Sunday 24 May 1668

(Lord’s day). I up, at between two and three in the morning, and, calling up my boy, and father’s boy, we set out by three o’clock, it being high day; and so through the water with very good success, though very deep almost all the way, and got to Brampton, where most of them in bed, and so I weary up to my wife’s chamber, whom I find in bed, and pretended a little not well, and indeed she hath those upon her, but fell to talk and mightily pleased both of us, and upgot the rest, Betty Turner and Willet and Jane, all whom I was glad to see, and very merry, and got me ready in my new stuff clothes that I send down before me, and so my wife and they got ready too, while I to my father, poor man, and walked with him up and down the house — it raining a little, and the waters all over Portholme and the meadows, so as no pleasure abroad. Here I saw my brothers and sister Jackson, she growing fat, and, since being married, I think looks comelier than before: but a mighty pert woman she is, and I think proud, he keeping her mighty handsome, and they say mighty fond, and are going shortly to live at Ellington of themselves, and will keep malting, and grazing of cattle. At noon comes Mr. Phillips and dines with us, and a pretty odd-humoured man he seems to be; but good withal, but of mighty great methods in his eating and drinking, and will not kiss a woman since his wife’s death. After dinner my Lady Sandwich sending to see whether I was come, I presently took horse, and find her and her family at chapel; and thither I went in to them, and sat out the sermon, where I heard Jervas Fullwood, now their chaplain, preach a very good and seraphic kind of sermon, too good for an ordinary congregation. After sermon, I with my Lady, and my Lady Hinchingbroke, and Paulina, and Lord Hinchingbroke, to the dining-room, saluting none of them, and there sat and talked an hour or two, with great pleasure and satisfaction, to my Lady, about my Lord’s matters; but I think not with that satisfaction to her, or me, that otherwise would, she knowing that she did design tomorrow, and I remaining all the while in fear, of being asked to lend her some money, as I was afterward, when I had taken leave of her, by Mr. Shepley, 100l., which I will not deny my Lady, and am willing to be found when my Lord comes home to have done something of that kind for them, and so he riding to Brampton and supping there with me he did desire it of me from my Lady, and I promised it, though much against my will, for I fear it is as good as lost. After supper, where very merry, we to bed, myself very weary and to sleep all night.

25 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Phillips...will not kiss a woman since his wife’s death"

For the curious, L&M note his wife had died in December 1665.

Chris Squire  •  Link

' . . I with my Lady, and my Lady Hinchingbroke, and Paulina, and Lord Hinchingbroke, to the dining-room, saluting none of them, . . '

Meaning, I think, that he met them as an equal.

' . . I remaining all the while in fear, of being asked to lend her some money, as I was afterward . . by Mr. Shepley, 100l., which I will not deny my Lady, and am willing to be found when my Lord comes home to have done something of that kind for them, . . I fear it is as good as lost.'

This £100 was in effect a levy on his good fortune by his now impoverished patron, who had made his good fortune possible. Sandwich had 4 more years to live; after his death such levies, I imagine, ceased and Pepys could concentrate on enriching himself.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"father's boy"? First, horses to send, now a "boy"...When did John Sr. start rolling in dough?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"saluting none of them"
In the past Sam has used "saluting" to mean "kissing."

Peter Taylor  •  Link

Sam has been getting up very early the last couple of days, no doubt he gets his servants to wake him, in those days what would a servant use as an alarm clock?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Congrats on finding a nice guy, Pall.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Sam has been getting up very early the last couple of days, no doubt he gets his servants to wake him, in those days what would a servant use as an alarm clock?"

14 July 1665, Pepys concludes his daily Diary entry: "...up betimes by the helpe of a larum watch, which by chance I borrowed of my watchmaker to-day, while my owne is mending."…
L&M note "Alarm-watches are almost as old as watches themselves."

