Wednesday 30 April 1662

This morning Sir G. Carteret came down to the yard, and there we mustered over all the men and determined of some regulations in the yard, and then to dinner, all the officers of the yard with us, and after dinner walk to Portsmouth, there to pay off the Success, which we did pretty early, and so I took leave of Sir W. Pen, he desiring to know whither I went, but I would not tell him. I went to the ladies, and there took them and walked to the Mayor’s to show them the present, and then to the Dock, where Mr. Tippets made much of them, and thence back again, the Doctor being come to us to their lodgings, whither came our supper by my appointment, and we very merry, playing at cards and laughing very merry till 12 o’clock at night, and so having staid so long (which we had resolved to stay till they bade us be gone), which yet they did not do but by consent, we bade them good night, and so past the guards, and went to the Doctor’s lodgings, and there lay with him, our discourse being much about the quality of the lady with Mrs. Pierce, she being somewhat old and handsome, and painted and fine, and had a very handsome maid with her, which we take to be the marks of a bawd. But Mrs. Pierce says she is a stranger to her and met by chance in the coach, and pretends to be a dresser. Her name is Eastwood. So to sleep in a bad bed about one o’clock in the morning.

This afternoon after dinner comes Mr. Stephenson, one of the burgesses of the town, to tell me that the Mayor and burgesses did desire my acceptance of a burgess-ship, and were ready at the Mayor’s to make me one. So I went, and there they were all ready, and did with much civility give me my oath, and after the oath, did by custom shake me all by the hand. So I took them to a tavern and made them drink, and paying the reckoning, went away. They having first in the tavern made Mr. Waith also a burgess, he coming in while we were drinking. It cost me a piece in gold to the Town Clerk, and 10s. to the Bayliffes, and spent 6s.

34 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

"which we take to be the marks of a bawd"

Does anybody know the meaning of "bawd"?

Bradford  •  Link

A bawd, I am happy to report, is the keeper of a bawdy-house, or one of her employees, or a pander (a solicitor for the above). Such a multi-valent term. (Calls to mind, irresistibly, Dr. Johnson's ingenious insult of a century later: "Sir, your wife under pretence of keeping a bawdy-house, is a receiver of stolen goods.") But is the string of conjecture about this lady's occupation spot-on, or covert wishful thinking?

JWB  •  Link

Bawds all about
"...did desire my acceptance of a burgess-ship... It cost me a piece in gold to the Town Clerk..."

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

There be only 100 hands to fill. "...there to pay off the Success, which we did pretty early,..."

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Burgess-ship to be given[freedom, oh! yes for coin of the real] citizen or freedom of the borough.
"...Dr. Plumtree... laboured all he could to get the burgess-ship [i.e., to be elected to Parliament] for himself,…”
from kvk…
But idth doubt he running for the MP job. just the honor and a couple of tassles or ribbons.
Oh! how one loves those pieces of Parchment.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Oh! pray tell!! Oh do tell?
"...but I would not tell him. I went to the ladies,..."

Pauline  •  Link

"...till they bade us be gone), which yet they did not do but by consent...
What is this consent? Our fellows have agreed to stay until kicked out. Does this mean that everyone was bleary eyed and came to a mutual agreement that the evening was over?

Mary  •  Link

Samuel Pepys, Burgess.

Almost exactly a year ago (May 3rd 1661) the Mayor of Portsmouth refused to admit Pepys as a Burgess of the town. This year he is specifically invited to accept the honour. He's on the ascendant.

Bob T  •  Link

Does anybody know the meaning of "bawd"?

A hooker.

language hat  •  Link

Not a hooker, a madam. OED:

One employed in pandering to sexual debauchery; a procurer or procuress; orig. in a more general sense, and in the majority of passages masculine, a "go-between," a pander; since c 1700 only feminine, and applied to a procuress, or a woman keeping a place of prostitution.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Ms. Eastwood the bawd, eh? Hmmn...Does she have a narrow-eyed glint and does music play whenever she sizes someone up?

A slightly smashed Pepys...A little too good a time with the ladies...

"Madam. My fir..Friend and I were wondering? Wouldst you? By an' chance...hic...Be a lady of...hic,hic..."

"Uncertain virtue? A, as it were, bawd?"

"Mr. Pepys!" Mrs Pierce frowns, shocked by such indelicacy. Hardly knowing the poor lady, met on the trip over. (Right)

"Could be,son." a steely-eyed glint from hard-faced, painted Ms. Eastwood.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

This Ms. Eastwood (and perhaps our ever pregnant Ms. Pierce) seems right out of "The Beggar's Opera".


"Pregnant again, madam?" Dr. Pierce stares.

Could've sworn I hadn't lain with her for...

Must really cut down on the wild parties with the King, starting to have real memory problems...

"Indeed, sir." Mrs. Pierce eyes him fondly, waving to her constant companion Ms. Eastwood as the good lady takes her leave having dropped her friend off...

