Saturday 25 August 1666

All the morning at the office. At noon dined at home, and after dinner up to my new closett, which pleases me mightily, and there I proceeded to put many things in order as far as I had time, and then set it in washing, and stood by myself a great while to see it washed; and then to the office, and then wrote my letters and other things, and then in mighty good humour home to supper and to bed.

15 Annotations

First Reading

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Tidy Sam! A little Obsessive-Compulsive?

Robert Gertz  •  Link


That den of inquity, the Vatican...

Where even now the final plans for the latest move against the heretic powers are being set in motion...

And celebration is in progress...

Though perhaps a tad too soon...

"Ah, ha, ha, ha!!!!" shrill laughter ringing out through the vast halls of papal power at St. Peter's.

"Look, look my cardinals!" His H kicks at a vast model to quarter scale of London, knocking over by chance the home and new closet of a certain Diarist. "Soon it will all be leveled...The traitors brought low, their greatest city in ruins! A fitting revenge at last for the rank traitor Henry. Yes, yes there will be a warm autumn this year, my friends!! Ah, ha, ha, ha!!" glance at cadre of cardinals and minions...Likewise engaged in expressing perhaps somewhat more forced mirth.

"Mark the time, boy..." wave to young priest who inserts a marker in a large wall calendar.

"Seven days left and counting, Holiness..."

Hmmn...One cardinal frowns at the projected devastation.

If triggering a war between the heretic powers and wiping out the population with plague didn't break them, somehow I just don't see...

"I sense a disturbing lack of faith in you, Cardinal." narrow, cold stare.


"Not at all your Holiness...The heretics will be begging for Your Holiness' clemency. I was just thinking it is such a shame to lose so much valuable property, your Holiness."

"Our agents in London are insured..." chuckle...

"In Amsterdam...Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!" Laughter taken up with a slight degree of urging by the general group...

Two birds with one baker's stove...One does have to admit...The cardinal nods.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: Sam's OCD

I'm sure all of us can empathize the pride Sam feels in having a vision involving his home come fully into fruition. This is *his* space, and he's both proud of it and excited about it...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"At last my new closet is complete, Bess. Our home finally nears perfection...A few minor additions and our felicity is at its pitch. No man in England can be more content in his home."

"Sam'l. This all smacks of hubris, you know. And I've been having bad dreams...In French. And you know what that means."


"Either doom approaches us..." sigh...

"Nonsense, Bess. Don't worry our guests..." eyes Mrs. Wood, Knipp, Mary Batelier and mates over in corner.

"Or you're having your way with other women and expressing in French somewhere..."

"I suppose doom is always at bay..." Sam hastily notes. "War, plague, disfavor of the King...Or Lady Castlemaine. Job dislocation is always possible."

"Sam'l. I'm talking doomsday. Apocalypse...We've already got war and pestilence."

Narrow look... "Though Knipp was going on quite a lot about your 'sweetness and charm' the other day...'Oh, Mrs. P, Samuel is such a clever, charming man'..."

"Really...?" Ummn... "Uh, Doomsday, you were saying..."

"And I'm not the only one...Every soothsayer in London is predicting disaster."

"It's true, Mr. P." Mercer chimes in... "So I have heard as well...One hears much when one is in the profession." Knipp having picked up on the conversation...

She's just over pregnancy...I won't ask what profession, Bess thinks.

"Every soothsayer in London has been predicting disaster the whole past year...And given the plague and war and financial crisis, it's been hard for them to be wrong."


"Bess, what could we do in any case? Go to the King and suggest we do something about all the flammable materials stored in all those hovels and shops emptied by the plague? Don't be ridiculous, my poor wretch...Indeed ladies, at such a time, there's only one thing to do..."

"Run like Hell...I'll have Jane start packing up." Bess nods.

"Bess..." She sighs, but halts. "Gentlemen..." wave to musicians...

"Dear..." offers hand which a reluctant Bess takes...

"There may be trouble ahead... (music begins as Sam leads Bess to floor...)

But while there's moonlight and music and love and romance... (spins her round)

Lets face the music and dance..."

"Oh...Damn you...You lil'..." she grins.

"Soon we may be without St. Paul's...

Watching the burning walls and then...

There may be teardrops to shed...

But while's there moonlight, and music, and love and romance...

Lets face the music and dance..." stumbles.

("I tole you we needed more lessons..."

"Not on your life...")

"Dance...Lets face the music and dance." Swings on to take Knipp for another round.

