Thursday 6 August 1663

Up and was angry with my maid Hannah for keeping the house no better, it being more dirty now-a-days than ever it was while my whole family was together.

So to my office, whither Mr. Coventry came and Sir William Pen, and we sat all the morning. This day Mr. Coventry borrowed of me my manuscript of the Navy.

At noon I to the ’Change, and meeting with Sir W. Warren, to a coffee-house, and there finished a contract with him for the office, and so parted, and I to my cozen Mary Joyce’s at a gossiping, where much company and good cheer. There was the King’s Falconer, that lives by Paul’s, and his wife, an ugly pusse, but brought him money. He speaking of the strength of hawkes, which will strike a fowle to the ground with that force that shall make the fowle rebound a great way from ground, which no force of man or art can do, but it was very pleasant to hear what reasons he and another, one Ballard, a rich man of the same Company of Leathersellers of which the Joyces are, did give for this. Ballard’s wife, a pretty and a very well-bred woman, I took occasion to kiss several times, and she to carve, drink, and show me great respect. After dinner to talk and laugh. I drank no wine, but sent for some water; the beer not being good. A fiddler was sent for, and there one Mrs. Lurkin, a neighbour, a good, and merry poor woman, but a very tall woman, did dance and show such tricks that made us all merry, but above all a daughter of Mr. Brumfield’s, black, but well-shaped and modest, did dance very well, which pleased me mightily. I begun the Duchess with her, but could not do it; but, however, I came off well enough, and made mighty much of her, kissing and leading her home, with her cozen Anthony and Kate Joyce (Kate being very handsome and well, that is, handsomely dressed to-day, and I grew mighty kind and familiar with her, and kissed her soundly, which she takes very well) to their house, and there I left them, having in our way, though nine o’clock at night, carried them into a puppet play in Lincolnes Inn Fields, where there was the story of Holofernes, and other clockwork, well done.

There was at this house today Mr. Lawrence, who did give the name, it seems, to my cozen Joyce’s child, Samuel, who is a very civil gentleman, and his wife a pretty woman, who, with Kate Joyce, were stewards of the feast to-day, and a double share cost for a man and a woman came to 16s., which I also would pay, though they would not by any means have had me do so. I walked home very well contented with this afternoon’s work, I thinking it convenient to keep in with the Joyces against a bad day, if I should have occasion to make use of them. So I walked home, and after a letter to my wife by the post and my father, I home to supper, and after a little talk with my brother to bed.

38 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

"a gossiping"

The name of an event; cf. Mr. Lawrence's deed.

O.E. godsibb "godparent," from God + sibb "relative" (see sibling). Extended in M.E. to "any familiar acquaintance" (1362), especially to woman friends invited to attend a birth, later to "anyone engaging in familiar or idle talk" (1566). Sense extended 1811 to "trifling talk, groundless rumor." The verb meaning "to talk idly about the affairs of others" is from 1627.…

Grahamt  •  Link

his wife, an ugly pusse, ...
Not heard so often now, but a common phrase from my childhood. More common now as sourpuss.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Lots of kissing today! I wonder how innocent these really are ... would he have kissed the ladies as much if Elizabeth had been with him?

Also, interesting to see how, even in the middle of all this merriment, Sam remains a political creature ("I thinking it convenient to keep in with the Joyces against a bad day, if I should have occasion to make use of them").

Aqua  •  Link

"...a pretty and a very well-bred woman, I took occasion to kiss several times, and she to carve, drink, and show me great respect. After dinner to talk and laugh...."
" Oh! my my Mr. Pepys you be so touching in your compliments, thy tongue be vellum to my ears, so persuasive."
Well bred .so pliable like buckskin ???

Patricia  •  Link

What a merry party! It sounds like a New Year's bash, with all the kissing & that, but Sam hasn't had any booze. And I'm thinking, how bad WAS the beer, since Sam preferred to drink water? Likely from a cistern, likely pretty rank by our standards.

Australian Susan  •  Link

".....Kissed her soundly, which she took very well..." Oh, yuck! Did she have any choice in the matter?

Odd that the other cousin, John was not involved in all this carousing.

TerryF  •  Link

"and she to carve drink, and show me great respect."


O.E. ceorfan (class III strong verb; past tense cearf, pp. corfen), from W.Gmc. *kerfan, from PIE base *gerebh- "to scratch," making carve the Eng. cognate of Gk. graphein. Once extensively used, most senses now usurped by cut. Meaning specialized to sculpture, meat, etc., by 16c. Strong conjugation became weak, but archaic carven is still encountered. In a set of dining chairs, the one with the arms, usually at the head of the table, is the carver (1927), reserved for the one who carves.…

Our Samuel Pepys has an itch that she begins to scratch.

