Tuesday 9 December 1662

Lay long with my wife, contenting her about the business of Gosnell’s going, and I perceive she will be contented as well as myself, and so to the office, and after sitting all the morning in hopes to have Mr. Coventry dine with me, he was forced to go to White Hall, and so I dined with my own company only, taking Mr. Hater home with me, but he, poor man, was not very well, and so could not eat any thing. After dinner staid within all the afternoon, being vexed in my mind about the going away of Sarah this afternoon, who cried mightily, and so was I ready to do, and Jane did also, and then anon went Gosnell away, which did trouble me too; though upon many considerations, it is better that I am rid of the charge. All together makes my house appear to me very lonely, which troubles me much, and in a melancholy humour I went to the office, and there about business sat till I was called to Sir G. Carteret at the Treasury office about my Lord Treasurer’s letter, wherein he puts me to a new trouble to write it over again. So home and late with Sir John Minnes at the office looking over Mr. Creed’s accounts, and then home and to supper, and my wife and I melancholy to bed.

21 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"Mr. Creed’s accounts"

This has to do with Creed's handling of substantial petty cash (my term) when he was Deputy-Treasurer during Sandwich's adventures in the Mediterranean during the campaigns of 1661-1662 and the Duke's wanting to know all about it. See L&M for details.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I get the impression Sam is relieved on several levels by Gosnell's going...

Sweet of him regarding Sarah... I'm surprised Jane's letting Bess off, after hearing that she was upset by Sarah's going.

Was Sam's plan to bring Coventry to dine intended perhaps as a little treat for Bess, I wonder?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...makes my house appear very lonely..." Whereas yesterday, music filled the air.

By the way, Sam's been pretty good with Bess in dealing with her feelings over losing the companion she'd so counted on...Hopefully he'll find her someone else shortly.


"Look...Balthazar. This time no would-be actresses, no old girlfriends, ("Brother Samuel, why I would never...") no Lady Castlemaines-in-training. A nice, respectable, musically-inclined young woman of good breeding...Who is not, I repeat, an old girlfriend with eyes for the stage. And no fancy tales of our grand lifestyle...Am I understood?"

"Brother Samuel, it shall be my solemn charge, as I am a gentleman born..."

"Just find someone...Quickly. For Elisabeth's sake...And mine."

"For my dearest sister, anything."

First the dog, now Gosnell...Sam frowns at his eagerly beaming brother-in-law.

Linda F  •  Link

Sam and Beth seem resigned, but these events do read like a morality play sub-motif. Proper deportment for servants: not too dour nor too frivolous, too frowning nor too familiar. Wonder what Sam was given to revise: a document he had drafted, or another's work he was called upon to heal.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Oh! that life in Kitchen, it be so fragile.

Terry F  •  Link

"my Lord Treasurer’s letter"

-- a describing and justifying huge sums payed 19 March to 10 September by the Navy Office to be reimbursed by a parliamentary grant described in detail here: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1…
This is a letter the Navy Office has been drafting off and on since 6 November. Yesterday Mr. Coventry and Sam'l, read it and the latter adjudged it to be "done as well as it can be"; but now it's been put to Sir G. Carteret, Vice-Chamberlain to the King, Treasurer of the Navy, and a Privy Councillor, and he has made some important recommondations.

Terry F  •  Link

Lest it be misunderstood, Sir G. Carteret is a friendly critic and very much wants the letter to be a success.

Terry F  •  Link

"I was called to Sir G. Carteret at the Treasury office about my Lord Treasurer’s letter, wherein he puts me to a new trouble to write it over again"

It is a worthy rule in composition (I have in mind the philosophy, religious studies and humanities papers I received over a 30-year career) that the best papers are not written, they are re-written -- often many times.

S. Pepys, age 29, is learning.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

One positive gain for Sam must be that Balty's stock with Bess surely has dropped a little given that Gosnell turned out so flighty.

So our hero has several basic options:

1)Do nothing. Result negative: Bess' unhappiness simmers. She looks for anything to relieve boredom. (Uh-oh)

Result postive: Bess works out her situation by making friends among the seamens' wives. Becomes an asset to Sam by giving him steady reports on the temperament of the men.

2)Find new, steadier companion. Result positive-Bess is content, new companion is pleasant asset to household. Result negative-companion disasterously attractive to Sam. Suffering and mayhem insue.