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Virtue assailed

Pooor Mrs. Pierce, eagerly pursued by Sam, with a chaperone who may not be the honest companion she seems to the surgeon's wife. Wonder if the two gents are reflecting on La Belle's peril, and perhaps pondering some way to extricate her from a compromising situation?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Virtue assailed..."

Mrs. Pierce as Polly Peachum, eh? And who knows what fiendish plans wicked Ms. Eastwood has for the beautiful, innocent La Belle Pierce?

Well, Sam never has discussed her intellect that I know of. Though I would think the wife of a court surgeon, privy to all the latest gossip as the good Dr. seems to be would be fairly sharp.

I do like the idea of our heroes planning to rescue the poor lady from this potentially embarassing, if not diasterous situation...I don't quite believe it but I like it.

Meanwhile, on board the flagship of Lord Sandwich's Queenly escort... "You know, Ferrar, my cousin and servant Pepys has a deuced fine-looking..."
Nah, that would be a spoiler...

Stolzi  •  Link

Oh, Sam! Party, party, party!
It's evident now why he didn't want the Missus along, isn't it?

"...till they bade us be gone), which yet they did not do but by consent...”

Pauline, it could mean that this was above board, that is to say, when Sam and the Dr. arrived they said, “We mean not to be gone, but when you bid us” and the ladies let it be understood that they were all right with that. In other words, they didn’t just hang out waiting to see when the ladies would figure out that they weren’t picking up their hats of their own accord.

We know now what a bawd is; what is a dresser? Like a theatre dresser of today but perhaps to wealthy ladies, not to an actress?

“to the Mayor’s to show them the present” - that is,I gather,the “neat salt-sellar of silver” which was to be given to the Queen by the town, upon her arrival.

Glyn  •  Link

Some previous meetings with Mrs Pierce (who I consider to be much maligned by you lot, and who just seems to like the company of men, just as Sam is happiest talking to women of every age, class or degree of beauty). I imagine that Elizabeth might disagree with me though, and I am very sure she will know that Elizabeth Pierce is in town, just as she was a year ago (but why was she here exactly a year ago?).

But last year, Elizabeth Pepys was here too.

For the record since the Diary began, Elizabeth Pierce has had two children.

Jan 26 1660: "And I did perceive that Mrs. Pierce her coming so gallant, that it put the two young women quite out of courage."

Feb 24: "I rode to Mr. Pierce's, who rose, and in a quarter of an hour, leaving his wife in bed (with whom Mr. Lucy methought was very free as she lay in bed)"

Aug 30: "This afternoon my wife went to Mr. Pierce's wife's child's christening, and was urged to be godmother, but I advised her before-hand not to do it, so she did not, but as proxy for my Lady Jemimah. This the first day that ever I saw my wife wear black patches since we were married!"

Oct 4: "and by the way I met upon Tower Hill with Mr. Pierce the surgeon and his wife, and took them home and did give them good wine, ale, and anchovies, and staid them till night, and so adieu."

Jan 26 1661: "There dined with me this day both the Pierces and their wives, and Captain Cuttance, and Lieutenant Lambert, with whom we made ourselves very merry by taking away his ribbans and garters, having made him to confess that he is lately married." [Strange that they also dined together exactly a year earlier.]

May 5: "Then to supper in the banquet house, and there my wife and I did talk high, she against and I for Mrs. Pierce (that she was a beauty), till we were both angry."

June 9: "After dinner I left my wife there, and I walked to Whitehall, and then went to Mr. Pierce's and sat with his wife a good while (who continues very pretty) till he came," [Her second pregnancy in the Diary.]

Aug 9: "I took some wine with us and went to visit la belle Pierce, who we [i.e. Pepys and a colleague] find very big with child."

Sept 1: "At Whitehall we parted, and I to Mrs. Pierce's, meeting her and Madam Clifford in the street, and there staid talking and laughing with them a good while," [Out in the street 2 days before giving birth.]"

Sept 4: "(calling at Mrs. Pierce's, who we found brought to bed of a girl last night) and there staid and drank,"

Oct 9: "at home I found Mrs. Pierce, la belle, and Madam Clifford, with whom I was forced to stay, and made them the most welcome I could; and I was (God knows) very well pleased with their beautiful company, and after dinner took them to the Theatre, and shewed them "The Chances;" and so saw them both at home."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Or, even better...And not a spoiler...

Meanwhile at Seething Lane. Things are seething...

"Sir William!" Elisabeth shoves Batten's fumbling hand off yet again. "Sir, I must ask you to refrain! Jane!"

"I took the liberty of giving your servants the evening off. A little more natural, Mrs. Pepys...A little more natural."

"My Sam'l shall hear of this!"

"My dear...Your Sam'l is currently taking God knows what pleasures at Portsmouth. And specifically requested me not to come and bring my dear lady so that he might take such pleasures...

Unhindered and unencumbered..." Batten leers.

Mary  •  Link

a dresser.

OED not very helpful here. At this date it could mean an assistant to a surgeon (i.e. someone who dresses wounds) but this doesn't seem the most likely sense in this case.

