Thursday 13 April 1665

Lay long in bed, troubled a little with wind, but not much. So to the office, and there all the morning. At noon to Sheriff Waterman’s to dinner, all of us men of the office in towne, and our wives, my Lady Carteret and daughters, and Ladies Batten, Pen, and my wife, &c., and very good cheer we had and merry; musique at and after dinner, and a fellow danced a jigg; but when the company begun to dance, I came away lest I should be taken out; and God knows how my wife carried herself, but I left her to try her fortune.

So home, and late at the office, and then home to supper and to bed.

20 Annotations

First Reading

Patricia  •  Link

"but when the company begun to dance, I came away lest I should be taken out" Sam is afraid one of the ladies will try to get him up to dance! A young man I know used to tell girls he had a serious lung disease and mustn't get out of breath, in order to avoid dancing, but at least he got to stay and enjoy the rest of the party. I suppose such an excuse wouldn't do for Sam.
Do you suppose he learned nothing from the dancing master, or that he is just too embarrassed to "dance like nobody's watching", as the saying goes...

CGS  •  Link

Samuell was unable to let his periwig down as the saying goes, the males of the species only want to be top dog, no sliding into the bandstand in a whirling motion [nothing like the gay gordons to get out of shape].

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"So you see my difficulty, sir. My wife can forgive me the infidelity...The occasional mean-spirited behavior...Even, to some extent, the lack of attention...

But she can't forgive that I left her alone on the dance floor in 1665."

"Most women wouldn't, Mr. Pepys."

"Yes. So, at the advice of many...I've come to you. Sir, I've fulfilled my time in Purgatory and my wife is considering giving me one last chance. I must learn to dance...Well. And immediately. Within the next three hours."

"Tough assignment. But I'll give it a shot."

"You will? Sir, thank you."

"Always like a challenge, friend. Heck I taught Joan Crawford to dance."

"They all told me you were the best, Mr. Astaire."

"Kelly was busy, wasn't he?"



Paul Chapin  •  Link

Sam gets an OED citation for today's entry, under "take out":
c. To lead or carry out or forth: with various special implications, as: to lead (a partner) out from the company for a dance; to summon (an opponent) to a duel, to ‘call out’; to lead (a person or animal) into the open air for exercise; to lead (a woman) in (to a formal dinner), etc.
1613 Shakes. Hen. VIII, i. iv. 95, I were vnmannerly to take you out, And not to kisse you. 1665 Pepys Diary 13 Apr., When the company begun to dance, I came away, lest I should be taken out. [...]

Jesse  •  Link

"I came away..."

Most men have always felt that dancing (like singing &c.) should, in public, be left to those with some skill and practice. Most women initially seem to have trouble accepting this (or that men haven't developed such skill and practice). I enjoy reminding my daughters (each having 10 yrs of ballet lessons) why men feel this way by demonstrating a grand plie or by an occasional impromptu dance during some musical moment on tv. Wives eventually resign themselves and Elizabeth is probably just as happy to "try her fortune" on her own.

tld  •  Link


Didn't both Sam and Beth take dancing lessons some time ago?

Might it be possible Sam isn't feeling well and thus didn't want to be up and moving around?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Didn’t both Sam and Beth take dancing lessons some time ago?

The Pepys, Pendleton psychodrama of the spring of '63 -- it is possible that he isn't feeling well, but if so probably stress related at the thought of his wife dancing ... constipation tomorrow?

Phil  •  Link

Besides being either bashful to dance, or ill and still full of wind, Sam may also be more in the work mood than the party mood. This gaiety is taking place in the middle of a work day.

Res Ipsa  •  Link

I tell my 16 year old son, if you want to get the girls, learn to dance. Alas, to no avail. Maybe Sam didn't want to dance because of his "wind." THAT would be embarrassing!

DougS  •  Link

Michael: I think you're onto Sam's reaction. It probably does relate to the Pembleton fiasco of '63.

Some interesting psychological insights in this entry. Just guessing, but Sam would seem to be the kind of man who's actually good at dancing. But because he so associates it with Pembleton and his jealousy of that dance master, he won't go out on the floor -- and, yes, maybe it is making him sick/queasy/lightheaded. There certainly seems to be some kind of strong aversion here!

And the way Sam puts it about his wife is interesting: That slightly exasperated "God knows" may be telling. She probably "carried herself" quite well, given all the dance lessons. One wonders, however, if there is a sense of "how my wife carried on" in that line, as images of Pembleton fill his (unfairly) jealous mind.

Phil: It is in the middle of the day, but Sam's work days seem a lot less regular than ours: work and play were more intermixed. And Sam was hardly one to disdain a pleasure, even if it was in the middle of the day!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

According to every woman I know, it hurts to be abandoned on the dance floor by the guy you love...Even if you know he can't manage a two-step. Some can laugh it off, others go the Eleanor Roosevelt grimly patient "Griselda" route but either he stays with you off the floor or he dances with you.

Don't do it again, Sam. The day may come when she doesn't care what you do. And that's the real tragedy.


Sam will eventually learn to appreciate the joys of the dance...

language hat  •  Link

"...very good cheer we had and merry; musique at and after dinner, and a fellow danced a jigg; but when the company begun to dance, I came away lest I should be taken out; and God knows how my wife carried herself, but I left her to try her fortune."

This is a wonderful sentence, apart from what it says about his psychology and dancing ability.

andy  •  Link

God knows how my wife carried herself, but I left her to try her fortune

I see some ambiguity here - although it seeems to mean, God knows how Bess got on in the dance, couldn't it mean, God knows how she got home? (Carried i.e. In a carriage?) Suggests to me that Sam had a panic attack and ran away. I'm sure I would have done, called upon to dance with the gentry in the Navy Office, and their wives, and at lunchtime too - Aargh!

Margaret  •  Link

Although we know that Sam took a few dancing lessons, that doesn't necessarily mean that he feels proficient in dancing. I took piano lessons for a few years, and believe me--no-one want to hear me play the piano!

Dancing was a lot more formal in those days, rather like square dancing today. If you took a wrong step, everyone would notice.

Jesse  •  Link

regarding the spoiler...

I'd have thought that dancing would be a requisite social grace for someone in Pepys position at that time. Maybe it's possible that's why he eventually 'learned to appreciate [its] joys'.

Pepys "trouble[d] with a little wind" doesn't seem to be of bother during and immediately after dinner. Dancing would be another matter, though I'd expect "wind" to be explicitly catalogued as reason to fear being "taken out" ;)

Linda F  •  Link

Might Sam's reluctance involve the type of dancing? It was after a man danced "a jigg" that the company came forward. If they danced in this more vigorous way, could that have been the issue? (Do I correctly recall mention some time ago in these comments of a never-healed incision that stayed with Sam after his stone was removed, and might that have militated against particularly strenuous kinds of activity?

cgs  •  Link

A quote from the Playford of music 1655:
The Art of Dancing called by the Ancient Greeks Orchestice, and Orchestis, is a
commendable and rare Quality fir for yong Gentlemen, if opportunely and civilly

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

“when the company begun to dance, I came away lest I should be taken out;”

I think Pepys’ self-image is of a musician, not a dancer, at this time. I recall at a fund-raiser years ago someone paid for the musicians to dance one dance, and we found out that none of them had a clue, and absolutely no rhythm.

Clark Kent  •  Link

As Cicero so accurately observed, "Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit."

(Almost nobody dances sober unless, of course, he is insane.)

mountebank  •  Link

Following on from Linda F, maybe Sam was afraid of jigging about and having farts shaken out of him in front of all and sundry.

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