Thursday 10 December 1663

Up, pretty well, the weather being become pretty warm again, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and I confess having received so lately a token from Mrs. Russell, I did find myself concerned for our not buying some tallow of her (which she bought on purpose yesterday most unadvisedly to her great losse upon confidence of putting it off to us). So hard it is for a man not to be warped against his duty and master’s interest that receives any bribe or present, though not as a bribe, from any body else. But she must be contented, and I to do her a good turn when I can without wrong to the King’s service.

Then home to dinner (and did drink a glass of wine and beer, the more for joy that this is the shortest day in the year, —[Old Style]— which is a pleasant consideration) with my wife. She in bed but pretty well, and having a messenger from my brother, that he is not well nor stirs out of doors, I went forth to see him, and found him below, he has not been well, but is not ill. I found him taking order for the distribution of Mrs. Ramsey’s coals, a thing my father for many years did, and now he after him, which I was glad to see, as also to hear that Mr. Wheatly begins to look after him. I hope it is about his daughter.

Thence to St. Paul’s Church Yard, to my bookseller’s, and having gained this day in the office by my stationer’s bill to the King about 40s. or 3l., I did here sit two or three hours calling for twenty books to lay this money out upon, and found myself at a great losse where to choose, and do see how my nature would gladly return to laying out money in this trade. I could not tell whether to lay out my money for books of pleasure, as plays, which my nature was most earnest in; but at last, after seeing Chaucer, Dugdale’s History of Paul’s, Stows London, Gesner, History of Trent, besides Shakespeare, Jonson, and Beaumont’s plays, I at last chose Dr. Fuller’s Worthys, the Cabbala or Collections of Letters of State, and a little book, Delices de Hollande, with another little book or two, all of good use or serious pleasure: and Hudibras, both parts, the book now in greatest fashion for drollery, though I cannot, I confess, see enough where the wit lies. My mind being thus settled, I went by linke home, and so to my office, and to read in Rushworth; and so home to supper and to bed.

Calling at Wotton’s, my shoemaker’s, today, he tells me that Sir H. Wright is dying; and that Harris is come to the Duke’s house again; and of a rare play to be acted this week of Sir William Davenant’s: the story of Henry the Eighth with all his wives.

53 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

"having gained this day in the office by my stationer's bill to the King about 40s. or 3l."

Bestir yourselves, all, and inform us whether Pepys is being repaid money he spent out of his own pocket, or. . . .

"this is the shortest day in the year, --[Old Style]-- which is a pleasant consideration"---but a peculiar editorial interpolation, inasmuch as the calendar date has nothing to do with the briefest period of sunlight. Clarifications?

Damned if he isn't going to keep at that "Hudibras" until he gets the point. Like someone today determined to be au courant by wrassling down the new thousand-page Pynchon novel, "though I cannot, I confess, see enough where the wit lies."

Martin  •  Link

Les délices de la Hollande
A work by Jean Nicolas de Parival, first published at Leiden, Holland, in 1651 by Pierre Leffen. A variety of books with the "Les délices" title appeared in the 17th century with descriptions of countries that could also function as travel guides. "Les délices de la Hollande" contained a description of the Dutch government as well as a chronology of events through 1650. A third edition appeared in 1660 printed by Jan Elzevier and updated to 1660. De Parival (1605-1669) was a Frenchman who established himself at Leiden in 1624. He was a wine seller and offered lesson in conversational French. "Les délices de la Hollande" is his best-known work.

Ironsights  •  Link

Britain followed the "old style" calandar which was some 10 or 11 days behind the new style calendar followed by most of the rest of Europe at the time.

Robert Gertz  •  Link


My guess is Sam unintentionally committed himself to public opinion by nodding agreement at its wit in company and now is doggedly determined to find it hilarious. Otherwise I can't see him caring a whit.

And a Pepysian Christmas Carol, cont...

"The same face, the very same....Cromwell as he'd seen him in his prime, in his plain uniform, his hair cut close, the collar of office about his neck.

The chain the figure he took to be Cromwell drew was clasped about his middle. It was surprisingly short, and wound about him like a tail, and it was made (for Sam observed it closely) of swords, chains, ledgers, bills to Parliament, and deeds referring to lands in Ireland, all wrought in steel. His body was transparent; so that Pepys, observing him, and looking through his waistcoat, could see the two buttons on his coat behind.

