Tuesday 2 March 1668/69

Up, and at the office till noon, when home, and there I find my company come, namely, Madam Turner, Dyke, The., and Betty Turner, and Mr. Bellwood, formerly their father’s clerk, but now set up for himself — a conceited, silly fellow, but one they make mightily of — my cozen Roger Pepys, and his wife, and two daughters. I had a noble dinner for them, as I almost ever had, and mighty merry, and particularly myself pleased with looking on Betty Turner, who is mighty pretty. After dinner, we fell one to one talk, and another to another, and looking over my house, and closet, and things; and The. Turner to write a letter to a lady in the country, in which I did, now and then, put in half a dozen words, and sometimes five or six lines, and then she as much, and made up a long and good letter, she being mighty witty really, though troublesome-humoured with it. And thus till night, that our musick come, and the Office ready and candles, and also W. Batelier and his sister Susan come, and also Will. Howe and two gentlemen more, strangers, which, at my request yesterday, he did bring to dance, called Mr. Ireton and Mr. Starkey. We fell to dancing, and continued, only with intermission for a good supper, till two in the morning, the musick being Greeting, and another most excellent violin, and theorbo, the best in town. And so with mighty mirth, and pleased with their dancing of jigs afterwards several of them, and, among others, Betty Turner, who did it mighty prettily; and, lastly, W. Batelier’s “Blackmore and Blackmore Maid;” and then to a country-dance again, and so broke up with extraordinary pleasure, as being one of the days and nights of my life spent with the greatest content; and that which I can but hope to repeat again a few times in my whole life. This done, we parted, the strangers home, and I did lodge my cozen Pepys and his wife in our blue chamber. My cozen Turner, her sister, and The., in our best chamber; Bab., Betty, and Betty Turner, in our own chamber; and myself and my wife in the maid’s bed, which is very good. Our maids in the coachman’s bed; the coachman with the boy in his settlebed, and Tom where he uses to lie. And so I did, to my great content, lodge at once in my house, with the greatest ease, fifteen, and eight of them strangers of quality. My wife this day put on first her French gown, called a Sac, which becomes her very well, brought her over by W. Batelier.

29 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"W. Batelier's blackmore and blackmore=maid;" (L&M)

"An English poem by Henry Rainolds [1564-1632], ‘A Black-moor Maid wooing a fair Boy’, is basically a free translation of ‘Aethiopissa ambit Cestum’ [ George Herbert (1593–1633) ], and this, together with ‘The Boyes Answer to the Blackmoor,’ by Henry King, was printed in the 1657 edition of King’s works, and the two poems are also found in a manuscript dated 1647. " -- and the poetic discussion of race in Britain. http://crj.oxfordjournals.org/con…

"A Blackmore Maid Wooing A Fair Boy " by Henry Rainolds

Why, lovely boy, why fly'st thou me,
That languish in these flames for thee?
I'm Black, 'tis true; why, so is Night,
And Love doth in Dark shades delight.
The whole world, do but close thine eye,
Will seem to thee as Black as l;
Or op't, and see what a Black shade
Is by thine own fair body made,
That follows thee where ere thou go:
Oh, who allow'd would do not so?
Let me forever dwell so nigh,
And thou shalt need no other shade than I.


"The Boy’s Answer to the Blackmoor" By Henry King

Black maid, complain not that I fly,
When Fate commands antipathy:
Prodigious might that union prove,
Where Night and Day together move,
And the conjunction of our lips
Not kisses make, but an eclipse,
In which the mixed black and white
Portends more terror than delight.
Yet if my shadow thou wilt be,
Enjoy thy dearest wish. But see
Thou take my shadow’s property,
That hastes away when I come nigh.
Else stay till death hath blinded me,
And then I will bequeath myself to thee.


Australian Susan  •  Link

What a wonderful day - this is a party I would love to have been at - and a relaxed day as well - Sam is not out to impress - merely to have a thoroughly good time and facilitate other people's pleasure - and is content and happy in this.

Judith Boles  •  Link

"as being one of the days and nights of my life spent with the greatest content; and that which I can but hope to repeat again a few times in my whole life." Oh, Sam, you state a wish from us all...

