Tuesday 18 August 1663

Up and to my office, where we sat all the morning. And at noon home, and my father came and dined with me, Susan being come and helped my wife to dress dinner. After dinner my father and I talked about our country-matters, and in fine I find that he thinks 50l. per ann. will go near to keep them all, which I am glad of. He having taken his leave of me and my wife without any mention of the differences between them and my wife in the country, I went forth to several places about businesses, and so home again, and after prayers to bed.

28 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

John Pepys releases his son from bondange

- "he thinks 50l. per ann. will go near to keep them all"

- "[he took] his leave of me and my wife without any mention of the differences between them and my wife in the country"

That done, his son "went forth"!

aqua  •  Link

"... Susan being come and helped my wife to dress dinner..." dress dinner or dress for dinner, dinner I'm sure did not require much dressing except for a liitle of that green stuff, but Liza has gotten use to being laced up tight, [may account of her short opatience with the staff].

deepfatfriar  •  Link

Bedtime prayers? On a Tuesday?

Patricia  •  Link

Sam, on his knees: "Thank thee my father only wants 50£ a year. Thank thee he left without quarreling with my wife again. Thank thee Ashwell's gone and I don't have to listen to her and my wife having high words....."

TerryF  •  Link

“… Susan being come and helped my wife to dress dinner…”, L&M agree, Susan being Pepyses’ cook-maid.

Miss Ann fr Home  •  Link

Morning all. Quite a short but meaningful entry today, but oh so much information.

No doubt John Pepys has taken note of Sam's lack of interest in hearing about Elizabeth's sojourn in the countryside, having stopped his father mid-sentence once John is obviously not prepared to raise the matter again and risk his son's ire. Well done John and well done Sam, if only we could all find a husband who is so loyal and a father-in-law so sensitive.

Elizabeth had the sense of occasion to bring in help for this lunch with the father-in-law, bringing in Susan to assist meant it all went so much better than if she was left on her own.

To get the meal together and all that is needed to dress herself, well, a bit of help would be greatly appreciated I'm sure.

Australian Susan  •  Link

People did not change their clothes to dine at that time (that convention came later). My namesake is being the kitchen maid to Elizabeth being cook maid. "dress dinner" means get everything bought, prepared, cooked, served and cleared away. Quite humbling for Elizabeth I think - bet she did not have to do anything of this kind at Brampton.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

50L? Isn't that at least 20L higher than what Sam had originally intended? And his entire yearly salary as a clerk just a few years ago.

"50L a year should go well to keep us all...Quiet...and contended, I think, son." John gives shrewd look at his son, glancing briefly over at Bess.


Brampton...Two months ago.

"Her 'Ladyship' sends word that she would prefer to dine in her room, Father...Dinner at table here not being dressed quite to her standards." Pall eyes the quickly reddening John...

"What the bloody hell's wrong with me table?" Margatet stares, spitting on the floor.

"Our good plain English table's not set to the Frenchie standard, Mrs. Pepys, that's what it is." John fumes, belching as he sets down his ale.

"Mind your dirty sleeve in the gravy, Pall!"


aqua  •  Link

Susan who be she? a mayde/cooke, Balty casteoff? goodlooking , good, be worth an extra tanner, an idle slut?
caught nipping off to the pub, even made the old Doorman get up without his pants on, so that she could go out for a booster, or a nip of the bottle.
So what was this Susan ,drunk, useless cook, pretty ???
hired dec 10th "62, canned may 24th,
now back in the good graces, sober????
able to dress a meal with all the trimmings.
Samuell, "... Susan, our cook-mayde, a pretty willing wench, but no good cook..."
Shows reality, when thee be hungry, even bread and dripping taste good.

Out Eliza has forgot how to put a spread on the table.

Nate  •  Link

"and in fine I find that..."

Should that be "and in fact I find that..."?

