Monday 26 October 1668

[Continued from yesterday. P.G.] …rose, and up and by water to White Hall, but with my mind mightily troubled for the poor girle, whom I fear I have undone by this, my [wife] telling me that she would turn her out of doors. However, I was obliged to attend the Duke of York, thinking to have had a meeting of Tangier to-day, but had not; but he did take me and Mr. Wren into his closet, and there did press me to prepare what I had to say upon the answers of my fellow-officers to his great letter, which I promised to do against his coming to town again, the next week; and so to other discourse, finding plainly that he is in trouble, and apprehensions of the Reformers, and would be found to do what he can towards reforming, himself. And so thence to my Lord Sandwich’s, where, after long stay, he being in talk with others privately, I to him; and there he, taking physic and keeping his chamber, I had an hour’s talk with him about the ill posture of things at this time, while the King gives countenance to Sir Charles Sidly and Lord Buckhurst, telling him their late story of running up and down the streets a little while since all night, and their being beaten and clapped up all night by the constable, who is since chid and imprisoned for his pains. He tells me that he thinks his matters do stand well with the King, and hopes to have dispatch to his mind; but I doubt it, and do see that he do fear it, too. He told me my Lady Carteret’s trouble about my writing of that letter of the Duke of York’s lately to the Office, which I did not own, but declared to be of no injury to G. Carteret, and that I would write a letter to him to satisfy him therein. But this I am in pain how to do, without doing myself wrong, and the end I had, of preparing a justification to myself hereafter, when the faults of the Navy come to be found out however, I will do it in the best manner I can. Thence by coach home and to dinner, finding my wife mightily discontented, and the girle sad, and no words from my wife to her. So after dinner they out with me about two or three things, and so home again, I all the evening busy, and my wife full of trouble in her looks, and anon to bed, where about midnight she wakes me, and there falls foul of me again, affirming that she saw me hug and kiss the girle; the latter I denied, and truly, the other I confessed and no more, and upon her pressing me did offer to give her under my hand that I would never see Mrs. Pierce more nor Knepp, but did promise her particular demonstrations of my true love to her, owning some indiscretions in what I did, but that there was no harm in it. She at last upon these promises was quiet, and very kind we were, and so to sleep, and… [Continued tomorrow. P.G.]

18 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" the King gives countenance to Sir Charles Sidly and Lord Buckhurst, telling him their late story of running up and down the streets a little while since all night, and their being beaten and clapped up all night by the constable, who is since chid and imprisoned for his pains. "

Pepys's report three days ago being told by Pearse of those events

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Darkness seems to have provided some mantle of protection? Though perhaps Bess just doesn't want to accept what she saw completely yet.

Betty Pierce would doubtless be amused to find Bess so concerned with her. Knepp on the other hand, though she seemed to have begun trading up last time we saw her, might be a real threat.

Given the letter of a few years ago, Sandwich would probably be rather amused to learn the domestic details at Cousin Sam's as well...

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Alas, by these sad events, I fear the end is drawing nigh. I think we should start again, from the beginning with the Second Coming of Charles II, of Glorious Memory. I have read Pepys Diary these thirty years, over and over, with great delight, and value the many entries, even RG and his twice told tales, and want to do it all again.

Clement  •  Link

" it all again."

Careful, Carl, Phil may just send you the admin passwords and change the hosting billing address for round two. :)

I for one would be happy not to change my homepage for another 10 years.

We'd have to contract Terry to contribute all of his additional source material and insight as well, from the beginning this time, and probably hire an animator for Robert's graphic novel version.

Jenny  •  Link

Oh Sam, trickle truth is the worst blow of all.

Ralph Berry  •  Link

"... and upon her pressing me did offer to give her under my hand that I would never see Mrs Pierce more, nor Knepp..."
It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall to the earlier part of their argument. I surmise that Bess may have been fully aware of Sam's philandering but she was in no position to do too much about it. If she left Sam she would have no status and no money.To some extent she can control what goes on in the house by getting rid of poor Deb or any of the other servants Sam dumps himself on but she cannot do anything about the outside ladies. Therefore they are the greater threat to her reputation and stability.