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"Tom where he uses to lie"

A startling usage. The present tense of "used to", it seems. I've never seen this construction before. Today we would say "where he usually lies."

Mary  •  Link

The fashionable Mrs. Pepys.

If Elizabeth's gown is the kind of sack dress that became fashionable in the first years of the 18th century, then she is truly at the very forefront of London fashion (decidedly avant garde)in 1668. Well done Batelier for choosing it.

sue nicholson  •  Link

This is the best evidence we have about the layout of Pepys' house because it lists the bedrooms (we already know there is a parlour, a kitchen and a very elaborate dining room).
Also note the mention of the coachman who clearly is living with them but oddly omitted elsewhere in the diary.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Is there not also Pepys's "closet" (office nook)?

sue nicholson  •  Link

Indeed, Terry. Also a closet for Elizabeth hung with chintz, an entrance hall with pewter sconces, a house of office on the roof and extensive cellars!

john  •  Link

"Sam is not out to impress" Hhhhmmmm... methinks a fair bit of house pride on his part here mixed in.

AnnieC  •  Link

I'm so happy that Sam described the sleeping arrangements. It sounds like a parlour game, everyone moving along one, with the coachman and Tom being the greatest losers.
And what a queue for the bathroom in the morning.

Australian Susan  •  Link

This entry reads as though Tom and "the boy" are two persons, but the link on "the boy" is to Tom. Had Sam taken on another boy as well as Tom? or is this some sort of transcription error.

Jenny  •  Link

Tom, the boy. I think this is an error. I don't think the "boy" is Tom. Tom is a man now, nearly ready to marry Jane. I'm not sure who the "boy" is but I'm pretty sure it isn't Tom.

I also think that the expression "Tom where he uses to lie" means that this is the room which Tom uses to sleep. Not a present tense of "used".

pepfie  •  Link

the boy and Tom

Assuming that there still are two maids only in the Pepys household (I can't remember any addition lately) and that SP is counting reliably, the boy and Tom must be different persons to arrive at his sum of fifteen sleepers (8 "strangers of quality", 2 Pepyses, 2 maids, coachman and boy plus Tom).

If Phil doesn't come up with a better explanation we'll have to live with either an unknown boy or a hidden third maid.

sue nicholson  •  Link

It seems that when they acquired a coachman the Pepys also acquired the "little boy" referred to on Feb 8th as narrowly avoiding disaster when he stumbled in getting off the coach at Martin's the bookseller.

Australian Susan  •  Link

The idea of a "hidden third maid" conjures up all kinds of French farce complications! But yes, it's a new boy isn't it.

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Well caught folks! I'd found it strange that Sam kept referring to Tom as "boy" when he was planning marriage, but I'd assumed it was habit. I had a look through the L&M Index entry on Servants and, yes, there is another boy! Jack, a footboy, arrived from Impington on 4th November 1668: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1…

I'm going to go back through entries between then and now and correct the references.

Also, this is what we currently list for the Pepys household: http://www.pepysdiary.com/backgro… I'm not sure that Bridget and Susan (b) have been reported as leaving?

Jim  •  Link

Pepys household now also includes a coachman.
He has a bed, but apparently has not yet been given a name.

Dorothy Willis  •  Link

I contacted a lady who is an expert on 18th century fashion and asked her about Bess's "sac." Here is her reply.

"The sacque/robe a la française didn't really come into existence until around the 1740s - its predecessor was the robe volante or robe battante, which had pleats on the front of the garment as well as the back. According to the "Secret Memoirs of the Mother of [Louis XV's] Regent", this was invented by Mme de Montespan to hide her pregnancies at court, and her first illegitimate child was actually born in March 1669. Fashion moved a lot faster than people think, and it seems very plausible to me that Elizabeth Pepys could have one of these so soon after their invention . . . The dress does look something like a sack with armholes! The term "sac" or "sack" remained attached to the sacque/française because of its direct descent.

I have a few pictures of these appearing in paintings on my blog: http://mimic-of-modes.blogspot.co… - and here are some more images: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/robe….

Glad to help!