Chris Squire  •  Link

Kissing or not? This from OED:

‘salute v. 1. a. trans. To accost or address with words expressive of good wishes, respect, or homage, esp. with some customary formula of that import; to greet in words.
. .1597 Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet ii. ii. 32 Rom: Good morrow.‥ Fri: Benedicite, what earlie tongue so soone saluteth me?
1712 Swift Jrnl. to Stella 22 Jan. (1948) II. 469 T'other day at the court of requests Dr. Yalden saluted me by name . .

2. a. To greet with some gesture or visible action conventionally expressive of respect or courteous recognition.
. . 1655 T. Stanley Hist. Philos. I. iii. 25 As soon as the Sun arose, [he] saluted it, and retir'd.
1728 E. Chambers Cycl. at Salutation, In England, &c. we salute one another by uncovering the Head, inclining the Body, &c. The Orientals by uncovering their Feet, laying their Hands on the Breast, &c. . .

e. trans. To kiss, or greet with a kiss. arch.
. . 1716 J. Addison Drummer iv. 37 Ab. Ay! but you han't saluted me. Fan. That's right; Faith I forgot that Circumstance. [Kisses her.] . . ‘

roboto  •  Link

I don't understand "we set out by three o’clock, it being high day". Does anyone understand this? How is it possible that is daylight at 3am?

RogerTheWeather  •  Link

'How is it possible that is daylight at 3am?'

Sunrise would be about 0350hrs in London on 24May #as now!#...
...#but we put the clock forward an hour these days for BST#,...twilight would have been 30-45mins before depending on cloud cover.
Even with putting the clock forward an hour for BST many, many people are missing out on a lot of daylight these days. There is a lobby for double-summertime, which I go along with personally.

Glyn  •  Link

Sunrise at the moment is before 5 o'clock and it gets light for 30 mintues or so before then. It's not too significant but England was still using the old calendar which had become inaccuarate and is about a week later than nowadays(i.e. so this entry was written in the equivalent of early June.

LKvM  •  Link

Doesn't anyone use the term "first light" in England? That's what the period of morning twilight (Morgendaemmerung, the opposite of evening twilight, Abenddaemmerung) is called in the United States. But whether that's what Sam means by "high day," I couldn't say.

GrahamT  •  Link

In Britain we tend to call the twilight period before sunrise "dawn" and the corresponding evening period "dusk". I would be suprised if these terms weren't also common in North America. First light would, I guess, be the very earliest part of dawn.

Given the change in calendar, sunrise in Cambridge on this day would be about 3:45 (GMT) and civil dawn (sun 6 degrees below horizon, and light in all of sky) starts about 2:57. Not quite high day as we might think it, but certainly light enough to travel.

PeterM  •  Link

In Australia, all the terms (ie "first light," "dawn," "dusk) are used. I am reasonably confident that in most English speaking countries this is probably true.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"First, horses to send, now a "boy"... When did John Sr. start rolling in dough?"

John Sr. wasn't rolling in dough. Horses were essential equipment to survive, and the house did come with land on which the horses could graze and provided some rental income.
The boy was probably an orphan from the parish (as were Pepys' boys and girls) ... many families had too many mouths to feed. They ran errands and helped out in return for food, a bed and if they were lucky, some education. Remember, it takes three people three days to do the laundry.

John Sr., by our standards, was poor. By 16th century standards, he was middle class. Yes, they had a hard time living on Samuel's supplemental budget, but that doesn't make them paupers.

When there was a smallpox outbreak at Hinchingbrooke, the Montagu daughters were sent to stay with the Pepys' at Brampton. Can't find the link, but I found a couple of other examples where the Montagus were welcomed to the house:

"Thence home, ... only for an hour in the evening my Lady Jemimah, Paulina, and Madam Pickering come to see us, ... Very merry with them; they mightily talking of their thrifty living for a fortnight before their mother came to town, and other such simple talk, and of their merry life at Brampton, at my father’s, this winter."…

"... and back again home and wrote letters to my father and wife about my desire that they should observe the feast at Brampton, and have my Lady and the family,"…

The Brampton estate was good enough to entertain and occasionally house the overflow Montagu family.
I bet John Snr. had a cook, for instance -- a widow from the village no doubt. There were no ordinaries or cook shops in the village -- a pub, maybe, which might provided take out, with some notice.

