Monday 31 October 1664

Very busy all the morning, at noon Creed to me and dined with me, and then he and I to White Hall, there to a Committee of Tangier, where it is worth remembering when Mr. Coventry proposed the retrenching some of the charge of the horse, the first word asked by the Duke of Albemarle was, “Let us see who commands them,” there being three troops. One of them he calls to mind was by Sir Toby Bridges. “Oh!” says he, “there is a very good man. If you must reform1 two of them, be sure let him command the troop that is left.”

Thence home, and there came presently to me Mr. Young and Whistler, who find that I have quite overcome them in their business of flags, and now they come to intreat my favour, but I will be even with them.

So late to my office and there till past one in the morning making up my month’s accounts, and find that my expense this month in clothes has kept me from laying up anything; but I am no worse, but a little better than I was, which is 1205l., a great sum, the Lord be praised for it!

So home to bed, with my mind full of content therein, and vexed for my being so angry in bad words to my wife to-night, she not giving me a good account of her layings out to my mind to-night.

This day I hear young Mr. Stanly, a brave young [gentleman], that went out with young Jermin, with Prince Rupert, is already dead of the small-pox, at Portsmouth.

All preparations against the Dutch; and the Duke of Yorke fitting himself with all speed, to go to the fleete which is hastening for him; being now resolved to go in the Charles.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"I will be even with them"

OED lists at least three different definitions of "even" that might apply here. I don't know which one Sam intended.

†4. Of a path: Straight, direct. Of movements or speech: Direct, straightforward. Of a visible object: Directly in front. Obs.
c1200 Ormin 9214 Þær shulenn beon+effne & smeþe weŠŠess. c1325 Metr. Hom. 48, I bid you mac the gates euin To Crist. c1470 Harding Chron. lxii. v, Constantyne sawe a crosse+full euine. 1594 Hooker Eccl. Pol. i. viii. (1611) 17 As the straight way is most acceptable to him that trauaileth+so in action that which doth lye the euenest betweene vs and the end we desire. 1599 Shakes. Hen. V, iv. viii. 114 In plaine shock, and euen play of Battaile. 1602 I Ham. ii. ii. 298 Be euen and direct with me, whether you were sent for or no.

10. a. Of accounts, affairs, a reckoning: Having no balance or debt on either side; ‘square.’
1551 T. Wilson Logike (1567) 2b, Arithmetik by nomber can make Reckenynges to be euen. 1596 Harington Metam. Ajax Pref. (1814) 14 For a man to make even his reckonings. 1605 Bp. Hall Medit. & Vows B. 2 §4 It hath beene an olde and true Proverbe, Oft and even reckoninges make long friends. 1712 Arbuthnot John Bull (1755) 14 How is it possible for a man of business to keep his affairs even in the world at this rate? a1716 South (J.), Even reckoning makes lasting friends.

b. to be even: to be square or quits; to have settled accounts. †to make even: to square accounts. †to make even for: to compensate for.
1511 Plumpton Corr. p. cxviii, Memor. That Sir Robert Plompton+is even for every thing to this present day of August. 1594 R. Haydocke tr. Lomazzo To Rdr., I haue bettered mine, or at the least made even for such other imperfections, as can hardly escape the best translators. 1618 Bolton Florus iv. ix. (1636) 308 By the slaughter of Pacorus, wee were even for Crassus overthrow. 1622 S. Ward Christ All in All (1627) 36 When he had distributed all he had to the poore, and made euen with his reuenues, etc. 1637 Rutherford Lett. No. 113 (1862) i. 283, I know that Christ and I shall never be Even: I shall die in His debt. 1661 Pepys Diary 25 June, I made even with my father and the two drapers for the cloths I sent to sea lately. 1780 Johnson Let. to Mrs. Thrale 21 June, I wish I had been with you to see the Isle of Wight; but I shall perhaps go some time without you, and then we shall be even.

