Saturday 1 September 1666

Up and at the office all the morning, and then dined at home. Got my new closet made mighty clean against to-morrow. Sir W. Pen and my wife and Mercer and I to “Polichinelly,” but were there horribly frighted to see Young Killigrew come in with a great many more young sparks; but we hid ourselves, so as we think they did not see us. By and by, they went away, and then we were at rest again; and so, the play being done, we to Islington, and there eat and drank and mighty merry; and so home singing, and, after a letter or two at the office, to bed.

33 Annotations

First Reading

Michael L  •  Link

"but were there horribly frighted to see Young Killigrew come in with a great many more young sparks; but we hid ourselves..."

Ironically, Sam seems to have a proper fear of the dangers of sparks today.

But does anyone know what Sam is actually worried about here? A night club raid? Being caught having fun during business hours? A creditor?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"But does anyone know what Sam is actually worried about here? "

L&M note Killegrew's position as a Groom of the Bedchamber to the Duke of York makes him a possible informer and think the fright is "Being caught having fun during business hours?"

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"young sparks"

O.E. spearca, from P.Gmc. *spark- (cf. M.L.G. sparke, M.Du. spranke, not found in other Gmc. languages). Electrical sense dates from 1748. Slang sense of "a gallant, a beau, a lover" (c.1600) is perhaps a fig. use, but also perhaps from cognate O.N. sparkr "lively."…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Young blades, young sparks, young men about town, and just the type to make a sarcastic comment around the Court on finding half the Naval Office out at an entertainment in early afternoon during wartime.

Can't imagine Admiral Sir Will being "frighted" to see Tom Killigrew's younger brother...Unless he feared having to run the young whippersnapper through.

But speaking of sparks...And to quote Moe Howard... "You must be psychic" Sam.


But it will be your moment, Mr. Pepys, citizen reporter, master dramatist...And we are privileged to be at your side.

Alec  •  Link

Strange smell of burning from Pudding Lane...

Alec  •  Link

>> Sir W. Pen and my wife and Mercer and I to “Polichinelly,”

Although Sam is using the French term here, when he first saw this originator of Mr Punch, he referred to it simply as an Italian puppet play:…

Oh, enough of this flummery... save the parmesan, Sam!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

5am Paris, September 2nd.

"What do you mean good news and bad?" Louis demands of aide.

"Sire. St. Michel managed to destroy the super mirror."

"Bad. Yes."

"But not before our initial burst."


"We won't vaporize London as we'd hoped."


"But we will set it aflame...The target was hit...The fires have started."


"However...St Michel induced a slight extra deflection which caused a bit of a problem...Though it did demonstrate the full vaporizing effect."

"Potentially fatal...To you."

"Your Majesty was planning to completely redo Versailles anyway..."


Alec  •  Link

Another good frynde of mine and principled blogger, George Orwell is reporting trouble in Poland. I realize they're different time-lines, but uncanny, eh?…

CGS  •  Link

Young men with no responsibilities, with lots of angels, coin and flesh, with unlimited privileges, and no one around to curtail their licentious ways have always created havoc amongst the over 30's, and still do.

Wot with " you know who I am, 'me' papa be the blankedy blank of much binding in the dirt.
Then it was connections to top 1% of power, now it is poppy extract or extract of leaf etc..

Robert Gertz  •  Link


Jane!!! Wake up!!!

Just think...If the real heroine of the fire, our Jane had just had to go over to Pudding Lane a little early.

"Christ! What the devil were you people doing lettin' that oven go on? I've a mind to report you to the watch...If I'd not been here to rouse you for Mr. P's pies for today, the whole city might have burned down." Jane fuming at blinking, newly roused baker, shakes head...Setting bucket down.

Michael L  •  Link

My, there is certainly a sudden increase in comments the past few days in anticipation of future events. I'm getting the impression that my fellow Pepys fans would show up nice and early to grab choice seats for a public hanging, and then sit around and cheerfully discuss the choice of rope while waiting for the show.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

In the foregoing vein

"we to Islington, and there eat and drank and mighty merry"

for tomorrow....

CGS  •  Link

"the choice of rope while waiting for the show." Nah! 'tis the knot that counts.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I'd be more interested in the professionalism of the hangman...Can he do the job with a quick break? And of course the bearing of the object of the matter...The noble and courageous and innocent Sir Henry Vane being the best of such to date.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Then too of course in Charles' show trials there's the spectacle of watching men like Sandwich squirm as they preside over the judicial murder of old comrades and friends.