Aqua  •  Link

Bred as in loaf, well done, or in as in brood mare, of good stock good withers ?
Bred could be bread, or as bred as in to breed;
OED not overly helpful, could be taken a few ways, based ones breeding.
3 entries well bred, ppl. a.1
town-bred; (b) with advs., as ill-, well-bred, of bad or good breeding.
1670 EACHARD Cont. Clergy 52 A town bred or country-bred similitude, it is worth nothing.
later:3. Of animals: Of good breed. So with reference to the comparative purity of the breed: thorough-bred, half-bred, three-parts-bred, etc.

1710 Lond. Gaz. No. 4677/4 Their Horses seem to have been bred Horses.
[Common Teut.: OE. bred, corresp. to MDu. bert(d-), Du. berd, OHG. bret, Ger. brett: dho-: see BOARD.]
A board; a tablet; in mod.Sc. applied to a bakeboard,and to the wooden lid of a pot, pan, water-butt, etc. (e.g. a pan-bred).
2. Reared, brought up, (properly) trained.
1655 W. GURNALL Chr. in Arm. vii. §1 (1669) 500/1 Paul was a bred scholar.

1711 ADDISON Spect. No. 108 3 Being bred to no Business and born to no estate.
10. To train up to a state of physical or mental development. [This sense is evidently transferred from 1; the young creature being viewed as a rude germ to be developed by nurture.] a. To rear (animals) so as to develop their physical qualities or intelligence.
1523 FITZHERB. Husb. §120 A horse mayster is he, that bieth wylde horses, or coltes, and bredeth theym.

1697 DRYDEN Virg. Georg. III. 85 The Generous Youth, the Plough the sturdy Bullock breeds. Ibid. III. 186 To chuse a Youthful Steed..To breed him, break him, back him.
b. To train up (young persons) in the arts of life; to educate, tutor, bring up. Also with complemental object, as ‘to breed him a scholar, a papist’, and with to, ‘to breed him to a profession, to the law’, etc. (Bring up is the ordinary modern equivalent in all shades of meaning.)
(a) To train by education, educate, teach. Obs
1615 SIR R. BOYLE in Lismore P. (1886) II. 101, I sent my eldest son..into England to be bred there.
1627 DONNE Serm. 47 Breed them not in an opinion that such a Faith is enough.
1662 FULLER Worthies (1840) I. 130 Sir John Mason..was..bred in All Souls in Oxford

1655 W. GURNALL Chr. in Arm. vii. §1 (1669) 500/1 Paul was a bred scholar.

Jesse  •  Link

"black, but well-shaped and modest"

I'm guessing that black refers to complexion (i.e. humor) rather than hair color. Otherwise why not black, [and] well-shaped and modest?

Aqua  •  Link

with this Sam gets another mention;
Ugly pusse Puss OED Also 6-7 pus, pusse. [A word common to several Teutonic langs., usually as a call-name for the cat (rarely becoming as in Eng. a synonym of ‘cat’): cf. Du. poes, LG. puus, puus-katte, puus-man, Sw. dial. pus, katte-pus, Norw. puse, puus; also, Lith. pu , Ir. and Gael. pus. Etymology unknown: perh. originally merely a call to attract a cat.]
1. a. A conventional proper name of a cat; usually, a call-name
3. Applied to a girl or woman; a. Formerly, as a term of contempt or reproach (obs.); b. in current use, playfully, as a familiar term of endearment, often connoting slyness.
1608 DEKKER 2nd Pt. Honest Wh. I. Wks. 1873 II. 111 This wench (your new Wife)..This Shee-cat will haue more liues then your last Pusse had.
1610 B. JONSON Alch. V. iii, The bawdy Doctor, and the cosening Captaine, And Pvs my suster.
1663 PEPYS Diary 6 Aug., His wife, an ugly pusse, but brought him money.
1732 FIELDING Mod. Husb. IV. iv, I think her an ugly, ungenteel, squinting, flirting, impudent, odious, dirty puss.
6. = PUSSY n. 6. coarse slang.
Quot. 1664 may not exemplify this meaning, claimed for it by Farmer and Henley.
1664 COTTON Scarronides 107 Æneas, here's a Health to thee, To Pusse and to good company. And he that will not do, as I do, Proclaims himself no friend to Dido.
3. a. Applied to a girl or woman: cf. PUSS n.1 3. Also, a finicky, old-maidish, or effeminate boy or man; a homosexual.
1583 STUBBES Anat. Abus. (1877) I. 97 You shall haue euery sawcy catch vp a woman & marie her... So he haue his pretie pussie to huggle withall, it forceth not

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...meeting with Sir W. Warren, to a coffee-house, and there finished a contract with him for the office..."

