Sunday 23 April 1665

(Lord’s day). Mr. Povy, according to promise, sent his coach betimes, and I carried my wife and her woman to White Hall Chappell and set them in the Organ Loft, and I having left to untruss went to the Harp and Ball and there drank also, and entertained myself in talke with the mayde of the house, a pretty mayde and very modest. Thence to the Chappell and heard the famous young Stillingfleete, whom I knew at Cambridge, and is now newly admitted one of the King’s chaplains; and was presented, they say, to my Lord Treasurer for St. Andrew’s, Holborne, where he is now minister, with these words: that they (the Bishops of Canterbury, London, and another) believed he is the ablest young man to preach the Gospel of any since the Apostles. He did make the most plain, honest, good, grave sermon, in the most unconcerned and easy yet substantial manner, that ever I heard in my life, upon the words of Samuell to the people, “Fear the Lord in truth with all your heart, and remember the great things that he hath done for you.” It being proper to this day, the day of the King’s Coronation.

Thence to Mr. Povy’s, where mightily treated, and Creed with us. But Lord! to see how Povy overdoes every thing in commending it, do make it nauseous to me, and was not (by reason of my large praise of his house) over acceptable to my wife. Thence after dinner Creed and we by coach took the ayre in the fields beyond St. Pancras, it raining now and then, which it seems is most welcome weather, and then all to my house, where comes Mr. Hill, Andrews, and Captain Taylor, and good musique, but at supper to hear the arguments we had against Taylor concerning a Corant, he saying that the law of a dancing Corant is to have every barr to end in a pricked crochet and quaver, which I did deny, was very strange. It proceeded till I vexed him, but all parted friends, for Creed and I to laugh at when he was gone. After supper, Creed and I together to bed, in Mercer’s bed, and so to sleep.

41 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Mistress Mary? Oh, sweet one. I had a little trouble with my ladder, but as I promised, dear one, I have come. Our appointed time at last is at hand and Love shall bestow upon me a greater...Mary, Blessed Mother of...?!!"

"Good God! Povy?! What the devil are you doing in my house?!!"

"Pepys?! What the devil are you and Creed doing in my mistress' bed?"

I've given up asking that one...A sardonic, if newly-woken Bess thinks, at the door rubbing eyes and staring at the group, an aghast Mercer behind her.

I told him Monday night...

tg  •  Link

"After supper, Creed and I together to bed, in Mercer’s bed, and so to sleep."
Well this seems pretty definitive that when Sam invites Creed to sleep over, they sleep in the same bed. Sam's sleeping arrangements with Creed are still a strange custom to my modern mind. I'm sure there was lots of business talk and gossip before drifting off. He usually sleeps alone and only rarely with Bess if I recall correctly.

CGS  •  Link

Puritanical times [watered down by the royal household, lot less austere than the Victorian mores."...Creed and I together to bed, in Mercer’s bed, and so to sleep...."

It be ok for the lasses to sleep akimber but not the lads, strange how minds do function, I spent 4 yrs, some in a pup tent with 3 other ladds, never a problem, sometimes in one room holding 30 ladds in 3 bunk arrangement, in an open ward with all the other inmates, open dormitories, but it be a problem if one of the opposite sex ventured into those spaces, there would such an out cry, how times have changed.
Privacy has many meanings.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

pricked crochet and quaver
That is, in modern (American) terminology, a dotted quarter note followed by an eighth note. A quick Google on "courante" (the modern spelling of the dance form) yielded no indication of a 17th century controversy about the proper metrical pattern.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I having left to untruss went to the Harp and Ball"

The LORD loves a giver.

Jonathan Addleman  •  Link

There were many kinds of 'courantes' or corants, corantos, correntes, etc etc... Most English corants of the period were written in 3/4, and often do have that dotted-quarter, eighth rhythm, giving an accent on the 2nd beat. Certainly not every bar though! I don't know 'dancing corants' so well though -
it's interesting that he makes it clear that there was a distinction made. My experience is more with harpsichord solos.

The french ones were typically notated (in modern terms) as a 3/2 meter - they could often have the same rhythm in the last third of the bar, though it's even less typical there, I'd say. I don't know how well-known this music might have been in London at this time though - I don't know of any English corants in that meter off the top of my head.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

“Fear the Lord in truth with all your heart, and remember the great things that he hath done for you."

Loosely, 1 Samuel 12:24: "Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... in the most unconcerned and easy yet substantial manner, that ever I heard in my life, ..."

Andrew Marvell's comments on a court sermon by Stillingfleet:

" ... so polish’t as indeed as suited with the delicacy of his auditory rather then the notoriousness of the Evill. For certainly the impiety of men is growne so ranke in this kind and in all others, that if Ministers instead of preaching and arguing could thunder and lighten, it were all but too litle."

