Thursday 17 September 1668

Up, and all the morning sitting at the office, where every body grown mighty cautious in what they do, or omit to do, and at noon comes Knepp, with design to dine with Lord Brouncker, but she being undressed, and there being much company, dined with me; and after dinner I out with her, and carried her to the playhouse; and in the way did give her five guineas as a fairing, I having given her nothing a great while, and her coming hither sometimes having been matter of cost to her, and so I to St. James’s, but missed of the Duke of York, and so went back to the King’s playhouse, and saw “Rollo, Duke of Normandy,” which, for old acquaintance, pleased me pretty well, and so home and to my business, and to read again, and to bed. This evening Batelier comes to tell me that he was going down to Cambridge to my company, to see the Fair, which vexed me, and the more because I fear he do know that Knepp did dine with me to-day. —[And that he might tell Mrs. Pepys. — B.]

20 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

17th September, 1668. I entertained Signer [ Piero ] Muccinigo, the Venetian Ambassador, of one of the noblest families of the State, this being the day of making his public entry, setting forth from my house with several gentle men of Venice and others in a very glorious train. He staid with me till the Earl of Anglesea and Sir Charles Cotterell (master of the ceremonies) came with the King's barge to carry him to the Tower, where the guns were fired at his landing; he then entered his Majesty's coach, followed by many others of the nobility. I accompanied him to his house, where there was a most noble supper to all the company, of course. After the extraordinary compliments to me and my wife, for the civilities he received at my house, I took leave and returned. He is a very accomplished person. He is since Ambassador at Rome.

Chris Squire  •  Link

‘fairing, n.1
1. a. A present given at or brought from a fair.
1661 S. Pepys Diary 31 Aug. (1970) II. 166 To Bartlemew faire‥and there Mr. Pickering bought them some fairings.

b. transf. A complimentary gift of any kind.
1598 Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost v. ii. 2 We shalbe rich ere we depart, Yf Fayrings come thus plentifully in.
1668 S. Pepys Diary 17 Sept. (1976) IX. 309, I‥did give her five guineas as a fairing.’ [OED]

Jesse  •  Link

re: And that he might tell Mrs. Pepys

Busted - maybe. And not even an ellipsis episode. Would he tattle, or perhaps there's risk of a casual slip?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Methinks Lord B. is getting feistier in his editing. No ellipsis yesterday for the reference to Jane's breasts, and a risque (for him) note today. Maybe by the time he got this far along in the diary, he figured, "Oh, the hell with it, nobody's still reading it by now anyway."

London Paul  •  Link

Brilliant, the thought that he would think "who'd be reading this" I wonder what he would have made of our hero on Twitter

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...sitting at the office, where every body grown mighty cautious in what they do, or omit to do..."

"Dice are rolling...The knives are out...I don't say they mean harm, but they'd each give an arm...To see us six feet underground."

"God, and I always thought all you did in your office was file papers, pressure suppliers for 'gifts', and chase girls." Bess, fascinated.

"Tis rather better than Count Raoul swordfighting and bedding his way across France in your novels, eh?"

"Ehhh..." shrug.

"Well, let me tell you about the time I faced death at the Trinity House master's election..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...comes Knepp, with design to dine with Lord Brouncker, but she being undressed..."

Our Knepp has designs above her station? And now she settles for dining with Sam whereas before she would be coming to see him. Further it's hard to imagine our boy forking over that five guineas simply out of the goodness of his heart...I suspect Knepp hinted strongly at her time and expenses and Sam got nervous ala Bess. It's sounding to me like Betty has either decided Sam is not interested in anything long-term or threatening to his marriage or that while the little bug-eyed fellow is a charmer, she can do better or both.


A nervous Brouncker, unannounced and without appointment at Sam and Bess' door...

'Lord B, what a..." Bess, actually a bit perturbed by the suddenness...

"I need to see...Pepys, you goddamned fool!" Brouncker greets the descending Sam.

"My lord?"

"You...You and that worthless Diary of yours!"

Here we go again... Bess, sighing. Interesting it took him and so many of our past acquaintances 300 years to learn about the Diary. Thank you, modern internet.

"But, my lord..." Sam, blinking...

You picture of lamblike innocence, you...Bess, eyeing him...

Enough...glance back...Sam, continuing.

"...wherein could I have...?"

"Here!" Brouncker displays printed page, finger on line... "Abby was reading the damned thing to me...She thought it just so amusing, expect for the occasional insults for which, by the way, I am to say I owe you considerable pain...I would let that pass, though, but for...This." Shoves page under Sam's nose, Bess looking attentively.


"...comes Knepp, with design to dine with Lord Brouncker, but she being undressed..."

