Samuel Pepys Diary 1663 - extracts

The Complete Diary



February 21st 1663

owards noon there comes a man in, as if upon ordinary business, and shows me a Writt from the Exchequer, called a Comission of Rebellion and tells me that I am his prisoner - in Fields business. Which methought did strike me to the heart.... by and by the man and four more of his fellows came to know what I would do .... The fellows stayed in the yard swearing with one or two constables; and some time we locked them into the yard and by and by let them out again, and so keeped them all the afternoon, not letting them see me or know where I was.

My Lord Chancellor wonders that we did not cause the seamen to fall about their eares - which we wished we could have done without our being seen in it; and Captain Grove being there, he did give them some affront and would have got some seamen to have drubbed them, ... but there was occasion given that he did draw his sword upon one of them ....

February 23rd

My Lord desired me to go to Westminster-hall ... but [I] durst not go for fear of being taken by those rogues; but was forced to go to White-hall and take boat and so land below the Tower at the iron-gate and so the back way over little Tower-hill; and with my cloak over my face, too one of the watermen along with me and stayed behind a wall in the New buildings behind our garden while he went to see whether anybody stood within the Merchants gate ... and there standing but a little dirty boy before the gate, did make me quake and sweat to think that he might be a Trapan [trap]; but there was nobody, and so I got safe into the garden; and coming to open my office door, something behind it fell in the opening, which made me start. So that God knows in what a sad condition I should be in if I were truly in the condition that many a poor man is for debt.

February 27th

Anatomy lectures were often given in public. The Company had the right to claim annually the bodies of four executed felons; it would then arrange four "public anatomies" by its Reader; guests were invited and dinner provided.
... About 11 o-clock Comissioner Pett and I walked to Chyrurgeons hall ... where we were led into the Theatre; and by and by came the Reader, Dr Tearne, with the Maister and Company, in a very handsome manner; and all being settled, he begun his lecture, this being the second upon the Kidnys, Ureters, and yard, which was very fine; and his discourse being ended, we walked into the hall; and there being great store of company we had a fine dinner and good learned company, many Doctors of Physique, and we used with extraordinary great respect. ...
After dinner Dr. Scarborough took some of his friends, and I went along with them, to see the body alone; which we did; he was a lusty fellow, a seaman that was hanged for a robbery. I did touch the dead body with my bare hand; it felt cold, but methought it was a very unpleasant sight.

April 23rd

... At cards till late; and being at supper, my boy being sent for some mustard to a neat's tongue, the rogue stayed half an hour in the streets, it seems at a Bonefire; at which I was very angry and resolve to beat him tomorrow.

April 24th

Up betimes; and with my salt Eele went down in the parler, and there got my boy and did beat him till I was fain to take breath two or three times; yet for all, I am afeared it will make the boy never the better, he is grown so hardened in his tricks....
Lastly, I did hear that the Queene is much grieved of late at the King's neglecting her, he having not supped once with her this Quarter of a year, and almost every night with my Lady Castlemayne, who hath been with him this St. Georges feast at Windsor and came home with him last night; and which is more, they say is removed, as to her bed, from her house to a chamber in White-hall next to the King's owne - which I am sorry to hear, though I love her much.

May 1st

... we all took horse and I ... turned and rode with some trouble through the fields and then Holborne etc toward Hide parke, whither all the world I think are going; and in my going (almost thither) met W How coming, galloping upon a little crop black nag (it seems one that was taken in some ground of my Lord's, by some mischance being left by his maister, a Thiefe; this horse being found with black cloth eares on and a false mayne, having none of his owne); and I back againe with him to the Chequer at Charing-Cross and there put up my own dull jade and by his advice saddled a delicate stone horse of Captain Ferrers.

May 15th

My Lord Hinchingbrooke, I am told, hath had a mischance to kill his boy by his birding piece going off as he was a-fouling. The gun was charged with small shot and hit the boy in the face and about the Temples, and [he] lived four days.

