Tuesday 12 January 1668/69

Up, and to the Office, where, by occasion of a message from the Treasurers that their Board found fault with Commissioner Middleton, I went up from our Board to the Lords of the Treasury to meet our Treasurers, and did, and there did dispute the business, it being about the matter of paying a little money to Chatham Yard, wherein I find the Treasurers mighty supple, and I believe we shall bring them to reason, though they begun mighty upon us, as if we had no power of directing them, but they, us. Thence back presently home, to dinner, where I discern my wife to have been in pain about where I have been, but said nothing to me, but I believe did send W. Hewer to seek me, but I take no notice of it, but am vexed. So to dinner with my people, and then to the Office, where all the afternoon, and did much business, and at it late, and so home to supper, and to bed. This day, meeting Mr. Pierce at White Hall, he tells me that his boy hath a great mind to see me, and is going to school again; and Dr. Clerke, being by, do tell me that he is a fine boy; but I durst not answer anything, because I durst not invite him to my house, for fear of my wife; and therefore, to my great trouble, was forced to neglect that discourse. But here Mr. Pierce, I asking him whither he was going, told me as a great secret that he was going to his master’s mistress, Mrs. Churchill, with some physic; meaning for the pox I suppose, or else that she is got with child. This evening I observed my wife mighty dull, and I myself was not mighty fond, because of some hard words she did give me at noon, out of a jealousy at my being abroad this morning, which, God knows, it was upon the business of the Office unexpectedly: but I to bed, not thinking but she would come after me. But waking by and by out of a slumber, which I usually fall into presently after my coming into the bed, I found she did not prepare to come to bed, but got fresh candles, and more wood for her fire, it being mighty cold, too. At this being troubled, I after a while prayed her to come to bed, all my people being gone to bed; so, after an hour or two, she silent, and I now and then praying her to come to bed, she fell out into a fury, that I was a rogue, and false to her. But yet I did perceive that she was to seek what to say, only she invented, I believe, a business that I was seen in a hackney coach with the glasses up with Deb., but could not tell the time, nor was sure I was he. I did, as I might truly, deny it, and was mightily troubled, but all would not serve. At last, about one o’clock, she come to my side of the bed, and drew my curtaine open, and with the tongs red hot at the ends, made as if she did design to pinch me with them, at which, in dismay, I rose up, and with a few words she laid them down; and did by little and, little, very sillily, let all the discourse fall; and about two, but with much seeming difficulty, come to bed, and there lay well all night, and long in bed talking together, with much pleasure, it being, I know, nothing but her doubt of my going out yesterday, without telling her of my going, which did vex her, poor wretch! last night, and I cannot blame her jealousy, though it do vex me to the heart.

12 Annotations

Chris Squire  •  Link

‘supple a. Etymology: < Old French supple < Latin supplicem , supplex lit. ‘bending under’, hence, submissive, suppliant,
. . 4. fig. Yielding readily to persuasion or influence; compliant. Const. to.
. . 1669 S. Pepys Diary 12 Jan. (1976) IX. 412 It being about the manner of paying a little money to Chatham-yard; wherein I find the Treasurers mighty supple.’ [OED]

Chris Squire  •  Link

‘seek, v. Etym: Old English sécan . .
. . 20. Of a person, his faculties, etc.: a. At a loss or at fault; unable to act, understand, etc.; puzzled to know or decide. Const. indirect question introduced by how, what, etc.; also to (do). Obs. or arch. Also much, far, all to seek ; †new to seek, utterly at a loss.
. . 1654 O. Cromwell Speech 12 Sept. in Lett. & Speeches (1871) IV. 52 We were exceedingly to seek how to settle things.
. . 1702 Clarendon's Hist. Rebellion I. v. 454 They were very much to seek, how the Case of Hull could concern Descents and Purchases.
. . 1886 R. L. Stevenson Kidnapped xx. 190 For the details of our itinerary, I am all to seek.’ [OED]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Wow...From nearly performing her own "cut for the stone" to a happy chat in bed all night...An amazing couple our Sam and Bess... Still, it's clear there's trouble ahead. Sam, you might consider FDR's solution for Eleanor's depression and get Bess a job working with you. Have her visit those poor sailors and their families in your name or something.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

It's certainly clear that W. Hewer is not his "guard" to protect Samuel Pepys's wealth -- though SP did rendezvous with the Lords of the Treasury earlier today.

(Unchaperoned, which occasioned this evening's tzimmes.)

mary k mcintyre  •  Link

Terry, you mean tsuris, not tzimmes -- trouble, not stewed fruit.

Unless you mean the talking in bed afterward. lol

Sam would have enjoyed the strange lingo, in either case.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

That's Yiddish slang in the US: ""To make a big tzimmes over something" is a Yinglish expression that means to make a big fuss, perhaps because of all the slicing, mixing, and stirring that go into the preparation of the dish." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzimmes

Horst Fassl  •  Link

The term "pox" was perhaps used indiscriminately for "syphilis".

Mary  •  Link

Will Hewer holds position of warder with Sam.

The nouns guard and ward have the same etymological root, but developed these two different forms in English according to the different kinds of mediaeval French from which they derived.

martinb  •  Link

Ah yes, the red-hot tongs. There's nothing like waving a pair of those in front of a wayward husband to make him realise you're serious.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Arabella was only 15 when she became James's mistress. She was ousted when he took up with Catherine Sedley in 1679. Although I agree with the annotator who said the reference to pox is probably referring to syphilis, I think this is just court gossip as she lived to be 81 and had 7 children - 4 with James and 3 with her subsequent husband. (married at 31). Importantly, she had these 2 sets of children close together. Women infected with syphilis by their husbands (like the famous Isabella Beeton of cookery fame) tended to have a lot of still births or children who died almost immediately interspersed with some who survived and to often die early (as Isabella B did).

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I durst not invite him to my house, for fear of my wife"

L&M note Elizabeth Pepys was jealous of the boy's mother, Elizabeth Pearse.

George Mosley  •  Link


James has already been suspected, by Pepys and the entire court, of having the pox. Where the man has it, the woman soon will. However, her long life and healthy issue are no evidence either way, as there were effective cures for the pox at the time. The cures were not *reliable,* and they were miles away from *safe,* but they did work (mercury remained the standard cure, but there was also an arsenic cure).

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