Friday 6 April 1666

Up mighty betimes upon my wife’s going this day toward Brampton. I could not go to the coach with her, but W. Hewer did and hath leave from me to go the whole day’s journey with her. All the morning upon business at the office, and at noon dined, and Mrs. Hunt coming lent her 5l. on her occasions and so carried her to Axe Yard end at Westminster and there left her, a good and understanding woman, and her husband I perceive thrives mightily in his business of the Excise.

Thence to Mr. Hales and there sat, and my picture almost finished, which by the word of Mr. and Mrs. Pierce (who come in accidently) is mighty like, and I am sure I am mightily pleased both in the thing and the posture. Thence with them home a little, and so to White Hall and there met by agreement with Sir Stephen Fox and Mr. Ashburnham, and discoursed the business of our Excise tallys; the former being Treasurer of the guards, and the other Cofferer of the King’s household. I benefitted much by their discourse. We come to no great conclusion upon our discourse, but parted, and I home, where all things, methinks, melancholy in the absence of my wife.

This day great newes of the Swedes declaring for us against the Dutch, and, so far as that, I believe it. After a little supper to bed.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

"I home, where all things, methinks, melancholy in the absence of my wife." Pepys meets Lucretius: the tears in things! But only too true, especially when that absence is a permanent one.

Lawrence  •  Link

"Mrs. Hunt coming lent her 5l. on her occasions"

What does that mean, anyone enlighten me?

"This day great newes of the Swedes declaring for us against the Dutch, and, so far as that, I believe it"

This seem's a bit of a tall story to me, but I suppose Pepys' is in the circles that are in the know?

JWB  •  Link

Ahh, those Swedes:

"Sweden sympathised with England but did not enter the war...In July France had paid some 200,000 livres for neutrality ..." p 152, "The Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667)", Gijs Rommelse

cape henry  •  Link

Could it be that "occasion" here is one of those financial terms of art that pop into currency [i.e. credit default swaps]that Pepys has picked up at the Exchange? And if Mr. Hunt is thriving "mightily" at his business, then why would Mrs. Hunt need to borrow L5 at interest? --other than obviously, she has an occasion...

Mary  •  Link

Loan of £5 to Mrs. Hunt.

One wonders whether Mrs. Hunt dropped in on the off-chance that Sam would lend her the money, or whether this arrangement had been agreed beforehand. The latter seems the more likely but, as Cape Henry remarks, why the need for the loan if her husband is doing so well? If he's a tight-fisted man, then Mrs. H. may have difficulty in paying the money back.

Has Sam allowed sentiment to overrule scruple for once?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The Hunts are old friends of both Sam and Bess and I'd guess the 5Ls is part investment, part pay-back for earlier kindnesses and gifts. If Mrs. Hunt runs one end of the family businesses, while John earns the base salary at the Excise, it may be they need capital to expand and 5Ls to a small merchant would be a sizable sum.

Besides our boy's in both a wheeler-dealer mood...2000Ls on W.Warren, 500L on plate, 500L on prize goods, what's a little 5L investment on a reliable old friend?...And melancholy for the Absent One, whom Mrs. H must be a fond reminder of.


Will Hewer gets the day off with Bess, eh? Of course Mercer is probably with them. Ought to make for quite a grand entrance at Brampton.

"So unable to reach decision, Henry VI really is sending the she-wolf of France to deal with us...?"

"Shut up, Johnny..." Pall glares.


Alone at last with my own Bess...Will muses, eyeing the resplendent Bess on her coach seat.

Mercer conveniently left behind...

Now...What to do? What rule book to follow?


What Would Sam Do?

Lets see...What was that passage?

"'Cosi mi mano supra avec...?'..." What the hell was Mr. Pepys talking about there?

"Will? Why are you whispering in that gibberish of Sam'l's?"


"He always starts jabbering like that when he's writing in his room...That weird mix of words."

"Ah...Ummn...Naval code, Ma'am..."

"Really? Seems a bit risque, some of it."

"Exactly ma'am. Who'd ever suspect?"

"Ah. Sam'l is amazing, isn't he?" she beams.

"Aye, ma'am."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Only two hours left to Brampton...A whole day alone with the divine Mrs. P. shot if I don't make a move soon...

And worst, now she's asleep and...Well, wouldn't choose to it snoring, exactly...Can angels snore?

But it does sound something like Mr. Pepys described once...

Still, what could be more lovely...Just like her portrait...

But now what...

What Would Sam Do?

Little Sam appears on Hewer's left shoulder...And he's not wearing wings...

"The time is best when the lady is drunk or unconscious, boy...Go for it...You can always say the coach rocked you off your seat. Come, lad...Tis a fine-looking lass and such opportunity may never come again. Show you're truly my star pupil and spiritual son. Let the lust floooww... Heh, heh...Uh. Wait, is that Bess?"

Go for it, right...Hewer tenses.

