Monday 19 December 1664

Going to bed betimes last night we waked betimes, and from our people’s being forced to take the key to go out to light a candle, I was very angry and begun to find fault with my wife for not commanding her servants as she ought. Thereupon she giving me some cross answer I did strike her over her left eye such a blow as the poor wretch did cry out and was in great pain, but yet her spirit was such as to endeavour to bite and scratch me. But I coying —[stroking or caressing]— with her made her leave crying, and sent for butter and parsley, and friends presently one with another, and I up, vexed at my heart to think what I had done, for she was forced to lay a poultice or something to her eye all day, and is black, and the people of the house observed it.

But I was forced to rise, and up and with Sir J. Minnes to White Hall, and there we waited on the Duke. And among other things Mr. Coventry took occasion to vindicate himself before the Duke and us, being all there, about the choosing of Taylor for Harwich. Upon which the Duke did clear him, and did tell us that he did expect, that, after he had named a man, none of us shall then oppose or find fault with the man; but if we had anything to say, we ought to say it before he had chose him. Sir G. Carteret thought himself concerned, and endeavoured to clear himself: and by and by Sir W. Batten did speak, knowing himself guilty, and did confess, that being pressed by the Council he did say what he did, that he was accounted a fanatique; but did not know that at that time he had been appointed by his Royal Highness. To which the Duke [replied] that it was impossible but he must know that he had appointed him; and so it did appear that the Duke did mean all this while Sir W. Batten. So by and by we parted, and Mr. Coventry did privately tell me that he did this day take this occasion to mention the business to give the Duke an opportunity of speaking his mind to Sir W. Batten in this business, of which I was heartily glad.

Thence home, and not finding Bagwell’s wife as I expected, I to the ’Change and there walked up and down, and then home, and she being come I bid her go and stay at Mooregate for me, and after going up to my wife (whose eye is very bad, but she is in very good temper to me), and after dinner I to the place and walked round the fields again and again, but not finding her I to the ’Change, and there found her waiting for me and took her away, and to an alehouse, and there I made much of her, and then away thence and to another and endeavoured to caress her, but ‘elle ne voulait pas’, which did vex me, but I think it was chiefly not having a good easy place to do it upon. So we broke up and parted and I to the office, where we sat hiring of ships an hour or two, and then to my office, and thence (with Captain Taylor home to my house) to give him instructions and some notice of what to his great satisfaction had happened to-day. Which I do because I hope his coming into this office will a little cross Sir W. Batten and may do me good. He gone, I to supper with my wife, very pleasant, and then a little to my office and to bed. My mind, God forgive me, too much running upon what I can ‘ferais avec la femme de Bagwell demain’, having promised to go to Deptford and ‘a aller a sa maison avec son mari’ when I come thither.

43 Annotations

First Reading

jeannine  •  Link

Spoiler: In her biography about Sam, Tomalin says that in 1692 Sam told people he was going into the country and instead stayed in his library for over 3 months, to ‘deal with papers’. She also explains, that based on Sam’s organizational skills and the poor condition of his ‘papers’ after this stay, that it is a good ‘guess’ that he spent much of the time reading his Diary and in that process allowed it to survive. He renumbered the volumes in the new catalogue he made in 1693 (Tomalin, page 352-253). We will never really know what caused him to make the decision to keep them.

One can only imagine how painful it would be for an older, and hopefully wiser Sam to get to today’s page and read of the horrible pain inflicted on his wife, and his foolish pursuit of another man’s wife.

Terry  •  Link

French Translations:

Elle ne voulait pas = she didn't want to.
I can ‘ferais avec la femme de Bagwell demain' = I can do with Bagewell's wife tomorrow.
And 'a aller a sa maison avec son mari’ = and to go to her house with her husband.

I wonder what Pepys can get up to with her husband around?

