Sunday 25 October 1668

(Lord’s day). Up, and discoursing with my wife about our house and many new things we are doing of, and so to church I, and there find Jack Fenn come, and his wife, a pretty black woman: I never saw her before, nor took notice of her now. So home and to dinner, and after dinner all the afternoon got my wife and boy to read to me, and at night W. Batelier comes and sups with us; and, after supper, to have my head combed by Deb., which occasioned the greatest sorrow to me that ever I knew in this world, for my wife, coming up suddenly, did find me embracing the girl … [con my hand sub su coats; and endeed, I was with my main in her cunny. – L&M] I was at a wonderful loss upon it, and the girle also, and I endeavoured to put it off, but my wife was struck mute and grew angry, and so her voice come to her, grew quite out of order, and I to say little, but to bed, and my wife said little also, but could not sleep all night, but about two in the morning waked me and cried, and fell to tell me as a great secret that she was a Roman Catholique and had received the Holy Sacrament, which troubled me, but I took no notice of it, but she went on from one thing to another till at last it appeared plainly her trouble was at what she saw, but yet I did not know how much she saw, and therefore said nothing to her. But after her much crying and reproaching me with inconstancy and preferring a sorry girl before her, I did give her no provocation, but did promise all fair usage to her and love, and foreswore any hurt that I did with her, till at last she seemed to be at ease again, and so toward morning a little sleep, and so I with some little repose and rest,… [Continued tomorrow. P.G.]

47 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Elided above is the most grievous act of all:

"and, after supper, to have my head combed by Deb., which occasioned the greatest sorrow to me that ever I knew in this world, for my wife, coming up suddenly; for my wife, coming up suddenly, did find me imbracing the girl con my hand sub su coats; and endeed, I was with my main in her cunny. I was at a wonderful loss upon it, and the girle also;"


(L&M text)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Busted...Oh, Sam...You stupid... Not only for poor Bess, but that poor kid.

We can assume all this comic tragedy happened after Will Batelier left, right? That would be too unbelieveably stupid.


Caught...A gasping Sam...Desperate...


Quick mental turn to the infallable Hugh Aubry's other, less famed, work...

Extreme crisis producing a phenomenal memory surge...

"How to Succeed in Philandery..."

Chapter Twenty... "So, Ye Philander (Moron) is Busted...Bigtime..." Facing The Extreme Situation... (See Chapter Nineteen for Facing The Casual Exposure Situation).

"Since we must needs assume ye have been caught with thy proverbial hands in the jar, so to speak, we shall cut to ye chase..."

My God, how did he...?

"Ye All-purpose Possible responses...

1)"Poor ... has had an accident, dear! I was assisting her!!" Key flaw-Likely Result if ye partner is not visibly wounded: Ye immediate termination.

2)"What girl, dear?" Key flaw-Likely Result if ye partner cannot depart within fifteen seconds from immediate area, leaving no traces detectable by human sense: Ye immediate termination.

3)"Huh?" "What?" The preferred tried and tested response in ye typical emergency. Noncommital, it covers all ye possible topics of contention. Key flaw-Likely Result if ye missus can reachieve rational thought before ye can remove all trace of partner from area: ye immediate termination.

4)"Surprise!!" Excellent response in ye typical emergency if ye art provided with trinkets for ye partner in crime. Key flaw-Likely Result if ye partner refuses to part with the goods, assault from two sides and, naturally, ye immediate termination. Secondary flaw-One size does not fit all, ye moron. (See Chapter 17, the Philander's Guide to proper Gift-Giving)

5)"What do you mean, what were we doing? What were you doing?" Extreme response for emergency situations. Key flaw-Generally requires ye offended marital party to have their own partner handy. Lack of said partner likely resulting in ye immediate termination. Presence of said partner...Cause for ye own concern.

6)"Must run, emergency at the office...Spital...Throne room...Church..." Extreme response for emergency situations. Key Flaw-Can be checked, requires back-up response as will not explain activity with partner. Failure to produce backup will likely result in, ye know...



"Huh? What?"

Vision of Hugh, thumb's up, in corner.


"Why, hello, Elisab..."


"Bess..." Sam makes the hopeless attempt...

Grim look, door slam...

"Well...She's always this way on October 25th, every year..." Sam sighs. "With good reason, as you know, Will..."