Sam had often heard it said that Cromwell had no bowels, but he had never believed it until now.

No, nor did he believe it even now. Though he looked the phantom through and through, and saw it standing before him; though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes; and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its neck, which wrapper he had not observed before, he was still incredulous, and fought against his senses.

'Now, sir.' said Sam, caustic and cold as ever. 'What do you want with me?'

'Much.'-Oliver's commanding voice, no doubt about it.

'Who are you?'

'Ask me who I was.'

'Ok...Who were you...As if I don't know.'

'In life I was Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentary forces, Lord Protector of England.'

Hmmn...Sam couldn't repress a natural slight burst of pleasure in spite of his growing fear. I mean, to have the greatest figure in English history since Elizabeth I make a personal appearance. Not a bad tribute to...

'You might ask me if I could sit down, sirrah.' Cromwell's ghost eyed Sam.

'Can you sit down?'

'Why no, I just enjoy getting the idiots I'm obliged to visit to ask me. Of course I can!'

'Do it, then.'

A frown but the ghost sat in the chair opposite Pepys, eyeing him.

'Work for the young Stuarts in the Naval Office, do you?'

'Why yes.' a rather pleased Sam.

My rep even reached the afterlife?

'And vain as they told me, I see.' Cromwell shook his head. 'Not surprised to find the former Lord Protector of England popping up from beyond the grave in your bedroom are you?'

'Well, it's only natural...You were one of my heroes.' Sam noted.

'One?!' Cromwell glared. Then eyed his host shrewdly.

'You don't believe in me?'

'I don't.'

'Why do you doubt the evidence of your senses?'

An unfortunate choice of topic as the ghostly Cromwell learned to his misfortune, Sam spending the better part of the next hour expounding on his health and various maladies which might have led him to experience such visualizations. Stepping from the room at one point to fetch his prized stone box...

'...and this very week I was again costive and bound,' Sam continued, Cromwell sighing, hands to his head. 'So you may very well be the result of my latest course of...'

With a sudden jerk, Cromwell pulled his head off, the napkin round it falling to the floor, and holding the head in hands, glared with it at the terrified Pepys.

'Little nobody hypochondriac clerk of the worldly mind! Do you believe in me or not?!'

'I do,' said Sam. 'I suppose I must, though if you wouldn't mind, I'd very much like to fetch my old colleagues from the Royal Society to examine this phenomenom.'

'I've no time for that and it's rather late to trouble your friends. Though if they were still friends enough to you to come my visit would hardly be necessary.'

'Oh? But why do spirits walk the earth, and why should they come to me?'

'It is required of every man,' the Ghost returned, 'that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world-oh, woe is me!-and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness.'

The spectre raised a horrible cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.

'But you, sir...You were a great man of action and affairs. How is it that you are fettered?' said Sam, trembling. 'Tell me why?'

'I wear the chain I forged in life,' replied the Ghost. 'I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.'

'Tis' rather short to cause you distress.'

'Moron! It is symbolic. It merely represents my punishment and suffering. Is irs pattern strange to you?'

Pepys trembled more and more, but managed to eye the proffered chain carefully. Hmmn...

'Seems to deal a lot with Ireland.' he noted. '

'Indeed.' Cromwell sighed. 'The land of my greatest crimes...'


'Seems the Almighty is not all that concerned with our choice of religion.' the ghostly Oliver nodded. 'Much to my surprise it was my zeal in tormenting and killing Papists that landed me in trouble rather than cutting off ole Charles' head.'

Sam blinked. Then I've backed the right horse in siding with the Duke?, he thought hopefully.

'It's the deeds not the creed that counts with Him, Pepys.' Oliver frowned. 'And your standing is not looking too good these days.'"


cumgranosalis  •  Link

'tallow' for use of greasing an extended palm which failed this time, Sam has had enough candles.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"'At this time of the rolling year,' the spectre said, 'I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of captured fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode of a babe certainly not of their faith? Were there no biblical passages whose light would have conducted me to tolerance and understanding?'

Sam was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly.

