Sunday 31 May 1663

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed talking with my wife, and do plainly see that her distaste (which is beginning now in her again) against Ashwell arises from her jealousy of me and her, and my neglect of herself, which indeed is true, and I to blame; but for the time to come I will take care to remedy all.

So up and to church, where I think I did see Pembleton, whatever the reason is I did not perceive him to look up towards my wife, nor she much towards him; however, I could hardly keep myself from being troubled that he was there, which is a madness not to be excused now that his coming to my house is past, and I hope all likelyhood of her having occasion to converse with him again.

Home to dinner, and after dinner up and read part of the new play of “The Five Houres’ Adventures,” which though I have seen it twice; yet I never did admire or understand it enough, it being a play of the greatest plot that ever I expect to see, and of great vigour quite through the whole play, from beginning to the end.

To church again after dinner (my wife finding herself ill … [of her months – L&M] did not go), and there the Scot preaching I slept most of the sermon.

This day Sir W. Batten’s son’s child is christened in the country, whither Sir J. Minnes, and Sir W. Batten, and Sir W. Pen are all gone. I wonder, and take it highly ill that I am not invited by the father, though I know his father and mother, with whom I am never likely to have much kindness, but rather I study the contrary, are the cause of it, and in that respect I am glad of it. Being come from church, I to make up my month’s accounts, and find myself clear worth 726l., for which God be praised, but yet I might have been better by 20l. almost had I forborne some layings out in dancing and other things upon my wife, and going to plays and other things merely to ease my mind as to the business of the dancing-master, which I bless God is now over and I falling to my quiet of mind and business again, which I have for a fortnight neglected too much.

This month the greatest news is, the height and heat that the Parliament is in, in enquiring into the revenue, which displeases the Court, and their backwardness to give the King any money. Their enquiring into the selling of places do trouble a great many among the chief, my Lord Chancellor (against whom particularly it is carried), and Mr. Coventry; for which I am sorry. The King of France was given out to be poisoned and dead; but it proves to be the measles: and he is well, or likely to be soon well again.

I find myself growing in the esteem and credit that I have in the office, and I hope falling to my business again will confirm me in it, and the saving of money which God grant!

So to supper, prayers, and bed.

My whole family lying longer this morning than was fit, and besides Will having neglected to brush my clothes, as he ought to do, till I was ready to go to church, and not then till I bade him, I was very angry, and seeing him make little matter of it, but seeming to make it a matter indifferent whether he did it or no, I did give him a box on the ear, and had it been another day should have done more. This is the second time I ever struck him.

31 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

"(my wife finding herself ill . . . . did not go),"

L&M: "(my wife finding herself ill of her months did not go),"

instancing again language hat's annotation of 21 May:
“month” as period:
That sense usually takes the plural; the OED cites this from the Diary:
1664 S. PEPYS Diary 27 Sept. V. 281 My wife having.. her months upon her, is gone to bed.…

jeannine  •  Link

"I slept most of the sermon"

John 8:1 1-11 reminds us that we should "Let the one without sin cast the first stone".... so any never slept through a sermon sin free volunteers to comment on this? I doubt it.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...but for the time to come I will take care to remedy all..." Hmmn?

One wonders how our boy will "remedy all"?

An intense course of passionate lovemaking? Cheap anyway. And it would help to keep him away from Fleet Alley.

A new and fashionably extravagant dress? Oh, please...We're talking about Samuel Pepys here. Still he has grudgingly broken the piggy bank for her clothes once or twice...And summer clothes were in the works.

More playgoing? He'd certainly appreciate the excuse to cancel his vows.

A little travel and adventure? We'd certainly appreciate the chance to follow them.

Perhaps you should take a note from your new favorite author, Sam. "He is a fool who thinks by force or skill, To turn the current of a woman's will." (Samuel Tuke, "The Adventure of Five Hours".)

Black-balled from the Batten bash...

But Sam, there is, after all, no "Sir" in front of your name...

To be fair about Sam's grumbling over the 20Ls spent on "things merely to ease my mind as to the business of the dancing-master..."(only in part on Bess) it does represent a fairly hefty chunk of cash, nearly half his old salary as Exchequer clerk.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Christening parties were an important part of the social fabric and for Sam to be so pointedly excluded from this one (all his neighbours are asked) shows us that his continued self-righteousness about Batten, Penn & Minnes being incompetent at work has its consequences in other areas. Such parties were a good chance to do what we would now term quality networking.

