Sunday 6 December 1663

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed, and then up and to church alone, which is the greatest trouble that I have by not having a man or, boy to wait on me, and so home to dinner, my wife, it being a cold day, and it begun to snow (the first snow we have seen this year) kept her bed till after dinner, and I below by myself looking over my arithmetique books and timber rule.

So my wife rose anon, and she and I all the afternoon at arithmetique, and she is come to do Addition, Subtraction, and Multiplicacion very well, and so I purpose not to trouble her yet with Division, but to begin with the Globes to her now.

At night came Captain Grove to discourse with me about Field’s business and of other matters, and so, he being gone, I to my office, and spent an houre or two reading Rushworth, and so to supper home, and to prayers and bed, finding myself by cold to have some pain begin with me, which God defend should increase.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

"to church alone, which is the greatest trouble that I have by not having a man or, boy to wait on me": why? No trophy servant?

Glyn  •  Link

That's my question as well, have Bradford and I missed something - where's Will Hewer?

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Hewer be in his own bed sit, only has to turn up at the 'office and do his sums and copy the the instructions.

jeannine  •  Link

Will Hewer moved out on November 14th
"At noon home and dined with my wife, and after dinner Will told me if I pleased he was ready to remove his things, and so before my wife I did give him good counsel, and that his going should not abate my kindnesse for him, if he carried himself well, and so bid "God bless him," and left him to remove his things, the poor lad weeping, but I am apt to think matters will be the better both for him and us".…

From the November "The Story So Far" summary (not yet posted)
Sam writes to Will's uncle to hasten his removal from the house ( Nov 4) and together they break the news to Will (Nov 9). Sam sees a weeping Will move out by midmonth, noting as he goes to bed "This night I think is the first that I have lain without ever a man in my house besides myself, since I came to keep any" (Nov 14).

He still does things for Sam (like delivering Sandwich's letter on the 18th) but he hasn't lived there for awhile. Sam had been talking to Will's uncle about having him move out for awhile because he was causing friction with the maids.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

"...because he was causing friction with the maids...." oh! yer, just friction more like trying to emulate the master??

Clement  •  Link

Beginning with "the globes" is less than obvious to me. Does he really mean switching to cosmology, or geography? Our globe links seem like they may more appropos for a different usage, no? The second Michael Robinson link illustrates the variety of what he could mean, terrestrially or extra.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...which is the greatest trouble that I have by not having a man or, boy to wait on me..."

I'd love to hear what John Sr. would make of that remark.
(Pepysian Christmas Carol cont...)

"The cold grown within him...("Cold?!" Sam blinks, reading in Heaven, instinctively looking for shawl and phyick)...had shriveled his features and voice, stiffened his gait, croaked harshly out in voice... ("Bess?! Did I sound hoarse to you then?!" clears throat. "Do I sound all right now?!" "Sam'k...You're long dead, darling." "Well, still...")...Though it did nothing to his excellent taste in fine clothes. ("Why am I not surprised?" Bess reading, notes dryly.)

Despite constant dashing to the doctor's on the slightest chill as to the physical side, spiritually external heat and cold had no effect on Pepys. The foulest weather could not hinder his purpose nor make him relent...No fierce rain less subject to appeal.

The gladsome looks that had once greeted him everywhere were no more. Old friends of the past sighed and shook heads at him as he passed without a nod. Beggars avoided him, children instinctively dodged his fashionable yet effective boots...Even the blind's men's dogs would tug their owners away from his intent, scowling path.

But did Sam care? Not a whit. Such avoidance by the scorned world of his youth he now relished, perceiving it to maximizing his efficiency and thereby his profit, as well as being proof of his elevated social standing. Nothing was to be gained by bootless association with such types. Though as he liked to coldly joke to himself, some pleasure was had by booted contact with a few in his callous, busy way.

