Friday 6 September 1661

This morning my uncle Fenner by appointment came and drank his morning draft with me, and from thence he and I go to see my aunt Kite (my wife holding her resolution to go this morning as she resolved yesterday, and though there could not be much hurt in it, yet my own jealousy put a hundred things into my mind, which did much trouble me all day), whom we found in bed and not like to live as we think, and she told us her mind was that if she should die she should give all she had to her daughter, only 5l. apiece to her second husband’s children, in case they live to come out of their apprenticeships, and that if her daughter should die before marrying, then 10l. to be divided between Sarah Kite’s children and the rest as her own daughter shall dispose of it, and this I set down that I may be able to swear in case there should be occasion.

From thence to an alehouse while it rained, which kept us there I think above two hours, and at last we were fain to go through the rainy street home, calling on his sister Utbert and drank there. Then I home to dinner all alone, and thence my mind being for my wife’s going abroad much troubled and unfit for business, I went to the Theatre, and saw “Elder Brother” ill acted; that done, meeting here with Sir G. Askew, Sir Theophilus Jones, and another Knight, with Sir W. Pen, we to the Ship tavern, and there staid and were merry till late at night, and so got a coach, and Sir Wm. and I home, where my wife had been long come home, but I seemed very angry, as indeed I am, and did not all night show her any countenance, neither before nor in bed, and so slept and rose discontented.

28 Annotations

Josh  •  Link

Tears at Bedtime? Did he not deign to do something so vulgar as to relate his day's adventures and then ask, "Well, what did YOU do today?"

daniel  •  Link

a wonderful and strange entry

but the strangest part is the sister "utbeck'!

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"sister Utbeck"
either from Central Asia or Australia

Pauline  •  Link

"...his sister Utbeck ..."
L&M Companion has an entry for a naval commander Riches Utber (d.1669); the entry ends with "Thomas Fenner's sister 'Utbert' has not been identified."

Pauline  •  Link

"a wonderful and strange entry"
Leopold Bloom had a day just like this, back in June 1904. Took considerably more words to describe it, but much the same day.

JWB  •  Link

So many Utleys, so few Utbecks. Ut is common Germanic-O.N., O. Frisian, Gothic for out or up &/or away. Utbeck would be a mountain stream, further out or up; an utley would be a meadow further out or away.

dirk  •  Link

"5£ apiece to her second husband's children, in case they live to come out of their apprenticeships”

As discussed on previous occasions, there is a fair chance they don’t - considering child mortality…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...a wonderful and strange entry"
Leopold Bloom had a day just like this, back in June 1904. Took considerably more words to describe it, but much the same day…”

Yeah, definitely. But I don’t think Sam has a Blazes Boylan to worry about here.

It does suggest a clue as to the great prediary row between Beth and Sam-He’s obviously fighting a losing battle to maintain a calm and reasonable attitude toward the sit, probably remembering what happening the last time he attempted to keep her from some innocent contact. Also interesting that he doesn’t feel he can order her not to go, though he clearly hoped and no doubt dropped enormous by turns hopeful and joking, then sulking, hints that she would choose not to go to please him…

You go girl, he deserves a little sweat and blood over you.

Mary  •  Link

Sam can resist everything but temptation.

Part of his personal summary made at the end of August acknowledged that he was given to too much going to plays and that he maust labour to overcome this frivolity/extravagance. Barely a week later, here he is, off to the theatre again and excusing himself with the thought that he needed something to take his mind off Elizabeth's business with the French footman and that work was out of the question. No doubt he'll discover another 'sound' reason or two for falling short of August's good intentions in days to come.

E  •  Link

Sorry to be a wet blanket...
...but isn't it quite possible that the Frenchman brought a message from Elizabeth's brother Balthasar St Michel?

We know that Elizabeth was pleading her brother's cause a few days ago (27th August). Not speaking to his wife would save Pepys from hearing any new requests.

Pedro.  •  Link

On this day ..

On 6 September 1661, King Charles appointed Henry Morduant, second Earl of Peterborough, as governor and captain-general of all the forces in Tangier, with orders to raise one regiment of foot and a troop of 100 horse.
(Arrives 29th January 62)

PHE  •  Link

Why is Sam so unable to question his wife about the Frenchman? He is presumably ashamed of appearing jealous, but surely there is no shame (certainly in the 17th century) in asking his wife about why she was meeting this man. While Sam is often accused of being cruel to his wife, I think the fact he is reticent about challenging her on this matter demonstrates he his quite a level of respect for her. A man who ruled over his wife would simply have banned the meeting.
Observing Sam's inner struggle with his feelings is very amusing.

andy  •  Link

did not all night show her any countenance, neither before nor in bed

wow, he'd really got the sulks!

BradW  •  Link

A man who ruled over his wife would simply have banned the meeting.

Thanks Phe, I think you're right. We may be looking at what was then the front lines of the War Between the Sexes. A woman, and especially a young woman of no great property, probably had a very few things with which to gain any leverage with her husband. Sam allows her the privacy of her association in this case, and I think we can commend him for it. But I couldn't help but imagine a jealous vigilance from Beth over this one possession of hers, unstated in Sam's account of the day. I think his forbearance in this case, hard as it is for him, springs either from his love and respect for her, or from her ferocious assertion of her rights, perhaps with nothing more than a stern look his way at the right moment. Or both.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"Sam can resist everything but temptation."

I've noticed the same tendency with respect to his occasional resolution not to have so much drink. Query: When Sam stayed at the office to set things in order while his fellow commissioners went to pay off some ships, was it because his leisure habits had left him no choice? I began to worry about Sam's devotion to duty about the time that papers for Lord Sandwich were not ready when the courier called. He seems bored, fretful and jealous. Can this be prelude to an escapade?

