Thursday 26 July 1666

Up, and to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined at home: Mr. Hunt and his wife, who is very gallant, and newly come from Cambridge, because of the sicknesse, with us. Very merry at table, and the people I do love mightily, but being in haste to go to White Hall I rose, and Mr. Hunt with me, and by coach thither, where I left him in the boarded gallery, and I by appointment to attend the Duke of Yorke at his closett, but being not come, Sir G. Carteret and I did talke together, and [he] advises me, that, if I could, I would get the papers of examination touching the business of the last year’s prizes, which concern my Lord Sandwich, out of Warcupp’s hands, who being now under disgrace and poor, he believes may be brought easily to part with them. My Lord Crew, it seems, is fearfull yet that maters may be enquired into. This I will endeavour to do, though I do not thinke it signifies much. By and by the Duke of Yorke comes and we had a meeting and, among other things, I did read my declaration of the proceedings of the Victualling hired this yeare, and desired his Royall Highnesse to give me the satisfaction of knowing whether his Royall Highnesse were pleased therewith. He told me he was, and that it was a good account, and that the business of the Victualling was much in a better condition than it was the last yeare; which did much joy me, being said in the company of my fellows, by which I shall be able with confidence to demand my salary and the rest of the subsurveyors. Thence away mightily satisfied to Mrs. Pierces, there to find my wife. Mrs. Pierce hath lain in of a boy about a month. The boy is dead this day. She lies in good state, and very pretty she is, but methinks do every day grow more and more great, and a little too much, unless they get more money than I fear they do. Thence with my wife and Mercer to my Lord Chancellor’s new house, and there carried them up to the leads, where I find my Lord Chamberlain, Lauderdale, Sir Robert Murray, and others, and do find it the most delightfull place for prospect that ever was in the world, and even ravishing me, and that is all, in short, I can say of it. Thence to Islington to our old house and eat and drank, and so round by Kingsland home, and there to the office a little and Sir W. Batten’s, but no newes at all from the fleete, and so home to bed.

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

SPOILER: London does not know this at all -- St. James's Day Battle -- Second day

"On the morning of July 26, Tromp broke off pursuit, well-pleased with his first real victory as a squadron commander. During the night, a ship had brought him the message that De Ruyter had likewise been victorious, so Tromp was in a euphoric mood. That abruptly changed upon the discovery of the drifting flagship of the dying Tjerk Hiddes de Vries. Suddenly he feared that his ship was now the only remnant of the Dutch fleet and that he was in mortal peril. Behind him, those ships of the British rear still operational had again turned to the east. In front, the other enemy squadrons surely awaited him. On the horizon only English flags were to be seen. Manoeuvring wildly, Tromp, drinking a lot of gin to restore his nerve, dodged any attempt to trap him and brought his squadron safely home in the port of Flushing.....

De Ruyter was desperate. When his second-in-command of the centre, Lieutenant-Admiral Aert Jansse van Nes visited him for a council of war, he exclaimed "With seven or eight against the mass!" He then sagged, mumbling: "What's wrong with us? I wish I were dead." His close personal friend Van Nes tried to cheer him up, joking: "Me too. But you never die when you want to!" No sooner had both men left the cabin than the table they had been sitting at was smashed by a cannonball.....

The British, however, had their own problems. ."

And that is not the end of it! Pepys and all London will find out tomorrow how things went.

(SPOIL it if you must by clicking on the link above and scrolling down. Tomorrow you will see if Pepys got the story straight.)

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"She lies in good state, and very pretty she is, but methinks do every day grow more and more great, and a little too much, unless they get more money than I fear they do."

What does Sam mean by "great" here? Is it a synonym for "haughty," and is he simply saying the Pierces are living beyond their means?

Interesting that people are fleeing the country and coming to the city to escape the plague...

arby  •  Link

Thanks for the link Terry. And to the others who comment and provide me with a wider view and explanations of Sam's words. I'm a history ninny and really appreciate the information, thanks. rb

Mary  •  Link

The 'great' Mrs. Pierce.

