Wednesday 12 November 1662

At my office most of the morning, after I had done among my painters, and sent away Mr. Shaw and Hawly, who came to give me a visit this morning. Shaw it seems is newly re-married to a rich widow. At noon dined at home with my wife, and by and by, by my wife’s appointment came two young ladies, sisters, acquaintances of my wife’s brother’s, who are desirous to wait upon some ladies, and proffer their service to my wife. The youngest, indeed, hath a good voice, and sings very well, besides other good qualitys; but I fear hath been bred up with too great liberty for my family, and I fear greater inconveniences of expenses, and my wife’s liberty will follow, which I must study to avoid till I have a better purse; though, I confess, the gentlewoman, being pretty handsome, and singing, makes me have a good mind to her.

Anon I took them by coach and carried them to a friend’s of theirs, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and there I left them and I to the Temple by appointment to my cousin Roger’s chamber, where my uncle Thomas and his son Thomas met us, I having hoped that they would have agreed with me to have had [it] ended by my cozen Roger, but they will have two strangers to be for them against two others of mine, and so we parted without doing any thing till the two send me the names of their arbiters. Thence I walked home, calling a little in Paul’s Churchyard, and, I thank God, can read and never buy a book, though I have a great mind to it. So to the Dolphin Tavern near home, by appointment, and there met with Wade and Evett, and have resolved to make a new attempt upon another discovery, in which God give us better fortune than in the other, but I have great confidence that there is no cheat in these people, but that they go upon good grounds, though they have been mistaken in the place of the first.

From thence, without drinking a drop of wine, home to my office and there made an end, though late, of my collection of the prices of masts for these twelve years to this day, in order to the buying of some of Wood, and I bound it up in painted paper to lie by as a book for future use. So home and to supper and to bed, and a little before and after we were in bed we had much talk and difference between us about my wife’s having a woman, which I seemed much angry at, that she should go so far in it without consideration and my being consulted with. So to bed.

29 Annotations

First Reading

Pauline  •  Link

"...I bound it up in painted paper to lie by as a book for future use..."
An early file folder. Has anyone seen a sample? Know about this painted paper?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"Painted Paper"

Pepys almost certainly means what we know as marbled paper, for a history, brief description of the process and links to sample patterns see: -

Also he could possibly be referring to a printed paper which very occasionally were in use in England in his day. See:-

To make his book he is probably folding several sheets into a single signature and sewing at the fold and through the decorative wrapper using a thin linen thread. I have come across numerous examples made in this way from his time and later.

JWB  •  Link

painted paper
Perhaps it's colored pasteboard he picked up @ a bookseller in "Paul's Churchyards", pasteboard new to Europe beginning 17th C.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"and I, thank God, can read and never buy a book, though I have a great mind to it."
I can understand Sam's vows against drinking wine and taking time off work to go to plays, but why is he loth to spend money on books, when he is happy to spend money on constantly tinkering with his house and refurbishing it? Is it that the house was for show (like the new clothes) so the world could see how well he was doing? But books could be displayed prominently as a sign of conspicuous consumption and disposal of wealth, couldn't they? Sam here seems to be withholding a quite reasonable pleasure from himself for little reason. And now he is contemplating hiring a companion for his wife!

Terry F  •  Link

"And now he is contemplating hiring a companion for his wife!" - but methinks hardly happily for various reasons.

Terry F  •  Link

Here are reasons not to hire one of the candidates that present themselves, who "[1] I fear hath been bred up with too great liberty for my family, [2] and I fear greater inconveniences of expenses, [3] and my wife’s liberty will follow, which I must study to avoid till I have a better purse" - and [4] it isn't clear that the Master has been consulted beforehand.

inaquascripto  •  Link

"...but I fear hath been bred up with too great liberty for my family...[ Familiarity breeds contempt]..., and I fear greater inconveniences of expenses, and my wife’s liberty will follow,...[wifey read too many french romance novels]... which I must study to avoid till I have a better purse...[overspent lately, me bag, be getting smaller]...; though, I confess.... ['tis in the mind ]..., the gentlewoman, being pretty handsome...{?...}, and singing, makes me have a good mind...[oh what thoughts?]... to her.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

",,,too great liberty for my family..."