One day...Of all the good days in the year...Christmas Eve...Sam was busy in his office, tallying the past accounts of the Navy...It was biting cold weather and the people passing outside could be heard stamping their feet on the pavement to warm them...In the office, his clerks in their mittens and old woolies trying to take the pain out of their chapped chilblained fingers...(Credit to dear Cumgranosalis for this line)...As, painfully scratching along in their books, they all in turn eyed the miserable flicker of flame among the few coals in the fireplace."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

the few coals in the fireplace.

Coals; he allowed them more than one? But then it t'was at the King's charge, and the coal merchants had dropped off a haunch of venison on the Pepy's doorstep the last time they delivered ...

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "why? No trophy servant?"

I think what Bradford is asking is why the lack of a man or boy to wait on Sam, forcing him to go to church alone, would be "the greatest trouble that I have."

Is going to church by yourself -- or, more correctly, without a servant in visible attendance -- simply not done by the up-and-coming?

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

- which God defend should increase - an old usage of 'defend' for 'prevent'.

Don McCahill  •  Link

No trophy servant

In a time with no cell phones or other means of communication, a servant would be useful. Send the lad off to get a cab, or to send a message to the fellow standing on the other side of the church.

I don't think Sam is finding lack a a servant is life-threatening. He is just put off the way most of us would be if we lost our cell phones, or (God-forbid) our Internet service, for a lengthy time.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Trophy Servant
"Is going to church by yourself -- or, more correctly, without a servant in visible attendance -- simply not done by the up-and-coming?"

My guess is that that's exactly the main part of the "trouble" Pepys feels at this. It was a very status-conscious age (unlike ours? Hah!), and the clothes one wears and the servants that one keeps seem to have been crucial to status.

Eric Walla  •  Link

OK, here's the multiplication! (Perhaps "arithmetique" should be read as a euphemism throughout the diary?) We must remember that Sam himself only learned multiplication very recently, so it's rather endearing to see him take so strongly to a subject and want to share it with his wife.

And of course [spoiler], Sam and Liz will engage in plenty of "division" in the course of the diary.

Canongate  •  Link

You can click on globes or do a search for 'globes' to get more information on them, Clement. On Tuesday 8 Sept. 1663, he bought the globes to teach his wife a little about astronomy because she took a fancy to them.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hmmn...With both Pepys so well versed in math now, the periodic summing of the family accounts could take on a whole new dimension...

"The two, carry the two!..."

"Carried...A moment."

"How much, how much?!..." a panting Bess, eyes glued on Sam's nimble fingers.

"755 and 10 shillings...We're close, Bess. What next?"

"This packet from Commissioner Pett reimbursing you for some trouble."

"Ah, yes." sly grin.


"Nothing to worry about. Now how much?"

Bess' flying fingers eagerly watched by her loving Sam. And in just ten lessons...What a girl...

"Twenty pounds...Six...No, seven. Oh, Sam...!"

"Nearing it, girl, nearing it!" a red-faced Sam fumbles for the next packet.

"This makes it 795L!! Oh...Sacre...Dieu! Anything else, darling, my darling!!" a frantic Bess...

"Oh, I fear that's it!" Sam sighs. "But, Bess, it was really..."

"Wait!! Wait!!!" she runs to a drawer, pulling out.

"Unthankes reimbursed us for the rotten cloth last night, remember?!" she pours four pounds and odd change onto the table.

"Ohh..." Sam trembles. "Yes?! Yes?!!"

"Twenty-five shillings to go!!!"

"Ah!!" she runs to a box tucked under the bed on which they add so passionately as to endanger the floor below.

"My left-over household change!!"

"My love!!! Greater love hath no woman than she would cough up her saved bits!!! Oh, Bess!!!!"


"Eight hundred pounds!!!!"

"Sacre Dieu!!!!!"

"Ohhhhhh!!..." "Ohhhhhh!!..."

Phew...Mutual joyous grin...

"Bess, your addition was fantastic!"

