Tuesday 16 December 1662

Up and to the office, and thither came Mr. Coventry and Sir G. Carteret, and among other business was Strutt’s the purser, against Captn. Browne, Sir W. Batten’s brother-in-law, but, Lord! though I believe the Captain has played the knave, though I seem to have a good opinion of him and to mean him well, what a most troublesome fellow that Strutt is, such as I never did meet with his fellow in my life. His talking and ours to make him hold his peace set my head off akeing all the afternoon with great pain.

So to dinner, thinking to have had Mr. Coventry, but he could not go with me; and so I took Captn. Murford. Of whom I do hear what the world says of me; that all do conclude Mr. Coventry, and Pett, and me, to be of a knot; and that we do now carry all things before us; and much more in particular of me, and my studiousnesse, &c., to my great content.

After dinner came Mrs. Browne, the Captain’s wife, to see me and my wife, and I showed her a good countenance, and indeed her husband has been civil to us, but though I speak them fair, yet I doubt I shall not be able to do her husband much favour in this business of Strutt’s, whom without doubt he has abused.

So to the office, and hence, having done some business, by coach to White Hall to Secretary Bennet’s, and agreed with Mr. Lee to set upon our new adventure at the Tower to-morrow. Hence to Col. Lovelace in Cannon Row about seeing how Sir R. Ford did report all the officers of the navy to be rated for the Loyal Sufferers, but finding him at the Rhenish wine-house I could not have any answer, but must take another time. Thence to my Lord’s, and having sat talking with Mr. Moore bewailing the vanity and disorders of the age, I went by coach to my brother’s, where I met Sarah, my late mayde, who had a desire to speak with me, and I with her to know what it was, who told me out of good will to me, for she loves me dearly, that I would beware of my wife’s brother, for he is begging or borrowing of her and often, and told me of her Scallop whisk, and her borrowing of 50s. for Will, which she believes was for him and her father. I do observe so much goodness and seriousness in the mayde, that I am again and again sorry that I have parted with her, though it was full against my will then, and if she had anything in the world I would commend her for a wife for my brother Tom. After much discourse and her professions of love to me and all my relations, I bade her good night and did kiss her, and indeed she seemed very well-favoured to me to-night, as she is always.

So by coach home and to my office, did some business, and so home to supper and to bed.

34 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Snoopy little... Poor Bess.

"borrowing of 50s for Will [Hewer]..."

Did Bess borrow it from Will or Sam supposedly for Will? If so, curious. But what a nasty little...I did feel sorry for her but good riddance.

Sam, you can philander and you can lose it with Bess once in a while but if you give that poor kid grief over a few measly shillings to keep her brother and parents in food and clothes...

Lets hope Sarah's tales around town about you are even more amusing. Surely you'll still find her as impressive then. Nasty little...

dirk  •  Link

"sat talking with Mr. Moore bewailing the vanity and disorders of the age"

The kind of remark you would normally (and sensibly) expect from experienced older people... After all Sam is only 29 years old!

But of course a lot had changed -- and in a rather violent way -- over a relatively short period of time: Charles I, Cromwell, the return of the King... So Sam is probably "experienced" enough for this kind of remark.

jeannine  •  Link

Sarah and Elizabeth, perhaps now we understand why Elizabeth wanted her OUT of the house. It would be easy to see if Elizabeth felt that Sarah was spying on her every move or passing some sort of judgement against her. I can understand Sam's feelings of closeness towards Sarah (because she was reporting TO him) but think that overall for a relationship between husband and wife, that having a spy in the middle could never have been a good thing. Overall I think that unfortunately Sam, Elizabeth and Sarah were all losers of a sort as this played out. Interesting that Sam would have considered her for a wife for Tom too (but alas, not enough to overlook the lack of funds!).

