Wednesday 15 May 1667

[This morning my wife had some things brought home by a new woman of the New Exchange, one Mrs. Smith, which she would have me see for her fine hand, and indeed it is a fine hand, and the woman I have observed is a mighty pretty looked woman.] Up, and with Sir W. Batten and [Sir] J. Minnes to St. James’s, and stopt at Temple Bar for Sir J. Minnes to go into the Devil’s Taverne to shit, he having drunk whey, and his belly wrought. Being come, we up to the Duke of York’s chamber, who, when ready, we to our usual business, and being very glad, we all that signed it, that is, Sir J. Minnes, W. Batten, W. Pen, and myself, and then Sir G. Carteret and [Sir] W. Coventry, Bruncker, and T. Harvy, and the officers of the Ordnance, Sir J. Duncombe, and Mr. Cholmely presented our report about Carcasse, and did afterwards read it with that success that the Duke of York was for punishing him, not only with turning him out of the office, but with what other punishment he could, which nobody did forward, and so he escaped, only with giving security to secure the King against double tickets of his and other things that he might have wronged the King or subject in before his dismission. Yet, Lord! to see how our silly Lord Bruncker would have stood to have justified this rogue, though to the reproach of all us who have signed, which I shall never forget to have been a most malicious or a most silly act, and I do think it is as much the latter as the other, for none but a fool could have done as this silly Lord hath done in this business. So the Duke of York did like our report, and ordered his being secured till he did give his security, which did fully content me, and will I hope vindicate the office. It happened that my Lord Arlington coming in by chance was at the hearing of all this, which I was not sorry for, for he did move or did second the Duke of York that this roguery of his might be put in the News-book that it might be made publique to satisfy for the wrong the credit of this office hath received by this rogue’s occasion. So with utmost content I away with Sir G. Carteret to London, talking all the way; and he do tell me that the business of my Lord Hinchingbroke his marriage with my Lord Burlington’s daughter is concluded on by all friends; and that my Lady is now told of it, and do mightily please herself with it; which I am mighty glad of. So home, and there I find that my wife hath been at my desire at the Inne, thinking that my father might be come up with the coach, but he is not come this week, poor man, but will be here the next. At noon to dinner, and then to Sir W. Batten’s, where I hear the news how our Embassadors were but ill received at Flushing, nor at Bredah itself, there being only a house and no furniture provided for them, though it be said that they have as much as the French. Here we staid talking a little, and then I to the office about my business, and thence to the office, where busy about my own papers of my office, and by and by comes the office full to examine Sir W. Warren’s account, which I do appear mighty fierce in against him, and indeed am, for his accounts are so perplexed that I am sure he cannot but expect to get many a 1000l. in it before it passes our hands, but I will not favour him, but save what I can to the King. At his accounts, wherein I very high against him, till late, and then we broke up with little done, and so broke up, and I to my office, where late doing of business, and then home to supper and to bed. News still that my Lord Treasurer is so ill as not to be any man of this world; and it is said that the Treasury shall be managed by Commission. I would to God Sir G. Carteret, or my Lord Sandwich, be in it! But the latter is the more fit for it. This day going to White Hall, Sir W. Batten did tell me strange stories of Sir W. Pen, how he is already ashamed of the fine coach which his son-in-law and daughter have made, and indeed it is one of the most ridiculous things for people of their low, mean fashion to make such a coach that ever I saw. He tells me how his people come as they do to mine every day to borrow one thing or other, and that his Lady hath been forced to sell some coals (in the late dear time) only to enable her to pay money that she hath borrowed of Griffin to defray her family expense, which is a strange story for a rogue that spends so much money on clothes and other occasions himself as he do, but that which is most strange, he tells me that Sir W. Pen do not give 6000l., as is usually [supposed], with his daughter to him, and that Mr. Lowder is come to use the tubb, that is to bathe and sweat himself, and that his lady is come to use the tubb too, which he takes to be that he hath, and hath given her the pox, but I hope it is not so, but, says Sir W. Batten, this is a fair joynture, that he hath made her, meaning by that the costs the having of a bath.

16 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Pox? Dear God, when? I mean, how awful."


"...many a 1000L in it..."

Hmmn...I wonder what the life of a troublesome CoA is worth in 17th century London on a dark night.

Jesse  •  Link

"I do think it is as much the latter as the other"

Brouncker's got my sympathy vote if only because of his work w/continued fractions which still are pretty cool (e.g. ).

