Saturday 10 August 1661

This morning came the maid that my wife hath lately hired for a chamber maid. She is very ugly, so that I cannot care for her, but otherwise she seems very good. But however she do come about three weeks hence, when my wife comes back from Brampton, if she go with my father.

By and by came my father to my house, and so he and I went and found out my uncle Wight at the Coffee House, and there did agree with him to meet the next week with my uncle Thomas and read over the Captain’s will before them both for their satisfaction.

Having done with him I went to my Lady’s and dined with her, and after dinner took the two young gentlemen and the two ladies and carried them and Captain Ferrers to the Theatre, and shewed them “The merry Devill of Edmunton,” which is a very merry play, the first time I ever saw it, which pleased me well. And that being done I took them all home by coach to my house and there gave them fruit to eat and wine. So by water home with them, and so home myself.

26 Annotations

First Reading

Katherine  •  Link

She is very ugly, so that I cannot care for her, but otherwise she seems very good.>>

Mrs Pepys is no dummy.

Pedro.  •  Link

"Mrs Pepys is no dummy."

And neither is Mrs.P his mother!

gerry  •  Link

Some L&M footnotes:
The ugly maid was named Doll.
They have Mrs.P going to Brampton with mummy not daddy.
Captain's will.. Robert Pepys of Brampton had been a Captain in the Huntingdonshire militia until 1659.
The 2 ladies he took to the theatre were Lady Sandwich's children.
The play is a comedy of unknown authorship, popular at the Globe and published in 1608.

Nix  •  Link

The Merry Devil --

[Sometimes falsely attributed to Shakespeare]

"The Merry Devill of Edmonton, although the earliest known edition of it is dated 1608, was certainly written by 1604, when T.M. (? Thomas Middleton) alludes to it, in company with A Woman Kilde with Kindnesse, in his Blacke Book; twelve years later, in the prologue to The Devil is an Ass, Jonson describes it as the "dear delight" of the theatre-going public. The popularity which the play enjoyed was not unmerited; in the words of Charles Lamb, it "seems written to make the reader happy." In its blending of scenes of magic and the black art with a romantic love comedy, standing out against a pleasant background of English rural life, The Merry Devill recalls Frier Bacon and Frier Bongay. But the magic element in the play is little more than a sop to the popular taste of the day. After an induction, which is a serio-comic imitation of the famous closing scene in Dr. Faustus, we hear little more of the doings of Peter Fabell, the Edmonton magician, and give ourselves up to the main story, which shows by what devices youth and true love overcome the treasonable counsels of age and prudence. The lovers are lightly conceived; but in their veins there flows the youthful spirit and romantic ardour of the early school of Elizabethan comedy, and Millicent, the heroine, who is willing to dare much lest love be "smothered in foggy gain," is worthy of a place not far below the early heroines of Shakespeare. The play is not Shakespeare's; but its author, alike in his love romance and in the humorous and realistic scenes in which Blague the host, Smug the smith and Sir John the priest appear, is one of Shakespeare's imitators. The character of the host of the George tavern at Edmonton is modelled, as Hazlitt pointed out, on that of the host of The Merry Wives of Windsor; and this fact furnishes us with a clue as to the period at which the play was written. The source of the story is unknown, but the adventures of Peter Fabell, who, in the district round about Enfield Chase, enjoyed something of the reputation of a Dr. Faustus, had been already recorded. There was a poem, now lost but known to Warton, entitled Fabyl's Ghoste, written in octave stanzas and printed by John Rastell in 1533, which may be the same as The Merry Pranks of Fabyl mentioned by Weever; and, in the same year as that in which the play was published, Thomas Brewer's prose tract, The Life and Death of the Merry Devill of Edmonton, with the Pleasant Pranks of Smug the Smith, Sir John and mine Host of the George about the stealing of Venison, was entered at Stationers' Hall. These Fabell stories, doubtless, furnished the dramatist with some of the materials for the comic by-plot, but not for the romantic love story.”

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907-21).
Volume V. The Drama to 1642, Part One.

X. Plays of Uncertain Authorship Attributed to Shakespeare.
By F. W. MOORMAN, B.A. (London), Ph.D. (Strassburg), Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature in the University of Leeds

? 10. The Merry Devill of Edmonton.…

Mark Ynys-Mon  •  Link

The Play has been attributed to Shakespeare, and he may have had a hand in it. You can find the text at:…

I expect Sam rather liked the idea in the prologue of being borne swiftly through the air between the London area and Cambridge!

vicente  •  Link

So like the nephew [Sam] to get all his legal ducks in a row. Is not the older brother[Thom:] getting his proverbial penny.His Cousins don't appear to get look in either. There is always one favourite nephew that gets the tap on the shoulder. Coz's: Thom: and Chas: they be in wood not at sea or great hopes; Strange, always the one that needs funds the least, gets the Loot, never the needy, I guess 'tis like always, give the busy guy the extra work, never to the one that is sitting on his backside. As the half removed uncle [Wright] has no legal pull only related by grannies second hubby: So why the conference?

e  •  Link

What better insurance could the uncle buy for the family than Samuel's advancement?

Brian  •  Link

" and there gave them fruit to eat and wine." Oh how times have changed, nowdays providing alcohol to your boss's minor children would not be treated so favorably.

