Friday 3 February 1664/65

Up, and walked with my boy (whom, because of my wife’s making him idle, I dare not leave at home) walked first to Salsbury court, there to excuse my not being at home at dinner to Mrs. Turner, who I perceive is vexed, because I do not serve her in something against the great feasting for her husband’s Reading —[On his appointment as Reader in Law.]— in helping her to some good penn’eths, but I care not. She was dressing herself by the fire in her chamber, and there took occasion to show me her leg, which indeed is the finest I ever saw, and she not a little proud of it. Thence to my Lord Bellasses; thence to Mr. Povy’s, and so up and down at that end of the town about several businesses, it being a brave frosty day and good walking. So back again on foot to the ‘Change, in my way taking my books from binding from my bookseller’s. My bill for the rebinding of some old books to make them suit with my study, cost me, besides other new books in the same bill, 3l.; but it will be very handsome. At the ‘Change did several businesses, and here I hear that newes is come from Deale, that the same day my Lord Sandwich sailed thence with the fleete, that evening some Dutch men of warr were seen on the back side of the Goodwin, and, by all conjecture, must be seen by my Lord’s fleete; which, if so, they must engage. Thence, being invited, to my uncle Wight’s, where the Wights all dined; and, among the others, pretty Mrs. Margaret, who indeed is a very pretty lady; and though by my vowe it costs me 12d. a kiss after the first, yet I did adventure upon a couple. So home, and among other letters found one from Jane, that is newly gone, telling me how her mistresse won’t pay her her Quarter’s wages, and withal tells me how her mistress will have the boy sit 3 or 4 hours together in the dark telling of stories, but speaks of nothing but only her indiscretion in undervaluing herself to do it, but I will remedy that, but am vexed she should get some body to write so much because of making it publique. Then took coach and to visit my Lady Sandwich, where she discoursed largely to me her opinion of a match, if it could be thought fit by my Lord, for my Lady Jemimah, with Sir G. Carteret’s eldest son; but I doubt he hath yet no settled estate in land. But I will inform myself, and give her my opinion. Then Mrs. Pickering (after private discourse ended, we going into the other room) did, at my Lady’s command, tell me the manner of a masquerade1 before the King and Court the other day. Where six women (my Lady Castlemayne and Duchesse of Monmouth being two of them) and six men (the Duke of Monmouth and Lord Arran and Monsieur Blanfort, being three of them) in vizards, but most rich and antique dresses, did dance admirably and most gloriously. God give us cause to continue the mirthe! So home, and after awhile at my office to supper and to bed.

41 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"She was dressing herself by the fire in her chamber, and there took occasion to show me her leg, which indeed is the finest I ever saw, and she not a little proud of it."

So...It runs in the family at least a little I see. Perhaps John Turner had best look sharp to his wife.

Poor Bess...She sounds desperately lonely. While Jane deserves to receive her pay, it seems a bit nasty of her to write Sam as to Bess' daily activities, particularly such innocent ones.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Thank God from now Tom will have Sam's sterling example constantly before him as to proper behavior...

CGS  •  Link

Goodwin sands an interesting place for sports too, The Dutch know this place well 12 years previous, they [Dutch] failed to curtsy so an exchange of shot occurred.

"...that evening some Dutch men of warr were seen on the back side of the Goodwin, and, by all conjecture, must be seen by my Lord’s fleete;...'

Battle of Goodwin Sands in 1652 alt: W3 h etc.

Why, yet it lives there uncheck'd that Antonio hath
a ship of rich lading wrecked on the narrow seas;
the Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very
dangerous flat and fatal, where the carcasses of many
a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip
Report be an honest woman of her word.

William Shakespeare : from The Merchant of Venice, Act 3 Scene 1:

Australian Susan  •  Link

This entry gives us a definitive answer to the question of Did Sam always take the boy with him when he went out and because it was always never mentions it - well, now we know that the boy (whether the late Wayneman or the present Tom) got left at home a lot. So what is he supposed to do? Was he supposed to be employed around the house? Fetching firewood, lighting fires? running errands? Emptying slop-buckets? Cleaning boots and shoes? Polishing Sam's sword? Seems to me he had time on his hands and Elizabeth exploited that with using him to entertain her (innocently!) (no Desperate Housewives with The Pool Boy here).

Mrs T presumably had high expectations of getting cheap supplies for her Feast via Sam's network of Naval suppliers. To me, this implies that he has done this before either for Mrs T or for other relatives. Hmm.

Where was the boy when the leg was on view? In the kitchen, one hopes.

And what's all this about the shilling for kisses. Yuck. And it's nowhere near Valentine's and way past 12th Night when such things might be supposed to occur.