Rather wish I'm been a bit more tolerant of those Jews that time I took...I went to see them, he thought.

'Hear me!' cried the Ghost. 'My time is nearly gone, thanks to your hour-long monologue on your bowel movement problems..'

'I will,' said Pepys. 'But don't be hard upon me. Don't be flowery, sir! Pray!'

'How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell. Obviously they've some good reason upstairs for sending me about to some obscure bureaucrat like you.'

It was not an agreeable idea. Sam shivered, and wiped the perspiration from his brow.

'These visits are no light part of my penance,' pursued the Ghost. 'Certainly humbling to my pride, at least. Anyway, to get to the matter, I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping your fate. A chance and hope of someone dear's procuring, Samuel.'

'You were always a hero to me, sir, even after the Restoration, if only in the closet of my heart.' said Sam. 'Thank'ee.'

'Don't thank me, I had nothing to do with it. I'm but the messenger. You will be haunted,' resumed the Ghost, 'by a number of Spirits.'

Pepys' countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost's head had.

'Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, sir?' he demanded, in a faltering voice.

'It is.'

'I-I think I'd rather not,' said Sam.

'Without these visits,' said the Ghost, 'you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first to-morrow, when the bell tolls One.'

'Couldn't I take them all at once, and have it over, sir?' hinted Pepys. 'Much more efficient.'


cumgranosalis  •  Link

Here be a case of a woman { Mrs. Russell, } running a business and not getting the same appreciation as a male touting his useful wares. Tallow be very important to running of a ship, preservation and cleaning , providing cheap lighting, keeping gun wheels a runnin', scrubing down the decks, worthy as any tacky weevil infested cheese.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

It's interesting though that Sam seems to have no problem with Mrs. Russell as a businesswoman trading with the Naval Office and seems to show respect to her and consideration of her situation similar to that which he shows the males.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

I do not read it that way; Normaly it be off to the Pub and negotiate a deal;
"...and I confess having received so lately a token from Mrs. Russell, I did find myself concerned for our not buying some tallow of her (which she bought on purpose yesterday most unadvisedly to her great losse upon confidence of putting it off to us). So hard it is for a man not to be warped against his duty and master's interest that receives any bribe or present, though not as a bribe, from any body else. But she must be contented, and I to do her a good turn when I can without wrong to the King's service...."

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Sam would enjoy reading of how his old Alma mater be the most famous in London in "Stow's 'Survey of London' " page 118/120

Grumpy  •  Link

What exactly is the point of Robert Gertz posting this meaningless dross?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sorry, I shouldn't get into this with someone not willing to id themselves as a regular but this will be my one standard answer.

I enjoy doing these pieces and fitting bits from the Diary or Sam's life into them...They're done with great affection for Sam and Bess as a light alternative to heavier topics and most folks are kind enough to indulge me on them or skip over. I've picked a quiet Diary period to do this longer one but should this prove too annoying to most I will finish elsewhere. This one...

A. Hamilton  •  Link

having gained this day in the office

I seem to recall mention that one of Sam's oaths was to avoid extravagances like accumulating more books. If so, it has proved to be a flexible rule. First he buys books, such as Rushworth, on the king's account. Then he uses the reimbursement to buy books on his own account. But he remains virtuous by avoiding the things he'd rather read and buying ones he doesn't quite get. (Who today reads Hudibras except for the meter so well imitated by John Barth in "The Sotweed Factor"?)

In regard to Grumpy: There's a Bah! Humbug! for ye.

Ruben  •  Link

Grumpy: bad-tempered,sulky, (Oxford University Press, 2004).
Not wonder you use a mask.

Bob T  •  Link

For Grumpy
Just do like most of the readers on this site, and pass over some of the annotations. It does not take long to learn who's are worth reading and who's are not. There's no need to hurt someone's feelings.

djc  •  Link

"avoiding the things he'd rather read and buying ones he doesn't quite get."

as Pepys puts it:
"all of good use or serious pleasure"

jeannine  •  Link

From Antonia Fraser's "The Weaker Vessel' (slight spoilers)
From her chapter entitled "The Delight of Business" which starts off with this interesting quote:

"Business is her sole delight in this world....It is a charity to keep her in full employment." As quoted from Mrs. Constance Pley to Samuel Pepys, Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1666

"Pepys, as Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board, involved with the provisioning and equipping of the Fleet, came into contact with more than one 'she-merchant' in the course of his official duties, with pleasanter consequences. Mrs. Elizabeth Russell had been the wife of a respected ship's chandler named Robert Russell. After his death in 1663, the widow took on the business-including the practice of sweetening those able to put business her way. She sent Mrs. Pepys a fine St George in alabaster, which the latter placed in her bedroom; Pepys himself received a case of knives with agate hafts, which he described as 'very pretty'.

