Wednesday 28 October 1663

Up and at my office all the morning, and at noon Mr. Creed came to me and dined with me, and after dinner Murford came to me and he and I discoursed wholly upon his breach of contract with us. After that Mr. Creed and I abroad, I doing several errands, and with him at last to the great coffee-house, and there after some common discourse we parted and I home, paying what I owed at the Mitre in my way, and at home Sympson the joyner coming he set up my press for my cloaks and other small things, and so to my office a little, and to supper, and to bed.

This morning Mr. Blackburne came to me, and telling me what complaints Will made of the usage he had from my wife and other discouragements, and, I seeing him, instead of advising, rather favouring his kinsman, I told him freely my mind, but friendlily, and so we have concluded to have him have a lodging elsewhere, and that I will spare him 15l. of his salary, and if I do not need to keep another 20l..

23 Annotations

First Reading

Patricia  •  Link

"and so we have concluded to have him have a lodging elsewhere, and that I will spare him 15l. of his salary, and if I do not need to keep another 20l.."
I read this to mean Sam has been paying Will a certain amount less room and board; so if Will moves out, he will get more money. But that last part confuses me. Can someone else explain it?

Terry F  •  Link

"I will spare him 15l. of his salary; and if I do not need to keep another, 20l.."

Patricia, methinks L&M's punctuation makes it clear. They also note Hewer's salary was 30l. per annum.

Mary  •  Link

"if I do not need to keep another"

I take this caveat to mean that Will will be paid the larger allowance only if Pepys finds that he can make do without someone else (a boy) to run the errands, fulfill the minor services that a resident Hewer would have been called upon to supply.

JWB  •  Link

"...usage he had from my wife..."

"tintintabulation that so musically wells"

those damned bells!

Bergie  •  Link

"Sympson the joyner coming he set up my press for my cloaks and other small things"
Does this mean that a carpenter came in and installed an ironing board?

Bob T  •  Link

Does this mean that a carpenter came in and installed an ironing board?
Yes it does. But they can't use the steam iron because alternating current hasn't been invented yet.

Terry F  •  Link

Hewer's crime

Evidence of its having been committed - Sunday 27 September 1663:
"to church, without my man William, whom I have not seen to-day, nor care, but would be glad to have him put himself far enough out of my favour that he may not wonder to have me put him away."…

What had he done? An egregious example that Pepys didn't record all that he's aware of having occurred, even when it is significant.

SPOILER - L&M refer us to 31 October, where Pepys, in the month's summing up, notes, in Wheatley's version - "My greatest trouble and my wife's is our family, mighty out of order by this fellow Will's corrupting the mayds by his idle talke and carriage, which we are going to remove by hastening him out of the house, which his uncle Blackburne is upon doing, and I am to give him L20 per annum toward his maintenance."…

Tomorrow we will see some of the fruits of his mischief!

Pedro  •  Link

"Sympson the joyner coming he set up my press..."

Could possibly be a wooden press, something like the old trouser presses?

in aqua alta  •  Link

"...he set up my press for my cloaks and other small things..." 'Twas a thing of beauty, made most likey of well seasoned and polished oak [from the yard no doubt.], with well made screws, when tightened would squeeze all the aere out and moisture too, so that thee had creases to cut a sway through the maddening crowds.
Thee could save thy mayde the risk of a lathering for burning 'oles in thy expensive cloak, very practical device.

GRCunningham  •  Link

"Sympson the joyner coming he set up my press..."
I believe that he is refering to a tall cupboard, such as a wardrobe or armoire. Grandmother always refered to the Linen Press, and it sounded so exotic until I discovered that it was only the shallow closet full of towels at the end of the hall........

Ruben  •  Link

From Wikipedia,
A linen-press is a cabinet, usually of woods such as oak, walnut, or mahogany, and designed for storing sheets, table-napkins, clothing, and other textiles.

Linen-presses were made chiefly in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries and are now considered decorative examples of antique furniture. Early versions were often quite plain, with some exhibiting carving characteristic of Jacobean designs. Examples made during the 18th and 19th centuries often featured expensive veneers and intricate inlays, and were designed to occupy prominent places in early bedrooms as storage closets for clothing. As such, the linen-press was equivalent to the wardrobe or armoire, which are other names commonly used for the same form.

