Saturday 25 May 1667

Up, and to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined at home, and there come Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, and dined with me, telling me that the Duke of Cambridge continues very ill, so as they do despair of his living. So to the office again, where all the afternoon. About 4 o’clock comes Mrs. Pierce to see my wife, and I into them, and there find Pierce very fine, and in her own hair, which do become her, and so says my wife, ten times better than lighter hair, her complexion being mighty good. With them talked a little, and was invited by her to come with my wife on Wednesday next in the evening, to be merry there, which we shall do. Then to the office again, where dispatched a great deal of business till late at night, to my great content, and then home and with my wife to our flageolets a little, and so to supper and to bed, after having my chamber a little wiped up.

12 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Arlington to Ormond
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 25 May 1667

The letters from Holland report but little progress with the pending Treaty.

... In answer to the letter of the King of France the Queen of Spain offers to put into the hands of the Swiss, three considerable places of Flanders ... "to caution her submitting to the determination of any Princes the [matter in] dispute; but this offer ... will not stop the King of France's march". ...…

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"Say, Bess? Where's my pa? I haven't seen him all day."


"I...Think he went for a walk to see the ruins and meet a few old friends. Come to think on it, I think he said he planned to stay with some tonight."

"But...Was he feeling that well? It's still very dangerous to travel out there."

"You know how your father is when he sets on a course, Sam'l. There's no persuading him..."


"Oh, Bess...Just wanted to thank you, darling, for getting on with the old fellow so well this time. I know he can be a tad critical."

"Not at all." beaming smile.


Faint banging from one of Sam's chests...

"Witch from Hell!...All I said was I might agree to Sam's suggestion about living with you!" faint cry. "And that outfit was immodest!"

JWB  •  Link

"...and with my wife to our flageolets a little, and so to supper and to bed, after having my chamber a little wiped up."

Seriously, as an old clarinettist, I think Pepys was writing about spit here.

R Kadish  •  Link

I wonder, does the 'in her own hair' reference mean he usually sees her in a wig? I'd thought it was only the men who wore periwigs--I'd been under the impression that the women might curl or dye or otherwise fashion their own hair, but didn't generally wear wigs. Was I wrong about this?

Ruben  •  Link

‘in her own hair’
Who can say how many ladies used wigs? Or some other cover, like a cap or a kerchief?
Queen Elizabeth liked to wear red wigs in contrast to white cosmetic on her face and the ladies of her court also, all of them in the red made fashionable by the Queen.
You can open:…
and then… to read about hair fashion in those days.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

False curls on wire hooks were popular. Bess raised Sam's ire by wearing false blonde locks recently and his praise of the natural and pleased recording of her dutiful agreement is probably related to that incident.

R Kadish  •  Link

Many thanks!

cum salis grano  •  Link

Samuel could afford the latest in silver/gold spittoons , could he not?
A mayde could be cheapeer, she could clean up the near misses.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Anyone playing a wind or brass instrument produces dribbles. Brass instruments have neat little drainage valves, but a woodwind instrument needs a pull-through (cloth or leather on a cord which you drop through the instrument and pull it through to mop up the spit. There's a weight on the end to help it fall through). I think JWB might be right, especially as beginners tend to produce more spit when playing than the professional.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: having the chamber wiped up

I think we're overcomplicating things here, folks. Yes, there's an off chance that he's talking about flageolet hygiene, but given that he talks about having his chamber a "little wiped up" right after mentioning bedtime, I think it's far more likely he's talking about having one of the maids do a quick cleanup in his bedroom before he went to bed.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I'll prefer to hope Jane and co didn't have to deal with drool buckets ala "The wretched birth, miserable childhood, agonizingly painful adolescence, and appallingly vile and degrading death of Miles Cowperthwaite".


Sam, reading...

"Certainly not, sir. Bess always dealt with the drool buckets. By the way, my poor wretch...!"

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Queen of Spain was Mariana of Austria, the widow of Philip IV of Spain.

Their only surviving son, Carlos was born on 6 November 1661. He was physically and mentally disabled, probably because of many years of inbreeding between the French and Spanish royal families. His tongue was over-large, and he drooled.

When Philip IV died on 17 September 1665, Carlos was 3 years old. Queen Mariana acted as regent for him, and she would continue to do so for most of his life, because of his illnesses. Carlos II remained weak; by the age of six [1667] he could stand alone, but he could still not walk.

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