Sunday 28 April 1661

(Lord’s day). In the morning to my father’s, where I dined, and in the afternoon to their church, where come Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Edward Pepys, and several other ladies, and so I went out of the pew into another. And after sermon home with them, and there staid a while and talked with them and was sent for to my father’s, where my cozen Angier and his wife, of Cambridge, to whom I went, and was glad to see them, and sent for wine for them, and they supped with my father. After supper my father told me of an odd passage the other night in bed between my mother and him, and she would not let him come to bed to her out of jealousy of him and an ugly wench that lived there lately, the most ill-favoured slut that ever I saw in my life, which I was ashamed to hear that my mother should be become such a fool, and my father bid me to take notice of it to my mother, and to make peace between him and her. All which do trouble me very much.

So to bed to my wife.

52 Annotations

First Reading

Eric Walla  •  Link

Oh oh. I assume this is not talking about the old maid and that there really is no suspicion of Sam's father being guilty of this accusation. I get the feeling the Pepys men--if in fact Sam isn't lying to himself in his diary--are beginning to suspect his mother of falling prey to mental illness.

But if it were in fact a mental problem, what would they have called it in these days? What would be the treatment?

Stephen Taylor  •  Link

I'm not so sure we can assume these suspicions are groundless. After all like father like son........ Sam is rather venomous in his description of this woman aswell. Calling her a slut doesn't exactly remove any suspicions does it!!
'And so to bed to my wife'...... oooh errr

Lawrence  •  Link

Eric, I don't think its fair to assume that Sam and dad are thinking like this,( Mental health problems) maybe mum has good reasons to have her suspicions, maybe Dad's a bit like sam and has roving hands and eyes, and she just won't wear it; Also if it got out into the wider community it would be enbarrassing to Pepys, living cheek by jowl, I expect the neighbours have heard the odd crossed word.

Bob T  •  Link

I'm going to come down on the side of mental illness. Sam's mother has done odd things before, and could be in the early stages of dementia.

Diana Bonebrake  •  Link

Still, it's interesting that Sam closes his entry with "All which do trouble me very much. So to bed to my wife."
Perhaps the subject of marital infidelity resonates for him. Or, maybe I'd just like to think it does.

Mary K McIntyre  •  Link

I'm with Lawrence & Diana -- like father, like son! The old geezer tried to cop a feel and the wife's pissed. What better way to put yourself in the right than to get Sam onside and then 'Gaslight' her?

I bet Vincent gets that allusion -- anyone else know that Ingrid Bergman movie?

Mary K McIntyre  •  Link

Sorry, Stephen -- should've credited you too!

dirk  •  Link


Only one sermon today - Sam usually goes for two, morning and afternoon. Maybe going to his father's place didn't leave enough time to hear his moning sermon?

dirk  •  Link

Diary of Ralph Josselin - Sunday 28 April 1661

"A very wet season almost continual floods since about middle of Feb: men cannot seed their ground but very hopelessly, nor fallow their grounds that are heavy(.) God good to me and mine, my heart stays and lives on him, who is my peace and my joy. god awakens my heart to watchfulness against some present temptations that they be no snares to me etc."

During the coronation ceremony, 5 days ago, the weather seems to have been kind however...

dirk  •  Link

"the weather seems to have been kind however" (previous annotation)

Correction: except for the "divine approval" of Charles's coronation by "raining and thundering and lightening".

Louis Anthony Scarsdale  •  Link

On "slut": see earlier discussions in the annotations on this word, whose connotations have changed over intervening centuries.

Josh  •  Link

Wouldn't it seem likely that what troubles Sam much about making peace between father and mother is the difficulty of the assignment?

Bradford  •  Link

Given Pepys's straightforwardness---even when he tries to excuse his own bad behavior he describes it first---might it not be possible that, given the evidence presented to us, Mr. Pepys might indeed not be guilty of his wife's accusations, and the case stands as his son presents it?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"an odd passage the other night in bed"
I think SP is just feeling guilty,because he knows he has done the same thing to his wife and he can see how much his father has hurt his mother and her reaction has even led people to think that she is insane; that is the reason he goes running to bed with his wife.