More likely that it means a person who assists others in the matter of dress, especially a tirewoman. Well, with the new queen'a arrival due at any time and ladies needing more than ordinary advice and assistance with their apparel, perhaps this provides Mrs. Eastwwod with a plausible explanation of her presence in the town.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

But Glyn, we know Sam has cheated on his "poor wretch" of an Elisabeth, though probably not to any extent on this trip.

And while Mrs. Pierce may be utterly innocent and no more flirtatious than our Bethie...I dunno-this Ms. Eastwood thing is a bit hard to swallow.

Seriously, I've always suspected the real problem of la belle Pierce for Elisabeth in Sam's continual fascination with her is her constant pregnancy. Beautiful, cultured, and pregnant...It must be hard to bear at times.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Actually it's really poor Ms. Eastwood (who may be the innocent dresser she claims to be) who's getting hit at least by me.

So, if I may doff my cap and apologize through Time, Sorry, for taking such liberties, ma'am...Just a little Sunday morning fun.

Are you really any relation to Clint per chance?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

And lastly the sad thing is that our court sophisicates the good doctor and Mrs. Pierce probably had quite a chuckle over our poor Sam's flirting.

"Portsmouth fun, my dear?"

"Ever so much, Jamie darling...But oh, I must tell you how that roguish little clown Pepys and his friend behaved with us."

"The 'great lover' Pepys in form, eh?" a sly grin.

"Oh, Lord...I pity the poor child, his wife."

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "quite a chuckle over our poor Sam's flirting"

Good point, Robert. The thing that occured to me is that, though we all -- with 20-20 hindsight -- think Sam is the cat's pajamas, others may have seen him as just another gov't bureaucrat. Talented and witty perhaps, but no Jude Law/George Clooney/etc. My bet is that La Belle Pierce was out of his league. Being married, and a nice person, she probably genuinely enjoys Sam's company and attentions, but both of them most likely know that their relationship would never go beyond the bounds of propriety.

C.J.Darby  •  Link

How in Gods name did Sam get through the gates after curfew,or if the pass was so casual, why did he not stay later the previous night

Glyn  •  Link

I dispute that the Pierces were of a higher class than the Pepyses. James Pierce was an important surgeon, and so more powerful than Sam, but that doesn't make him an aristocrat - being a surgeon means working with your hands, so perhaps he would be regarded as a tradesman by his betters. I would regard them as both middle class, and the men seem to be good friends.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Curfew and City Gates
CJ Darby, I think that's an excellent question. I was wondering myself at the terse phrase, "and so past the guards." They paid a customary bribe? They had been let in on a locally-known method of egress that avoided the guards? Or they had found that you could get past the guards after curfew simply by asking?

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Passing thru the gates and the guards : It be simple if ye have the 'rite' connections; he now has the Freedom of the Town. So when challenged : it be " Don't you know who I be : I be a Burgess": Reply " Yes Yer 'onor, VEry 'orry yer 'Onor, did nae recognise Yer 'Onor, it WOn't 'appen again yer 'Onor" says 'e, not wonting 20 days peeling spuds, or sumat like thaat.

C.J.Darby  •  Link

Good man Cumgranissalis, that is probably the reason, some providence is looking after Sam when certain gates need to be opened and it is very likely that among the priviledges of a burgess is special treatment when it comes to access.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"burgess is special treatment " It is one of the perkes, the freedom of the Town, that he Sam, has been granted [and paid for, costly paper work and for use of the the Ring of town seal ]" of the burgesses of the town, to tell me that the Mayor and burgesses did desire my acceptance of a burgess-ship, and were ready at the Mayor's to make me one…”

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Samuel Pepys, Burgess."

'The liberty of Portsmouth and Portsea Island: Introduction', A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3 (1908), pp. 172-192. URL:… Date accessed: 16 June 2014.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Samuel Pepys, Burgess."

"Almost exactly a year ago (May 3rd 1661) the Mayor of Portsmouth refused to admit Pepys as a Burgess of the town. This year he is specifically invited to accept the honour. He's on the ascendant.…"

This year Pepys's Patron, the MP of Portsmouth, Sir George Carteret, Treasurer of the Navy, is in town and in charge.

Bill  •  Link

"the Mayor and burgesses did desire my acceptance of a burgess-ship"

BURGESS, an Inhabitant of Burgh, or Borough; also one that serves for a Borough in Parliament.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"which we take to be the marks of a bawd."

A BAUD, A BAWD, Procuress, a lewd Woman that makes it her Business to debauch others for Gain.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Being a burgess might be useful, for either Pepys or his patron, not only to be elected as an MP in the future, but also to be eligible to vote for an MP.

It would not be unreasonable to think that Pepys already had ambitions in that direction: both Batten and Penn were MPs. Pepys later became MP for Castle Rising (1673), and subsequently Harwich.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"after dinner walk to Portsmouth, there to pay off the Success"

L&M: A frigate; paid £3076 for 24 June 1660-30 April 1662: PRO, Adm. 20/2, p. 187.

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