June 30th

... Thus, by God's blessing, end this book of two years. Being in all points in good health, and a good way to thrive and do well. Some money I do and can lay up, but not much; being worth now above 700l, besides goods of all sorts. My wife in the country with Ashwell her woman, with my father [at Brampton from June 15th to August 12th] Myself at home with W Hewre and my cook-maid Hannah, my boy Waynman being lately run away from me.
In my office, my repute and understanding good, especially with the Duke and Mr Coventry. Only, the rest of the officers do rather envy than love me, I standing in most of their lights, especially Sir W Batten, whose cheats I do daily oppose, to his great trouble, though he appears mighty kind and willing to keep friendship with me, while Sir J Mennes, like a dotard, is led by the nose by him. My wife and I (by my late jealousy, for which I am truly to be blamed) have not that fondness between us which we used and ought to have, and I fear will be lost hereafter if I do not take some course to oblige her and yet preserve my authority. Public matters are in an ill condition - parliament sitting and raising four subsidies for the King; which is but a little, considering his wants; and yet that parted withal with great hardness - they being offended to see so much money go, and no debts of the public paid, but all swallowed by a luxurious Court - which the King, it is believed and hoped, will retrench in a little time ....
The weather wett for two or three months together, beyond belief; almost not one fair day coming between till this day, which hath been a very pleasant, and the first pleasant this summer....
The King yet greatly taken up with Madam Castlemayne and Mrs Stewart - which God of Heaven put an end to.....

July 1st

...Sir J Mennes and Mr Batten both say that buggery is now almost grown as common among our gallants as in Italy, and that the very pages of the town begin to complain of their masters for it. But blessed be God, I do not to this day know what is the meaning of this sin, nor which is the agent nor which the patient.....

July 11th

About 1 or 2 in the morning, the Curtains of my bed being drawn waked me, and I saw a man stand there by the inside of my bed, calling me "French dogg" twenty times, one after another; and I starting, as if I would get out of bed, he fell a-laughing as hard as he could drive - still calling me "French dog", and laid hisw hand on my shoulder. At last, whether I said anything or no I cannot tell, but I perceived the man, after he had looked wistely upon me too and found that I did not answer him to the names that he called me by, which was Salmon (Sir G Carterets clerk) and Robert Maddox, another of the clerks, he put off his hat of a suddaine and forebore laughing, and asked who I was - saying, "Are you Mr Pepys" I told him "Yes" and now, being come a little better to myself, found him to be Tom Willson (Sir W Batten's clerk); and fearing he might be in some melancholly fit, I was at a loss what to do or say. At last I asked him what he meant: he desired my pardon for that he was mistaken, for he thought verily (not knowing of my coming to lie there) that it had been Salmon the Frenchman [Solomon Soulemont], with whom he entended to have made some sport....

August 19th

... Thence to White-hall and there met Mr Moore and fell a-talking about my Lord's folly at Chelsey, and it was our discourse by water to London and to the great coffee-house against the Exchange, where we sat a good while talking; and I find that my Lord is wholly given up to this wench, who it seems hath been reputed a common Strumpett. I have little incouragement from Mr More to meddle with it, to tell my Lord - for fear it may do him no good, but me hurt.

September 15th

Up pretty betimes and rode as far as Godmanchester (Mr Moore having two falls, once in water and another in dirt) and there light and eat and drunk, being all of us very weary, but especially my uncle and wife. Thence to Brampton to my father's and there found all well but not sensible how they ought to treat my uncle and his son, at least till the Court bee over, which vexed me. But upon my counsel, they carried it fair to them; and so my father, Cosen Tho, and I up to Hinchingbrooke, where I find my Lord and his company gone to Broughton, which vexed me. But there I find my Lady and the young ladies; and there I alone with my Lady two hours, she carrying me through every part of the house and gardens, which are and will be mighty noble endeed. Here I saw Mrs Betty Pickering, who is a very wel-bred and comely lady, but very fat.

