Sunday 15 May 1664

(Lord’s day). Rose, and as I had intended without reference to this pain, took physique, and it wrought well with me, my wife lying from me to-night, the first time she did in the same house ever since we were married, I think (unless while my father was in town, that he lay with me). She took physique also to-day, and both of our physiques wrought well, so we passed our time to-day, our physique having done working, with some pleasure talking, but I was not well, for I could make no water yet, but a drop or two with great pain, nor break any wind.

In the evening came Mr. Vernatty to see me and discourse about my Lord Peterborough’s business, and also my uncle Wight and Norbury, but I took no notice nor showed any different countenance to my uncle Wight, or he to me, for all that he carried himself so basely to my wife the last week, but will take time to make my use of it. So, being exceeding hot, to bed, and slept well.

20 Annotations

First Reading

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"but will take time to make my use of it"

Ah ... so now we have a reason for Sam's muted reaction. Now he has the advantage of his rich uncle, and is waiting for the Wight time to use it.

BTW, sounds like a lovely domestic scene all day long, doesn't it?

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

The night time
Is the Wight time

Take it away Todd

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Ah! now we Know, they share the same pallias, not be royalty yet, i.e. separate rooms, exception be when only a Master bed and a futon,available and Dad must have the eider one, but why this time, imaginations be at full blast.

"... my wife lying from me to-night, the first time she did in the same house ever since we were married, I think (unless while my father was in town, that he lay with me)...."

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

"... but will take time to make my use of it...." T Paine quote :

Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.

The greatest remedy for anger is delay.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Somewhat hard on the maids I imagine, both members family Pepys undergoing physique... "Bessie? Pot!!"


Poor Unc, not stirring even a drop of "deadly jealousy"...Leopold Bloom could not display more equanimity.

"Assassination, never, as two wrongs did not make one right. Duel by combat, no...Hushmoney by moral influence..."

Hmmn...Sam in Heaven thoughtfully eyes his copy of "Ulysses".

Well, rather too late now...

"What, are you reading Mr. Joyce again?" Bess asks. "Is the book really that good?"

"Oh, yes. Well...The...Uh...Hamlet discussion in the library fascinates me."


Patricia  •  Link

With Sam tossing and turning, "crying and roaring", it's no wonder to me that Bess spent the night in a different bed. Probably she was hoping to get some sleep; or else felt that her "those" would be even worse in a bed which must have been rocking.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Coventry in haste striding into the office...All grim urgency of war on his anxious face.

Looking round, waving vital papers...

"But...Where is Pepys?"

"Home, sir." Hewer. "On the pot, sir."


"Physique, sir."

"Home with Physique? In wartime? These dispatches are critical..."

"Time and...Tide, Mr. Coventry." Sir John notes... "But, I shall be happy to assist..."

"Ummn...On second thought, perhaps they can wait. Many thanks, Sir John."

Terry F  •  Link

A doubly re-laxing day -- down to the basement he went and "danced [his] dance" (so another diarist, of himself, in "The Secret Diary William Byrd of Westover, 1709-1712") ; he, on his way up, passes her as she descends to the basement where is what the Good Book called "a summer parlour" (Judges 3:20, KJV)…

Do we presume Elizabeth was purging because (a) she hadn't done it for a while, and it was believed cleansing the innards from time to time was good to do (?); and (b) it offered marital sociability aspect on a day that the shops are closed.

cape henry  •  Link

Sam's cold-bloodedness in relation to Uncle Wight is both grim and stark.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...the first time she did in the same house ever since we were married..."

Suggesting she's put up at night with his previous stone sufferings, the famous flatulence episode, his chills and ague-ish times, night frets over Penn and Batten, foul temper, drunkeness, etc... And he with those..., her toothaches, foul temper, etc.

And judging by his tendency to dine with her in their room when she's ill, it's likely in spite of all they much prefer nightly togetherness. (They each have their own study so there'd be no lack of a place to head off to.)

But having a steady snuggle partner is after all one of the great comforts in a marriage...

Mary  •  Link

"cleansing the innards from time to time...."

It was not uncommon practice, even in the earlier part of the 20th century, to take a regular purge as a matter of course; thought to be a genuinely healthy measure and perhaps necessitated in part by a diet that laid less emphasis on the value of fresh fruit and vegetables or fibre.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

I think those two, Sam and Elizabeth, have had an enormous whack to the psyche with this Uncle Wight's monstrous application, and their bodies have fallen apart these few days in response. Besides, Sam was up at 3 AM two nights running, and that will have an effect. Plus he probably has a few stones that will give him grief his whole life long. I understand from previous comments that his autopsy showed stones, so he probably has stones now. His constant walking is good for him, and Elizabeth gets out a fair amount to chat with ladies who need someone to pass the time agreeably. They are a pair of tough critters, and do pretty well physically and mentally.

