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.

20 Annotations

First Reading

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.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to the Committee of Tangier; a day appointed for him to give an account of Tangier, and what he did, and found there"

Sandwich's private account of the visit to Tangier is available online…

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

"If Deb is keeping out of the way, what is she doing all day?"

She should be packing her bags. Why hasn't Elizabeth fired her?


Some news from the colonies ... two posts by Terry last month:…

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.…

mountebank  •  Link

Pepys seems to be rather infatuated with Deb Willet, more so than the other women and girls he's chased. Is it because he was relishing the chase, having a growing expectation of conquest, and circumstances have now ruled out that he can complete the conquest?

Gerald Berg  •  Link

It's because Deb is 18yo. It is certainly not for love of Liz nor her peace of mind.

Vincent Telford  •  Link

My reading is that Sam has lost both his own peace of mind and that of his wife, Elizabeth, who he remains solidly attached to; all over his infatuation with 18 year old Deb Willet.

Sam is presumably 'playing away' because he is not getting much satisfaction at home plus Deb Willet is in the same condition and so given the opportunity sparks flew and nature took its course.

I note Sam's 'relationship' with his all seeing God (and now us via reading his diary that he ultimately deliberately left to posterity) is pretty light, he does not seem that concerned about what God sees, just figures God will forgive him for being as he is. In this way Sam is very honest with both himself, his God and finally us.

Deb Willet's peace of mind is also lost so there will have to be some sort of resolution within this household, presumably Deb Willet will have to go? She is no longer a companion for Elizabeth and is the source of overwhelming tension in the household.

A bit surprising Deb Willet doesn't go of her own accord, maybe she feels attached to Sam or has few other options at the moment and because of lack of experience is a bit bewildered.

Vincent Telford  •  Link

Btw it's lucky for Sam (and Elizabeth) that Sam has managed to bluff his wife with only half the story re: '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'.

Note that Sam is fully committed to living out his life with Elizabeth.

Sam was taking a considerable risk in keeping this diary even if it was written in code. In the deeper future Elizabeth might get these pages translated; presumably Sam thinks this is extremely unlikely or simply that he enjoys taking a risk.

Elizabeth must know he keeps a diary or is he constantly furtively updating it when no one is looking and then hiding it away?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Thank you Terry for the link you posted in 2017 and 2020 to "The Life of Edward Montagu, K.G., First Earl of Sandwich", a massive biography published in 1912 by F. R. Harris. Harris opines that My Lord should really have asked cousin Sam to write his speech, because "his [Sandwich's] extant letters show him to have been the most prolix of writers, and he was evidently a poor speaker. He was crushed by the weight of his material".

But, speaking of being crushed, and before we shed tears on how My Lord's want of eloquence hurt his legacy and reputation, let's note that, among his suggestions for the improvement of Tangiers, Harris writes (at page 165) that "He would have had all Barbary Jews banished, for they spied, they betrayed the prices of our commodities, and 'they are beggars, and sucke the monye out of the inhabitants' purses'". By 1839 the Barbary Jews accounted for one-quarter of the population of Tangiers (see https://bible-in-spain-annotated.…). We join them in thanking whatever power made Lord Montagu fumble his speech today, and as a side benefit for not dragging Sam Pepys into it.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

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

Nov. 9 1668.
Sir P. Musgrave to [Williamson].

I have returned no acknowledgment for your zeal for me in any late concernment at the Council Board.
I am not like one that is deeply upon the score, and therefore unwilling to consider my debts;
I think with great satisfaction of the honour of being esteemed worthy to be obliged by you, and can only promise that I will endeavour to give you no cause to repent of your great generosity.
[S.P. Dom., Cur. II. 249, No. 51.]
I wonder if this is Sir Philip Musgrave, 2nd Bart., MP for Westmorland, and Gov. of Carlisle Castle?……
and many more mentions ... search on MUSGRAVE under annotations.

If it is, Carlisle isn't far enough away.

Nov. 9 1668.
Thos. Holden to Hickes.

Arrival of ships, viz: the Good Hope
and 50 more from Wales with coals;
also 20 or 30 merchantmen from Yarmouth, bound for France,
and the 2 Marys from London, who are to take in pilchards for the Straits.
S.P. Dom., Cur. II. 249, No. 52.]

Nov. 9 1668.
Reference to the Commissioners for alterations in the Tower,

of the petition of Rachel Brewster, for leave to enclose a piece of ground for a wharf near the Tower, where some tenements stood which were demolished by the King's order in the late fire.
[S.P. Dom., Entry Book 18, p. 339.]

Nov. 9 1668.
Report of Sir S. Fox, 12 Sept. 1668 (on the petition of Major Ben. Henshaw],
that 113/. 4d. Od. was paid to him, as Major to the Island of Jersey from 18 Oct. 1664 to 28 July 1665;

and that from the latter date till his company was disbanded, 27 Sept. 1667, he received only the pay of a captain;

also report of the Duke of Albemarle, 9 Oct. 1668, that if his Majesty thinks fit to allow him major's pay at 8s. a day, besides his captain's pay, there will be due to him 316/.

With reference of the whole to the Treasury Commissioners, 9 Nov., to consider whether he may have the particulars proposed in his petition of 22 Aug. last, in consideration of the shortness of his pày.
[1] pages. S.P. Dom., Cur. II. 249, No. 53.]

Third Reading

Michaela  •  Link

Thank you Vincent for posting that link to Simon Roper’s accents through the ages - a favourite of mine, but I hadn’t listened to it for a while.

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