"Really? Every year? I really did miss quite a show." Batelier, grin.

"I thought we were not to talk about...It!!! With strangers!!!" Call from closed door.

"But, Bess...Will is like family." Sam calls...

Batelier puts head in hands...My God, Pepys, after 300+years of this every 10/25th?...Even I know how bad that one is...Why don't you just invite Willet over for tea on this day every year?


Robert Gertz  •  Link

Of course the fascinating thing is that Sam recognized what a drama he had here and couldn't resist recording it in all its sordid...Wonderful glory...

Oh...Poor Bess. Ok, I did say sordid.


"You know the worst thing..." Sam sighs to dinner guest Batelier. "She actually loves rereading the Diary version...She's doing it right now in there."

"Am Not!!!"


"Anyway he got it wrong! I yelled for ten minutes, then I lost my voice!"

"Really?" Sam stares. "I remembered it wrong there?"

"I'm doing a rewrite right now! My version, long overdue!!"

"My...Say, I have to ask, Mrs P., did you really just go to bed with him after all that?" Batelier calling to door, eagerly.

"Well..." Bess' voice begins... "As Sam wrote, I was stunned...And then I..."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"at last it appeared plainly her trouble was at what she saw, but yet I did not know how much she saw"

There's that problem about where the candles were, the angles, chiaroscuro -- not for nothing what was painted at that tim (think Vermeer) --, the speed of the emotional impact -- likely no linger of Bess's gaze --, so whether she got a good look at all.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

That den of you know what, you know where...

Three days from now...

"Holiness..." doomed young priest of fatalistic aspect, already condemned by the Inquisition for radical leanings, offered sums for family's wellbeing by a terrified College of Cardinals, none of whom desires to be the bearer of this grim news...

"You...? Oh, this must be bad when they send Luther's spiritual twin to deliver the message..."

"Dreadful news from England, Holiness..."

"Fine...It's always dreadful these days..."

"Si, but dreadful, dreadful...Not good dreadful as with the plague, fire, Chatham..."

"I know...I know...Out with it..."

"Our chief agent in England has exposed herself..."

"I'm not one of those popes, padre..."

"I mean, Holiness...Revealed herself to her husband..."

"Mrs. P? Our mole in the Navy?"

"Upground, Holiness...For love."

"For...? Of that bug-eyed...Philandering..."

"She didn't know of the philandering, Holiness..."

"Our top agent in England? Didn't know about her husband...All of London knew about her husband..."

"Si, Holiness...But, love blinds...In ways we of the Clergy..."

"Me of the Clergy, heretic..."

"Si, Holiness...Anyway, she hath spilled all to her husband...At least enough to compromise her activities. King Louis will have to seek other means besides outright invasion now."

"Jesus Christ!!"

All look...Hmmn...Nope...

Still, doesn't mean anything...The Almighty is no doubt a mite busy to make house calls on the spur...

"Pardon, Holiness..."

"Hell, why not...Fine, you are pardoned...Now go to England and deal with this...Spare no wrath!"

Oh...Well, I didn't really mean...But, if the Holy Father wishes to pardon, who am I to...?

And a trip to England has to beat being torn apart with white hot tongs while hanging upside down...

Oh, but...

"Uh, spare no wrath on whom, Holiness? Our treacherous agent or her husband?"

"The husband was caught...With the young lady, no?"

"No...Uh, I mean, si..."

"He will suffer enough...If I know our agent...Heh, heh, heh..."

"The agent then...Holiness?"

"Let it take a little time, restored, on probation, Father...We shall play with her as cat with mouse...Patiently..."

"Threats, Holiness?..."

"No, just watch and record the husband's antics...If I know him and I have the reports from her as my bedroom reading, his fumbling between repentance and deception the next few months will make death appealing for her...Heh, heh, heh..."

"And we do save on that whopping contribution to Louis' fleet we were going to make." the restored priest notes. "Holiness..."

Oops...The Papal Treasure standing by gives startled look...Pope eyeing him coldly...

"I only thought to be efficient, Holi...Arrrghhhh!..." through open trap door.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"....but yet I did not know how much she saw, and therefore said nothing to her."

"I mean, sweetheart...It might have seemed a bit inappropriate but...It's not as if I had my hand in there and..."

