Tuesday 19 November 1661

At the office all the morning, and coming home found Mr. Hunt with my wife in the chamber alone, which God forgive me did trouble my head, but remembering that it was washing and that there was no place else with a fire for him to be in, it being also cold weather, I was at ease again. He dined with us, and after dinner took coach and carried him with us as far as my cozen Scott’s, where we set him down and parted, and my wife and I staid there at the christening of my cozens boy, where my cozen Samuel Pepys, of Ireland, and I were godfathers, and I did name the child Samuel. There was a company of pretty women there in the chamber, but we staid not, but went with the minister into another room and eat and drank, and at last, when most of the women were gone, Sam and I went into my cozen Scott, who was got off her bed, and so we staid and talked and were very merry, my she-cozen, Stradwick, being godmother. And then I left my wife to go home by coach, and I walked to the Temple about my law business, and there received a subpoena for T. Trice. I carried it myself to him at the usual house at Doctors Commons and did give it him, and so home and to bed. It cost me 20s., between the midwife and the two nurses to-day.

25 Annotations

First Reading

daniel  •  Link

"which God forgive me did trouble my head"

i believe that the modern day psychological profession would call this the defense mechanism of reversal.

Conrad  •  Link

Poor Judith Scott, having given birth to yet another Sam, is made to get up off her bed to make way for the two godfathers & godmother to sit down. I hope a chair was also in the room for the new mother to rest on. Curious that A quick christening was performed, on a Tuesday, by a visiting minister before the midwife & her two associate nurses had even had time to depart the scene, though they became 20 shillings richer by their hanging around. Sam once again mentions being 'very merry' after drinking with his cousin Sam & the minister, could this be code for slightly drunk & might it be the cause of his generous behaviour towards the medical people. He is also in a good mood, being able to serve legal papers on Tom Trice in person. All of this happening on a day when he finds his wife alone in a room with a man.

Stolzi  •  Link

"it was washing"

Presumably the wet wash was draped all through the other rooms in the house which had fires, leaving no comfortable place to receive the visitor.

In my parents' house, which was small and had no clothes dryer, I can remember washing being hung in the inner hall where the furnace was, or when it was hung outside despite "it being also cold weather," taking pairs of cotton trousers off the line, frozen stiff as boards.

Wasn't Monday the traditional wash day? Have Mrs Pepys and "the girl" been lazy? Tsk tsk.

john lauer  •  Link

Washing day has regularly been Tuesday, as confirmed by a quick search on the word.

dirk  •  Link


This is the second time in the diary that Sam becomes a godfather. The first time to Mr Browne's son on 29 May 1661. But at the time he commented: "But for as much I expected to give the name to the child, but did not (it being called John), I forbore then to give my plate till another time after a little more advice."

Today no mention of "plate" - and the child will be named Samuel! Sam has advanced in the world...

dirk  •  Link


2 Godfathers - both men - and no Godmother! I'm not familiar with Anglican custom, but in the Catholic world it's always been tradition to have a man and a woman. As witnesses to the baptism they were also supposed to take care of the newborn, should for any reason the mother and/or father be unable to do so.

Conrad  •  Link

Dirk Cousin Stradwick is the Godmother

vicente  •  Link

re baptism instant : for the believers it was to baptise at the earliest possible time before the little blighter decided that Earth was not good place to be and depart. It was also a major ordeal for the female of the species, to survive the act of giving birth..

Ann  •  Link

"With my wife in the chamber alone, which God forgive me did trouble my head,. . . . There was a company of pretty women there in the chamber."

Tsk Tsk -- our boy is the master of the double standard....(altho probably no more than any other man of his day!)

Pedro.  •  Link

"found Mr. Hunt with my wife in the chamber alone"

From David's background info..
"Pepys's wife had a habit of spending time with the Hunts while Pepys was away evenings.”
- John Hersey, "Young Mr. Pepys," p. 14


A. De Araujo  •  Link

"did trouble my head"
Sam: what the heck were you doing alone with that creep?
Elisabeth: why don't you go ahead and invent a washer and dryer so we won't have this mess?

Grahamt  •  Link

If one can believe TV detective series, this word is still in common use in American law, but in England, in common usage, would now be a summons.

David  •  Link

Subpoena vs. summons: The US Experience

Actually, in our practice, a summons commences the lawsuit, and a subpoena compels a witness to testify or give evidence.

Grahamt  •  Link

cozen vs she-cozen:
strange that Pepys refers to Stradwick as a she-cozen, yet refers to both his cousin Benjamin Scott and his wife Judith only as "cozen Scott". Maybe he just relied on the context - "...got off her bed" - rather than be specific about which cozen Scott he meant.

Grahamt  •  Link

Subpoena vs. summons: The UK Experience:
A Summons in English law (not sure about Scotland) compels a witness to testify or give evidence.
I have never heard subpoena used in modern colloquial English, (apart from US TV imports) but that doesn't mean it isn't used in the inner sanctums of the Bar.

Conrad  •  Link

In Australian courts, a Summons is served on a person to have that person appear in a court room, to answer a charge or charges, whereas If a person refuses, or is unable of their own free will, to produce documents or give evidence at a hearing or trial a party may request the Court to issue a subpoena directed to that person.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Anglican sponsoring customs
If a male child, 2 godfathers, 1 godmother. If a female child, 2 godmothers, one godfather. But this does not have to be adhered to: it's a guideline. What is essential is to have at least one.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"There was a company of pretty women there in the chamber, but we staid not, but went with the minister into another room and eat and drank..."

Bethie dragging him along, no doubt...Perhaps slyly mentioning how charming Mr. Hunt had been to her today.

tc  •  Link

Back in the bad old days of US jusiprudence (1950-60s, or actually, for that matter, now), subpoenas (subpoenae?) were (are) issued by Congressional committees and rabid prosecuters to all sorts of radicals and ne'er-do-wells in efforts to seek info, quash political movements, etc. Some radicals did not feel truly part of their respective movements unless they were summoned to testify, and so was created the dreaded subpoena envy.

vicente  •  Link

" There was a company of pretty women there in the chamber, but we staid not, but went"
Maureen Waller has a nice chapter on swaddeling and the the where toos on the birthing games from her book " 1700 scenes from London" Sam does not say but it costs a small fortune for the man of the house.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"and there received a subpoena for T. Trice"

SUBPOENA, a Writ to call a Man, under the Degree of Peerage, in Chancery only, where the Common Law fails, and has made no Provision; a Writ for the summoning of Witnesses, to testify in other Courts.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘subpoena, n. < classical Latin sub poenā under a penalty . . the opening words of the writ . .
1. a. A writ requiring the attendance of a defendant at court in order to answer a charge alleged against him or her, subject to penalty for non-compliance . . Now hist. In England, Wales, and Ireland such writs were issued by the Court of Chancery in order to commence a suit; the procedure was abolished in 1852.
. . ?1575 J. Hooker Orders Enacted for Orphans f. 39, A Sub pena is graunted against the partie, to compel him to appeer in the Chauncery.
1651 Certaine Observ. conc. Lord Chancellor 31 No Subpœna may be granted without Suerty to satisfie the Defend. for his damages and expences, if the matter cannot be made good.
. . 1768 W. Blackstone Comm. Laws Eng. III. 443 If the defendant, on service of the subpoena, does not appear..he is then said to be in contempt . . ‘

Terry Foreman  •  Link

john lauer has it right:

L&M transcribe "but remembering that it was washing-day...."

Kyle in San Diego  •  Link

Does anyone know of any other evidence that his wife and Hunt we're having an affair?

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