September 19th

Up pretty betimes; and after eating something, we set out; and I (being willing thereto) went by a mistake with them to St Ives, and there, it being known that it was their nearer way to London, I took leave of them there, they going straight to London and I to Brampton.; where I find my father ill in bed still....
And after dinner my wife and I took horse and rode, with marvelous and the first and only hour of pleasure that ever I had in this estate since I had to do with it, to Brampton Woods, and through the wood rode and gathered nuts in my way; and then at Graffam to an old woman's house to drink, where my wife used to go; and being in all Circumstances highly pleased and in my wife's riding and good company at this time, I rode and she showed me the River behind my father's house, which is very pleasant; and so saw her home, and I straight to Huntington; and there met Mr Sheply and to the Crowne ... and there a barber came and trimmed me; and thence walked to Hinchingbrooke, where my Lord and ladies all are just alighted. And so I in among them and my Lord glad to see me, and the whole company; here I stayed and supped with them, and after a good stay talking, but yet observing my Lord not to be so mightily ingulphed in his pleasure in the country and company as I expected and hoped, I took leave of them.... [On November 18th Pepys summoned up the courage to write to Sandwich expressing his concern about the way Sandwich was viewed by the Court while he was having an affair with Mrs Beck in Chelsey]

October 5th

[The entries for 5-13th October constitute one of the best-documented attacks of flatulence in history. Flatulence was fashionable then, as now as an explanation of symptoms with which it has nothing to do]

October 6th

And finding myself beginning to be troubled with wind, as I used to be, and with pain in making water, I took a couple of pills that I had by me of Mr Hollyards.

October 7th

They wrought in the morning and I did keep my bed; and my pain continued on me mightily, that I keeped within all day in great pain, and could break no wind nor have any stool after my physic had done working. So in the evening I took coach and to Mr Hollyards, but he was not at home; and so home again. And whether the coach did me good or no I know not, but having a good fire in my chamber, I begun to break six or seven small and great farts; and so to bed....

December 21st

... took Coach, and being directed by sight of bills upon the walls, did goe to Shooe lane to see a Cocke-fighting at a new pit there - a sport I was never at in my life. But Lord, to see the strange variety of people, from Parliament-man ... to the poorest prentices, bakers, brewers, butchers, draymen, and what not; and all this fellows one with another in swearing, cursing and betting. I soon had enough of it; and yet I would not but have seen it once, it being strange to observe the nature of those poor creatures, how they will fight until they drop down dead upon the table and strike after they are ready to give up the ghost - not offering to run way when they are weary or wounded past doing further...
One thing more it is strange to see, how people of this poor rank, that look as if they had not bread to put in their mouths, shall bet 3 or 4l at one bet and lose it, and yet bet as much the next battell, as they call every make of two cocks - so that one of them will lose 10 or 20l at a meeting.

December 31st

... I bless God I do, after a large expense, even this month by reason of Christmas and some payments to my father and other things extraordinary, find that I am worth in money, besides all my household stuff or anything of Brampton, above 800l; whereof, in my Lord Sandwiches hand, 700l an the rest in my hand; so that there is not above 15l of all my estate in money at this minute out of my hand's and my Lord's - for hich the good God be pleased to give me a thankful heart and a mind careful to preserve this and encrease it. I do live at my lodgings in the Navy Office - my family being, besides my wife and I, Jane Gentleman, Besse our excellent good-natured cook-maid, and Susan, a little girl - having neither man not boy, nor like to have again a good while - living now in most perfect content and quiet and very frugally also. My health pretty good, but only that I have been much troubled with a costiveness which I am labouring to get away, and have hopes of doing it. At the office I am well, though envied to the devil by Sir W Batten, who hates me to death but cannot hurt me. The rest either love, or at least do not show otherwise, though I know Sir W Penn to be a false knave touchig me, though he seems fair.
My father and mother well in the country; and at this time, the young ladies of Hinchingbrooke with them, their house having the small-pox in it.
The Queene, after a long and sore sickness, is become well again. And the King minds his mistress a little too much, if it pleased God. But I hope all things will go well, and in the Navy perticularly; wherein I shall do my duty, whatever comes of it....
Myself, blessed be God, in a good way and design and resolution of sticking to my business to get a little money, with doing the best service I can to the King also - which God continue.

So ends the old year.