Sunday 9 October 1664

(Lord’s day). Lay pretty long, but however up time enough with my wife to go to church. Then home to dinner, and Mr. Fuller, my Cambridge acquaintance, coming to me about what he was with me lately, to release a waterman, he told me he was to preach at Barking Church; and so I to heare him, and he preached well and neatly. Thence, it being time enough, to our owne church, and there staid wholly privately at the great doore to gaze upon a pretty lady, and from church dogged her home, whither she went to a house near Tower hill, and I think her to be one of the prettiest women I ever saw. So home, and at my office a while busy, then to my uncle Wight’s, whither it seems my wife went after sermon and there supped, but my aunt and uncle in a very ill humour one with another, but I made shift with much ado to keep them from scolding, and so after supper home and to bed without prayers, it being cold, and to-morrow washing day.

19 Annotations

First Reading

deepfatfriar  •  Link

Ah, Sam; on the Lord's day in the Lord's house, giving yourself over to a bit of Lust, perhaps? Tut, tut!

I suppose it's not a real spoiler if I mention that more egregious churchy lusts await us on November 11 two years hence, or Christmas Eve the following year, so long as I don't say what they are............

Bradford  •  Link

"staid wholly privately at the great doore to gaze upon a pretty lady, and from church dogged her home, whither she went to a house near Tower hill, and I think her to be one of the prettiest women I ever saw."

In Pepys's defense, consider the situation of a lover of human beauty in this time and place. Granted, it's London, a great metropolis where half the world passed through; but a man in an office usually sees mainly the mugs of his fellow bribe-tak---uh, office-mates. Granted, there is Elizabeth, but it is safe to say he knows the lineaments of her lovely face fairly well by now. There are no photographs, no celebrity magazines (if such is your joy) to gaze upon in private; fine portraits are privileged sights; the finest reproductions of the time, printwise, are still a long way from the living breathing flesh. So if he wants to indulge in innocent observation---he did not inconvenience, accost, or apparently give himself away to the woman he "dogged" (damning verb!)---let him, I say. Think how many times a day, or week, or month, you [underscore] see, in waking life, a truly comely countenance, and how your luck compares against Sam's. All this account lacks is the crowning phrase "in all my life."

Mary  •  Link

Just looking?

Well, no. Strictly speaking he's stalking the woman. And why should he want to know where she lives if he has not at least half a mind to 'bump into her in the street' at some point in the future?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I think it's likely Sam was facing and knew he might (with a justification even he would admit) face a possible assault should the lady's male relations/friends note his little Sunday 'excursion' and that he himself would be severe with any other male found following his own wife home. That said, annoying and crude as his behavior would have been, I don't think he was quite what we would consider a modern stalker with its implications of menace.

"When a rich man chases after dames, he's 'a man about town', yes, 'a man about town'...When a poor man chases after dames. He's a bounder, he's a rounder, he's a rotter, and a lot of filthy names!"

-Finian's Rainbow

Ruben  •  Link

1. "with my church".
2. "Mr. Fuller...was to preach at Barking Church; and so I to heare him".
3. "to our owne church...".

One Sunday morning, 3 church visits. No wonder he is getting interested in the decoration...

jeannine  •  Link

Of course he dogged her home, he'd just come from Barking Church! Now I suppose he would have galloped behind her if he'd just come from Horse's Chapel. Perhap's he would have slithered after her had he come from a sermom on the serpent....(and I am sure that my fellow pals can think of some better examples than mine!)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

One wonders what might have happened to Charlie and Jamie, let alone Sam...(Well, we know what would have happened to inmate 15777 Pepys, nickname 'Peeper') performing their antics under modern rules. At the least, it would have made for some interesting tabloids in 1660. "Kinky King Kaught! Newly Restored Charles II and brother arrested outside home of Barbara and Roger Palmer."

alanB  •  Link

It sounds as if Uncle Wight may have been (like Sam) similarly engaged today when Bess turned up resulting in the ill humour with his wife. Can Bess be that naive or is this a deliberate visit by her to upset the family applecart? She has shown her wily ways before!

Don McCahill  •  Link

Do remember that this was in the time before People Magazine and all the other publications today that provide me with access to beautiful women. Add in the lack of medical (and dental) care, so that a woman who gets the pox spends the rest of her live with pitted skin, and nose jobs just don't happen.

So I don't condemn SP for looking, or even tagging along for a longer look. (The kissing, groping and other stuff is a bit much, but again, that might be considered less rude in those times.)

Finally, we must remember that SP wrote this book for his own reference, not to boast of his conquests. It was coded in a way that he thought was unbreakable ... as it was for many years. I am sure he would have been much more diplomatic had he realized that the world would be reading it 350 years later.

