Friday 2 May 1662

Early to coach again and to Kingston, where we baited a little, and presently to coach again and got early to London, and I found all well at home, and Mr. Hunt and his wife had dined with my wife to-day, and been very kind to my wife in my absence. After I had washed myself, it having been the hottest day that has been this year, I took them all by coach to Mrs. Hunt’s, and I to Dr. Clerke’s lady, and gave her her letter and token. She is a very fine woman, and what with her person and the number of fine ladies that were with her, I was much out of countenance, and could hardly carry myself like a man among them; but however, I staid till my courage was up again, and talked to them, and viewed her house, which is most pleasant, and so drank and good-night. And so to my Lord’s lodgings, where by chance I spied my Lady’s coach, and found her and my Lady Wright there, and so I spoke to them, and they being gone went to Mr. Hunt’s for my wife, and so home and to bed.

29 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"carry myself like a man among them"
what does he mean by that? being gallant?

Bradford  •  Link

To repeat, for convenience' sake:
To bait: "refreshment on journey for horses and travellers (implying a rest as well as food" (L&M Companion, Large Glossary).
Mrs. Hunt's letter, b/t/way, was from her husband ("Shorter Pepys").
Temporarily put out of countenance by a fine woman and entourage! Whatever happened to those grains of confidence that Sir William credited him with yesterday, which should enable him to act as befits a man of the world, i.e. a grown adult?

Leslie Katz  •  Link

"After I had washed myself, it having been the hottest day that has been this year ..."

What was the "washing" situation in 1662?

Did people immerse themselves in water in a tub of some kind? Were there showers?

Nix  •  Link

"carry myself like a man among them"

Following up on yesterday’s discussion, it sounds like he loaned that “grain or two” to Penn after all.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"And this is good Mr. Pepys of the Naval Office who's brought me news of my dear husband..." Mrs. Clerke introduces a dumb-struck-at-the-nearness-of-extreme-beauty Pepys...

Ah.....Heh, heh...

"Something wrong with that young man?"


"Mr. Pepys?"

Ha, heh...Ah... "Yes, yes...Ah...Yes...Ah...I am Pepys. Ummn."

"Young man, you act as though you had the hanging sword of Damocles over your head." one of the most beautious ladies smiles at the nervous Sam...

Pepys looks up to the ceiling to where the cream pie he'd tried to sneak and nervously thrown on being cornered by the returning Mrs. Clerke and dazzingly beautious company is beginning to loosen from where it smacked.

"Ma'am...You must be psychic." he runs off.

"Wonder what's wrong with that young man?" a look overhead...

Sound of falling cream pie...


(Ok, yes...I swiped that last bit from the Three Stooges)

Australian Susan  •  Link

We have commented before (during the portrait painting sessions) how few opportunities Sam has to see beauty in women either in the flesh or a portait. We take endless images for granted and need to think hard to try to imagine what that world has like without magazines, photos, billboards, TV to thrust pulchritude upon us. For Sam it is a rarity, but one he greatly appreciates. Suddenly coming on a whole roomful of beauties and all of good rank was almost too much for our boy, but he rallies and is able to engage in small talk and maybe even banter in due course. Reminds me of Lydia Bennett contemplating the delights of Brighton : "a whole campful of officers" said in awed and breathless tones.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Being Gallant, it was code of behaviour that quietly seduces the lass like mongoose gets its victim. Be utterly charming and rapacious smooth with perfect attentiveness. The rewards of gallantry are far more gratuitous than the modern chat at a bar and getting a nightcap.
I doth think Sir Wm. did ruin Sam's self esteem yesterday with all that foolish talk that old salts do so enjoy, when there be no Ladies present. There be talk about furling her m'nsel and lowering of her jib and running her in to a safe cove for lightening her ballast and other jibes. '...having this day been offended by Sir W. Pen's foolish talk…”
To-day he be in a bit of a tither [or be it dither] and make some small talk with these charming alluring wenches, after having been made aware of the innuendos that come with praising a ladies advertisements.[ fasles or real] he be a bit confused,. as he is no Wilmot.”….I was much out of countenance, and could hardly carry myself like a man among them…”
“…To horse again after dinner…”
Yesterday and to day: “..Early to coach again…”
So was Sam saddle sore? or just beaten down.