"But, sir..." Deb interjects.


Bess, out of the room now, eagerly to a fascinated Batelier...

I missed so much that night...If I'd only hung round angling for that job a bit longer...

"Up to his elbows...You couldn't believe..."

"We don't talk about It!!! Your words!!!" Sam, annoyed...

"I can talk about It...Just not you." Bess, smugly...

"Anyway, right to the elbows, Will...Unbelieveable..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"This is terrible, sir...Poor Mrs. Pepys..." Hewer sighs.

"I know, I know..." Sam shaking head... "Don't look at me like that, boy...I know..."

"Worst thing is, I nearly managed it...Thanks to good ole Hugh..."

"Aubry again, sir? He's near infallable they say..."

"The operative word is near, Hewer...Still, my own fault..."

"I must say so sir..." Will sighs.

"Thanks...No, I mean I blew it by trying to use one additional remedy of his. The ultimate, the one which if Man ever harnesses the power of the atomic particle Hooke informs me will be called...Nuclear..."

"You didn't sir..." Hewer gasps...

"I was delirious with fear, Will...I'd used the tried and true "Huh? What?" and it seemed to have worked but then I had to panic and had to be sure...And go...Nuclear."

"Oh, sir."

"Aye... 'It's a sexual problem, dear. I couldn't speak to you about it for fear of...Hurting you.'"

"Oh, sir..." Will hangs head... "Sir, Aubry clearly states that is only to be used in the direst circumstances..."

"I know, Will...I know..." sigh.

"Beggin' yer pardon, sir?"

"Ah, Jane...Now?"

"The Missus says she be good and ready, sir."

"I see...Well, good-bye, Hewer."

"God bless you, sir."

"Joy that kills, eh what? Give my best to His Grace the Duke and thank him for his manifold kindnesses to me..."

Mary  •  Link

".... and had received the Holy Sacrament..."

Recently? Or is Elizabeth simply referring back to her early years?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"You...You're one of...Them?!!"

Bess knew all too well exactly where to hit him...

"And when we're tied on the stake, together...Or the mob is about to tear us limb from limb...I will try to explain that I became a Papist on my own, darling. Perhaps they'll even believe me..."

Heh, heh, heh...

(actually that's the chorus of Pope and Cardinals back at the Vatican).



"Pepys, I'm long out of the business..."

"But, Creed...My wife's very soul...And my career...Are at stake." (Ouch, that word)

"And the stake could be literal..."

"Your wife's soul...A pity. Your career? Ha, ha, ha, ha...Sorry, last bit of triumphal preening. I had to work to get permanently ahead of you via the marriage game, you know."

"Creed, please...As a former minister..."

"Pepys, closet Papism is in now...Why worry?"

"The Duke himself is in danger...What do you mean, 'why worry'? Besides, where's your dregs of religious fervor? A woman is about to be seized by the evils of the Whore of Babylon...And you like Bess, John."

"I like Bess..." reluctantly... "And would be nice to fire up the old brimstone and blistering wrath. I do miss it so, at times. The terror I could inflict...I had a real gift for it, Pepys."

"You did, Creed...You did..."

"But, see here...Isn't this all about your little ... with that girl of yours? Won't Bess give it all up if you just cut it out?"

"I fear 'cutting' is only too close to the point, John."

"Oooh...Really fury unleashed, eh?"

"If I weren't so terrified I might be excited...Besides, I sensed sincerity, Creed...Not just trying to make me tremble in my shoes and do anything to avoid her exposure. Those Italinate fiends...They have their evil hooks in my poor wretch...You must help me, John."

"A Catholic deprograming...A difficult task, even for a fully functional Puritan minister, Pepys. The Roman holds his victims with a grip of seductive steel, you know."

"You can do it, Creed...You were the best in your day."

"I was, wasn't I?"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Rome...That den of you know what...

"Holiness?...Are you unwell?"

"I sense a great disturbance in the Church, Cardinal. Our young novice is in danger...We must prepare to do battle. Summon the College..."

"Si, Holiness..."


Creed, in severe black...Prayer book open...

Practicing with long finger point... "The fires of damnation burn for..." Yes, I've still got it...

"Ah, Pepys...Did you bring it all?"

