Saturday 9 November 1661

At the office all the morning. At noon Mr. Davenport, Phillips, and Mr. Wm. Bernard and Furbisher, came by appointment and dined with me, and we were very merry. After dinner I to the Wardrobe, and there staid talking with my Lady all the afternoon till late at night. Among other things my Lady did mightily urge me to lay out money upon my wife, which I perceived was a little more earnest than ordinary, and so I seemed to be pleased with it, and do resolve to bestow a lace upon her, and what with this and other talk, we were exceeding merry. So home at night.

22 Annotations

First Reading

vicente  •  Link

Keep Liz happy, other wise next time ye leave the bed partner in her cups with a outsider in his cups , could have a different ending

RexLeo  •  Link

It is interesting to note that our hero has not been to the Theatre as frequently as before, after his frolicking in the coach ended with an unseemly injury. It may be that the time spent on his bed has cured him of his addiction.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Sam the Diplomat

"Among other things my Lady did mightily urge me to lay out money upon my wife, which I perceived was a little more earnest than ordinary, and so I seemed to be pleased with it" ... but really wasn't, even though he resolves to "bestow a lace upon her." Best not to seem a skinflint in front of My Lady, eh?

Mary  •  Link

"my lady did mightily urge me .....

If Milady is as sensible as she sounds, she will have urged Sam to consider his own position as a rising man and will have pointed out that he will do his reputation no good if he fails to maintain his wife in apparel suited to his own standing.

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

"my Lady did mightily urge me to lay out money upon my wife..I seemed to be pleased with it"
That must have been a great smack upside the head for Sam!
After all his documentented expenditures on hats, coats and fancy pants for himself (and recently mentioning Elizabeth's dowdy appearance) to have his special Jem comment that he spend something on his darling wife must have choked him totally!
No wonder he pretended to be pleased by her observation, privately memoed himself to bestow a lace (which I hope means throw a bit of cash) and bolstered this resolve by some excessively merry talk!

Peter  •  Link

Quite right Bullus. But it all seems very convenient. Has Sam considered the possibility that there may have been some collusion between Elizabeth and my Lady here? They could be playing him as well as he plays his beloved theorbo!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam and personal expenditure
Sam has recently spent a huge amount of money (for the time) on his instrument. He owns some costly items of clothing - such as his beaver felted fur hat. What has he been spending on Liz?? I have assumed that "a lace" means a piece of hand-made lace (Honiton? Flemish?)to be made into a collar or something similar. This would be quite an expense.Wonder if he does buy it? Watch this space.....

Glyn  •  Link

This is NOT a spoiler - I don't know anything about what is going to happen, but I do remember that his sometime lover is Betty Martin…

who sells linen at Westminster Hall. And where is she from? - Nottingham, which famously produces the best lace in Britain. So maybe he can buy some from her and please his wife and himself at the same time! What precisely is lace anyway?

Mary  •  Link

Nottingham lace?

An unlikely purchase at this date. Nottingham lace is based upon a machine-made net, and the conversion of hose-knitting machines to net-making machines did not take place until well after Pepys's day. It was the Victorians and Edwardians who made Nottingham lace really famous. If Sam buys the lace from Betty Martin, it will most likely be hand-made lace, either English or continental in origin.

Pauline  •  Link

"What precisely is lace anyway?"
from Liza Picard (p. 109): "The underskirt ("petticoat") was meant to be seen and admired, especially the front panel and hem, which were often decorated and stiffened with metal braid ("lace") incorporating so much gold or silver that the silversmith who sold it would take old lace in part exchange, knowing he could burn the silk or parchment backing and recover the bullion. (The trimming we call 'lace' was usually known as 'point'--but not always.) So much bullion went into lace in 1661 it was seriously proposed to restrict its use because of the adverse effect on national finances."

dirk  •  Link


Interesting to note that lace played a very essential part in mourning dress in Victorian times. Maybe that was already the case in Sam's time - in which case "to bestow a lace upon her [his wife]" may mean that Elisabeth is going to get a new set of mourning clothes...