Ruben  •  Link

" and there gave them fruit to eat and wine."
water was a known source of disease. Wine was considered disease free (like beer).
Wine was more expensive, so best for the better. Beer was the option for lower classes (when they could pay for it).

niamh  •  Link

on the wine issue:

I remember watching a tv program a while back. Basically early people worked out that fresh water was often unsafe to drink but didn't taste nice if it was boiled.

In eastern cultures - China mostly, they discovered that if you added leaves to it it tasted nicer boiled. They drank tea.

In the West we discovered alcohol as a way of making water safe instead.

Until modern sanitation systems came into being beer and wine were among the normal drinks of the day. Read for example Tom Browns Schooldays.

StewartMcI  •  Link

Brian - minor children...

In the U.S. yes, but today in Scotland wine with food, in the company of adults, would be legal for thirteen year olds.

vicente  •  Link

Now Pa and Ma cannae be got at; He used to for medicinal purposes hand out a spoonful of Brandy [or home brewed elderberry wine] to kill the pain of chilblains and make frezzzing in the ca ca ca cold enjoyable. Then of course a nice hazel stick 8ft long, was not thought of as evil either. When it came time to buy 'me' own booze, there was no need to get drunk, just enjoy the buzz of talk, rather than waste all that money on decorating the side walk. Every thing in moderation. One of these days we are going to fine the cat or dog for swotting their young.

dirk  •  Link

Rev Josselin's diary for today:

"had in all my wheat, mislain, and some of all grains, god gave me a good crop in all corn as the year goes and a good season, praise to him."

David A. Smith  •  Link

"she is very ugly, so that I cannot care for her"
Kathryn may well be right, that Elizabeth has noticed her husband's (to quote Monty Python, "shall we say") 'tendencies,' and seeks by this means to inoculate him against another paramour paradventure. But even if we grant Elizabeth that -- which, on fragmentary evidence, I shall -- it remains remarkable that Our Sam should so confess to his diary.

Harry  •  Link

Brian - minor children
During WW2 in France, the J3 ration cards for children above the age of 12 included a wine ration, I don't remember how much, presumably less than for adults. When I was even younger my mother would ocasionally pour some wine into my water, less than 50%,"so that I wouldn't become a drunkard" (I haven't!).

Kevin Peter  •  Link

It's quite possible that the appearance of the maid is merely a coincidence.

I find it quite likely that Elizabeth Pepys was merely concerned about getting someone who could get the job done, and that appearance of the maid was unimportant.

After all, I haven't read anything so far that would lead me to believe that at this point she suspects Sam of being unfaithful.

Glyn  •  Link

Is Elizabeth getting a new maid because she thinks that Pall is not pulling her weight and doing the job she was employed for? Should Pall be worried? And is Pall younger or older than Elizabeth (who is 21)?

language hat  •  Link

"suspects Sam of being unfaithful"

Kevin, in my experience women are extremely sensitive to men's awareness of other women, especially "their" men's. Whether she "suspects Sam of being unfaithful" at this point, I would be extremely surprised if she weren't aware of the possibility and determined not to facilitate it.

dirk  •  Link

"is Pall younger or older than Elizabeth" - re Glyn

"The family (...) consisted of six sons and five daughters: John (born 1632, died 1640), Samuel (born 1633, died 1703), Thomas (born 1634, died 1664), Jacob (born 1637, died young), Robert (born 1638, died young), and John (born 1641, died 1677); Mary (born 1627), Paulina (born 1628), Esther (born 1630), Sarah (born 1635; these four girls all died young), and Paulina (born 1640, died 1680), who married John Jackson of Brampton, and had two sons, Samuel and John. The latter was made his heir by Samuel Pepys."
(From the introduction to the Wheatley edition)

So there were 2 Paulinas - I'm fairly certain we're talking about the Paulina born in 1640 - so she would have been 21 years old.

vicente  •  Link

Pall and Misstress Eliza be of the same Age? the I st, the older Paulina died age 4 aprox? according to TUS by Mistress Tomalin, As to picking an "UGLEY " duckling, 'tis nature at work, pure and Simple self preservation. In my galavanting days when girls went around in pairs, One had the looks and t'other had the brains. So if charm failed, one tried Organic chem: usually neither worked -[just an observation, no science or Publick poll].

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"She is very ugly, so that I cannot care for her"

Elizabeth may indeed have been trying to blunt SP's 'tendencies' but, spoiler alert, the new maid didn't last long.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Re the new chamber maid: on July 23rd, Pepys recorded that he had decided not to keep Pall: more is revealed later in August.

To those wondering why Uncle William Wight might have expected to have an interest in uncle Robert's will: remember that he and Robert were half-brothers. They might have had a good relationship when William was a toddler.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Oh how I wish Pepys' wife had kept a diary that survived down through the ages. What a boon that would be to know what happened from her point of view, day by day.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Carte Calendar Volume 32, June - December 1661
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Edward Edwards, 2005
Shelfmark: MS. Carte Calendar 32
Extent: 464 pages…

Lady Anne Crew Wright [sister-in-law of Sandwich, married to Sir Henry Wright] to Sandwich
Written from: Dagenhames [Essex]
Date: 10 August 1661
Shelfmark: MS. Carte 73, fol(s). 573
Document type: Holograph

Thanks for kindness shown.
Announces her accouchement of a daughter, who will live, she hopes, to be of service, in her capacity, to Lord Sandwich's family ...

Lady Anne Crew Wright…

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