Wednesday 3 January 1665/66

Up, and all the morning till three in the afternoon examining and fitting up my Pursers’ paper and sent it away by an Expresse. Then comes my wife, and I set her to get supper ready against I go to the Duke of Albemarle and back again; and at the Duke’s with great joy I received the good news of the decrease of the plague this week to 70, and but 253 in all; which is the least Bill hath been known these twenty years in the City. Through the want of people in London is it, that must make it so low below the ordinary number for Bills. So home, and find all my good company I had bespoke, as Coleman and his wife, and Laneare, Knipp and her surly husband; and good musique we had, and, among other things, Mrs. Coleman sang my words I set of “Beauty retire,” and I think it is a good song, and they praise it mightily. Then to dancing and supper, and mighty merry till Mr. Rolt come in, whose pain of the tooth-ake made him no company, and spoilt ours; so he away, and then my wife’s teeth fell of akeing, and she to bed. So forced to break up all with a good song, and so to bed.

20 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"Say, what was in that punch that night? Mrs. Coleman, Mrs. Knipp and her husband, and Laneare all started complaining about their teeth just before the party broke up. Though with Mr. Knipp it was hard to tell that he was having toothache."

"Limes, lemon, rum, molasses...What that the party where I dropped my latest prescription of turpentine pills into the bowl?"

"At least you finally gave me a holiday party..."

"Bess...Plague, war, accounts in a muddle, business booming, fire..."


"Ok, fire later. But it was a busy season."

"You could have asked me to sing 'Beauty Retire'...I thought it was supposed to be my song."

Ummn...Think fast, Samuel...This may be Heaven but she can still hit and lock doors.

"I needed someone not family to try it out...Objectivity, you understand."

"Come to think of it...You've never asked me to sing it."

"Weren't we talking about toothaches and punch?"

Patricia  •  Link

Maybe Mr. Knipp is surly because Mrs. Knipp told him about the liberties Pepys took in the coach last night!

A. Hamilton  •  Link

surly Knipp

The missus is making too much of Mr. P. for his comfort

wife... to bed

Ah, Beauty retires.

Maurie Beck  •  Link

What was the population of London before the plague and what was it after? According to records, between 75 - 100,000 people died, but it was probably higher because the deaths of the very poor were not as scrupulously recorded. It seems the weekly bills of mortality were very high and increasing from mid-July through October.

Mary  •  Link

London population.

Liza Picard (Restoration London) puts the population of London at "over 300,000" in 1660. Guestimates place the death-toll from the 1665 plague in and around London at something in the region of 100,000. Neither figure carries any sort of guarantee.

JWB  •  Link

From Wm. Boghurst's "Loimographia"(1665), chapt. XXVI 'OF THE MANY RELIQUES AND CONSEQUENT DISEASE WHICH FOLLOW A PLAGUE', p 93: "...Blindness,Fevers, Deafness,consumptions, forgetfulness, Toothache, extraction..."…

laura k  •  Link

A little late but no less heartfelt: Happy New Year to all the annotators and other readers of the Diary. And Happy New Year to Phil! All best for 2009 and 1666.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Toothache seems to be contagious, as well as surliness.

JWB  •  Link


1)With time of the year & the dislocation of food markets w/ plague & war & victualing Tangiers onset of scurvy to have been expected, one of whose symptoms is toothache-spongy, bleeding gums.
2) But then Bess just received the three turkeys and fresh meat, especially innards, source of vit. C.
3) Surly Knapp could have had toothache from what Germans call Zahnekloppen-gnashing of teeth.

JWB  •  Link

Don't know why I made Knipp, above, past tense. Knipp(en), Knapp(en) - doing everything in a constained manner.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

I guess it was all those Christmas sweets.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

“You didn’t mention the song I did sing that night...Before you tole everyone I had toothache and had to go to bed.”


“Didn’t I?” brightly..."Must have left it out of my notes for that evening."


“Well that was wonderful...A round of applause for Mrs. Coleman’s fine rendition of my new song.”

“Sam.” Hic... “I thought ‘Booty...’ er ‘Beauty Retire’ was my song?” Hic-hic

“Of course it is, dear...And perhaps sometime, when we’re alone...”

“When? You’re still not back in Londa wid me. Why won you come home wid' me?”

“Soon as I can leave Greenwich, dearest. No, Hewer, Mrs. Pepys doesn’t need any more punch. Her teeth are aching.”

“Teeth are fine...Well, jus' a lil’ sore...Gimme that flagon, Will. The silver one I brought from home...I wanna sing...I got a song...Hey!”

“I think Mrs. Pepys will be retiring now, everyone...”

“Oh, no.” Bess pushes him off. “I’m fine...And we’re been rehearsing. Tom, let in the other ladies...”

Waves in Coleman, Knipp, Barbara Sheldon, and suddenly arrived...To Sam’s shocked surprise...Betty Martin, Lady Robinson, Lady Batten, Mrs. Pennington, Meg Penn, Mrs. Bagwell, Diana Crisp...

Mr. Knipp stolidly preventing Sam from shooing Mr. Coleman and Lineare from their instruments...Grimly “I’d let the lass sing, Pepys.”

Bess, downing flagon of punch:

“While tearing off a pic or two
I might make a play for ole Brownie...[Browne?!]
But when I do, I don't follow through
Cause my heart belongs to Sammy

In ‘62 when I was blue
Lord Sandwich offered me prime Finnan Haddie
though I just adored, his asking for more
[Lord Sandwich?!!! “Bess?!” “Let the lady sing, Pepys.” Chris, holding...]
My heart belongs to Sammy

Yes, my heart belongs to Sammy
So like his vowing self, I simply couldn't be bad..."
[Hard stare to nervous Sam...]
"Yes, my heart belongs to Sammy
Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, SAAAAM

So I warn you my dear Court laddies
Though I know that you're perfectly swell
That my heart belongs to Sammy
Cause my Sammy, he treats it so well...”

