Monday 29 August 1664

Up betimes, intending to do business at my office, by 5 o’clock, but going out met at my door Mr. Hughes come to speak with me about office business, and told me that as he came this morning from Deptford he left the King’s yarde a-fire. So I presently took a boat and down, and there found, by God’s providence, the fire out; but if there had been any wind it must have burned all our stores, which is a most dreadfull consideration.

But leaving all things well I home, and out abroad doing many errands, Mr. Creed also out, and my wife to her mother’s, and Creed and I met at my Lady Sandwich’s and there dined; but my Lady is become as handsome, I think, as ever she was; and so good and discreet a woman I know not in the world.

After dinner I to Westminster to Jervas’s a while, and so doing many errands by the way, and necessary ones, I home, and thither came the woman with her mother which our Will recommends to my wife. I like her well, and I think will please us. My wife and they agreed, and she is to come the next week. At which I am very well contented, for then I hope we shall be settled, but I must remember that, never since I was housekeeper, I ever lived so quietly, without any noise or one angry word almost, as I have done since my present mayds Besse, Jane, and Susan came and were together. Now I have taken a boy and am taking a woman, I pray God we may not be worse, but I will observe it. After being at my office a while, home to supper and to bed.

21 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

August 29/September 8

De Ruyter reaches Alicante and sends speedy orders to a Dutch merchant at Cadiz to secretly collect vinegar, oil and several thousand pounds of bread. The vinegar was wanted to purify the air on board the ships in the hot regions to which they were sailing...He had to sail to the Isle of Formantera owing to the lack of firewood.

(Life of Admiral De Ruyter by Blok)

Cum Grano Salis  •  Link

An old farmers adage: One boy that be working , mans job be done, two boys, half a mans job could be done, Three boys naught be done. So Samuel be warned.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So Hughes notes the fire and just goes off on his merry way to deal with office business at Pepys'? While Sam hurries off to assess the danger? I take it Hughes is middle-managment, then.

"Now I have taken a boy and am taking a woman, I pray God we may not be worse, but I will observe it..."

Well, if Tom sings well, stays out of serious trouble, minds his book, and can bear the occasional rod to the backside, he should do fine. As for the young lady-if she doesn't mind paranoid accusations of theft, petty jealous rages and the guilty watchfulness of a mistress who fears being caught swiping cash from the household accounts for her aged ps...And the infrequent ear box by our heroine...Not to mention the occasional attentions of our hero, should she be as pretty as we are told...She ought to get on well.

Terry F  •  Link

Robert, methinks, alas, you ask whether late-17c servants expect to be treated like late-17c servants.

Terry F  •  Link

Methinks further (not always a good thing) neither of us would have been good late-17c servants. Thanks be we don't have to bear the consequences thereof.

MissAnn  •  Link

Recruiting and retaining the "right" staff is an age old problem, still a problem today notwithstanding all our human resource systems, and just when you get the mix right someone leaves for their big European adventure, or get pregnant or married and have to move to their new spouses town (maybe the last two situations could be reversed). Even employing close relatives doesn't work, believe me I've tried that one. I've even stopped having close relatives as clients - they are the most demanding and always want you to do it for next to nothing or better.

Ruben  •  Link

Years without wars, without pestilences, without fires! (who can say if this small thing with the Dutch will develop to full war?)(decades from the last plague; I know Amsterdam has the plague but we are defended by the Channel)(todays Deptford fire cannot be counted and we can always count in our Lord Mayor, such a decisive person!).

Good for you, Samuel Pepys! Carpe Diem!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Indeed Sam should Ruben...And time will soon tell that he'll remain a man who can squeeze whatever juice remains out of life in the darkest times.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Meanwhile, in the Colonies...

"Hmmn... 'New York, New York, a heck of a town...'? That's your hymn of Thanksgiving for our victory?"

"I thought the Duke would appreciate it."

"Weeelll. Tis catchy..."

Cum Grano Salis  •  Link

Was it better to be a mayde in Samuell's Household or be in school leaning their ABC's?
Attending School 50 years latter, little girls had to to rise and be from sun up at their desk writing till breakfast, then sew goods until Dinner time, then more needle pointing till sun down, that be in Summer, in winter every other morning before thy first breaking of fast, learn to rit, then sew the rest of the time. The money earned was used to pay for the school needs including the Mistress of teaching. Still the school had to be subsidized.

