Thursday 12 September 1661

Though it was an office day, yet I was forced to go to the Privy Seal, at which I was all the morning, and from thence to my Lady’s to dinner at the Wardrobe; and in my way upon the Thames, I saw the King’s new pleasure-boat that is come now for the King to take pleasure in above bridge; and also two Gundaloes that are lately brought, which are very rich and fine.

After dinner I went into my Lady’s chamber where I found her up now out of her childbed, which I was glad to see, and after an hour’s talk with her I took leave and to Tom Trice again, and sat talking and drinking with him about our business a great while. I do find I am likely to be forced to pay interest for the 200l. By and by in comes my uncle Thomas, and as he was always a close cunning fellow, so he carries himself to me, and says nothing of what his endeavours are, though to my trouble I know that he is about recovering of Gravely, but neither I nor he began any discourse of the business. From thence to Dr. Williams (at the little blind alehouse in Shoe Lane, at the Gridiron, a place I am ashamed to be seen to go into), and there with some bland counsel of his we discuss our matters, but I find men of so different minds that by my troth I know not what to trust to.

It being late I took leave, and by link home and called at Sir W. Batten’s, and there hear that Sir W. Pen do take our jest of the tankard very ill, which I am sorry for.

12 Sep 2004, 11:02 p.m. - Pedro.

"at the little blind alehouse in Shoe Lane, at the Gridiron, a place I am ashamed to be seen to go into" The Gridiron, was this the name of the alehouse? Can't find any record, but there was a famous Goose and Gridiron at St.Paul's Churchyard. Shoe Lane features in many trials at the Old Bailey, one of which involved Highway Robbery by a Samuel Lord, close to a tavern near Shoe Lane in 1677. From other cases there seems to have been taverns called "The Robin Hood", the Sun Tavern and the Temple Alehouse, up to 1716.

12 Sep 2004, 11:19 p.m. - dirk

"hear that Sir W. Pen do take our jest of the tankard very ill, which I am sorry for" What did he expect?

13 Sep 2004, 5:22 a.m. - Ruben

looking for " the King's new pleasure-boat”, I found this nice painting (full of details) of a few years later where we can see similar vessels, or may the originals?

13 Sep 2004, 8:12 a.m. - George

" I saw the King's new pleasure-boat that is come now for the King to take pleasure in above bridge; “ Ruben, I read this as a river boat to be used for trips up river, as opposed to the sea going vessels in the picture.

13 Sep 2004, 10:01 a.m. - andy

"at the little blind alehouse ...a place I am ashamed to be seen to go into" Remember 31 August when he met the two whores at another alehouse: "so that I took no pleasure but a great deal of trouble in being there and getting from thence for fear of being seen". Sam is evidently getting concerned about his public image! Incidentally, what does "blind" mean in describing an alehouse - no windows?

13 Sep 2004, 10:03 a.m. - andy

hear that Sir W. Pen do take our jest of the tankard very ill Yes I agree with Dirk, a great joke if you're in it, but not if you're the victim of it, as S. has just found out. Boys will be boys.

13 Sep 2004, 11:27 a.m. - Ruben

pleasure-boat I am sorry I did not explain myself better. The idea was to look at the small boats around the sea going vessels. The interpretation of the painting explains that the scene is from the River Thames near Coldharbour Point.

13 Sep 2004, 12:51 p.m. - Lawrence

"Blind" per L&M Companion, "ii. 192 out of the way, private, obscure: cf."blind alley"

13 Sep 2004, 1:19 p.m. - Glyn

Hmm, on the one hand we have Sir William Penn, a fighting sailor who joined the navy when but a boy and has either killed people himself in swordfights or seen them get killed; on the other hand we have Pepys, who can be timid when in physical danger. I know who I'd bet on. It may be unfair, but I think William Batten will get away with it even though he "stole" the tankard. It's the two or more letters that Pepys wrote, abusing Penn and no doubt sending him on fools errands all over the town, that caused the real offence since Penn can take them out of the drawer and read them again and again. If this had been 17th-century Japan, no doubt Pepys would have had to commit hari-kiri, but as it is I'm very surprised that Penn didn't get him sacked. Better do some serious grovelling Sam!

13 Sep 2004, 1:39 p.m. - Mark Ynys-Mon

for the Pleasure Boat a good indication of what sort of thing was involved can be seen in Canaletto's paintings of the Thames and Livery Barges from 70 years later. See and especially the large gold barges in the centre.

13 Sep 2004, 5:35 p.m. - BradW

saw the King's new pleasure-boat Hang on, wasn’t Charles II the first Englishman to own a specimen of the recent Dutch innovation “the Yacht”, meaning an ocean-going vessel that was neither warship nor merchant vessel, but built only for luxurious travel? This is what I took Sam’s phrase to mean, although perhaps his use of the word “boat” disproves my assertion.