Marvell to Lord Wharton, April 2nd 1667.…

Ralph Berry  •  Link

"...I having left to untruss went to the Harp and Ball."

What does this mean? OED definition of untruss is unfasten. What was he "unfastening"? Did it mean he wanted to unwind?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I think, Ralph, Sam was politely telling us he took a bathroom break complicated by the formal outfit he was wearing and then decided as long as the girls' were settled he might as well go and have a drink and a flirt at the tavern/restaurant across the way.

I'm surprised he didn't run into Charles and Jamie there as well.

"Jamie, stop looking so Puritan. Catherine said she'd cover and we'll be back before anyone misses us. Ah, young lass, my dear God, I will not get through this miserable day without a drink. Here Jamie, take this blasted thing..." hands Crown over... "Lets see how it'll look on you. Oh, Lord, take it off. You look like Grandfather James. I would vote to overthrow you."


Very modest, eh? And I'd bet she had a six-foot-four boyfriend/husband standing by. Still, to be fair, Sam does generally tend to look for some opening from the lady. Though by no means always...

Puzzled of Newcastle  •  Link

"and I having left to untruss"

What is Sam doing? What is he untrussing?

Puzzled of Newcastle  •  Link

Should have the latest annotations before I posted.

Presumably the chappell did not have a privy? (Or Sam's status in society does not give him access to the court privies).

Normally Sam is much more direct in describing his bodily functions, why didn't he say "and I having left to piss".

Pedro  •  Link

“and I having left to untruss went to the Harp and Ball and there drank also,”

Silly me! I took this to mean that he went with the coaches to the Harp and Ball, probably a coaching Inn, and while the horses were being untrussed, he took the opportunity to have a swift half in the company of a fair maid.

Pedro  •  Link

On this day the younger Penn writes to his father…

From Harwich, 23rd April 1665.

Honoured Father,

We could not arrive here sooner than this day, about 12 o’clock, by reason of continued cross winds and (as I thought) foul weather. I pray to God, after all the foul weather, and dangers that you are exposed to, and shall be, that you come home as secure. And, I bless God, that my heart does not fail in any way; but firmly believes, that if God called you out to battle, he will cover your head in that smoky day. And, I never knew what a father was till I had wisdom enough to prize him, so can I safely say, that now of all times, your concerns are most dear to me. It is hard, meantime, to loose both a father and a friend. &c.


(Memorials of Sir William Penn by his grandson Granville Penn)

Pedro  •  Link

As Terry mentioned the other day, it is getting dangerous at sea if you aren’t a ship of war.

On this day Allin in his Journal records…

"…At 9 o'clock the standard was put upon the General's mizzen shrouds and a gun fired for all flag officers to come aboard. The Drake had taken a small steigerchuit of the Brielle that was a-fishing and in the afternoon the York pleasure boat brought another..."

language hat  •  Link


OED 3c: "To unfasten one's points; to undo one's dress (spec. one's lower garments)." ["Point" here is "A tagged piece of ribbon or cord used for attaching hose to a doublet, lacing a garment (esp. before the widespread use of buttons), fastening a shoe, etc."]

A few citations:
1592 NASHE P. Penilesse Divb, Off with thy gowne and vntrusse, for I meane to lash thee mightily.
1648 HERRICK Hesper., Upon Pagget, Untrusse, his Master bade him; and that word Made him take up his shirt.
a1683 OLDHAM Rem. (1684) 123, I must beg my Reader's Distance: as if I were going to Untruss.
1705 HICKERINGILL Priest-cr. II. vi. 57 To do which Business, they untrussed, and stript themselves.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Sharing a bed ...

This was so common a practice as to have been completely unremarkable. People even shared beds with strangers at inns straight into the early 19th century, at least. Remember early in the Diary when Sam traveled with a new friend, they shared a bed at an inn, and joked in the morning that the bedbugs all avoided Sam and feasted on his friend? Then, in a fictional setting, there's Ishmael and Queequeg's first meeting.

Mary  •  Link


The implication is that Sam needed to be able to lower his breeches altogether. It wasn't just a question of being able to take a discreet leak in a quiet corner; his need was greater than that.

Phil  •  Link

Captian Taylor appears to be a purist, as in one who finds the laws that bind music to a particular form; whereas Mr. Hill, Mr. Andrews and Mr. Pepsy, music lovers all, appear to be expressionist, ie however the music wishes to express itself let no law hold it back. I believe Blues moved to Rock & Roll because of expressionist. I'm not sure who I can blame Rap on. If Hill, Andrews and Pepsy won the argument what would the corant dance music evolve to?

Piero Reggio  •  Link

“Captain Taylor appears to be a purist,”

Perhaps he is also a slovenly and ugly fellow, and idle Master, one who would spoil the ingenuity of Pepys’ practice!

Pedro  •  Link

untruss…to ease oneself?