Bertrand Russell once said of Nietzsche's infamous little remark "thou goest to woman, do not forget thy whip" from Fred's most popular book, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra". "He kept away from women. He knew a woman would get the whip away from him, so he kept away from women."

Very wise not to risk it, Sam...I mean having one woman laughing her head off at little you and your "dictates" is bad enough, but at least Bess loves your better side.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Does make one chuckle though that after milord's pomposity, our boy resorts to the little clever stratagem of pretending to be "furiously upset" hours later about not being consulted, allowing him, when he surely loses to Bess' determination, to play the wronged gentleman, generously conceding, despite her willful and unfair behavior...

Though my money's on Bess seeing right through it.

dirk  •  Link

why is he loth to spend money on books?

Susan, books were expensive items in the 17th c. I can see why Sam might want to cut down expenses by buying less books.

BTW, our friend Vince has as more names up his sleeve than us humble humans can cope with -- inaquascripto ??

Australian Susan  •  Link

Invisible ink? [inaquascripto]

Tsk, Tsk, dirk. *Fewer* books, not *less* books.
Yes, alas, you are right. Very very expensive. Also you had to have them bound yourself after you had purchased the paper basic version. This confession makes Sam very human doesn't it? Lingering in the bookshop mulling over these desirable items and then resolutely putting them down and striding out of the shop.

Terry F  •  Link

in aqua scripto ~ L. "I write in/on water" ~ even more elusive than "Cum granis salis"

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Calling a little in Paul's
Churchyard,and I thank God can read
and never buy a book"
Methinks he was using a Public Library so there was no need to buy books.

Pauline  •  Link

"...when he is happy to spend money on constantly tinkering with his house..."
Isn't this paid by the navy? Does he ever mention the expense of the various rennovations?

Perhaps his bookshelves are full and he has reached that stage where we consider carefully the books we buy and where we will stack them? A balance between the impressive shelved collection and the tumbling towers of dusty confusion and "dirt" that our impulse purchases run to amidst an otherwise carefully appointed room (in Sam's case) or merely room to navigate through (in our case).

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Bookselling – St. Paul’s

Pepys suffered considerable temptation. Since before Julian “Notary” moved his shop there circa 1515 St Paul’s Churchyard and the area to the north of the cathedral, Paternoster Row and the streets and alleys surrounding, was one of the major centers, if not the major centre in Pepys’ day, of the London book trade. It remained such till WW I and finally moved after the destruction of the Blitz with only Hodder rebuilding on Ave Maria Lane.…

For a map of the area see:--
The London book trades 1775-1800: a topographical guide. Introduction:
See also
Raven, James The book trades and the precinct',
In St Paul's: The Cathedral Church of London, 604-2004, eds. D.Keene, A.Burns, and A.Saint, pp. 430-8,New Haven & London, Yale University Press, 2004.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

(Spoiler Alert) Pepys & Bookshelves

Pepys had his first bookcases built in 1666 by Thomas Simpson, a master joiner in the dockyards and more were made as the collection grew; twelve, of varying date with minor diferences, survive today in the Pepys Library at Magdalene, Cambridge. He seems consciously to have restricted his collection to 3,000 titles - disposing when aquisitions were made to retain this number. Pepys was one of the great book collectors of his day.

There are two pen and ink drawing of Pepys' library room, circa 1693, in his own manuscript catalogue of his library .

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"pasteboard new to Europe beginning 17th C." ?

I have handled many late C15th century northern European volumes in contemporary bindings where the boards are composed of pasteboard. From personal observation it would appear to have been not uncommon in the boards of London bindings of circa 1560 onward. It was not colored.

inventoscripto  •  Link

there met with Wade and Evet

"and have resolved to make a new attempt upon another discovery, in which God give us better fortune than in the other"

Its called fortune hunting. The dream of sudden riches.Treasure Island,and why they invented lotteries.

