Monday 11 May 1668

Up, and to my office, where alone all the morning. About noon comes to me my cousin Sarah, and my aunt Livett, newly come out of Gloucestershire, good woman, and come to see me; I took them home, and made them drink, but they would not stay dinner, I being alone. But here they tell me that they hear that this day Kate Joyce was to be married to a man called Hollingshed, whom she indeed did once tell me of, and desired me to enquire after him. But, whatever she said of his being rich, I do fear, by her doing this without my advice, it is not as it ought to be; but, as she brews, let her bake. They being gone, I to dinner with Balty and his wife, who is come to town to-day from Deptford to see us, and after dinner I out and took a coach, and called Mercer, and she and I to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and there saw “The Tempest,” and between two acts, I went out to Mr. Harris, and got him to repeat to me the words of the Echo, while I writ them down, having tried in the play to have wrote them; but, when I had done it, having done it without looking upon my paper, I find I could not read the blacklead. But now I have got the words clear, and, in going in thither, had the pleasure to see the actors in their several dresses, especially the seamen and monster, which were very droll: so into the play again. But there happened one thing which vexed me, which is, that the orange-woman did come in the pit, and challenge me for twelve oranges, which she delivered by my order at a late play, at night, to give to some ladies in a box, which was wholly untrue, but yet she swore it to be true. But, however, I did deny it, and did not pay her; but, for quiet, did buy 4s. worth of oranges of her, at 6d. a-piece. Here I saw first my Lord Ormond since his coming from Ireland, which is now about eight days.

After the play done, I took Mercer by water to Spring Garden; and there with great pleasure walked, and eat, and drank, and sang, making people come about us, to hear us, and two little children of one of our neighbours that happened to be there, did come into our arbour, and we made them dance prettily.

So by water, with great pleasure, down to the Bridge, and there landed, and took water again on the other side; and so to the Tower, and I saw her home, I myself home to my chamber, and by and by to bed.

12 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"as she brews, let her bake"

A traditional song about marriage contains a riff on the old saying

Wee Cooper of Fife

There was a wee cooper who lived in fife
Nickety, nockety, noo, noo, noo
And he has gotten a gentle wife
Hey Willie Wallacky, hey John Dougall
Alane quo’ rushety, roo, roo, roo

She wouldna bake, she wouldna brew
Nickety, nockety, noo, noo, noo
For spoiling o’ her comely hue
Hey Willie Wallacky, hey John Dougall
Alane quo’ rushety, roo, roo, roo

Here are 8 more stanzas and a midi file of the melody:…

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Wow, Sam is remarkably innocent with Mercer ... wonder what gives? Afraid that she'll talk?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Methinks he needs a companion for society's sake. What think y'all?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Well, Terry, I think that may be a generous interpretation. In the past he has been known to tocar Mercer's mamelles. And with his wife away he is probably feeling even randier than usual. So I don't really understand his restraint on this occasion. He did seem to enjoy her company though, however platonically.

Mary  •  Link

More to the point, why is Mercer's mother allowing her daughter to keep company with Sam in this way? Doesn't she know that Elizabeth is away from home?

As for Sam's restraint on this occasion, music may be the answer. He loves to sing (whether privately or to an audience) and judges Mercer to be a vocalist worthy of his and others' attention. He can get his illicit thrills from any number of other young women, but there are precious few who can accompany him delightfully in song.

adamw  •  Link

Can anyone explain the refusal of his cousin and aunt to stay for dinner - "they would not stay dinner, I being alone"? Would it really have been improper for a mother and daughter to dine together with an unaccompanied male relative? Or maybe it is just the practicalities - no lunch prepared because most of the the household is away from home.

Regarding Mercer, she is now a close family friend, not just an employee: I suspect both sentiment and prudence will make him watch his behaviour.

Mary  •  Link


Pepys does not actually say "stay for" or "stay to" dinner.

The verb "to stay" could be used transitively at this period and carried the meaning "to delay". It's just possible that the ladies decided not to delay their own dinner since Pepys was alone (i.e. no Elizabeth in the house). They've imparted their morsel of family gossip and, deprived of any opportunity for chat with the lady of the house, decide to be on their way.

However, it's just as likely that Sam was completely alone in the house if he's arranged to dine with Balty. Elizabeth is away and perhaps the cook-maid has been given the morning off.

Geoff Hallett  •  Link

Just caught up. What would Meg Penn Lowther think if it were possible for her to know that we were discussing her underwear nearly 350 years on. Great stuff. The end of the Diary is approaching too fast.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Beware the wrath of Orange Mary, Sam...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"had the pleasure to see the actors in their several dresses, especially the seamen and monster"

L&M: Probably Caliban.

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