Bergie  •  Link

"Should that be “and in fact I find that…”?"
Probably not. "In fine" = "finally." Here it has the sense of "to sum it all up."

aqua  •  Link

"...and in fine I find that he thinks 50l. per ann..."
from the OED
oed fine n 1 I. End. (Obs. exc. in phr. in fine.)
1. Cessation, end, termination, conclusion, finish. Phr. to bring to fine, set the fine of. Obs.
1601 SHAKES. All's Well IV. iv. 35 Still the fine's the Crowne. 1664 Flodden F. i. 2 A lucky fine and end to make
c. The latter part (of time), close. Obs.
1615 G. SANDYS Trav. 101 Vntill the fine of December.
some more:2. End of life, decease, death. to do, take (one's) fine: to die. Obs.
4. End in view, aim, purpose, object; esp. in phr. to what fine. Hence, the purpose for which a thing exists. Obs.
1603 DEKKER, etc. Patient Grissell (1841) 42 Our fine be now to apparel all these former in some light sarcenet robe of truth.
II. 6. Law. A ‘final agreement’; ‘an amicable composition or agreement of a suit, either actual or fictitious, by leave of the king or his justices’ (Blackstone).
8 a. In phr. to make (a) fine: to make one's peace, settle a matter, obtain exemption from punishment or release from captivity, esp. by means of a money payment. Obs. exc. Hist.
b. A sum of money offered or paid for exemption from punishment or by way of compensation for injury. Obs.

aqua  •  Link

"People did not change their clothes " true but they had to wear more than their night weare to the midday meal.

aqua  •  Link

PS The ladies luv having their 'air dressed to, by the upstaires mayde.
from the glossary:
dress: iv. 342 to cook, prepare food,
viii. 129 to be formally dressed,
iii. 213 to dress hair

jeannine  •  Link

"50L? Isn’t that at least 20L higher than what Sam had originally intended? A"
Robert, I think that this means that John and family can live on 50L per year, 20L of which will come from Sam.


A. Hamilton  •  Link

Thanks Jeannine for the link. I somehow missed your posting on the letter to John, which not only makes it clear that John presently lives on 30L (or 29) from rents and 20L from his son. As I noted at the linked entry, it is a most impressive letter that gives us a different side of Sam than we get from the diary.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Sam and his father's finances
Let us not forget that Sam privately expects the Brampton proceeds to come to 50L a year, sparing him any out of pocket expense if he can get his father to live on that amount. On 1 May 1663 Sam wrote:
"...I find that there will be, after all debts paid within 100l., 50l. per annum clear coming towards my father’s maintenance, besides 25l. per annum annuities to my Uncle Thomas and Aunt Perkins. Of which, though I was in my mind glad, yet thought it not fit to let my father know it thoroughly, but after he had gone out to visit my uncle Thomas and brought him to dinner with him, and after dinner I got my father, brother Tom, and myself together, I did make the business worse to them, and did promise 20l. out of my own purse to make it 50l. a year to my father ..."

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "Bedtime prayers? On a Tuesday?"

DFF, I'd wager that bedtime prayers occur every night of the week, except Sam usually doesn't mention them. Perhaps he mentions them more often on a Sunday because they're longer and more involved then.

aqua  •  Link

Prayers be SOP for all main meals and at bedtime too, for all household members. This time it be mentioned because of all the frustrations of losing thy delousers, combers, hose darners, servers, singer to accompany the viol. Tonight be very involved.

language hat  •  Link

I was brought up to say bedtime prayers every evening.
And that was only, er, fifty-odd years ago.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Me too, LH.

Michael Robinson  •  Link


With House Prayers every night at school and compulsory church twice on Sunday, with a long evening sermon; the full Pepys routine and only 30 odd years ago!

deepfatfriar  •  Link

Bedtime prayers...

It was not the recitation on a Tuesday that I found unusual, but the mentioning of them.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

I've been under the impression while reading that Sam says his prayers regularly (probably almost every night), but only mentions them occasionally.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

“Susan being come and helped my wife to dress dinner”

To DRESS, to clothe, also to cook Meat.
---An universal etymological English dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

Bill  •  Link

“and in fine I find that he thinks 50l. per ann. will go near to keep them all”

In fine, or at last, en fin [finally]
---A short dictionary English and French. G. Miège, 1684.

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