Thursday 22 September 1664

Up and at the office all the morning. To the ‘Change at noon, and among other things discoursed with Sir William Warren what I might do to get a little money by carrying of deales to Tangier, and told him the opportunity I have there of doing it, and he did give me some advice, though not so good as he would have done at any other time of the year, but such as I hope to make good use of, and get a little money by.

So to Sir G. Carteret’s to dinner, and he and I and Captain Cocke all alone, and good discourse, and thence to a Committee of Tangier at White Hall, and so home, where I found my wife not well, and she tells me she thinks she is with child, but I neither believe nor desire it. But God’s will be done!

So to my office late, and home to supper and to bed; having got a strange cold in my head, by flinging off my hat at dinner, and sitting with the wind in my neck.1


31 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Cicero...Utterly off topic but I'll be forever haunted by that beautiful final image of David Bamber's performance as Cicero in "Rome"S2 looking up at the hawk circling round to gather himself before he submits to execution. Historically accurate, no, but it fits the man.

***

Children have apparently shifted to the "useless expenses" side of the Pepys ledger. To be fair Sam may be gathering himself up for an expected disappointment, though the experience of poor Elizabeth "Taylor" Pepys doesn't suggest it.

Poor Bess, it must have been a little crushing to her to see Sam so biase about it. On the other hand, at least he isn't desparately demanding an heir and eyeing replacement breeders ala Napoleon and his "marrying a womb".

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"he did give me some advice, though not so good as he would have done at any other time of the year"

Really? I wonder what it is about September that would degrade the quality of Sir William's advice?

cape henry  •  Link

"...though not so good as he would have done at any other time of the year.." You asked the same question I did, TB, and the only thing I could come up with was that perhaps it is a fallow period and there just wasn't much information to exchange. Not sure why that would be, exactly, but Pepys doesn't express any misgivings here, just that he will make the best of it.

Cum grano salis  •  Link

"...what I might do to get a little money by carrying of deales to Tangier, and told him the opportunity I have there of doing it..."
'I might make a good deal of money by having a slice of batten from the left overs of ripping up a finish log and having it sent to house the Garrison troops .'

jeannine  •  Link

"she tells me she thinks she is with child, but I neither believe nor desire it."

A lot can change in 2 months! Sam has gone from seeking advice about how to have children to not wanting them?

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/07/26/

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...she tells me she thinks she is with child, but I neither believe nor desire it. But God's will be done!..."

I was totally gobsmacked by this. How Sam has changed. He actually begins the diary with those amazing words (amazing that is to begin a diary with) about thinking his wife is pregnant as she hasn't had a period for 3 months. And now this - and as Jeannine points out - he was interested recently in seeking advice on how best to engender children. I wonder if it is just "useless expenses"as RG sees it? Most strange. But shows us why he has seemed callous over his little [maybe?] neice. But how can he seem so brusque and dismissive to Elizabeth? And the pious exclamation at the conclusion of these comments seems very flip. And why doesn't he believe? Has he truly given up? This just comes as a shock after several day's with quite insightful self-assessments and now this possible total change in the household is dismissed snip-snap!

Martin  •  Link

Elizabeth could not have been far into any pregnancy, because the entry for 1 September 1664 has:-
"but my wife not being well of those she not with us; and we cut up the great cake Moorcocke lately sent us, which is very good."

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "But how can he seem so brusque and dismissive to Elizabeth?"

Well, remember, we're reading his Diary, in which he's speaking only to himself ... we don't know how he reacted to her. In fact, it's possible that Sam has been disappointed so often in their quest for a child of their own that the second statement in "I neither believe nor desire it" is simply a outcome of the first ... a defense mechanism to keep him from being disappointed yet again.

JWB  •  Link

"...except at dinner."

Mircea Eliade moment:

Jacob(pastorialist) turns into Esau(hairy hunter) at dinner. Anyone seen the movie Shane lately? Ever get the felling we're all locked in an stale algorithm?

JWB  •  Link

addendum to above:

...in which spelling & grammer not respected?

language hat  •  Link

"he says that in his younger days he never kept his hat on before those older than himself, except at dinner."

Huh, I had no idea people used to keep their hats on at dinner. The past is a foreign country.

"And the pious exclamation at the conclusion of these comments seems very flip."

It didn't sound flip at all to me--rather a perfectly normal response. Sam may not be the most religious person in the world, but he's a believer, and this is how believers react to future possibilities. Insha'llah.

Bradford  •  Link

"having got a strange cold in my head, by flinging off my hat at dinner, and sitting with the wind in my neck."

One takes it that these are two separate contributing factors, not that his hat somehow covered the back of his neck. And why would being seated at the dinner table---where, if one's neighbor were very close, the brim might catch the person in the ear or eye or vice-versa---make any difference?

A standard annual feature in the public prints calculates how much it will cost a couple to raise a child born in that year. One wonders what a similar calculation would have revealed in 1664?

Lurker  •  Link

To Bradford:

Biggest expense would probably be burial for it and possibly also for its mother. Sigh

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Perhaps not so much blase toward Bess' announcement as resigned to disappointment, it is hard to tell...

But it may well be that the thought he will not have to feed, clothe, and educate a child who might then either require a dowry to be provided or might go off to the world and leave the old folks on say a tight budget of 10 Ls a year?, is something of a comfort.

I wonder, is Bess making a desperate attempt to catch Sam's failing attention? He has been extremely business-oriented these past few weeks and Mercer with her musical ability seems to be sucking up a good deal of his attention at home.

