Thursday 20 August 1663

Up betimes and to my office (having first been angry with my brother John, and in the heat of my sudden passion called him Asse and coxcomb, for which I am sorry, it being but for leaving the key of his chamber with a spring lock within side of his door), and there we sat all the morning, and at noon dined at home, and there found a little girl, which she told my wife her name was Jinny, by which name we shall call her. I think a good likely girl, and a parish child of St. Bride’s, of honest parentage, and recommended by the churchwarden.

After dinner among my joyners laying my floors, which please me well, and so to my office, and we sat this afternoon upon an extraordinary business of victualling.

In the evening came Commissioner Pett, who fell foule on mee for my carriage to him at Chatham, wherein, after protestation of my love and good meaning to him, he was quiet; but I doubt he will not be able to do the service there that any other man of his ability would.

Home in the evening my viall (and lute new strung being brought home too), and I would have paid Mr. Hunt for it, but he did not come along with it himself, which I expected and was angry for it, so much is it against my nature to owe anything to any body. This evening the girle that was brought to me to-day for so good a one, being cleansed of lice this day by my wife, and good, new clothes put on her back, she run away from Goody Taylour that was shewing her the way to the bakehouse, and we heard no more of her.

So to supper and to bed.

28 Annotations

First Reading

Patricia  •  Link

August 17th: "I went forth to Mrs. Holden’s, to whom I formerly spoke about a girle to come to me instead of a boy" Well, that didn't last long! Perhaps being de-loused by Mrs. P was more than the poor child could take...
I have done pediculosis scans on several classrooms of children in one day, but the actual removal of any nits/lice we found was left up to their moms. Probably pulling a fine-tooth comb through this girl's (likely tangled) hair was an unpleasant experience for both of them.

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary today:

"I din’[d] at the Comptrollers, with the Earle of Oxford & Mr. Ashburnham: It was saied it should be the last of the publique Diets or Tables at Court, now determining to put down the old hospitality, at which was greate murmuring, considering his Majesties vast revenue, and plenty of the Nation: hence I went to sit in a Committè of which I was one, to consider about the regulation of the Mint at the Tower, in which some small progresse was made, & so return’d that Evening: ..."

Is King Charles running out of money? (Don't think so...) Keeping his courtiers entertained could be an efficient way to keep them under control though.

aqua  •  Link

Orphaned or an abandoned mite."...I think a good likely girl, and a parish child of St. Bride’s, of honest parentage, and recommended by the churchwarden..." the parish needs the paliass for another of London's abandoned.
The poor , see p250 Restoration London Liza Picard
p 175: "....all single women between twelve and forty, not having any visible [means of] livelihood are go out to service, for the promotion of honest industry,..."
[see William Blackstone Commentaries on the laws of England 1765, applicable to The restoration , based on the laws of Elizabeth 1.]

It appears that a hole in the wall be more attractive, now deloused and with some threads in better condition, could chance her luck in the park.
At tuppence a day and grub at the Pepys household, she could earn more as a seller of brooms, and not suffer being groomed .

aqua  •  Link

His Majestie is getting used to the good life [as seen in gai Paree under the Sun Rex], and forgetting the mudane job of ensuring that his kingdom and income is in good shape.

TerryF  •  Link

Fallout from Pepys's conflicts spot the day from first to last.

- The incident with bro. John (one in a series of incidents concerning keys - misplaced and lost)...

- The saga of the chastening of Commnissioner Pett, whose dignity has been sorely tested, both by Pepys and by those who "act in the yard" at Chatham.

- Then, of course, the day's several issues concerning servants ("You can't find good masters these days," 'tis rumored belowstairs).

Pepys does not characterized his feelings as he goes to bed.

TerryF  •  Link

But viall music soothes the soul....

aqua  •  Link

Every since the wench came back down from the Fens, there has been nothing but upset, littered with a few moments in heaven.

Mary  •  Link

"being cleansed of lice....2

Quite probably this refers to body-lice rather than simply nits. As for running away, well, Jinny has been fitted out with a nice suit of new clothes even before she's been expected to do any work so .... why hang around?

alanB  •  Link

de-lousing followed by 'de-pricklousing' and freedom. Will Bess return to the Temps agency?