Chorus of ladies:

“Yes, her heart belongs to Sammy
So she simply couldn't be bad
Yes, her heart belongs to Sammy
Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, SAAAAM “


“If I invite... a dancing master some night
To try out an early version of salsa
Though Pembleton’s spice is all very nice
[“Pem...! What!!”]
My heart belongs to Sammy

Yes, my heart belongs to Sammy
And I’m sure he wouldn’t want to be bad
‘Cause Bess’ heart belongs to Sammy
And his vows never would let him play cad...

If his eye should stray...while away during plague
I guess just one time I could forgive him
But if he stayed untrue, you would know what I’d do
And his lady friends would bust him...

‘Cause our hearts belong to Sammy
So we couldn't be let him be bad
Yes, our hearts belong to Sammy
Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, Sa, SAAAAM “


“So I want to warn you laddie
I love you and I think that you're swell
And my heart belongs to Sammy
So long as Sammy, he treats it so well”

“Yes, our hearts belong to Sammy
So we simply won't him be bad
‘Cause Bess’ heart belongs to Sammy
And we never would let him play cad...”

cgs  •  Link

"...her surly husband; ..." may not be what thee dothe fink; [like my dreaded sir ]
Many a word of grandiloquent persuasion hath become a derogatised one as we no longer go down on bended knee and show our tonsure, to laudly ones.
Of course there be some that dothe have a nasus fuscus:


1. ? Lordly, majestic. Obs. rare.
1566 DRANT tr. Horace, Sat. I. ii. Bjb, How he doth decke, and dighte His surlye corps in rytche aray.

2. a. Masterful, imperious; haughty, arrogant, supercilious. Obs.
c1572 I...
b. as adv. Obs.
1601 SHAKES. Jul. C. I. iii. 21 Against the Capitoll I met a Lyon, Who glaz'd vpon me, and went surly by, Without annoying me.

1693 R. LYDE Acc. Retaking ‘Friend's Adv.’ 10 Those that carried themselves most surly towards me.

3. a. Churlishly ill-humoured; rude and cross; ‘gloomily morose’ (J.). Said of persons (or animals), or their actions or attributes.

4. fig. from 2 and 3: {dag}‘Imperious’, stern and rough (obs.); (of soil, etc.) obstinate, refractory, intractable; (of weather, etc.) rough and gloomy, threatening and dismal.

c1600 SHAKES. Sonn. lxxi, You shall heare the surly sullen bell Giue warning to the world that I am fled From this vile world.

1646 G. DANIEL Poems Wks. (Grosart) I. 69 The Lawes Of Surly fate.

1654 TUCKNEY Death Disarmed 24 Seneca according to his surly stoical principle would persuade himself..that it is ill to desire death.

1662 R. MATHEW Unl. Alch. §86. 120 Surly griefs, as Sciatica and Gout in the feet.

a1668 R. LASSELS Voy. Italy (1698) I. 46 Our horses eased us, the ascent not being so surly as we expected.
1693 EVELYN De la Quint. Compl. Gard. II. 195 In a surly Season.

Mary  •  Link

Further estimates on plague deaths.

In "The Great Plague" Moote and Moote suggest that within the City of London and its liberties, plus some out-parishes, the adjusted total of deaths recorded in 1665 was 97,306 and of these 68,598 were attributed to the plague. This represents 19% mortality in an estimated population of about 500,000.

The actual loss to London's population would actually have been higher than this, as many of those who fled the capital in order to avoid the plague will either have carried the infection with them or have contracted it elsewhere. (Others will have decided that they had nothing to return to London for). It is reckoned that another 100,000 folk died in the countryside in 1665/6 and an unknown proportion of these would have been Londoners.

In previous plague epidemics,(1563-1636) demographer John Graunt estimated that 40% of the population fled the city. If the same proportion of inhabitants fled London in 1665, then the overall recorded city death-rate of about 100,000 would have represented 33% of the remaining population.

No wonder London felt deserted when Pepys resumed his visits to the city.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Then comes my wife, and I set her to get supper ready ..."

Elizabeth cooks!

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Or, San Diego Sarah, perhaps she supervises and delegates ...

(Perhaps I should change my moniker to Riverside Robert.)

Steven Snipes  •  Link

I hear that in 2019 the Royal Mint will issue a coin to commemorate Samuel Pepys.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Steven Snipes • I hear that in 2019 the Royal Mint will issue a coin to commemorate Samuel Pepys.

The second of the three £2 coins, the last entry that Samuel Pepys made into his quite fascinating diary is remembered. It’s an unusual occasion to mark, but somehow more fitting than the usual birth or death anniversaries, as we all manage to get born and die, so why not celebrate the work or event that got the person remembered instead. The usual bimetallic variants that we discussed above are also on offer here.

The depiction of Pepys hand holding a quill and writing the last entry is very appropriate and works well enough, even if the bimetallic colour change is a little intrusive in this case. The Stephen Raw penned coin also carries aan edge inscription.

MINTS DESCRIPTION: 350 years after the final entry into his remarkable diary, Samuel Pepys will be honoured with a £2 coin to commemorate his contribution to the understanding of some of the most historical events of the seventeenth century, ranging from the Great Fire of London to the Plague.…

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Epic work what? Dictates a well thought, multi-optioned,19 page closely writ Pursers paper over a morning and afternoon. Read back by Mr. Gibson and copied fair by SP over the evening. Continue next day, all day. Party hard and an oops must sleep. Mailed following morning. Whatever the merits of the diary he was exactly where he should be as to job and competence. Wonderful!

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.