Far from showing any prejudice against the female in such role, Pepys seems to have been both impressed and pleased by the phenomenon. Sarah Bland was the wife of a provision merchant named John Bland to whom Pepys went in December 1662 (diary links below) in order to discuss supplies for Tangier, a newly acquired possession, part of the dowry of Queen Catherine. After the official business was over, Pepys stayed on to eat a dish of anchovies, and drink wine and cider; 'very merrily'. He commented, 'but above all, pleased to hear Mrs Bland talk like a merchant in her husband's business very well; and it seems she doth understand it and perform a great deal'. Two years later he was once again 'fain to admire the knowledge and experience of Mrs Bland, who I think as good a merchant as her husband" (p 380-381).……

Rob van Hugte  •  Link

Keep up the good work Robert, you have enlightened a lot of my altogether tedious lunch breaks.

Gerry  •  Link

I'd like to add a word of support for Robert too.If you don't like it,don't read it!

Pedro  •  Link

What would this site be without a bit of humour (humor)?

But Lord to click on Robert Gertz and behold a vampire is the most strange thing I have seen in all my life.

Glyn  •  Link

Bad choice Mr Pepys - I hope that later on you do buy a copy of John Stow's "A Survey of London" (which everyone else can buy as a paperback via Amazon - which is what I did).

It provides a street by street survey of the City of London and Westminster and is invaluable for dipping in and out of to get an authentic look at London before the Great Fire - all subsequent histories of London have used it as a primary source and it's still quite understandable (mostly).

Glyn  •  Link

I was a little surprised that the plays of Shakespeare, Jonson and Beaumont are freely on sale, because I would have thought that they would have been considered old-fashioned but as it's been only three years since the plays re-opened I suppose that the contemporary playwrights haven't written a large number of plays yet. I wonder if this trio were considered the best of their time or if it was just what the bookseller had decided to print and sell.

Glyn  •  Link

"a rare play to be acted this week of Sir William Davenant."

Is that 'rare' in our sense of being very uncommon, or 'rare' in the sense of being 'unusually good'? As I recall earlier comments, the famous painting of Pepys has him holding some music set to lyrics by Davenant; and that Davenant claimed to be Shakespeare's bastard son and popularised his plays.

Glyn  •  Link

And finally.

Would anyone here, possibly, like to write a play for BBC Radio?…

They're looking for ideas, and I've always thought that this episode in Pepys life from after the Diary in 1693 when, aged 60, he was held up and robbed by a Highwayman would be a good choice:…

Terry F  •  Link

More kudos for Robert Gertz' backstories!

Glyn - Why was Pepys riding to Chelsey?
Was his being robbed an appropriate comeuppance?

Gay F. Gertz  •  Link

It's worse when his colleagues do it Pedro. But then they start offering suggestions to the next Slayer story.

Lets tell them your best/worst yet, honey.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Dear Grumpy: Martial doth say in an Epigrammata I, 91, Cum tua non edas, carpis mea carmina, Frematum[Laeli]. Carpere vel noli nostra vel ede tua.
You Publish no annos yet ye carp at RG's [{&} mine] , publish or ....'
If thee want pure unadulterated "Peps Bismo" then read the Official version at the club of Pepsonians.
'Tis the beauty of this site, that be those with academic views and explanations , then there are those with Hoisian poloisian from the rookeries of Salisbury court, lacking the official blessings cum pellis ovis of the betters. 'Tis always nice to see all sides {3} of the coin, not like looking at the moon , just one.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I deeply appreciate the support but I'm sure all would like to return to the fuming Sam who wants to remind us this is His diary, dammit.

