Thursday 19 April 1666

Lay long in bed, so to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined with Sir W. Warren at the Pope’s Head. So back to the office, and there met with the Commissioners of the Ordnance, where Sir W. Pen being almost drunk vexed me, and the more because Mr. Chichly observed it with me, and it was a disparagement to the office. They gone I to my office. Anon comes home my wife from Brampton, not looked for till Saturday, which will hinder me of a little pleasure, but I am glad of her coming. She tells me Pall’s business with Ensum is like to go on, but I must give, and she consents to it, another 100. She says she doubts my father is in want of money, for rents come in mighty slowly. My mother grows very unpleasant and troublesome and my father mighty infirm through his old distemper, which altogether makes me mighty thoughtfull. Having heard all this and bid her welcome I to the office, where late, and so home, and after a little more talk with my wife, she to bed and I after her.

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"She says she doubts my father is in want of money"

Here methinks "doubts" means "suspects."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Nick of time, Bess...Your spider sense was tingling.

Hindered, eh?...Mary, lace up. The really odd thing being, for Sam, he's been a relatively good boy this holiday.


First time Admiral Sir Will truly looked bad...And Sam quite justified in his concern.

Nice of Bess to speak up for John Sr. and co... Says something nice too, that Sam respected her decision about Ensum's demand for 100 more and heard her out without complaint as to his dad's financial situation.

Sounds like Meg's going stir-crazy in Brampton...Geesh...Poor John Sr. groaning in pain all day, Pall probably fuming about Sam's appointing Bess to arbitrate her fate, Meg 'unpleasant' (and after they seemed to get on so well in London earlier)... It's little wonder Bess made her escape early.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"and my father mighty infirm through his old distemper"

Which is...?

Mary  •  Link

I don't believe that we know exactly what ailed John Pepys, but it cannot have been anything terribly debilitating as he lived to the ripe old age of 79.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Good point, Mary. I was wondering if perhaps John also suffered from kidney/bladder stones, but I think that was Sam's mother...?

Mary  •  Link

Yes, it was Sam's mother who suffered from kidney/bladder stones, not his father. The weakness appears to have run in her family as her sister Anne suffered similarly. Sam's brother John was also afflicted in the same way.

I can find no illuminating reference to John Sr.'s "distemper". Claire Tomalin mentions that Sam was sending his father medical advice from Dr. Hollier in the late 1670s but offers no reference to the letter or letters involved nor any mention of his particular ailment(s) at the time.

A footnote in the L&M Companion about this medical advice carries a reference to page 54 of "The Letters of Samuel Pepys and his family circle" ed. Helen T. Heath, pub. Oxford 1955.

jeannine  •  Link

The letter that Mary references appears in “The Letters of Samuel Pepys and His Family Cirlce” edited by Helen Trusedell Heath. The letter from Sam to his father leaves only more mystery to John’s ailments. It was dated 1 September, 1677 and the first paragraph reads:

“I hope e’re this come to your hand you will have received mine of the 28th of the last, with one enclosed from Mr Hollyer, to which I much long for an answer, and hope to receive it by Monday’s Post, that I may understand the present condition of your health, with the effects of his advice and what you shall please to direct me to supply your further with from hence, and particularly about some wine…”

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Didn't John wear a truss for a hernia problem? I believe Tomalin specifically refers to it as such and I remember well he once had such severe pain while with Sam that he had to be carried into a building (inn, I think) where the poor man suffered agonies until finally sleeping a little. And Sam mentioned once how glad he was that John had tolerated a ride to London with his truss. It's not hard to imagine how a hard-working tailor with many children managed to get a hernia or the agony without pain killers it inflicted.

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