Wednesday 28 January 1662/63

Up and all the morning at my office doing business, and at home seeing my painters’ work measured. So to dinner and abroad with my wife, carrying her to Unthank’s, where she alights, and I to my Lord Sandwich’s, whom I find missing his ague fit to-day, and is pretty well, playing at dice (and by this I see how time and example may alter a man; he being now acquainted with all sorts of pleasures and vanities, which heretofore he never thought of nor loved, nor, it may be, hath allowed) with Ned Pickering and his page Laud. Thence to the Temple to my cozen Roger Pepys, and thence to Serjt. Bernard to advise with him and retain him against my uncle, my heart and head being very heavy with the business. Thence to Wotton’s, the shoemaker, and there bought another pair of new boots, for the other I bought my last would not fit me, and here I drank with him and his wife, a pretty woman, they broaching a vessel of syder a-purpose for me. So home, and there found my wife come home, and seeming to cry; for bringing home in a coach her new ferrandin waistecoate, in Cheapside, a man asked her whether that was the way to the Tower; and while she was answering him, another, on the other side, snatched away her bundle out of her lap, and could not be recovered, but ran away with it, which vexes me cruelly, but it cannot be helped.

So to my office, and there till almost 12 at night with Mr. Lewes, learning to understand the manner of a purser’s account, which is very hard and little understood by my fellow officers, and yet mighty necessary. So at last with great content broke up and home to supper and bed.

32 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

Keep company with great men, Sam! An awful lot of things in this world are crapshoots. Like a businessman having to put up with a surname like Unthank, on a par with Parson Swindoll, or Judge Jesse Dollars. (Google if you don't believe me.) "Oh thank you for my waistecoate Mr. Unthank! ---Forty curses, it hath been swiped!"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sandwich's stock continues its slow fall with Sam.

Poor Bess...Hopefully he did mention a thanks to God that she wasn't hurt. Interesting that they regarded it as generally safe enough for her to travel about London alone.

Or did Sam just forget he was supposed to pick her up?


Hmmn...Wonder how the thieves knew she had something in the coach. Watching outside Unthankes for rich patrons to fleece of expensive material and items?...Or perhaps an inside man/woman keeping them informed?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...seeing my painters' work measured..."

Pay by the foot?

JWB  •  Link

"...time and example may alter a man..."

A baroque meme- iteration,high & low,on a theme, reiteration- seems to be playing in Sam's brain. My Dunne quote yesterday serves as well today.

Stolzi  •  Link

"another, on the other side, snatched..."

A technique still in use today.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Just A thought, she hails the Carriage in one busiest thoroughfares in Town, they see her package and she be without a Companion, so busy looking at her latest purchase, she be perfect mark for a mutt and jeff job.
Her thoughts be"let me see now down Poultry, down Lombard, should you turn right on Grace church then turn left on Thames or...are ye walking,... Oh MY "

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Correction: If she be travelling from Charing Cross then a convenient traffick jam in Cheapside could cause her to stopped at Bread street[e.g]? [the nags, do like the the smell of fresh loaf]. Smash and grab technique is still in vogue.

language hat  •  Link

The family name is from a town in Northumberland or Cumbria (there are several Unthanks); the name means '(land held) without consent,' i.e., a squatter's holding.

It's fun to read about a centuries-old pair of con artists at work, though I'm sorry Elizabeth had to suffer for it!

matthew newton  •  Link

Oh Sam...

your wife has been mugged and you are
'very vexed - but it cannot be helped'

no thoughts of the stress dear Elizabeth will ave been through?
or was it a common thing for the Pepys to experience?

jeannine  •  Link

Robert I too am somewhat surprised that Elizabeth is out and around without some sort of escort. Even if London was "safe" I would think that as she moves up the chain in society that being escorted would be wise, not only as she'd be a more "showy" target (and I don't mean overdone here, just better dressed, etc.), she was quite pretty, and it would "look" proper. Must have been awfully frightening for her. I also wonder (and perhaps I am a little cynical here) if her tears weren't just about the stealing incident but perhaps she was a little unsure of how Sam would react about the financial loss of the waistecoate. As money is closely watched under his eyes, she could have been concerned that she'd be yelled at for being negligent in some manner.