CGS  •  Link

While Samuell fiddled the books et al, Our lass was being entertained?"...with my boy (whom, because of my wife’s making him idle, I dare not leave at home)..."

Bess: Does she know or not know the score?

The Maid Jane was cooking up more than a goose here, Bess did not want it verbalize, her feelings and denials,when [I guessing her ] Jane be warning or telling Elizabeth her version of mans weaknesses.

The result be one cooked goose , the teller of unproven dealings of S's wandering eyes.

In my little mind all the signs of normal marital disharmony have been shown.

CGS  •  Link

stitch in time
else Itch in nine

Margaret  •  Link

It seems that Jane could not write for herself. Were there such things as professional letter-writers in London at that time? Or would she have asked an aquaintance to write the letter?

Margaret  •  Link

Sam's relationship with his cousin Sandwich's family is obviously very close, if Lady Sandwich is asking him to negotiate a marriage contract for her daughter.

cgs  •  Link

funds be available to keep the ships afloat.

Supply Bill. [ the only work the lads came in for and it got done . ]
.............It was resolved in the Affirmative, Nemine contradicente,

Resolved, &c. That the Title shall be, An Act for granting a Royal Aid unto the King's Majesty of Twenty-four hundred seventy-seven thousand and Five hundred Pounds, to be raised, levied, and paid, in Three Years.

"Additional Bill concerning London Streets and Highway, and for regulating Hackney Coaches."

Cabbies be regulated and streets de rutted and sewers to be desmelled
Office of Filazer?
another mortgage lost.

cape henry  •  Link

This entry not only answers an old question, as A. Susan points out, but casts up new material by the bucket full. To engage Margaret's question, there would have been many scribes or scriveners in London at the time. These were professional writers who would have been employed by firms and individuals. Some of these would have had offices near the law courts, or other agencies, but many would have been itinerate, setting up outdoors or visiting the client at home to write letters and wills or whatever needed committing to paper. You can imagine the literacy level would have been anywhere from fluent to semi.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ...she should get some body to write so much because of making it publique"

"... the polished and public texts of women who received privileged educations only tell us part of the story of women's education. Women's manuscript exercise books, notebooks, receipt books, and other domestic papers give us access to the interests and writing practices of ordinary women. Oftentimes these manuscripts combine academic and practical subjects in ways that surprise modern readers.

Women did learn to write, despite the arguments against teaching them, such as those articulated by Richard Mulcaster (the first headmaster of England's largest grammar school). Often, penmanship was learned together with mathematics rather than with reading, as it is today. Many printed manuals combine the teaching of arithmetic with the development of a fluid italic handwriting style. The many published guides included several by Edward Cocker, such as 'Penna volans or The young mans accomplishment being the quintessence of those curious arts writing & arithmetick' (1661), 'The Tutor to Writing and Arithmetick' (1664), and, with Edmund Wingate, 'The clarks tutor for arithmetick and writing' (1671).

None of these printed manuals explicitly indicates that it would have anticipated a female readership; probably they did not. Such educational materials would have been largely restricted to a male audience."

“Let them Compleately Learn”: Manuscript Clues About Early Modern Women's Educational Practices
Emily Bowles Smith, Georgia Perimeter College

An Introduction to the “Handwritten Worlds of Early Modern England”

Ralph Berry  •  Link

" helping her to some good penn'eths.."

Can anyone help me with the meaning here please. Is this referring to "pennyworths" and meaning cheap supplies as suggested by Australian Sue?

If a second kiss cost a forfait of 12p a pennyworth would not have gone far.

Sam must have been the general fix-it man although in this case he failed to fix it. Perhaps he should have been called Arthur!

Ralph Berry  •  Link

"...but am vexed she should get some body to write so much because of making it publique."

This seems to confirm recent comments that Sam was a very private man and although he tells all in his diary did not blab about his private affairs in publique (love that spelling).

cgs  •  Link

” …in helping her to some good penn’eths..”
Ralph: the phrase is an entry in the OED:
pennyworth, n. OED 1. a. As much as can be bought or sold for a penny. Freq. with partitive of or (in Old English) genitive.
3. a. An item of merchandise considered in terms of its value for money; a (good, etc.) bargain. Hence: money's worth, value for money, return for one's payment or trouble;
profit, advantage obtained (obs.). Freq. with modifying adjective, as good, bad, dear, great, fair. Also (without adjective): something obtained cheaply, a good bargain. Now chiefly regional.