Jacqueline Gore  •  Link

What a grim time for Bess. Uncle Wight such a charmer and Sam severely ill, perhaps with the dreaded stone, and a bad case of those ... on top. All she needs now is to hear that Coventry wants Sam to go to sea to handle naval matters in the field for the duration of the war.

Still, she doesn't seem hurt or angry at Sam's limited response to Wight's act, if anything the Pepys' seem on very good terms, so I'd have to guess she and Sam have talked it out to satisfaction. She's probably long had an idea what Uncle was up to.

Linda  •  Link

The family that takes enemas together stays together. I'm so glad that in these modern times we aren't worrying about the same things. I think we might worry more if we didn't have antibiotics and the like. I think Pepys worried more because people died so much more quickly and often then. After thinking about that I decided he wasn't such a hypochondriac.

Pedro  •  Link

Not relavent to today but may be of interest to some readers

Coming tomorrow on the 17th May our time, concerning Darwin...

Nearly 5,000 pieces of correspondence will be fully searchable when the site launches on Thursday 17 May.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

until death, do us part:
90 years later life was still a matter of chance; 60 percent of Londoners would die before the age of ten. It was estimated that there be 1 prostitute for every dozen men.

From 1758 Bill of Mortality London:
Christened: 14,209; Buried: 17,576; under 2yrs : 5,971: 2 to 5; 1,795; 5 to 10: 717; 10 to 20: 556; 20 to 30 : 1,362; 30 to 40 1,589: ....
Of convulsion: 4,417 Consuption: 3,411; Fever, Malignant fever, Scarlet, and Purples: 2,472; Small pox 1,273.
lifted from Thomas Paine, Enlightmnet Craig Nelson: p24

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Uncle's limits...

It's interesting to speculate why Uncle Wight, a successful tradesman, hasn't been pressing Sam for a share in the naval provisioning business...Or if he has, why Sam has been reticient about mentioning it. The somewhat shady l'affair Maes suggests Unc does more than sell fish...I've been suspicious that he might have a finger or two or three in the smuggling game. Certainly a Wight who doesn't scruple to come to Sam for an assist for good ole Iuduco shouldn't hesitate to pump for Wight Fish, Inc as the Navy's sole supplier of choice dried and salted cod. I should think a clever operator would want to take such advantage of his rising nephew's connections...Yet we get little hint of it, not even the negative of nervous or angry refusal of aid by Sam, apart from his help in Maes' matter. Perhaps he's too small a fish? (sorry)...The danger of promoting such a close family tie too great for Sam?...Sam too disinterested a public servant to contemplate such?...(stop laughing)

Terry F  •  Link

"cleansing the innards from time to time"

"For reasons which I think are well known the population of seventeenth-century England was far less healthy than that of England today; malaria of course was endemic, people suffered more or less regularly from fly- and water-borne diseases, they endured torments of toothache, rheumatism, bronchial infections, gout and the consequences of dietary rashness. They suffered too from the teachings of an ancient theory that the body is a machine in unstable equilibrium that requires constant tinkering to be kept in balance. Only the very greatest could employ daily professional attendance. Others dosed themselves." A. R. Hall, "English Medicine in the Royal Society's Correspondence: 1660-1677," Med Hist. 1971 April; 15(2): 112.…

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"It's interesting to speculate why Uncle Wight, a successful tradesman, hasn't been pressing Sam for a share in the naval provisioning business."

Fish would probably be purchased by the Victualling Office, East Smithfield, which was located a little northeast of the Tower of London. It was a short (about 500m) walk from the Navy Office complex (and the Pepys' home) on Seething Lane. Pepys was appointed Surveyor-General of Victualling in November 1665, and if Uncle Wight is still around then, this question will undoubtedly have to be addressed.

RSGII  •  Link

Re Uncle Wight provisioning ships. Sailors on warships don't usually eat fish. Provisions listed for the British ship Bellona 74 guns in 1760
listed as provisions for 650 men for four months.

Beef 5200 pieces 20800 lbs
Pork 9620 pieces 19240 lbs
Beer 236 butts 29736 US gallons
Water 339 butts 30 puncheons 60 hogsheads 49018 US gallons
Bread 650 bags 72800 lbs
Butter 3900 lbs
Cheese 14160 lbs
Oatmeal 19008 lbs
Peas 20800 lbs
Flour 15590 lbs
Suet 2600 lbs
Vinegar 709 US gallons

Hadn't changed 200 years later when I served in the US Navy- better be meat and potaoes for the crew if you didn't want a riot.

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