Samuell's waifs be better off I dothe think, pulling on Eliza's stockings than sewing from first light until last light.
lifted from and misused.…

Cum Grano Salis  •  Link

Years without wars,
Always needed so that more births are available to provide new fodder [ lives], and memories will adjust and fill with grandeur of exploits mis-remembered, the pain be replaced with garlands.
Just a breathing space.
Just ask any octogenarian, 'tis why they egg on the wild and foolish.

Pedro  •  Link

"to provide new fodder...ask any octogenarian"

The term Cannon fodder seems to come even earlier...

In his anti-napoleonic pamphlet "De Buonaparte et des Bourbons", published in 1814, he criticized the cynical attitude towards recruits, that prevailed in the end of Napoleon's reign: "On en était venu à ce point de mépris pour la vie des hommes et pour la France, d'appeler les conscrits la matière première et la chair à canon" -- "the contempt for the lives of men and for France herself has come to the point of calling the conscripts 'the raw material' and 'the cannon fodder'."…

Australian Susan  •  Link

CGS's description of girls' charity schools is grim and accurate. Such schools began in Elizabethan times and were an improvement on living completely on the streets and inevitably going into prostitution.
One such school was the Red Maids'School in Bristol. The girls were provided with red cloaks and bonnets (thus the name) as well as all other identical clothing (this is the beginnings of school uniforms)as the girls would have had no clothing of their own. To display the benevolence of the founder, the girls were made to parade through the streets wearing their charity clothes and give thanks in a memorial service every year.One wonders what the 17thc girls would have thought of this public show of their poverty. Nowadays it is of course completely different and the school is an elitist private girls'school (I went to a neighbouring one). Irony. Here's the website page with the history: http://www.redmaids.bristol.sch.u…

Australian Susan  •  Link

More on schools: Sam is a patron of Blue Coat Schools (charitable foundations for boys) and remained concerned they got a good grounding in maths during the post Diary period. For those who are interested, here's the school I went to. It was appallingly smug and snobby and I was desperately unhappy.…

Terry F  •  Link

But, Australian Susan, like the schoolgirls of the 17th century, you survived!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Bad as the Red Maids' School must have been, one blanches at the alternative...One memorial service a year in exchange for reasonably safe room, board, and some dregs of education couldn't have been too bad. And there would always have been the day of the Patron, when some wealthy and/or powerful benefactor like Sam would show and appropriate panygerics would be read. "Oh, Mr. Pepys, thou God of Charity and Benevolence." Heck, in New Orleans the other day, schoolkids had to bear President Bush and entourage's presence in the hopes he might do something for their school and city.

Cum Grano Salis  •  Link

So whats new: then "The girls were provided with red cloaks and bonnets (thus the name) as well as all other identical clothing"

Cost of school uniforms is pricing the poorest out of state education

The costs of paying for a "FREE" [mine]
state school education are proving too high for three out of four parents, according to a survey published today.…

Second Reading

Kelvin Hard  •  Link

It will take more than a grain of salt to swallow the line taken by Cum Grano Salis. Sadly the link at the end of his item no longer works. But by definition three quarters of the population can’t all be part of “the poorest”. Sensible school uniforms cost less per wear than the clothes worn after school and at weekends. Child benefit and tax credits provide enough money to buy uniforms. Though I don’t doubt that the poorest find it hard to manage, we should be grateful for the free education and other benefits not available in Pepys’ day.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

One stockyard fire away from no war with the Dutch? What would that have changed?

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . never since I was housekeeper . . ’

‘housekeeper, n.
1. A person who owns or occupies a house or other place of residence, typically considered as having overall responsibility for the general care of the members of the household; . . = householder n. 2 (obs.).
. . 1685 in J. A. Picton City of Liverpool: Select. Munic. Rec. (1883) I. 329 None but housekeepers shall sitt in the seate on ye north side..and..none but the wives and widdows of housekeepers..'twixt the baylives wives and ye font . . ‘


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