Sunday 25 August 1661

(Lord’s day). At church in the morning, and dined at home alone with my wife very comfortably, and so again to church with her, and had a very good and pungent sermon of Mr. Mills, discoursing the necessity of restitution.

Home, and I found my Lady Batten and her daughter to look something askew upon my wife, because my wife do not buckle to them, and is not solicitous for their acquaintance, which I am not troubled at at all.

By and by comes in my father (he intends to go into the country to-morrow), and he and I among other discourse at last called Pall up to us, and there in great anger told her before my father that I would keep her no longer, and my father he said he would have nothing to do with her. At last, after we had brought down her high spirit, I got my father to yield that she should go into the country with my mother and him, and stay there awhile to see how she will demean herself. That being done, my father and I to my uncle Wight’s, and there supped, and he took his leave of them, and so I walked with [him] as far as Paul’s and there parted, and I home, my mind at some rest upon this making an end with Pall, who do trouble me exceedingly.

37 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

" the necessity of restitution"
what could that mean?

dirk  •  Link


Case closed. Still, I wonder what exactly Pall did so terribly wrong to earn this???

dirk  •  Link

Rev. Josselin's diary for today

"God good to us in manifold mercies, my wife not well, I see she apprehends a breeding again with fear, the blessing of a fruitful womb is by weakness of nature her fear. Saw a book of prodigies, the drift seems to encourage the downcast part of men, they shall up, and the episcopal way come to utter ruin, lord thy word is my counsellor, I pray thee help me thereby, god good to me in the word this day, teach me thy fear."

"Breeding" sounds quite disrespectful to modern ears, but then again it might not have sounded unusual in Sam's time (cfr earlier discussions on women in 17th c). Still it seems Rev. Josselin is worried more about his wife not "breeding" than about her not feeling well...

Josh  •  Link

"to see how she will demean herself."

demean, as in "abase"?
or, from "demeanor," how she will behave, comport herself?

Glossaries in L&M Companion and "Shorter Pepys" do not cite the word.

dirk  •  Link


1. To manage; to conduct; to treat.
"[Our] clergy have with violence demeaned the matter." --Milton.

2. To conduct; to behave; to comport; -- followed by the reflexive pronoun.
"They have demeaned themselves Like men born to renown by life or death." --Shakespeare.
"They answered ... that they should demean themselves according to their instructions." --Clarendon.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, - 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

JWB  •  Link

demean & restitution
Perhaps Sam made a meaningful slip and meant redeem instead of demean. Redemption implies restitution. It's not enough to confess guilt and ask for forgiveness, one must make good. I guess Pall needs to make good for the silver tankard and Will's clock. Just a guess.

dirk  •  Link

"the necessity of restitution"

On the necessity of restitution see:…
This is a modern text, but it might very well be similar to what Sam heard.

Pauline  •  Link

Rev. Josselin's diary for today
Dirk, I read it that she fears she is pregnant again—not feeling well as in morning sickness.

Pauline  •  Link

"...after we had brought down her high spirit..."
It almost sounds like Sam and his father worked out a scenario of how they were going to handle Pall before they called her upstairs. I take Sam's anger as not of the moment, but pulled out to effect Pall's dismissal.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Thanks Dirk

Australian Susan  •  Link

"necessity of restitution"
The essay cited by Dirk is an excellent Biblical commentary. But maybe Mr Mills was also getting at restoration of lands, estates, titles etc. from pre-interregnum days?? The politio-religious mix?? Isn't "pungent" a good adjective in this context?
Pall and behaviour:
I agree with Pauline. It looks as though Sam and his dad set this up! I think "demean" is right. Her behaviour will be monitored to see that she has learnt how to conform to what is acceptable. Grinding down of individuals!

vicente  •  Link

13:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
13:4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish…
the Sermon would be applied to any of 17C problems.

vicente  •  Link

The 17C: Does it not make the times very clear: on ones knees girl , kowtow. Pall saying on bended knee:"Oh! you are A VERY good brother, Papa, I be a good girl, I did not mean it when I said ' go do a biological impossibility'".
A servant's place is DO and button ones lip. They could be whipped for sauce with only a loin cloth on. There were no rights and no Ritalin[ADHD: methylphenidate].
I do believe REV. Jocelyn's statement, give a Strong indication of men's attitude to the fair sex.{ inspite all that is written in the Bible, of the thou shalts.}
The discipline outlined by church, military,school and law was for complete submissiveness, fortunately 20% failed the test and became masters of their own destiny.

Australian Susan  •  Link

The Revd J's attitude reminds me of reading the missionary David Livingstone's diaries. Shortly after his wife arrived in Africa to join him in his work, he is writing in his diary in disgust that she is "with child again" and thus unable to assist him as he desired in his missionary work. Mr L. seems to have put all the blame for the pregnancy on his wife!

