Saturday 30 May 1668

Up, and put on a new summer black bombazin suit, and so to the office; and being come now to an agreement with my barber, to keep my perriwig in good order at 20s. a-year, I am like to go very spruce, more than I used to do. All the morning at the office and at noon home to dinner, and so to the King’s playhouse, and there saw “Philaster;” where it is pretty to see how I could remember almost all along, ever since I was a boy, Arethusa, the part which I was to have acted at Sir Robert Cooke’s; and it was very pleasant to me, but more to think what a ridiculous thing it would have been for me to have acted a beautiful woman. Thence to Mr. Pierces, and there saw Knepp also, and were merry; and here saw my little Lady Katherine Montagu come to town, about her eyes, which are sore, and they think the King’s evil, poor, pretty lady. Here I was freed from a fear that Knepp was angry or might take advantage to declare the essay that je did the other day, quand je was con her [in ponendo her mano upon mi cosa — but I saw no such thing; but as pleased as ever, and I believe she can bear with any such thing. – L&M]

Thence to the New Exchange, and there met Harris and Rolt, and one Richards, a tailor and great company-keeper, and with these over to Fox Hall, and there fell into the company of Harry Killigrew, a rogue newly come back out of France, but still in disgrace at our Court, and young Newport and others, as very rogues as any in the town, who were ready to take hold of every woman that come by them. And so to supper in an arbour: but, Lord! their mad bawdy talk did make my heart ake! And here I first understood by their talk the meaning of the company that lately were called Ballets; Harris telling how it was by a meeting of some young blades, where he was among them, and my Lady Bennet1 and her ladies; and their there dancing naked, and all the roguish things in the world. But, Lord! what loose cursed company was this, that I was in to-night, though full of wit; and worth a man’s being in for once, to know the nature of it, and their manner of talk, and lives. Thence set Rolt and some of [them] at the New Exchange, and so I home, and my business being done at the office, I to bed.

31 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

What's omitted by the ellipsis above explains Pepys's relief (L&M text):

"Here I was freed from a fear that Knepp was angry or might take advantage; did parlar the esto that yo did the otra day, quand yo was con her in ponendo her mano upon mi cosa -- but I saw no such thing; but as pleased as ever, and I believe she can bear with any such thing. Thence to the New Exchange...."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"...I am like to go very spruce,..."

SPRUCE : neat, fashionable (L&M Large Glossary)

Chris Squire  •  Link

‘King’s evil n. < tr. medieval Latin regius morbus . . Scrofula, which in England and France was formerly supposed to be curable by the king's (or queen's) touch. (Cf. evil n.1 7c). The practice of touching for the king's evil continued from the time of Edward the Confessor to the death of Queen Anne in 1714. The Office for the ceremony has not been printed in the Prayer-book since 1719.
. . 1615 H. Crooke Μικροκοσμογραϕια 340 The seauenth Sonne is able to cure the Kings Euill.
1660 S. Pepys Diary 23 June (1970) I. 182 Stayed to see the King touch people of the King's evil.
1722 W. Beckett (title) A Free and Impartial Inquiry into the Antiquity and Efficacy of Touching for the King's Evil . . ‘

‘scrofula, n. A constitutional disease characterized mainly by chronic enlargement and degeneration of the lymphatic glands. Also called king's evil n. and struma n.
. . 1671 Philos. Trans. 1670 (Royal Soc.) 5 2080 Most inhabitants of which are troubled with the Scrofulæ or Kings Evil . . ‘

‘rogue n. and adj. Etym: Origin unknown. Perhaps related to roger n.1,
. . 2. a. A dishonest, unprincipled person; a rascal, a scoundrel.
. . 1605 1st Pt. Jeronimo sig. D3, My Lord, he is the most notorious rogue That euer breathd.
1680 H. Prideaux Lett. (1875) 81 Those rogues have designes goeing on, but if the King will but put on a little rigour he may easyly quel them.
1768 A. Tucker Light of Nature Pursued II. i. 138 It is a common saying that you must set a rogue to catch a rogue . .