"As you can well imagine, Abby stopped right there..." Brouncker, glaring.

Oh, for God's sake...I've been through a thousand times worse...Bess, frowning...

"What did she say? Did she like...?" Sam, a bit overeager.

Ixnay on the lappraiseway, idiot...Bess, nudging.

"We are so sorry, my lord." Bess tries. "As you know, many passages are not very cheerful for me..."

"Bother that..." Brouncker, fuming. "That's for you and your idiot husband to settle. This affects me, you know."

"My lord Brouncker perhaps forgets that he is (somehow), like my husband (unbelievably) in Heaven. Where titles aren't given a tinker's dam?"

"Which tends to make it Hell for anyone of worth...But enough, my purpose here is to have you, Pepys, deny this passage and anything it might suggest of anything between this actress and me? Do we understand each other?!"

"Well, my lord...While I would never wish..." Sam tries. "There is the matter of artistic integrity...Why even my poor wretch here..."

"Or you'll...What, my lord?" Bess, archly.

"All right!" Brouncker stamps foot. "You're right, I can't do anything...Much...To you...But, for God's sakes, Pepys...One flawed, ordinary man to another...Mrs. Pepys, as a woman who's suffered..."

Hmmn... "Well, my lord...I suppose I could speak to Mrs. W."

"We could insert an ellipse passage..." Bess suggests. "You just explain the meeting with Lord B was cover for a rendezvous with Knepp."

"Now that sounds about right..." Brouncker, beaming.

"But...This was one time I wasn't guilty of anything but having dinner with her." Sam protests.

"Who believes that?" Bess, waving hand.

"Not to mention...Money exchanged hands." Brouncker notes.

Well...He really did read it...Sam, beaming.

JWB  •  Link

Penn's reply to the Duke's letter can be found in Granville Penn's "Memorials....., p 514

"Sir W. Penn to H.R.H. the Duke of York"…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

JWB, great link -- thanks for it!

Penn's reply is fulsome and, methinks also deserves to be called "elaborate," as L&M label Mennes's! Makes me even more curious about Pepys's.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link


Thank you for that comedic glimpse of Heaven -- as close as I am likely to get.
And my deepest sympathy. I have been slow to catch up after a long absence (speech after long silence), and when I got to Aug. 30 your news brought real sadness.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Fairings" - that term was still in use in my childhood in northern England, where it referred to a small gift purchased on a day out, such as to a fair or a show.

"where every body grown mighty cautious in what they do, or omit to do," - I laughed out loud at that - doesn't that phrase ring down the ages - so true today in office/public service culture.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

JWB, thanks for the link to Penn's letter. Fascinating reading. A couple of reactions:
- Unlike Pepys, Penn seems to use the word "doubt" in a sense much like the current one: "I shall not doubt of giving your royal highness full satisfaction."
- One of Penn's excuses for his tardiness in delivering the victuallers' and pursers' accounts is the amount of clerical work it required, examination of hundreds of vouchers. I don't understand why he didn't have clerks to handle this part of the work, like SP did.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The volume covering correspondence from November 1667 through September 1668 is at…

PAGES 636-637

Sept. 17. 1668
Col. Thomas Middleton to Sam. Pepys.

I have discharged 20 of the shipwrights, the Board saying God forbid you
should keep men at work who desire to be discharged, without money to pay them.

I finished the pay of the Royal Sovereign, which has taken so much money that I was forced to borrow 700/. of the chest, which was all their stock;
I hope it will be sent down tomorrow.

I have sent the shipwright's assistant to look after 200 or 300 loads of timber for the new ship.
Mr. Mason's timber is the best I ever saw delivered into any of the King's yards;
he has 1,000 loads, 500 of which is at Maidstone ready to be brought down;
it shall be viewed and reported to you before Mason comes to London;

200 loads of young Moorcock's remains to be delivered, which will be brought if you will cause a bill to be made out for it, and prompt payment for the rest according to contract;

if there be any difference [about price] you may help yourselves in the latter payment, as any course would be better rather than to want it.

[Phineas] Pett has asked leave to go to London;
they will do well to come to some conclusion about his timber.
21 pages. [S.P. Dom., Car. II. 246, . No. 76. ]

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Rollo the Viking and Mr. Normandy himself! I wonder if the Siege of Paris was enacted?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Thank you again JWB of 2011, wherever you be now, for giving Penn a voice and his rightful right to respond. Often has the Admiral, seen here through Sam's eyes mainly, been treated by our Society as a buffoon, a false rogue, a bad host and a Thrower of Shite Over the Leads. We say Justice, Justice for Admiral Sir Will!

