Monday 9 November 1668

Up, and I did by a little note which I flung to Deb. advise her that I did continue to deny that ever I kissed her, and so she might govern herself. The truth is that I did adventure upon God’s pardoning me this lie, knowing how heavy a thing it would be for me to the ruin of the poor girle, and next knowing that if my wife should know all it were impossible ever for her to be at peace with me again, and so our whole lives would be uncomfortable. The girl read, and as I bid her returned me the note, flinging it to me in passing by. And so I abroad by [coach] to White Hall, and there to the Duke of York to wait on him, who told me that Sir W. Pen had been with him this morning, to ask whether it would be fit for him to sit at the Office now, because of his resolution to be gone, and to become concerned in the Victualling. The Duke of York answered, “Yes, till his contract was signed:” Thence I to Lord Sandwich’s, and there to see him; but was made to stay so long, as his best friends are, and when I come to him so little pleasure, his head being full of his own business, I think, that I have no pleasure [to] go to him. Thence to White Hall with him, to the Committee of Tangier; a day appointed for him to give an account of Tangier, and what he did, and found there, which, though he had admirable matter for it, and his doings there were good, and would have afforded a noble account, yet he did it with a mind so low and mean, and delivered in so poor a manner, that it appeared nothing at all, nor any body seemed to value it; whereas, he might have shewn himself to have merited extraordinary thanks, and been held to have done a very great service: whereas now, all that cost the King hath been at for his journey through Spain thither, seems to be almost lost. After we were up, Creed and I walked together, and did talk a good while of the weak report my Lord made, and were troubled for it; I fearing that either his mind and judgment are depressed, or that he do it out of his great neglect, and so my fear that he do all the rest of his affairs accordingly. So I staid about the Court a little while, and then to look for a dinner, and had it at Hercules-Pillars, very late, all alone, costing me 10d. And so to the Excise Office, thinking to meet Sir Stephen Fox and the Cofferer, but the former was gone, and the latter I met going out, but nothing done, and so I to my bookseller’s, and also to Crow’s, and there saw a piece of my bed, and I find it will please us mightily. So home, and there find my wife troubled, and I sat with her talking, and so to bed, and there very unquiet all night.

12 Annotations

Dawn  •  Link

"and also to Crow’s, and there saw a piece of my bed, and I find it will please us mightily."

Depending on Bess' mood, the bed may be too big.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I remained impressed he's not looking for two beds. But Bess seems determined to fight this out...Pity Sam can't see how lucky he is that she still cares enough to.

Mary  •  Link

Sam's trying to make bargains with God again, a process usually reserved for the more trivial matter of 'unauthorized' theatre-going.

john  •  Link

What options does Elizabeth have? I would think they are fairly limited.

JKM  •  Link

"though he had admirable matter for it, and his doings there were good, and would have afforded a noble account, yet he did it with a mind so low and mean, and delivered in so poor a manner, that it appeared nothing at all..."

Facinating to watch the understandable dismay of Pepys (and Creed) as Sandwich shoots himself in the foot. It sounds like Sandwich normally knows how to put something like this over but is too depressed to bother right now.

Mary  •  Link

Elizabeth's options are very limited.

She will hardly contemplate leaving Seething Lane and returning to her parents' house (as she did once in the earliest days of the marriage) nor will she wish to decamp to the home of brother Balty and his wife - neither set of relations is in any position to keep her in the style to which she has grown accustomed. As for her in-laws, they offer no possibility at all; she really doesn't get on with them. Uncle Wight? Hardly. Nor does it seem likely that, despite her acknowledged beauty, she would be prepared to offer her favours to a notional protector.

She is going to have to drive the most satisfactory bargain that she can with Sam, relying on the fact (which appears to be true) that he really doesn't want to lose his wife no matter how fond he has become of Deb Willet. He is, after all, still pursuing the building of a new marital bed ("I find it will please us mightily"). Life is uncomfortable for the moment, but he gives no hint of any fear that Elizabeth might actually leave him. Where could she or would she go?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Outside the marriage, limited options for Bess, certainly...Though we might be surprised. But within...There she does have quite a degree of power and could lever Sam out of her bedroom were she indifferent to him, there is certainly enough room at Seething Lane and he could potentially have access to Deb discreetly, if Bess were solely interested in the financial end of things. Not exactly the sort of relationship common to their more "middle-class" lifestyle but certainly not unheard of in the Stuart court.

Liz  •  Link

If Deb is keeping out of the way, what is she doing all day? I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the servant’s quarters.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Follow up to some news from the colonies ...

In 1668 James, Duke of York expressed tacit approval of plunder when he sent the Oxford to take command of the Jamaican privateers and ensure himself a good share of the prize monies, although he was disappointed as the ship was blown up in an accident soon after arriving in the Caribbean.

The Stuart brothers and various courtiers had investments in other ships although it proved difficult to extract a profit at a distance and most of the large prize money went to those on the spot in the Caribbean.

With semi-official sanction Gov. Sir Thomas Modyford pursued his pro-privateering policy, with one short break, until the end of his government in 1671, and the period, which witnessed the famous exploits of Henry Morgan at Portobello and Panama, is known as the heyday of the buccaneers.…

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