Sleeping through sermons seem to be the only instance we have of Sam having an afternoon nap, despite the often rigorous hours he habitually keeps. Wonder if he is the only one napping or not? I see a picture of their being a general move to get comfy in one's pew preparatory to dozing once the congregation has seen who is mounting to the pulpit, copious notes in hand. Wonder what the poor man thought of this reaction? Perhaps he was just grateful to get the chance to preach.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"My whole family"
Sam uses the expression for his household, servants and all: a medieval conceit still extant. Gradually over the next two hundred years, servants and true family separated out until we arrive at the Edwardian period in Britain when the gap was the largest and country houses were built with parallel staircases and hidden passages so servants need not pollute the sight of their betters.

TerryF  •  Link

“I slept most of the sermon”

Jeannine, alas, this is the Scot who has bored SP twice before; and the 1662 Lectionary for today. the Sunday after Ascension-Day, prescibes a text that permits an elctrifying application...or not.

The Gospel. St. John 15. 26, and part of Chapter 16.
"WHEN the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them."…

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Will Hewer
The last two sentences of this entry make it clear that Will Hewer did indeed have servant's duties in Sam's household, a topic of discussion in the annotations to the 29 March and 23 April entries on which I yielded too soon, I now think. And contra IAS's concluding comment on the 23 April entry, it seems Mr. Hewer was not even exempt from cuffing.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sorry to be a pedent, but TerryF has referred to the Gospel reading for the Communion service for the Sunday after Ascension Day. Sam would have been attending Evening Prayer (aka Evensong) when he went to sleep and the Lesson appointed for that Sunday service on that day is Deuteronomy Chapter 13. This concerns the dangers of false prophets and those who come to "secretly entice you" - I think we could give instances where this has happened to Sam! It concludes by commanding the listeners to keep the commandments and to do what is right in the sight of the Lord.

andy  •  Link

Their enquiring into the selling of places

are these geographical places or positions/titles (vide current debate in UK over selling of political honours including membership of House of Lords?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

It's interesting that Sam draws no connection between Chancellor Hyde's and Mr. Coventry's woes to his own acceptance of fees for granting clerkships- I believe he took 100Ls for Will Hewer's position among others. Of course the jobs are of much less import and he is...Or was...a much smaller fish.


Will seems to be learning bad habits from his employer's disdain of his superiors. I think, apart from his own Puritan streak of independence, it's clear he wants to follow Sam's example and be regarded as an important member of the staff, not an ordinary fellow to be assigned clothes brushing and other such servile duties. It's a mixed message you're sending, Samuel.

Bryan M  •  Link

Not the best of days…

Awake, lay long in bed listening to wife complaining about Ashwell. These jealous women!
Rest of household lying in like a bunch of layabout lords.
Will hasn’t brushed clothes. Humph, mutter. WHACK!
To church. P-P-PEMBLETON!
Lunch and finally some peace reading new play.
Interrupted by wife advising no church for her this afternoon. Ill with her … (so no … for Sam).
To church. The boring Scot. Pretend to sleep in embarrassingly empty Naval Office pew. All the Sirs at christening, only Pepys Esq not invited.
Thoughts turn to other office matters. The esteemed Coventry in hot water. King being squeezed by parliament, ergo King will squeeze navy (King will also squeeze Lady Castlemaine but not in the same way. No … for Sam though, wife ill with …)
Home and make up month’s accounts. Burned 20l. That @*%!& dancing master.
To bed (but no … for Sam, wife ill with …)

My bet is that young Will spent most of the day hiding out in the house of offices. "Sorry Mr Pepys. Just took my physique Mr Pepys".

Rex Gordon  •  Link

To Australian Susan -

I tried to e-mail you directly the other day about your reference to Thomas Pynchon's early novel, a favorite of mine, but it returned to me "server unknown" and undeliverable. Have you a new address? Please reply.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Nice summation, Bryan M! (I particularly like "P-P-PEMBLETON!")