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Sam Pepys has revealed his most questionable advances toward Mrs.
Bagwell, which must bring a shudder to every right thinking gentleman.
I sometimes think about the march of civilization, and what Shakespeare says (or perhaps it is in a hymn lyric) that present usage makes old customs uncouth. Something like that. In my lifetime (most of you are too young for this) I have seen Blacks brought to the table and met on the Level and treated according to the Square, meaning taking care of business and treating Blacks as people who know what they are doing. I foresee Muslims of the world getting their business in order, and Wahabbanism being thrown on the scrap heap of history. (I know a member of the CIA who said, in the Middle East, if you are a Christian, that's the end of the discussion and that's all there is to it.) Also, you and I have seen the rise of computers and the change in the workforce occasioned by computers (where are the book keepers of 40 years ago? Like it or not, they are doing something else.) I have also seen that untoward advances toward the young by clergy have been exposed and dealt with.
History may look back 50 years from now and say there was a great ethical
revolution in this time. Samuel Pepys has a part in this, in writing down what he did (now outlawed as sexual harassment by definition. Today he would be fired on the spot for such as he entertains toward Mrs Bagwell, even though she has an interest in stringing him along). We can look in the mirror and say that's not us. We do different things, I suppose, but it will take the next 50 years to find them out.

Patricia  •  Link

Outrage! First he blacks Bess' eye, then he goes off to paw Mrs. Bagwell. I also often think that Sam will have a lot of years to regret the way he treated his wife. Funny that he has to resort to French even when he's not saying anything naughty at all. Wish Mr. B would black Sam's eye for him.....

Dave  •  Link

What a day! Beat your wife, chase another's, and find time for cruelty to old Sir Will. A skunk's tale, surely.

cgs  •  Link

Nature in all the facets has not changed, just the use of laws to curb evil behavior, when the spot light is applied.
Some of the homo species appear to be good but others are still creating havoc, it be a question of whom we put in charge of hen house,
a fox or ?
I just cannot think who could be good for protecting the egg layers

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"as to endeavor to bite and scratch me"
If the skin is broken it might get infected and he might get sepsis and die.

cgs  •  Link

"...But I coying —[stroking or caressing]..."
OED verb.
coy, v.1
[f. COY a.: or perh. originally an aphetic form of acoy, ACCOY, OF. acoier vb.]

1. trans. To render quiet; to calm, appease.
2. To stroke or touch soothingly, pat, caress.
3. a. To blandish, coax, court, gain over by caresses or coaxing. Obs.
b. To coax, entice, allure into, from, etc. Obs. (Here, app. associated with COY n.1, DECOY v.)
-.c intr. to coy with: to coax, blandish.
1660-1 PEPYS Diary 7 Mar., With good words I thought to coy with him.

4. a. intr. To act or behave coyly; to affect shyness or reserve. Chiefly in to coy it. arch.
1625 MASSINGER New Way III. ii, When He comes to woo you, see you do not coy it: This mincing modesty has spoil'd many a match.

1691 DRYDEN K. Arthur III. ii, What, coying it again!

hence tho not etymological:
noun coy be the place one uses for keeping ducks that have been coyed [decoy]
[a. Du. kooi, formerly côye, in same sense, a parallel form to MDu. couwe = MHG. kouwe, köuwe:{em}WGer. cawia, cauwia, a. L. cavea hollow, enclosure, CAGE.]
1. A duck trained to entice wild-fowl in a decoy; = DECOY-DUCK.

Pedro  •  Link

"but yet her spirit was such as to endeavour to bite and scratch me."

In his book Pepys in Love, Elizabeth's Story (highlighted by Jeannine), a book based on fact but written through the eyes of Elizabeth, Delaforce says of this incident…

"He was in an evil mood; his health in midwinter is often poorly with wind and spots; he was wenching away with Mrs Bagwell and Betty Martin so my local gossips told me. I told Samuel quite nicely that it was not up to me top command our servents, and that in any case, Ross's misdemeanour was slight and did not warrant dismissal. To my surprise he at once hit me over my left eye. We are much the same height and in some ways I have as much physical courage as he has, perhaps more. So I attacked him and scrastched and bit him like an angry cat defending a kitten. Everyone in the house heard our fight, and some saw it."