Cassidy Percoco"

Second Reading

Ivan  •  Link

Whatever his doubts all seems to have gone splendidly. Mr Pepys was able to gaze upon a"mighty pretty" womam with no scolding from Bess; there were party games, dancing and singing, and a "noble dinner" plus we hope some fine wines tho' they are not mentioned. Like AS I wish I had been there.

Silver Smith  •  Link

Hi folks, if anyone is still reading Pepys Diary, I've been reading the diary and all the wonderful annotations now for about a year. The end of the diary is approaching quickly and I dread the day of the final entry. I have enjoyed it thoroughly and have certainly learned a lot about 17th century England thanks to Samuel Pepys dogged determination in putting pen to paper, day after day and year after year, in spite of the terrible problems with his eyes for a good part of it. Thank you Phil for providing the diary in this electronic format. You have done a great work and I feel sure that, like Pepys, it took a lot of dogged determination by you to create this masterpiece. Now, I will return to the reading of the diary to its end then take a look at other books about good ole Samuel Pepys.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Bellwood, formerly their father’s clerk, but now set up for himself"

L&M: As a lawyer.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"My wife this day put on first her French gown, called a Sac,"

L&M: An early mention of this style [as Mary said], fashionable at various times.

James Morgan  •  Link

"Sack dress" sounded familiar, and a quick search on Google says Givenchy had a big splash with them in 1957, and that vintage 60s ones are available. They look like something that might still be worn if you are in an environment that calls for dresses.

Timo  •  Link

After his nervous anticipation yesterday, the excitement is infectious today. Without doubt one of the most enjoyable entries. He had me hooked at ‘mighty witty really, though troublesome-humoured’. Did he mean mischievous? The two random young gentlemen drafted in to entertain the single young ladies was a nice touch.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... and, lastly, W. Batelier’s “Blackmore and Blackmore Maid;” and then to a country-dance again, ..."

I don't understand: “Blackmore and Blackmore Maid” is in quotes which indicates to me that Project Gutenberg version of the Diary considered this a song/dance, possibly to do with the poem above.
In which case, how does Batelier own it? Or perhaps he performed it?

But the Blackmore Maid clicks through to say it was Batelier's black cook, Doll, borrowed for the evening. Which begs the omission of a link for the Blackmore? -- another black servant borrowed for the evening? In which case, why the quotes?

My copy of L&M doesn't have quotes, making the servant theory most likely ... but there is no annotation there saying she was a black cook borrowed for the evening either. Not understanding how Phil knew to call her Doll caused me to look at the other mention of her:
“… for a cookmaid, we have, ever since Bridget went, used a blackmoore of Mr. Batelier’s, Doll, who dresses our meat mighty well, and we mightily pleased with her.” -- https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/…

So did the cook and the other black servant dance with the guests? Seems so when you look at the larger quote without the song quotation marks:
“… pleased with their dancing of jigs afterwards several of them, and, among others, Betty Turner, who did it mighty prettily; and, lastly, W. Batelier’s Blackmore and Blackmore Maid; and then to a country-dance again, …”

The servants danced a jig with Pepys' "strangers of quality"?
I would have thought that was highly unlikely.

Anyone get more out of this than I?

Bryan  •  Link

"... and, lastly, W. Batelier’s “Blackmore and Blackmore Maid;” and then to a country-dance again, ..."

Remember that SP's punctuation was minimal and what we see is supplied by the translators, with L&M being the most reliable.
I think the key part here is "and pleased with their dancing of jigs afterwards several of them", which I interpret to mean that after their supper some of those present entertained the others by dancing jigs. In that case the servants danced for, not with, the strangers of quality.
SP seemed to like it when young women danced jigs at the theatre, particularly little Moll Davis.

By the bye, thanks for your multitude of insightful annotations. They are greatly appreciated, as are Terry's.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Terry very kindly identified Pepys' annual Stone Feast at

I note there isn't one at the end of March in 1669. But I haven't read that far so I can't really speak to the subject.

HOWEVER, looking at the guest list, and realizing what lengths he and Elizabeth are going to in order to entertain Betty and Babs Pepys, maybe this is the 1669 blow out, and it's just early and so evaded Terry's survey?

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