Wednesday 1 June 1664

Up, having lain long, going to bed very late after the ending of my accounts. Being up Mr. Hollyard came to me, and to my great sorrow, after his great assuring me that I could not possibly have the stone again, he tells me that he do verily fear that I have it again, and has brought me something to dissolve it, which do make me very much troubled, and pray to God to ease me.

He gone, I down by water to Woolwich and Deptford to look after the dispatch of the ships, all the way reading Mr. Spencer’s Book of Prodigys, which is most ingeniously writ, both for matter and style.

Home at noon, and my little girl got me my dinner, and I presently out by water and landed at Somerset stairs, and thence through Covent Garden, where I met with Mr. Southwell (Sir W. Pen’s friend), who tells me the very sad newes of my Lord Tiviott’s and nineteen more commission officers being killed at Tangier by the Moores, by an ambush of the enemy upon them, while they were surveying their lines; which is very sad, and, he says, afflicts the King much. Thence to W. Joyce’s, where by appointment I met my wife (but neither of them at home), and she and I to the King’s house, and saw “The Silent Woman;” but methought not so well done or so good a play as I formerly thought it to be, or else I am nowadays out of humour. Before the play was done, it fell such a storm of hayle, that we in the middle of the pit were fain to rise;1 and all the house in a disorder, and so my wife and I out and got into a little alehouse, and staid there an hour after the play was done before we could get a coach, which at last we did (and by chance took up Joyce Norton and Mrs. Bowles. and set them at home), and so home ourselves, and I, after a little to my office, so home to supper and to bed.

13 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Home at noon, and my little girl got me my dinner..."

Little twinge there? Though Bess' absence is planned, Sam seems to like his noonday dinner to be an occasion, the jolly high-point of the day when either he can go home to sport a bit with Bess and relish (while probably doing his best to pretend not to) the attention of devoted wife and maids, or join good and preferably, learned, company at a friendly or even exciting eating-place.

"Joyce Norton" What is it that is somehow so modern about that name?


Poor Sam... Dreadful news from the doctor he esteems. Well do many of us know the feeling...

(Spoiler ahoy...)
But we have the good fortune of knowing things will get better for our boy even if the stone will get him in the end.

"Not for some considerable time, I trust." -Dr. Phibes

Australian Susan  •  Link

"and to my great sorrow, after his great assuring me that I could not possibly have the stone again, he tells me that he do verily fear that I have it again," Poor Sam! The equivalent news nowadays would be to hear your cancer had metastisized despite all hopes I suppose - Sam would have felt equally helpless. Not surprising that he doesn't enjoy the play and he has also had the bad news from Tangier as well. And it seems he is so preoccupied with these two pieces of news, he hasn't the heart to feel annoyed or affronted that those rude Joyces are out when he and Bess call by arrangement!

DrCari  •  Link

I am currently reading "Nell Gwyn: Mistress to a King" by Charles Beauclerke (2005). Beauclerke is a direct descendant of Nell Gwyn and Charles II.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the frequent mentions of Sam Pepys in the book. Restoration era plays are well discussed and Beauclerke paints a very interesting picture of life among the actors of the Theatre particular the background of Nell and her rapid ascension to longterm royal mistress.

I take it from my book reading that Sam was mighty taken with Nell's charm and talent.

Terry F  •  Link

Peter Cunninghan surely read a Lord Braybrooke edition of Pepys's Diary…

"it fell such a storm of hayle, that...all the house in a disorder" - Samuel Pepys

"in stormy weather the house was thrown into disorder" - *The story of Nell Gwyn and and the sayings of Charles the Second* Related and collected by Peter Cunningham, F.S.A. [1816-1869], first pub. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1852. There were several later eds., including the 1892 and 1896 London eds. "With the author's latest corrections, portraits and all the original illustrations. Edited, with introduction, additional notes and a life of the author, by Henry B. Wheatley, F.S.A."…

Pedro  •  Link

"Lord Tiviott's and nineteen more commission officers being killed at Tangier by the Moores"

For details see annotations for 4th of May...…

Pedro  •  Link

Somerset stairs.

View showing the river frontage of Cuper's Gardens, with a view across the Thames to old Somerset House landing stairs. Cuper's pleasure Gardens had operated between c1690 and c1760 on the site occupied by the southern approaches to the first Waterloo Bridge, opened in 1817.…

Pedro  •  Link

As the previous Governor of Tangier Lord Peterborough had a long running saga with his accounts, a reminder of Teviot's claim...