13 Sep 2004, 6:01 p.m. - Mary

the King's new pleasure boat. This (per L&M footnote) was the 'Bezan', a smaller variety of the yacht 'Mary' which had been presented to the king by the Dutch (cf. Dutch bezaan = mizzen). Pepys was later to sail down river in her.

13 Sep 2004, 6:04 p.m. - Mary

"by my troth" again. Perhaps it is Sam's catch-phrase of the moment. 'Indeed', 'upon my word', 'I swear' seem good equivalents.

13 Sep 2004, 8:19 p.m. - Vincent Bell

Found a picture of the pleasure boat - at :,%20the%20Younger&action=ArtistTitle "On the extreme right is the forepart of a Dutch bezan yacht, thought to be the one given to Charles II in 1661" re: the tankard - Sams in trouble! I guess the fun was essentially of the giggling because we're underminding authority ilk. If I were Sir W Penn I would find it very hard to see why they all found so it so funny - though I can vaguely see where they are coming from - anyway, as Sir W Penn I'd be looking to make a statement that make it very clear who was in control around here - compensation from Sam of some sort maybe - watching Sam endlessly polish up all his silver tankards one evening may be appropriately humiliating.

13 Sep 2004, 9:53 p.m. - Bob T

Blind I wonder if "obscure, out of the way", is the only meaning of this word. Years ago, a "Blind Pig" was the name for a bootlegger. See what I'm getting at?

13 Sep 2004, 11:38 p.m. - Robert Gertz

I think the problem vexing "Fighting Bill" Penn, conqueror of Jamaica, in properly dealing with our boy (ie, a quick, one-way night boat ride in a sewn-up sack) is that little Pepys has the backing of Lord Sandwich and Montague has the King's ear for now. Then too, he'd never hear the end of it from that 1660s hippy Quaker boy of his... "But prithee Dad, God wants thee to love thy enemies...Not drown them in the Thames."

12 Aug 2014, 12:23 a.m. - Bill

"at the little blind alehouse in Shoe Lane" [Feb. 9, 1655] Major general Worsley to secretary Thurloe, ... We have put down a considerable number of alehouses, after takeing notice of these several quallifications following; viz. 1. Such as have been in armes against the parliament ... 2. Such as have good trades and need not thereunto. 3. Such as stand in by and dark corners, and go under the name of blind alehouses. ---A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, September, 1655 to May, 1656.

12 Sep 2014, 8:55 a.m. - Sasha Clarkson

In fact, the prank upon the admiral proves to be a "storm in a tankard", and blows over pretty quickly; even if there was a pause, Sam is soon socialising with Penn and his family again. Indeed, over the course of the diary, it is obvious that Penn enjoys Sam's company and they are often together. I don't think it helpful to make comparisons with Japan, a different culture with different social norms and command structures: such a prank would not have been played there.

13 Sep 2014, 2:58 a.m. - Nate Lockwood

Well, there's link rot. Here is the painting said to to include a bezan but I don't see any single masted 15 foot gaff rigged boat. Perhaps it's the one in the center of the picture but with the mast un-stepped. Not very interesting, that!

13 Sep 2014, 3:07 a.m. - Louise Hudson

Lawrence thought blind alley might describe a blind ale house, but a blind alley is one that is closed at one end.

13 Sep 2014, 3:36 p.m. - Nate Lockwood

My first thought when I read 'blind ale house' was a disreputable place, populated with disreputable people, known not by a sign, but by reputation; a dive. The kind of place from which Sam would not want to be recognized when leaving.

21 Sep 2014, 11:21 p.m. - Chris Squire UK

OED has: ‘blind . . III. Transferred. 6. a. Enveloped in darkness; dark, obscure. arch. . . 1666 S. Pepys Diary 26 Sept. (1972) VII. 296 The little blind bed-chamber. . . 8. a. Out of sight, out of the way, secret, obscure, privy. Cf. blind alley n. . . 1661 S. Pepys Diary 15 Oct. (1970) II. 195 To Paul's churchyard to a blind place, where Mrs. Goldsborough was to meet me.’ SP's meaning here is clear enough.

29 May 2017, 1:13 p.m. - eileen d.

No Spoilers, PLEASE, e.g. Sasha Clarkson's post (above): "In fact, the prank upon the admiral proves to be a "storm in a tankard", and blows over pretty quickly; even if there was a pause, Sam is soon socialising with Penn and his family again." what purpose does it serve to kill our pleasurable feelings of suspense about how this little drama will unfold?

30 Sep 2017, 9:44 p.m. - Terry Foreman

"the King's new pleasure boat" L&M note Pepys sailed in the Bezan and used her as a floating office on several journeys down river from the Bridge in 1665.