Saturday 24 February 1665/66

All the morning at the office till past three o’clock. At that houre home and eat a bit alone, my wife being gone out. So abroad by coach with Mr. Hill, who staid for me to speake about business, and he and I to Hales’s, where I find my wife and her woman, and Pierce and Knipp, and there sung and was mighty merry, and I joyed myself in it; but vexed at first to find my wife’s picture not so like as I expected; but it was only his having finished one part, and not another, of the face; but, before I went, I was satisfied it will be an excellent picture. Here we had ale and cakes and mighty merry, and sung my song, which she [Knipp] now sings bravely, and makes me proud of myself.

Thence left my wife to go home with Mrs. Pierce, while I home to the office, and there pretty late, and to bed, after fitting myself for to-morrow’s journey.

19 Annotations

First Reading

cgs  •  Link

The broad canvass sitting on its easel waiting for a dab here, there and every where.
A shout here, a smirk there, "no Hales old boy, the ear be lower," says one "not enough skin there on the upper torso' says another, "not enough twinkle" says another one: and there be Bess trying not to laugh as someone rearranges a tress.....

Nix  •  Link

"Here we had ale and cakes and mighty merry, and sung my song" --

Out o' tune, sir? ye lie. Art any more than a steward? Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?

Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene 3

Nix  •  Link

“Here we had ale and cakes and mighty merry, and sung my song” —

Better beans and bacon in peace
than cakes and ale in fear.

Aesop, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

Lawrence  •  Link

"but vexed at first to find my wife’s picture not so like as I expected; but it was only his having finished one part, and not another, of the face; but, before I went, I was satisfied it will be an excellent picture"
Pepys was there late afternoon, February 24th! that's (new style) equivalent to our 13th, so must have been working by candle light? And Hayles is in his 66th year, what a lovely afternoon he had with Pepys and friends there?

cape henry  •  Link

"...before I went, I was satisfied it will be an excellent picture." As I alluded in a post a day or so back, portrait painting was frequently a stressful undertaking for both parties and the outcome was always negotiated right up until the end. All sorts of idiosyncratic details could enter in to the process, down to the buckles on shoes, the appearance of a mole, or the perceived richness of the furnishings and clothes. Unless the painter was of sufficient reputation and skill, he was often at a disadvantage in working with a wealthy, demanding patron.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Any jazzbo can lay down a tune like Beauty Retire, and not remember a thing about it after the sounds fade. There is Mrs Knipp singing his song, Beauty Retire, and it probably sounded like a million dollars, George Beverly Shea could sing Mary had A Little Lamb, and it would sound great. I have the notes to Beauty Retire, it's all right, follows the right formulas we now know, which they didn't know back then. Sam was probably gobsmacked at it all, yay Sam.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The three Bessies. So Bess Pierce is escaping that housefull of children and Bess Knipp is enjoying a few hours away from Chris' charms...While our own Bess is for once the belle of the ball. I wonder if this is the first time she's spent a lot of time with somewhat more sophisticated ladies like court-experienced, prize-goods-securing Pierce and the bread-winning actress Knipp. They seem to be very enjoyable company but I wonder if Sam realizes what he may be potentially unleashing.

Still, he seems to be delighting in his harem...Would be interesting should Knipp have a bit too much of that ale and mention where Sam's artistic interests in her have sometimes led him.

"Ah, Pepys. I heard there was quite a party going on here at ole Halys."

"Your Majesty." deep bow. "Pardon me...Majesties." Quick second bow to the beaming Queen.

"Cathy, what do you think? Shall we have Halys do you after he's finished the lovely Mrs. P?" Charles eyes portrait. "Oh, come man, a little more of that remarkable bosum." nudges Halys who sighs.

What next...? Bow and forced smile to Catherine who takes stool by him, kindly remarking to Bess on her erect carriage.

"Jamie!" Charles waves. "Come in, come in...You were quite right about our boy Pepys' artistic tastes. Sister-in-law, come and see what Halys is up to...Isn't that quite a portrait?"

"Mrs...Knipp?" Jamie eyes the beaming Knipp. "Caught you in that last production, you were excellent."

"Oh, a minor part, your Grace..."

"Nonsense. No small parts as they say, eh?" Jamie waves hand.

"Is that music?" Charlie strides over to where Sam is helping Pierce steady the music stand.

"A little work of my own, Sire...Mrs. Knipp was kind enough to give us a little test of a performance while we waited."