JudyB  •  Link

Wow! I have been following this diary since its inception and this is the first ever mention of washing any human body that I can remember.

I doubt if it were in a tub--most likely just a splash on hands and face to cool off.

Ruben  •  Link

I presume that Sam washed his face and hands in some kind of a bucket or bowl and that was it.
Google has this 2 partial explanations:……
there are probably better ones, as this explanations are good for later years.
I presume in Pepys days water came home in a bucket from some public well or by cart directly from the river, at a price.
If a remember well, Versailles has no plumbing at all except for the fountains in the garden, built for decorative purposes.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

See Lizard p.128-129 and p9-11; Water was pumped up pipes made of trees, [usually elm]to all paying customers.
Publick baths [heated] were proposed but it appears to be have been turned down.
Baths and Bath-stoves.
A BILL for Erecting and Using of publick and artificial Baths and Bath-stoves, was this Day read the Second time.
The Question being put, That the said Bill be committed;
It passed in the Negative.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 4 April 1662', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 396-97. URL:…. Date accessed: 03 May 2005.
And from this, doth I guess, we get the the adage "don't caste a clout 'til May be out".
The problem of wash be unheated water for most and Castille soap be rough.
Somewhere Liz dothe complain of the lack of Sams removing of offensive BO.

DrCari  •  Link

With regard to Versailles and indoor bathing... Hilton writes in "Athenais" (the biography of Athenais Montespan, mistress of Louis IVX) Louis had constucted a private bathing salon in the ground floor of Versailles where he and Athenais could steal away. Apparently it was sumptuous and luxurious...a secret hideaway where they made love and frolicked for hours in the waters.

After Atheniais fell from favor, Louis sent her packing and had the room renovated for some other non-aquatic purpose.
I believe I remember reading somewhere that Pepys once had occasion to visit Louis' court in Versailles...Can anyone verify?

andy  •  Link

I was much out of countenance, and could hardly carry myself like a man among them; but however, I staid till my courage was up again,

It happens to us all Sam, you walk into a room, she looks at you and you turn to jelly ...

Thurber once wrote something like:

"She had a figure that would make a bishop kick a hole through a stained glass window"

same sort of emotion!!

At least you got a grip and stayed...

Glyn  •  Link

In Elizabethan times, i.e. 80 years or so earlier, the brothels were known as "stews" because the women used to sit in the equivalent of hot tubs (wooden barrels of hot water) because that was thought to be a protection against veneral disease, but most people washed very rarely. If I remember correctly, they used to sew themselves into their underclothes in the autumn/fall and not change their clothes throughout the winter until the warm weather.

Mary K McIntyre  •  Link

Andy, excellent quote -- but by our man Raymond Chandler, who was also responsible for the equally excellent, "He looked as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food."

And many others...

Australian Susan  •  Link

Re Glyn's comment - Innuit and some Siberians were still doing this into the 20th century. They rubbed themselves with grease first (pork or seal).

Australian Susan  •  Link

Washing and Health
I recently read Norman Cantor's "In the wake of the Black Death" - which deals with the effects this calamity had on society. One effect was the concept that washing was harmful: it helped spread disease, by opening the pores to infection. Dirt kept the skin closed and protected. He said that Europe then entered the "pungent" era of bathlessness which lasted until the 18th century. Wonder if we will get a discussion of this in the Diary in 1665?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sorry, got title wrong. It is "In the wake of the plague: the Black Death and the world it made" by Norman F. Cantor. ISBN0060014342 (pbk)HarperCollins, 2001.