Australian Susan  •  Link

I wondered if the "50s for Will" should have been "of Will" which would make more sense - Elizabeth is borrowing money from Will for her family because she does not want to confront her hsuband about this as he would be unwilling. He really does not seem well-disposed towards Elizabeth's parents, yet co-operates with some of Balthasar's schemes. I was mystified about why he would think Sarah a suitable wife for Tom - is Sam just being swayed by a "well-favoured" appearance? Interesting though, that he does not go home and raise these issues with his wife straight away, but calmly goes to the office and works, then comes home to supper and bed as normal. Wonder what tomorrow will bring?
Just another note - on times changed - Sam has not made one reference to Christmas, yet I bet I am not the only one reading this who has been preoccupied with preparations, plans, parties for *weeks* - when *did* all this get so much out of hand? Envy Elizabeth who has not been fretting like me for so long over this festival!

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

This entry is about knaves:
[cheats, hypocrypte, miscreant, rogues ,varlet,villain, fraud and plain scoundral][Strutt, capt Browne,Pett,Mrs Browne?,Sir R Ford,Sarah? and that Brother in law. {Sam just cannot say his name, it easier on his shorthand}]

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

It dothe bother me too, the meaning of 50s, Will would not have that much, he only receives less 15s a week [50 Quid/yr] That would be using up most of his savings unless he be very thrifty with his cash flow and if he be, then would not lend it out any way unless the Mistress be promising a nice reward. So this might be a tale out of spite/ along with that other porkie of La chantreuse.

The Mollusc  •  Link

Sarah's surveillance
It could be quite damaging for the reputation of our Pepys family (Samuel and Elizabeth) if word got out that Madam was 'in hock to the servants' while Sir was on his way to 'the top' in society etc. Revealing unspoken or unresolved conflicts between them would make raise doubts about how solid that relationship is...

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"I was mystified about why he would think Sarah a suitable wife for Tom " A.S. Man will be enamoured by a peck on the kisser,..."...indeed she seemed very well-favoured to me to-night, as she is always...." Mans brain be a Yo Yo, up and down the spine it dothe go.
Re: The 25th: not the deal we make it today: last year, it was not an awe inspiring occasion. He dothe record.
"...Dined at home all alone, and taking occasion from some fault in the meat to complain of my maid’s sluttery, my wife and I fell out, and I up to my chamber in a discontent...."
He gets around to mentioning it only 5 days before, the 20th '60 and 21st '61. No sleighs.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

It's only the second Christmas since the Restoration. During the Commonwealth, as I understand it, Christmas celebrations were forbidden or strongly discouraged. It may be taking people a while to get back into the swing of it.

Mary  •  Link

the borrowed 50s.

Indeed the L&M edition gives a reading here of "from Will", but notes that this is an editorial emendation of "for Will" in the original text.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I was just being peevish really.

The average 17th century housekeeper had far more problems than the 21st century equivalent. At least I don't have to chase and kill pigeons as Elizabeth has to at one point. Although my grandmother's cook was expected to cope with a live turkey one year (it was a present from a late paying customer of my grandfather's).

Twelveth Night was much more important for festivities in the 16th and 17th centuries than Christmas Day.

Remember last year's 12th Night Pie???

Ruben  •  Link

all those interested in Christmas Day should check the Background information (including Australian Susan that contributed to the place).
Have a nice Christmas!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Back again to the Tower treasure quest. I don't know Lee, I'd consider making sure a third man is along, Sam seeming so fixed on the hunt. Perhaps a little Fred C. Dobbs creeping in...

One am...The Tower's dankest basement.

"Lee! There!"

"My God, Pepys! It's true!"

They haul the huge sacks out of the deep pit and tunnel the latest clues had led them to dig, recovering the pit with the scattered dirt. Tottering up the dank steps...My God are those children's bones? Sam eyes two small skeletons in a room off the long-locked and forgotten stairway to the secret chamber below.

"We're rich, Lee!" Sam's eyes gleam as they pause at the main basement. His country estate...Perhaps not in England, but somewhere, definitely in sight. And no more having to give his poor girl hell over lending 50s to starving parents, heck she can give them a pound...Or two.

Lee staring...But, Pepysie.

"Half for me and half for you, Lee! What?"

