Tuesday 21 May 1667

Up and to the office, where sat all the morning. At noon dined at home with my wife and find a new girle, a good big girle come to us, got by Payne to be our girle; and his daughter Nell we make our cook. This wench’s name is Mary, and seems a good likely maid. After dinner I with Mr. Commander and Mr. Hide’s brother to Lincolne’s Inne Fields, and there viewed several coach-houses, and satisfied ourselves now fully in it, and then there parted, leaving the rest to future discourse between us. Thence I home; but, Lord! how it went against my heart to go away from the very door of the Duke’s play-house, and my Lady Castlemayne’s coach, and many great coaches there, to see “The Siege of Rhodes.” I was very near making a forfeit, but I did command myself, and so home to my office, and there did much business to my good content, much better than going to a play, and then home to my wife, who is not well with her cold, and sat and read a piece of Grand Cyrus in English by her, and then to my chamber and to supper, and so to bed. This morning the Captain come from Holland did tell us at the board what I have said he reported yesterday. This evening after I come from the office Mrs. Turner come to see my wife and me, and sit and talk with us, and so, my wife not being well and going to bed, Mrs. Turner and I sat up till 12 at night talking alone in my chamber, and most of our discourse was of our neighbours. As to my Lord Bruncker, she says how Mrs. Griffin, our housekeeper’s wife, hath it from his maid, that comes to her house often, that they are very poor; that the other day Mrs. Williams was fain to send a jewell to pawn; that their maid hath said herself that she hath got 50l. since she come thither, and 17l. by the payment of one bill; that they have a most lewd and nasty family here in the office, but Mrs. Turner do tell me that my Lord hath put the King to infinite charge since his coming thither in alterations, and particularly that Mr. Harper at Deptford did himself tell her that my Lord hath had of Foly, the ironmonger, 50l. worth in locks and keys for his house, and that it is from the fineness of them, having some of 4l. and 5l. a lock, such as is in the Duke’s closet; that he hath several of these; that he do keep many of her things from her of her own goods, and would have her bring a bill into the office for them; that Mrs. Griffin do say that he do not keep Mrs. Williams now for love, but need, he having another whore that he keeps in Covent Garden; that they do owe money everywhere almost for every thing, even Mrs. Shipman for her butter and cheese about 3l., and after many demands cannot get it. Mrs. Turner says she do believe their coming here is only out of a belief of getting purchase by it, and that their servants (which was wittily said of her touching his clerks) do act only as privateers, no purchase, no pay. And in my conscience she is in the right. Then we fell to talk of Sir W. Pen, and his family and rise. She [Mrs. Turner] says that he was a pityfull [fellow] when she first knew them; that his lady was one of the sourest, dirty women, that ever she saw; that they took two chambers, one over another, for themselves and child, in Tower Hill; that for many years together they eat more meals at her house than at their own; did call brothers and sisters the husbands and wives; that her husband was godfather to one, and she godmother to another (this Margaret) of their children, by the same token that she was fain to write with her own hand a letter to Captain Twiddy, to stand for a godfather for her; that she brought my Lady, who then was a dirty slattern, with her stockings hanging about her heels, so that afterwards the people of the whole Hill did say that Mrs. Turner had made Mrs. Pen a gentlewoman, first to the knowledge of my Lady Vane, Sir Henry’s lady, and him to the knowledge of most of the great people that then he sought to, and that in short his rise hath been his giving of large bribes, wherein, and she agrees with my opinion and knowledge before therein, he is very profuse. This made him General; this got him out of the Tower when he was in; and hath brought him into what he is now, since the King’s coming in: that long ago, indeed, he would drink the King’s health privately with Mr. Turner; but that when he saw it fit to turn Roundhead, and was offered by Mr. Turner to drink the King’s health, he answered “No;” he was changed, and now, he that would make him drink the King’s health, or any health but the Protector’s and the State’s, or to that purpose, he would be the first man should sheath his sword in his guts. That at the King’s coming in, he did send for her husband, and told him what a great man Sir W. Coventry was like to be, and that he having all the records in his hands of the Navy, if he would transcribe what was of most present use of the practice of the Navy, and give them him to give Sir W. Coventry from him, it would undoubtedly do his business of getting him a principal officer’s place; that her husband was at 5l. charge to get these presently writ; that Sir W. Pen did give them Sir W. Coventry as from himself, which did set him up with W. Coventry, and made him what he is, and never owned any thing of Mr. Turner in them; by which he left him in the lurch, though he did promise the Duke of Albemarle to do all that was possible, and made no question of Mr. Turner’s being what he desired; and when afterwards, too, did propose to him the getting of the Purveyor’s place for him, he did tell Mr. Turner it was necessary to present Sir W. Coventry 100 pieces, which he did, and W. Coventry took 80 of them: so that he was W. Coventry’s mere broker, as Sir W. Batten and my Lady did once tell my Lady Duchess of Albemarle, in the case of Mr. Falconer, whom W. Pen made to give W. Coventry 200l. for his place of Clerk of the Rope Yard of Woolwich, and to settle 80l. a year upon his daughter Pegg, after the death of his wife, and a gold watch presently to his wife. Mrs. Turner do tell me that my Lady and Pegg have themselves owned to her that Sir W. Coventry and Sir W. Pen had private marks to write to one another by, that when they in appearance writ a fair letter in behalf of anybody, that they had a little mark to show they meant it only in shew: this, these silly people did confess themselves of him. She says that their son, Mr. William Pen, did tell her that his father did observe the commanders did make their addresses to me and applications, but they should know that his father should be the chief of the office, and that she hath observed that Sir W. Pen never had a kindness to her son, since W. Pen told her son that he had applied himself to me. That his rise hath been by her and her husband’s means, and that it is a most inconceivable thing how this man can have the face to use her and her family with the neglect that he do them. That he was in the late war a most devilish plunderer, and that got him his estate, which he hath in Ireland, and nothing else, and that he hath always been a very liberal man in his bribes, that upon his coming into this part of the Controller’s business wherein he is, he did send for T. Willson and told him how against his knowledge he was put in, and had so little wit as to say to him, “This will make the pot boyle, will it not, Mr. Willson? will it not make the pot boyle?” and do offer him to come in and do his business for him, and he would reward him. This Mr. Willson did come and tell her presently, he having been their servant, and to this day is very faithful to them. That her husband’s not being forward to make him a bill for Rere Admirall’s pay and Generall’s pay both at the same time after he was first made Generall did first give him occasion of keeping a distance from him, since which they have never been great friends, Pen having by degrees been continually growing higher and higher, till now that he do wholly slight them and use them only as servants. Upon the whole, she told me stories enough to confirm me that he is the most false fellow that ever was born of woman, and that so she thinks and knows him to be.

