Thursday 20 April 1665

Up, and all the morning busy at the office. At noon dined, and Mr. Povy by agreement with me (where his boldness with Mercer, poor innocent wench, did make both her and me blush, to think how he were able to debauch a poor girl if he had opportunity) at a dish or two of plain meat of his own choice. After dinner comes Creed and then Andrews, where want of money to Andrews the main discourse, and at last in confidence of Creed’s judgement I am resolved to spare him 4 or 500l. of what lies by me upon the security of some Tallys. This went against my heart to begin, but when obtaining Mr. Creed to joyne with me we do resolve to assist Mr. Andrews. Then anon we parted, and I to my office, where late, and then home to supper and to bed. This night I am told the first play is played in White Hall noon-hall, which is now turned to a house of playing. I had a great mind, but could not go to see it.

20 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Today three relevant letters, two from ships at anchor, are calendared in the Carte Collection at the Bodleian; the last may be important

Captain John Johnson to Robert Southwell
Written from: [Aboard the] Little Gift

Date: 20 April 1665
Document type: Copy; sent to Lord Deputy the Earl of Ossory, & certified by R. Southwell

Particulars of an encounter with a Dutch man-of-war "at the Blacketts".

Garrett Moore to Ormond
Written from: Lo[u]ghreagh

Date: 20 April 1665
Communicates a further account of the writer's past military services in Ireland ...

Adds some particulars of naval incidents on the coast of Galway ...

Mentions, by P.S., "Lady Castlemaine's interest" in the town of Leitrim.[County and/or town therein in Ireland's Northwest ]

James, Duke of York, to Sandwich
Written from: On board the Royal Charles

Date: 20 April 1665
Document type: Original (in Coventry's hand)

Notifies his intention of sailing on the 21st with the King's Fleet towards the Texel [island in Holland north of Amsterdam ]; appoints a rendezvous; encloses, or directs, sailing orders, for Commanders, in case of separation.

Terry Foreman  •  Link


"The Battle of Scheveningen (also known as the Battle of Texel or the Battle of Ter Heijde) was the final naval battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War....[where the] English fleet of 120 ships under General at Sea George Monck blockaded the Dutch coast " causing the Dutch economy to collapse.

Pedro  •  Link

“appoints a rendezvous; encloses, or directs, sailing orders, for Commanders, in case of separation.”

“His Highness also appointed for rendezvouses in case of separation by stormy weather, Bridlington Bay for a southerly wind, Southwold Bay for a northerly wind. Which places were delivered to the commanders in papers sealed up to prevent public discourse of them, whereby the enemy might have notice of them (possibly) to our future prejudice…”

(For Jeannine from the Journal of Montagu edited by Anderson)

CGS  •  Link


[a. F. débauche, f. débaucher to DEBAUCH. For the phonology, etc., see the verb.]

I. 1. A bout of excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures, esp. those of eating and drinking.

1661 PEPYS Diary 3 Apr., My head akeing all day from last night's debauch.

a. (c 1600) F. débauch-er, in OF. desbaucher (13-14th c.) to entice away from the service of one's master, seduce from duty, etc. Of obscure derivation. The original pronunciation after modern F., and its gradual change, are seen in the spellings debosh, debaush, deboach, debauch riming in 1682 with approach: see the n. See also DEBOISE.
F. débaucher is, according to Littré and Hatzfeld, derived from a n. bauche, of which the precise sense and origin are according to the latter unknown; according to the former it = ‘a place of work, workshop’, so that desbaucher would mean orig. ‘to draw away from the workshop, from one's work or duty’: so Diez. Cotgr. has bauche, ‘course of stones or bricks in building’, baucher ‘to chip, hew, or square timber, etc.; also to ranke, order, array, lay euenly’; hence desbaucher might primarily mean ‘to disorder, bring into disarray or disorder’. The sense ‘draw away from service or duty’ appears however to be the earliest in French, though that of ‘corrupt’, had also been developed before the word was taken into English.]
to debauch:
1. trans. To turn or lead away, entice, seduce, from one to whom service or allegiance is due; e.g. soldiers or allies from a leader, a wife or children from husband or father, etc. (Usually with the connotation ‘lead astray, mislead’.) Rarely with against. Obs.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