"But Pepysie, this money's my lord's and the King's."

Narrow look from Sam...

"Right, sure." And what, his friends awaiting us above to kill me and take all the treasure?

Nobody ever put one over on Sam B. Pepys (ok, the B. is my idea).

"Pepysie!" Lee screams as he's shoved back down the dank stairs to either instant death or, as Sam notes, locking the door of the forgotten staircase, slow dehydration and starvation.
"Hold there". A masked man with his followers pulls up to the homeward-bound Sam, his horse heavily laden with weighty sacks.

"Out of my way. I've important papers for the King's Navy in these satchels. Who are you?" Sam regards the group.

"We be the King's men, on his service." the masked leader chuckles at Sam.

Hmmn, familiar voice...

"What? If you're the King's men, where's your badges of office?"

"Badges?!" the leader roars. "We ain't got no badges?! I don't need to show you no stinkin'..."

"Fields? Is that you?"


However, Fields believing Sam, the "Papers" are left with his stripped body on the horse at the Naval Office...

To be found by a horrified, mourning, terrified for the future, Bess...Balty, while praising Sam's provider skills, suggesting they not mention the sacks of gold found with him.

He want it that way.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

" I would commend her for a wife for my brother Tom"
Just like a Big Brother! Disgusting!

Alan Chance  •  Link

What's with the 'scallop whisk'? Does anyone know?

Roger White  •  Link

Another quiet day then?!
Sam's energy would put most of us to shame. He really gets about about doesn't he. No wonder he was so successful as 'reforming' The Navy. Thinking about it, I suppose life was shorter and perhaps more precious in those days. If one of us caught a bad 'flu today we would hope to be here at New Year. No such guarantees in the 17th century.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

A scallop be bi valve mollusk i.e. it be a shell sandwich which ye whip out the innards and toss into a pot and the whisk or beat the hell out of it until it be tender for a nice soup dish, for use on a freezing day.
pixs at:
As Sam never tell us these little common garden duties of the undercook.
Then take the shell and polish the inside for use as a beautifrying mirror, that is for putting on one's black patches. Another use for the shell could be to keep ones little pieces of petals of roses.
The Whisk, a very handy tool to beat up the batter or lather up the cream for high tea.
PS if they be alive when ye get them from the lass on the street , ye then toss them into a hot boiling pot and listen to the screams.
They now be popular with sea otters.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Scallop whisk
Is this some kind of lace adornment around the neck?

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

first mention of scallop:
"...two little barrels of scallops at my house, ..."
Then Sam'l and his wife be buying one
"...my wife and I were talking about buying of a fine scallop which is brought her this morning by a woman to be sold, which is to cost her 45s.,
then he wears one "...Hither this night my scallop, bought and got made by Captain Ferrers’ lady, is sent, and I brought it home, a very neat one. It cost me about 3l.,..."
"...being lothe to wear my own new scallop, it is so fine; and,..."
being lothe to wear my own new scallop, it is so fine; and,..."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1… ???
Scallop whisk be it a musk shell or for the musk oil.?
I dothe luv the saxon lingo, this be neither fish nor foul?

Pauline  •  Link

"...told me of her Scallop whisk, and her borrowing of 50s. for Will...
Quite inexplicable. I immediately envisioned a rug beater--a scallopy-bent wire thing for beating the dust our of carpets hanging on lines outside, OR for going after the maid you want fired. How sure am I that I am wrong? VERY.

Mary  •  Link

scallop whisk.

A whisk is a neckerchief or gorget of fine material, usually lace. A scallop whisk is one whose edges are fashioned in a scalloped pattern.

The earliest mention that I can find of Elizabeth looking to purchase a whisk of any sort is in November 1660.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"...At noon my wife and I walked to the Old Exchange, and there she bought her a white whisk[1] and put it on, and I a pair of gloves, ..." great find so much for beating the poor mollusks to a pulp.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

P.S so glad that it not be stolen .'T'otherwise, it be a hanging offence, fit for Tyburne..