Cum grano salis  •  Link

Wearing of a titfer: the custom become a etiquette problem only in recent memory of the 4 score folk.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Hats at meals

Anyone read Dorothy Richardson's novels? She invented stream of consciousness before Joyce and Woolf. Anyway, there's a long bit in one of those about ladies who do or do not wear hats at lunch - (this is around 1900, a very stultifying period for rigid social rules) and the conclusion was if you were able to wear your hat at lunch, it implied you were doing something after lunch (a matinee, a bit of light shopping) but not wearing your hat at lunch meant you had to get back to your work at a shop or an office or some such because you were a poor benighted spinster who hadn't snared a man to support her. The Edwardian man, however, when at his luncheon would have handed hat, gloves, cane and, if winter, overcoat, to the flunky at the door as men's hats did not require a looking glass, hat pins, a comb and a good five minutes to put back on. And don't forget, everyone used to wear hats - look at any old crowd photos or engravings.
Keeping your hat on in Sam's time when meeting someone meant you regarded that person as a social equal or underling. Not sure about the keeping it on at dinner though - but given the company and Sam's casual verb ("flinging") I think he would be informal at this particular dinner.
Childbirth
Remember, one in three died in childbirth all the way up to the 1820s. For example, all of Jane Austen's married brothers who fathered children lost their first wives to obstetric complications.

Bradford  •  Link

Aus. Susan is spot for recommending Richardson's 13-volume novel sequence "Pilgrimage" as full of social insights (though their meaning gets less explanation as the heroine ages), and Miriam is one of those who has to go back to work after luncheon (at one point as a dental hygienist---think of what that meant a hundred years ago). Doesn't there exist a history of Europe as told through the medium of The Hat? (So to speak.)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"In Lord Clarendon’s Essay, “On the decay of respect paid to Age,” he says that in his younger days he never kept his hat on before those older than himself, except at dinner. "

Men normally wore hats at meals. (L&M note)

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Robert Gertz: "Perhaps not so much blase toward Bess' announcement as resigned to disappointment, it is hard to tell."

That's probably what it was. Sour grapes, perhaps. I felt better thinking he was disappointed that they couldn't conceive.

Robert Harneis  •  Link

"he did give me some advice, though not so good as he would have done at any other time of the year"
I wonder if the logic of this is that timber is cut after the leaves are off the trees and the sap has stopped rising. 'Deales', which I take it are planks, would be less available and more expensive in September, immediately before the autumn when felled timber again becomes easily available.

"...she tells me she thinks she is with child, but I neither believe nor desire it. But God's will be done!..."
In the dim and distant (pre-pill) days when having children was still an issue, the world seemed to be divided into those that could hardly stop having children and those that could not have them at all. At the time I recall that, amongst our friends who did not have children, they very often said they did not want them. I tended not to believe them. Maybe I was biased.

Mary K  •  Link

Mealtime hat niceties

Not many years ago, whilst staying in a very up-market hotel, I encountered an elderly Austrian lady who always wore her hat to breakfast.

Tonyel  •  Link

"Remember, one in three died in childbirth all the way up to the 1820s"

And beyond: My grandparents' entry in the 1911 UK census includes three columns:
Total children born alive 6
Children still living 2
Children who have died 4

Brutally matter-of-fact to modern eyes but only because it was commonplace then.

Cassidy  •  Link

I believe the 1-in-3 figure for maternal deaths is a statistic that's been passed down verbally but has no real grounding in fact. According to Catherine Scholten in "Childbearing in American Society 1650-1850", fewer than 20% of women died in childbirth in 17th century Plymouth, Mass. (That's 20% total, not a 20% likelihood of dying per each child born.) Martha Ballard, a late 18th century midwife, left a meticulous diary showing that about 4% of the mothers at births she attended died, and records from the Dublin Maternal Hospital in the late 18th and early 19th century show an average 1% mortality rate.

You were much more likely to die in childbirth if you gave birth in a general hospital in the late 18th century or later, since doctors might go from dissecting a body directly to the delivery room, without washing their hands.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Half the time I have no idea what Sam is talking about when he catches cold in various parts of his body. I will add to my vows and start calling them out. To wit: "having got a strange cold in my head, by flinging off my hat at dinner..."

Very hard to parse. Does he merely mean he caught a cold? I think not. And what's with the phrase "flinging off" as opposed to just 'taking off'? Does this add to the strangeness of the malady?

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Cassidy

"You were much more likely to die in childbirth if you gave birth in a general hospital in the late 18th century or later, since doctors might go from dissecting a body directly to the delivery room, without washing their hands."

Or even going from one birth to another without washing their hands which was not unusual. It was later proven to spread puerpural fever. In those days, the only women who went to the hospital to give birth were the ones with complications, so the incidence of death would be high, especially considering there was very little a doctor could do with most complications, anyway.

I think when Sam realized there would probably not be any children he started to think of all the things that would be tragic or just inconvenient about having and raising children, plus the expense, and focused on that instead of his loss. A very human tendency.

StanB  •  Link

I agree with Todd regarding him being blasé towards Bess he's been disappointed before it's a coping/defence mechanism, always fear the worst but hope for the best
It's nice to see some new names annotating here be they lurkers or newbies welcome to the 17th century

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"he did give me some advice, though not so good as he would have done at any other time of the year"

I think it was Warren himself who suggested to Sam that this was the wrong time of year for doing deals?

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