Mary  •  Link

'my wife do not buckle to them'

OED quotes an obsolete use of 'buckle', meaning to give way, submit, cringe or truckle. Relations with the female Battens are clearly worsening, notably since Sam has discovered that Lady Batten has been (at least, in the past) no better than she should be.

If Elizabeth is declining to kowtow to Lady B. with Sam's full approval, then it must also mean that Sam feels that Batten's own power and influence are waning; otherwise it would be a most impolitic move

David A. Smith  •  Link

"in great anger told her before my father ... and my father he said"
Neither Sam nor his father have much experience firing people, especially those whose conduct has gradually worsened rather than having a sharp-pointed breach. (I also speculate that Elizabeth has been counseling against termination.)
One can imagine them making a pact with each other, "I'm going to be tough, are you going to be tough?" ... and even then they give her, as the Spanish Inquisition might have said, "three last chances."

ogill  •  Link

I have been trying to figure out whether Mrs. Pepys goes to church twice on the Sabbath as Samuel does. In this entry he says "again to church with her"
wheras most times he just says "to church" mayhap she is not as entertained by a sermon as Samuel is.

Mary  •  Link


The general pattern for Sundays seems to be that Sam goes to church without Elizabeth in the morning (is she taking care of the Sunday dinner?) but then accompanies her to church in the afternoon. Not a rigid rule, but one that is normally observed.

vicente  •  Link

The sunday Din Din must be ready for eating when HE walks in, so Eliza must be watching the kettle, then when HE is fed, then the Weekly dose of Homilies, or fashion watching may be indulge in. [thank goodness for the Soaps]
So sorry to be be so cynical.

vicente  •  Link

'Buckle'"...because my wife do not buckle to them..." The meaning has not changed much, "Buckle down ladd and get ye nose to the grind stone before you get a taste of this buckle" Ah! the good olde days!

Lorry  •  Link

Now this settles my curiosity as to why Pall was still with Sam's household on August 22nd (Thursday). This girl must be a little headstrong for Sam's taste to get him so riled up.

Glyn  •  Link

So, she's been given 24 hours to pack and get out of town, which won't even be long enough to say good-bye to all her friends. And she's going to miss Bartholomew Fair in a few days time, which no doubt she had been looking forward to.

What's a big-city girl like Pall going to do in the deepest countryside, where you hardly ever see anything entertaining like a decent execution? I suspect that Pall wasn't very good at being a servant girl but she should have been given more time, especially as everyone else seems to have been planning this for weeks.

steve h  •  Link

Domestic stress

What is so lovely about these diaries is their often exotic juxtaposition of historical events and Sam's careerism with the often sticky and all-too-familiar problems of domestic life -- wives and husbands, colleagues, wives of colleagues, troublesome sisters, mothers, and brothers, getting craftspeople to do a good job, money worries including cash flow and losing your job, jealousies, managing other people's opinion of you, legal hassles, and so on. Looking at Joseelin and Evelyn's diaries, and indeed most writing before the nineteenth century, you just don't see the hassles of everyday (middle-class) life so well (and familarly) expressed.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

It sounds a bit to me like Pall had a bit too much attitude for Sam's liking. I find it quite probable that she behaved differently there than she would of at the same job with another family. Since she grew up with Sam, she was no doubt very familiar to him, and possibly gave him a piece of her mind whenever she felt like it. Sam, while perhaps willing to deal with it from a sister who didn't live with him, was probably not willing to deal with it from a servant who did.

Or maybe she was just a rebellious sort of girl.

This is just speculation, though, and we won't really know unless Sam records more exact reasons for his dismissal of Pall.

vicente  •  Link

Oh! wot a luverly day it is.
"..had a very good and pungent sermon .."
fire and brimstone day---- 'ye shall all likewise perish,'
"...I found my Lady Batten and her daughter look something askew upon my wife, because my wife do not buckle to them..." [who do they think they are?]
"...we had brought down her high spirit..." [come down from that high 'orse.]
Tacita est melior mulier semper quam loquens
plautus Rudens 1114
"...I home, my mind at some rest upon this making an end with Pall, who do trouble me exceedingly..." [no night mares]
"What's a big-city girl? “to do —- moo
{ the modern man would just say Women ? Just do not understand them}
note: in saxon: female is for looking at, not for listening too.
other wise Sam may remember Livy’s quoting of Cato.
Simul ac [mulieres] pares esse coeperint, superiores erunt .
When women equal men, they will run the show.

roboto  •  Link

"in great anger told her before my father that I would keep her no longer"

Do you think SP and his father were play "good COP, bad COP" with Pall?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Kinda cute to see Sam and Beth as a team, him cheering her on..."Give em hell, Bess!" I'd suspect Lady B has been cutting as to the Pepys' social standing on occasion to warrant Sam's eagerness to see the Missus get scrappy.