"You were no slouch, my little flying fingers!"

Sidelong grin, tongue at upper inside lip... "Sam'l?...Could we do it again? Subtracting down?"

"We ought to verify it after all, right?" she notes solemnly. Breaking seductive grin...

"By all means, Mrs. Pepys."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Ah, that was some Arithmetique!" Bess sighs, laying back.

"Eight hundred pounds, worth, my girl."

"Yeah...Say...Sam'l." shrewd grin. "I guess that means I get my velvet gown for Xmas now."

Ummn...Well... "Now, Bess..."

"Damnit, Sam. You promised when we hit 800..."

Perhaps there is a down side to these lessons, Sam thinks.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"800! You said 800 and I get my Xmas gown!"

mmmnnn... "Bess? Couldn't we just relish the Xmas joy of holding at a pristine 800L?"


Australian Susan  •  Link

I read the problem with having no male servant was the problem of getting dressed by himself. We have noted a few occasions recently when he emphasises that he had changed clothes or dressed by hinmself. perhaps it seemed a particular trouble on Sunday because his clothes were better ones and involving more tying, lacing, buttoning etc. This entry also shows that Will H had been used as a body servant.

Bradford  •  Link

Just a reminder that Pepys has invested in a pair of globes, one terrestrial, one celestial. If you're writing Santa, ask him nicely to send me one of the latter.

Pedro  •  Link

"it being a cold day, and it begun to snow (the first snow we have seen this year) kept her bed till after dinner,"

(In the absence of Dirk)...Ralph the vicar of Earls Colne...
Dec. 6. Great winds, frosty, very much snow, god good in mercies, in the word, the lord awaken mine to fear his name. divisions among the Germans, while the Turk prospers, and withdraws not yet to winter quarters beyond former precedence

cumgranosalis  •  Link

At this date The Ottoman Empire at it's largest influence "while the Turk prospers"

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

JWB posted this in the encyclopedia in 2006:

Timber scale from the Mary Rose:
Gresham College | Lecture Archive
Dr Stephen Johnston…...

I followed the link and find Gresham College has 1,900 talks available free of charge, and lots of different subjects to choose from. Needless to say, I signed up. This lecture on the Timber Rule from the Mary Rose (Henry VIII's pride and joy that tipped over in heavy seas, the remains of which can be seen at Portsmouth) is somewhere in archives, and I did not go digging tonight. But you can have some fun doing it ...

Louise Hudson  •  Link

My Dad, my brother, my husband, my sons, just about all the men I've known, have dressed themselves since the were old enough to do it for their whole lives. What did Sam need a boy to do to help him dress? Just run and fetch or was there more to it?

James Morgan  •  Link

Thanks for the note about Gresham college lectures. It looks like a great resource.

Weavethe hawk  •  Link

Ms Hudson, Sam is coming up in the world, he need a servant to confirm his status.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"What did Sam need a boy to do to help him dress?" -- "Sam is coming up in the world, he need a servant to confirm his status."

While this is undoubtedly true, I think there's more to it than that. One, dressing was more difficult. I've seen a film about putting on a dress in the 17th century, and it took two servants to hold the skirt cage while the Lady folded herself inside. I haven't seen a film about men putting on their pants (presumably one leg at a time, just like today) but I suspect there was lacing and other things to be done to make everything fit so snugly. And there were layers of clothes because it was so cold. Having help with the "go fetch" and the "hold this while I button that" part of dressing would be helpful. Obviously Sam can do it, but prefers not to. It's so hard brushing fluff off the back of your coat by yourself.

Two, the orphans of the parish needed the employment, and a place to stay and three meals a day. It was the duty of those who could to take them in, teach them manners and to read, and how to be good Christians.

And three, extended family, living cooperatively, and having a large household created security on many levels. Just cleaning took a lot more effort than today. No one could do it all alone. Sam seems to have gotten used to being the only man in a house full of women, but even that wasn't usual.

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