As for the truly bad idea... Real fast


A nervous Sam enters the theater where the waiting Bess, entertained by the actor/manager/producer Thomas Betterton eyes him coldly. He waves her away, she reluctantly follows.


"You're late. Been seeing Mrs. Lane again? Or that Bagwell?"

"Bess, why did you have to translate my shorthand?" Sam sighs. "But we've no time for this now, darling. I'm in real trouble. Sir George has fled for France and..."

Fled? Carteret?

"Pepys." Betterton beaming... "Your dear wife here has just rescued me from a minor financial disaster. She says I have you to thank for her arithmetique skills."


"Oh, I just ran over the House books and found Mr. Betterton could declare his last play a flop and keep the last ten pounds which was overbacked." she shrugs.

"Isn't it hilarious, Pepys? Your wife has determined I could make more money with a disasterous flop than a steady hit." a chuckling Betterton leaves a Sam suddenly seeing a life-preservor...Well, a bundle of reeds in this era...Tossed his way.

"Bess? Is that true? And could it be done quickly?"

"It would have to be. The play would have to fold on opening night. I've done the numbers, why?"

"Carteret fled with 200,000Ls of the Navy's funds and stuck me with the tab. Damn, I knew I shouldn't have become so prominent in the office. My name is on everything and I am completely innocent."

A cool stare from Bess...

"Ok, 50% innocent. It's not fair! I've sacrificed for the King diligently but if I don't cough up 200,000Ls by next Monday, it's the Tower."

"Good for me. No more entries about your lady friends."

"Bess, we'll lose it all, including my job. Balty's job. Our only hope are your fancy fingers on the arithmetique."


"Step one: We find the worst play ever written. And I have it, here. I just bought it at my booksellers'."

"Hmmn... 'A Midsummer's Night's Second Dream' by Judith Shakespeare. What?"

"His daughter. The original by Dad was the silliest, most insipid thing I'd ever thought to see or read until this. It's sure-fire disaster, Bess! Now, step two: We find the worst director in England and hire him or her."

"Why not you?"

"I'll be busy writing the music. We're compounding the horror by making this a musical play. Step three: We hire the worst actors in England or Europe to perform."

"You seem to have thought this out."

"It was Chapter 70 in Hugh Aubry's book. Though he was talking about running a kingdom into the ground. Step four: we raise 400,000Ls."

"I thought..."

"What are we gonna live in France on nothing?"

"How do we raise..."


"Remember my Uncle Wight...?"

"Sam! You wouldn't ask me to..."

"Just to make a few promises if he and all the other Uncle Wights out there, including Lord Sandwich, agree to back us...And I'll do my valiant share as well with the distaff side."


"I oughta get my hot tongs!!

"Later. Step five: We open at the Duke's and the King's House. Step six: We close at both on opening night. Step seven: We return the missing funds, I take early retirement and we're off to gay Parie with 200,000Ls!!"

"It's insane!"

"It's this or the Tower for me and dire poverty for you. Oh, Bess don't you want to go into business with me at last. Working together, side by side where you can keep an eye on me always? And it's show business! You'll assistant...Producer, Bess!"

Just a bad idea... Back to the Pepysian Carol tomorrow. And thanks again, though I understand 'Grumpy''s opinion.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

"The Michaelmas-Day Robbery,
or, Pepys and the Perps" ...

It was in character for Sam to have some "mathematical instruments" about him when he was robbed, wasn't it? Do you suppose the "particular instrument" that was of "great use" to him was none other than the recently acquired slide rule?

Bradford  •  Link

We all know about the Old Style / New Style calendar. But "the shortest day in the year" is that which has the fewest days of sunlight; in fact, it is a brace of days---the Old Farmers' Almanac" will tell you that Dec. 21-23, in the Southern US, will have 9h 54m of sunlight (assuming a cloudless sky), the least of all 2006, as the winter solstice commences on the 21st. That has nothing to do with the date of day on any calendar. What was the editor thinking?

Miriam  •  Link

Grumpy, beware! The Prophetess can ID you.

Terry F  •  Link

The editor, SP, says today is "the shortest day in the year" = that on which he can get the least done; he has no benefit of the "Old Farmers' Almanac". but goes with what the conventional wisdom was/is.

jeannine  •  Link

"the story of Henry the Eighth with all his wives".. and how do we remember those wives, via a little jingle of course

divorced, beheaded, died,
divorced, beheaded, survived!