Vicente  •  Link

Flamma fumo est proxima. Flame follows smoke. (Plautus, Curculio}
Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur.
God finds it hard to love and be wise [at the same time] Syrus
or Ubi fumus, ibi ignis. Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Naturellement, son defends papa in the war of the sexes. Would Pops do such a thing? "Cor b***** wot a to do".

Vicente  •  Link

'tis a lawyers first line of defence: " I did not do it, it was all in her mind yer laud ship"
Re: old maid, most likely not over thirty, may not be an Earls cup of grey chai, none the less a threat to those heading for the Goldern years and play time with the next generation, which in this case is not around to Keep Gramps busy.{read story of brother p 164 of Claire Tomalin's SP TUS}

Jesse  •  Link

"ashamed to hear that my mother should be become such a fool"

Perhaps his mother was 'foolish' in making an ado over such a trivial affair. 'Come now mother, such an ugly wench and an ill favored slut. What hast thee to fear?'

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

Mary K McIntyre - Yes, I am old enough to appreciate "gaslighting", and it does seem apposite.

And Vincent,(first line of defence): the second is, of course:" I didn't hit him,Your Lordship, and anyway, he deserved it". Lots of "cognitive dissonances" flying around at the moment.

Pedro.  •  Link

The Mother and the Maid.

Can we assume that when Sam commented on the 21st, that a new maid had arrived by the choice of his mother, that the first maid had been the choice of his father? That could explain his mother's worry about his father's motives. He also says that his father was annoyed about her dismissal.
Could MrsP then have chosen a maid that she thought was a safe bet, but his father still "tries it on" and he enlists Sam to try to get him out of the myre?
(I will now duck back into the trenches.)

Rich Merne  •  Link

An olde comedie newe done by Sam Pepys:
The Father, the Mother, the Maid, and the Mulberry bush !

Xjy  •  Link

"I was ashamed to hear"
It's not the content, it's the appearance, the "shame". His parents are breaking his balls over a banal domestic squabble and he can't use them to further his career at all. They're not pretty dipolomas he can hang on his office wall, or gaudy medals for his chest, that will impress those around him who need to be impressed if he is to forward his career.

Rich Merne  •  Link

I feel the sense of "ashamed", may have changed somewhat over the centuries. In Sam's case, I feel that he was 'bothered', or even in a word he often uses; *troubled* to see etc. I dont get the impression that it was the same kind of "shame", as if his mother had run naked about the streets. ie., it was private and personal shame. There's no indication that he was worried about ridicule attaching to himself because of his mum "become such a fool". Simply, genuine family concern.

andy  •  Link

"be become such a fool" - doesn't that mean that her husband made a fool of her? I think Sam is somewhat stricken by the effect of his father's marital infidelity on his mother, and, chastened, retires to bed with his wife, which his father, having been found out, was unable to do with his.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

With Xjy I taste a bit of embarrassment with Sam. He has risen in the world and he might be looking down on his parents as lower down on the social scale. A family scandal could even impend his moving upwards.

Scott  •  Link

This is three nights in a row that Sam has thoughts running thru his mind as he goes to bed. Sounds very familar to me. Also, I am reminded of the Steely Dan song "Gaslighting Annie" which is a direct reference to the movie.

JWB  •  Link

Maids a'serving...
Vincent's citing Tomalin on mark. Reading Hooke bio which reports he, Hooke, used maid service as sex service.

Michael L  •  Link

Can anyone explain the running about between pews? I can't figure out if Sam is leaving his pew to join the ladies, or leaving their pew when they enter.

I would at first think he is leaving his original pew to join them, except that he says he is going to "another," which is odd language. Plus, didn't men and women sit on opposite sides of the church back then, which would mean he couldn't sit with them?

Krzysztof  •  Link

Aren't there any "medical" guys around? There are 1000+ reasons for Sam's mother to behave this way. For example, my mother (over 80 now) is suffering from hypertension. When her blood pressure comes really high, I can almost feel it from her behaviour: she's extremely upset and unpleasant to my father (almost 90), whom she's accusing of most improbable offences. Could it be that Sam, the "stone" man, inherited this susceptibility from his mother? Renal hypertension suspected. Again, "medical" guys and girls please respond. Sam definitely deserves your advice!