. . 3. A mischievous person, esp. a child; a person whose behaviour one disapproves of but who is nonetheless likeable or attractive. Freq. as a playful term of reproof or reproach or as a term of endearment.
. . 1602 2nd Pt. Returne fr. Parnassus ii. vi. 1025, I shall be his little rogue, and his white villaine for a whole week after.
1672 Duke of Buckingham Rehearsal i. 6 It's a pretty little rogue; she is my Mistress. I knew her face would set off Armor extreamly.’ [OED]

Terry Foreman  •  Link… Copperplate engraving by André Du Laurens (1558-1609), an anatomist and Paris court physician, showing King Henry IV of France touching a number of sufferers who are gathered about him in a circle.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

How does Sam meet such kind-hearted women like Knepp who bear him so patiently?

Quite a wild circle our boy is moving in in these last days of freedom... I see he's using the same defense as with his brown paper wrapping book...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M transcibe: “And here I first understood by their talk the meaning of the company that lately were called Ballers;….”

Of BALLERS the L&M Large Glossary says: an association of rakish young courtiers, comparable to the next century's Hell-fire club.… and related to the shady "Ballock Hall", the presumably mythical base of their activities.

A wild circle indeed, RG -- another nighttime dalliance in the theatre district.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"We further learn, from the “Spectator” (No. 266), that she was the Lady B. to whom Wycherley addressed his ironical dedication of “The Plain Dealer,” which is considered as a masterpiece of raillery."…

Mary  •  Link

little Katherine Mountagu

The passage reads as if the poor girl's sore eyes are being attributed to the effects of the King's Evil, but nothing that I have read indicates ocular symptoms in that malady. I hope we're not to assume that she has both sore eyes and scrofula.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

But, Lord! what loose cursed company was this, that I was in to-night, though full of wit; and worth a man’s being in for once, to know the nature of it, and their manner of talk, and lives.

Purely research, you understand, no intention of behaving shamefully oneself of course. (At least, not where anyone else can see it......)

Mark S  •  Link

Scrofula can indeed be associated eyesight problems. Dr Samuel Johnson had scrofula as a child, and as a result his eyesight was affected for the rest of his life.

From Smith's Family Physician (1873):

"In more severe cases, the eyes are particularly the seat of disease; they become inflamed, and sometimes the sight is lost altogether."…

Mary  •  Link

Mark S.

Thank you for the information. I clearly didn't Google extensively enough.

language hat  •  Link

"and there fell into the company of ... as very rogues as any in the town, who were ready to take hold of every woman that come by them."

The mind boggles. Cognitive dissonance, thy name is Pepys!

martinb  •  Link

There is much wisdom in B's textual note on "Lady" Bennet above, which has a surprisingly modern feel that would be further enhanced by altering its reference to the "fair sex" and replacing the final adjective "ungracious" with, say, "misogynistic" or plain "sexist".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Amusing to think of Sam as the sober, conservative gent (with roguish streak) among these young blades and rogues, like Poldy Bloom running with the Dublin medicos...Or Donald Draper with the beatniks. One wonders, did he quietly try to urge one or two to a more sober, successful lifestyle?

"Who's the dude writing notes to himself, Harry?"

"'eh? Ah, that's Pepys...Hey, Pepys? My friend here wants to know what yer writin' there? Office notes? Pepys...Lose the chains, man. Hey, Benny..." call to 'Lady' Bennett... "Tell the pop-eyed guy in the bad wig to relax a little. Here's a health for Sam Pepys!" drinks...

"Stop writin' those notes, man...You're freakin' me out. You a spy for the King or somethin'?" speaker rises. Whoa...Moving coach...He is tossed to side.

"Pepys is ok..." hand wave. "Dick's just scared of his dad getting wind of his nite out, Pepys. No sweat...We're all...urrrrpppp...Gents, here, eh?"

"Lets go to Fran Stewarts and tell them we're the King come by for another visit?!"


"Just send Mr. Wig home...I don't like him, Harry." Dick fumes. "All those little notes...My head's spinnin'..."

"Why don't ye try to be nice, Mr. Wig." Bennett cozes to Sam who draws back a bit.

One thing to fondle a sleeping actress or a helpless subordinate's wife...Quite another to have a notorious madam attempting to grope you.

"Smith." Sam corrects... "But, I'm quite fine, thanks...Well settled here, leaving shortly."

"What yer writin' there, love?" Bennett eyes slip in Sam's hand. Eyes narrowing...Grabs...


"Girls...Who can read?"

