Thursday 28 May 1663

Up this morning, and my wife, I know not for what cause, being against going to Chelsey to-day, it being a holy day (Ascension Day) and I at leisure, it being the first holy day almost that we have observed ever since we came to the office, we did give Ashwell leave to go by herself, and I out to several places about business. Among others to Dr. Williams, to reckon with him for physique that my wife has had for a year or two, coming to almost 4l. Then to the Exchange, where I hear that the King had letters yesterday from France that the King there is in a [way] of living again, which I am glad to hear.

At the coffee-house in Exchange Alley I bought a little book, “Counsell to Builders,” by Sir Balth. Gerbier. It is dedicated almost to all the men of any great condition in England, so that the Epistles are more than the book itself, and both it and them not worth a turd, that I am ashamed that I bought it.

Home and there found Creed, who dined with us, and after dinner by water to the Royall Theatre; but that was so full they told us we could have no room. And so to the Duke’s House; and there saw “Hamlett” done, giving us fresh reason never to think enough of Betterton.

Who should we see come upon the stage but Gosnell, my wife’s maid? but neither spoke, danced, nor sung; which I was sorry for. But she becomes the stage very well.

Thence by water home, after we had walked to and fro, backwards and forwards, six or seven times in the Temple walks, disputing whether to go by land or water. By land home, and thence by water to Halfway House, and there eat some supper we carried with us, and so walked home again, it being late we were forced to land at the dock, my wife and they, but I in a humour not willing to daub my shoes went round by the Custom House. So home, and by and by to bed, Creed lying with me in the red chamber all night.

33 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

Of course her name is Winifed Gosnell.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Our little Gosnell...And working for Betterton.

Truly a stage beauty.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Poor Dr Williams! Having to have accounts unpaid for "a year or two" ! I worry when clients haven't paid after two months.
Holy Day this may be, but Sam's household keeps it merely as a holiday - seemingly no question of going to Church. Nowadays, Ascension Day tends to get shunted to the next Sunday, becoming Ascension Sunday, making a nonsense of the 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost - which now become only 7!
I assume that the argument over how to get home involved only Mr and Mrs P and Creed had to hang about whilst they argued. Imagine being in the back seat whilst husband and wife argue in the front of the car about whether to take the A58 or the B539 to get home....Not good.
And why couldn't Creed sleep by himself?

dirk  •  Link

"the King had letters yesterday from France that the King there is in a [way] of living again, which I am glad to hear"

This "gladness" -- both Sam's and Britain's -- has everything to do with a political alliance in the making...

Cf. the following letter of "political advice" sent to the Duke of Ormond, dated Paris, 26 May 1663 [= 16 May 1663 as per the British calendar]

"It is now asserted that the good offices proffered by the Court of Spain towards a mediation of the differences between the Crown of France and the Pope were only a feint in order to gain time for negociations which have resulted in a triple league of Spain, the [German] Empire, and the Pope, against France; in consequence of which league efforts will be made to obtain a countervailing alliance between France, the United Netherlands, England, Sweden, and Portugal."

Source: The Carte Papers, Bodleian Library…

TerryF  •  Link

A first: a book " not worth a turd, that I am ashamed that I bought."

dirk  •  Link


One should keep in mind that political and / or military alliances were usually shortlived in the 17th c. -- they were in constant "flux" so to speak...

[some "political" spoilers !!!]

England will be at war with the Netherlands from 1664 up to 1667 --- France will join that war on the side of the Netherlands in 1666 --- a Franco-British alliance will be at war with Spain in 1667 --- England, Netherlands and Sweden will form the "Triple Alliance" against France in 1668 --- in 1688 France on one side will fight against the Grand Alliance of England, Spain, the German Empire and the Nethelands... etc...

A. Hamilton  •  Link


I seem to recall that in an early scene in "The Cliffs" by Charles Montague Doughty (1909), a sub officer on
the German airship leading an aerial armada to invade England sees the Cliffs of Dover ahead and says something like "Behold, mine commandant, Perfidious Albion."

TerryF  •  Link

"the German Empire" is surely "the Holy Roman Empire" transposed.…

To be sure, after the 1648 end of the 30-Years' War the Holy Roman Empire was barely held together by the Habsburg Dynasty and a parliament, Reichstag, representing the interests of ca. 70 states, that was in session in the City of Regensburg, from 1663 until it was terminated by Napoleon's mandate in 1806 (so came to be called "the eternal Reichstag")… (wikipedia entry in German).

The Holy Roman Empire ca. 1630 consists primarily of German-speaking territories; and its map resembles a greater Germany.…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

France that the King there is in a [way] of living again ...

All this talk of the earthly existence of the King of France over the past few days has me musing. Is King of France, who is dead or not dead, bald? Perhaps Pepys is one inspiration for the famous example in Russell's Theory of Descriptions, or is the world of the C 17th. English courtier encountering an information problem analogous to that of “Schrodinger's Cat;” or perhaps just an annotator after one too many single malts ...