The "Memorials of the Professional Life and Times of Sir William Penn, Knt.", two volumes, totalling well over 1,000 pages, published in 1833 by his great-grandson Granville Penn, owes much to Sam, quoting whole pages of the Diary where alas, Penn didn't have the foresight (or the time) to write his own (except apparently during his glorious Caribbean service), but Granville makes it clear what a false rogue this Pepys too, in his ruthless betrayals of the man who had taught him his job; check out pages 486-489 in particular, on Sam concealing evidence to deflect the prize-ships inquiry from Sandwich to Penn back in April.

Anyway. At pages 514-519, does Penn's response to the Great Letter appear in full. It's a monument of grovelling, for which York surrounded as he must have been with grovellers and genuflections, must have had little patience indeed, also featuring a lot of whining and excuses about poor health, and assurances of dutiful office attendance and "stay[ing] on the post-nights until the letters were signed". It's not very Admiral-like, unless it's an admiral standing at attention before his minister (they can tremble just like lieutenants before admirals, a very pretty sight).

It does add color on Penn's drudge work: "I could not get books", then was constantly interrupted, then had to "cast every book twice, many whereof have six or eight victuallings (...) and many of them two or three voyages in the same book, which are reckoned but for one account". On pursers, "the death of many, and the cashiering of others, which occasions great confusion in the accounts", for whatever reason. "I have passed, for service foreign and domestic, three hundred and thirty accounts of pursers; for doing which, I have been forced to examine, at the least, a thousand certificates; beside several, after examination, I have totally rejected; and many of the former I have been forced to return twice, some thrice, before they arrive at the punctuality necessary. The returning of which certificates (by reason of the remote habitation of several of the officers who were required to certify matter-of-fact more clear)", &c. &c., woe is Penn.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

No wonder HRH passed the file to Wren (York, shaking head in disbelief after scanning a few lines: "Mr. Wren, is that truly what common Members of the Publick do all day?" "Why yes, your royal highness, in the King's service of course". "How droll. Have more chocolate, Wren, it's way more than one poor duke can drink"). And yea, imagine how some of those guys, now retired to the farm in far Somerset with a peg-leg, gangrene, PTSD and overdue pay, may have reacted to some deskbound Admiral in London asking for how many sausages they had really truly signed off 4 years ago.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... at noon comes Knepp, with design to dine with Lord Brouncker, but she being undressed, and there being much company, dined with me; ..."

Brouncker lives on Seething Lane these days; so Knepp comes over in casual attire ("undressed" also may refer to her hair being au natural) expecting a small lunch group, only to find his house full of people in business attire. She therefore asks Pepys if she can share his quiet lunch so as to not embarrass herself or Lord Brouncker. Keeping up appearances in front of her adoring fans is part of playing an actress.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

While I totally agree with Stephane's reading of James' reaction to Penn's letter, I thought this was a good explanation of the long-standing regard the Stuart brothers had for the Admiral:

"Marston Moor was fought in that year [1644], and all England was taking sides in the contention between the Parliament and the king. The navy was in sympathy with the Parliament; and the young officer [Penn], although his personal inclinations were towards the king, went with his associates.
"But in 1654 he appears to have lost faith in the Commonwealth. Cromwell sent an expedition to seize the Spanish West Indies. He put Penn in charge of the fleet, and made Venables general of the army.
"The two commanders, without conference one with the other, sent secret word to Charles II, then in exile on the Continent, and offered him their ships and soldiers. This transaction, although it seemed for the moment to be of none effect, resulted years afterward in the erection of the Colony of Pennsylvania.
"Charles declined the offer; "he wished them to reserve their affections for his Majesty till a more proper season to discover them;" but he never forgot it. It was the beginning of a friendship between the House of Stuart and the family of Penn, which William Penn [Jr.] inherited."…

The Riverside Biographical Series


Boston: 4 Park Street; New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street
Chicago: 378-388 Wabash Avenue

The Riverside Press, Cambridge

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The public entry of Venetian ambassador Piero Mocenigo wasn't a small thing, by the way. He describes it at length (in document 348, dated September 28 - Gregorian - at…): 40 coaches carrying Piero, Anglesey, Arundel and hundreds of courtiers, parading for 3 miles, a 20-gun salute, a big State dinner, the works. The convoy, going all over the place to show off while trying to stick to the least ruined parts of London, may have passed by the Office's neighborhood before dropping everyone off at the barges. But Sam wasn't invited despite all the connections he could have used (HM, HRH, the Navy, Tangiers, Evelyn, or maybe he was and declined). Our intrepid reporter also didn't go sightsee despite his attraction for the royal glitter, and stuck to his paperwork, then was busy with girls and the theater.

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