Wednesday 6 July 1664

Up very betimes, and my wife also, and got us ready; and about eight o’clock, having got some bottles of wine and beer and neat’s tongues, we went to our barge at the Towre, where Mr. Pierce and his wife, and a kinswoman and his sister, and Mrs. Clerke and her sister and cozen were to expect us; and so set out for the Hope, all the way down playing at cards and other sports, spending our time pretty merry. Come to the Hope about one and there showed them all the ships, and had a collacion of anchovies, gammon, &c., and after an houre’s stay or more, embarked again for home; and so to cards and other sports till we came to Greenwich, and there Mrs. Clerke and my wife and I on shore to an alehouse, for them to do their business, and so to the barge again, having shown them the King’s pleasure boat; and so home to the Bridge, bringing night home with us; and it rained hard, but we got them on foot to the Beare, and there put them into a boat, and I back to my wife in the barge, and so to the Tower Wharf and home, being very well pleased today with the company, especially Mrs. Pierce, who continues her complexion as well as ever, and hath, at this day, I think, the best complexion that ever I saw on any woman, young or old, or child either, all days of my life. Also Mrs. Clerke’s kinswoman sings very prettily, but is very confident in it; Mrs. Clerke herself witty, but spoils all in being so conceited and making so great a flutter with a few fine clothes and some bad tawdry things worne with them.

But the charge of the barge lies heavy upon me, which troubles me, but it is but once, and I may make Pierce do me some courtesy as great.

Being come home, I weary to bed with sitting. The reason of Dr. Clerke’s not being here was the King’s being sicke last night and let blood, and so he durst not come away to-day.

21 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"Also Mrs. Clerke's kinswoman sings very prettily, but is very confident in it;"


4. In bad sense: Over-bold, unduly self-reliant; forward, presumptuous, impudent. Obsolescent.

1597 SHAKES. 2 Hen. IV, II. i. 121 It is not a confident brow, nor the throng of wordes, that come with such more then impudent sawcines from you, can thrust me from a leuell consideration. 1664 PEPYS Diary (1879) III. 4 Mrs. Clerke's kinswoman sings very prettily, but is very confident in it. 1688 SHADWELL Sqr. of Alsatia III. 65 Oh, she's a confident Thing. 1749 FIELDING Tom Jones IV. xii, A confident slut. 1754 RICHARDSON Grandison I. xxxvii. 267 If he should take so confident a liberty....(OED Online)

Patricia  •  Link

"bringing night home with us; " What a beautiful turn of phrase!

John M  •  Link

"and there Mrs. Clerke and my wife and I on shore to an alehouse, for them to do their business, and so to the barge again"

Is Sam telling us that Mrs Clarke and Elisabeth needed to 'spend a penny'. What other 'business' could the ladies have in an alehouse.

Terry F  •  Link

Mistresses Clarke, Pearse and Pepys do tend to hang out and tend to necessary businesses together. (If Bess has buds, Frances and Elizabeth are they, no?)

Terry F  •  Link

(Ah, Mrs. Pearse, or Pierce, as SP has it.)

jeannine  •  Link

'The King's being sicke last night and let blood"

Slight spoiler, but in his letter to his sister Minette dated July 14th (excerpt follows) the King writes of the illness that Sam records today and explains that he could not write earlier to congratulate her on having a son:

" My feaver had so newly left me, and my head was so giddy, as I could not write to you on Monday last, to tell you the extreme joy I have at your being safely brought to bedd of a sone. I assure you nothing could be more welcome to me, knowing the satisfaction it must be to you, and all your concernes shall ever be next my harte. I thanke God I am now perfectly quitte of my feavour, though my strength is not fully come to me againe, for I was twise lett blood, and in eight days eate nothing but water-grewell, and had a greate sweat, that lasted me almost two dayes and two nights. You may easily believe that all this may make me a little weake! ......

Pedro  •  Link

'The King's being sicke last night and let blood"

(tonyt on 4th July)...Apparently Charles II developed a chill through removing his wig and waistcoat owing to the heat on this visit to the fleet. On his previous visit (June 20th) he had returned with a severe headache due to the wind.

But Lord, in London 340 odd years later, in these very cool days you can see such mad doings where ladies with bare midrifts are abroard at all times of the day. This puzzles me mightily.

Pedro  •  Link

"and had a collacion of anchovies, gammon,"

Sam and Bess could not have brought home the bacon

"they ordered (the priory of Dunmow), and made their order known, that if any pair could, after a twelvemonth of matrimony, come forward and make oath at Dunmow that, during the whole time, they had never had a quarrel, never regretted their marriage, and, if again open to an engagement, would make exactly that they had made, they should be rewarded with a flitch of bacon."

...Of this, indeed, we may be said to have some evidence in the declaration of Chaucer's Wife of Bath regarding one of her many husbands:

The bacon was not fet for [t]hem, I trow,
That some men have in Essex, at Dunmow.'