"Nothin' I can read..." one heavily painted...It would be that one, Sam sighs...Young lady attempts to read. "T'ain't King's English...I bet he's a spy."

"Return that, please...Now!" Sam grabs for slip.

"Was matter, Pepys?" Harry calls.

"Knew the Wig was a spy..." Dick shakes head. Oh...Head...

"Toss 'im out, girls!" Bennett calls. "You, girl, open!" addresses girl by coach door.

"Mr. Pepys?"

"Mrs. Bagwell?"

pepfie  •  Link

King's evil / scrofula / sore eyes

Little Lady Katherine (b. 20 August 1661) passed away at the ripe old age of 96. With the benefit of hindsight, therefore, the King's evil "they" suspected can't have been a tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis (scrofula), common in adults but rare in her age group. Among other causes of pediatric scrofula/cervical lymphadenopathy (cat-scratch disease, toxoplasmosis, sarcoidosis, actinomycosis...), however, infection with non-tuberculous mycobacteria would be entirely possible and anterior eye involvement (via hematogenous spread or smear infection from a sinus tract) is fairly common (about 5.000 Google hits for NTM keratitis/conjunctivitis).

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"saw “Philaster;” where it is pretty to see how I could remember almost all along, ever since I was a boy, Arethusa, the part which I was to have acted at Sir Robert Cooke’s"

Of Durdans, nr. Epsom, Surrey; d. 1653. Both he and his wife were learned and cultivated; he had added a hall to the house in 1639, in which plays may have been produced. (Pepys's part on this occasion was that of one of two heroines of the play.) Pepys's relative, John Pepys, who lived in nearby Ashtead, in a house Pepys often visited as a child, had been secretary to Robert Coke's father, Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke. (L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"here saw my little Lady Katherine Montagu come to town, about her eyes, which are sore, and they think the King’s evil, poor, pretty lady."

'I have sent little Kat to London', wrote Lady Sandwich, 'to Mr. Pers the Serg. that belongs to the Duke, ther being they say the famostes Docr. in Iingland for sore eies': Sandwich MSS, App., f. 130r (qu. Harris, ii.182). (L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"and young Newport"

L&M say this was probably Richard, son of the 1st Baron Newport; later (1708) 2nd Earl of Bradford. But there was no Richard of that generation.

This was probably Richard Newport, 2nd Earl of Bradford PC (3 September 1644 – 14 June 1723), styled The Honourable from 1651 to 1694 and subsequently Viscount Newport until 1708, the oldest son of Francis Newport, 1st Earl of Bradford. ttps://…

So, this was Richard, the grandson of the 1st Baron Newport, son of his oldest, Francis…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"saw “Philaster;”

L&M: A tragicomedy by Beaumont and Fletcher. According to Genest (i. 82-3), Hart played Philaster and Nell Gwynn, Bellario.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

May 30. 1668
New Forest.
Thos. Eastwood to the Navy Commissioners.

The trees in the New Forest are all felled, and the squarers and sawyers at work.
The 100/. received will not defray the charge;
I was forced to borrow to pay for the 250 trees felled last year, as I could not have my bills for 200/. paid.

The carters are resolved to carry no more until they are satisfied.

The carriage will arise to a considerable sum, for the 500 trees will produce near 1,000 loads of timber, and the most part will cost 10s. per load carriage, as I am forced to go farther from the waterside than usual to find the best timber.

I desire the bill to be paid, and if I may receive the moneys for the lops as formerly, it would help the business, as without a supply, there is little to be done;
the forest is a very poor place, and has a people that cannot forbear their moneys.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 171.]


May 30. 1668
Capt. John Hubbard to Thos. Hayter.

Asks for 100 printed tickets for protecting his men from being pressed.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 172.]


For more, see
'Charles II: May 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 369-418.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

May 30. 1668
"Nacessary queries for these times, a resolution of which is desired from the secret council pro propagandd fide of Jesuits, priests, and leading Papists in or about London."

1st. Whether for the last 8 years they have not received orders and commissions from the Pope to use their utmost endeavours to destroy the reformed religion, and whether many thousands of them have not been sent into England for that end.

2nd. Whether in order to the reduction of England to their Romish idolatries, they were not the principal designers and underhand actors in burning the city in 1666.