Life was a lot more cooperative than we are used to today. All our gagets prevent us from knowing the riches and challenges of community.

Nicolas  •  Link

“…we set out by three o’clock, it being high day”
I took this to mean it was a high day meaning a holy day, and it being Lord’s day today, it might be Whit-Sunday. But since Easter Day was March 22nd this year according to The Diary and Whitsun is the seventh Sunday after Easter, which would fall on May 10th, it couldn’t be, though Pepys made no mention of Whitsun in his entry of May 10th.

RSGII  •  Link

High day is the day of a religious festival. Nautical twilight is the precise period before sunrise (and after sunset) when the sun is between 6 and 12 deg below the horizon. During Nautical twilight, you can normally see both the horizon and the stars and measure the angle between them for navigation periods. It varies in length by location. It is the short period when Navigators at sea “shoot” the stars to determine their position. But it still may not be bright enough to safely move about. That is Civil twilight, when the sun is 6 degrees or less below the horizon,

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

seraphic -- adjective
Merriam Webster English Language Definition of seraphic
literary : very beautiful or pure like that of an angel

Glad you enjoyed it, Pepys. Wish you had explained what you learned from it since it was "too good for an ordinary congregation".

Mary K  •  Link

Whatever the definition (colloquial or official) of sunrise, twilight etc. at this precise time (25th May 2021) a clear sky in the London area brings quite enough light at 3 a.m GMT (4 a.m. British Summer Time) for trouble-free and well-lit journeys away from home.

Harry R  •  Link

The early dawns might have prompted Sam to seize his working days recently, enabling him to knock off at noon and take in a show or two in the afternoons.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

It's possible Sam had his 'larum watch on the bedstand, but recall that in any case he spent a sleepless night because of "some drunken scholars making a noise all night". On a holiday's eve in Cambridge's inn district it is to be expected, though of course we can't be sure, as there is much the mists of time will occult...

Stephane Chenard  •  Link


It is my sorrowful but necessary Duty to inform you that our efforts to carry out your new Instructions, to secure the Person of Mr. Pepys and to secrete him to Holland, were thwarted by an Enemy we seem to have mis-estimated.

Mr. Zachtedruk returned shortly before two in the morning to the Rose, with the new Orders from Your Grace and the Capture Team. They did not have time to draw swords, however, before they were set upon with the most savage and efficacious Violence by Mr. Pepys his young servant.

Captain van Vernietigen, who presently nurses a broken arm, was troubled to recognize the fighting style of the Chinee sect of Cha-o-lin he had encountered in the Eastern Indies when he served with the VOC, and said the young Achilles, before sending him flying through a window, told him to "give his best regards from 'My Boy' to the Raad van Stadt".

Mr. Pepys himself appeared shortly after we had withdrawn, yawning and complaining of the noise but seemingly oblivious of the events, which perhaps leaves us at some leisure to contemplate another attempt, at Your Excellencies' pleasure.

I am, Mynheer, your most faithful and devoted servant,
Cambridge, May 24, 1668, the 3rd hour in the morning

P.S. - Your Grace may want to procure fresh supplies of laudanum, as that we gave Mr. Pepys yesterday was apparently no longer potent.

Marquess  •  Link

The irony of it, Sam summoned by those whom he regards as his betters, but they have to borrow from him.Still I suppose they gave him his in the big world.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Yes, Marquess, it was different in those days: If you didn't pay up, you could find yourself being beaten up. No credit cards or bank overdrafts to tide you over until the end of the Quarter (not the month). Footpads on every corner, waiting for a distraction so they could steal your purse or bags. The King constantly fundraising. The rich not paying their taxes. Vendors demanding the cash upfront. War profiteering.

Come to think of it, it wasn't that different. For the King read politicians, constantly fundraising. Of course, they hadn't invented deficit spending or the national debt, and debt collectors can't beat you up physically. But money makes the world go around, then and now.

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