"Everything I could find, Creed. The rosaries, the sacred pictures, the crucifixes...Though this one is really quite a work of art..." holds up...


"Sorry...Just seems a shame to burn it all..."

"What about her? Where is she now?"

"I sent her out to Unthankes, with Deb."


"They don't speak but it makes her feel safer...And shopping at Unthankes always calms her."


Hardly the Puritan approach...Still...

"Well...Before we proceed, Samuel, you do know she must be given an incentive to turn from the comforts of Roman superstition to the pure and unvarnished faith...Meaning, given her odd attachment to you...You must give up Willet and all...You know..."

"All... As in, ... ?"

"Definitely ... Sam." severe look.

Hell, I did when I married.

"Bess must know you're truly one of the Elect, ready to enter Heaven with her, else what's the point if you too defiled to make the cut?"

"Well...Couldn't we wait just a bit? I mean I want Heaven with Bess...But Creed, I'm this close to getting Willet's maidenhead." Holds thumb and forefinger tight... "And you've seen her...It's sure to be some maidenhead."

"What? I thought you'd already...Bess is this upset over no maidenhead...?"

"What can I say? She loves me..."

"Well, you must give up all thought of Willet, Sam...Oh and beware...Bess is in the grip of seductive evil as well as very competitive. She might try...Well..."


"And it may be very...Tempting..."

"Really?...You know Creed, mayhaps we could wait a bit and see if Bess really is into this Catholique thing...A few months during which I'll...Observe...Her..."


("I sense victory in our fiendishly clutching grasp, Cardinals..." Cheers.)

Larry Bunce  •  Link

“….but yet I did not know how much she saw, and therefore said nothing to her.”

Here we see the best example anywhere of a great politician's mind in action, and that they haven't changed in the 3 centuries that have passed since.
I just had a thought: did Seething Lane get its name based on Bess's reaction?

languagehat  •  Link

A vivid and unhappy entry; I hope he can manage to put things right with his wife (and stop fondling the help, though that's probably too much to ask).

Could I request that RG confine himself to one or two fantasy comments per thread? I've trained myself to just scroll past them, but having to do it repeatedly gets annoying. I'm not complaining about their existence -- I know a lot of readers enjoy them -- just asking for a little self-restraint.

Frank G.  •  Link

I'd like to add my support for languagehat's request.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

This is a pitiful entry, one that sticks in my memory. Nonetheless, Sam and Bess stick together, as many straying husbands and wives do.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Seething Lane

seethe -- O.E. seoþan "to boil" (class II strong verb; past tense seaþ, pp. soden), from P.Gmc. *seuthanan (cf. O.N. sjoða, O.Fris. siatha, Du. zieden, O.H.G. siodan, Ger. sieden "to seethe"), from PIE base *seut- "to seethe, boil." Driven out of its literal meaning by boil (v.); it survives largely in metaphoric extensions. Figurative use, of persons or populations, "to be in a state of inward agitation" is recorded from 1580s (implied in seething). It had wider figurative uses in O.E., e.g. "to try by fire, to afflict with cares."…

But why is the street so-named? Has it to do with the Tower?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"O, that a man might know The end of this day's business ere it come! But it sufficeth that the day will end, And then the end is known."

john  •  Link

Was Bess truly in the dark about Sam's philandering before now? Her reaction does not appear for effect.

Eric Walla  •  Link

One more striking aspect of this entry (unless Terry is providing us with a translation): Sam does not resort to his slurry of foreign languages to describe the scene. Does this mean his previous efforts really were to hide the information should Elizabeth decide to sneak a peek? But Sam is laying out the whole scene and doesn't know if she actually witnessed the completeness of his betrayal. Is it that he is so shaken he doesn't think to double-encode it? Or does he feel that by all rights, if she is to read it now, he deserves the punishment to come?

Jim  •  Link

I found this explanation as to why it was called 'Seething Lane' on the 'London Gardens Online' site.

"The word 'Seething' may originate from a medieval word 'sifethen' meaning 'full of chaff' so-called after the nearby Corn Market."


Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Was Bess truly in the dark about Sam’s philandering before now? Her reaction does not appear for effect."

I'd guess she had suspicions but no solid proof and preferred to dismiss most of it as back-biting and rumor, probably with Sam's eager support, unless and until real proof surfaced. After all, she herself has been under suspicion by John Sr and even Sam on a few occasions...Likely for nothing more than flirtation.