Bob T  •  Link

and good, new clothes put on her back, she run away from Goody Taylour that was shewing her the way to the bakehouse, and we heard no more of her. So to supper and to bed.
This seems familiar. Does anyone know where Fagin lives?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and we heard no more of her"
Methinks the word spread in the hood(the boy?)that Mr and Mrs Pepys are very strict disciplinarians, so I am just going to split.

A. Hamilton  •  Link


alanB, good one. TerryF, vous etes apropos comme toujours. Conflicts also at court, where His Majestie forgets that he is a servant of sorts.

JWB  •  Link


Coxcomb here, coxcomb there,
Here a coxcomb, there a coxcomb.
Everywhere a coxcomb.

JWB  •  Link

"Goody Taylour that was shewing her the way to the bakehouse, and we heard no more of he."

Perhaps she'd heard of the experience of Hansel & Gretel.

Mary  •  Link

"the way to the bakehouse"

This is presumably the neighbourhood bakehouse, whence the family normally obtains bread, tarts and other bake-meats, rather than a communal, Navy Office bakehouse.

ellen  •  Link

was the girl abducted and robbed of the new clothes and afraid to return?

versanum poetam  •  Link

Once upon a time
there be a girle called Jinny ,
who be such a ninny,
would rather sleep in a park
all alone in the dark
than be in a house
to be freed of louse
with those peeps
they did give her the creeps
they steal her rags
then given harsh cloth.
From head to toe
they hunted bludy lice
and it was not nice.
she now without flea
did decide to flee
to the river lea
instead of some bread
and with some dread
did leave the peeps
to say" so to bed"

Glyn  •  Link

A good day's entry - with Pepys' brother locking the two of them out, I keep thinking of Laurel and Hardy.

Presumably 'an extraordinary business of victualling' means provisioning a ship at short notice and not as a matter of routine - with the quantities involved and expenditure, it probably means a lot of unplanned work for the Office clerks, but Pepys seems to take it in his stride. If so, then I wonder where the ship was going so suddenly?

I do remember that when Wayneman absconded, he also did it in his best new set of clothes. If the girl is from St Bride's parish, then so was Sam so he probably knows her family, or is she too young to realise that?

PS Best wishes to Robert Gertz on his recovery from his presumed illness - when was the last time he missed a daily posting?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Ah, Goody Taylor. My, what a sweet young lady. On your way to Mrs. Todd's bakehouse, you say?"

"Good morrow, Mr. Todd. Go on now, girl and don't be too long."

(A charity for the world, my pet...)

Nix  •  Link

"called him Asse and coxcomb" --

Funny, I've had the same conversation with MY brother Jon.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

I think a "parish child" is an orphan being taken care of by the parish rather than a child living in the parish, so Sam would have no family to talk to. He can, however, talk to the parish about what happened.

The church warden did mention that the child was of "good parentage", implying that the parish was familiar with the child's parents. I'm guessing that they are now deceased, leaving the child in the care of the parish.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Probably pulling a fine-tooth comb ..." Did they have fine tooth combs then? Maybe made of tortoiseshell? If not, how did they delouse the head?

Back in my boarding school days they used metal combs, with strong disinfectant. Never heard of any being found, but we were all inspected every term.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thanks, Terry ... I particularly liked the one carved from ox horn. Whittling had many uses back then.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

If the girl was " a parish child of St. Bride's . . . Recommended by the church warden," surely she could be found. Sam could have at least complained to the warden about his poor "recommendation." Good help may have been hard to find back then but it's even worse here and now. We can't hire children, not even lice-ridden orphans, so the supply is thinner than ever.

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Vinegar was and is the traditional anti lice treatment in France at any rate. I am pretty sure they had fine combs.

john  •  Link

Wooden lice combs (including mummified lice) have been found in Egyptian tombs 5000 BP.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

“I cannot but look upon the strange Instinct of this noisome and troublesome Creature a Louse, of searching out foul and nasty Clothes to harbor and breed in, as an Effect of divine Providence, design'd to deter Men and Women from Sluttishness and Sordidness.” -- John Ray (1629 – 1703) - author of A Collection of English Proverbs (1670)

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