Sunday 28 September 1662

(Lord’s day). Waked early, and fell talking one with another with great pleasure of my house at Brampton and that here, and other matters. She tells me what a rogue my boy is, and strange things he has been found guilty of, not fit to name, which vexes [me], but most of all the unquiett life that my mother makes my father and herself lead through her want of reason.

At last I rose, and with Tom to the French Church at the Savoy, where I never was before — a pretty place it is — and there they have the Common Prayer Book read in French, and, which I never saw before, the minister do preach with his hat off, I suppose in further conformity with our Church.

So to Tom’s to dinner with my wife, and there came Mr. Cooke, and Joyce Norton do also dine there, and after dinner Cooke and I did talk about his journey and Tom’s within a day or two about his mistress. And I did tell him my mind and give him my opinion in it.

So I walked home and found my house made a little clean, and pleases me better and better, and so to church in the afternoon, and after sermon to my study, and there did some things against to-morrow that I go to the Duke’s, and so walked to Tom’s again, and there supped and to bed with good content of mind.

49 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"the minister do preach with his hat off"

L&M note: "Calvinist minsters kept their hats on during the sermon (though disapproving of the men in the congregation who did likewise), because to them preaching was a part of their work as teachers. See Evelyn, i.75 & note."

Calvinist clergy are teaching elders, but I'm not sure where the hats-on custom for teachers originated; perhaps someone can track it down?

Bradford  •  Link

"Claire Tomalin reports that when [Wayneman Birch] joined the household he was 10-12 years old," Pauline reports on his background page. That makes him 12-14 now, so that the "strange things he has been found guilty of, not fit to name," gives the modern mind plenty of room for naughty speculation---though it may be something as reprehensible yet, regrettably, ordinary, as stoning birds and cats or the like. Curiously, unless he possesses other aliases like Wheatley's, the L&M Companion has no entry or mention of him. Stayed tuned, as there will be further news of him, on and off, for another twelvemonth.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I think if whatever Wayneman had been up to was something like stoning birds and cats, Sam would have named it - he described in detail his crime of leaving a lighted candle about the place for example. Maybe it was sexual experimentation of some form.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"not fit to name"
methinks he was caught masturbating; Sam is reflecting his wife's point of view because he himself wrote in the diary that he did masturbate; he asked for God's forgiveness of course.

Terry F  •  Link

"talking...with great pleasure of my house at Brampton and that here"

Sounds like Elizabeth's first impressions of the remodeled Seething Lane house are very positive; my, my.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"...conformity..." yuk, following in CII's religious ways,wot one dothe preach in the pulpit and wot one doth do on the bi ways.
it calls for an old adage?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

More evidence that poor Margaret's suffering from dementia, I see. Nothing conclusive but it matches to Sam's earlier observations on the subject.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I get the strong impression Sam's very open and candid way with Bess in these morning chats is a big part of his charm for her...At many points in the Diary (when he left for the naval trip to Holland with Sandwich, when he brought his patent of office for Clerk of the Acts to her as she waited in the coach) there are subtle hints that he makes her feel very much a part of a team at such times and for her part she seems anxious to maintain that partnering relationship (wanting to travel off with him on horseback, etc).

Pauline  •  Link

'strong impression'
I agree with your take on Sam and Elizabeth, Robert. Very much. All of this and nothing more will not be the case over time, which does not tell me that 'all of this' was not a great deal and very real.

Of course, I remain personally convinced of Margaret Peysy's sad state.

andy  •  Link

and found my house made a little clean

so who cleaned the house? Was it Elizabeth while he was in church and before lunch?

language hat  •  Link

We've had no evidence for this but the overheated imagination of commenters. I remain convinced that the only thing wrong with Margaret is the macho contempt of her husband and son: women should be meek and defer to men, &c &c. I'd love to see *her* diary.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Elisabeth gives strong indication that something is wrong with Margaret other than her being "troublesome" to John. But as I said, there's no conclusive evidence, just strong indications from at least two observers of her behavior.

As for Sam being "macho" in his contempt for women...Well, yes and no...I would say he compares favorably to some men of his time at least at times and would probably not quite be accepted into the 'club' of morons given his intellectual, artistic interests. Much as his behavior leaves to be desired for us, he'd probably be considered (yes, I am taking later actions into account) a fairly good sort-though sometimes only in relation to those of his fellows who nowadays would be (hopefully, but not always), in prison.