Terry F  •  Link

"It was coded in a way that he thought was unbreakable"

Actually, quoting Phil's introductory note, "Pepys wrote the bulk of his diary in a shorthand devised by Thomas Shelton, with only a few words, such as names of people and places, written longhand; shorthand was more widely used by scholars in Pepys' time than it is today. It should therefore be remembered that this is not Pepys' diary as he wrote it, but a 19th century transcription which has in turn been used to create the electronic Project Gutenberg version."…

Shelton's *Tachygraphy* was very popular and would have been available at the booksellers around St. Paul's. Speed, not secrecy, seems to have been Pepys's motive.…
Transcription, however, is laborious and fallible, as Wheatley himself has shewn.

Pedro  •  Link

And on this day?

I don't think that many has cottoned on to the fact that the De Ruyter and Holmes would have passed quite close to each other without knowing. Taking the information from Man of War by Ollard, who quotes from the log of Holmes, and Life of Admiral De Ruyter by Blok, who similarly quotes from the log of De Ruyter (and correcting the Dutch dates to the English equivalent), here is a theory...

De Ruyter passed between Cape St. Vincent (37deg N Latitude) and Cape Cantin (32.5N) on the 27th of September. Let's say he started from 35N.

He reached the Senegal River on the 10th of October, being more or less Cape Verde (15N). He therefore took 13 days to travel 20 degrees of latitude, something like 1.5 degrees per day.

Holmes on the other hand left Cape Verde (15N) on the 5th October and reached Lisbon (38.5N) on the 5th November, his rate being slower than De Ruyter at 0.75 degrees per day.

As Holmes leaves Cape Verde (15N) on the 5th, De Ruyter would have been 8 days into his journey and reached 23N. For ease of calculation lets say from then on they both travelled at 1 degree per day, and on the 9th October they would have passed each other at 19N near Cape Mirik.

Many variables are left out, and only a rough calculation, but it is interesting that two main players in the coming war could have actually bumped into each other!

(Open to falsification!)

Terry F  •  Link

Pedro, nice analysis. Thanks.

Xjy  •  Link

Today Pepys would be a hero for not ogling little girls. He was more interested in the textiliar potential of their nimble little fingers than their innocent bodies. And (poor masochistic sod) he seems to have a penchant for grown women with an independent spirit and quick wits. Not a Victorian in any sense (except maybe the blindness to poverty and labour).

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my aunt and uncle in a very ill humour one with another, but I made shift with much ado to keep them from scolding"

Scolding was a grievous breach of social order, and in some places punished by use of a cucking stool or ducking stool.

Cucking stools or ducking stools were chairs formerly used for punishment of disorderly women, scolds, and dishonest tradesmen in England, Scotland, and elsewhere. The cucking-stool was a form of wyuen pine ("women's punishment") as referred to in Langland's Piers Plowman (1378). They were both instruments of public humiliation and censure primarily for the offense of scolding or back biting and less often for sexual offenses like bearing an illegitimate child or prostitution....The cucking-stool appears to have still been in use as late as the mid-18th century.…

Marquess  •  Link

Sam seems easily distracted in church and he is a bit of a stalker to boot too.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

PS, the lower end of Seething lane seems much narrower on Google Maps: it isn't, but it *is* pedestrianised, as looking on Street view will show you.

In fact, if you use Street View to navigate, you will find several perspectives of Sam's own St Olaves. Frustratingly, you can't quite see the bust of Sam in the churchyard through the gates.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . from church dogged her home . . ’

‘dog, v.1 < dog n.1… etymology unknown. No likely cognates have been identified with a meaning at all close to that of the English word, and all attempted etymological explanations are extremely speculative. A word of this phonological shape is hard to explain as a regular development from a Germanic base . .

 1. trans.  a. To follow like a dog on the heels of; to track (a person, or his or her trail, footsteps, etc.) closely and persistently . .
. . 1608   R. Tofte in tr. L. Ariosto Satyres iv. 64 (note)    Many Italians vse to dog their wiues when they goe abroad, the poore women not thinking that their husbands do watch them as they doe . . ‘


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys seems to be fairly tolerant of Elizabeth's opinions and moods. In retrospect I think today marks the beginning of Elizabeth's mostly silent rebellion against his womanizing and selfishness. Perhaps she knows how wives around the country and the colonies are treated for having opinions? For more information check out:…

Jane Brox| an excerpt adapted from "Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives"| Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Januray 2019 |

"What becometh a woman best, and first of all? Silence. What second? Silence. What third? Silence. What fourth? Silence. Yea, if a man should aske me till Domes daie I would still crie silence, silence." — Thomas Wilson, The Arte of Rhetorique, 1560

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