"Oh, Mr. P. is so grand..." Mercer beams...

"Yeah..." Bess sighs...Forgetting to frown at the incursion.

Sam passes, waves, singing...

Say...? Was that... "Lets get in every girl's pants" on that last passby? she glares.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In trying to understand this brief entry, I wonder who-all is washing up the closett. Methought 'twas SP, BUT that he recalls he "stood by myself a great while to see it washed" takes me aback.

Thanks for the choreography, RG.

Mary  •  Link

Who does the washing of the closett?

Presumably the girl, who is employed as a maid of all work. Sam would be the person least likely to take a hand in this. His position is purely supervisory in this menial task.

in washing = a-washing = being washed.

jeannine  •  Link

Who wouldn't love to gaze at their newly cleaned and buffed up home (closett, office, kitchen, etc.?) where someone else has done the work! As much as we comment that Sam may have a little OCD going in the clean up department, I'm kind of jealous that I can't come home from work and find the cleaning crew waiting to take direction from me. There is something really nice about having everything in order and all nice and clean. In our house the only time the house really looks great is when we're having company. The other time our homes have looked FANTASTIC were when we were trying to sell them!

So, here is my cleaning story of the day. This is the one I use to threaten my husband and daughter to get them to pick up their things. When I was younger my mother was after my brothers to clean their room (aka, the "disaster zone"). She made some comment to my father about it and he said, 'don't worry dear, I'll see that it's spotless by 12:15". He then told my brothers to have the room totally cleaned by 12:00 and he would inspect it. They did nothing all morning and ignored him too. At 11:45 my father went into the basement and hauled 3 large metal trash cans to the bottom of the stairs that led to their room. One brother asked, "what are those for?" and my dad explained that "at 12:00 he was going to start his inspection and anything that he thought was out of place was going right into the trash can and he would then haul it off to the town dump, because if it wasn't worth putting it away properly and taking care of it, it wasn't worth having". The next 15 minutes were like an Olympic cleaning time trial, and all was put in order in lightening speed. So, when things get overwhelmingly cluttered at home, I can simply ask 'would you like to straighten up your stuff, or would you like me to get a trash barrel and do it for you?" This is probably the closest I'll ever get to having a few moments of dedicated help.

Ruben  •  Link

this is not news, really, but at Pepys times for one person that had the house cleaned by others, there were many others doing the hard work: the cleaning, the washing, the cooking, the errands, etc. It sounds not that much till you realize that just for cooking you needed to have fire, and there was not a gas or electricity supplier in those days. So you needed a place in the cellar for the coal, someone bringing the coal in from the supplier once in a while, someone picking the coal used during the day in a bucket to bring it to the kitchen. I do not know how they started a fire in Pepys days, but I presume it was not always ease, so someone was responsible that the fire did not die out. Someone buying not refrigerated food at the market, someone cleaning the food without the benefit of running water, or an exhaust for the used water. And if you had no oven, sending your pie to the bakery and picking it up later.
Indeed it was good to be the Master but not that good to be in every other role, may I say.
It is only lately that housework has become easier in the West, so housewifes have time to spare... but then they become slaves somewhere else, so they can pay for the appliances that make life easier :)

arby  •  Link

The "stood by myself... to see it washed" could mean he stood back and admired it after it was washed. But does he mean whitewashed (painted), or does he mean scrubbed? rb

Mary  •  Link

I suppose that 'washed' could mean 'lime-washed' - but surely you would arrange for that to be done before the beautiful, new presses were installed, rather than after. You won't want the paint to splash on that lovely wood.

classicist  •  Link

'You won't want the point to splash on that lovely wood'--or indeed, the newly purchased purple drapery for the walls. I expect the maids were clearing up the dust and rubbish left by the building work.

Second Reading

Matt Newton  •  Link

Closett dimensions.
Anyone any thoughts on the possible size of the room?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Matt Newton, you asked the damnedest questions. How the heck would we know? The building burned down in the 1670's.

JayW  •  Link

Matt Newton Note from yesterday:
These presses still exist, and, according to Pepys’s wish, they are placed in the second court of Magdalene College in a room which they exactly fit, and the books are arranged in the presses just as they were when presented to the college.

There are some photos online which show large spaces between the presses, but would give you a rough idea of the space needed.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys lived for another 45 years ... are we sure he never had more bookcases made? He collected books his entire life. Jay's excellent suggestion might tell you how big his closett was when he died.

Log in to post an annotation.

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