Phoenix  •  Link

September 1, 1666:
The Dutch and British fleets shadow one another. Seamen curse stinking beer. The sick are put ashore and men pressed from colliers are put to work. A Dutch ship explodes off the coast, Dover trembles from the shock wave. Sam Langford informs Pepys the victualling ships are inadequately crewed (is he dealing with this today?) Four year old Tim Longfield is mourned by his parents in Yorkshire. Investigation continues into the knitting machine smuggling ring - Portugal implicated. Rumors Van Tromp had defected to England. Some Cowbridge rowdies in prison wait to be hanged. Pepys receives credit and cash accounts from Langford and accounts for August from Hosier. Aphara Behn, organizing an espionage ring in Holland, needs money. Sam dreams of gilding books. The king orders a tasty pastry for supper - perhaps. Thomas Farynor tends his oven.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

A crystal moment in history...Old London sleeping...

410...Unconquered Rome, surrounded by Goths...Situation increasingly desperate, the emperor Honorius playing the waiting game in Ravenna. A gate is approached.

1453...Once only betrayed Constantinople besieged by an ambitious young Sultan, the last courageous Roman emperor Constantine XI bracing for the assault.

1775...The British commander in Boston decides to disarm some troublemaking Colonials and grab a few of the ringleaders. The departing troops fail to notice they've been spotted.

1789...Louis XVI agrees to summon an Estates General to handle the French financial problem...

1863...James Longstreet gets in a snit and obeys General Lee's orders...To the letter. If the General didn't say take that unoccupied hill...

1871...Quiet Chicago...An upset cow?

1903...A couple of bicycle mechanics have a successful day in North Carolina with their "hobby".

1905...A well-meaning priest in the pay of the Tsarist police gathers some followers to seek a favorable response to their petition from their beloved Tsar.

1906...Ground shifts just a bit under San Francisco.

1914...Franz Ferdinand's driver takes a wrong turn.

1917...German military intelligence has a bright idea about an obscure Russian radical living in Switzerland.

1941...Soviet Union awaiting a peaceful Sunday morning, assured by the great one that all is well, nervous commanders warned to ignore "provocations" from the German side.

1941...The American battle fleet riding quietly at anchor on a peaceful Sunday morning...A vital intelligence message receiving little urgency, the operators of a primitive radar system puzzled by an odd signal, probably a "malfunction".

1985...Mikhail Gorbachev sitting on a bench telling his companion "we can't go on living like this".

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"Your Majesty..." anxious Pepys just let in bows to Charles.

"Pepys? Just the fellow musician I could have wished for...Have a listen to my latest..." lifts bow...

"Uh...Sire? Really not the time for fiddling..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Ok, one last one...Only because many have compared the two...


One week from now...

"Well...Despite the destruction, we have survived, Sam, my dear friend." Coventry smiles in rare moment of comradery.

"Indeed, Sir Will..."

"Samuel. I must say this. I know you like to keep notes of everything and careful accounts of all. But though God has protected us, the world cannot know what happened this week."

"I know, Sir Will...Humanity would surely panic if all knew advanced alien societies were attempting invasions of Earth. I'll just follow the line the government has chosen and say it was a great fire."

"Well...The government would in fact like a report by one of your ability, Sam. Just it will have to be kept topmost secret."



"Herbie? What is it you got there?"

"Found it in a box of old junk in the shop...Here..."

"'The true account of the events of September 1666' by Samuel Pepys... 'Hidden for reasons of state security, 1666...For His Majesty's eyes only'...Ha...Come on, Herbie."

"Ay, but look at the drawings..."

classicist  •  Link

While I agree SP is worried about being spotted at an entertainment during work hours, is the identification of 'Young Killigrew' as Henry certain? A man born in 1613 would have been 53 in 1666, and while the 'Young' might have stuck to a fifth son even when gray, it seems odd that he comes along to the show accompanied by 'young sparks'if he's that old.

Joshua  •  Link

“but were there horribly frighted to see Young Killigrew come in with a great many more young sparks; but we hid ourselves…”

I don't believe that "frighted" here is used in the sense of "causing fear in" but instead "filling with apprehension" or being "unpleasantly surprised."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"is the identification of ‘Young Killigrew’ as Henry certain?"

I assume Phil is relying on the L&M footnote that makes this ID.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Young Killigrew

Perusal of Wikipedia reveals a number of Killigrews in London who were "young" at the time. The likeliest subject of this reference is Henry, son of the Groom of the Bedchamber, the playwright Thomas Killigrew. Baptised in April 1637 he would have been perhaps 29 at the time of the diary entry.

Joshua  •  Link

"The likeliest subject of this reference is Henry"

If it was that particular Killigrew then Pepys had reason to be wary of him:

1) "Harry Killigrew, her cousin, son of her uncle Thomas, had been in the service of the Duke of York."