Jeannine  •  Link

It seems like there may be some previous history on this issue prior to my coming to the site, so I thought I'd look at the diary entries but not the previous annotations on the subject. In the background Pauline has provided some of the diary quotes and some information from Tomilin. Sam's entries in regards to his mother refer to her as "simple" on occasion (without detail to subtantiate exactly how), speaks of her illnesses, and her tangles with her husband (who is no prize) and with Sam (see below), Tom (noting his growing disrespect to his parents) and Pauline(who had to return home after Sam gave her the boot). He also notes a nice dinner together (Aug 29, 1661).
In regards to Sam's relationship/thoughts of his mother, Tomilin sheds some light on a few interesting interactions here (some spoliers)
1. The stone--when Sam had his stone removed he put it on display in a "Stone-Case" which cost him 25 shilling. When mom passed her stone spontaneously she disposed of it by throwing it in the fireplace. "Nothing marks the difference in their characters more clearly: the tough old woman, incurious, sluttish even, and her neat, purposeful son, intent on understanding, mastering, classifying and teaching." (p.63)
2. "Pepys was not enthusiatic about many of his blood relations. Like most people,he preferred the ones who did well in life" (p. 128)
3. "The plague [1665] did not deter his mother from coming up from Brampton to stay in May, and she enjoyed herself so much in town, shopping with Elizabeth, going out on the river and revisiting old haunts in Islington, that he had difficulty is persuading her to leave at the end of June, when the city suddenly and spectaculary emptied itself."
4. "When his mother was really dying, at Brampton in 1667, he made no attempt to visit her"..."When the news came, he did not go to Brampton for her funeral or to comfort his father but put his entire household into mourning, proud of cutting a fine figure when he went to church in his black clothes. He must be the first writer to take note of the vanity of the well-dressed mourner in his own person" (p. 161-162)

What is striking is that it appears that she lived a life surrounded by a lack of connection to any member of her immediate family, seemingly estraged, which is sad and lonely in itself. When removed from that situation and put into a "fun" one elsewhere 3 years from now she will enjoy herself a great deal and thrive during that time.
Having been intricately involved with 2 loved ones suffering from dementia for several years, being engulfed in their living situations, experiencing like sufferers around them and researching the disease extensively through that process, nothing in Margaret's actions seems to fit that disease.

wildtubes  •  Link

Has anyone else noticed that Wayneman gets caught masturbating only two days after being turfed out of his room ?

I wonder where they shoved him afterwards - by the kitchen fire ?

Anyway, the poor kid seems to have very little privacy anymore.

Pauline  •  Link

A contemporary point about euphemisms
They are useful in protecting your Web site from unwanted hits.

Pauline  •  Link

We have an agreement from early in our reading the diary together not to provide spoilers. I, for one, am reading the diary for the first time, day by day, and am interested in experiencing it and considering it as it unfolds, without undo information about what will happen in the days, weeks, or years ahead.

Jeannine  •  Link

That is why I noted that spoilers were included so people could have the option to read only if they desired to. Please feel free to skip any of my annotations at any time in order to ensure your reading pleasure.

Brian McMullen  •  Link

I am a little confused at the moment. Some of the annotations indicate that Elizabeth has already seen the remodeled digs. From what Sam has written the last two days I do not find where she has had an opportunity to stop by yet. She went directly to Tom's house and appears to have remained there.

Any help?

language hat  •  Link

Jeannine did nothing wrong; she mentioned there were spoilers ahead, so anyone who wanted to avoid them could. Personally, I'm grateful for the information provided, which did not "spoil" anything for me (I don't want to know what happens next week, but it's obvious that eventually older people are going to die, &c) and which clarified my understanding of the people involved.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

waked early, and fell talking one with another with great pleasure

This is a pleasure that has been missing from Sam's life since Elizabeth went to Brampton, and Sam's prominent mention of it speaks strongly to me of his affection for her and their mutual sympathy. Since Elizabeth hasn't seen the alterations yet, I take it that Sam is giving her an enthusiastic description and that she approves of what he tells her.

Terry F  •  Link

Brian McMullen, thanks for the keen read. I *assumed* both were
"talking with great pleasure of [Samuel’s] house at Brampton and that here,” but perhaps it was only he who was speaking of the house “here,” and Eliabeth had’t seen it yet. Many things happen, esp. concerning her, that he does not record; but indeed in this case we do NOT know yet either way.