Certainly in danger of living beyond her husband's means. I take it that she is behaving as though she belongs to a more prosperous and more important level of society than in fact she does. Sam sounds quite piqued.

We English are irredeemably class-conscious, I think.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Well, given Betty Pierce's practical skills in helping James with protecting their prize goods earlier I'd say she's earned a decent lifestyle...And I suspect she and James have both the good sense not to overdo if danger threatened and the means to maintain such "greatness".

Sam, the woman just lost a son...A little compassion.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"He told me he was, and that it was a good account, and that the business of the Victualling was much in a better condition than it was the last yeare; which did much joy me, being said in the company of my fellows, by which I shall be able with confidence to demand my salary and the rest of the subsurveyors."

Might be more to the point to ask the sailors, Sam...

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"Is it worth the waiting for?
If we live 'til eighty four
All we ever get is gru...el!
Ev'ry day we say our prayer
Will they change the bill of fare?
Still we get the same old gru...el!
There is not a cust, not a crumb can we find,
Can we beg, can we borrow, or cadge,
But there's nothing to stop us from getting a thrill
When we all close our eyes and imag...ine

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood --
Cold jelly and custard!
Pease pudding and saveloys!
What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen like Pepys have it, boys --

Food, glorious food!
We're anxious to try it.
Three banquets a day
Our favourite diet!

Just picture a great big steak
Fried, roasted or stewed.
Oh, food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Glorous food.

Food, glorious food!
What is there more handsome?
Gulped, swallowed or chewed
Still worth a king's ransom.
What is it we dream about?
Wat brings on a sigh?
Piled pieahes and cream , about
Six feet high!

Food, glorious food!
Eat right through the menu.
Just loosen your belt
Two inches and then you
Work up a new appetite.
In this interlude
The food,
Once again, food
Fabulous food,
Glorious food.

Food, glorious food!
Don't care what it looks like
Don't care what the cook's like.
Forget Pepys' feared greasy hands...
Our senses go reeling
One moment of knowing that
Full-up feeling!

Food, glorious food!
What wouldn't we give for
That extra bit more
That's all that we live for
Why should we be fightin' with might while we
Do nothing but brood
On food,
Magical food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Fabulous food,

Beautiful food,

Glorious food."

"Here, mate...I'd be likin' some more." Sailor Oliver puts out plate...

Gasps...Crashes...Soliders grab weapons. Alarum sounded throughout the ship, the yard... Messenger runs for horse...

"Mr. Pepys! Oliver Tarr has asked for more!"

"More!!!" Sam slams down accounts book. "Mr. Hewer, am I to understand that having received the alloted victual, a mere common swabbie, a tar as one might say, has the unmigated gall to demand further rations at our beloved King's expense?! With the attendant assumed criticism of my own performance as Surveyor General of Victualing?!"

"Uh...Yes, sir."

"Well, take this letter certifying that His Grace the Duke of York has pronounced himself fully satisfied with my performance and the improvement in victualing and have it copied and distributed among the sailors. Indeed, show it to the fellow, yourself."

"Might I take a moment to draw up my will, sir?"


cgs  •  Link

Tars : yep victualing be better , more nutrients, better succulent maggots in the cheddar and the ale has a nice smokey look.

Mary  •  Link


The lying-in comes after the birth of a child, not before. According to L&M notes this boy, called Vincent, was baptised on 9th July. We don't have his birth-date, but Mrs. P. has been lying-in for about 3 weeks already and will, if all goes well, be up and about again in another week or so.

Mrs. P. may have been taking things a bit easy in the month before the child was born, but would only have begun lying-in after having been brought to child-bed.

Australian Susan  •  Link

When a birth was imminent, a lady was "confined" (i.e. stayed indoors) and the midwife was summoned. Then everyone waited. Nowadays we use the term "confinement" (if it is used at all) to refer to the birthing process only. And yes, lying in happened afterwards, when one had the "monthly nurse" who came and stayed for a month and looked after mum and baby. Ah, the good old days of the gentry.

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