Sunday 29 March 1668

(Lord’s day). Up, and I to Church, where I have not been these many weeks before, and there did first find a strange Reader, who could not find in the Service-book the place for churching women, but was fain to change books with the clerke: and then a stranger preached, a seeming able man; but said in his pulpit that God did a greater work in raising of an oake-tree from an akehorne, than a man’s body raising it, at the last day, from his dust (shewing the possibility of the Resurrection): which was, methought, a strange saying. At home to dinner, whither comes and dines with me W. Howe, and by invitation Mr. Harris and Mr. Banister, most extraordinary company both, the latter for musique of all sorts, the former for everything: here we sang, and Banister played on the theorbo, and afterwards Banister played on his flageolet, and I had very good discourse with him about musique, so confirming some of my new notions about musique that it puts me upon a resolution to go on and make a scheme and theory of musique not yet ever made in the world. Harris do so commend my wife’s picture of Mr. Hales’s, that I shall have him draw Harris’s head; and he hath also persuaded me to have Cooper draw my wife’s, which, though it cost 30l., yet I will have done. Thus spent the afternoon most deliciously, and then broke up and walked with them as far as the Temple, and there parted, and I took coach to Westminster, but there did nothing, meeting nobody that I had a mind to speak with, and so home, and there find Mr. Pelling, and then also comes Mrs. Turner, and supped and talked with us, and so to bed. I do hear by several that Sir W. Pen’s going to sea do dislike the Parliament mightily, and that they have revived the Committee of Miscarriages to find something to prevent it; and that he being the other day with the Duke of Albemarle to ask his opinion touching his going to sea, the Duchess overheard and come in to him, and asks W. Pen how he durst have the confidence to offer to go to sea again, to the endangering the nation, when he knew himself such a coward as he was, which, if true, is very severe.


19 Annotations

Christopher Squire  •  Link

Re: ’but was fain to change books with the clerk’:

‘fain, adj. and adv. Old English fægen, fægn = Old Saxon fagan . .
. . 2. a. Const. to with inf. Glad under the circumstances; glad or content to take a certain course in default of opportunity for anything better, or as the lesser of two evils.
. . 1631    W. Gouge Gods Three Arrowes ii. §26. 170   Men were faine to eate horse-flesh.
1693    J. Locke Some Thoughts conc. Educ. §89. 105   Castalio was fain to make Trenchers at Basle to keep himself from starving . .

b. This passes gradually into the sense: Necessitated, obliged.
. . 1676    M. Hale Contempl. i. 103   In this condition, he is fain to bear his burdensom Cross towards the place of his Execution.
. . 1685    H. More Paralipomena Prophetica 315   A Cannon of so vast a bigness, that it was fain to be drawn by seventy yoke of Oxen . . ‘ [OED]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...the Duchess overheard and come in to him, and asks W. Pen how he durst have the confidence to offer to go to sea again, to the endangering the nation, when he knew himself such a coward as he was, which, if true, is very severe."

A little beyond severe into raising questions about the Duchess' emotional and mental stability, I'd say...

Hard to imagine how Albemarle and Penn might have fielded that one.

Duchess storms off...Violent door slam, followed by pin drop silence...Mice are heard behind the walls, apparently congregating in shock...

Penn eyes Albemarle who is looking anywhere else he can, then desperately choosing to shove the incident into the ole memory hole, resumes...

"Uh...Yes, well, Penn, as to whether you should go to sea..."

john  •  Link

"God did a greater work in raising of an oake-tree from an akehorne, than a man’s body raising it, at the last day, from his dust"

The former certainly helps the earth more.

martinb  •  Link

"an akehorne". I like the sound of that.

mary k mcintyre  •  Link

I am such a dilatory Reader that I am missing the backstory on the Duchess... but laughed out loud trying to picture the room, the moment after she'd left it.

Arthur Perry  •  Link

"... I had very good discourse with him about musique, so confirming some of my new notions about musique that it puts me upon a resolution to go on and make a scheme and theory of musique not yet ever made in the world."

