Monday 18 May 1663

Up and after taking leave of Sir W. Batten, who is gone this day towards Portsmouth (to little purpose, God knows) upon his survey, I home and spent the morning at dancing; at noon Creed dined with us and Mr. Deane of Woolwich, and so after dinner came Mr. Howe, who however had enough for his dinner, and so, having done, by coach to Westminster, she to Mrs. Clerke and I to St. James’s, where the Duke being gone down by water to-day with the King I went thence to my Lord Sandwich’s lodgings, where Mr. Howe and I walked a while, and going towards Whitehall through the garden Dr. Clerk and Creed called me across the bowling green, and so I went thither and after a stay went up to Mrs. Clerke who was dressing herself to go abroad with my wife. But, Lord! in what a poor condition her best chamber is, and things about her, for all the outside and show that she makes, but I found her just such a one as Mrs. Pierce, contrary to my expectation, so much that I am sick and sorry to see it.

Thence for an hour Creed and I walked to White Hall, and into the Park, seeing the Queen and Maids of Honour passing through the house going to the Park. But above all, Mrs. Stuart is a fine woman, and they say now a common mistress to the King,1 as my Lady Castlemaine is; which is a great pity. Thence taking a coach to Mrs. Clerke’s, took her, and my wife, and Ashwell, and a Frenchman, a kinsman of hers, to the Park, where we saw many fine faces, and one exceeding handsome, in a white dress over her head, with many others very beautiful. Staying there till past eight at night, I carried Mrs. Clerke and her Frenchman, who sings well, home, and thence home ourselves, talking much of what we had observed to-day of the poor household stuff of Mrs. Clerke and mere show and flutter that she makes in the world; and pleasing myself in my own house and manner of living more than ever I did by seeing how much better and more substantially I live than others do.

So to supper and bed.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Australian Susan  •  Link

The first sentence of this entry made me laugh out loud! Sam, muttering about Sir W's useless survey in Portsmouth and then scuttling back home - to dance away the morning!! And the rest of the entry reads like a 17th century version of Hello! magazine, but doesn't Sam do it well. Let's hope Elizabeth is content with Ashwell and visits from Pembleton and does not aspire to a pet singing Frenchman like Mrs C!

TerryF  •  Link

"Mr. Deane of Woolwich" say L&M.

Australian Susan, a very apt read if this day's entry!

Paul Chapin  •  Link

" much better and more substantially I live than others do."

As George Herbert (1593-1633) said, "Living well is the best revenge." Wonder if Sam read him.

TerryF  •  Link

In "the Park...we exceeding handsome [face], in a white dress over her head"

Can someone explain a "dress over [a woman's] head" and how SP could adjudge this a her (even though it's a woman's dress, perhaps 'her' is a cross-dresser?) and "exceeding handsome"?!

Surely there is a reasonable anwser, but, I'm sorry, the ramifications of THIS had me laughing.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Terry, I believe the dress extends above her head in a sort of frilly construction...I think at times some of the constructions were meant to represent gossamer wings, peacock's fans, sun's rays etc. Claire Danes' Mrs. Hughes' next to last Desdemona costume in "Stage Beauty" (just before Kynaston strips her down to her shift for the death scene) boasts such a broad fanning frill reaching up, though not quite over her head.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" little purpose, God knows) upon his survey..."

Well, to be fair to Sir Will, Sam misjudged the lovely Mrs. Stuart's character as to mistress propensities and perhaps he's not entirely right about Sir Will's surveying, office infighting possibly coloring his view.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Then again...


"So, I count five, er six ships. That right, eh?"

"Aye, Sir William. Will ye come aboard now and..."

"No,no...These ships are all the same, after all...Rigging, sails, rope...And of course the usual disgruntled, unpaid rogues manning them. No, no need."

JWB  •  Link

"...mere show and flutter..."
Our prig Sam's no Emil Jannings backstage @ the Blue Angel, where the more slovenly Dietrich, the more desireable she was.

Lawrence  •  Link

L&M, say "in a white dress off Her head" so perhaps a large hood drapping down the back???

TerryF  •  Link

LH, thanks. That makes sartorial sense.

(I haven't L&M with me at the moment, but recalled the Cooper reading, which jumped out at me erstens.)

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Nice spring weather, nice lasses in Hampshire, the wife be ??? the Daughter be??? and then there be the extra expense mony to pay off a debt or two [ die be cast, 2 spot and five spot]
"...after taking leave of Sir W. Batten, who is gone this day towards Portsmouth (to little purpose, God knows) upon his survey..."
Outings were a wonderful way of getting a change of scenery at the bosses expense. Survey~ it be always the same, talent.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mrs. Stuart is a fine woman, and they say now a common mistress to the King,1 as my Lady Castlemaine is; which is a great pity."