Glyn  •  Link

The Pepys male servants are Will Hewer, who works in the Naval Office when he's not at home, and the boy Wayneman who fetches and carries for both Sam and Elizabeth. He may have been with Elizabeth today but like the cab driver and any bystanders was caught by surprise by what happened. Of course, he could have been with Sam so that he could carry the boots home.

Today we also have an example of Pepys' conscientiousness in learning how to master the ship purser's accounts, which none of the other board members are expert in. Since the purser is charged with ship's accounts, it's something that the Navy Board need to know about, and I suppose it's another way of Pepys making himself indispensable as the source of all knowledge.

jeannine  •  Link

Glyn, Very interesting look into 1693. Thank goodness Elizabeth wasn't held at gunpoint today as Sam will be. I am curious to know who "Lady Pepys" is in 1693 ---"my Lady Pepys saved a Bag of Money that she had about her" (Mary Skinner perhaps????)

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

'...learning to understand the manner of a purser’s account, which is very hard and little understood by my fellow officers, and yet mighty necessary...." So what is new, unravelling the accounts.
Sam be so rite, trying to understand those bynotes in ones annual stock holders report.

dirk  •  Link

surprised that Elizabeth is out and around without some sort of escort...?

If she'd had a female companion, she wouldn't have been alone. But I don't think that would have made much difference. -- My wife went through exactly the same experience today (quite a costly experience as a matter of fact). So, plus ça change...

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Eliza does not a failing memory yet: just 3 weeks ago she went thru this:
"...only myself somewhat vexed at my wife’s neglect in leaving of her scarf, waistcoat, and night- dressings in the coach today that brought us from Westminster..."…
So this time she has her story ready ???????????????

Australian Susan  •  Link

The 1693 incident

Tomalin thinks it's Mary Skinner.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Elizabth's previous incident.

The Enscriber on Water seems to have "forgotten" that on that occasion, it was Sam who was in charge of the articles!

In the novel Moll Flanders (more or less contemporary), there are descriptions of well-dressed persons being stalked and waylaid by thieves: in those days wealth could be counted in a bolt of cloth (Sam does this sometimes), so robbing someone of garments was quite lucrative. Jewellery even better.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Yes, but it reads as Sam dothe blame her. Men be always rite.????

language hat  •  Link

Moll Flanders is from 1722.
Hardly "contemporary," unless you consider today's novels contemporary to the end of WWII.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Moll Flanders was set earlier.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

The rate of change from 1660 to 1710 be a small increment, it took the Mechanical calculator from conception to a useful tool, took 300 years, to turn that concept into device to put in ones pocket only 50 years. the purchase power of 1 oz. of gold from 2L 10s to 10L another 300 years since then the 1 oz of gold has gone thru the roof.
My point being, changes from 1660 to 1960 were minute compared to the radical changes in the next 45 years.
17C Buildings and chamber pots could be found still in use in 1960, now every thing must be new who uses a Chamber pot in this modern world, so a reference in the early 1700's be not too different. Now they be unrecogniaable.
It was expected that A ship to last three generations, now it barely lasts 1/2 a generation before it be scrapped.
So Moll Flanders be not that out of sync.

Pauline  •  Link

"...but it cannot be helped...."
Strikes me as not holding Elizabeth at fault, but saying there is no blame to place. Of course he is vexed. But not at her.

Patricia  •  Link

I'm afraid Elizabeth may have expected to be blamed and scolded for her 'negligence' in being robbed so easily. It's what she has experienced before, being blamed for things that are not her fault.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"...seeing my painters' work measured..."

"Pay by the foot?" - Exactly, Robert Gertz!

Measurements for the outside paintwork of the building are given in PRO [ Public Record Office, aka since 2003 The National Archives (TNA) ], Adm. 20/5. p. 363 (February 1663). Three coats of paint were given to 168 yards of pales and posts, and 181 'lights'. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The House of Lords today is concerned that the King might exercise arbitrary power in religious matters…

List of all Acts, &c. relating to the King's Power in Ecclesiastical Affairs, to be brought in.