4th. (sic) Whether, as a convert who was an actor in the operation declares by his paper round in the Temple church, they did not intend a bloody massacre of the Protestants of London, as Protestants have been massacred elsewhere.
May 30. 1668

5th. Whether they have not counselled the Spaniards to make dishonourable and disadvantageous peace with the French, so that they and the rest of the Popish princes and states might be more at liberty to employ their forces in the battle of Armageddon.

6th Whether upon the peace between France and Spain, they have not designed that both Kings shall fall upon the United Provinces on the one side, and France with another army with the Duke of Savoy upon the Waldenses, Geneva, and the Protestant cantons of Switzerland, which last they design to divide, and to be betrayed by the Roman cantons, their associates;
and the Emperor of Germany, with his united forces of the Popish electors and princes, upon the King of Denmark and the Protestant electors and princes of the reformed religion in Germany.
Also whether they do not endeavour to engage Poland a second time in a war against the Swedes, upon the old quarrel, that so they may destroy them, or at least impede their assisting the Protestant princes in Germany, as formerly was done by Gustavus Adolphus.

7th. Whether there have not been clear discoveries made by the confessions of one set in the pillory, and of another in Newgate, as also by letters from France, and from the many scores of French, Irish, English, and other Papists, now come to dwell within Westminster, St. Martin's, Covent Garden, and the suburbs belonging to Middlesex (as witnessed by the lists of them lately given to the Earl of Craven, major-general of those parts), –– that they of this secret council have designed to set on fire the remaining part of the City of London and its suburbs, together with the honest borough of Southwark, so many times of late attempted to be fired by them.

8th. Whether they have not enlisted, regimented, officered, and armed the many thousands of their religion, to appear on one hour's warning at their several rendezvous, and execute their orders.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

9th. Whether they have not agreed sometime this midsummer to set fire to the city at midnight, and massacre the zealous Protestants whom during the connivance, they have marked out at their religious meetings, to which Popish agents had free access.

10th. Whether they have not ordered an insurrection of all the Papists in the several counties the same night, to act the like in other cities, the French Catholics promising to aid them, as the Spaniards once did upon a like occasion in 1639.

11th. Whether any of their council have betrayed these designs.
Also 16 queries, &c., to the citizens of London, the Protestants of England, and of other nations; exhorting them to prayer and reformation;
suggesting that the Lord Mayor, aldermen, and common council should adopt measures for sending all French, Irish, and other Papists home to their own countries;
and should set up posts and chains at both ends of the streets, raise bands of horse, provide arms and barricades for the streets, and keep careful watch.

That all Protestant states should join in a league offensive and defensive, and banish all Jesuits, priests, and recusants.

That the law of retaliation against Papists should be adopted if they again burn any town.

Also that it would be pro public that these queries should be printed, that so the King and Council might be awakened, and made apprehensive of these underminings, and thus be able to countermine.

Signed Servus Christi, Londini amicus.
Addressed Rob. Paschal, near Devonshire House, Bishopsgate Street.
Endorsed Libel.
[6 pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 177.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

May 30. 1668
Sir Nic. Armorer to Williamson.

I am creeping homewards, but have been waiting at Chester since Wednesday for Lord Windsor, who obliged me to bring over his niece.
I wish to deliver up my charge, for fear of the rude Cheshirites.

If you will have a wife, you are to say so quickly;
I will then speak to her uncle and herself.
Her fortune is 700/. land a year.

I sent a letter from [the Earl of] Ossory to Lady Arlington (fn. 1) and another from myself to my Lord of Arran.

Sir Geoffrey [Shakerley] and Mat. Anderton were with me yesterday, and drank his Majesty's health.
[2 ½ pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 181.]

• 1. Henry Bennet, Lord Arlington and Thomas Boyle, 6th Earl of Ossory married sisters, Isabella and Amelia, daughters of Lewis Lord of Beverwart and Count of Nassau, natural son of Maurice, Prince of Orange.


May 30. 1668
Sir Geoffrey Shakerley to Williamson.

Sir Nicholas Armorer has left for London,
and brought with him from Ireland Madame Ware, the only daughter of Sir James Ware, and has left her with some friends at Chester, till her uncle, the Earl of Windsor (sic), fetches her.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 182.]


May 30. 1668
Anth. Thorold to Hickes.