Hmmn... ("But sir, shouldn't this have been done at the Naval Office in the company of other board members?" Wide-eyed innocent look... "Shut up, Hewer." Sam frowns. )

Somehow sounds a little less aboveboard and properly confirmed by the gang. Reminds me of when Sam used to criticize Sir Will Batten for having merchants do their contacting business at his home.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "I’m guessing that black refers to complexion (i.e. humor) rather than hair color. Otherwise why not black, [and] well-shaped and modest?"

Jesse, I'm guessing that Sam prefers women with hair of lighter color ... so far, the word as we've encountered it here has, as L&M have said, meant "brunette, dark in hair or complexion."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

If Lady Jem is in town as yesterday's entry indicated, Brampton must be pretty dead. Though I suppose Bess can visit the Montagu children some of whom presumably remain.

Or she can always practice throwing crockery at Ashwell... Enhance her art of the ear box...

"London, August 6, 1663...

My dear wife,

My brother wishes to let my father know that he has arrived safely and is enjoying (yeah, right John frowns. Stuck in this house alone with Hannah and Hewer for days then Sam totally ignores me the first day he's back...) his stay with me.

Wife, I am disturbed to read and hear reports from my father and brother that you have come to blows with your woman, Ashwell. I must remind you, Mrs. Pepys that in the social position to which my efforts and diligence have raised us, we must endeavor to always maintain that proper societal image of a true gentleman and lady, particularly in public dealings with servants. (i.e, beat her behind closed doors, please Bess.)

Any news from our Lady Jem? I saw her in London yesterday and thought she might have written you (huge sweat stain on paper) about it. Please give her my best on her return and my apologies for not saluting her properly...I was endeavoring to assist a rather overweight woman who'd been speaking with me for her friend, a sailor, down some stairs. You may remember the woman, a Miss Alley or Lame or Lane, I think who keeps a stall in Westminster.

Hannah has been a perfect wretch in my absence on official business, leaving the house in hideous state. I fear we are deceived in her.

(Deceived in other things, too I'd say...Bess grimly frowns.)

I trust you will take my strictures to heart, and endeavor to apply them to your correction, dear wife. I remain your fond and loving husband,

Samuel Pepys, Esq.
Clerk of the Acts, HM Royal Navy."

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: Lady Jem

Robert, I don't think this is "My Lady," but is instead her daughter. If your other theories are correct, perhaps the older Jem is staying at home to keep her husband from visiting Brampton too often? :-)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Can't say as to Jem, Todd, but Pepys has usually referred to the younger Jem without the "My Lady" and I'd think he'd not be quite so nervous if it were merely Mrs. (Miss) Jemina. As for keeping Sandwich out of Brampton, I doubt there is a real problem as Sandwich seems already involved with a girl at the house in the country he's been staying at but I do suspect he has more than cousinly interest in Bess. And while the country house and girl could be a cover, I think John Sr. would be sending off frantic alarm letters to Sam if Sandwich was making calls and inviting Bess out.

Aqua  •  Link

From this phrase, and other remarks, can we suppose that Eliza be of light brown in hair coloring.
“black, but well-shaped and modest”
The Mediterranean Peoples tend to be of a darker hue in skin and hair coloring and London was a collecting point of many diverse groupings that came to town for commerce, and others be there from a poor choice of travel accommodations.
Beauty in the female be an equalizer and allow one to migrate through the economic barriers of bias.

Aqua  •  Link

"Clerk of the Acts, HM Royal Navy."
HM comes later I dothe believe. Charley not quite ready to be all things to all groups yet.

Aqua  •  Link

"Oh, yuck! Did she have any choice in the matter?" That be why she be called well bred, she must smile, smile, as the unwashed aroma dothe encourage romance.

Pedro  •  Link

“London was a collecting point of many diverse groupings”

And of course it still is.

“The population of the city of London can truly be considered a melting pot of cultures. London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world consisting of people belonging to all religions and cultures.”