“So homewards again, having great need to do my business, and so pretending to meet Mr. Shott the wood monger of Whitehall I went and eased myself at the Harp and Ball,”…

Terry Foreman  •  Link


SP's use of "modest" to describe a woman has long puzzled me. It can mean "chaste," or might mean "not much"? What seems to be his usual meaning?

CGS  •  Link

Modest has many subtle meanings, in to-days worlrd be not found.
modest [OED]
[< Middle French, French modeste (1370 in sense ‘moderate, free from excess’, 1607 in sense ‘decorous, seemly’, 1611 in Cotgrave in sense ‘reserved in manner, without vanity’) and its etymon classical Latin modestus restrained, temperate, well-behaved, seemly, decorous, unassuming < the same base as moder{amac}r{imac} (see MODERATE v.). Cf. Italian modesto (1308), Spanish modesto (14th cent.), Catalan modest (1472), Portuguese modesto (16th cent.). Cf. slightly earlier MODESTIOUS adj., MODESTY n., MODESTNESS n.]

1. Avoiding extremes of behaviour; well-conducted, temperate; not harsh or domineering. Obs.

last cit:1652 SIR E. NICHOLAS in N. Papers (1886) I. 320 He seems to be indeed a very modest and discreet person.

2. a. Of a woman: decorous in manner and conduct; not forward, impudent, or lewd; demure; (of a personal attribute, action, etc.) proper to or distinctive of such a woman. Hence: scrupulously avoiding impropriety or vulgarity in speech or behaviour. (Sometimes applied to men in later use.)

1607 F. BEAUMONT Woman Hater V. iii. sig. K2v, Thou woman which wert borne to teach men vertue, Faire, sweet, and modest maid forgiue my thoughts. 1667 MILTON Paradise Lost IV. 310 And by her yeilded, by him best receivd, Yeilded with coy submission, modest pride, And sweet reluctant amorous delay. 1697

b. Of a woman's dress: seemly, not ostentatious; sober in colour and style, esp. so as to avoid revealing the figure of the wearer. (Occas. also applied to men.)
1611 Bible (A.V.) 1 Tim. ii. 9 That women adorne themselues in modest apparell [Gk. {elenis}{nu} {kappa}{alpha}{tau}{alpha}{sigma}{tau}{omicron}{lambda}{hisubfrown} {kappa}{omicron}{sigma}{mu}{giacu}{wisub}]. 1630 T. DEKKER Second Pt. Honest Whore sig. L, To day She's all in Colours to besot Gallants, Then in modest blacke, To catch the Cittizen.

c. Of a part of the body, spec. the genitals: that modesty requires to be covered. Obs.
1634 T. HERBERT Relation Trav. 15 As a couer to their modest parts, they gird themselues with a piece of raw leather, and fasten a square it. 1693 DRYDEN tr. Persius Satires IV. 51 The depilation of thy modest part.

d. Conforming to the requirements of decency. Obs. rare.
1638 T. HERBERT Some Yeares Trav. (rev. ed.) 301 Their waist is circled with a peece of Callico, which makes them modest.

3. a. Having a moderate or humble estimate of one's own abilities or achievements; disinclined to bring oneself into notice; becomingly diffident and unassuming; not bold or forward. Of an action, trait, etc.: proceeding from, indicative of, or accordant with such qualities.

1653 I. WALTON Compl. Angler ii. 51 You are so modest, that me thinks I may promise to grant it before it is asked. a1680 S. BUTLER Genuine Remains (1759) II. 213 Nothing renders Men modest, but a just Knowledge how to compare themselves with others.

4. Of a thing: unpretentious or moderate in size, appearance, style, etc.; (of a sum of money or financial means) limited, not lavish or extensive. Hence, of a person's origins or social circumstances: undistinguished on the social or economic scale.
5. With reference to statements, estimates, demands, constraints, etc.: free from exaggeration; moderate, not excessive; maintained within reasonable bounds; not unduly exacting or imposing.

CGS  •  Link

Modest: Not a description for Palmer or those that need to be noticed in the long gallery.
This be a Young lass not advertising her wares in speech or clothing, nicely mannered ,and not the normal hoyden of " wot yer wont" group.

Frank J. Artusio  •  Link

Besides Coronation Day, April 23rd is traditionally the birth and date of death of William Shakespeare, being 1564 and 1616, respectively, although in Pepys' day neither Shakespeare nor his plays were what they had been or would yet become.

Paul Dyson  •  Link


Churchill is supposed to have said of somebody:
"He is a very modest man with a great deal to be modest about."

Cactus Wren  •  Link

So, with Sam and Creed in Mercer's bed, I wonder where Mercer slept? With Bess?