A vessel from Jersey and Guernsey reports that they discourse there of a war with France.

Yesterday being the King's birth and restoration day, it was observed at Lyme with great solemnity.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 183.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

May? 1668
Petition of Sir Wm. Bolton, alderman and late Lord Mayor of London, to the King,
to call to account the Lord Mayor, &c., for their unjust proceedings in deposing him from his place as alderman,
and questioning him on his accounts of the moneys raised for relief of sufferers from the fire, although that cause is depending before the commissioners for charitable uses;
this malice arises from his Majesty’s recommendation of him as Surveyor-General for rebuilding the city.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 190.]


Sir William Bolton was sworn in as Lord Mayor of London in October 1666. He immediately courted controversy by refusing to waive the 100 marks (£66 13s 4d) customarily paid to new Lord Mayors to decorate their houses.

Worse was to come: Lord Mayor Sir William Bolton was accused of embezzling £1,800 from the charitable collection taken to help Londoners recover from the Fire.

The scandal ruined Sir William; after his term ended he was forced to stand down as an alderman.

By 1677 Bolton had to petition civic government for a pension because he was
‘reduced to a low Condi[tion] and utterly unable to support himself’.
Bolton was granted £3 per week, which he received until he died in 1680.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A company keeper – a mid-16th century phrase: A person who socializes, especially regularly, convivially, or boisterously; a reveller.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Also worth recording today are two letters, to which Sam will pay attention if he can steer his mind from those visions of naked dancing ladies (Sam? Sam! Mr. Pepys, please! The mail!)

-- One, dated "4 p.m., Navy Office", was likely written by Captain Perriman while Sam in his bombazin suit was doing his ethnographic survey of the London rakes. As it happens the cap'n was at the Exchange too (who wasn't?) and has "spoken to some masters bound for Barbadoes, [who] all demand 40s. per ton for carriage of goods. The Thomas and Edward is ready, and has room for 60 tons". Those tons of goods may be going toward the substantial work there is to do in the Caribbean territories which France returned to England under the treaty of Breda, sometimes after thoroughly stripping them. Coincidentally a "Sir Tobias Bridge and the Officers of his regiment" had petitioned the King on the 27th from Barbadoes, to complain that "soldiers and officers are very naked and necessitous" [State Papers, domestic No. 169 at…, and colonial No. 115 at…].

One wonders if the captain, trudging from master to master on a hot day (and likely from pint to pint, as two fellow sea salts surely wouldn't discuss chartering rates on dry throats), was inconvenienced in his discussions by the loud racket coming from those rakes over there, and was at all flustered not to find Sam at his desk to receive his day's hard-won information ("Mr. Pepys was called to an urgent meeting by the duke, captain", Hewer dutifully tells the sweaty, not-too-steady captain). Or if, who knows, he's not just memorializing the information, still woozy from the rollin' good time he just had with Sam and all those madams. A look at the original MS, and whether it's written in a steady hand on good paper or scrawled on a crumply bar bill with grease stains, would tell us.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

-- Another letter, somewhat stranger, will come from "Commissioner Peter Pett" - well, ex-Commissioner, shouldn't it be. He writes Sam, anyway, about private business: it's that "the key of the King's house in which I lived at Chatham was demanded from my son or servant", and Pett frets that now his stuff is going to go astray, so "I desire and order to Mr. Norman to take notice of what things are in the house", and he has papers to prove he owns this and that. He must be trusting Sam as a friend, or Sam is just the human switchboard through whom all such orders should pass if one wants them carried out, or it's actually part of his sprawling job description, as concierge to the naval grounds at Chatham and all they encompass. The fun part are the only two examples, perhaps closest to heart, that Pett gives "my own goods": "a lead dial, brewing vessels, &c." [State Papers No. 170,…].

Of all things. Brewing vessels, OK. Beer-making is commonplace enough, though from a wealthy, high-level civil servant one could have expected something grander to pop out as Example No. 2 of My Goods. But what on earth is Example No. 1, the "lead dial"? A sundial made of lead? Surely not. It sounds somewhat... alchymical.

RSGII  •  Link

A lead dial. A lead on a ship is used to measure the depth of the water. Possibly a device for that? Pretty important for a ship builder moving hulls in shallow waters to know now much he has under the keel.

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