Catherine of Aragon
Anne Boleyn
Jane Seymour
Anne of Cleeves
Kathryn Howard
Ketherine Parr…

Perhaps Catherine of Braganza was very lucky that Frances Stuart wasn't an "Anne Boleyn" and Charles II wasn't a Henry VIII or perhaps she wouldn't have survived her recent illness!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

What exactly is the point ... ?

Grumpy, "Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen."

language hat  •  Link

"I hope it is about his daughter."

Can anyone explain this?

"a woman ... running a business and not getting the same appreciation"

I agree with Robert Gertz: I didn't get that impression at all, but rather that Sam appreciated her and would have liked to buy from her but thought it would be disadvantageous to the King (whether because the product or the terms were poor). It seems to me he would have treated a man the same way. It's only "off to the Pub and negotiate a deal" if he thinks it's a deal worth making.

Glyn  •  Link

Perhaps Mr Wheatly is looking for him to discuss marrying his daughter to him - pure guess from me, but it's a recurrent topic in the Diary.

Distribution of Mrs Wheatly's coals - I take this to be a charitable distribution of fuel to the poor. The fact that Tom is being made responsible for it, is a sign that he is in good standing in the neighbourhood.

dickens  •  Link

Additional warm thanks from this quarter to Robert Gertz for his delightfully whimsical creations. Am really looking forward to the remaining staves. Plus, this playful reworking of a favorite story seems to touch on real facets of Sam's character.

SPOILER: Having just finished Ollard's biography, which seems primarily political in focus, I came away much distressed at the cold self-centeredness of the man therein described -- Elizabeth is a bit player whose death is only a half-dozen-line interruption in Sam's progress toward triumph over political opponents.

The commentaries on this site, especially including Robert Gertz' dramatizations, have created a much richer, deeper, more complex, and warmer character and world. Interesting question, the relationship of "our" Sam and his world to their historical models. I don't care to spend a minute more with Ollard's man, but ours continues to fascinate. Need to check out Tomalin's version.

Cromwell will always henceforth lurk just behind Marley's face in the door knocker.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

"...I found him taking order for the distribution of Mrs. Ramsey's coals, a thing my father for many years did, and now he after him, which I was glad to see, ..." Coal was purchased in bulk, and then as now, most could not afford to buy a six month supply at time unlike rich Sam .
Some could only afford a scuttle at a time or even a lump or two, Mrs Ramsey appears to retail coal, and Sam is pleased that his brother deals with Mrs Ramsey rather than someone cheaper. Loyalty was a commodity prized over the price, keeping the coin of the realm circulating in the community.

Terry F  •  Link

Mrs. Russell as an instance of "The Independent Businesswoman" - *The Making of the English Middle Class: Business, Society and Family Life in London, 1660-1730* by Peter Earle, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS, 1999. Chap. 6, Part iii.…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I found [Tom] taking order for the distribution of Mrs. Ramsey’s coals, a thing my father for many years did, and now he after him, which I was glad to see"

Mrs Ramsey was a parishioner of St Brides, Fleet St, who had left a the sum of 6s. a year for 30 years to be spent on seacoals [coal that washes up on the seashore] for distribution to poor housekeepers of the parish by two feoffees [trustees] of whom John Pepys had been for some time the sole survivor.
(Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Calling at Wotton’, he tells me that Sir H. Wright is dying"

Sandwich's brother-in-law; he had made his will on 24 October, and died on 5 February 1664. (L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a rare play to be acted this week of Sir William Davenant’s: the story of Henry the Eighth with all his wives"

Davenant now revived Shakespeare's Henry VIII at the Lincoln's Inn Fields. There is no evidence of Davenant having altered this history play. It was first acted in 1613 and published in 1623. Downes (p.24) describes the revival as a great success and records that Betterton played the part of Henry VIII, 'he being instructed in it by Sir William (Davenant) , who had had it from Old Mr Lowen, that had his Instructions from Mr Shakespeare himself....' Harris appeared as Wolsey, Mrs Betterton as Queen Katherine. (L&M footnote)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Some of the books listed above are available free of charge through This evening I found this post:

