Sunday 11 January 1662/63

(Lord’s day). Lay long talking pleasant with my wife, then up and to church, the pew being quite full with strangers come along with Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes, so after a pitifull sermon of the young Scott, home to dinner. After dinner comes a footman of my Lord Sandwich’s (my Lord being come to town last night) with a letter from my father, in which he presses me to carry on the business for Tom with his late mistress, which I am sorry to see my father do, it being so much out of our power or for his advantage, as it is clear to me it is, which I shall think of and answer in my next. So to my office all the afternoon writing orders myself to have ready against to-morrow, that I might not appear negligent to Mr. Coventry.

In the evening to Sir W. Pen’s, where Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten, and afterwards came Sir G. Carteret. There talked about business, and afterwards to Sir W. Batten’s, where we staid talking and drinking Syder, and so I went away to my office a little, and so home and to bed.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Clement  •  Link

" being so much out of our power or for his advantage..."

Perhaps Tom had the temerity to suggest to his father that he liked the woman. And perhaps dad tried to exert a little paternal influence on Tom's behalf.
Of course the match is no less a financial proposition for her side than it is for Sam, who married for love, as has been noted previously in the context of Tom's proposed relationship.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Sam simmers down

Sharp comment (on sermon, Tom's situation) but none of yesterday's overt hostility -- and see where Sam spends his evening!

A. Hamilton  •  Link

it being so much out of our power

Sam acutely remembers how the lass's mother sharply cut her offer, and how the girl herself expressed aversion to Tom and his circumstances. Sam's father didn't have the advantage of this first hand impression; now Sam has to make the unpleasant facts as clear to his father as he dares.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"lay long talking pleasant with my wife"
Yes, but he then neglects her for the whole of the day, which should be a day of rest, instead playing catch-up with office work or office networking I picture Elizabeth sitting around at home, chatting with Jane, doing some sewing or reading, maybe playing cards with Jane (or Will?) and glancing at their new smart clock on the mantelpiece or across the yard to the office, watching the candle still burning there and wondering when Sam will come home. She doesn''t even get to go to Church, unless Sam just doesn't record it. A lonely day for her.

dirk  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin's diary today:

"A very cold wintery time. the smallpox in 5 families all taken from Hatch apprentice who died. all persons upward, lord be good to us in sparing our place, our poor sinful town. god good to me in the freedom of the Sabbath. Mr Calany committed to Newgate for preaching at the place where he had been minister."

A little bit of everything today. Smallpox -- and more problems with the Act of Conformity.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"... to carry on the business for Tom with his late mistress,..." I dothe not think this be about Mistresses that be applying for permanent residence and proper sealed official papers, but The one, that has no dowry but keeps the bed from being cold.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and afterwards to Sir W. Batten's,where we staid talking and drinking Syder"
One day he despises Sir William Batten,next he is his drinking buddy!
Very volatile our Man!

Clara  •  Link

I consider Sam lucky, Bess is only asking for a companion - which could easily be done for her by spending a little bit of his money, I know, that's not easy for Sam to be sure - but it would be worse for him, if she claimed him staying at home more often and not going to plays or staying with his friends and drinking... (sorry for mistakes, I must confess I am German)

Terry F  •  Link

"all the afternoon writing orders myself to have ready against to-morrow, that I might not appear negligent to Mr. Coventry."

Presumably the occasion is the regular Monday meeting of the Tangier Committee.…

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Sign of the times, there be extremely few lasses that are in the position of Elizabeth, "Bess is only asking for a companion ",Thems that have the funds [Daddies or dead hubbies] would be off to the Hall, to find a better prize, the rest need pocket change which be very scarce, there being no welfare. Women had few opportunities to indulge in there own endeavours, they had a choice of being married, work in a household or have an indulgent Pops, or kill off the man of the house, then and only then could thee have control of the funds required to be entertaining and sipping a glass of sherry, if none of the above then it be to the Park and provide services. Thus there be others trying another path, be a companion.
In review Elizabeth be in an the most unusual position of not needing to wring chicken necks, iron the old mans stockings, Yet not have the connections [not enough females with up and coming partners] to play the Lady of the Manor.
Affluence be one of the deadly diseases along with retirement and welfare, if brain activity be not force on one, thrue hunger, cold and Ambition, then floundering takes place, all energy must be used, one way or another[+/-].

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: “all the afternoon writing orders myself to have ready against to-morrow, that I might not appear negligent to Mr. Coventry.”

Or their regular Monday morning meeting with the Duke...