2) "Twice Harry fell into terrible trouble, each time appearing as the hero of a story with the utmost disadvantage. The first time, 1666, he spoke with such coarse freedom of Lady Castlemaine, that she rushed to the king in a fury, and made him send to the Duke of York to ask him to dismiss young Killigrew." [Reported by Pepys]

3) "A year after, he was thrashed at the Duke's Playhouse by the Duke of Buckingham, who took away his sword, and made him cry like a craven for his life" [Reported by Pepys]

4) "Harry Killigrew ran off to France, but came back again very soon –"a rogue," Pepys calls him; and immediately on his return (1669) [Page 66] he got into fresh trouble for bragging falsely that he was a favoured lover of Lady Shrewsbury."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

“Harry Killigrew ran off to France, but came back again very soon –”a rogue,” Pepys calls him; and immediately on his return (1669) [Page 66] he got into fresh trouble for bragging falsely that he was a favoured lover of Lady Shrewsbury.”


Right...Didn't Lady Shrewsbury take a rather harsh revenge, complete with hired goons, if I remember correctly?

Definitely not a young man to allow to have something on you...

jeannine  •  Link

Henry Killigrew --I think that Joshua is probably correct here. I must admit I'm glad we have a new little trouble maker on the scene. The Diary had gotten a little boring without the Wayneman's and Captain Ferrers of the world stirring things up, and Pembleton isn't around anymore.

I just read a bio of the Duke of Buckingham "A Rake and His Times" and we definitely have not heard the last of little Killigrew, so there will be some adventures to come!

CGS  •  Link

Family clones; a chop off the old block. It is has been thought that first born be a junior edition of the master piece. The grand sire had the master gene and handed down the family key gene but it is usually a bad delusion, but non the less if the gene be wrong he carried daddy's name unless it is an obvious delusion and was a cuckoo[ld] edition.

Thus if the first legal borne clone survived the trepidations or the insecurity of growing up, usually had the christian name of the begetter, thus it always difficult to know which 'enry, jack, tom it is one is talking of, unless another appendage is attached like junior, young , I,II , III,IV etc of if if referring to 'a bad un', then Sot comes to mind, or the terrible does too.

As Papa was yet to be a true grandee then the young geezer be the terror of the neighbourhood until a good woman tames him he would be known as the young so and so . Like most newly minted monied ones allowed their images to be the scourge of the earth. It has not changed.

Joshua  •  Link

"Didn’t Lady Shrewsbury take a rather harsh revenge"


It doesn't sound as if she had much of a reputation to lose. From a 1668 entry in Pepys' Diary:

"... all the discourse of the Duel yesterday betweeen the Duke of Buckingham, Holmes, and one Jenkins on one side, and my Lord of Shrewsbury, Sir Jo. Talbot, and one Bernard Howard, on the other side; and all about my Lady Shrewsbury, who is a whore and is at this time, and hath for a great while been, a whore to the Duke of Buckingham; and so her husband challenged him, and they met yesterday in a close near Barne Elmes and there fought; and my Lord Shrewsbury is run through the body from the right breast through the shoulder, and Sir Jo. Talbot all along up one of his arms, and Jenkins killed upon the place, and the rest all in a little measure wounded.

[This formidable duel was perhaps the most notorious of the period in England. The Countess was Buckingham's mistress from 1666 to 1674. Shrewsbury died two months later.]"…

Pedro  •  Link

Duke of Buckingham “A Rake and His Times"

Sounds interesting Jeannine, you show great determination not to have slipped a few spoilers in!

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys seems to be back to the work in the morning and at night, and take the afternoons off schedule when he can get away with it.
Since money is short, beyond taking care of emergencies, there's probably not much he can initiate.

James Morgan  •  Link

I am surprised at the reported comment by L&M. My feeling about the passage is that a drunken party of "sparks" came in, and Pepys, with two women to protect sensibly took cover. I think there was a discussion somewhere of whether or not Pepys would have a sword (and I think he didn't wear one), and in any case he would be badly outnumbered if some young spark takes it in his head to insult Bess or Mercer. It's a little harder for me to imagine that anyone in this crowd of young sparks would know who Pepys is, or would think of reporting him to someone at the Court.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

While we are all hanging around waiting for the sparks to fly. This from Kind Hearts and Coronets:

Mr Elliot: Even my lamented master, the great Mr Benny himself, never had the privilege of hanging a duke. What a finale to a lifetime in the public service!
Prison Governor: Finale?
Mr Elliot: Yes, I intend to retire. After using the silken rope... never again be content with hemp.

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