Tuesday 29 August 1665

In the morning waking, among other discourse my wife begun to tell me the difference between her and Mercer, and that it was only from restraining her to gad abroad to some Frenchmen that were in the town, which I do not wholly yet in part believe, and for my quiet would not enquire into it. So rose and dressed myself, and away by land walking a good way, then remembered that I had promised Commissioner Pett to go with him in his coach, and therefore I went back again to him, and so by his coach to Greenwich, and called at Sir Theophilus Biddulph’s, a sober, discreet man, to discourse of the preventing of the plague in Greenwich, and Woolwich, and Deptford, where in every place it begins to grow very great. We appointed another meeting, and so walked together to Greenwich and there parted, and Pett and I to the office, where all the morning, and after office done I to Sir J. Minnes and dined with him, and thence to Deptford thinking to have seen Bagwell, but did not, and so straight to Redriffe, and home, and late at my business to dispatch away letters, and then home to bed, which I did not intend, but to have staid for altogether at Woolwich, but I made a shift for a bed for Tom, whose bed is gone to Woolwich, and so to bed.


14 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...gad abroad to some Frenchmen that were in the town..."

Gadfly Mary Mercer...Well, at least it seems it wasn't that Bess got wise to Sam's appreciation of Mercer's finer points.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...gad abroad to some Frenchmen that were in the town..."

Gadfly Mary Mercer...Well, at least it seems it wasn't that Bess got wise to Sam's appreciation of Mercer's finer points.

James in Illinois  •  Link

An review of three recent books about Sam'l is at

http://www.drb.ie/apr08_issues/history_is_to_bl...

This is in the Dublin Review of Books, and gives some interesting historical perspective about Pepys and his place within the context of English history.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Heaven...6am, this morning.

"Sam!!! What the hell did you mean, you didn't wholly believe me about Mercer today in '65? You said, and I remember, distinctly..."

"Ummn... 'wholly yet in part', my darling..." Damn that fellow and that Internet thing.

Glyn  •  Link

Interesting link James in Illinois, although I disagree with its last paragraph, written from a Dublin perspective. With a Catholic dynasty on the throne we might have ended up with border guards on the Scottish border instead of the Irish one, and an SRA instead of an IRA. More likely, the guillotines would have been outside the Tower of London instead of in Paris in 1792.

language hat  •  Link

James in Illinois: Thanks very much for that excellent read.

andy  •  Link

and for my quiet would not enquire into it.

very wise, Sam.

CGS  •  Link

"...her to gad abroad to some Frenchmen..." no doubt to get 'parlaising' her lingo 'franchaise' so that she get to read the savory the parts of that secretive journall that Samuell be a scribling in?
or be it to ask about that convent in happy Pari or to find out about the Sun King's works of architecture or.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

It's odd that Bess would suggest Mercer is chasing after some visiting Frenchmen...I wonder if Mary caught her boss a little too cosy with visiting French Catholics. That would surely sit poorly with Sam, even if innocent as to romance, and Bess would likely be desperate to circumvent such intelligence.

Then again, Balty was in Holland not long ago...

"Mine Heer, the latest report on the state of the English fleet based on my husband's letters."

"Excellent Mrs. Pepys, our Republic as well as King Louis and France remain forever in your debt."

Just like the heroine in "Heloise, agent of France"...Bess sighs to self.

"Mrs. Pepys?"

"Mine Heer, sorry...I was distracted."

"I trust your husband suspects nothing?"

"Sam'l?" Brrmmpff... "He doesn't think I can read, let alone understand his letters and documents."

Tear up my letter in my face will he? Ha!

"I shall see that your usual compensation is delivered to your brother."

Hmmn? Be nice to know what that 'usual compensation' really is...Balty must be taking the lion's share.

Still, it's the adventure...And the hope of one day rubbing Samuel's face in it.

"Mrs. Pepys?" Oh, pardonnez-moi?"

"Mercer, out!"

"Old friend of Mrs. Pepys' dear father, madam. I was just leaving, Mrs. Pepys. A very good day, ladies."

"Mrs. Pepys? Why was that man pretending to be French. From the accent he had to be..."

"You're through!"

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"called at Sir Theophilus Biddulph’s, a sober, discreet man, to discourse of the preventing of the plague in Greenwich, and Woolwich, and Deptford, where in every place it begins to grow very great. "

Sir Theophilus Biddulph was a J.P. living at Westcombe Manor (a house pulled down in the early 18th century). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westcombe_Park#We...
Cf. John Evelyn to Lord Cornbury, 9 September: 'Neare 30 houses are visited in this miserable village, whereof one has beene the very nearest to my dwelling...a servant of mine now sick of a swelling...behold me a living monument of God Almighty's protection and mercy' (Diary and corr., ed. Wheatley, iii. 317). On 2 September Evelyn sent his wife away from Deptford to Wotton: Evelyn, iii. 417. n. 4.

James Morgan  •  Link

It's probably a bit late, but I think in 2008 Robert Gertz meant to call Mercer a gadabout; a gadfly is quite different.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I feel for Pepys:

"... home, and late at my business to dispatch away letters,
and then home to bed, which I did not intend, but to have staid for altogether at Woolwich, but I made a shift for a bed for Tom, whose bed is gone to Woolwich, and so to bed."

Where is home now, anyways? Where is the bed? Where are those papers? Woolwich, Greenwich or Seething Lane? Is it better to be free to flirt and work, or be with the wife listening to gossip about Frenchmen. Whose side are they on anyways? And why would one want to be in Woolwich talking with the maid with the plague taking hold? No wonder Pepys forgot his appointment with Pett; stress and exhaustion can do that to you.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

San Diego Sarah asks "Where is home now, anyways? Where is the bed? Where are those papers? Woolwich, Greenwich or Seething Lane?"

"after office done I to Sir J. Minnes and dined with him, and thence to Deptford thinking to have seen Bagwell, but did not, and so straight to Redriffe, and home, and late at my business to dispatch away letters, and then home to bed, which I did not intend, but to have staid for altogether at Woolwich, but I made a shift for a bed for Tom, whose bed is gone to Woolwich, and so to bed."

So, neither Deptford nor Woolwich; methinks Phil has rightly linked "home" to Seething Lane, where Pepys dined and his papers are.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

You took me too literally, Terry ... I was writing about the emotional turmoil of temporarily moving your office to one location and some of your personal stuff to another ... and not knowing when things would get back to normal. Every morning I have trouble remembering where I put my cell phone in a small house. From what Pepys says, not all the files have gone to The King's House, Greenwich yet, nor all the staff. The War Effort was chaotic enough without this.

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