Jenny  •  Link

As Claire Tomalin succinctly puts it - anyone who has been on any side of this triangle recognises the truth of this and (spoiler) the entries to come.

Jenny  •  Link

Robert, I enjoy your entries very much but this time you have missed the mark.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my wife...fell to tell me as a great secret that she was a Roman Catholique and had received the Holy Sacrament"

L&M note that Elizabeth more than once threatened to become a Catholic, but never did.

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Yes, Robert, if you could make the dramatic episodes as a whole more succinct, so as not to overwhelm the discussion, that would be great, thanks. If you're writing a lot more than Sam's diary entries themselves, you should probably have your own blog :)

arby  •  Link

I haven't read the early entries, but it seems to me the Catholic thing is the real news in this one (we all knew of Sam's proclivities, even if Elizabeth lacked hard evidence). Like Mary, I wonder if this is something recent, from her past, or a fictional threat?

Michael L  •  Link

Eric: Sam's lack of foreign words this time is a very interesting observation. I wonder what is behind it? Perhaps it could be that this time it definitely did not feel like a game, so his usual almost playful words are not appropriate.

Ian Greenwood  •  Link

I heartily endorse PG's remark above; the comical episodes grow tiresome and crowd out factual information and genuine enquiry.

Jenny  •  Link

I think Elizabeth's telling Sam that she was a Catholic was the lowest blow she could think of under the circumstances. I think she wanted him to feel pain and to be very worried.

To those annotators who are surprised at Elizabeth's reaction, it doesn't surprise me at all. I think we have the advantage of knowing Sam's inner thoughts - I am pretty certain that there was no gossip or innuendo which reached Elizabeth. There were high prices to pay back then for losing a reputation. I'm also pretty sure that most people saw Sam as a gifted administrator, a good host, a congenial friend and an intelligent man, happy at the office and happy at home.

Ruben  •  Link

I am sorry to correct some annotators, but as usual concerning sexual encounters or thoughts Pepys uses a jargon of foreign words, may be because of shame (he was raised in a puritanical way), or may be to make the remembrance more spicy.
There are 4 in this entry:

"for my wife, coming up suddenly, did find me embracing the girl CON my hand SUB SU coats; and endeed, I was with my MAIN in her cunny.”

CON: with (Spanish)
SUB: Under (from Latin). I am not sure this is an English word as used here.
SU: her (Spanish)
MAIN: hand (French)

Australian Susan  •  Link

Bess would not have been shocked by Sam having intimate relations with other women of lower classes. It was normal behaviour for men then. What has upset her is that it is with her personal companion in their house. Now that is going too far.

Mary  •  Link

Not shocked?

I don't think that we can say quite as categorically as that that Elizabeth wouldn't have been shocked by Sam's various peccadillos. Certainly the fact that she's caught him out with Deb Willett adds insult to the injury, but I'm not sure that she would have dismissed Sam's dalliance with any of his other women as trivial episodes not worthy of her consideration. She lays down the law about Knepp etc. because she has seen how he flirts with them. Would she really have been indifferent to his dealings with Mrs. Bagwell, Betty Martin and all the little shop girls with whom Sam dallied had she known how he pursued them? Maybe, but we can't say that for sure and he was certainly in a state of high alarm when it looked as if he might be caught out in his dealings with Betty Mitchell and the truth revealed to his wife.

jeannine  •  Link

Late to the party here. I too think that Elizabeth has always had suspicions about Sam, as we've seen in their arguments in the past, etc. I also agree with Jenny that telling Sam she was a Catholic is probably the best 'revenge'that she could think of (so far,,, as I am sure she will ponder more ideas as time goes on). In addition to the religious bigotry towards Catholics, it could also impact Sam's beloved career if word got out about Elizabeth's religious leanings. So She is aiming for the one area that could really upset him.

jeannine  •  Link

Late to the party here. I too think that Elizabeth has always had suspicions about Sam, as we've seen in their arguments in the past, etc. I also agree with Jenny that telling Sam she was a Catholic is probably the best 'revenge'that she could think of (so far,,, as I am sure she will ponder more ideas as time goes on). In addition to the religious bigotry towards Catholics, it could also impact Sam's beloved career if word got out about Elizabeth's religious leanings. So She is aiming for the one area that could really upset him.

pedro  •  Link

You could very well be right here Jeannine!

nix  •  Link

Even later to the party, but I have to dissent from the complaints against Mr. Gertz -- he has brought much fun to this site, and if you're not in the mood (as I sometimes am not) scrolling down isn't all that taxing.