Pedro  •  Link

The Madness of Mrs. P.

That old chestnut of Mrs Pepy's character has raised it's head again. I am of the opinion that a nagging wife does not necessarily suffer from dementia. So in the interests of science I have just walked into the other room and accused my nagging wife of having dementia.
" I'll give you ******* dementia" she said, and hit me on the head with a book. I know that this does not prove the sanity of Mrs P, but I for one will give her the benift of the doubt!

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Pedro, I hope you did not get a concussion and also that you stop the provocation; repeated blows to the head can cause dementia;it is called Dementia Pugilistica.

Australian Susan  •  Link

What a society deems as "mad" varies. It is dependent on many factors. Although we on this site always have a go at defining what exactly is wrong with Sam's mother everytime this comes up, I think it is almost impossible: there are too many filters in operation: there is the filter of Sam's conciousness of this; the reports of others; our modern sensitivity towards persons of frail mind; our awareness of what one might term male chauvinist piggery - retrospectively applied; our medical knowledge; our psychological knowledge. Speaking for myself, I think it's impossible to remove these filters: I don't think we can ever decide.
Thomas Szaz's book, the Manufacture of Madness - Amazon ref… is a useful text for examining differing perceptions of disturbed behaviour. An example is that women in the early 20th century exhibiting a range of particular symptoms were likely to be classified as "mad", but men with the same symptoms were very unlikely to be so classified.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"menapause" comes in all the flavors of destruction. We be ruled by what we ingest and process. The ballance of humours be very delicate. From a man's point of view. The chemical balance that is necessary to keep on tocking, it is not fully understood even today.
Some males [could be same for females] be bonobos, nothing be safe, others be inert and then there be those in between. Like a violin we play the same tune but it does not sound the same, close, maybe, but each renditition has unique characteristics, not matter how small.
Cannot find the female ersion.
.............The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

--Act II, Scene vii, lines 142-169

Bradford  •  Link

Pepys's most precise statement thus far about his mother's mental state is in this entry: he laments her "want of reason," and heaven knows that a human being need be neither old nor senile to lack that.

language hat  •  Link

he laments her "want of reason"

But for heaven’s sake, this is always what people claim about other people who annoy them and/or disagree with them! “If only he/she would be reasonable…” — “reasonable” meaning “like me,” needless to say. Do you seriously think Pepys is an objective observer of his mother? Even aside from the parent/child thing, in those days it was quite impossible for a man to take a woman seriously rather than attribute any differences to “the weaker sex”; it’s rare enough even now. Is it really that hard for you to imagine that Margaret is being perfectly reasonable in her own terms, which are just as valid as her husband’s and son’s?

I repeat: we have *no* evidence of Margaret’s mental state; the complaints of Sam and his father are evidence only of their own annoyance.

Lynn  •  Link

Thank you Language Hat and Jeannine for supporting Margaret. The poor woman's been getting a terrible reputation on this site. She seems perfectly OK to me.

Pauline  •  Link

Let's not go so far as to say that our reputations rely on making it to our graves without losing our minds.

Language Hat,
I think you have mistaken Bradford's comment.

language hat  •  Link

I don't think so.
He's taking Pepys' "want of reason" as an objective diagnosis and operating on the assumption that Margaret is in fact lacking in reason, even if not because of age or senility. I continue to insist we know nothing whatever about Margaret's mind; we know only that she irritates her husband and son, and this is just as likely to result from her being independent-minded or just speaking her mind too much for their liking as from anything actually "wrong" with her.

Jeannine  •  Link

Mad? Demented? Aging? Tired of her Family? Menopausal? Bullied by her Husband/Son? or Just Speaking Her Mind?

We may never know or understand the changes that are taking place in Margaret as we only see them through Sam's eyes. All of us may have different views. What may be the most telling piece of her aging process isn't what's "wrong" with her (maybe something, maybe not) but perhaps how Sam deals with it. People react quite differently to those who age, some casting them aside as they focus only on their busy or rising status in life where the older person doesn't seem to "fit" anymore. Some become so uncomfortable that they avoid them, whenever possible. Some people have a capacity to develop a level of patience, compassion, caring and an outpouring of their hearts in ways and means that nobody would believe existed inside of them. If, in Sam's eyes his mother "wants of reason" or is "simple" then the telling thing is not about her as a mother, but how he chooses to deal with these perceptions as a human being and her son.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Luverly Jeannine. But she be menapausal , unfortunately all females go through that but the symptoms range the gamut. ['tis why poor old Salem be famous]
It must be stressed that what one writes, can only be with writers filters. It is very hard to realise that what we see, hear, feel, then issue by mouth or graphicsis only the issuers version. CGS

laura k  •  Link

"More evidence that poor Margaret's suffering from dementia, I see.”

