Pepys, 1669

Up until the end of May, 1669, Samuel Pepys remains faithful to his diary, if not to his wife. Indeed it is the amusing, endearing drama enacted by Pepys and his wife, that we (and thankfully Pepys) also refer to in this particular reference to him and his most famous diary.

Very concerned by his overstrained, failing eyesight, he decides, unfortunately for posterity, not to continue his 'personal' diary writing. His eyesight finally improves however, and he produces four additional diaries. They deal more with official and legal affairs, including his defence against his being charged with high-treason at the time of the Popish Plot. The final diary is more a travel log covering his trip to Tangiers and his business of evacuating a colony there.

Again, all notes respect Pepys's way of writing and any incidental errors.

12 January, 1669.
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 jealousy at my being abroad this morning; when, 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 bed, I found she did not prepare to come to bed, but got fresh candles and more wood for the 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, she fell out into a fury, that I was a rogue and false to her; but yet I could 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 1 a-clock, she came to my side of the bed and drow 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 the discourse fall; and about 2, but with much seeming difficulty, came 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 doth vex me to the heart.

7 February. Lords Day.
My wife mightily peevish in the morning about my lying unquietly a-nights, and she will have it that it is a late practice, from my evil thoughts in my dreams; and I do often find that in my dreams she doth lay her hand upon my cockerel to observe what she can. And mightily she is troubled about it, but all blew over.

10 February.
To Whitehall, where I stayed till the Duke of York came from hunting, which he did by and by; and when dressed, did come out to dinner, and there I waited; and he did tell me that tomorrow was to be the great day that the business of the Navy would be discoursed of before the King and his Caball; and that he must stand on his guard. Here he dined, and did mightily magnify his sawce which he did then eat with everything, and said it was the best universal sauce in the world - it being taught him by the Spanish Imbassador - made of parsely and a dry toast, beat in a mortar together with vinegar, salt, and a little pepper. He eats it with flesh or fowl or fish. And then he did now mightily commend some new sort of wine lately found out, called Navarr wine; which I tasted, and is I think good wine; but I did like better the notion of the sawce and by and by did taste it, and liked it mightily.

11 March.
Up and to see Sir W. Coventry to the Tower,
(Sir William Coventry, commissioner of the Treasury, and good friend of Pepys, was disgraced and sent to the Tower for allegedly having challenged the Duke of Buckinham to a duel. Coventry ended up growing peaches in Oxfordshire)
where I walked and talked with him an hour alone, from one good thing to another; who tells me that he hears that the commission is gone down to the king with a blank to fill for his place in the Treasury; and he believes it will be filled with one of our Treasurers of the Navy, but which he knows not, but he believes it will be Osborne. We walked down the Stone Walk, which is called, it seems, 'My Lord of Northumberland's Walk', being paved by some of that title that was prisoner there; and at the end of it there is a piece of iron upon the wall with his armes upon it, and holes to put in a peg for every turn that they make upon that walk. So away to the office, where busy all the morning, and so to dinner; and so very busy all the afternoon at my office late, and then home, tired to supper, with content with my wife; and so to bed - she pleasing me, though I dare not own it, that she hath hired a chambermaid; but she, after many commendations, told me that she had one great fault, and that was that she was very handsome; at which I made nothing, but let her go on; but many times tonight she took occasion to discourse of her handsomeness and the danger she was in by taking her, and that she did doubt yet whether it would be fit for her to take her. But I did assure her of my resolutions to having nothing to do with her maids, but in myself I was glad to have the content to have a handsome one to look on.