in confidence of Creed’s judgement I am resolved to spare him 4 or 500l. of what lies by me upon the security of some Tallys.
What a way to fling money around, Somebody (Creed) says it is so, so it must be so, and the security is a notched stick (Tally), then Sam roots around for L400, which is a mighty big treasure to fling upon the waters and hope the money will return. They are nuts, absolutely nuts.
With Sam, follow the money.

Michael L  •  Link

"... to think how he were able to debauch a poor girl if he had opportunity."

It takes one to know one, I guess.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Back to the OED for "blush"

A word of "very obscure" history, with scattered meanings of which 3."To become red in the face, (usually) from shame or modesty; to ‘colour up’" is the sense most likely to apply here. Its one thing for Povey's leering remarks (Oed und leer das Povey? Bad, bad pun) to make Mercer blush, presumably from modesty. But its quite another for Sam -- gallant Sam the ladies' man -- to blush. Could it be shame?

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn - his diary for today

"To White-hall, to the King, who call’d me into his Bed-Chamber as he was dressing, to whom I shew’d the Letter written to me from his R[oyal] Highness the Duke of York from the Fleete, giving me notice of Young Evertse, and some other considerable Commanders (newly taken in fight with the Dartmouth and Diamond fregats) whom he had sent me as Prisoners at Warr; I went to know of his Majestie how he would have me treate them, who commanded me to bring the Young Cap[tain] to him, and to take the Dutch Ambass[ador]s Word (who yet remained here) for the other, that he should render himselfe to me when ever I cald, and not stir without leave. Upon w[hi]ch I desired more Guards, the Prison being Chelsey house. I went also to my L[ord] Arlington (viz. Mr. Secretary Bennet, lately made a Lord) about another buisinesse; dined at my L[ord] Chancelors, none with him but Sir Sackvill Crow (formerly Ambassador at Constantinople) where we were very cherefull, & merry."

Ralph Berry  •  Link

"and me blush" "it takes one to know one"

Its interesting that Sam records that he was embarrassed and that he in no way associates this with his behaviour. His mind must live in two worlds, what is normal acceptable behaviour and what he can get away with which does not count. But then I guess we are all a bit like that to some degree or other. He just takes it further than most. What a pity we never get to meet him in the flesh or would the side he would show to us be different from the character we see in the diary.

Mary  •  Link

Sam's pot to Povey's kettle?

It's not quite as clear-cut as that. Mercer is part of the Pepys family and a member who enjoys a more privileged position than, say, the 'girl.' Sam's flush could involve a degree of indignation at Povey's making so free with such a member of the household.

GrahamT  •  Link

Povey's behaviour.
Could Sam and Mercer be embarassed because of Povey's age (50)? Should he be "old enough to know better"? Perhaps they see him as a dirty old man - whereas Sam is a dirty young man. It was ever thus; people one's parent's age aren't allowed to letch.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...where his boldness with Mercer, poor innocent wench, did make both her and me blush, to think how he were able to debauch a poor girl if he had opportunity..."


1) "See Bess, except for [...would be spoiler] it was all fantasy."

2) Damn, I blush to think...If only I could master that elegant style with the girls, Sam thinks.

3) "Mr. Povy...Methinks she said, 'No'."

4) What an insult. "Mr. Povy, we may be partners in the Tangier business but no one comes on to a girl in my employ but me."

Of course, given Sam's moves on a few rather defenseless and very young ladies, #3 as much as one would wish, is highly unlikely. #1 equally so.