Pall been telling tales at the maids' table perhaps? Sulking that her own very successful brother is serious about the 'treat like a servant' thing...

Not much as to Beth's feelings regarding Pall but I'd bet Pall has been less than eager to jump to her beautiful, half-French, novel-reading sis-in-law's tune...

Second Reading

Louise Hudson  •  Link

" At last, after we had brought down her high spirit, I got my father to yield that she should go into the country with my mother and him, and stay there awhile to see how she will demean herself. "

Sounds to me as if he thought she was too "high spirited." Apparently not in keeping with how he thought a young woman should behave. In other words she refused to bow down to her brother! Good for Pall! I wonder how they "brought down her high spirit."

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson:

>I wonder how they "brought down her high spirit."

Raw fear. If neither Sam nor his father would employ her, what was she to do?

Get a position with another family, one which would treat her with the respect she deserves? She'd need a good reference. Chances of that? Square root of boo-all.

Make a poor marriage? A surefire recipe for her getting ridden hard and put away wet for the rest of her life. Maybe her male relatives could provide enough dowry to buy her a little less drudgery, but hardly a life she'd dream of.

The convent? Assuming they'd take her, they're the experts in breaking high spirits. A bare existence, constantly told what to do, hard work, zero prospects - a life sentence.

It's a matter of near life-or-death importance that Pall retain respectability. If she can make a respectable marriage she would be the lady of a household where there might be servant(s) to take the edge off the hard work. Maybe some leisure time and even a little luxury from time to time.

Sam & his dad briefly pulled aside the veil and showed her the chasm. She has to demonstrate some value, beyond whatever dowry may go with her. By the way that's value by 17th century standards, not 21st century.

Mary K  •  Link

Two Pepys women are thus failing to buckle, one to Samuel's entire satisfaction and the other definitely not.

Bill  •  Link

Nice point Mary K, and, reading between the lines, his mother is no push-over either.

Bill  •  Link

"to see how she will demean herself."

To DEMEAN, to carry or behave himself or act well or ill.
DEMEAN, Behaviour.
DEMEANOUR, Behaviour, Carriage.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"a very good and pungent sermon of Mr. Mills, discoursing the necessity of restitution"

We don't know if Mr. Mills had any political allusions in his sermon, but I don't need to cite the dictionary to note that "restitution" and "restoration" are synonyms.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"Good for Pall"?

The choices for everyone in the seventeenth century were harsh: if you didn't inherit money, it was work or starve. If you thought you were too good to work, you'd better have some unearned private income. Was Pall inherently "better" than any of Pepys' housemaids? I think not. Was she more deserving than Sam's wife? I'm sure that if Pall had been so pleasant that Elizabeth had wanted too keep her, Sam would have acquiesced. Sam records his disagreements with his wife: there were none over Pall.

Although Papa Pepys was of yeoman stock, with aristocratic connections, he was merely a tradesman, and not overly successful: the family couldn't afford passengers. This might well have been a bitter pill for poor Pall to accept: as a companion to Elizabeth, she would have had glimpses of the pampered lives of the Pepys' aristocratic relatives. She may well not have understood that part of the reason for Sam's success was that HE was not too proud to kow-tow when necessary.

Back to reality: Pall was already 21: ie, of an age to be married or to work. Even in the 21st century, no-one would claim that she had a fundamental right to be housed and maintained in leisure by the relative of her choice: "if you don't like the rules of the house. move out and fend for yourself" would be the choice now. In Pepys' day it was even starker.

The other problem on the horizon is setting Sam's brother Tom up to be independent and carry on the business. Tom is older than Pall, but there are many difficulties ahead there too.

Martin  •  Link

Demean herself: Bill has it right. The French 'se demener' would now be translated as 'behave oneself' but it looks as though a more etymologically direct option was available in the 17th century.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Sasha seems to me to sum up the problem of Pall pretty well. We all have to learn how to do deference in order to learn a crust - some find it much harder than others.

OED offers:

‘demean . . 6. a. refl. To behave, conduct or comport oneself (in a specified way). The only existing sense: cf. demeanour n.
. . a1616 Shakespeare Comedy of Errors (1623) iv. iii. 82 Now out of doubt Antipholus is mad, Else would he neuer so demeane himselfe.
. . 1682 J. Norris tr. Hierocles Golden Verses 31 We should..demean ourselves soberly and justly towards all . . ‘

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"so again to church with her, and had a very good and pungent sermon of Mr. Mills, discoursing the necessity of restitution."

L&M: Cf. Acts, iii, 21: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.(KJV)

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