1665 S. PEPYS Diary 3 Feb. (1972) VI. 28 Mrs. vexed because I do not serve helping her to some good pennorths. ?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"there took occasion to show me her leg, which indeed is the finest I ever saw"
Of course, when you think about it, Sam hasn't actually seen all that many legs. A visit to a modern beach would dazzle him.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"vexed she should get some body to write so much because of making it publique"
Scribes/scriveners charged for their services, and since Jane hasn't received her final wages, I suspect she got a friend or relative to write the letter for her. If so, this would also add to Sam's unease, because the scribes surely kept their work confidential, or nobody would use them. A random person who could write for Jane, though, would be under no such constraint.

Ruben  •  Link

Thank you CG Salis for the scrivener's image. As always in a good image you can see more than the central theme. In this case, it is interesting to note the sandals (with socks?) the client lady is wearing and the bottle of...Chianti?, that the scrivener keeps tight between his legs.
I would like to ask a Londoner: what books would a scrivener keep on his desk? A Bible? A Latin Grammar and Proverbs? A compendium of ready made letters to copy? Or may be, something to read in between?

Ralph Berry  •  Link

Thanks CQS that makes it clearer.

Paul's comment about legs is interesting. Sam probably saw more than most of his generation, unless they were all philanderers. Bit like Muslim countries today where women wear burkhas but a pair of eyes can be a sexual turn on. Reminds be of a visit to Bahrain where the ex-pats had a special beach where they could use western swimwear. And guess what? The local potentate had his private beach right next door with a little tower where he could sit with a pair of binoculars.

However most films/TV historical programmes of Sam's time seem to portray the fashion was to display a lot of cleavage. So I suppose it depends on your taste!!(Sorry ladies if this is sexist).

Michael Robinson  •  Link

“there took occasion to show me her leg, which indeed is the finest I ever saw”

SP believed he had seen a sufficient number of womens' legs in the past to make a generalization about their shape:

" ... being most pleased to see the little girl dance in boy’s apparel, she having very fine legs, only bends in the hams, as I perceive all women do."

GrahamT  •  Link

Still in use as "That's my two penn'orth" (equivalent to "my two cents (worth)")
Far less common since decimalisation before which many things were sold by penn'orths, especially sweets and chips (fries) "Fish and four pen'north" being a standard fish supper.

andy  •  Link

If a second kiss cost a forfait of 12p a pennyworth would not have gone far.

12 d not 12 p ;- 12d = 1 shilling, 1/20th of a pound, shown as L, 1d = 1/240th of a pound, a fair amount.

I remember a pint of bitter at 1/6d ...

Australian Susan  •  Link


remember that we only have engravings of a portrait of elizabeth becausethe original was destroyed by an outrged 19thc woman who thought it was disgusting in its portrayal of nearly bare breasts!

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

and though by my vowe it costs me 12d. a kiss after the first,

After the first? I wonder, was it the custom for relatives and friends to kiss on meeting then? These fashions ebb and flow. In middle class UK it has become common again in recent years but one has the problem of remembering who you kiss on one cheek, both cheeks or not at all.

C.J.Darby  •  Link

Concerning "my boy Tom" how long before Sam discovers what a handicap it is to have Tom along to observe all his dalliances. Good move Elizabeth.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

It seens Sam was paying up to his poor box in breech of a vow rather than paying Margaret Wight (fun as it would be to speculate on the Wight family's perpetual association of money and sex). Not to have anything (physical?) to do with ladies for a month? Or had he made a more specific no kissing women in public (offense to Bess? somewhat dangerous to the rep?) vow?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam returns to backroom of a quiet tavern, run by a most discreet fellow, happily bearing fetched wine.

"Thomas?!" "Mrs. Bagwell?!!"

Blinking at what, given the boy's youth, was a rather ludicrous embrace...

"Oh, Mr. Pepys...I..." Mrs. Bagwell blanches.

"Madame." coldly. "Would you allow me a moment with my boy?"

"Oh, sir...It wasn't..."

"Please. I shall call you when we have done." Ushers her out, shutting door...

"Tom?" careful look.

"Well, she was a bit hesitant at first. But I told her a word from me in your ear at the right moment was sure to get her husband's promotion secure, sir. Just as you said."

"That's the boy. You're learning, my lad." broad beam.

"Aye, sir."

"Remember to look throughly chastized when I bring her back..."

"Yes, sir."

"Oh, and Thomas Povey?..."

"Biggest fool in England, sir...Easy mark."

"Excellent lad." pat on head.

Pedro  •  Link

“professional letter-writers in London at that time?”

Letter writers would still exist in many countries today. I remember watching a Brazilian film Central do Brasil released in early 1999.

In the film a retired teacher wrote letters for people who could not write. She was based at the Central Station in Rio, and when she arrived home at night she would discuss with her neighbour whether to send the letters or not and thus saving the postage as well as the cost of writing.