15 Annotations

Eric Walla  •  Link

So do you think our Sam likes his gossip? He either was writing it all down furiously as the words spilled out, or he clung tightly in his mind to all the sordid details. Perhaps useful someday, Sam?

cum salis grano  •  Link

Ah! publick face before the private face, nought has changed. Rumour maybe, but an element of truth somewhere.
'tis why there be curtains behind windows, house or carriage.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Poor Bess! With a heavy cold and a new maid to break in, she has to put up with Sam reading her a chunk of the world's longest novel. No wonder she flees to bed when the embittered Mrs Turner arrives.
Whatever the truth of her tales, Mrs T. reminds me of some of my rural neighbours - "and another thing...."

JWB  •  Link


Pepys's old waterman. Worked up into Edward Montagu's(Lord Chamberlain) service early in the diary.

phoenix  •  Link

"... he do not keep Mrs. Williams now for love, but need, he having another whore that he keeps in Covent Garden;"


Breathtaking ... and nasty.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I imagine Grand Cyrus was probably one of Bess' novels so Sam was perhaps in good husband mode here.

I'm not quite sold that Turner was author of all Penn's career climb. Nor that Coventry would sell out quite so cheaply...At least in cahoots with Penn, Will Coventry seems much too smart for that, though he has admitted to selling places in the past

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Of course, it's still useful dirt, if untrustworthy dire.

JWB  •  Link

'useful dirt'

Reminds me of Turner's house-of-office spilling over into Pepys' basement way back when. Turner had designs of Clerk of Acts posiition, once offering Sam 150L to go in halves,settling for 50L to quit any claim. Wonder at gossip of the Mrs. then.

cum salis grano  •  Link

Oh! how the sight of gold motivates.
",settling for 50L to quit any claim."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Passing on "Siege...", the Star Wars of the day...Admirable self-restraint.

arby  •  Link

Whew! What an entry.

Fern  •  Link

I wonder what gossip Mrs Turner is spreading about Sam and Bess.

Tom Carr  •  Link

Doesn't every neighborhood have a Mrs. Turner? Sam, I am sure, is expert at handling her.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

Mrs Turner sure likes to dish out the dirt, doesn't she? She gossips about everyone. Sam has noted that in the past and has made sure to be wary about what he reveals to her.

I'm certain she goes and tells Sir W. Pen interesting tales regarding all the horrible things that Sam has been rumored to have done. I would love to hear what she was saying to everyone else regarding Sam.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Thence I home; but, Lord! how it went against my heart to go away from the very door of the Duke’s play-house....I was very near making a forfeit"

L&M note he had vowed not to visit theatres until Whitsuntide: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/04/20/

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