Aqua  •  Link

"Clerk of the Acts, HM Royal Navy.”"
it be Clerk of the Acts, his Majesties Navy Royal, upto 1664, before it just be 'his Majesties Navy' or 'his Majesties Navy Royal' then in 65 came the change
gleaned by the unlearned one
From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 23 January 1665', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 586-87.
Royal Navy URL:…. Date accessed: 07 August 2006.
Resolved, &c. That these Words, "Royal Navy," be inserted, instead of "great Fleet," in the Preamble.

TerryF  •  Link

Does "gossiping" or "carve" earn SP OED credit?

Bradford  •  Link

Pepys should have taken note of the puppet-tale of Holofernes and Judith: should Elizabeth ever hear (from Lady Jem, perchance?) of all this kissing and culling, somebody else may wind up with their head in a bag.

TerryF  •  Link

Does "gossiping" or "carve" earn SP any OED credit?

Jesse  •  Link

"black, but well shaped"

Fortunately "black" has only a handful of references in the diary. Re 'Sam prefers women with hair of lighter color' note "my pretty black girl" (6 October 1661). My first impression was hair color but it seemed strange that Pepys (or an average person) would have what seems to be an explict aversion to "black" hair. My second impression was complexion -> skin color as in she spends too much time in the fields but black? Thus complexion -> humor seemed to fit best for me.

Aqua  •  Link

Aversion, I strongly have doubt, it be case of rarity, 20% outside of norm.
if thee drink the same brew, day in day out, thy will never mention it, but when someone puts salt in it you will make the appropiate comment.
Tis why if thee want to spie, then take on the local coverage, do not stand out, tis why most people never notice thems that serve them, they be norm.

Aqua  •  Link

Qu. Does “gossiping” or “carve” earn SP OED credit? " for gossip, J Evelyn gets first credit and Sams gets one in '66. But neither get a cut of the action for carve.
some interesting meanings;
OED: gossip, n.
1. One who has contracted spiritual affinity with another by acting as a sponsor at a baptism.
a. In relation to the person baptized: A godfather or godmother; a sponsor. Now only arch. and dial.
1649 EVELYN Diary (1827) II. 16 The parents being so poore that they had provided no gossips.
a1654 SELDEN Table T. (Arb.) 90 Should a great Lady, that was invited to be a Gossip, in her place send her kitchen-maid.
1612 DAVIES Why Ireland, etc. (1747) 113 The English were forbidden to marry, to foster, to make gossippes with the Irish.
1625 B. JONSON Staple of N. Induct., And those Mothers had Gossips (if their Children were christned) as we are.
b. esp. Applied to a woman's female friends invited to be present at a birth.
a1661 FULLER Worthies (1840) I. xx. 75 They are as good evidence to prove where they were born, as if we had the deposition of the midwife, and all the gossips present at their mothers labours.

Aqua  •  Link

carve OED
carve An act or stroke of Carving. See also CARF. some other nuances.
3. a. To circumcise. b. To castrate
1601 HOLLAND Pliny I. 280 If they be once carued and made capons they crow no more
9. fig. a. intr. To help or serve (oneself or others) at one's own discretion, to do at one's pleasure, indulge oneself.
b. trans. To apportion at discretion, to assign as one's portion or lot, to take at one's pleasure.
11. The alliterative phrase cut and carve goes back to the 14th c. when the two words were equivalent, and cut was beginning to take the place of carve: it is still used, though mostly fig., and prob. carve is now usually taken in the preceding or some of the extant senses.
1633 G. HERBERT Temple, Divinitie ii, Which with the edge of wit they cut and carve.
12. to carve out: a. (in Legal lang.) To cut a smaller or subordinate estate out of a larger one.
1625 BURGES Pers. Tithes 21 To carue out his whole maintenance out of their estates.
13. fig. (with reference to speech) Schmidt suggests ‘To show great courtesy and affability’. Obs.
1588 SHAKES. L.L.L. V. ii. 323 He can carue too, and lispe: Why this is he That kist away his hand in courtesie
Not slice and dice?

GrahamT  •  Link

"...she [took the occasion ] to carve, drink, and show me great respect. After dinner..."
In the context, of food and drink, it appears she is carving the meat - a task normally reserved for the head of the household. Perhaps Pepys remarks upon it because it is unusual for a woman to do it.

Australian Susan  •  Link

The number of women present at a birth could give credence to the birth - i.e. gossip about it, which is one reason why one term led to the other.
The secrecy of the birth chamber of James II's second wife, Mary of Modena, which seems to have arisen from nothing more than natural modesty, led to all sorts of speculation about whether she actually had a live male child. (including the warming pan theory).