Where, exactly?

I’ve always agreed with LH and others who point out that we haven’t the slightest shred of evidence that Sam’s mother is senile, demented or otherwise impaired. This seeming obsession with reading into the diary what isn’t there is curious (to put it kindly). This time it’s positively baffling. I can’t even find the existence of this “more evidence”. The expression “want of reason”? If we hadn’t already manufactured this idea of Mrs Pepys’ senility, we’d recognize that expression for what it is - an idiom, not a diagnosis.

Pauline  •  Link

It would be VERY interesting to understand why what's behind the unquiet in Margaret Pepys's life makes us all go so crazy (meant in humor). Those of us who have wondered IF she's lost it (and I think when her 'want of reason' was first raised this possibility was not fantastic or over-imagined) and are willing to just see what happens as we go along, and even willing to never know, have really been raked over the coals--with a vehemence that startles me. We do not have to reach an agreement on this matter.

laura k  •  Link

"with a vehemence that startles me. We do not have to reach an agreement on this matter."

Pauline, you're right, of course, that we don't have to agree.

In my case the vehemence stems from frustration at what I see as annotating what isn't there. Sometimes that has seemed to predominate annotations. That's just my own view, of course. At times I found it frustrating enough to keep me away from the annotations altogether.

laura k  •  Link


Although if anyone was raked over any coals, I surely missed it!

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: coal-raking

I think the frustration on the part of the anti-dementia crowd (of which I count myself one) is that we're trying to make sure that we draw conclusions about Sam and the others around him based only on hard evidence. Just as we shouldn't impose our moral or other values on Sam and his life/time, we shouldn't impose subjective theories about people, personalities, or events without objective reasons, falling prey to the temptations of gestalt psychology and creating patterns where there really is no concrete justification for them.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

reading the diary and its stimulants to our filtered brain. As mention blue moons latter in time by the Rev. C. L. Dodgson [LC] in a Diary quoted by Green
It goes to his question of his habit of entertainment of young ladies but is applicable to the above discussion, I dothe think.
Paraphrases and filched
" There is no reasonable probilities that thee or me would modify the views of you or me, I have said a few words to explain my view but I have not the will to mean it to be the last word, please say anything you like , that be your view."
misquoted to fit my view.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

The Margaret Pepys question
I'm a little reluctant to prolong this discussion, since it seems to have become a Touchy Subject, but I will. Several annotators have quite correctly pointed out that we have no evidence of Margaret's mental state aside from what Sam says about it. But I don't see why we should be so quick to dismiss Sam's observations. We enjoy reading the diary in part because Sam is an astute observer of the people around him (though obviously not infallible). There are other people who annoy him mightily, but he does not suggest of them that their reason is impaired, as he does of his mother. Why is it out of the question that he could be right? People do, and did, lose their rational faculties for a variety of reasons. It puzzles me that some of our annotators are so passionately determined to defend Margaret against this suggestion, with no other evidence to go on. It seems to me that if anyone is projecting 21st century preoccupations onto the 17th century world, it is they.

Pedro  •  Link

The Margaret Pepys question.

I have an idea that we should leave this question for the moment, but if Phil ever slips the "No entry today" heading in again, we can have an opportunity to set record annotations!

laura k  •  Link

"Several annotators have quite correctly pointed out that we have no evidence of Margaret's mental state aside from what Sam says about it. . . . But I don't see why we should be so quick to dismiss Sam's observations. . . . It seems to me that if anyone is projecting 21st century preoccupations onto the 17th century world, it is they.”

Ah, but you are omitting a crucial part of the equation.

The anti-dementia commenters don’t believe we are dismissing Sam’s observations - because we don’t believe Sam has ever reported that his mother has dementia.

Sam has never said, My father tells me my mother walks upon the leads at night in her petticoats, or, my mother was seen talking to a fencepost, or some such bizarre behavior. We don’t believe the adjectives that Sam used, such as “simple” or “lack of reason” (I’m not quoting here, I’m paraphrasing from memory, so forgive me if I’m not completely accurate) translate to dementia.

