Thursday 18 January 1665/66

Up before day and thence rode to London before office time, where I met a note at the doore to invite me to supper to Mrs. Pierces because of Mrs. Knipp, who is in towne and at her house. To the office, where, among other things, vexed with Major Norwood’s coming, who takes it ill my not paying a bill of Exchange of his, but I have good reason for it, and so the less troubled, but yet troubled, so as at noon being carried by my Lord Bruncker to Captain Cocke’s to dinner, where Mrs. Williams was, and Mrs. Knipp, I was not heartily merry, though a glasse of wine did a little cheer me. After dinner to the office. Anon comes to me thither my Lord Bruncker, Mrs. Williams, and Knipp. I brought down my wife in her night-gowne, she not being indeed very well, to the office to them and there by and by they parted all and my wife and I anon and Mercer, by coach, to Pierces; where mighty merry, and sing and dance with great pleasure; and I danced, who never did in company in my life, and Captain Cocke come for a little while and danced, but went away, but we staid and had a pretty supper, and spent till two in the morning, but got home well by coach, though as dark as pitch, and so to bed.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Eric Walla  •  Link

Did Elizabeth ever have time to get out of her nightgown? And was she better by the time they went out? I hope the night of merriment was not just to keep Sam happy ...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I danced, who never did in company in my life"

However, as L&M note, on 27 March 1661, Pepys recorded in his Journal:
"we fell to dancing, the first time that ever I did in my life, which I did wonder to see myself to do."…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

To put that earlier dance in context: "To the Dolphin to a dinner of Mr. Harris’s, where Sir Williams both and my Lady Batten, and her two daughters, and other company, where a great deal of mirth, and there staid till 11 o’clock at night; and in our mirth I sang and sometimes fiddled (there being a noise of fiddlers there), and at last we fell to dancing, the first time that ever I did in my life, which I did wonder to see myself to do. At last we made Mingo, Sir W. Batten’s black, and Jack, Sir W. Pen’s, dance, and it was strange how the first did dance with a great deal of seeming skill."…

Carl in Boston  •  Link

I danced, who never did in company in my life
That's pretty neat. He plays triangle and sings in company quite a lot, but here he is dancing without self consciousness (not too much). It must have been fun.
We just watched Danny Kaye doing the "Make Em Laugh" sequence in "Singin in the Rain". I don't know how he did it.

Eric Walla  •  Link

My mind has Sam doing a little impromptu dance all on his own ("this interpretive dance will show you how I feel"), but obviously he is taking part with the full company, correct?

OT: Carl, you mean Donald O'Connor, don't you?

Ralph Berry  •  Link

Re the quote from 27/03/1661 by Terry, "a noise of fiddlers".

Does anyone know if "noise" a old collective noun for fiddlers, or was Sam just being wonderfully onamatopoeic?

Mary  •  Link

17th Century dance.

There is some useful information at

Sam and company were more likely to be dancing country (i.e. not 'courtly) dances. The courtly dances were beginning to introduce much more emphasis on stylized footwork and arm-movements; beginning to look rather balletic.

Claire  •  Link

From 27 March 1661:

"Bradford on Sat 27 Mar 2004, 11:22pm.

“there being a noise of fiddlers there”: not an opinion of their playing, but a term for a “band, group of musical instruments playing together” (L&M Companion, Large Glossary). A contrast to the alternate term, “consort.”

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I suspect Bess felt much better the moment Mrs. Knipp left.

Geoff Hallett  •  Link

I am in London in February for a few days and will have some spare time. What, if any, are the best genuine Pepys haunts to visit? I am still thoroughly enjoying the site and all your annotations.

Mary  •  Link

St. Olave's Church, Hart Street (close by the Tower of London) has to be the No.1 priority. Both Sam and Elizabeth were buried there and it is there that you can see the bust of Elizabeth that Sam had installed after her death.

As for a good, comprehensive walking-route, I defer to Glyn.

If you have a chance to travel out of London, the Historic Naval Dockyard at Chatham is well worth a visit - but wrap up warm in February! The wind can whistle in across the river on a cold day.

Margaret  •  Link

Geoff--if you have the time, take a boat to Greenwich. Pepys spent a lot of time there, and there's a room in the observatory that looks much the same as it did when Pepys used it.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Dancing and Prancing:
Donald O'Connor, right you are. We'll follow Sam's lead, have a glass of sexy wine, and everybody dance. True ease in writing comes by Art, not Chance, as those move easiest who have learned to dance. But jumping up and down Elizabethan style will do.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"I danced, who never did in company in my life"
Ah!so thats why he used to be so jealous of his wife's dance master in the past! Shame on you clumsy Sam;no sense of rhytm!

Glyn  •  Link

Geoff, the "Friends of the City of London Churches" have arranged a Pepys walk on a Sunday in Feb:

"Saturday 7 February 11am Samuel Pepys: City of London

A guided walk through Restoration London with Karen Chester. Meet Tower Hill tube, by the statue of Trajan (some- times mistaken for Hadrian!) Samuel Pepys ( 1633-1703) was a respected civil servant and a Member of Parliament. But most of us don't remember him for that. We remember him for the secret diary in which he recorded his candid and uncensored opinions of the people he met and the events he witnessed. His first-hand accounts of the Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666 still bring17th-century London vividly to life. This walk will last about 2½ hours, with a convivial coffee break along the way."

If that isn't suitable, I put together a couple of self-guided walks which are here:…

which have a bit of Pepys and a lot of pubs. I keep meaning to do the third final one, but am more lazy than Phil is who keeps this site running.

I very much agree about visiting St Olave's church, especially on a lunchtime when they often have free music recitals by students.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Hummmm. Lots of people seem to be aware of Pepys' fascination with Mrs. Knipp.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Like Eric Walla, I too wondered if Elizabeth ever changed out of her nightgown and wore a coat, it being February. I don’t suppose she would have gone out without changing, though. Not a detail Sam would think was worth recording.

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