I normally hate spoilers, but I'm dying to know if Pepys ever wrote such a work. He has mentioned this several times over the past few months. I can't seem to find any such published work via basic web search.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Churching

It seems from the structure of Sam's entry, that the clergyman was doing a churching during the normal service of mattins, which is unusual - it would normally be done after the service with the woman coming to the minister to be churched when the normal Sunday morning congregation was departing. Churching was, on paper, a thanksgiving after childbirth (a hazardous event in the 17thc), but developed into the concept that a woman needed to be somehow passed fit for entry into society again (conflating this event with something like the Jewish 40 day purification rites mentioned in the Bible in Luke). This lingered on as part of folk religion in the C of E into the 1970s. My brother used to be asked to church women after childbirth before they felt comfortable going to parties or dances etc. With the arrival of the Alternative Service Book in 1980, this rite had been transformed into a straightforward Thanksgiving after Childbirth which was used by Vicars either as a welcome to a parish family when they first came to church with the new baby or as an alternative to baptism for families wanting something, but not full baptism. It is in Common Worship (replacement for the ASB) and it is in the Australian Anglican prayer book.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"he hath also persuaded me to have Cooper draw my wife’s, which, though it cost 30l., yet I will have done."

L&M: Samuel Cooper (d. 1672), the miniaturist, was now at the height of his powers, and had an international reputation. This portrait is not known to survive.

Samuel Cooper (1609 – 5 May 1672), sometimes spelt as Samuel Cowper, was an English miniature painter, and younger brother of Alexander Cooper.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Cooper

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Anne, duchess of Albermarle has got to be one of the most interesting characters in the Encyclopedia, where she lives at https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/958. She seems to have been quite a dragon (and after all, "her mother was one of the five women barbers", eeeew, 'nuff said). She may also have been on the wrong side of history-writing, but she comes across as quite a resourceful and well-connected woman, and a rather dangerous enemy to make.

Sir W. should worry all the more that Sam has heard of his trashing "by several". And likely not at Westminster, since he found no one there to talk to. So more likely by one of the others he met today, or persons too low to be mentioned. And so there were other witnesses than the mice, and since none of Sam's companions today are especially close to power, the savoury news of this latest Outburst seems to be village talk already. It still causes chuckles 350 years on. It's a hundred years before Beaumarchais and Rossini put in another Barber (of Sevilla) that "calumny is a little breeze", but you can almost hear the theme already...

Harry R  •  Link

Pen and Monck are a war worn pair, pragmatic and probably thick skinned so they may not be too upset or embarrassed by the Duchess's invective. Perhaps even amused by it. Oh to have been a fly on the wall, I mean a mouse under the floorboards. As you say, Stephane, Pen will be more concerned about what others are saying.

Dorothy  •  Link

Stephane, I don't understand your remark, "(and after all, 'her mother was one of the five women barbers', eeeew, 'nuff said)." Is there something I don't know about women barbers? My husband has, over the years, had his hair cut by several women barbers and he didn't notice anything.

Elisabeth  •  Link

Five Women Barbers

John Heneage Jesse, Memoirs of the Court of England During the Reign of the Stuarts (1857)

“[Anne Clarges’, later Anne Monck, Duchess of Albemarle’s] mother was one of the five women-barbers, and a woman of ill-fame. A ballad was made on her and the other four; the burden of it was, -

‘Did you ever hear the like,
Or ever hear the fame,
Of five women barbers,
Who lived in Drury Lane?’

In a curious memoir of one Mul-Sack, a celebrated highwayman, there is a notice of these ladies. ‘They were five noted amazons in Drury Lane, who were called women-shavers, and whose actions were then talked of much about town; till being apprehended for a riot, and one or two of them severely punished, the rest fled to Barbadoes.’ The writer of this memoir mentions a disgusting and brutal act of cruelty on the part of these wretches towards another woman, the particulars of which are too gross for publication.”

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

We assure all women barbers of our highest consideration, and as the Five suggest, they existed, and in numbers, in the barber shops of the 1660s, though we've never read (have we) of Bess visiting her hairdresser. But Those Five were special! Notorious a hundred years on, they evoke a blend of the three witches, Sweeney Todd and bearded women. That they fled to the Barbadoes is ominous in itself, this not being an especially nice place one ordinarily went to by choice. The 1757 source, "The Lives and Adventures of Whitney, John Cottington, Alias Mul Sack, and Waters, Three Notorious Highwaymen, Etc", appears at https://books.google.fr/books?id=atVlAAAAcAAJ and is quite an exciting read. By coincidence, our bookseller the perspicacious Mr Google suggests that, if we care about this, we should also like a novel called "Runaway Necromancer". But now we stray far, far indeed from the little world of Sam Pepys...

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