"Why, Pepys. Well, we must hear this. 'Beauty Retire', eh? Jamie, our boy here has been hiding his talent. Cathy, come and see what Samuel here has cooked up."

"Oh, my. It looks wonderful, may I try it out?" Catherine asks Sam with slightly accented voice.

"Majesty? I didn't know you..."

"No, she plays, Samuel." Charles explains as Catherine takes up viola. "All right, where's our glorious vocal section. Mrs. Pierce, you have a fine soprano, lets put you with our dear Knipp...Jamie, you back up Cathy on recorder and I can provide a little tenor. Where's our composer? Pepys, show us where we all come in..."

Catherine, swallowing cake hastily, eagerly warming up. Knipp and Pierce taking position...

Halys grits teeth, Bess giving sympathetic glance...


"Sire? Ah, so you are all here..." hearty voice of Prince Rupert, entering with aides.

"Rupert, just in time. Take a pitcher of ale and come over by me. Our baritone, Samuel." Charles waves the Prince over.

"Very nice..." Rupert eyes Bess, then portrait, leaning over grim-faced Halys. "Both portrait and subject... So, what are we singing here? A good ballad, I hope. Boys..." turns to aides. "All in good voice, aren't we?"

"Yes, sir!!" chorus by chorus.

"Ballads later..." Charles waves him over... "First, our Pepys' new work... All right, gentlemen of our chorus over here..."

Geoff Hallett  •  Link

Thanks to anyone who offered advice on tracing Sam's footsteps while in London. Glyn,s walks were very helpful.
From the Tower to Seething Lane, St Olave's, Pudding Lane, Monument, Leadenhall Market, Exchange, Old Cock in Fleet Street,(Mrs Knipps place) 'The Coffee House in Cornhill', renamed The Jamaica Winehouse, The Pope's Head and Whitehall.
What surprises is Sam didn't have far to walk for any of these Whitehall being the farthest. All very compact. We came across The Cheshire Cheese, rebuilt 1667 in Wine Office Court off Fleet Street, Dr Johnson's house is in there and visited by Dickens, well worth a look. Don't go in your best clothes. Any mention in the Diary? All very enjoyable, thanks again.

Bradford  •  Link

And since "Beauty Retires," even at a moderate pace, lasts but about 2 minutes, no doubt the Replay button was punched many times.

jeannine  •  Link

"And Hayles is in his 66th year, what a lovely afternoon he had with Pepys and friends there?"

Thanks Lawrence for the information on Hayles. I did a quick Google Images search the other day to see if there was a portrait OF him... why do you ask... I could not for the life of me understand why Sam had no jealousy when Elizabeth went off to see him alone. I figured he was either very ugly or very old and NOTHING like her dashing dance teacher Mr. Pembleton (whom I so dearly miss!).

Ruben  •  Link

I posted a note in "music" but now I think it should have been posted here. So, this is a repetition:

Romain Rolland was not only a novelist (and a Nobel prize winer) but also wrote many historical books, some of them about music.
In one of them, published in 1922, “A musical tour through the land of the past” he dedicates a chapter to “An English Amateur” all of it about Pepys!
It is the perfect monograph about music, Pepys and his time in spite of the 90 years that passed.
Rolland did not know that Sheldon was the one that developed the tachigraphic writing used by Pepys.
You can find the book in English in Toronto’s University library:…
Rolland's work should be posted to "in-depth articles"?

Brian  •  Link

Does anyone have a sense of how much money Sam is laying out for these portraits? I imagine it must be quite a lot.

Ruben  •  Link

be patient. In due time Pepys will tell us how much he is paying.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Rather a bit costly, Halys." Sam eyes bill.

"Immortality has its price, Mr. Pepys. But for such a man as you, with your career..." Halys, knowing nod.


Two hours later...

"Bit steep, Mr. Halys." Uncle Wight eyes bill.

"Immortality has its price, Mr. Wight. But for such a man as, with your career..." Halys, knowing nod.



cgs  •  Link

If ye ask how much -ye kannai afford the services.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

many thanks jp morg,er,cgs

djc  •  Link

"February 24th! that’s (new style) equivalent to our 13th, so must have been working by candle light?"

No new style moves the calendar forward to catch up with the solar cycle. So end of year moves from 25 March to 5 April (cf UK tax year). So Feb 24 for Pepys is our Mar 4th. Its getting light.

Lawrence  •  Link

Thanks djc, saw my error when I came on tonight, you're right, hence the tax year being moved to the 5th of April!!

Second Reading

arby  •  Link

Thanks Ruben a decade in the past, a wonderful link.

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