Tuesday 11 May 1669

My wife again up by four o’clock, to go to gather May-dew; and so back home by seven, to bed, and by and by I up and to the office, where all the morning, and dined at noon at home with my people, and so all the afternoon. In the evening my wife and I all alone, with the boy, by water, up as high as Putney almost, with the tide, and back again, neither staying going nor coming; but talking, and singing, and reading a foolish copy of verses upon my Lord Mayor’s entertaining of all the bachelors, designed in praise to my Lord Mayor, and so home and to the office a little, and then home to bed, my eyes being bad.

Some trouble at Court for fear of the Queen’s miscarrying; she being, as they all conclude, far gone with child.

12 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Deb disease fading a bit just now, it seems, as Sam has a nice time out with Bess. I wonder if the May dew runs have quietly activated some husbandly feeling in Sam or at least temporarily refocused him. Also he seems a bit more dependent on Bess again, due to eye problems...And we don't know how Bess is reacting to said eye trouble, but she does seem ready and willing to assist him with reading and such. Could be her sympathy for him is having an effect as well.

ONeville  •  Link

All alone, with the (invisible)boy.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Wonder if Jack the boy is a boy, given how old Tom Edwards was when called "the boy". Nice to think Sheres-less Bess might have been getting some attention while Sam is serenely basking in the noble feeling of spending a pleasant day with the missus instead of hunting up Doll, Betty, or Bagwell.


"Oh, please...Our footboy? Not since the Duke started take notice of me." sly grin.

"What?" Sam, staring...

jeannine  •  Link

The Queen's miscarriage (spoiler)... it doesn't happen today, but will follow and be recorded by Pepys before the Diary ends.

Australian Susan  •  Link

A woman was a maid if unmarried, no matter how old she was. It was an indicator of social class - the employer can call his servants "maid" and "boy", to show their inferiority, but I don't think Sam does this consciously - it was just the custom. We no longer call girls, maids, so the term does not seem so opprobius as "boy" when applied to someone who isn't in terms of years.

Chris Squire  •  Link

What is ‘a boy’? OED offers:

‘boy, n.1 and int. Etym: Origin uncertain, as is the early development of the word. The meanings ‘male servant’ (sense A. 1a) and ‘churl’ (sense A. 2) are found from an early date, as are pejorative uses of the latter sense as a term of abuse (albeit perhaps sometimes with affectionate overtones). The meaning ‘male child or youth’ apparently emerged considerably later, probably as a development from pejorative uses in the sense ‘churl’ . .
A. n.1 1.a. A male servant, slave, assistant, junior employee, etc. Often with implication of relative youth, and hence not readily distinguishable from senses A. 3a and A. 3c.
. . (a) In general use. Now rare except in some former British colonies.
. . 1675 Char. Town Misse 6 And now being arrived at the Zenith of her Glory, she has her Boys in Livery, her House splendidly furnisht, and scorns to stir abroad without a Coach and six.

(b) Used (chiefly by white people) with reference to non-white slaves and (in English-speaking colonies) to non-white servants, labourers, etc. Also as a form of address (esp. as a summons). Now hist. and rare (usu. considered offensive).

†2. A male person of low birth or status; (as a general term of contempt or abuse) a worthless fellow, a knave, a rogue, a wretch. Obs.

3. a. A male child or youth. Also: a son, irrespective of age (chiefly as referred to by members of the immediate family). Sometimes restricted to male children below the age of puberty, or below the school-leaving age.’

Second Reading

Ivan  •  Link

No mention of Bess forewarning her husband of her intentions this morning either [see yesterday morning] tho' she rises an hour later.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"verses upon my Lord Mayor’s entertaining of all the bachelors, designed in praise to my Lord Mayor"

The Lord Mayor was Sir William Turner, a lifelong bachelor. (He was a brother of the lawyer John Turner, who had married a cousin of Pepys.) On 5 May he had given a feast to a 'noble company' of London bachelors. The verses published (anonymously) on the occasion were by the puritan versifier Tobert Wild, whose popular Iter Borealis (1660) had celebrated Monck's march from Scotland to restore the King. His present effort -- Upon the rebuilding the city [t]he right honourable the lord mayor, and the [n]oble company of batchelors dining with him, May 5th, 1669. [London] printed: [s.n.], 1670. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo… -- combined an encomium of the mayor with an atttack on the papists for causing the Great Fire. It was republished, under the author's name, in Iter Borealis etc. (1670). (L&M note))

Harry R  •  Link

How was the May-dew gathered? Something like this, perhaps, but for a different purpose, and did they bring home buckets of the stuff?


Sam turns over and goes back to sleep and records no interest in the beautifying effect of the dew on Elizabeth. I wonder if she and her WAG friends had arranged at Unthankes to go on a group swoop, for safety in numbers.

I found these lyrics and a pleasant version of an old peasant song extolling the cosmetic benefits of May dew.


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Apologies ... my N.S./O.S. date confusion finally caught me, and I posted Cosmo's travelogue for 11/22 May, 1669 under May 22.
It had to happen, so let's hope this is my only blunder while posting his impressive impressions:

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.