Vicente  •  Link

He was quiting the best seat in the Place ? [it was not HIS pew that he was using?] [one of the possible reasons] 'Tis Vespers that the Ladies do go to?{and show off the finery}, My impression is that he was either embarrassed by having their attention in front of the Minister, {Preacher} or they very much enjoying commenting on 'wot' the local colorfull ladies were wearing or doing. And all he wanted to do was to hear the Sermon?
Or simply did not like being jostled or in such close touch ? He liked having their attention when he did leave. Remember this is not his regular pew of privilege, but he could be at St Brides, and he had to leave this pew as he he had not contributed to its upkeep. I do think.

Mary  •  Link

changing pews.

Sam starts off in one pew, but when an excess of ladies appears (the women evidently all want to sit together) he removes himself to another pew. All fairly straightforward.

We have seen before that the women tend to sit apart from the men in church, (thought there seems to be no rigid rule about it) and this is a custom that still persists in certain non-conformist churches.

Vicente  •  Link

"medical reasons", blud does rush to where it is most needed; there is only so much of it, so the brain is shy some [ for some men, that is]. It cannot bee in two places at the same time. As for Madame Pepys, 'tis much easier to tell her, it is all your Imagination.

Pauline  •  Link

"...Sam is somewhat stricken by the effect of his father's marital infidelity on his mother….”
Andy, doesn’t it sound more like Sam is stricken that his mother would think such a thing given the woman as Sam describes her? This is a vehement description that really leads me to believe that Sam thinks there is no possiblity of there being any merit in his mother’s charge. Whether an infidelity happened or not, Sam is thinking not.

I agree with Rich Merne above, that the word *ashamed* may be used by Sam slightly differently than we are taking it. In looking back through his use of it, perhaps it has a small sense of wanting to avoid, wanting to have no part in.

Brad W  •  Link

Seems we're about evenly split on whether Pepys the elder was guilty or not.

To me it's not clear from Sam's account just who is right; and I think that's the real theme here. Anyone who's ever been in the position of being dragged into a family quarrel, where love for and loyalty to both parties makes it painful to believe the charges either one makes, can relate to the confusion Sam is feeling. His writing today doesn't clear up the question of who is right, but it shines through with the complex emotions the whole thing has put into him.

susan  •  Link

If Sam has to choose sides between his parents, either his mother will believe her son thinks she is crazy, or his father will believe his son thinks he is the worst kind of philanderer with someone really gross. I wouldn't want to be in his position!

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

If Sam's dragged into the family quarrel its a no-win deal, as Susan notes. But there has been no problem for our annotators in taking sides! His father has now twice complained about his mother making a jealous fuss over a maid, (and I believe it's a new maid this time). Sam appears to accept his father's view that his mother is acting unreasonably ("foolish") and it pains him. We are only getting one side of the story, to be sure. While there's clearly more back story to this quarrel than we know, it is clear that Sam's mother's anger is strong. It may be justified and accurately directed. Or it may not be. We just don't know.

language hat  •  Link

"We just don't know.”
Amen, and I wish people could accept this and not get bogged down in unprovable theories. (Personally, I’m somewhat alarmed at the number of people who leap to the conclusion that It’s All Mom’s Fault, but… we just don’t know.)

Australian Susan  •  Link

The Maids:
Is this "ugly wench" the new maid which Mrs Pepys senior chose some while back? Or is it somebody else. Describing her as "lately" in the house sounds as though she was a temporary person, such as someone brought in to do the monthly laundry. I thought that Mrs P was cross because, having got rid of the troublesome maid and got another one, her husband now seems to be committing improprieties (at least) with someone else - and an ill-favoured someone else at that! Whether or not Sam's father really was doing this or not, the problem now is, Mrs Pepys senior no longer trusts her husband. Nothing either her husband or son says is going to do away with this. Maybe that is what troubles Sam: he's got to live with the results of the destruction of trust between his father and mother and cannot see how it will be resolved.
I think Sam is just being polite. He is not in a pew he has paid rent on, so leaves it for a public bench when it gets crowded with other, female, relatives. It would be impolite for his presence to force them to go to a public bench.