c. to be even (†evens) with: to be quits with; to have one's revenge upon.
14+ Merch. & Son in Halliw. Nugæ Poet. 32 My fadur ys evyn wyth all the worlde. 1589 Hay any Work Aijb, Ile be euen with them to. 1626 Buck. Imp. (1889) 63 Wherre uppon hee vowed to bee even with our Inglish. 1655–60 Stanley Hist. Philos. (1701) 111/1, I will be even with you for this scorn. a1719 Addison (J.), The publick is always even with an author who has not a just deference for them. 1752 A. Breck Stewart in Scots Mag. July (1753) 339/1 He would be evens with him. 1794 Mrs. Radcliffe Myst. Udolpho xxvii, I was determined to be even with Barnardine for refusing to tell me the secret. 1831 Lytton Godolph. 9 Come out, and I'll be even with you, pretty one. 1875 Jowett Plato (ed. 2) III. 264 Verily I would be even with thee, if I had the power.

Patricia  •  Link

Yesterday Samuel wore a suit that cost 17£ and today he's speaking sharply to Bess because she isn't giving a "good account of her layings out", at least not to his mind. For shame, miserly scoundrel!

cape henry  •  Link

Based on the context, PC, it looks to me like the 1st entry fits the situation if we take 'overcome' to mean 'overtaken' them in terms of the deal. Thus, he plans to be direct with them about it. And if that seems right, why didn't he do it then and there?

cgs  •  Link

'Even': here it be sent to deck: I be thinking it means that the lads 'tort' that they had the upper hand but now but they be with now with cap in hand [ lowering the buntings to a superior force] could get the same good price that was first obtained , but wily Samuell is about to lower the boom.

Mary  •  Link

Poor Bess.

Sam no doubt expects the housekeeping money to be accounted for down to the last penny. Unless Elizabeth is to keep minutely detailed accounts of every deal that she makes in the markets day by day, this is going to be very difficult for her - not least because many deals will have involved a process of chaffering and bargain-making. Stall-holders are unlikely to give out written receipts.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Yet another hint that Bess flitches tiny sums from the housekeeping money, very likely mostly for her parents...and the occasional laying up something for a necklace, etc. In the past Sam seemed to suggest he turned a blind eye to small sums, I wonder if today it was a hair larger, enough to upset him. In his defense he was upset at himself for getting so angry over a small matter.

"And this I shall never endure!! Theft, Bess. Theft of my hard-earned moneys. Moneys saved for our old age!"

"A few miserable shillings off. I keep the household and you well fed. You gave me nothing this month for to choose my own clothes. Nothing! But seventeen pounds is nothing for a suit for his Lordship Pepys!"

"For the office, Bess! And...It's my money!"


Deadly silence.


"I mean...Our money, of course...But..."

"Pardonnez-moi, sir. I should go and sleep with the other maids as is my place. Would you like to check me before I go so as to be sure I'm not stealing anything? A girl in my low position should be careful."


"Of course the maids at least get wages. And I do hear the ladies of Fleet Street are well-compensated."

"Bess, I'm..."

"Uncle Wight thought I was worth 500Ls. Apparently you think I'm not worth ten shillings."



Robert Gertz  •  Link

Poor Mr. Stanley, lost among that infinite number of brave young men and women who die for dreams. He had to go, I suppose, apparently attached to the Duke's Master of the Horse. Was he reluctant or eager? Urged to it by his wish or by friends who didn't want to lose a chance for adventure? A father who pushed his dreams on his boy? Was he just bored and a bit stupid and this seemed better than sitting home? Odd that he out of so many should have a chance to be immortal courtesy a man who, though not a coward, we can be sure will never race to don a uniform (thank God) and who will probably have forgotten him by tomorrow's entry.

cgs  •  Link

"...and vexed for my being so angry in bad words to my wife to-night, she not giving me a good account of her layings out to my mind to-night..."

Money be the root of all evil or was it the lack of it .