"He is this day bringing in an account where he makes the King debtor to him 10,000l. already on the garrison of Tangier account; but yet demands not ready money to pay it, but offers such ways of paying it out of the sale of old decayed provisions as will enrich him finely."…

"where my Lord Tiviott about his accounts; which grieves me to see that his accounts being to be examined by us, there are none of the great men at the Board that in compliment will except against any thing in his accounts, and so none of the little persons dare do it: so the King is abused."…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"very sad newes of my Lord Tiviott’s and nineteen more commission officers being killed at Tangier by the Moores, by an ambush of the enemy upon them, while they were surveying their lines; which is very sad, and, he says, afflicts the King much."

The engagement had taken place on 3 May. For fuller accounts see… and… (Per L&M footnote)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

William and Mary Joyce -- William and his brother Anthony Joyce were tallow chandlers. They "were made free of the Leathersellers' by patrimony in 1654, and inherited their father's business. William seems to have prospered; in 1665 he had a house in Russell St., Covent Garden, and in the poll-tax of 1667 paid tax on three servants.

Since Pepys is walking through Covent Garden today, it is possible William and Mary already live in the Russell Street house.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


John Gadbury defined a prodigy as, ‘a thing that comes to pass beyond the altitude of man’s imagination and begets in him a miraculous contemplation, yea, often horror and amazement’.

Incidents in reports fell into categories.

The ‘celestial wonders’ involved apparitions of pitched battles, swords and balls of fire, irregular planetary occurrences, duplicate suns and moons, rainbows at night, comets, meteors and blazing stars.

Earthly wonders included freak weather, such as rain turning to blood.

Deformed births or 'monstrous' animals and children were popular, and another category covered 'strange accidents', such as sudden or painful illness and death, which were punishments from God.

Most 17th-century observers agreed on the meaning of these wonders. They were signs of divine displeasure, and warnings of imminent disaster, or, as the Parliamentarian John Vicars explained, 'most apparent prints and even visible footsteps of God's highly conceived indignation and provoked patience'.

Inevitably events of the 1640s and 1650s led to interest in prodigies. As the English sought explanations for the civil war, regicide, the overturning of cherished traditional beliefs and customs, reports of wonders proliferated, and the urge to interpret them became intense.

In Discourse Concerning Prodigies, Spencer said: "... as for the common sort of people, Prodigy hath always appeared to them a word clothed about with death, and a comet creates in them more solemn thoughts than Hell doth."

Credulity was not confined to the lower class. Between 1640 and 1662, political and religious factions used reports of wonders to justify their own beliefs, and heap condemnation on their enemies; they invested money and effort, and often subjected themselves to danger, to produce amusing diversions.Those who reported wonders may have believed in them, and relied on a high level of credulity among their readership. However, by tying wonders to partisan positions, they undermined that credulity.

The first to assault belief in prodigies and their significance as divine messages was Spencer's Discourse Concerning Prodigies.

Influenced by the uses made of wonders during the previous 25 years, Spencer commented: "Men's minds, disturbed with love or hatred (as it often falls out in religious differences), each party superstitiously interprets all accidents in favor of itself ..."

Spencer likened prodigies to 'mercenary soldiers', which 'may be easily brought to fight on either side in any case', and counselled his readers to: "... leave off ... the entailing salvation solely upon their own Party, and not to go about to hedge in the Holy Dove by appropriating the graces and influences thereof to themselves. For then they would not be so prone to believe God's judgments design no higher than the service of their sorry passions, parties and persuasions."

PS Panda  •  Link

I'm surprised to find the up-and-coming Pepys in the exposed pit, not the covered part of the house. Meanness? Or perhaps Bess and he arrived there too late to get decent seats. No wonder he didn't like the play so much as previously!

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’ . . and nineteen more commission officers being killed at Tangier . . ’

‘commission, v. < Anglo-Norman . .
. . 3.b. spec. To appoint (a person) to the rank of officer in a military force. Cf. commission n.1 1b.
1646 N. Cradock Answer Just Vindic. Gentlemen of Pembrokeshire 5 Touching a Commander in chief,..the Earl of Carbery was Commissioned accordingly . . ’


‘non-commissioned, adj. . .
1. Of a subordinate officer (esp. a sergeant) in the armed services: not holding a commission, appointed from the enlisted personnel. Cf. non-commission officer n.

1648 Die Sabbathi 8 As to the whole Arrear of any private Soldier or non-Commissioned Officer,..There shall any stop or delay made to the payment thereof . .’


‘NCO n. Mil. non-commissioned officer.
1803–10 Orderly Bks. of Manx Fencibles in Yn Lioar Manninagh (1890) I. 152 Any party, consisting of 6 men or upwards, must have a N.C.O...appointed to go with them. . . ‘


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