Nix  •  Link

"happy to spend money on constantly tinkering with his house" --

Did we ever figure out if it his money he's spending on the house, or the Navy's?

language hat  •  Link

Michael: Thanks for the book trades link.
I love bookstores, cities, and city maps, so I bookmarked the site immediately. (And unlike Sam, I find it very hard to resist buying books; in fact, I've already got hundreds more than he allowed himself!)

Australian Susan  •  Link

Good point, Nix. It does all seem rather hazy. As he had the frames for the new upper storey he had put in made at the Royal Dockyards and as he did not own his house, I have concluded that this was paid for by the Government in some way, but what about the panelling? And the painting? All the furnishings presumably were his, but what about the staircase? These could be moved from place to place, so would that count as a moveable and thus his responsibility?

dirk  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin's conformation troubles continue...

"A snowy bitter rainy windy morning in which I went to the Court at Colchester cited for procurations. mine are as large as livings of 120li. per year. I paid and returned well blessed be god. none of the nonconformists being cited appeared but only myself, I reckon that day a good day to me"

BTW, also compare the Rev's £120 per year to Sam's income, which I feel to be much higher. -- Come to think of it, has anyone yet attempted to calculate/estimate Sam's yearly income? Or have we any figures from other sources (L&M)?

(Susan, my humble apologies for the slip of the tongue -- hm keyboard -- "fewer" i.s.o. "less" of course...)

inaquascripto  •  Link

Re: government work on Digs, Labour be curtesty of HMG., Lumber, paint and tools be HMG., but items that were not in HMG possesion, then Sam had to dig out of his nest egg.
Another tit bit, may be [remotely], he supply the bait [grub] and whistle wetter, and as there be no kitchen, it be gott at the local cookery.
His excuse be for keeping his own expences to a minimum be keep the men up to scratch with their hard earned skills, so as not forget how use a rip saw and knocking home a few brads.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Poor old Rev Joss.
His diary shows the other side of Sam's reports of Mr Mill's grudgingly using the Prayer Book and obeying the rubric by putting on a surplice. What is happening in this entry refers back to the Archdeacon's Visitation some time back. Procurations are what you pay to the ArchD when he comes to Visit you. Proxies of Procurations were the fees due to the Archdeacon for Visitation. They were originally so called because the clergy Visited were obliged to procure meat, drink and provender for the Archdeacon and his train when visiting. They were afterwards allowed to be compounded in cash and payable by the Rector of Vicar. From the comments, it would seem the ArchD is upping the ante by assessing what everyone in the Archdeaconry (two Deaneries, maybe about 20 Parishes) has to pay rather highly. Those that jibbed against this might then be hauled before the Courts for non-conformity. The Revd J has paid up, but is not happy about this. I think we can conclude that his living is assessed at much less than 120 pounds sterling. The very best livings at this time would be worth about 3 to 4 hundred pounds. Probably Sam's Mr Mills has been stung by his Archdeacon for massive procurations on his visitation, but will likewise pay up and not grumble. Sam is probably unaware of ecclesiaistical finances, not having any relatives in the Church.

Terry F  •  Link

"the gentlewoman, being pretty handsome, and singing, makes me have a good mind to her."

L&M note: "(? Winifred) Gosnell, later an actress; she stayed only from 5 to 9 December."

Puzzling note, given Sam's current financial prudence, unless he has some further interest....

inaquascripto  •  Link

Rev. Josselin, at least has a little control over his income, not fully relying on the sermon [and hatches, matches and dispatches] to fill the cofers, he has his own meat and veg in the yard.
Like many, discretion be the better part of valour.

Pauline  •  Link

"...makes me have a good mind to her.”
Sam has used the "a good mind to" phrase before when physically attracted. Yet, here it could just mean that he could see the pluses of having her in the household, being musical and all. Maybe he is rejecting this gentlewoman as a companion to his wife because he wants to avoid any "good mind to" intigue under his own roof.

marc  •  Link

Mons. Vincent has written in water and in air... what is next? in blood? in stone?

Second Reading

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