David A. Smith  •  Link

"my wife had been long come home, I seemed very angry, as indeed I am"
A difficult entry to parse.
The rules are clearly different for men and women (double standard, meet gender dimorphism), and as between Sam and Elizabeth -- as with every married couple, especially if they are happy :) -- there is a whole set of evolving tacit mutually understood (if not always acknowledged) rules that they work out from time to time. Is Sam upset:

* Because she was out late and he didn't know where she was, and he suppressed his relief into unexpressed anger?
* Because he imagines her flirting with the feathery Frenchy?
* Because he suspects that this is her form of silent payback to him?
* Because, perhaps fearing the argument that will immediately and loudly ensue, he chooses not to confront her about it?
* Because he saw no way to avoid going to bed angry?

A word of advice, Sam -- start every morning with a smile and a kiss, *especially* if you've gone to bed mad.

Pauline  •  Link

" wife holding her resolution to go this morning as she resolved yesterday..."
He writes as if he knows where she is going ("though there could not be much hurt in it").

He is the one who stayed out late; she had "been long come home" when he gets there.

I thought the feathery French footman was acting as emissary to set up a meeting with someone else.

His anger, showing her no countenance, is a dramatic effort to let her know he is unhappy with her meeting. Note he says he "seemed very angry" but admits he was in fact angry; making a show of how he felt for her consideration.

I agree with PHE and BradW's comments above.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"A man who ruled..."
Compare Sam's behaviour towards his wife with that towards his mother and sister. He has no second thoughts about treating both of them curtly and bundling them off to Brampton, despite tears, because he had decided this was the right thing to do. Presumably, he could have been just as firm with his wife, but chooses not to be, though at some cost to his temper (and probably his digestion!). It is fascinating to have this insight into the workings of a 17th century marriage.

David Ross McIrvine  •  Link


Massinger finished this play after Fletcher's death in 1625. The play
is admired on all hands and usually
enjoys a high rank in every generation
of criticism. Here is Swinburne's notice
of it, as a "mixed comedy and romance" of
the first order, in his essay "Beaumont and Fletcher" (from the website of the Swinburne Project at Indiana University):

Pauline  •  Link

"bundling them off to Brampton"
Sam's father has inherited a house and land in Brampton and chooses to retire there with his wife. Sam hasn't forced his mother to leave, and his sister only to the extent that she failed to fit well into his household; she is her father's responsibility not Sam's.

Pedro.  •  Link

Sam and the wife.

Tomalin says that Elizabeth walked out on Sam earlier in their marriage, and the separation lasted for several months. She says that it was her way of holding her own in the battle of their marriage, with the implied threat of a repeat performance. Perhaps this is why Sam is treading carefully?
No need for a cautious approach to Pal and his mother, but I bet he would have been putty in the hands of Babs Palmer!

vicenzo  •  Link

a: follow up on the old gang. "...meeting here with Sir G. Askew, Sir Theophilus Jones, and another Knight, with Sir W. Pen, we to the Ship tavern, and there staid and were merry till late at night..." For those that have 'dun' their bit, meeting at the Local and reminising, one can only guess at things said, Sam was to be indulged in stories of hunting down those varmits in Ireland and playing Silly B******, capturing the scilly isles back in '46, and has for some people, who sailed under any flag as long they were not flogged. [there be one Vincent, who could not rite, put his x to the pardon]and the stories go on and on. [gleened and taken liberties with info at the House of Lords in 46 under Ayscue

Antiquarian  •  Link

The Ship Tavern here has been identified as that in Ship Yard which was located south of Little Sheer Lane and north up an alley leading off The Strand (at the head of Butcher Row) in the Temple Bar district.
How can we be certain that it isn’t a reference to one of the other Ship taverns in London that have been associated with entries in Pepys’ diary? Surely this could just as equally be a reference to one of the following;
1) The Ship in Bartholomew Lane
2) The Ship in Threadneedle Street (behind the Royal Exchange)
3) The Ship in Bishopsgate Street (also referred to as The Great James)

TMN  •  Link

Sam Pepys was a serial philanderer. I guess he suspected his wife because of his own guilt. It would not surprise me to learn she died of a venereal disease courtesy of her Dear Samuel.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Elisabeth died of typhoid fever in 1669 after a short period of illness.

Given Sam's life-long problems with (hereditary) bladder stones, I doubt that he would have lived as long as he did (70 years) if he had also suffered from a venereal disease. Some philanderers were luckier and/or more careful than others.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

It occurs to me, that as Sam's ma also suffered from bladder stones (according to Wikipedia), that this might help account for her less than cheerful disposition as she got older?

Tim  •  Link

Referring to the comments a decade ago - Yes, there is something of Leopold Bloom about Pepys. The diary form does approach a stream of consciousness level. And the life of both - being ambulatory and relying on social contacts be it at the pub or elsewhere, in their day-to-day business, whether as a civil servant for the navy or as an advertising canvasser (admittedly Pepys has contact with more high-flown society) and their sometimes dodgy relationship with Elizabeth and Molly (Suspicions of young Somerset as against certainty of Blazes Boylan). Early 20th century Dublin and mid-17th century London appear to b e surprisingly close.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

‘Ambulatory’ is the mot juste to describe this world, a ‘walking-about’ culture where business was done on the street. This vanished way of life still persists in the fondness for ‘walking about money’ - a fat roll of £20 notes carried in a trouser pocket by those who pay and are paid in cash and frequent betting shops, etc..

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