Monday 13 January 1667/68

Up, and Mr. Gibbs comes to me, and I give him instructions about the writing fair my Tangier accounts against to-morrow. So I abroad with Sir W. Pen to White Hall, and there did with the rest attend the Duke of York, where nothing extraordinary; only I perceive there is nothing yet declared for the next, year, what fleete shall be abroad. Thence homeward by coach and stopped at Martin’s, my bookseller, where I saw the French book which I did think to have had for my wife to translate, called “L’escholle des filles,” but when I come to look in it, it is the most bawdy, lewd book that ever I saw, rather worse than “Putana errante,” so that I was ashamed of reading in it, and so away home, and there to the ’Change to discourse with Sir H. Cholmly, and so home to dinner, and in the evening, having done some business, I with my wife and girl out, and left them at Unthanke’s, while I to White Hall to the Treasury Chamber for an order for Tangier, and so back, took up my wife, and home, and there busy about my Tangier accounts against tomorrow, which I do get ready in good condition, and so with great content to bed.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Ah, at last "L'escholle des filles". When Brannaugh reads this and the (Spoiler)

...Follow up bits in the audio version of the Diary it is simply hilarious. Sam at his most comic...And humanly touching in his way.

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"I'll still translate it if you want..." grin.



"Does this have anything to do with that 'shaming' thing yesterday?"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"But you knew about it...?"

"Know it?"...Bess chuckles. "Just call me 'Jean L’Ange'."


"The part about the girls in the oonvent washroom...That's my schoolgirl friends Evelyn and Marie."


"Well, back in '55 I had nothing to do in that garret and we needed money."


Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Page forty-two?"

"Ah,yes...Page forty-two" grin.

"Oh, come on, Bess. That's not humanly possible!"


"Is it?"

"For English girls, probably not."


A. De Araujo  •  Link

"L'escholle des filles"
Girls' School
"Putana Errante"
Wayward whore

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"L'escholle des filles..."

"No, no...Say it...'L'escholle...Des filles'...And make sure you nod and wink after."

"Bess...Having you give me instruction in this sort of thing is a bit unnerving, you know."

"Oh and say, 'Oh, ho-huh'...When you wink."


"You said you'd do whatever it took to make it a best-seller. Sam'l...Non-Gallic audiences expect it in promoting a French sex book. Of course if we were in France you'd just stare at the clientele like this..."

Cool, world-weary, disdainful stare... "Then keep talking about 'Ennui'...And act like you couldn't care less if they buy the thing or no."

"Whoa...I like that. Couldn't I do that now?"

"Not if you want folks here to buy it. Here a look like that and they'll think it's something by Bacon about women's education."

Second Reading

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

"Some business" between dinner and Unthanke's. Indeed. And it couldn't make this humdrum Monday much better.

Alone in his beloved closet, chief inspector Pepys fingers the dispatch, written yesterday, that just came in from Portsmouth:

-- "Jan. 12, Portsmouth. John Tinker to Sam. Pepys. I find Mr. Peachy has been very diligent in the search after the yarn; has been examining witnesses, but not much to the purpose". With a 3-page attachment, "Information of John Leverett and 4 others, before Hugh Salesbury, Mayor of Portsmouth, as to the breaking open of the rope-house at Portsmouth, on 16 Nov. last, and stealing 3 cwt. of tar yarn. - 9 Jan. 1668" [Calendar of State Papers,, page 164; further page references to the same source].

The rope-yard break-in. Nasty case, that, from a place where news are usually bad. Sam sighs at the depths of human depravity in which his job forces him to wade (it's to steel himself and for necessary professional training, that he browses the back shelves at Martin's, understand). Too sensitive even for the Journall, it is.

The Portsmouth rope-yard is critical to the Navy, which relies on its product to keep its sails from flying away in the breeze. Of late, like other yards full of unpaid workers, that strategic facility been a cauldron near to boiling over. "The people [are] so needy and wicked", and "the house is so weak", that "disorder" and theft are constantly to be feared. The workers had to be "several times pricked and suspended" for skimping on quality, "to make haste to finish their day's work", delivering inferior product of the prescribed diameter but with less than the 14 threads per strand which they should well know are necessary to keep the ropes from breaking (pages 95-96). Imagine if this should happen in some frantic engagement, in full view of the Dutch - who would Parliament call to account, then, hmm?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

And now this. On that terrible night (page 92) in November, on the very day that Navy Commissioner Col. Middleton was inspecting, individuals that poor Peachy calls "those desperate instruments" (of Hell, maybe) stole 3 hundredweights of the King's tar yarn. 180 kg! It means, a gang, a horsecart, long and deceitful planning! And, on a recent quote of 50s. per cwt (page 140), a loss of, what, 7 and a half pounds!