Dear Internet Archive Patrons,
We need your help to make sure the Internet Archive lasts forever. On November 9, 2016 we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. This is a firm reminder that the Internet Archive must also design for change. So we set a new goal: to create a copy of our collections in the Internet Archive of Canada. This will cost millions. For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons when government surveillance may be on the rise. The Internet Archive is a non-profit library built on trust. Reader privacy is very important to us, so we don’t accept ads. We don’t collect your personal information. But we still need to pay for servers, staff and rent. If everyone reading this gave $50, we could end our fundraiser right now. If you find us useful, please give what you can today. Thank you.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Tallow ... worthy as any tacky weevil infested cheese." Pull the other leg,
cumgranosalis. Weevils like wheat, pasta and rice, but not cheese!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Up, pretty well, the weather being become pretty warm again, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and I confess having received so lately a token from Mrs. Russell, ..."

Apart from feeling bad about leaving Mrs. Russell holding a large load of tallow, Pepys must have felt happy today. He spends hours in the afternoon at the bookstore spending the King's reimbursement on books for his own library apparently guilt-free, he has a drink at lunchtime with Elizabeth to celebrate the shortest day of the year (which it wasn't) and never mentions his vows, he visits his brother and the shoemaker to discuss personal things and the theater, and goes home after dark. Not a word about Sandwich, even when learning his brother-in-law is dying. Pretty warm weather after rain, ice and snow has an amazing effect.

MarkS  •  Link

Just to clear up this issue about the shortest day of the year:

The winter solstice in 1663 was on Dec 21 according to our calendar (Gregorian + plus minor adjustments), but according to the Julian calendar which was in use in England at that time, the solstice was on December 11 at 6:03pm.


So Pepys was one day out, but the shortest day was usually on the 10th or 11th of December, and he may just be assuming it was the 10th, without looking at astronomical tables.

StanB  •  Link

I'm sure our former annotators (Apart from Terry F) as far as i can see are no longer contributing to the Diary 2016 if they are i apologise.
I would just like to comment on the "Grumpy" Post regarding Robert G's fanciful unique and often very colourful posts. They are not for me, but that said i think i can speak for our former annotators with some certainty in saying that they did enjoy them,
And has was suggested by a previous annotator if you don't like em don't read em!! and even though they are "not for me"I felt they added to the page if that was/is your bag and were very cleverly written. Perhaps Terry F or Phil G could pass on to Robert G that 10 years on his unique posts are still evoking conversation, and to Grumpy if your still out there i say Merry Xmas and bah Humbug !!!!!

Bill  •  Link

StanB, Robert G is publicly available on Twitter and Facebook. And, as I posted a while back, still writes Pepys' alt-diary!

Artemis  •  Link

I really enjoy reading the diary, and thank you all annotators past and present - they have explained so much I didn't understand when I read the diary previously by myself.

And I do like Robert G's Pepys fiction as well!

StanB  •  Link

Cheers Bill thanks for that

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . Mr. Wheatly begins to look after him . . ‘

From the context this means ‘to vet him as a possible husband’; this would mean in particular to try to find out his net worth, debtors - minus creditors, a hard task in a business world that ran on giving and taking extended credit but essential to gauge the chances of a business thriving or failing.

‘Looking after’ has had in the past a range of meanings, all now obsolete, in addition to the one we use today but not this . Instead I found these:

‘ . . 2. b. To require, demand (a quality or attribute).
. . 1822 S. T. Coleridge Lett., Conversat., & Recoll. (1836) II. 98 Those marks which too frequently are overlooked,..but which ought to be looked for and looked after, by every woman who has ever reflected on the words ‘my future Husband’.

‘ . . 3. b. To have as one's business or concern; to give consideration to; to manage, administer.
. .1701 W. Wotton Hist. Rome i. 430 He could not look after his Sons' Education.

‘ . . 5. 5. intr. To watch closely, keep an eye on. Now rare.
. . 1672 C. Manners in 12th Rep. Royal Comm. Hist. MSS (1890) App. v. 25 Our Navy puts out again to sea..and wee shall then looke after the Holland Indian fleete . . ‘ .


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