Australian Susan  •  Link

So, what was Balty doing with the fine whisk? Pawning it?

Justin Rowles  •  Link

Terms like "borrow" and "lend" have often been interchangeable in common English, as in 'can I have a lend', 'can I lend that off you'.

Thus I suggest the following reading for "I would beware of my wife’s brother..."

"I would beware of my wife’s brother, for he is begging or borrowing of my wife and often, and told me ... of my wife lending 50s. to her brother 'for Will', which Sarah believes was actually for my wife's brother and her father."


Linda F  •  Link

Coming late to this entry but, typically, read it a bit differently from many of you: I thought that Sarah got it right by not saying anything against her mistress to her master while under their roof, and once discharged, only to him. Contrast this with newly-arrived Gosnell's over-familiar presumption in relaying to that same employer, Sam, the absurd story that his wife fills her days with theatre and court! This seems to have been the point at which Sam realized that G. was not what she seemed. He does not doubt Sarah, however. If Bess has been juggling household accounts, borrowing of servants and perhaps selling her fine lace to help her profligate brother, Sam should know of it. It is horrid of Balty to put his sister in such a position, and must have been very awkward for Bess and the servants: everyone but oblivious Sam. Not trying to be contrary, but really this strikes me so differently: good vs. bad servant. And if Balty has his "own" servants placed in his sister's house. . . Sam needed to know!

Pauline  •  Link

Linda F., that's how I was reading it too. And we know Sam champions Sarah and finds her a very good servant. (Hates to see her go, marry her off to Tom to keep her around!) The respect was probably mutual. So perhaps Sarah sees this as a good she can do a man she admires and who she knows tried hard to keep her employed in his home.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Linda F. /P: Most hate the Messengers[tattle tellers/snitches/brown * etc.], even if they be totally correct.
But The Summation be a good one, once we know the lingo for 17th century ascots. Respect I'm of the opinion it be a lttle more. For Sam was be blinded to the 'vulpes canora' then it was Sarah who was at odds with Mistress, although Sam be not in know of the true reasons.
So thanks Linda F.,
One must go back to put the missing atmosphere to the test.

Pauline  •  Link

Most hate the Messengers
So very true. But I wonder is Sam isn't a bit "innocent" yet and willing to take the message from the heart of the bearer. Especially if he is personally flattered by the sincereness. In this instance it interests me that his reaction is all to embracing Sarah and her intention, but not at all in taking the information and following through with it in an overt manner (writing this with two additional days of the diary under my belt). So he comes across as a young man who has gained wisdom in dealing with his household and has good heart towards his wife and the things she wrestles with.

Pauline  •  Link

not to mention feeling bad about letting Sarah go and needing to be a good guy about her in his own eyes (and in hers).

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Being from a prosperous family, Will Hewer might well have had 50s to lend Bess.

He was placed by with Pepys for his personal development, and as an entrée from members of the old regime (Will's uncle Blackborne & associates) to the new.

MarkS  •  Link

I read this differently. I think that Bess borrowed 50s, claiming that it was for Will, but then gave it to Balty and her father.

Tonyel  •  Link

"what a most troublesome fellow that Strutt is, such as I never did meet with his fellow in my life. His talking and ours to make him hold his peace set my head off akeing all the afternoon with great pain".

Sounds familiar - nothing worse than someone with a (genuine) grievance who won't shut up.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘knot, n.1< Old English cnotta . .
. . 18. A small group, cluster, band or company of persons or things (gathered together in one place, or associated in any way). of a knot, in union or combination, associated together.
a. Of persons.
. . 1662 S. Pepys Diary 16 Dec. (1970) III. 284 All do conclude Mr. Coventry and Pett and me to be of a knot . . ‘


‘whisk, n.1 . . partly < Scandinavian noun represented by Old Norse visk . .
. . II. 2. A neckerchief worn by women in the latter half of the 17th century. Obs. exc. Hist.
. . 1660 S. Pepys Diary 22 Nov. (1970) I. 299 My wife..bought her a white whiske and put it on . . ‘

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