Terry F  •  Link

Perhaps Bess asks for a companion for cultural reasons? Given her personal background, this might be the pattern she is most used to --, she being a reader and letter-writer, but no Aphra Behn (1640-1689), she needs someone cultured with whom to converse (the household help will hardly do); moreover she is only 22, hardly finding fit the company of the other wives of Sam'l's older colleagues.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Great point "for cultural reasons", grown tired of those little soap operettas of the times, french novels, here be an missed opportunity to expand her thinking . Now Sam has physicaly trashed her writings, good or bad, has damaged her self esteem, Oh! many fragile minds have been lost in this manner .

Robert Gertz  •  Link

A companion could discuss her favorite novels, the current plays, perhaps escort her to a few minor Court functions...A useful thing to have.

Obviously Bess thought to win Sam's possibly grudging respect with a well-thought-out letter listing her complaints and very likely noting how little ( probably some dress money, a companion, a little more attention from his Clerkness) it would take to make her content...And Sam thought it so good he kept it as well as feared it.

Now imagine the letter Barbara Palmer might have written...


Talking pleasant...

One can hope some of his Diary empathy for Bess seeped out and comforted her a little. Sam's no doubt a very charming fellow in private conversation.

Imagine if he told her he'd kept her torn letter out of admiration for the writing. Did he admit to her a little of his fear about the letter getting out and Coventry or others learning of the nightly (and occasionally daily) gaddings-about of nose-to-the-grindstone Pepys?

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a pitifull sermon of the young Scott"

Pepys suffered much from this young preacher, who served St Olave's sometimes for about a year from October 1662, and for Pepys always disastrously: e.g. "the Scott preached and I slept most of the afternoon.''… He is never named in the diary, and his identity can only be conjectured. (L&M note) "It is possible that he was the Alexander Mill, M.A., who received his preacher's license in Aug. 1662. An Alexander Milne took his M.A. at Aberdeen in 1658." (Companion, p. 393)

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"One day he despises Sir William Batten,next he is his drinking buddy!"

Not at all. The Pepys' policy is to avoid the Battens socially, but this is business, as it it with Minnes and Carteret. The officers meet at the Sir Williams' because, even if their influence is waning, they are senior and wealthier: Perhaps their apartments are more suitable for entertaining too?

Which brings us to the causes of Elizabeth's loneliness: problems with status and pecking order. Pepys has the confidence, or bravado, to socialise with his colleagues as equals: although they are wealthy knights, he has a better education and family connections with the aristocracy, which they do not. Things started well enough with Lady Batten, In 1660 Pepys records: "Home, there hear that my Lady Batten had given my wife a visit (the first that ever she made her), which pleased me exceedingly."…

However, by the following summer relations had soured, because Lady B insisted on treating Bess as a social inferior. "I found my Lady Batten and her daughter to look something askew upon my wife, because my wife do not buckle to them, and is not solicitous for their acquaintance ..."…

Thenceforward relations deteriorate and Bess, it seems, chooses not to be present at social occasions involving the Battens. This is especially understandable if Lady B is condescending in a way that Lady Sandwich, who has much higher status, is not. Unfortunately Lady Penn is managing the estates in Ireland and Pepys; parents are now in the country as is Lady Sandwich. So Bess has no social equals with whom she is happy to spend time, and she feels it necessary keep the servants in their place: another cause of domestic unhappiness and friction with Sam.

Today one might be tempted to regard social status might be an empty vanity, but in this era, especially for non-working women, it was a major component of self-worth!

Lady Penn seems to be a much more down-to-earth person, and when does appear in a couple of years' time, Bess spends a fair amount of time with Sam in her company.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

While I appreciate the points Aqua Scripto made on 12 Jan 2006 regarding how few lasses were in Elizabeth's position, "Bess is only asking for a companion." I would have thought there were a lot of educated but impoverished young women around ... widows and daughters of fallen Cavaliers, survivors of two Civil Wars and 10 years of persecution by the Puritans. Charles II tried to reinstate families to their original properties, but so much had been destroyed and there are many stories of Royalists dying years later in poverty. They needed, The Lady and The Women's Institute. Or were there Want Ads back then?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

“all the afternoon writing orders myself to have ready against tomorrow, that I might not appear negligent to Mr. Coventry.” -- paranoia about Mr. Coventry again. Last week Sam was hiding in Westminster hoping not to bump into him. What is this about?

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"Want Ads"? There weren't even newspapers! (Not in the modern sense anyway) :)

There were occasional official bulletins, and unofficial propaganda sheets, sometimes illegal and printed abroad to avoid suppression.

The first English newspaper with advertising was 'The Daily Courant', founded in 1702, just before Pepys' death, founded by businesslady Elizabeth Mallet.……

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