3)Correct past mistake by praising the infamous Letter and Bess' skill in writing it, offering to work out solution to Bess' loneliness. Result positive-Pleased Bess is encouraged to take up pen. Becomes writer and poet. Sam's standing enhanced by attachment to famed woman. Result negative-Pleased Bess becomes writer and poet. Sam humilated by scorn of coworkers, ejected from office when radical Bess' works on feminism and democracy become known.

4)Get Bess a job clerking at the office
Result negative-Sam must pay her salary himself. Scorn of coworkers. Bess innocently uncovers waste and abuse reaching to highest levels. Sam sent to the Tower. Result positive-Coworkers find Bess pleasant company and relieved that Sam pays her himself. Bess makes contact with seamen and their families, leads positive but discreet campaign to help. Sam's standing enhanced, knighthood follows. Snickering minimal.

5)Encourage Bess to make friends with neighbors. Results negative: She gets in with bad crowd via Lady Batten, then graduates to Castlemaine level group. Sorrow and mayhem for Sam, disgrace and death by VD for her. Results positive: Bess gets friends. Remains relatively faithful. Sam gets a faraway dukedom from a King who's anxious to get a crack at her but is a good sport when he fails.

Ruben  •  Link

thank you, Robert, you make me laugh, but at the same time I feel sorry for the Pepys family. They wanted children and the children never came. They tried to have other voices in the house, but when that intent collapsed they were more lonely than ever.
No help for them, just waiting for the miracle to happen. We known it never did. Poor Sam. Poor Elizabeth.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Luverly summary Robert:it be lucky Sam did not have a goggle box with the day filled with castilles finest. Yet they did have penny pages filled with French sayings and doings. Luxury can have its draw backs, ie. idle mind be the devils mind. As once said that all space [Vaccum] will be filled.
As for Item fore, Cato doth say, quoted by Livy:
"Simul ac [muleres] pares esse coeperint, superores erunt."
or in saxon when the females equal men , men lose.

Terry F  •  Link

"so I dined with my own company only, taking Mr. Hater home with me"

I read this that Mr. Coventry doesn't belong to Sam's "company," but Mr. Hater does. Had Coventry come, would they two have dined at a different venue?

I find this entire sentence confusing.

Jeannine  •  Link

Robert, great summary! Ruben--I too agree, heartbreaking not to have a family, especially when in their world so much of a woman's value was derived by bringing forth children (especially that male heir!).

On another note and one last unexplored alternative to consider... Sam could have encouraged Elizabeth to start a diary which would have delighted us more than they would ever have known. I'll leave our ever creative Robert to fill in the pros and cons of that alternative!

JudyB  •  Link

Does anyone know of any journals written by women of Pepys's time? While we get the politics of the time and experiences of a man, it would be nice to read about the life of women living in similar circumstances and their childrearing.

How much more rich this journal would have been had our couple had children!

Australian Susan  •  Link

The confusing sentence.
I agree TerryF - very muddled! I have taken this to mean something like this. Sam had intended to bring Coventry back home with him. Thwarted by Coventry's pressing former engagement, he brings Mr Hater home with him, but he is too ill to eat dinner, so Sam dines alone. But I am unsure where Elizabeth was in all this?

dirk  •  Link

"so I dined with my own company only, taking Mr. Hater home with me"

Re - Terry, Susan

I don't think we have to read too much into the word "company" here -- I take it to mean simply and very literally the people who are there at that moment (which obviously don't includes Coventry).

marc  •  Link

Perhaps "so I dined in company with myself only"?

Aqua  •  Link

Marc re; dining with Friends,
Lessors of the meanor sort , contempopries or betters of the upper laudly sort.
It could simply be that he [Sam'l] could relax without putting on formality and with Mr Hater just bantered, whom being a little under the weather, left Sam to munch and crunch.
"...and so I dined with my own company only, taking Mr. Hater home with me, but he, poor man, was not very well, and so could not eat any thing. After dinner staid within all the afternoon,..."
Today all meals be informal for affluent, no tie, no bib, no shoes, snatch and grab, Then Meals be part of the civil dealings with thy fellow 'umans. P's and Q's be adhered to, so Sam pleas'd 'is self. [Dining Alone]

Second Reading

Tonyel  •  Link

"my Lord Treasurer's letter"

Impossible to resist the temptation to compare the present with the past:

"Just delete 'we demand payment' and paste in 'payment would be appreciated' there's a good chap. "

"But Mr Coventry, that's a whole page to rewrite and my eyes are killing me!"

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