Thursday 20 December 1666

Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and here among other things come Captain Cocke, and I did get him to sign me a note for the 100l. to pay for the plate he do present me with, which I am very glad of. At noon home to dinner, where was Balty come, who is well again, and the most recovered in his countenance that ever I did see. Here dined with me also Mrs. Batters, poor woman! now left a sad widow by the drowning of her husband the other day. I pity her, and will do her what kindness I can; yet I observe something of ill-nature in myself more than should be, that I am colder towards her in my charity than I should be to one so painful as he and she have been and full of kindness to their power to my wife and I. After dinner out with Balty, setting him down at the Maypole in the Strand, and then I to my Lord Bellasses, and there spoke with Mr. Moone about some business, and so away home to my business at the office, and then home to supper and to bed, after having finished the putting of little papers upon my books to be numbered hereafter.

14 Annotations

First Reading

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... I did get him to sign me a note for the 100l. to pay for the plate he do present me with, which I am very glad of. "

Proactive Pepys, even in graft, to use a modern management cliche.

CGS  •  Link

Graft,graft tut, but just a sweetener

CGS  •  Link

Christmas is coming and the House is to resolve the bill for payments for more ships, pay the sailors, biscuits, cheese, Ye must be mad, so the House be split 33 yeas and 33 nays, to sit tomorrow to come and fill the blanks with amounts that each poll group must pay .

Willy  •  Link

"The Maypole" links to "man cook," which can't be right, and the only entry for "maypole" in the Encyclopedia is to the usual item relating to May festivities.

The BBC here (…) explains the history of hackney cabs (from 1632), including this: " In 1636, the owner of four hackney coaches brought them into the Strand outside the Maypole Inn, and the first taxi rank had appeared." That's undoubtedly where Balty was set down.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... the Maypole in the Strand, ..."

Phil's summary page:…

" ... The Maypole, to which we have already referred as formerly standing on the site of the church of St. Mary-le-Strand, was called by the Puritans one of the "last remnants of vile heathenism, round which people in holiday times used to dance, quite ignorant of its original intent and meaning." Each May morning, as our readers are doubtless aware, it was customary to deck these poles with wreaths of flowers, round which the people danced pretty nearly the whole day. A severe blow was given to these merry-makings by the Puritans, and in 1644 a Parliamentary ordinance swept them all away, including this very famous one, which, according to old Stow, stood 100 feet high. On the Restoration, however, a new and loftier one was set up amid much ceremony and rejoicing. From a tract printed at the time, entitled "The Citie's Loyaltie Displayed," we learn that this Maypole was 134 feet high, and was erected upon the cost of the parishioners there adjacent, and the gracious consent of his sacred Majesty, with the illustrious Prince the Duke of York. "This tree was a most choice and remarkable piece; 'twas made below bridge and brought in two parts up to Scotland Yard, near the king's palace, and from thence it was conveyed, April 14, 1661, to the Strand, to be erected. It was brought with a streamer flourishing before it, drums beating all the way, and other sorts of musick. It was supposed to be so long that landsmen could not possibly raise it. Prince James, Duke of York, Lord High Admiral of England, commanded twelve seamen off aboard ship to come and officiate the business; whereupon they came, and brought their cables, pullies, and other tackling, and six great anchors. After these were brought three crowns, borne by three men bareheaded, and a streamer displaying all the way before them, drums beating and other musick playing, numerous multitudes of people thronging the streets, with great shouts and acclamations, all day long. The Maypole then being joined together and looped about with bands of iron, the crown and cane, with the king's arms richly gilded, was placed on the head of it; a large hoop, like a balcony, was about the middle of it. Then, amid sounds of trumpets and drums, and loud cheerings, and the shouts of the people, the Maypole, 'far more glorious, bigger, and higher than ever any one that stood before it,' was raised upright, which highly did please the Merrie Monarch and the illustrious Prince, Duke of York; and the little children did much rejoice, and ancient people did clap their hands, saying golden days began to appear." A party of morris-dancers now came forward, "finely decked with purple scarfs, in their half-shirts, with a tabor and a pipe, the ancient music, and danced round about the Maypole."

The setting up of this Maypole is said to have been the deed of a blacksmith, John Clarges, who lived hard by, and whose daughter Anne had been so fortunate in her matrimonial career as to secure for her husband no less a celebrated person than General Monk, Duke of Albemarle, in the reign of Charles II., when courtiers and princes did not always look to the highest rank for their wives. ..."