Pauline  •  Link

-It's All Mom's Fault-
“Fault” could be too heavy a word for what is happening here.

On the other hand we could be alarmed at people who leap to the conclusion that It’s All Dad’s Fault.

Let’s just read the actual words closely and see what happens next. And be willing to never know if there is no “next.”

And no score keeping! We can surely point out things about this entry without taking a side in the question of whether Mr. Pepys is guilty of upsetting his wife with an “interest” in the servant or Mrs. Pepys is paranoid about this servant for her own reasons.

Anyone who missed it, this question goes back to the April 1 diary entry.

Jackie  •  Link

Attitudes towards womens' "proper" roles in society were rather different then. It was considered absolutely right that men had full power over their wives' property and women were generally held to have a duty of obedience to their husbands.

Mrs. Pepys was acting shamefully by arguing with her husband in front of people and not agreeing with him. By opposing his views, she was not acting like a proper woman.

Remember, in those days, if a man beat his wife, she was generally held to be at fault because clearly if she'd been a better wife then she would not have been beaten.

Sam is acting like a man of his time. And sadly there are still those around with similar views.

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

Vincent: "...blood does rush to where it is most needed ..."

T'would be nice if 'twere so.

Rich Merne  •  Link

Vincente; Is this the *med. opinion* asked for? I, though I cannot speak for all, wont sue!

Pedro.  •  Link

Amen, and I wish people could accept this and not get bogged down in unprovable theories.

Does the internet mirror television? No wonder the soaps have such huge followings! Two great days of Coronation have 38 and 31 entries and this has 42..sorry 43.

Ruben  •  Link

Pedro is counting... and he is right!
As I see it, todays interesting knowledge refreshment & adquisitions were the "pew etiquette business", Plautus and Jackie's comment on women's place in the family.

Second Reading

AndreaLouise Hanover  •  Link

... the most ill-favoured slut that ever I saw in my life, which I was ashamed to hear that my mother should be become such a fool... Love it!

Third Reading

LKvM  •  Link

Btw, for what it's worth, at this time Margaret Kite Pepys was about 56 (born circa 1605). She's too old to be menopausal and too young to be demented. She's just angry.

RM  •  Link

Sadly, Sam's mother reminds me of my stepmother, as she was overcome by dementia. I suppose in those days it was less known as a condition and would be explained away as 'foolishness'.

Tonyel  •  Link

As recently as World War Two when I was a child in the country, it was commonly accepted that there was little treatment available for mental problems, especially for the mass of people on lower incomes. One heard people being described as 'simple' or 'a bit touched' but you rarely saw them - they were kept hidden indoors from a sense of shame or just for safety. It was a fact of life but also a burden for those who had to look after them. I imagine this was what worried Sam and his father.

徽柔  •  Link

Interesting how SP only listened to his father.
At Pepys' time, there was Bethlem hospital for lunatics. The environment was so horrible that Charles I dismissed the keeper-physician for neglecting the lunatics there in 1632.Rich people tended to keep their lunatics hidden under the watchful eyes of their servants.
The first Duke of Buckingham's brother, Viscount Purbeck, was a notorious lunatic who was often sent abroad by his family for ‘convalescence.’That gave his wife,Frances Coke, a perfect chance to carry on a clandestine love affair. The Duke of Buckingham, too, was once feared by his doctors to be going mad with a disease. I wonder whether the second duke was a
genetic lunatic. He looked like one.

RLB  •  Link

@LKvM: 56 is by no means too old to be menopausal. It's near the old end of the range, but not unheard of. As for too young for it to be dementia... Early Onset Alzheimer is a thing, and 56 isn't even *very* young for it to start. So, it could indeed be either of those; but as we have no real evidence for either, all that really means is that it's silly to speculate either way. Sometimes people just take an irrational dislike to someone else.

Christopher Boondoc  •  Link

Seems such a striking accusation and language! Can we believe this diary discussion has been going on for 20 years! Quite wonderful.

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