Gramont (p. 146) has a story -- probably unfounded that after long resistance she finally capitulated to Charles on being given the first ride in a new calèche,which arrived from France. (L&M footnote)

Cf. The Memoirs of Count Grammont — Complete by Count Anthony Hamilton (Project Gutenberg)…

calèche = a light two- or four-wheeled vehicle pulled by one or two horses, seating two to four passengers, and often having a folding top.……

So Grammont said Frances Stuart agreed to be the first passenger on a public spin in Charlie's new foreign sports-car (as it were)!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

As I read it, Dr, and Mrs. Clerke live in Whitehall -- possibly in the Palace itself -- which was built: "In 1529, Henry Vlll got fed up with Westminster Palace and built himself another one which he called Whitehall Palace. It covered 23 acres and it was the official royal residence until it burned down in 1698." If so the Clerke's accommodations could have been about 135 years old. I suspect it was harder to do renovations in the Palaces than at the Navy buildings (where they could use Navy Yard workmen who had access to wood, etc., and could prefab off-site, and where there was less-frequented space to set up scaffolding, etc.). In which case, I'm not surprised Pepys' bedroom was nicer than the Clerkes'.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On second thoughts, "But, Lord! in what a poor condition her best chamber is, and things about her, ..., but I found her just such a one as Mrs. Pierce, contrary to my expectation, so much that I am sick and sorry to see it." Pepys is reporting that they are messy. We know they don't have wardrobes to hang things in (things were folded into chests) ... that good help is hard to find and harder to keep ... and goodness knows, they all stank. If you don't like it, you need to invent cupboards, Sam!

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

‘Cupboard’ = sideboard is 14th century (cup board - geddit?); = ‘lockable cabinet’ is 16th (OED); it doesn’t say anything about hanging cupboards for clothes or when they came in.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

MEANWHILE, in Paris at the end of May, 1663, Louis XIV nearly died. Over the next week, I’ll document the progress of his disease, taken from his physician’s daily log:…

Queen Marie-Thérèse caught the measles, and gave them to Louis XIV. Thanks to the Journal de la santé du Roi [Journal of the health of the King] which was maintained by his doctors Vallot, d’Aquin and Fagon from 1647 to 1711, we have a reliable account of how his bout was treated.

“The King, as he woke up on Monday, May 28, found himself, contrary to his usual state, uneasy with a pain in the head, accompanied by restlessness, weariness and slight dampness, and having passed badly through the night. All these symptoms, with the inequality and the speed of the pulse, gave apprehensions of what might happen next, having the fresh memory of the Queen’s measles, of which she was just now recovering.”

Louis XIV’s premier médecin du Roi in 1663 was Monsieur Antoine Vallot; he had been the King’s doctor since 1652. Knowing of Louis’ exposure to the Queen, Vallot suspected he might have measles.

Monsieur Vallot recommended a bloodletting, to which Louis agreed. The king was planning to move the Court from Paris to Versailles the next day; once something was planned, Louis was the kind of person who became very agitated if things didn’t go as expected. It was immediately suggested that the Court should stay in Paris, but Louis rejected the idea.

During the morning Louis patiently endured the bloodletting, and conducted business during the day.

In the evening he performed his usual kingly activities with the lady de jour after the administration of a clyster.

Louis slept better that night
Assuming you were received a vaccination against the measles, this may give you an idea of what a scourge it is/was.

In 2013 the World Health Organization estimate there were 16 deaths from the virus every hour, around the world, for the entire year. Measles is still one of the leading causes of death amongst young children. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2013, vaccinations prevented 15,600,000 deaths.

You have probably seen a picture of a measles toddler, covered in tomato-red splotches. It shows the abject misery of a child, betrayed by his immune system, with features blurred by a day 4 rash. While shocking, a picture of hundreds of unsightly lesions is not real evidence of the danger of death by measles.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


It is a wildly infectious upper respiratory disease. Measles is airborne , like the flu, but with a near-perfect infection rate. In a communal space, door handles are believed to be infectious for up to two hours. People are infectious 4 days before the rash is visible or they know they are ill.

How many other people at the French Court had the measles is not recorded.

Symptoms begin like a winter cold: fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes. After a few days of misery, the decorative stage begins with a carpet of red lesions: bright, beefy red ones become studded with lots of tiny, blue-white dots.

The measles virus enter through the upper respiratory tract or the eyes. Measles is in the skin, in the other lymphnodes, in the kidneys, in the gastrointestinal tract, even in the liver; the virus hijacks the cellular replication machinery in the lining of the blood vessels and epithelial cells, as well as several types of infection-fighting cells. Measles replicates inside the cells tasked with its destruction.

That the virus has jumped to other people before the infected notices a rash is one thing. That you can appear to have recovered from measles, only to die from it years later, is another.

Complications from measles arise in about one in three cases, and range from diarrhea (8%), pneumonia (6%) to encephalitis (0.1%) and death (0.2%).

Patients who clear the infection are left temporarily immune-compromised and open to new infections.

However, it’s in the brain that measles plays the long game. In individuals who are immune-compromised, the virus can cause a fatal disease that progresses over the course of 1 month to a year. This is called measles inclusion body encephalitis.

Rarely, in the young, measles causes a slowly-progressive disease called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis that often ends fatally 7 to 10 years later. It's an autoimmune disease, post-infectious encephalomyelitis, soon after infection, that is frequently associated with neurologic deficits in those that survive.
This means the measles can turn your body against itself in order to ruin your brain

If you were born before Drs. Enders and Peebles developed the measles vaccine in the 1950s, chances are you spent some of childhood covered in red splotches. Their vaccine made it possible to eradicate measles, but it still hasn't happened.
Fear of vaccines was been around long before COVID-19.

For charts and a more scientific explanation, see…

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.