"Now wait a bit...Is that my Bess, you little...Keep off!!" Whack, whack...Little Sam slapping at the dodging Hewer.

"Hewer, you're fired!"


"Will?" Bess stares at the suddenly awake Hewer...


"You were moaning in your sleep about Mr. Pepys. Will, is there trouble in the office? Sam'l working you too hard these days?"

"Oh,no, ma'am. Mr. P is always very kind."


"Will? Are you alright?" Bess eyes him.

"Yes, ma'am. Sorry."

"Sam'l works you too hard. I'm glad you have a day off with me, wish he'd take one. But, Will..." smile.
"You will rip my clothes off and make passionate love in the fields to me when we get to my in-laws?"

"Die, dog...Die!" Little Sam reappears, whacking...


"Uh..." Will stares round...

"Good. You're up. We're nearly there, and I wanted to tell you there was a reason Sam'l and I wanted you on this trip." Smile.

Will looks for little or large Sam...Hmmn...

"You're a young man who needs to be married, William. Especially after all that shouting about passion you were doing in your sleep there..." grin.

"Ma'am? I..."

"Oh,don't be bothered...Sam shouts like that all the time. But you need a wife, Will...And we were thinking that perhaps...You already being like a son to us..."

language hat  •  Link

Yes, "on her occasions" means "for her needs." OED:

A particular (esp. a personal) need, want, or requirement. Chiefly in pl.
1600 SHAKESPEARE Merchant of Venice I. i. 139 My purse, my person, my extreamest meanes Lie all vnlockt to your occasions.
1665 T. HERBERT Some Years Trav. 174 Seeing the People cut them into many sluces, and divert the stream to serve their occasions.

JWB  •  Link

Ahh, those excise men:
"March—Treasurer Southampton to the Justices of Peace of Middlesex concerning the complaint from the Excise as to the acquittal of Thomas Cole, brewer, of Twickenham, in Middlesex, who refused the Excise officers admittance. "And this hath given such encouragement to these persons that now they revile and threaten the officers when they visite them ... Understanding now that you are to meete altogether to morrow wee thought fitt to let you know that unlesse there be a great care in you, His Majestys Justices of the Peace, to countenance His Majestys officers in such particulars wherein His Majesty may be defrauded in his revenew or if elusions of the law and every formall pretence may be admitted in behalf of those that are to pay the dutie His Majestys officers will by the multitude of those they are to visit be soone discouraged and worne out ... and therefore the law being in His Majestys behalf and his revenewe the public concerne, the interpretation ought to be in his favour and not frivolous excuses admitted ...Wee thought fitt timely to pray you to consider seriously the ill consequences of such proceedings and to assure you wee must expect from you that tendernes in this affaire that as wee would have all right and justice done to the brewer soe your vigilance may prevent such frauds as the ingenuity of those that pay the dutie will soone finde out if they be not discouraged."

From: 'Entry Book: March 1666', Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 1: 1660-1667 (1904), pp. 718-723. URL:… Date accessed: 07 April 2009." Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 1…

JWB  •  Link

The Hunt bailout:
Mr. Hunt may be doing well in the excise office, but the excise office surely having a cash flow problem due to the recent disruption in the extractions market, what with the extractees dying out and all.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Cofferer of the Household

The Cofferer of the Household was formerly an office in the English and British Royal Household. Next in rank to the Comptroller, the holder paid the wages of some of the servants above and below stairs, was a member of the Board of Green Cloth, and sat with the Lord Steward in the Court of the Verge. The cofferer was usually of political rank and always a member of the Privy Council.

The office dates from the Middle Ages and the position of Cofferer of the Wardrobe. It was abolished by the Civil List and Secret Service Money Act 1782.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This day great newes of the Swedes declaring for us against the Dutch, and, so far as that, I believe it."

L&M: It was, however, untrue. Since January, the English envoy, Henry Coventry had been trying to tempt Sweden into supporting England against the Dutch and the Danes, but without success. Pepys's story perhaps derived from the news in the London Gazette of 5 April that the Swedes were angry with the Danes and concerned about freedom of the Baltic. See… and…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"met by agreement with Sir Stephen Fox and Mr. Ashburnham, and discoursed the business of our Excise tallys; the former being Treasurer of the guards, and the other Cofferer of the King’s household. "

Payment for the Guards, the Household and for Tangier had all been secured on the revenue from the excise. (Per L&M note)

john  •  Link

"I could not go to the coach with her, but W. Hewer did and hath leave from me to go the whole day’s journey with her."

Was Will paid for this, I wonder, or simply regarded as part of his duties (as Pepys was the boss)?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

John, they had a more fluid understanding of work and not work, and between friend and work relationships. You employed people you liked and trusted; Hewer had lived with the Pepys and had looked out for Elizabeth for years; his day out freed Sam up from having to ride with Elizabeth -- highwaymen were a problem at the time. So I think this would be regarded as (a welcome) part of his custodial duties.

Log in to post an annotation.

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