So what gives? Carkesse was an odd fellow to say the least so I suppose there are all sorts of possiblities.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Lowder giving his wife an STD: King Edward VII was supposed to have had syphilis which he passed on to his wife, which was why she was deaf. maybe a factoid.

Sam is rather enjoying the Penn household discomfiture rather too much isn't he? Positively gleeful recounting of misfortune.

"most silly act" - in those days silly was a much stronger word: Sam is being really condemnatory.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Does the STD tale mean Sam will back of from further attempts at romping with Meg largely to spite Admiral Sir Will?

It would have been a clever way for Batten to get Pepys to knock it off before news got out to Penn, perhaps calling for massive retaliation. If so Batten, Minnes, Penn, Carteret, and even Bruncker finding Sam too useful to kill or allow to be killed might help explain why our Horatio Alger-like hero hasn't experienced a one way river ride down the Thames yet.

Dark road, London...



"Are you going to defend your sister's honor or no?" Admiral Sir Will in mask, sword at the ready, fumes at namesake.

"But Dad. Tis hardly God's desire to as thee puts it, 'prick the prick-louse's guts a little'."

"Thou canst spend thy life doing penance, you idiot. I hear him and that dratted song of his. Now think of your poor sister and strike deep. I'll be going for his nether regions."


"Praise God they never saw our faces. Dad, art thou bad hurt?"

"Just bind my arm, you idiot."

"Thy hadst better claim urgent news carries thee to Ireland at once. Say, who wouldst have thought sweet Mrs. Pepys could fight so well? A true lioness, in defense, eh Dad? I tell thee, fear gripped the heart when she took his sword and started slashing at us."

"Shut up, you idiot and tear something off those rags you're wearing."

Bradford  •  Link

What's with the brackets round the first sentence?

Beware when eating your curds and whey.

cum salis grano  •  Link

Whey, unpasteurized, does this.
"...Sir J. Minnes to go into the Devil’s Taverne to shit, he having drunk whey, and his belly wrought..."

cum salis grano  •  Link

facade, was, is, and will be in vogue.

JWB  •  Link

"--From the Devil they come to the Court,
And go from the court to the Devil."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"What’s with the brackets round the first sentence?"

L&M indicate this was one of those passages added by Pepys in the margin.

classicist  •  Link

Have I got it wrong, or does it appear from this that if you took regular tub baths in the 17th C,the first assumption was that you had the clap?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Sir W. Batten seems to think that Mr. Lowder, who has the pox, fears he has given it to his wife since she, too, used the tub he had used.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... Lowder is come to use the tubb, that is to bathe and sweat himself, and that his lady is come to use the tubb too, ..."

L&M footnote that sweating was a common treatment for syphilis.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Tub does not refer here to a bathtub as we know it, but to a barrel like object in which you sat to receive treatment for what was called The Pox which was probably syphilis. Known from Elizabethan times. Shakespeare refers to this several times, for example in Henry V (where the increase in the disease was put down to soldiers bringing back disease from war in France.). Here is an extract from a much longer account: the "fumigation" method referred to is what Pepys is commenting on - the "sweating tub" of Shakepeare:
"Mercury was given to the patient in four different ways: orally, topically, by salves, and by fumigation. Mercury taken orally was absorbed internally. When given topically, mercury would be rubbed several times a day to different parts of the body. The metal would be absorbed into the skin. Using mercury salves consisted of the same principle, but the metal was kept in continuous close contact with the skin. Treatment by fumigation was the least effective method and the most grueling. The patient was placed in a closed compartment, with only their head sticking out. A fire was then set underneath the cabinet, raising the temperature and causing the mercury to vaporize. This method was not popular for long since it was such a painstaking ordeal and did not treat the disease effectively. These four processes were all intended to accomplish the same goal; to increase the amount of saliva. It was believed that saliva carried away the venereal poison. Three pints of saliva a day was considered a good prognosis. In the cases when the patient would not produce the required amount of saliva, more mercury was used."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Given Sam seems to have no fear, I take it as likely proof he has tried to go all the way with Meg P.L.

"Sam'l...Isn't so sad about that linen stall lady, Mrs. Martin?"

"Mrs Martin?"

"The pox. Must have got it from her husband. But it's so odd that you think Meg Lowther has it as well, almost as if the same man had..Sam'l?!! What's the matter, darling?!! Jane, Mr. Pepys is taken..."

"Got the pot right here, Mum." Jane, frowning at the prostrate Sam.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sorry, that was meant to be "hasn't tried to go all the way" However brave our boy may be with Carcasse tomorrow, he's not that brave.

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