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

"What precisely is lace anyway?"
Thanks, Pauline! I had always been confused reading about naval officers’ coats having “gold lace.” It makes much more sense now that I know it means gold braid. I had pictured lace made of gold thread.

Judith  •  Link

17th C lace was usually either bobbin (woven) or needle lace (buttonhole stitches, often over something stiff, like horsehair) and thread made of gold bullion wrapped around silk was popular. According to some of my sources a lace worker earned about as much as a farm worker. A five yard flounce would take 40 women 8 months to make and a cravat would cost about as much as 5 years pay of a good servant. Sam is going to have to put out some serious cash for this! There is a library of lace sources at….

pat stewart cavalier  •  Link

Lace does not mean gold braid. Some lace may be made with gold braid, but most is common or garden cotton ; in fact one could call it cotton with (deliberate and artistic) holes in it.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"At noon Mr. Davenport, Phillips, and Mr. Wm. Bernard and Furbisher," -- the Brampton crew enlarged -- "came by appointment and dined with me, and we were very merry." Pepys's dinners are making him a popular man if poorer in the pocket. Then there is the lace to deal with.

GrannieAnnie  •  Link

It is hard to believe our clever Sam didn't know his wife should be dressed as well as himself if they plan to climb the social ladder together. Or does this show an uncaring side of him in his attitude toward her? As mentioned, he has spent plenty on his own pleasure: his music, his theater, his merry meals and drink, his beaver hat and coat yet he only mentions his wife's shabby appearance. I think he definitely doesn't view her as of equal importance as himself.

Bill  •  Link

1 A string; a cord
2 A snare; a gin
3 A platted string, with which women fasten their clothes
4 Ornaments of fine thread curiously woven
5 Textures of thread with gold or silver
6 Sugar. A cant word
---A Dictionary Of The English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1756.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘lace, n. < Old French laz . . < popular Latin *lacium a noose . .
5. a. Ornamental braid used for trimming men's coats, etc.; †a trimming of this. Now only in gold lace, silver lace, a braid formerly made of gold or silver wire, now of silk or thread with a thin wrapping of gold or silver.
. . 1634 H. Peacham Gentlemans Exercise (new ed.) 135 Garters deepe fringed with gold lace.
1684 Dryden Prol. Univ. Oxf. in Misc. Poems 272 Tack but a Copper-lace to Drugget sute . .

6. A slender open-work fabric of linen, cotton, silk, woollen, or metal threads, usually ornamented with inwrought or applied patterns. Often called after the place where it is manufactured, e.g. Brussels lace n. . .
. . 1613 (title) The King's edict prohibiting all his subjects from using any gold or silver, either fine or counterfeit; all embroiderie, and all lace of Millan, or of Millan fashion.
1715 J. Gay Epist. Earl Burlington 118 The busy town..Where finest lace industrious lasses weave.
lace-man n. a man who manufactures or deals in lace . .

1669 S. Pepys Diary 26 Apr. (1976) IX. 534 Calling at the laceman's for some lace for my new suit.’

eileen d.  •  Link

as always, Chris Squire Uk, your authoritative OED citations clear away the chaff of partially-accurate annotations! thank you!

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"After all his documentented expenditures on hats, coats and fancy pants ..."

The word “pants” comes from commedia dell’arte, a form of Italian theater dating back to the 16th century, which featured a character archetype named “Pantalone.” Typically, Pantalone was a scheming old villain who eventually became the butt of a joke, and was often costumed in a pair of red, tight-fitting trousers.
A similar style of pants, known as “pantaloons” (an anglicized form of “Pantalone”), became popular in England during the Restoration period.
For a few hundred years, “pantaloon” referred to various types of trousers, until Americans started using the word “pants” in the early 19th century.

The word “pants” was considered vulgar by some well into the 20th century; in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, saying someone was pants — for instance, “Fred is pants” — was an insult, meaning the person was disliked or untrustworthy.…

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