(And, having watched "The Lady Vanishes" just a night or two ago, I'm now entertained by visions of Sam and Creed as Caldecott and Charters in the maid's room ... )

jeannine  •  Link

"So, with Sam and Creed in Mercer’s bed, I wonder where Mercer slept? "

Gee CW haven't you beeen keeping up -she got a better offer from Povy on the 20th and ran off with him.....

CGS  •  Link

Mercers Palliass be on a good night be a proper bed with curtains, but when purloined for her masters stay overs, she would end up in/on a little pull out that usually resided under the master's main bed or she had to kip with the other maids in the attic or down in bowels of the house next to the cole bin, but she did not have to make cole slaw.
So if she did slip off into the night with Povey, no one could blame her.

dirk  •  Link

From the Rev. Josselin's diary: weather report...

"God good in manifold mercies, some showers with hail, others only rain, the lord water the earth in mercy, god good in the word, and this providence prayers answer."

Australian Susan  •  Link

It is interesting to see that Mercer's status affords her a proper, large bed and in a room of its own. She is definitely not of the maid class.

When Sam had guests, they needed to be given a proper bed (not a truckle or a mattress on the floor). Sam has no qualms about asserting status and turfing Mercer out of the good bed and chamber he has, after all, provided her with. He would have carried on conversing with Creed in bed and they would have got into bed and under the covers to keep warm (this is only April remember).

And where did Mercer go? Probably in with Bess I think. As i have mentioned before, there is reference in her diaries of Jane Austen's decidedly genteel niece,when an adult, sharing a bed with the governess.(who, I guess, would be kind of the the same status as Mercer in a household).

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In the dispute over notation of the courante, L&M say Pepys was right.

Linda C  •  Link

Shakespeare's birthday (and death) today, and also the birth of the new Prince (no name announced yet). William would seem appropriate, honoring both his father, and Shakespeare.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Linda ... I'm hoping for a James or a Rupert. In a nod to the Scots, how about Robert or Malcolm? Today is also the anniversary of the murder of King Brian of Ireland by the Vikings. The Royals could get a bit more adventurous if they wanted.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Oliver is a very popular boy's name in Britain at the moment! 😉 😈

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I doubt the Royals will ever get that adventurous, Sasha! You must have a Welsh hero king's name to suggest.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

But the Cromwells were partly Welsh in origin Sarah 😇
- they were descended from Sir Richard Williams (alias Cromwell), maternal nephew of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's minister. Williams' own father was Morgan ap William. (ap means "son of" in Welsh, as "mac" does in Gaelic.)

And there's no doubt that Cromwell is still seen as a hero to at least some in Wales. In Welsh-speaking Cardigan there's a car-dealership 'O C Davies a'r Mab', (a'r Mab means "and sons"), where the family patriarch's name is Oliver Cromwell Davies.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

So Richard and Morgan are good nominations, Sasha. There was a King Morgan. But Ollie isn't going to make it, of that I am quite sure.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

I'm sure you're right Sarah - but we can dream of alternative universes ;)

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’ . . the mayde of the house, a pretty mayde and very modest . . ’

‘modest, adj. < Middle French . .
. .2. a. Of a woman: decorous in manner and conduct; not forward, impudent, or lewd; demure; (of a personal attribute, action, etc.) proper to or distinctive of such a woman. Hence: scrupulously avoiding impropriety or vulgarity in speech or behaviour. (Sometimes applied to men in later use.)
. . 1667 Milton Paradise Lost iv. 310 And by her yeilded, by him best receivd, Yeilded with coy submission, modest pride, And sweet reluctant amorous delay . . ‘
He enjoyed nothing better that ‘chatting up the birds’ (as we said c. 1960) and they must have enjoyed I too or they’d have sent him away. No doubt they got a better class of chat from him than from the young men of their own class

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Not only is 23 April a double anniversary for Shakespeare, it is also the birthday of Charles II, the anniversary of his Coronation, and an important traditional feast day in the English calendar:

St. George's Day is celebrated by the several nations, kingdoms, countries, and cities of which St. George is the patron saint.
St. George's Day is also England's National Day.
Most countries that observe St. George's Day celebrate it on 23 April, the traditionally accepted date of St. George's death in 303 AD.

St. George's Day was a major feast and national holiday in England on a par with Christmas from the early 15th century. George did not rise to the position of "patron saint" of England until the 14th century, but he was still obscured by Edward the Confessor (the traditional patron saint of England) until in 1552, during the reign of Edward VI, all Catholic saints' banners other than George's were abolished as part of the English Reformation.…'s_Day

New appointments to the Order of the Garter are always announced on St. George's Day, 23 April, as St. George is the patron saint of England.…

Charles II timed his return to London in 1660, and his coronation in 1661, to be celebrated on his birthday, St. George's Day. It was already a holiday, and no one could ever argue with having a big party.

So I wonder what's going on at Westminster or Windsor tonight, because it's a Sunday. Perhaps they celebrated before or after?

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