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.]

12 Annotations

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.

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.

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