Jenny  •  Link

I believe that everyone is running on emotion and that is what happens in these circumstances. No one is thinking about the future or the consequences, they are in the moment. Elizabeth's emotions tell her that Sam mustn't see any dangerous women.

Believe me, I know about this.

martinb  •  Link

The sentence highlighted by Ralph seems to be key if we are to understand what has been going on in Elizabeth's mind until now. Elizabeth extracts from Samuel the promise that he will not see either Pierce or Knepp again: do we take this to mean that she knew all along that he was seeing them but said nothing, or that in the course of this midnight conversation he confesses to having done so and vows not to do it again? There's a big difference, and it's not clear to me how we should read this.

On another note, Jenny, we are all grown-ups with a certain amount of experience of the world and can therefore all be assumed to "know" at least something about the current predicament chez Pepys.

Clive Foden  •  Link

Dowland, once described as a 16/17 C Elton John, wrote for the lute. It's a shame the link isn't to a lute version as the sweet melancholy of the instrument perfectly conveys Dowland's musical intention: Semper Dowland, semper dolens.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Bess accompanied Sam or was hostess to a number of Betty Pierce/Knepp-attended events. She's aware Sam's attracted to these two bright and lively as well as beautiful women, both of whom have a considerable degree of independence for their time. She seems to consider them bigger threats than Deb, even though both are married, Knepp albeit unhappily. I suspect there's an intellectual jealousy here...Bess fears these two clever women might hold more attraction for Sam's lively mind than she whereas she has little such fear of Deb, who also lacks their social status. He's probably encouraged such jealousy by letting admiration for both ladies' wit and brilliance slip out in their daily conversation. Oddly enough, and strangely given Deb's single state, Sam has probably chosen the least threatening woman to Bess he could've. Beauty and girlish charm she remains confident she can fight...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

And I can imagine many a party or event where poor Bess sat glumly and watched Sam eagerly chatting to his two ladies, Pierce on Court gossip, even business affairs, Knepp on his beloved theater and the backstage gossip.

martinb  •  Link

Excellent analysis, RG, thanks very much.

Phoenix  •  Link

Apropos martinb - unless one's been there one knows nothing about it. Believe me. This kind of spousal conflict has to be experienced - else all commentary is so much opinion and supposition. And, of course, so much fun.

martinb  •  Link

At the risk of drifting off-topic, I think the notion that you have to have been there in order to understand is a dubious one. None of us lived in 17th-century London and few of us have murdered anyone, yet we find it possible to read Pepys' Diary or Crime and Punishment with some degree of understanding. Indeed, if we are only to read and give our opinion about what we know already, why bother to read or write at all?

arby  •  Link

I'm with you, CiB. I had never read Pepys before finding this some years ago, and have deliberately not read the earlier years I've missed. I would love to see this roll over, with the original annotations still accessible. I would have been adrift many times without y'all to 'splain me, thanks. rb

Jesse  •  Link

"she would turn her out of doors"

That she hasn't yet is somewhat surprising. By demonstrating some restraint she's finally showing a maturity which will help keep an even keel. I think the wider picture, per RG's comment, also helps keep the lid on things.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Pepys? You're sure about this?"

"Absolutely, Sire." Bess cuts in.

"Exploration? You? Pardon me but you never quite seemed..."

"He lives for adventure, sire." "Yeah." Sam...Sighing...

"Well, you'll certainly find it...But little else...In the Arctic. What was it we were looking for there, Jamie?...The Northwest Passage or perhaps more polar bears...Cute things, from a distance, I hear. Hmmn. And you would go too, Mrs. P? Have we ever sent a woman, Jamie? Would put us one up on Louis, I suppose..."

"We can't be separated, Sire. Sam wouldn't hear of it." eye to Sam. "Right..." sigh...

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