Paul  •  Link

I always thought Bess used the 'Holy Sacrament' as a threat to her remaining loyal in light of Sams infidelity (Whats good for the goose is good for the gander). Its impossible to divorce but public knowledge would have caused him to lose his office and station in life - while his wife would also commit adultery. I always felt that he was completely in love with Deb... as a way of deflecting the responsibilities and debt that Bess and station had driven him toward.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

After that drama, I know you await the mail of the day with bated breath. Fortunately, being Sunday, there is little, and the best is left to last.

The volume of Domestic State Papers covering correspondence from Oct. 1668 to Dec. 1669 is at…

Oct. 25 1668.
Lord Montague to Williamson.

I have failed to meet you at Lord Arlington's or the Court.

Pray do all the favour you can for Col. Holtby, in the business of the lottery,
he being a person well known to have done the King eminent service in the war, and being very indigent.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 248, No. 70.]
My guess is that this letter is from the Lord Chamberlain, Gen. Sir Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester. None of my books mention a Col. Holtby, but it is curious a Parliamentary General would be petitioning on behalf of a Royalist veteran. That speaks well of the man.

Oct. 25 1668.
Hugh Salesbury to Williamson.

I have no news;
the Dartmouth is ready to sail the first fair wind.

I saw your colt in Sir Philip Honeywood's stable, and will send him up when fit to travel.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 248, No. 72.]

Oct. 25 1668.
Capt. Ant. Deane to Williamson.

I want to know whether you received the things sent, and whether my answers to the queries gave satisfaction;

I wish Lord [Arlington] to be informed of anything which I observed there.
I am more anxious by reason of the great abuse in the opening of letters which come to me, which, as the case stands, may ruin my friend abroad and have his throat cut in a short time.

Our messenger brought several letters last night, and amongst the rest one from Master Castell, giving an account of what he had seen; and although he wrought as cunningly as he could, and had not set his hand as ordered, yet the whole matter was plain.
He enclosed the draft of a gun lately experimented upon in that country, which, by the shape of its cylinder, would shoot a pellet double the usual weight, with half the powder.
This letter was brought open, and the seals torn off, and the messenger affirms it came in that state to him.
I pay 10d. for your letter, and should not be so served.

See to it and send this letter to Castell; I question not but on his return, he will answer the ends he went for, and do you service.
[24 pages. [S.P. Dom., Car. II. 248, No. 73.[
Anyone know who Mr, Castell was, or where he is committing industrial espionage?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... and so to church I, and there find Jack Fenn come, and his wife, a pretty black woman: I never saw her before, nor took notice of her now."

One day soon you may need Jack Fenn, Samuel oh so high and mighty Pepys. There are times I really dislike you. I suppose Mrs. Fenn wasn't as classy as Betty Lane? You had the gall to invite good old Betty Lane to lunch with Elizabeth recently.

I'm glad you got caught. I trust Elizabeth will torture you.

No hint as to what will happen to Deb, who is probably upstairs, sobbing. She will have to go, of course. But Pepys has no thought about her welfare tonight.

John Hawkinson  •  Link

Give us a war, a plague, or a good fire to balance the domestic strife.

Harry R  •  Link

Surely what hurts Bess above all else is that this has been going on under her own roof, and with Deb who has been her constant companion for months.

JB  •  Link

I often wonder if regular commentators from years past still visit the site and how they might reflect on their thoughts and interactions from that time.

arby  •  Link

JB, when I bump into one of my fairly rare ten year old comments, I'm a little surprised that most of them are pretty cogent :>)
I'm very appreciative of the other 'anno-taters', they are and were knowledgeable and patient, their help in understanding both the Diary and the times has been priceless.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I'm in touch occasionally with 6 of the previous annotators, JB; as you know, Terry Foreman is still watching over us, another 4 have moved on, and one is interested in one topic only and checks in sporadically. This surprised me as a 9-1/2 year commitment must form a habit. The down-time between the end in May and the new start in January probably broke their habits.