Perhaps you should contribute to "The story so far" section? :-)

Douglas Robertson  •  Link

"This is the second time I ever struck" Will Hewer:

The first time having been on 8 June 1662, the date of Will's infamous "cloak-over-the-shoulder" transgression.

Tom Burns  •  Link

A Rich Man?

So how rich is Sam, anyway? I know that compared to a peasant, he's well-off, but is he constantly worrying about money because he's avaricious or because he's concerned that he may not be able to maintain his lifestyle?

I used the website to get an estimate of the worth of 727 pounds from 1663 in 2005. The value I got was approximately 65,000 pounds. So this is about a year or two's salary for a government functionary in England today?
Maybe Sam is rightly worried about his financial well-being. In his time, there was no health or life insurance (or was there?).

Mary  •  Link

A rich man?

Much of Sam's concern must be to make money whilst he can. In a society where 'fashions' in people and ideas can come and go at short notice, he needs to establish a solid position whilst, for example, Sandwich remains in good odour. Hence his concern not with his own reputation alone, but also with that of the Duke of York and other possible factions at Court. Hence also his concern at not being invited to the christening of Batten's grandson; Sam feels little respect for the man, but knows that he cannot yet easily afford to be openly snubbed by him in this way. His own reputation and his growing financial competence are his only form of insurance against possible hard times.

TerryF  •  Link

No need to apologize, Australian Susan: I was napping.

jeannine  •  Link

A Rich Man, and what about the "Rich Man's Wife"
While Sam is able to earn a living, Elizabeth is totally dependent and not a wage earner. Her role is to keep the home. If Sam dies first, what happens to the widow?

Antonia Fraser in "The Weaker Vessel" tells us that
"City wives were particularly well treated; by Custom of London a wife had the right to one third of her husband's property at death, and if there were no children, their one third also (p. 5)... Even for the less priviledged, widow's rights were one area where the law was by no means unfavourable to women as it was elsewhere. For those outside the wealthier world of the marriage settlement made in advance of the ceremony [Elizabeth for instance??], there existed the traditional widow's 'thirds', that is, a third share in the husband's estate which under common law was her due. A widow's inheritance could take many forms, some of which could enable her to make a convenient second marriage on her own terms if she so wished, while others allowed her a position of her own in commercial society." (p. 97).
Note that in the case of Uncle Robert's will, he specifically excluded his second wife Ann Trice, due to allegeded fraud in that marriage and that added to the encumbrances on the estate and Sam's headaches.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Re: accumulating wealth. Income was not guarranteed.
Need 10 times annual normal expenses.[at 7 or 8 interest rates] In one of Descartes essays, he is glad that he had enough funds to enjoy his brain, and that allowed him to think out his famous words.
Retirement was not an option for most,[by 60, thee be one over the odds]. It be like a modern sports guy, only a few years to get funds together else it be the highway then the gibbet. If thy notice, they did not retain their employees for long, so thee saved thy pennies to have a small business, if thy was in the employ of the more affluent. If thy were made redundant by being burnt out or be a victim of strife, if thee had some luck left then thee sold posies or rested up in the poor house.
People believe that they can be working til 60 plus but in reality, most, if they have not got their money for life by 40, they be eating cat food.
That be why the preoccupation with accumulation, Thee never knew when thee be rusticated. Remember the 2000 plus preachers now trying to find a place at speakers corner, or even Sandwich was forced to watch the Milkmaids.
Sam's Pa, he be one of the lucky ones, thanks to a brother [never rely on relatives for life income see poor old Eliza's Mama and Papa], other wise it be the doss house.
And it has not changed in spite of the publicity of how well off people be.
Then the Ffeeffes look after the less fortunate and still do.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

" wot" goes up, comes down with a thump.
There were at least 6 residences for those that failed to pay their bills, due to being not in the money.
"because he’s avaricious or because he’s concerned that he may not be able to maintain his lifestyle"
Just read the dailies at the House of C. to see that life be rosy for the usual few, all others get out the paper squares for protection.
"it seems Mr. Hewer was not even exempt from cuffing" Yep, sad but true, one in the employ of a better was never exempt from physical chastisement.
It was known that the stocks were available for more serious offenses like taking a discarded piny, and as for the military, a hundred lashes were available for telling thy better to go and do an impossibilty on 'imself.
Re: Hewer's paycheck be from the Office and as he be under the acts of apprenticeship, received all the benefits due that is learn respect, put away thy toys etc..
Hewer got off light for his act of insubordination, Sam be push over.