Perhaps ADA can tell more?

Pedro  •  Link

Also on letters...

De Ruyter receives two letters, the first telling him of the failing of the Prince Rupert fleet, and the second dated 2/12 December ordering him to attack Cabo Curso and Cormantyn as a reprisal of attacks on Dutch merchantmen by the English…he was then to return home, but by a roundabout way, doing as much damage as possible to the English not only on the Guinea Coast, but across the ocean too, either in Barbados, New Holland, Newfoundland or elsewhere. Finally he was to return round the north-west Britain. He was not to announce the mission to his crew at present, because this further heavy task might dishearten them.

Due to the attitude of the Fantyn Negroes, and only having provisions for 14 weeks, he decided to sail as soon as posible without an attack on Cabo Curso.

(Life of Admiral De Ruyter by Blok)

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Letter writers"
Pedro,I remember the film well;I am in Brazil right now;I dont see many letter writers around.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"I dare not leave at home"
How lucky for Tom to be initiated by an older experienced woman! nowadays she could get jail,at least in the USA.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Or had he made a more specific no kissing women in public...vow?"

It seems that SP made many a vow he hasn't recorded in his Diary (until he violates them, as here), but has recorded them elsewhere -- he reads them on Lord's Days; at the turn of the year he revised them (again), presumably with all the suitable modifications and qualifications, taking his changing financial status into consideration, policing himself like any good Puritan.

Would he pay his fines to a "poor-box" at St Olave's?

jeannine  •  Link

Quotes from “All for the King” by Balleine (bio about Sir George Carteret)….

References to Phillip…

“When Pepys became intimate with the family in 1663, it consisted wholly of girls. The two elder brothers were in the Navy, Philip as Lieutenant of the ‘Foresight’ and James in the “Royal Prince’.

Balleine provides this summary to date

“When Pepys left Cambridge, the Earl of Sandwich, Admiral of the Blue, had taken him into his household to help his wife in her business affairs, while the Admiral was at sea. In this way he grew friendly with the family, and little Jemimah, one of the children, was his special pet. She taught him cribbage, and he took her to see the monkeys at Bartholomew Fair and the lions in the Tower. Now however she was seventeen, and he was Secretary of the Navy Board. In February 1665 her mother sounded him as to whether Sir George would welcome a marriage between Jemimah and his eldest son, but nothing could be done till Lord Sandwich returned from his cruise….”

This potential match, as proposed by Lady Sandwich , shows that she has “a lot on the ball”. Not only is Sir George a wealthy man, but he is a very devoted and loving father who is not part of the ‘libertines’ of the Court, etc. From all indications, both Philip and Jemimah seem to be ‘nice’ people who could be well suited for each other. From a political perspective this would be a ‘win’ as it would strengthen the tie between Lord Sandwich and Sir George (who always seems to remain in the favor of the King). As Sandwich has been a “Clarendon” man and Clarendon’s political stance is in question these days, Sandwich could always use any additional ‘friends’ in the political circle that he can get.

The Balleine entry goes on with the details to come, which I’ll try to remember to add in the future. Of note, this potential match is something that we do want to pay special attention to see how this unfolds. It will be a delightful read and is noted by many to be one of the highlights of the Diary.

cgs  •  Link

A rule of life, the 'uman always wants 'wot' not be available.
Ban it
want it.

Mystery be the spice of life.
Thus each generation has its banned items and its A-listed items.
ankles be taboo, chests be in.
The TV neckline be in.
then anorexia be in .

Hair be a womans glory, hide or show

be the question

Ruben  •  Link

"I dont see many letter writers around".
Dear A. De Araujo: it may be you did not take a bus in "Central". I cannot say what happens in Rio's central bus station because every time I visited Rio I was careful not to go there.
If you check the movie site you may read:
"When Fernanda Montenegro set up her table at Central Station, real people approached her to write letters for them. Some of these real talks were incorporated by director Walter Salles and appear in the movie."
That is a sign that letter writers are still around, at least in Brasil.

Ruben  •  Link

You have also to consider the Letterman show.

Mick Weaver  •  Link

Is there a reason why the entry I am reading for Feb 3 1664 is completely different from the entry I read here?
Robert Latham's version of this date starts "This night late, coming in my coach coming up Ludgate Hill, I saw two gallants and their footmen taking a pretty wench which which I have much eyed lately, set up shop upon the hill, a seller of ribband and gloves." Very strange.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

off topic
Ruben,the reason I dont see many letter writer's around is because they are scarce and also because the poor in Brazil are becoming evangelicals in great numbers, so they need to know how to read to learn the word of God; The Catholic Church opted for the poor but they opted for the Gospels.

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