Patricia  •  Link

I'm with GRC on this; since my childhood I have known a press is something you can hide in (even though the hiding is only in imagination), which is not true of an ironing board or the thing aqua describes. See the poem by H.C. Bunner at… which reads, in part:
""It can't be the little cupboard
Where Mamma's things used to be
So it must be the clothes-press, Gran'ma!"
And he found her with his Three."
Nowadays we call this an armoire, except in antique shops, where it is still called a press.

in aqua alta  •  Link

to press the point : press is a word that has many uses all having the experience of applying pressure, physically or mentally to a thing or person except the cabinet for clothes, which I find strange. There be Wardrobe that holds clothes or an area that holds Robes , the cupboard that was for thy drinking vessels. The Iron was used by taylors of yore.
The OED: Just one portion of a long list
[Two distinct forms: ME. presse, a. F. presse (11th c. in Littré) = Pr. pressa, It. pressa, verbal n. from stem of F. presser = It. pressare, L. press _re, freq. of prem re, press-um to press; or ?Romanic fem. n. from press-us, -a, -um, pa. pple. of prem re ME. prês, prees, in 16-17th c. prese, preas(e, preace, found as a parallel form only in early senses. The relation of this to the Fr. and the
forms presents difficulty. Cf. the two corresponding forms of the verb, press and prese, prease, and see Note below. (The spelling pres generally means prês, but may be sometimes = press. Press in Barbour is doubtful, and may have been = prês.)]
......IV. 15. A large (usually shelved) cupboard, esp. one placed in a recess in the wall, for holding clothes, books, etc.; in Scotland, also for provisions, victuals, plates, dishes, and other table requisites. Cf. CLOTHES-PRESS 1. Also attrib.
c1386 CHAUCER Miller's T. 26 His presse ycovered with a faldyng reed
1552 in Bury Wills (Camden) 142, I gyve her my newe cubbord with the presse in yt and too great books the Bybyll ........
1598 SHAKES. Merry W. III. iii. 226 In the house, & in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses. 1600 J. PORY tr. Leo's Africa III. 125 Each chamber hath a presse curiously painted and varnished belonging thereunto.....
1952 J. GLOAG Short Dict. Furnit. 374 Press cupboard, a large cupboard with a superstructure consisting of a shelf with smaller cupboards behind it..introduced during the second half of the 16th century. 1959 L. A. BOGER Compl. Guide Furnit. Styles xxii. 384 The name press cupboard was given in America to a form of cup-board resembling the English hall and parlor cupboard. ....

1753 SMOLLETT Ct. Fathom (1784) 35/2 He should..conceal himself in a large press or wardrobe, that stood in one corner of the apartment. 1790 BURNS Tam o' Shanter 125 Coffins stood round like open presses, That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses......
The press for this and that , all appear to be the result of pressure, from being the a lad that has to serve on a ship or a piece of paper that be squashed on inked type on a press in a press room.
Or Sam Peps in a press bed:press bed :
A bed constructed to fold up, when not in use, into a press (PRESS n.1 15) closed by a door or doors; sometimes less correctly applied to a box-bed (which does not fold up) shut in by folding doors. Also attrib.
1660 PEPYS Diary 14 May, The Judge and I..lay in one press bed, there being two more in the same room.
So a press: it may be just a box that clothes will feel closed in , there by be impressed.

Terry F  •  Link

"after dinner Murford came to me and he and I discoursed wholly upon his breach of contract with us."

We haven't heard about this contract, but a quick look at his Occurrence in the Diary show that Murford's an unsavory chap.

16 June 1660 - "Murford took me to Harvey's by my father's to drink and told me of a business that I hope to get 5l. by."

19 June 1660 - "Called on betimes by Murford, who showed me five pieces to get a business done for him and I am resolved to do it....When I came home I found a quantity of chocolate left for me, I know not from whom."

20 June 1660 - "Up by 4 in the morning to write letters to sea and a commission for him that Murford solicited for."

24 October 1660 - "so home to dinner, where I found Captain Murford, who did put 3l. into my hands for a friendship I had done him, but I would not take it, but bade him keep it till he has enough to buy my wife a necklace."