Pedro  •  Link

And also on this day...

After a visit to Algier, and the conclusion of another peace, Allen returned to the entrance of the Med and there, after losing two ships by wreck, he attacked part of the homeward bound Dutch Smyrna fleet off Cadiz. Brakel, the Dutch commander was killed, one of the merchantmen was sunk and two taken, the rest escaped into Cadiz.

Ruben  •  Link

"I wonder what Pepys can get up to with her husband around?"

Pepys French is not the best or he was distracted or both. May be he wrote "avec" instead of "sans". Please allow me to be vulgar and say: vive la diference! or there is a lot of difference...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

One almost gets the feeling Sam has lost control of himself and feels he must either hook up with Mrs. Bagwell or is doomed to seek comfort in Fleet St.

He and Bess seem on edge with each other these days-he is not by nature a beater which I think explains her willingness to forgive. Has Bess been having her usual "those" trouble?

Lousy of him to blandly blow off her attempts to reconcile and chase after poor Mrs. B.


I like and choose to think old Sam saved the Diary largely for Bess' memory's sake. That at least would be some degree of atonement...

language hat  •  Link

"We can look in the mirror and say that’s not us."

I don't know what you mean. This kind of behavior is as common as it always was and probably always will be. There is no such thing as general progress in human history; two steps forward, two steps back is the rule.

JWB  •  Link

In that Pepys's diary is derivation of the Putitan diary wherein ones sins are recorded to be meditated upon & forgiveness approapriately asked, we have the recording but not commitment to change and absolution. Its like a student at lecture conscientiously recording each word or underlining passages in text and then thinking they have done their duty withou learning the lesson.

Ruben  •  Link

"Sam has lost control of himself"
We are progressing, I think. But the progress is very slow. We parted from our cousins, the other monkeys, millions of years ago, and still many, if not all of our conducts are instinct driven. Insticts driven by hormone levels and the like.
For sure, you can feel that Pepys lost control and the reason can be related to hormones, who can say?
Lets suppose he has a peak in Testosterone blood levels: He assails his wife, he attacks, with other monkeys (a gang attack) a fellow worker, he chases the smell of other than his wife's smell. He is so overwhelmed by his predicament that he needs to switch from English to a foreign language to feel he still is in control of his brain.

Mary  •  Link

I wonder what Pepys can get up to with her husband around?

Terry, having legitimized his visit to the Bagwell household by, presumably, engineering an invitation from the husband, what's the betting that Sam will find some item of information that he urgently needs Bagwell to go and obtain for him from elsewhere in Deptford. He ought to be able to arrange at least a 15-20 minute 'conversation' with Mrs. B. in those circumstances.

jeannine  •  Link

"I wonder what Pepys can get up to with her husband around?"

Her skirt!

Martin  •  Link

"from our people’s being forced to take the key to go out to light a candle"

Is it possible there's a word missing here, should it be: "from our people's neglect being forced ..." Or "our people's laziness"?

Surely his people are not forcing him to do anything.

cape henry  •  Link

A perfectly ghastly entry. For me the thing to keep clearly in mind is that Pepys is battering his wife, presumably a weaker person, cheating one her, and preying on women of a lower caste over whom he uses pretexts of one sort of another to gain advantage. Common, current, or otherwise, this is ungentlemanly, despicable behavior.

jeannine  •  Link

"Alehouse Sam"

(Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung”)

Sitting in an ale house --
eyeing Mrs B. with bad intent.
After he has come to blows --
bloodied fingers smear his old black clothes.
Oh alehouse Sam--
Drying in the cold sun --
Watching as the frilly panties run.
Acting like a dead duck --
spitting out pieces of his broken luck.