An inside job is suspected (page 104). A watch was set, workers were warned they'd have to replace anything found missing, the mayor issued a search warrant (page 104), all yarn is now secured at night in the tar-house (pages 153, 156). The mayor also suggested contriving a giant lantern to project onto the clouds a call for help to "Pepysman", as he curiously put it, but this was found to exceed the techniques presently at our disposall. (page 153). All though the blessed 12 days of Christmas, ropemakers were searched from Portsmouth to Gosport (page 156).

But, despite the offer of "a considerable reward" (page 156), all in vain! A 3-page memo to report they "failed" (page 164). And what's this, Mr. Peachy's questioning of the ropemakers was "not much to the purpose"? What, did they fall to drinking and yard-talk? Does Sam have to do everything himself, then? Should he go to Portsmouth?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Well, no, the mayor's giant lantern is not recorded at page 153 of the Calendar of State Papers. Disregard that typo. The lantern idea had merit, though, and will be passed to the Society for evaluation.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

And to Batman! Hilarious, Stephane.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

I always thought a murder/spy mystery set in that state of the art rope yard a great idea. Colour is now being added. Walk on parts galore.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

At least the mail from Portsmouth did not reach the office in time for Tinker's report, of the investigation going nowhere, to be added to the sad menu of today's meeting with the Duke:

-- "Jan. [13]. M. Wren to the Navy Commissioners. The Duke expects them this afternoon. Asks them to inquire into the complaint of embezzlements in the Orange", with reports of "stores embezzled by" the carpenter and the gunner (, page 166).

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Stephane, could you check this link, please ... it takes me to a black square on a white page. (I have a constant battle with getting links to work as well.) Many thanks.

Mary K  •  Link

I have the same problem as SDS with this link.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

At this time the shortened link works on all our devices, of both the Windows and the Android persuasions. It does lead us to a large blackish (actually dark green) rectangle but, on close inspection, this proves to be the embossed cover of the book, and at the bottom of the page we find a sliding cursor to navigate inside the volume. The full link,…, is a mouthful and its termination is specific to each page, but if it is more serviceable we shall now favour it.

Mary K  •  Link

Thanks for the tip; the shorter link works well with your guidance.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I find this an easier way to get to the information:…

Jan. 13: M. [MATTHEW] Wren to the Navy Commissioners. The Duke expects them this afternoon. Asks them to inquire into the complaint of embezzlements in the Orange. [S.P. Dom., Car. II. 232, No. 109.] Encloses,
Account by John White of stores embezzled by Hen. Robinson, carpenter of the Orange. [Ibid. No. 109I.]
Account by Fergus Freazell of stores embezzled by Wm. Jingle, gunner of the Orange. [Ibid. No. 109II.]

Perhaps of more concern to Pepys:

Jan. 13. M. Wren to the Navy Commissioners. Sir Thos. Allin complains that his purser cannot get butter and cheese from the victualler. Desires speedy redress. Captain Burstow says they have ordered him 3 months' victuals for 45 men, but he was allowed 70; having no orders for discharging those for which he is not victualled, desires directions. [Ibid. No. 110.]

Can't sail to Malta without cheese -- but wouldn't butter go bad fast?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Those fanatiques making trouble again:

Jan. 13. 1668
Loddington, Leics.
J. Bentham to Williamson.
It is reported Charles II is so offended with bishops that he resolves on a toleration;
that 6 persons are put out of the Privy Council on the Earl of Clarendon's account;
that the Bishop of St. Asaph and 3 other bishops can attest the King's marriage with the Duke of Monmouth's mother;
that his Majesty has discharged the Duke of York's guards, and has lately narrowly escaped poisoning.
Conventicles multiply and grow bolder;
the justices pretend they have no encouragement from above, and therefore let the fanatics alone.
At Rothwell, a tailor went to the church with the rabble of the town, put on the surplice, and went on with the service till interrupted by a request for a sight of his license.
The nonconformists appear and preach at or near their former habitations, contrary to the Five Miles Act.
[Endorsed, "False News." 2 pages.
S.P. Dom., Car. II. 232, No. 104.]…

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