PHE  •  Link

Re: Pembleton: "now that his coming to my house is past, and I hope all likelyhood of her having occasion to converse with him again".
Have I missed something? While I can see all the recent jealousy, I can not see a point where it was decided to stop his coming.

TerryF  •  Link

Last Wednesday 27 May, Pembleton was paid off

"my wife paid him off for this month also, and so he is cleared." but Samuel is not, since "After dancing we took him down to supper, and were very merry, and I made myself so, and kind to him as much as I could, to prevent his discourse, though I perceive to my trouble that he knows all, and may do me the disgrace to publish it as much as he can. Which I take very ill, and if too much provoked shall witness it to her."…

Lurker  •  Link

Rex Gordon: Did you remove the "NOSPAM" bit?

Don McCahill  •  Link

are these geographical places or positions/titles

I suspect these would be selling positions of influence in the court. Later (I'm not sure at this time) military and naval commissions were sold on the open market. The same was probably true in the civil service at the time.

Salary was not the way one made money in those days, as you may have noticed with Sam. Gifts, bribes, and "fees" for doing what was really ones job all totalled up to make many positions quite lucrative. The more money that could be made from a position, the more it could be sold for.

It is interesting that Parliament is not opposed to this graft. Instead they want the King to revert to the practise of giving these positions away to his friends and cronies, instead of selling them to the highest bidder.

Why? Because Parliament controls the purse strings of the nation, and they are a little miffed that Charles has discovered an independent source of income.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Perks be the word for post involving the transfer of funds/materials or government job "Gifts, bribes, and “fees” for doing what was really ones job all totalled up to make many positions quite lucrative."
Laws be written to make it tres dificile for the up and coming to lubricate their future. Why does a man seek a publick office and spend 10 X or more times the annual income for the position that is officially worth x. PRESTIGE? ALTRUISM? to make the little lady happy when she says 'my man be the BLAH BLAH of BLINK'
Neigh Then it was the norm to speed up the process of processing, building certificate for a new Mansion House with soe low drag polished silver and gold. We love having the serge covering our eyes.
For EG, go to Cobul to get cheap usb memories or any other location that has surplus toilets.
Ye want oars for thy wherry, I'm sure that they could be had in a shed at the back of the Halfway house.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This day Sir W. Batten’s son’s child is christened in the country"

At Walthamstow, Essex; the child's father was William, elder son of Sir William. The child, too, was named William. (L&M footnote)

GrannieAnnie  •  Link

"This is the second time I ever struck him."
Is Sam just keeping track of black marks in Will's Performance Record? No, I read into this that Sam is perhaps feeling some guilt, maybe even justifying to himself that he has only hit Will twice.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

As has been regularly observed in these annotations, corporal punishment was an everyday part of life in Pepys' day, and indeed for most of British and European history. The Penal system reflected this.…

Sam was in the King's service rather than in a trade, but Will's status was very similar to that of an apprentice living in the house of his master. "Excessive chastisement" was cause for the Lord Mayor's court to terminate an apprenticeship, but the term shows that some sort of chastisement was the norm. So Sam will not have been feeling guilty merely for hitting Will: indeed he felt that Will had neglected his duties., The "second time ever" is a comment the Will had been very diligent up to now. The relationship between Sam and Will will changes soon, but their lifelong friendship post diary tells its own story. We must judge people by the standards of their own day, if at all.

An extreme case of (alleged) excessive punishment which came before the Mayor's court in 1695 is given in the link below:…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I slept most of the sermon."

Be happy St. Olave's haven't engaged someone known as "the sluggard waker":

"Another unusual position at Exeter cathedral was the sluggard waker, who had a long wooden pole with a brass knob on one end and a fox’s tail or something similar on the other. The brass end was used to prod any man in the back who dared fall asleep during a service, and the fluffy end was used on women who nodded off to tickle them awake."

Lovely pictures of Exeter Cathedral, and information about another job: Dog Whipper:…

Third Reading

Ruslan  •  Link

Sasha's link on the Internet Archive:

> An extreme case of (alleged) excessive punishment which came before the Mayor's court in 1695 is given in the link below:…

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