Upon Consideration of the Report made by the Lord Chamberlain, "That the Committee of the whole House have had some Debate concerning the First Enacting Clause in the Bill, intituled, "An Act concerning His Majesty's Power in Ecclesiastical Affairs," contained in these Words following, "Be it Enacted, by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, by Advice, and with the Consent, of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority thereof, That the King's Majesty may, by Letters Patents under the Great Seal, or by such other Ways as to His Majesty shall seem meet, dispense with One Act or Law made the last Session of this present Parliament, intituled, "An Act for the Uniformity of Public Prayers and Administration of Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies, and for establishing the Form of making, ordaining, and consecrating, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, in the Church of England," and with any other Laws or Statutes concerning the same, or requiring Oaths or Subscriptions, or which do enjoin Conformity to the Order, Discipline, and Worship, established in this Church, and the Penalties in the said Laws imposed, or any of them:"

It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That Mr. Attorney General is hereby required to bring into this House, on Thursday Morning next, a List of all those Acts and Oaths as the said Enacting Clause relates unto, and also all such Acts as concerns His Majesty's Power in Ecclesiastical Matters....

Louise Hudson  •  Link

". . .which vexes me cruelly, but it cannot be helped". It sounds to me as if Sam is saying he feels sorry for the incident and E's loss but he has no intention of buying another one. "There, there, dry your tears, dear, it can't be helped. I'm off to the office."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

" ... Lord Sandwich’s, whom I find missing his ague fit to-day, and is pretty well, playing at dice ... with Ned Pickering and his page Laud." Is anyone else surprised that Sandwich is gambling with a page? Young Laud wouldn't have enough money for a stake, would he? If this was a low stakes practice game to amuse his Lordship after his illness, I don't think Pepys would be upset like this. If my page had enough money to gamble with a Earl, I would suspect he was earning money on the side selling information.

StanB  •  Link

Hope Elizabeth wasn't to shaken by this dastardly act, what would have been the punishment at this time had the villians been caught , and where would they have disposed of them were there particular Inns/Taverns in the area that were known for trading in stolen goods ?

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Ned Pickering was brother of Sandwich's Neighbour and brother-in-law Sir Gilbert Pickering*, and not entirely without means. Laud/Loud was a servant rather than a social equal, so if, for the amusement of m'Lord, he were actually playing too, I would guess that Sandwich was putting up his stakes.

*Thus he was a relation by marriage to Sam. Sir Gilbert's wife was Sandwich's sister Elizabeth. Their mother Paulina was half-sister to Pepys' grandfather Thomas Pepys "the Black". Paulina's full brother, Talbot of Impington, was still alive, and Sam met him last year. He was father of Roger Pepys the Lawyer, and the apparently rather boorish Dr Thomas Pepys.

Sir Gilbert Pickering's daughter Elizabeth eventually married John Creed, who thus became a relative by marriage of both Sandwich and Sam.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

San-Diego Sarah: it's well to remember that despite the Restoration, England as a whole still had a rather Puritan mindset. :)

The Restoration happened because of the perceived need for settled government: hence the side which lost the Civil Wars suddenly found itself in power, with the help and support of those like Sandwich who had served under Cromwell. While many welcomed some relaxation of the strictures of the previous regime, like the return of church music and the Theatre, there was suspicion and unease about the lifestyle of the Court and its supporters, and the example it set. So Sam is unhappy about some changes in the mentor to whom he owes everything.

I have seen something similar in modern times: I have relatives who lived in the old East Germany. To begin with, they were very happy to see the Berlin Wall come down, and experience the social liberalisation which came with it. After a while though they began to be rather uneasy about the general moral tone of the society which they had joined, and the everyday social/commercial pressures of media, advertising etc. For example, my aunt, smart in every way and a senior university statistician, felt that the position of women had weakened, as they were now expected to dress to objectify themselves, whereas such things were unimportant before. Attitudes in the old East Germany are still different, a quarter of a century on.

In England too, the puritan mindset lingered. There was covert sympathy for the "Good Old Cause" for several decades, and it certainly contributed to the defeat of James in 1688.…

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Terry Foreman: "The House of Lords today is concerned that the King might exercise arbitrary power in religious matters" Is it not more that Charles was an untypically well travelled and tolerant man and in particualr wanted to help Roman Catholics, whereas the Lords and Parliament generally were a bunch of insular bigots?

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