So, given that we believe Sam himself has never given us any evidence of his mother’s dementia, we don’t feel we are dismissing his observations. We don’t feel he made these observations.

Obviously, the anti-dementia people could be wholly wrong. I am writing this as clarification of position, not as some supposed proof of correctness or accuracy.

Speaking only for myself, the tendency to read information into the Diary that (I think) is not there has really spoiled the annotations.

language hat  •  Link

dismissing Sam's observations:

laura k is right on the money. Sam has never said a thing to even suggest that his mother is demented. He has expressed his exasperation, an exasperation that is extremely common in men dealing with women, particularly mothers and wives. I’m perfectly willing to leave the subject alone if others will do the same, but every time someone remarks “oh, look, Sam’s having to deal with his demented mother again,” I’m going to express my strong opposition to the idea — not because I hold any brief for Margaret (I never met the woman), but because I despise the reflex dismissal of women and their self-expression. Sexism is ugly and repellent to me, in any century. (And don’t bother telling me women have been among those who favor the Alzheimer’s idea; women are among the worst sexists I have known. That’s the sad thing about prejudice; it infects the objects of prejudice at least as much as the beneficiaries.)

Pauline  •  Link

'the macho contempt of her...son'
In the diary I am reading, Sam has show filial respect for his mother and concern for her in her 'disquiet'.

laura k  •  Link

"In the diary I am reading, Sam has show filial respect for his mother and concern for her in her 'disquiet'."

Interesting. In the one I'm reading, Sam shows sympathy for his father at having to deal with his mother's disquiet, but little to none for his mother.

Pedro  •  Link

An interpretation of some facts...

Around 5th September 61, Sam's father and mother leave for Brampton, and up to the present time in the Diary, one year later, she is only mentioned twice. That was in June while his father made a visit to London, and Pal wrote a letter to get the father back, saying Sam's mother was ill. Sam suspected there was trickery on Pal's part.

On the other hand his father is mentioned around 36 times, and nearly all have some connection with letters and the "Brampton affair". There have not been any complaints about his wife. While he was in London Sam did refer to him as a "poor man", but gave no reason.

The present discussion has stemmed from the visit of Elizabeth. I would conclude, in my humble opinion, that both Sam's father and mother are not having a bad time out in the sticks. Sam's only worry has been the financial side of Brampton. It is a case of "out of sight, out of mind", and the only problem, in fact, is when these characters interact with each other.

The one thing that "maybe" certain is that it is a good job, for us annotators, that they did go to Brampton!

Pauline  •  Link

For the first fifteen months of the diary Sam usually mentions his parents in tandem (my father and my mother) and dines with them and various aunts and uncles often. He probably mentions his father a bit more then because any business dealings and family matter discussions exclude the women.

Then in April 1661 things changed. It looks like our Search function doesn't go back that far. Anyway, the changes and frustrations reported by Sam from April 1, 1661 until his parents depart for Brampton have stirred the great controversy here in Annotation World that you will see flares and flashes of each time someone writes from or returns from Brampton and mentions Mrs. Margaret Pepys.

Second Reading

arby  •  Link

For a contemporary and humorous (possible) insight into Wayneman's troubles, see the Moone Boy episode "Dark Side of the Moone". Season 1, episode 4. As it happens it's being re-run on my local PBS station tonight, also free on Hulu. Irish sitcom starring a 12 year old boy.

Bridget Davis  •  Link

"For the first fifteen months of the diary Sam usually mentions his parents in tandem..."

Thank you for putting this in perspective, Pauline. I was quite lost.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"At last I rose, and with Tom to the French Church at the Savoy, where I never was before — a pretty place it is "

L&M: In 1661 this congregation had moved from Somerset House to the 'little chapel' of the hospital of the Savoy (the chancel of the original chapel). Both this and the other Calvinist French church in Threadneedle St were favourite resorts for Londoners anxious to improve their French -- the Westminster congregation being the more fashionable.
Savoy Chapel

The Queen's Chapel of St John the Baptist in the Precinct of the Savoy, also known as the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, is a church in the City of Westminster, London. Facing it are 111 Strand, the Savoy Hotel, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and – across the green to its side – the east side of Savoy Street.

It sits on the site of the Savoy Palace, once owned by John of Gaunt, that was destroyed in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. Work was begun on the building in 1502 under King Henry VII and it received its first charter to operate as a hospital foundation in 1512 to look after 100 poor and needy men of London.…

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