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Ascension Day"
this year it fell on May 25th, Thursday; alternate side of the street parking suspended in New York. Exultate Jubilate.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam may have cause to regret wishing Louis so well...

JWB  •  Link

Neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire

It was the Roman Emperium, the Roman power & not the territory, that Otto claimed and who's to deny that fact. As to being Holy, it did spread Christianity and to true believers that appelation has some justice. If it had only remained vital into the 20th C., think how much better we would all be.

Mary  •  Link

"why couldn't Creed sleep by himself"

We have no clear idea of the number of rooms in the Pepys house, though there has been much speculation. It seems likely that there is no 'posh' spare bedroom (or comfortable spare bed?) for guests who merit more than casual lodging and so the guest shares quality quarters with Sam whilst Elizabeth doubles up with Ashwell.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

In fairness to the HRE, however often cited as an example of how not to build a state it did endure in some form 800 years, longer than the Western half of Augustus' Roman empire.

TerryF  •  Link

Re the HRE: it had a good courier system.

Stretching from Northern Italy to the Netherlands, the imperial concession was granted in 1615 to the Thurn und Taxis family, still the largest landlords in Regensburg.

CORRECTION: "Perpetual Reichstag" is a better translation of the German tag.

dirk  •  Link

"Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation"

For more info, see:…

In a nutshell:
After Charlemagne's death, and a lot of quarelling among his heirs -- and their heirs -- his European empire (most of the continent) fell apart in two blocks (10th c.): in the west West-Francia (which was to become France), and in the centre / east East-Francia (which retained Charlemagne's imperial title). France became a highly cenralized kingdom; East-Francia became known as the "Holy Roman Empire" (in the 16th c. "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation") -- a title referring to Charlemagne's imperial title, originally bestowed on him by the Pope, and intended as some kind of rebirth of the old Roman Empire and the stable united government Europe knew in Roman times. The Holy Roman Empire never developed a centralized power structure, which would prove to be both its weakness and its strength... Eventually it would develop into the Germany that we know now.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

And the yellow cab keeps its franc ise

TerryF  •  Link

"And the yellow cab keeps its franc[h]ise"

Very nice point, i.A.S. - It had never occurred to me that the yellow cab is a human delivery analogy to the yellow mailbox that was the T&T standard, now that of the Deutsche Post. http://www.handbuch-deutschland.d…

language hat  •  Link

The word “taxi”

The Thurn und Taxis "etymology" is nonsense. The word is an abbreviation of "taximeter (cab)," which is from French taximètre, from taxe 'tariff' -- in other words, it's ultimately the same as "tax."

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Tristero, Tristero, one two three,
Turning taxis from across the sea"

For a wonderful galloping account of conspiracy theory and much more involving Thurn und Taxis, see The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. An amzing novel.
Amazon ref:…

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Latin 'Taxi' it be a yew tree

language hat  •  Link

I second A. Susan's recommendation for Lot 49!

dirk  •  Link

The King of France has recovered...

From a letter from Bennet to Ormond,
Whitehall, 26 May 1663

... "the terrible alarm" lately given here, by news of a severe illness into which the King of France was fallen ... "upon which his Majesty dispatched presently away my Lord Mandeville. If this King should die, 'twould change the face of all Christendom; it not being likely that the Government of France, into what hands soever it should fall, would pursue the designs which are now set afoot."

["the designs which are now set afoot" supposedly refers to the alliance mentioned in my earlier annotation]

The Carte papers, Bodleian Library…

Patricia  •  Link

So, if the book is "not worth a turd", does that mean Pepys won't be recycling it in his house of office?

Kevin Peter  •  Link

He could always sell the book to some other poor sucker who hasn't heard how turd-like it is. I imagine books could easily be resold then to those who wouldn't mind getting a used book for less than a new one.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

The book be bought un bound, then customised same at the Binders of thy choice, with thyn own moniker or worthy emblem, so thee would get the guts, recyle the leather, if so bound, then thee had a nice new book.

Second Reading

Tonyel  •  Link

"Neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire..."
Reminds me of my own country, currently squabbling about leaving or staying in the EU.
Neither Great nor United.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘way, n.1 < Germanic . . P2. Prepositional phrases. . . f. in the way of . .
(a) With noun or gerund as object of preposition. to be in (the, a) way of: likely to (do or achieve something), having a good chance of (doing or attaining something) . .
. . 1677 in Hist. MSS Comm.: 12th Rep.: App. Pt. V: MSS Duke of Rutland (1889) 36 in Parl. Papers (C. 5889–II) XLIV. 393 Lord Mohun is now in a way of recovery.
. . 1719 D. Defoe Farther Adventures Robinson Crusoe 137 Seeing so fine a way of thriving upon my Island . . ‘

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