Sorry, but i have always thought "black" as an adjective applied to women in the 16th and 17th centuries meant they had black hair and a dark complexion. This could be associated with coarseness (e.g. Shakepeare's sonnet beginning "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun.....), but did not refer to mood/humour.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I think the female Sam saw and worried about was the teenage daughter, not the wife. She (the latter) is always just "My Lady" and I think if he had seen her, he would have been *much* more worried!!

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

My thoughts precisely, Aussie Sue. Sam seems to shrug it off, whereas if it had been "My Lady," he would have been much more concerned (and no doubt would have stopped to talk). I think Phil's link there is correct (especially given, as the link says, that "at this time she and her sister, Mrs. Ann, seem to have been living alone with their maids in London, and Pepys’s duty was to look after them").

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Pepys's duty was to look after them" - well, he's not doing much of that, is he?!

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"a daughter of Mr. Brumfield’s, black, but well-shaped and modest"

A black woman, Une noiraude, (for rather) une femme qui a les cheveux noirs, une brune. [A swarthy woman, (or rather) a woman with black hair, A brown haired woman.]
---The Royal Dictionary Abridged ... French and English. 1755.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

"Black" wasn't used to mean African, necessarily, but Italian, Spanish, Greek or other dark-haired and olive-complected people. I've heard English people even today refer to olive-skinned people as "black." But the woman was described by Sam as "a daughter of Mr Brumfield", so I can't imagine what he actually meant by black. Did Mr Brumfield have a "black" wife?

James Morgan  •  Link

Looking at the "carve, drink and show me great respect" I'm wondering if she was carving out a particularly delectable piece for Sam, and even being flirtatious with him. As to whether she had any choice, there can be a wide degree in how accepting she could have been, from friendly smiles to a sudden attention to something else as he approaches. Seems like quite a bawd party.

Edith Lank  •  Link

These Anglo-Saxons seem to prefer blondes altogether, with "black" a synonym for "ugly" -- in the folk song the young lady says of her handsome winsome Johnny that "some say he's black, but I say he's bonnie".

Bryan  •  Link

There is no evidence so far that SP used "black" as a synonym for "ugly". On the contrary, apart from today's instance which is ambiguous, SP has used term six times, of which two are neutral and four are positive. Even the detested Pembleton is mentioned positively in this regard.

21 January 1659/60 - where poor Mr. Cook, a black man, that is like to be put out of his clerk’s place
9 October 1660 - one Damford, that, being a black man, did scald his beard with mince-pie
13 January 1660/61 - his wife’s daughter is a very comely black woman
30 April 1661 - very pretty modest black woman
6 October 1661 - There was also my pretty black girl, Mrs. Dekins
15 May 1663 - (The dancing master) who is a pretty neat black man

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ' . . at a gossiping . . '
'gossiping, n. . . 
 1. A christening or christening-feast. Now dial.
a1627   T. Middleton Chast Mayd in Cheape-side (1630) ii. 18   You'le to the Gossiping of Mr Allwits Child?
1728   Brice's Weekly Jrnl. (Exeter) 30 Aug.   Last Sunday Afternoon was celebrated here a Gossipping, or held a jovial Meeting of Good Wives and Sweethearts, to solemnize the Baptism of a Child.
Re: ' . . a very well-bred woman . . '
'well-bred, adj. . .
. . 2. b. Of speech, behaviour, character, etc.: demonstrating good breeding or upbringing; courteous, refined, decorous. Also in extended use.
1614   E. Grimeston in tr. P. Matthieu Hist. Lewis XI i. 20 (margin)    Natures wel bred are easily bound by fauors, they would haue corrupted Lewis.
1699   R. Bentley Diss. Epist. Phalaris (new ed.) 251   I'll give him leave to tell me again in his well-bred way, That my head has no Brains in't.
Re: ' . . she to carve, drink, and show me great respect. . . '
'carve, v. < Common Germanic . .  
. . 9. fig. a. intr. To help or serve (oneself or others) at one's own discretion, to do at one's pleasure, indulge oneself.
. . 1604   Shakespeare Hamlet i. iii. 20   He may not as unvalued persons doe, Carve for himselfe. 
. . 1691   J. Locke Money in Wks. (1727) II. 35   When some common and great Distress..emboldens them to carve to their wants with armed Force.

. . 13. fig. (with reference to speech) Schmidt suggests ‘To show great courtesy and affability’.Obs.
1598   Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost v. ii. 323   A can carue to, and lispe: Why this is hee That kist a way his hand, in courtisie.
1602   Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor i. iii. 40   She carues, she discourses. She giues the lyre of inuitation.


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