Sun streaking cold --
a bold man wandering Mooregate.
To the fields
the only way he knows.
Hand hurting bad,
as he bends to pick her bodice --
off to another alehouse
and tries again….

Then left alone --
the office’s up the road
Taylor to his house seems to
cross Batten.
Alehouse Sam my friend --
don't start away uneasy
you poor old sod, the Diary shows, the real you…..

(for those not familiar with the song… )

andy  •  Link

Oh Sam, what have you done?

We were told great things of you - you were the founder of the Navy, of the modern civil service - but you're eyeing the frilly panties and beating your wife.

Oh how frail we are.

Paul Dyson  •  Link

And only on Sunday Sam would have said in church, if his mind had not been on its familiar track, the words of the General Confession, some of which seem particularly applicable to his activities today.

"...We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. .... And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us...."

Having been brought up with these words, it strikes me especially now that they are collective ("we") rather than individual ("I"), which may perhaps make them harder to identify with personally.

If accused, Sam could today say, with a famous modern politician, "I did not have sex with that woman."

On the point of translation, working from distant memories of French grammar, is "ferais" a subjunctive, or maybe a conditional, suggesting what Sam might do, or would if he could?

Pedro  •  Link

“Alehouse Sam”

Thanks Jeannine for showing us that we are never “Too old to Rock n Roll”, but should this not be to the tune of riding “On the Crest of a Knave”?

cgs  •  Link

not 'is fault, it be the comet

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Like Martin, I'm wondering what the original argument was about.
"from our people’s being forced to take the key to go out to light a candle, I was very angry and begun to find fault with my wife for not commanding her servants as she ought."
It sounds (maybe) like there was supposed to be a candle lit in the house, that could be used for lighting other candles, and there wasn't, so the servants had to go outside to get one lighted. Do L&M, Pepys in Love, or other ancillary sources shed more light (sorry) on this incident?

cgs  •  Link

I am of the understanding that there was a law or statute that said to the effect there be a light affixed to the outside wall near the entrance?
Was it a night light?

Mary  •  Link

The outside light.

Indeed, according to Picard, householders had a duty to hang out a candle or lantern from dusk until nine o'clock at night in winter. A visitor to London in 1667 also commented on the fact that the streets were lighted until a certain hour in the morning 'by large lanterns.'

It looks as if Pepys's servants were expected to go and light a candle/lantern outside the door on a winter's morning ( when it can still be dark at nearly 8 o'clock) but had neglected to obtain the doorkey the night before and so had to extract it from Sam and Elizabeth's chamber, thus disturbing them 'betimes.'

Pedro  •  Link

“Pepys in Love…shed more light (sorry) on this incident?”

Delaforce does not mention the light incident and seems to relate Elizabeth’s “not commanding her servants as she ought” to the when Sam ordered her to dismiss her good natured maid Besse, because she had forgotten to put out her master’s clothes in the morning.

I think that he is implying that the light had made Sam angry and in the process he brought the other issues into play. Of course it is conjecture and may be wrong.

cgs  •  Link

Thank you Mary for the clarification.
I remember well, getting up at before sunrise trying to get a gas lamp lit and the fire started [without setting the place alight using the local daily wail] so that the rest of the household could wash and dress in some comfort in London's winter. Ah! that jug and bowl of tepid water, was hot on the stove, and how visitors from the new world did think us be backwards.
At least there be progress with the tools of comfort, if not with human treatment.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Blackstone on Samuel Pepys's striking his wife to correct her