I hope Phil keeps the site up for a third session -- I haven't read the first 3 years yet. I don't want to add mail throughout, but in the build-up to the war I was frustrated by the perceived lack of preparations, so I'd like to add some more significant correspondence to fill out the national picture.

There are many fascinating people's Encyclopedia biographies that haven't been touched yet.

But a third decade of Pepys is a lot to expect from Phil.

IMHO this site is a national treasure, and deserves to be at least preserved should he be ready to retire from administering / moderating. Maybe one of the younger ones amongst us would be willing to assume some responsibilities? I'm older than Phil, so I'm not a solution, much as I love this blog.

If anyone has solutions to offer, I suspect Phil would like to hear from you. It would be wrong of us to presume he wants to do/can commit to doing a third decade of the Diary, although it is undoubtedly one of his outstanding professional achievements. Email:

THANK YOU, PHIL GYFORD. You and Pepys and all the annotators make my day, frequently.

john  •  Link

Though this is my second time around (and hopefully I will last for a third), I still find it difficult to place myself in the minds of our main protagonists. This was a time period of arranged marriages based on finances, women mostly regarded as chattel, and all sorts of practices now rightfully considered heinous that form the social backdrop. Ten years ago, I wondered how much Elizabeth knew but now I wonder whether she cared as long as he consorted with (or preyed upon) women of appropriate social standing. Her purported remark ("reproaching me with inconstancy and preferring a sorry girl before her") seems to indicate his choice rather than his behaviour.

(As for another round, I suspect that Phil's second round is mostly automated.)

JB  •  Link

Thanks for the replies, everyone, and the soft correction - even as I typed "comment-" I somehow realized I should have typed "annotators", but neglected to rectify it.

A massive thanks to Phil - and I do hope the second round has been mostly automated or at least less work involved. And thank you, Sarah, for adding "some more significant correspondence to fill out the national picture", which has been great (I, too, have wondered about the habit-forming propensity of the long term commitment and how that has borne out with folks). And thanks to everyone else, past and present, who has participated in this virtual village.

I landed here sometime in 2016, so I've only been around for the second half of the Diary, and am hoping to catch the beginning (:

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... the second round has been mostly automated or at least less work involved"

In the six-odd years I've been involved, considerable upgrades in technology involved Phil in work behind the scenes. For example, recently he had to change programs so we could still get daily updates, which I agree must be sent out automatically by now.

The work involved probably took him a few hours. The commitment is staying on top of the technology and being aware of the options, which takes on-going daily vigilance and enquiry. Looking at his website, he is doing that on behalf of a number of endeavors, but that doesn't lessen his daily commitment to Pepys.

Yes, we mostly do the moderation for ourselves. Thankfully we don't have anyone disruptive currently involved; a few scholarly clarifications may be called for, but nothing like they had during 1663 in the first version.

Behind the scenes you and I can be the recipients of the occasional email, though!!! Phil is still paying attention -- and picking up the tab -- at 19 years and ticking. I don't take that for granted.

Third Reading

Song Of Autumn  •  Link

Regarding his wife's prior awareness of Sam's extramarital adventures, I've found an interesting and relevant excerpt from Elizabeth's own diary dated November 1, 1660.

The context - which Sam's own entry for the prior day alludes to - is that Elizabeth suffered some condition that apparently made sex painful. Sam's entry merely notes that he finds not having sex frustrating; but her entry indicates he might have whitewashed a tad bit:

"The great chafe I am in, for last night my husband does make to baste me – by reason that I am ill! And does he count the days since we did lie together and demand his dues soon, else he does claim as ’tis his right to put his pintle in some other. Which does bring out the very deep anger in me; and no way to win me to him it is. And will I observe where his pintle does go (and I do have my ways) and the price he should pay if it should find other accommodation."

So not only did he *deliberately* provoke suspicion that he was pursuing, or was willing to pursue, other women (which would be a fairly inadvisable thing to suggest even if it *was* merely a bluff... which it obviously wasn't), but she found it plausible enough that she was actively on the lookout.

(I must also agree that threatening infidelity is perhaps not an ideal strategy to ignite a wife's passion)

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