A. De Araujo  •  Link

"the best complexion that ever I saw in any woman, young or old,or child either"
Mrs Pearse Anti Aging Cream,buy one and get one free.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Who would of thought constant pregnancy would be such a youth tonic? The good Dr. P appears to have the best of both worlds so long as he doesn't mind the housekeeping. And I imagine if Sam had a house full of kids he might well have to lower his standards.


Neat of Sam to provide such a great holiday...I naturally assumed he meant a trip for himself to view the Hope.


"For Heaven's sake what is taking them so long?" Sam fuming outside the alehouse.

"Anyway, Bess...What you need to do is keep your head low, relax, and just let the moment come. If your boy still has anything to him, he'll manage it." Mrs. Clerke pats Bess' arm gently.

"I wish he'll let Dr. Pierce examine his cut." Bess shakes head. "But he's always swears by Hollier...Who did save his life, but I don't think he really has all that much medical knowledge. And it could be me, I know." sadly.

"Well, we should speak to Betty to speak to James later, wish she'd come with us. Now you say you have your regular time alright each month?"

Bradford  •  Link

""the best complexion that ever I saw in any woman, young or old,or child either"---even surpassing his own Elizabeth? Or is she hors de concours?
Post-pleasure regrets recall those of the modern paterfamilias who goes on vacation, has a wonderful time to be remembered all one's days, yet can't help rueing afterwards how much was spent on gas.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

the charge of the barge lies heavy upon me

It was generous of Sam to take the surgeons (one couldn't come) and their wives, sisters cousins and aunts (a veritable G&S chorus) on the day's outing on the Thames, visiting the fleet and the king's pleasure boat.

Terry F  •  Link

"the day's outing on the Thames, visiting the fleet and the king's pleasure boat."

A perennially odd and poignant scene, it strikes me: a fleet of warships prepare to sally forth for God-knows-what possible military encounter. Their brave crews are fêted by the beauties of the Court aboard the Royal Katherine and companies of sundry citizenry aboard a collacion of other ships, boats and barges -- there to see the warriors off in style and be seen, perhaps, by the admiral, the captains, the sailors. Bunting all a-flutter; anchovies, gammon, & other delectanles and potables enjoyed; salutes exchanged. We need a band! A pity it is too early for Europeans to copy the style of the "Turkish" janissary bands then deployed by the Ottomans in the Austrian theatre. Combat at cards a fit recreation for this festive review of the armed forces off to glorious war!

Paul Dyson  •  Link

"there to see the warriors off in style "

This sort of thing is gently satirised by Gilbert and Sullivan in "Pirates of Penzance" when the Major-generals daughters bid the policemen farewell as they sally forth (reluctantly) to decisive action with the pirates:

Go, ye heroes, go to glory,
Though you die in combat gory,
Ye shall live in song and story.
Go to immortality!

Go to death, and go to slaughter;
Die, and every Cornish daughter
With her tears your grave shall water.
Go, ye heroes, go and die!

Go and do your best endeavour,
And before all links we sever,
We will say farewell for ever.
Go to glory and the grave!

For your foes are fierce and ruthless,
False, unmerciful, and truthless;
Young and tender, old and toothless,
All in vain their mercy crave.

And the Police Sergeant replies:

We observe too great a stress,
On the risks that on us press,
And of reference a lack
To our chance of coming back.
Still, perhaps it would be wise
Not to carp or criticise,
For it's very evident
These attentions are well meant

Robert Gertz  •  Link

It's not my fault. Someone had to mention G&S.

"When I was a lad I served a term as errand boy for Lord Sandwich's firm.

I did petty chores and I kept his accounts and I helped little Jem get her neck crook out.

(He helped little Jemina get her neck crook out.)

I helped so with that family that now I am near master of the King's Navy."

(He helped so with the family that now he is near master of the King's Navy.)

As errand boy I made such a mark Mr. Dowling made me a junior clerk.

I did his work with a smile bland and I worked out his ciphers in a big broad hand.

I worked up his ciphers so carefully that now I am near master of the King's Navy.

(He worked up the ciphers so carefully that now he is near master of the King's Navy.)

In serving my Lord I made such a name that the Clerk of the Acts I now became.

Bess got pretty clothes and I fine new suits to pay homage at the Court to our glorious Duke

And that homage to his Grace do so well for me that now I am near master of the King's Navy.

(And homage to his Grace do so well for he that now he is near master of the King's Navy.)

Of naval knowledge I acquired such a grip, Mr. Coventry practically took me into partnership.

And that almost partnership I ween, is the only ship's command I've ever seen.

But that kind of ship so suited me that now I am near master of the King's Navy.

(But that kind of ship so suited he that now he is near master of the King's Navy.)

Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool,
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule--

Stick close to your desks and never reveal your Diary,
And you all may be masters of the King's Navee!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Bravo! Bravo! Wild applause! WSG would have been proud of you, RG! many thanks for a lovely effort which had me singing along (NB I am alone in my office at the moment...)

Second Reading

Bridget Carrie Davis  •  Link

This was a delightful entry; I clicked on almost every link, it was all so interesting to me. Is the King's pleasure boat the one that will, SPOILER, be destroyed by the Dutch in a few years?

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.