"The husband also (by the old law) might give his wife moderate correction. For, as he is to answer for her misbehaviour, the law thought it reasonable to intrust him with this power of restraining her, by domestic chastisement, in the same moderation that a man is allowed to correct his servants or children; for whom the master or parent is also liable in some cases to answer. But this power of correction was confined within reasonable bounds; and the husband was prohibited to use any violence to his wife, '[here translated:] other than as licitly and reasonably pertains to the husband for the rule and correction of his wife.' The civil law gave the husband the same, or a larger, authority over his wife; allowing him, for some misdemesnors, '[here translated:] with flails and cudgels to beat the wife energetically;' for others, only '[here translated:] to apply limited punishment.' But, with us, in the politer reign of Charles the second, this power of correction began to be doubted: and a wife may now have security of the peace against her husband; or, in return, a husband against his wife. Yet the lower rank of people, who were always fond of the old common law, still claim and exert their ancient privilege: and the courts of law will still permit a husband to restrain a wife of her liberty, in case of any gross misbehaviour." Sir William Blackstone, *Commentaries on the Laws of England*, Book I, Chap. XV: Of Husband and Wife…

cgs  •  Link

Striking one of the folks or family member be not a problem, the problem be if the blow results in cessation of life for that, it be manslaughter and for that crime it could lead to a noose or transportation.
Death penalty could be invoked for removing a cup that be silver from its legal guardian.
"Daily Whale"?, 29th Apr 1674
looking glass,
it be stole, worth bob short of a quid, thief caught, tried and hung, but not drawn.
woman sent to the colonies for stealing
a silver cup:
Inquiring minds will find details 'ere…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Of course there's advance in human history, generally involving the weaker becoming just strong enough to slow down their oppressor a bit. It's no more right to claim our progress is illusory than it is to claim we ourselves are morally superior. Humans may simply be more afraid of being caught than in the past than spiritually improved but we have seen progress. Perhaps it's only that some of us now have time to lift our heads from the fight to survive, but things do improve, regardless of the cynicism of a Henry Adams.

Of course in the long run we're doomed as a species but hey, as Teddy Roosevelt once said to HG Wells, "Even if it does come down to your Butterflies and Morlocks, the effort's worth it."

language hat  •  Link

If you can read the history of the 20th century and believe it shows any improvement over previous human history, you're reading it very selectively. And if you think the 21st is any better, I don't know what to tell you. Yes, women have more rights in certain advanced countries, and that's great, but balanced against hundreds of millions of violent deaths and massive losses of freedom... I can't make the balance come out in black ink.

pepfie  •  Link

PD " “ferais” a subjunctive, or maybe a conditional, suggesting what Sam might do, or would if he could?"
faire: conditionnel présent 1ère/2ème personne

Mary  •  Link

"ferais" is indeed the conditional tense.

Pepys's use of French and Spanish is rarely grammatically correct in these circumstances; but what does he care if "can" ought logically have been followed by "faire" (infinitive) in this case?

Second Reading

Ivan  •  Link

"But I coying with her made her leave crying..."

L&M read: "But I cogging with her, made her leave crying..." and the Glossary gives the meaning of to "cog" as to cheat, banter, wheedle. The last two meanings seem to fit the bill.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Re Mary's point:
it's 29th December Gregorian, and sunrise in Seething Lane is at 8:06 GMT near enough as late as it gets. If the weather were inclement it would be dark for even longer, so, given that the City rises considerably earlier than this, the "candle rule" seems to be a rather sensible civic obligation.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Who “corrected” the husbands, I wonder. It seems that this particular husband needed a lot more correcting than the wife did. Might makes right, I guess.

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Harvey L  •  Link

Bad behaviour in any age... and Sam realises that.
But human nature doesn't change, just the things that are authorised at the time.
In 300 years, diaries of today will contain just as many entries drawing the same disapproval.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Someone somewhere (Todd?) noted a potential correlation between Sam's assignations and a propensity to erupt into rage. In this case immediately before. I am suspect it may be correct.

Fresh folly this was!

john  •  Link

Whereas Pepys has applied physical "correction" to servants, this seems to be the first entry of such violence towards his wife.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: "But I cogging with her, made her leave crying..."

‘cog, v.3
†5. a. To employ feigned flattery; to fawn, wheedle.
. . 1661 B. Holyday tr. Juvenal Satyres (1673) 206 He would almost endure anything, cogging with the rich and childless, in hope of an estate . . ‘


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