12 March.
Up, and abroad with my own coach to Auditor Beales house; and thence with W. Hewer to his office and there with great content spent all morning, looking over the Navy accounts of several years and the several patents of the Treasurers, which was more then I did hope to have found there. About noon I ended there, to my great content; and giving the clerks there 20s for their trouble, and having sent for W. How to me to discourse with him about the Patent Office records, wherein I remembered his brother to be concerned, I took him in my coach with W. Hewer and myself toward Westminster, and there he carried me to Nott's, the famous bookbinder that bound for my Lord Chancellor's libary. And here I did take occasion for curiosity to bespeak a book to be bound, only that I might have one of his binding; Thence back to Gray's Inn; and at the next door, at a cook's-shop of How's acquaintance, we bespoke dinner, it being now 2 a-clock; and in the meantime he carried us into Gray's Inn to his chamber, where I never was before; and it is very pretty, and little and neat, as he was always. And so after a little stay and looking over a book or two there we carried a piece of my Lord Cooke with us, and to our dinner, where after dinner he read at my desire a chapter in my Lord Cooke about perjury, wherein I did learn a good deal touching oaths. And so away to the Patent Office in Chancery Lane, and here I did set a clerk to look out for some things for me in their books, while W. Hewers and I to the Crowne Office, where we met with several good things that I most wanted and did take short notes of their dockets; and so back to the Patent Office and did the like there, and by candlelight ended; and so home, where thinking to meet my wife with content, after my pains all this day, I find her in her closet, alone in the dark, in a hot fit of railing against me, upon some news she hath this day heard of Deb's living very fine, and with black spots, and speaking ill words of her mistress; but God knows, I know nothing of her nor what she doth nor what becomes of her; though God knows, my devil that is within me doth wish that I could. Yet God I hope will prevent me therein - for I dare not trust myself with it, If I should know it. But what with my high words, and slighting it then serious, I did at last bring her to a very good and kind terms, poor heart; and I was heartily glad of it, for I do see there is no man can be happier than myself, if I will, with her. But in her fit she did tell me what vexed me all the night, that this had put her upon putting off her handsome maid and hiring another that was full of smallpox - which did mightily vex me, though I said nothing, and doth still. So down to supper, and she to read to me, and then with all possible kindness to bed.

13 April.
By hackney coach to the Spittle and heard a piece of a dull sermon to my Lord Mayor and Alderman and then saw them all take horse and ride away, which I have not seen together many a day; their wifes also went in their coaches - and endeed the sight was mighty pleasing. I away home; and there sent for W. Hewer and he and I by water to Whitehall. But here, being with him in the courtyard, as God would have it, I spied Deb, which made my heart and head to work; and I presently could not refrain, but sent W. Hewer away to look for Mr Wren (W. Hewer, I perceive, did see her, but whether he did see me see her I know not, or suspect my sending him away I know not) but my heart could not hinder me. And I run after her and two women and a man, more ordinary people, and she in her old clothes; and after hunting a little, find them in the lobby of the Chapel below stairs; and there I observed she endeavoured to avoid me, but I did speak to her and she to me, and did get her para docere me ou she demeures now. And did charge her para say nothing of me that I had vu elle - which she did promise; and so, with my heart full of surprize and disorder, I away; and meeting with Sir H. Cholmley, walked into the park with him and back again, looking to see if I could spy her again in the park, but I could not. And so back to Whitehall, and then back to the park with Mr May, but could see her no more; and so with W. Hewer, who I doubt by my countenance might see some disorder in me, we home by water. But, God forgive me, I hardly know how to put on confidence enough to speak as innocent, having had this passage today with Deb, though only, God knows, by accident. But my great pain is lest God Almighty shall suffer me to find this girl, whom endeed I love, and with bad amour; but I will pray to God to give me grace to forebear it.
So home to supper, where very sparing in my discourse, nor giving occason of any enquiry where I have been today, or what I have done; and so, without any trouble tonight more then my fear, we to bed.

15 April.
Going down Holborn Hill by the Conduit, I did see Deb on foot going up the hill; I saw her, and she me, but she made no stop, but seemed unwilling to speak to me; so I away on, but then stopped and light after her, and overtook her at the end of Hosier Lane in Smithfield; and without standing in the street, desired her to fallow me, and I led her into a little blind alehouse within the walls; and there she and I alone fell to talk and besar la and tocar su mamelles; but she mighty coy, and I hope modest; but however, though with great force, did hazer elle con su hand para tocar mi thing, but ella was in great pain para be brought para it. I did give her a paper 20s,  we did agree para meet again in the Hall at Westminster on Monday next; and so, giving me great hopes by her carriage that she continues modest and honest, we did then part, she going home and I to Mrs Turner's; but when I came back to the place where I left my coach, it was gone, I having stayed too long, which did trouble me to abuse a poor fellow so; but taking another coach, I did direct him to find out the fellow and send him to me.

16 April.
Was in great pain about yesterday still, lest my wife should have sent her porter to enquire anything; though for my heart, I cannot see it possible how anything could be discovered of it; but yet, such is fear, as to render me full of doubt and disquiet. At night, to supper and to bed.


Later this month we shall take a peep at events leading up to Christmas, 1668, and how Samuel and his wife celebrated their Noel.

Intro and transposition © Mirino. Selections of notes from The Illustrated Pepys selected and edited by Robert Latham. With thanks.    December, 2013 

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