St Mary-le-Strand and the Maypole', Old and New London: Volume 3 (1878), pp. 84-88. URL:… Date accessed: 21 December 2009

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

I wonder could Sam's coldness in his charity towards poor Mrs Batters have anything to do with her not being young and attractive like some other widows?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Alas, poor Batters...We knew him, Hewer. A fellow of some (fair) ambition, of considerable kindness. A thousand times he hath paid me and Bess small courtesies...Oh, the gorge doth rise in my throat to think how rude I was to his widow.

"You fear the world too much, Sam'l. Look at how you've behaved toward poor Mrs. Batters."

"What then?...Even if I am grown so much wiser, what then?...I have not changed toward you, Bess. And I have the fresh bills from Unthankes to prove it."

"In words...And the occasional deed, no."

"In what, then?"

"In a changed nature...Not to mention fondling everything female young and middlin' attractive within groping range...In everything that I loved about you, Sam'l. I am seeing your nobler aspirations falling off one by one until the master passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not?"

"Sam'l...Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so, until, in good season, we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. You are changed. When it was made, you were another man."

"I was a boy," he said impatiently.

"Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are," she returned. "I am. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart, is fraught with misery now that we are two. How often and how keenly I have thought of this, I will not say. It is enough that I have thought of it, and can release you."

"What?! Bess, what nonsense are you spouting? We're married. Death do us part, if then. Have I ever sought release?"

"In words. No. Never."

"In what, then?"

"In a changed nature; in an altered spirit; in as I've said, chasing anything under fifty in female clothing not protected by armed men. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. If this had never been between us," said Bess, looking mildly, but with steadiness, upon him, "Tell me, would you seek me out at that bookstall and try to win me now? Follow me all over, begging me to come home after I'd walked on you? Ah, no!"

He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition, in spite of himself. But he said with a struggle, "You think not."

"I would gladly think otherwise if I could," she answered, "Heaven knows! When I have learned a Truth like this, I know how strong and irresistible it must be. But if you were free to-day, to-morrow, yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless girl--you who, in your very confidence with her, weigh everything by Gain: or, choosing her, if for a moment you were false enough to your one guiding principle to do so, do I not know that your repentance and regret would surely follow? I do; and I release you. With a full heart, for the love of him you once were."

He was about to speak; but with her head turned from him, she resumed.

"You may--the memory of what is past between us half makes me hope you will--have pain in this. A very, very brief time, and you will dismiss the recollection of it, gladly, as an unprofitable dream, from which it happened well that you awoke. May you be happy in the life you have chosen!"

She left him, and they parted.

"Spirit of the Future!" cried Pepys, "show me no more! Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me?"

"One shadow more!" exclaimed the Spirit.

"No more!" cried Pepys. "No more of the future. I don't wish to see it. Show me no more!"

Say...He eyed the grim Spirit in hooded robe.

"I thought you weren't capable of speech? And you sound..."

"Yeah?" Spirit Bess asked, pulling back hood.

Mary  •  Link

poor Batters, indeed.

Did he have a premonition that he might come to nothing? Only last year (16th February 1665) he offered to give his little daughter up to Pepys, to be brought up as Sam's child. Is this why Sam's conscience now pricks him? He's plainly not about to take this child in now, any more than he was then.

cape henry  •  Link

"...that I am colder towards her in my charity than I should be to one so painful as he and she have been and full of kindness to their power to my wife and I."

An interesting and unusual confession.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Unusual language, too! Could someone please explain the use of "painful" here, and "full of kindness to their power"?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Painful...Taking pains.

Full of kindness to their power...They're poor but have done many little kindnesses for Bess and Sam. Friendly help with a package, chase off an unwanted rogue bothering Bess at Unthankes?, remember them at Xmas with some little but thoughtful gift.

And of course that time Batters held off an angry mob of furious seamen who not only were angry about tickets but had learned Sam was the one who'd arranged to cut the grog ration and buy cheaper, worthless shirts...And that Sam had managed to ogle at least half their wives.

"Just doin me duty, sir." Dutiful nod, wave of bloody, wounded hand. Staggering off in search of medical attention...

"Fine fellow, that Batters, Hewer...Pity the wife's not more attractive. Always full of kindness to their power."

Second Reading

James Morgan  •  Link

Thanks Michael for the lovely description of the maypole. These were indeed grand monuments, and should not be confused with the smaller beribboned Victorian ones. Those had to be much shorter to make the ribbons practical. The earlier generations danced around them without ribbons and the maypole was a center village or town marker left up all the year.

john  •  Link

So much commentary on graft and larceny. We seem to often forget that such "rewards" back then were considered exactly that, namely rewards or commissions for services rendered, both normal and expected.

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