JWB  •  Link

Mojo deprivation
Sam had just washed months of accumulated pheromones off his skin.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Actually, considering the water sources, it may not have been the worst thing to avoid washing. There's still an argument over whether and to what extent the Roman baths spread what some refer to as Justinian's plague (probably bubonic and possibly others) which crippled the Empire and Europe at a crucial time from the 530s to about 700 ad.

david ross mcirvine  •  Link

Mojo deprivation

Mojo Nixon's peculiar half-brother? The one they keep locked away?

dirk  •  Link

Justinian's plague

re - Robert Gertz

Recent research seems to indicate malaria as the probable culprit.

Araucaria  •  Link

Dirk, re Justinian's plague

Malaria could still have been connected with baths -- the mosquitoes could have been breeding in there.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

RE: baths; there be puddles near every junction of the water pipe [especially left for the bathing Sparrows], at each of the water barrels [butts] on every street and alley way, in those court yards under every horse trough, in fact every where , there be plenty of stagnant water, [must keep the dust down]. So the source of the ague be unlimited. In the warmer weather, there be so many flies and blue bottles hanging on for dear life at every butcher's carcass too. Gone be the days when a household be a needing sticky paper coated with arsenic [ I doth believe] for keeping a record of whom has the most atractive home.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Re: Publick baths, back in 1650's Publick baths be torn down, as they be dens of a popular French curse and for being popular for other unsavory acts against ... .

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In the House of Lords today, pomp and ceremony over: Bills passed by Commission.…

The House was adjourned during Pleasure; and the Peers went to put on their Robes, in order to the passing of Two Bills by His Majesty's Commission under the Great Seal.
The House being resumed; The Lord Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Privy Seal, the Marquis of Dorchester, and the Lord Great Chamberlain, sat upon a Form set across the House, between the State and the Lord Chancellor's Woolsack; the Peers being all in their Robes, and sat covered.
Then the Lord Chancellor gave Directions to the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, to go to the House of Commons; and acquaint them, "That the King hath sent a Commission for the passing of some Bills; and to desire them to come up, and be present at the passing of them."

The House of Commons being come, with their Speaker; The Lord Chancellor acquainted them, "That the King hath sent a Commission, under the Great Seal, for passing the Royal Assent unto Two Bills; one, concerning the amending the Highways and Streets in the Cities of London and Westm. and Parts adjacent; the other, against Quakers."
Which Commission being presented to the Lord Chancellor, and the rest of the Lords Commissioners, by the Clerk of the Parliaments, upon his Knee; he brought the same to his Table, where it was read publicly.
Then the Clerk of the Crown read the Titles of the several Acts, as followeth:

"An Act for preventing the Mischiefs and Dangers that may arise, by certain Persons called Quakers, and others, refusing to take lawful Oaths."

"An Act for repairing the Highways and Sewers, and for paving and keeping clean of the Streets, in and about the Cities of London and Westm.; and for reforming of Annoyances and Disorders in the Streets of, and Places adjacent to, the said Cities; and for the regulating and licensing of Hackney Coaches; and for enlarging of several strait and inconvenient Streets and Passages."

To which Bills, severally and distinctly, the Clerk of the Parliaments pronounced the Royal Assent, in these Words,
"Le Roy le veult."

Paul Lazest  •  Link

A question unrelated to today's Pepys entry: when he describes his elicit activities he often employs an odd amalgam of French and Spanish. Presumably he does this to obscure his meaning so that if his wife reads the diary she won't know what he's saying. As his wife was French how would this lingo not be understandable to her?!

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Paul, Pepys wrote the diary in shorthand which, for practical purposes, was a cypher and unlikely to be understood by anyone else. I assume that the French and Spanish was in shorthand as well.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Nate, Pepys wrote the bulk of his diary in a shorthand devised by Thomas Shelton, with only a few words, such as names of people and places, written longhand; shorthand was more widely used by scholars in Pepys’ time than it is today. Shelton's *Tachygraphy* was sold in London bookstores in his day and is still held in the Pepysian Library at Magdalene College, Cam.

Pepys tells us others in his circle, including Will Hewer, used Shelton's for administrative convenience. More about Shorthand from this site's Encyclopedia…

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.