Mercer for some reason seems to bring out a good side of Sam...And seems able to get along with Bess. She must be an exceptionally sweet girl.


No worries about Bess? I should think Sam would be trembling with panic-an elegant, wealthy gent like Povy?

(Who might behave himself in an associate's home. Too much wine with that plain meat, perhaps.)

?!-Sam is going risk 400-500Ls of his own money on a Tangier merchant/supplier like Andrews?! Maybe it's a terrific, sure-fire, securely guaranteed deal but this new job sure is beginning to look a mite risky.
("But Creed, my heart misgives at 400Ls..." "Chicken. Bawk-bawk-bawk!" "Oh, very well!")

However it may explain a problem...Spoiler...

...Sam will have with the accounts later.

And Creed with his hand in, again...Presumably putting up a large amount as well. Sounds like Sam is getting pulled into some very deep water. And it's increasingly easy to see how Povy managed to get so confused in his accounts. Tread carefully, Samuel.

Phil  •  Link

Sam's blush at Povy's crude comments to Mary may also indicate that Sam was caught unawares of this side of Povy. I certainly had a different impression of Povy, I was thinking the disarray of his accounts may indicate a touch of dyslexia, especially as he has always been portrayed as cunning and smart, so either his accounts are a mess deliberately (ie B.S. baffling brains) to cover deceitful practices or he had problems confusing figures. A smart man's books should have been in order.

Now this crudity with Mary. You would think as a man ages, his approach to a woman becomes less crude, smoother as a result of lessons learned by past intercourses. Is he being crude because he had no pass experiences with women or is he trying to show off in Sam's presences?

There is more to Povy, methinks, than meets the eye.

CGS  •  Link

Our modern mind sees it one way , but Samuell is embarrassed because Povey is trying to get Mercer into his household, is holding out a few advantages to being in a richer household with more goodies to the young lass right in front of My Pepys who is not in the position to offer such luxuries.
Not the evil leering of an old satyr.
Just my take.

Pedro  •  Link

To see a World in a Grain of Sand.

I think CGS may be on to something as Sam has really got it in for Povey as we have seen.

(Povey)…Later having known the Court of Oliver, would criticize that of Charles: here was now “no faith, no truth, no love, nor any agreement between man and wife, no friends.”

(Cromwell…Antonia Fraser.)

Albatross  •  Link

I think CGS has a strong point, given the primary meaning of debauch listed above "to entice away from the service of one's master."

However, if the more colloquial present meaning is intended (and that seems almost equally likely given the context of the word in some other of Sam's entries), I suspect Sam's embarrassment is one of STYLE. As an accomplished rake, Sam probably sees Povy's approach to Mercer as ham-fisted as well as inappropriate in terms of the man's age. A smooth young fellow with a good opinion of himself would probably be embarrassed on behalf of an old codger with a clumsy approach and no actual hope of success.

Pedro  •  Link

"an old codger with a clumsy approach and no actual hope of success."

Of course it may have been a bit of amusement to Povey, as we have only Sam’s version, and if Povey was really intent on debauching Mercer, then he certainly has the money to entice her. Would Mercer would rather stay with the young smoothie than take the readies?

CGS  •  Link

Satirical I be, Old Codger be not known by Pepys, old cadger maybe , but I think some have in minde Capricorn's old goat or lecher.

Linda F  •  Link

Re: Mercer -- whom Sam describes here as a poor innocent -- I think that Mary is right on point. It is the worst sort of insult to Sam and to Bess (whose companion Mercer is) as well as to Mercer herself.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... in confidence of Creed’s judgement I am resolved to spare him 4 or 500l. ..."

Creed's prior attempt to persuade SP to part with cash:

" ...he [Creed] offering me upon my request to put out some money for me into Backewell’s hands at 6 per cent. interest, which he seldom gives, which I will consider of, being doubtful of trusting any of these great dealers because of their mortality, but then the convenience of having one’s money, at an houre’s call is very great. ..."

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