Still the law in some Sovereign and non-sovereign states, the wife is a possession along with other earthly goods and of course gold rules [now just a token [gold that is, the credit card]

Its mine, I earn't it, as long as that controls a persons value along with clothes that one wears or ass that one rides, then democracy be a myth along with marriage, which is a method of getting cheap labour and pleasure at same time, fortunately there be exceptions that make the rule.
Hope is a wonderful idea it keeps one in step with thy fellow man.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

and now they come to intreat my favour, but I will be even with them

Sam has found a supplier of bewpers at a lower price than offered by Batten's crony Young. I infer that Young and Whistler are asking him what they can do to fix matters so they get the contract. "I will be even with them" seems to me to mean that Sam intends to see that the contract for flags goes to his own supplier, thus cutting Young (and Batten) out of this piece of business. I'd go with meaning 10c from the OED cited above, "to be even with" meaning to have revenge or otherwise defeat.

Frank J. Artusio  •  Link

Re: Young and Whistler

While all the annotations on this point so far are possible and even logical, I think the clear meaning of this passage is that they recognize they have already been defeated in this transaction and entreat that it will not be held against them the next time. Sam is merely noting what he must have told them, which is that in searching for the best price to do good for the King, he will consider all offers to contract fairly. They are now to know that Sam will not just accept a deal they offer simply because of Batten's patronage, but must truly offer the best goods on the best terms.

language hat  •  Link

I agree with A. Hamilton -- "to be quits with; to have one’s revenge upon" seems the likeliest meaning. Sam is not a forbearing guy.

Pedro  •  Link

the first word asked by the Duke of Albemarle was, “Let us see who commands them,” there being three troops. One of them he calls to mind was by Sir Toby Bridges. “Oh!” says he, “there is a very good man. If you must reform1 two of them, be sure let him command the troop that is left.”

From PGE’s background…Per Wheatley, 1893: “Perhaps we should read Sir Thomas Bridges, who was made a K.B. at the Restoration (Kennett’s ‘Chronicle’) — B.”

But this again is probably an error.

After the death of Teviot, Sir Tobias Bridge stepped in as temporary governor of Tangier, a man who had infamous distinction of having been one of Cromwell’s major generals, and hence be favoured by Albemarle. He was a very experienced soldier and Charles II was to employ him again to raise a Barbados regiment in February 1667, with 6 companies and 800 men.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... vexed for my being so angry in bad words to my wife to-night, she not giving me a good account of her layings out to my mind to-night."

Elizabeth has been giving Pepys a hard time -- insubordinate may be the word I'm looking for; passive resistant is another way of putting it -- since she was left at the church one Sunday to take herself home and then to Uncle Wight's while he chased a pretty girl all over Tower Hill. The next day was their wedding anniversary, and she showed her displeasure by scheduling the laundry for that day, and he forgot to give her anything. This all happened after he hit her for the service at a fancy dinner not being good enough. She has been out late a couple of times, and not been "good ol' Bess" for a while. I think his upset over the accounts is just Pepys' way of calling her to heel. She's angry.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Yes, Sarah. I’ll bet she didn’t spend £17 on clothes for herself, either. I wouldn’t blame her for padding the books. Living with a man who watches every penny she spends but thinks nothing of decking himself out with expensive clothes would make any women rebel. She deserves every penny she manages fo squeeze out of the household accounts—more actually, but she probably has no chance to access any other funds. . I’ll also wager that she has no idea how much Sam spent on his new duds, nor how much he has “laid up”. Women had no right to know how much their husbands earned or anything about how he handled “his” money. I know for a fact that this attitude went on all the way through the 20th century in some families. Maybe it still happens today, in England, especially.

Matt Newton  •  Link

Re being vex on the Bess/ money issues, at first I read this as Sam being vexed with himself at chiding her.
Am i wrong?

Louise Hudson  •  Link

He might have been, but I doubt he would have told her that. I think it’s more likely that he was feeling as if he spent too much on his clothes, so started worrying about money, and who better to take it out on than handy Bess and her “wasteful” ways with the household accounts.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I agree Matt -- he was upset, the excuse being her bookkeeping, but he knows he went too far -- again. I wonder if the war stress will cause him to "blow up". He has to be nice to all the old guys in the office and the sycophant courtiers. Bess is an easy target.

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