27 February 1660/61 - "I walked in the garden with little Captain Murford, where he and I had some discourse concerning the Light-House again, and I think I shall appear in the business, he promising me that if I can bring it about, it will be worth 100l. per annum."

16 December 1662 - "So to dinner, thinking to have had Mr. Coventry, but he could not go with me; and so I took Captn. Murford. Of whom I do hear what the world says of me; that all do conclude Mr. Coventry, and Pett, and me, to be of a knot; and that we do now carry all things before us; and much more in particular of me, and my studiousnesse, &c., to my great content."

GrahamT  •  Link

Press is still in common use in Ireland to mean a cupboard/closet. I believe it is also used in Scotland and the borders.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" noon Mr. Creed came to me and dined with me, and after dinner Murford came to me and he and I discoursed wholly upon his breach of contract with us."

"Now Mr. Pepys, as I see it...The matter is a trivial one."

"Mr. Murford, you have committed breach of contract with His Majesty's Naval Office. The King does not take such things lightly, Mr. Murford."

"But my dear Mr. Pepys...And...?"

"Creed, sir. John Creed. A pleasure to meet you."

"Yes...Well, my good friend Pepys, you know it was only the foolish errors of my clerks...And the vagueries of wind and water...That prevent me from fulfilling all our terms. An honest effort was made, God knows."

"A quarter of the goods requested, received, Murford. And damaged, of inferior quality at that."

"These things happen, my good friend. Give us but a month's grace and all will be set to rights. And my gratitude to you for your kind indulgence will be quite rewarding, my dear Pepys."

"Indeed? I seriously doubt I could accept such 'gratitude' sir given your current disgrace and your reputation for corruption."


"I think, Murford. That I shall leave you in Mr. Creed's hands to settle these affairs. I'm sure he and his associate Mr. Howe will find a suitable way to resolve this matter."

"Indeed, Mr. Pepys." Creed smiles. "Shall we go, Mr. Murford?"

"Go, sir?"

"My place of business lies down by the Thames...Out of prying eyes, much better to deal with things as practical men must."


"Yes, I think we'll reach a solution satisfactory to the King before the tide goes out. My associate, Mr. Howe." indicates the newly-entered Howe.

"Mr. Murford, Mr. Howe. We shall be entertaining him down by the river for a short while. Pepys, my best to your dear wife, thank her for a delightful dinner. Mr. Murford, time and tide wait for no man, let us be off."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...the usage he hath had from my wife..."

"Mrs. Pepys...Elisabeth...Please, take it." offers necklace. "...and my poor little heart, oh fair..."

"Will, stop this nonsense."

"OH, beautious Elisabeth~Hair of gold, with her Gallic twin suns rising in the east. No other woman exists in the world. Only Mr. Pepys could be so cruelly foolish as to..."

"Enough! Will, I love you dearly as a friend but this ridiculous mooning has to stop! Or I will inform Mr. Pepys!"

"Oh, divine Athena, capable of learning even the multiplication table...Be my blonde Dark Lady but not so cruel..."

I was good the other night studying with Sam'l...she notes, brief smile fading immediately.

"Hewer, go below to your chamber or so help me..." shakes broom at him.

"For the bad poetry alone you merit termination..."

Hmmn. Will pauses, remembering Creed is to pay a visit today at dinner...She might be quite serious about 'termination'.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Murford came to me and he and I discoursed wholly upon his breach of contract with us."

William Murford, timber merchant, had contracted for plank to be delivered at Chatham. In the spring he had explained to Commissioner Pett that 'had not the person he contracted with most notoriously played the jack with him, it would have been performed long since.... (Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"we have concluded to have him have a lodging elsewhere, and that I will spare him 15l. of his salary; and if I do not need to keep another, 20l.." [per L&M]

Hewer lodged from November onwards (in some style) with William Mercer, merchant, of St Olave's parish:… He became the means of introducing Mary Mercer to the Pepys household:… His salary was £30 p.a.
(Per L&M footnote)

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Clothes press

closet, press, wardrobe
a tall piece of furniture that provides storage space for clothes; has a door and rails or hooks for hanging clothes.…

It has nothing to do with ironing or steaming. It's just a wardrobe, a piece of furniture for storing clothes, hanging or folded.

Photos at the website.

JayW  •  Link

Money for Will - £15 to pay for the lodgings and another £20 if I don't have to feed him in future?

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