years,, no children yet..."
His personal problem reflected in his thinking.

Glyn  •  Link

Not that remote a possibility, at least in the short term. Charles was as likely as anyone else to die in the next year or so, from disease, accident or illness in which case James would be king. I doubt anyone seriously thought that he would still be first in line 25 years later.

By the way, it's interesting how many British kings since that date were originally 2nd or third brothers, for example Georges 3 and 4, William 4, and the most recent being the Queen's father George 6. Monarchically speaking, it's always useful to have a spare - Prince Harry becoming king is still a possibility.

mary  •  Link

Gloves as tokens of 'love'

There was another custom according to which a woman might acquire gloves as a token of love, or at least of respect. It may now have died out, but was being practised in England until the 1960s. On 29th February (i.e. once every four years) a woman might propose marriage to a man and, if the proposal was declined, could demand a pair of gloves as consolation for her disappointment.

Emilio  •  Link

"the niece of the Prince de Ligne"

An L&M footnote reveals that the lady everyone in Sam's time is talking about is the Prince's sister rather than his niece. Envoys from Venice and Florence also wrote about the rumor, and the Venetian had already figured out it wasn't true. "It was the departure of the Earl of Bristol to the continent on a supposedly secret matrimonial mission--in fact to Parma--which seems to have given rise to these rumors."

The prince is Claude Lamoral I, 3rd Prince de Ligne, 1618-1679. Information about him on the Web is pretty scarce, but fortunately he's shown up here before -…

Here's a picture of him:…

Grahamt  •  Link

Not wanting James as King:
Remember that the life of kings could be "cut short", literally in Charles 1st's case. Pepys witnessed this, so it must colour his opinions. Just in the 14 months of the diary we have seen huge changes in the way the country is run. Who is to say it couldn't change again?

Emilio  •  Link

Catholics in charge

If everyone is concerned now about James's Catholic leanings, it's easy to see why a crisis will come when James marries a Catholic wife and actually becomes Catholic around 1669. What with Queen Mary, Guy Fawkes, and the rest, there are certain reasons for worry, and I think the general fear is that the Pope would 'really' be in charge of the country with a Catholic in the top seat.

After all that effort to break away from Rome last century, not many want to go back.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"but yet am gladder that it should be so"
Even at this early stage in Charles II's reign, Sam knows what everyone at court knows:
Everything that the King is -- witty, shrewd, tolerant, politically deft, level-headed, charming -- the Duke of York is not. And though Charles *could* yet have a male heir, it's a long way from a heir to a throne, and Regencies are notoriously uncertain times ....

vincent  •  Link

It is rumoured even now, that some years that this [Rhine] wine is doctored with Sugar "...I did give them Rhenish wine and sugar,..."

StewartMcI  •  Link

[It is rumoured even now, that some years that this [Rhine] wine is doctored with Sugar "I did give them Rhenish wine and sugar,"]

One of the funnier cases was a Rhine village using a vast quantity of beet sugar and then applying for the EU subsidy on its use. As the French say about the Germans, and vice versa… “They are better at writing (wine) laws than enforcing them” - and now for a glass of Austrian anti-freeze !!!

vincent  •  Link

Dining, dinner : here is a mid-day meal {is not called lunch by the moderns?} wonder what the they called the meal at night ?

Susanna  •  Link

What did they call the meal at night?

Probably supper.

The Bishop  •  Link

At this point, the real concern over a Catholic king is that it would almost certainly plunge the country back into civil war. Most Englishmen are not ill-disposed towards monarchy - which is why the restoration was possiblet - but popery is another matter entirely. They would certainly take up arms to prevent it.

Josh  •  Link

Somewheres way back The Naming of Meals was hashed over, and in the U.S. backwoods (both hill country and flatland) dinner is still eaten in the middle of the day and supper at night. And probably other places.

dirk  •  Link

dinner & supper

If my French is still worth anything, in that language both terms (diner & souper) still exist and both refer to an evening meal - "diner" being the usual meal, and "souper" a late evening meal usually taken after staying out later than usual.

But as I said, my French has been a little rusty lately...

dirk  •  Link

Hortense Mancini

A "hot babe" apparently...

vincent  •  Link

What they call the meal at night? Probably supper. Susanna you are right; on 5th of Feb 60/61 he did say :
" supper, being very hungry for want of dinner, and so to bed...."
Search of the diary and annos ;turns up so much information.

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

Valentine's Day gifts

On the 14th. I commented that Sam was fortunate that he didn't feel compelled to waste money on a stupid card. He should have been so lucky.

Jim  •  Link

Re: Dirk's posting of a link to a picture of Hortense Mancini as a "hot babe" -- *sigh* -- I just have to say this: that picture brings to mind the recent U.S. Super Bowl halftime exhibition. Yet another connection between our world and Sam's.

Jim  •  Link

Uh, I meant Roberto's link (see above) and Dirk's comment.

Second Reading

joe fulm  •  Link

SP seems at the moment to be caught in the prongs of Love(his Valentine is William Battens sister, not his wife) and War(the Irish preacher sermonising about scattering warmongers, no doubt with SPs neighbour Oliver Cromwell in mind, a safe sermon by the Irish doctor considering Parliament had just dug up his country's nemesis and mutilated the corpse), that seems to have SP a bit irritable.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Mazarin's niece now has a Wikipedia Page:…

Charles did propose to her at one point, but was rejected because, then, he seemed to have few prospects. Later the tables were turned.

Incidentally, George V was also a second son, only becoming heir apparent to his father (Edward VII, then Prince of Wales) at the age of (almost) 27 in 1892. At this point in the diary, James too is 27.

Tonyel  •  Link

A bit late, but it is slightly misleading to use a serving maid's income as a measure. After all, she also got food and accommodation, possibly also clothes, so her total 'income' was well in excess of £3 per annum.

william wright  •  Link

My mother was a tweeny at Lord Kitchener's gaff early 20th century and her
wages were £10 per annum. Six and a half day week, and had to buy two
uniforms out of that. Things had not moved very far in 300 years.

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

"a very good dinner, only my wife and I, which is not yet very usual"

Just Sam and Liz dining alone is not very usual these days, and perhaps that's all he means. But here he inserts "not yet", which makes me think that it's the "very good dinner" that's not very usual. Yet. With her limited cooking experience, at this point she's not that good at it. But he expects she'll get better. Maybe Pall is teaching her a few things.

LKvM  •  Link

"Monarchically speaking, it's always useful to have a spare - Prince Harry becoming king is still a possibility."
And indeed, Prince Harry's recent book was entitled "Spare."
But that was then, and this is now, and William is the Prince of Wales and has three children who come before Harry.

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