Samuel Pepys Diary 1664 - extracts

The Complete Diary


January 10th 1664

ll our discourse tonight was about Mr Tryan's late being robbed and that Collonell Turner (a mad, swearing, confident fellow, well known by all and by me), one much endebted to this man for his very lifelihood, was the man that either did or plotted it; and the money and things are found in his hand and he and his wife are in Newgate for it - of which we are all glad, so very a known rogue he was.
[When about to be hanged, and engaged in his confession, he put swearing as the first and foremost of his sins. He is said to have had 28 children, counting only those born in wedlock.]

January 21st

... to Leadenhall-street at the end of Lyme-street, near where the robbery was done, and to St Mary Axe where he lived; and there I got for a shilling to stand upon the wheel of a Cart, in great pain, above an hour before the execution was done - he delaying the time by long discourses and prayers one after another, in hopes of a reprieve; but none came, and at last was flung off the ladder in his cloak. [After the later part of the century ladders were no longer used for the "drop". The noose was tied round the victim's neck as he stood in the cart in which he had travelled from prison, and the hangman the drove the cart away, leaving him suspended.]
A comely looking man he was, and kept his countenance to the end - I was sorry to see him. It was believed there was at least 12 or 14000 people in the street ....

February 13th

... to Reeve's the perspective-glass maker; and there did endeed see very excellent Microscopes, which did discover a louse or a mite or sand most perfectly and largely.

February 17th

And out of an impatience to break up with my head full of confused confounded notions but nothing brought to a clear comprehension, I was resolved to set up, and did, till now it is ready to strike 4 a-clock, all alone, cold, and my candle not enough left to light me to my own house; and so, with my business however brought to some good understanding and set it down pretty clear, I went home to bed, with my mind at good quiet and the girle setting up for me (the rest all a-bed); I eat and drank a little and to bed, weary, sleepy, cold, and my head akeing.

February 24th

... down to the garden of Somersett-house and up and down the new building, which in every respect will be mighty magnificent and costly. I stayed a great while talking with a man in the garden that was sawing of a piece of marble - and did give him 6d to drink. He told me much of the nature and labour of that work; how he could not saw above 4 inch of the stone in a day; and of a greater, not above one or two. And after it is sawed, then it is rubbed with coarse and then with finer and finer sand till they come to putty, and so polish it as smooth as glass. Their saws have no teeth, but it is the sand only which the saw rubs up and down that doth the thing.

March 3rd

... how well my Lord and Lady both are pleased with their children being at my father's and when the bigger ladies were there a little while ago, at which I am very glad.
[Sandwich's two elder daughters, Lady Jemima and Lady Paulina, had spent the winter at the Pepys house at Brampton.]

March 8th

Up, with some little discontent with my wife upon her saying that she had got and used some puppy-dog water, being put upon it by a desire of my aunt Wight to get some for her; who hath a mind, unknown to her husband, to get some for her ugly face....

March 18th

[at his brother's funeral.]
And being come to the grave ... Dr Pierson, the Minister of the parish, did read the service for buriall and so I saw my poor brother laid into the grave; and so all broke up and I and my wife and Madam Turner and her family to my brother's, and by and by fell to a barrell of oysters, Cake, and cheese of Mr Honiwoods, with him in his chamber and below - being too merry for so late a sad work; but Lord, to see how the world makes nothing of the memory of a man an hour after he is dead. And endeed, I must blame myself; for though at the sight of him, dead and dying, I had real grief for a while, while he was in my sight, yet presently after and ever since, I have had very little grief endeed for him....

April 21st

... we sat all the afternoon but no sooner sat but news comes my Lady Sandwich was come to see us; so I went out, and running up (her friend however before me) I perceive by my dear Lady's blushing that in my dining room she was doing something upon the pott; which I also was ashamed of and so fell to some discourse, but without pleasure, through very pity to my Lady. ... My Lady, my wife not being at home, did not stay but, poor woman, went away, I being mightily taken with her dear visit.

April 30th (summary)

All the news now is what will become of the Dutch business, whether war or peace. We all seem to desire it, as thinking ourselfs to have advantages at present over them; but for my part I dread it. The Parliament promises to assist the King with lives and fortunes. And he receives it with thanks, and promises to demand satisfaction of the Dutch.
My poor Lady Sandwich is fallen sick three days since of the Mezles.
Never more quiet in my family all the days of my life then now, there being only my wife and I and Besse and the little girl Susan; the best wenches, to our content, than we can ever expect.

May 31st (summary)

I was told today that upon Sunday night late, being the King's birthday - the King was at my Lady Castlemaine's lodgings (over the hither-gate at Lambert's lodgings) dancing with fiddlers all night almost, and all the world coming by taking notice of it - which I am sorry to hear.
The discourse of the town is only whether a war with Holland or no. And we are preparing for it all we can, which is but little.
Myself subject more than ordinary to pain by winde, which makes me very sad - together with the trouble which at present lies upon me in my father's behalf, rising from the death of my brother - which are many and great. Would to God they were over.

July 18th

... Thence to Westminster to my barbers, to have my perriwig he lately made me cleansed of its nits; which vexed me cruelly, that he should put such a thing into my hands ....

July 25th

Mr Cole (my old [schoolfellow] Jack Cole) comes to see and speak with me; and his errand, in short, to tell me that he is giving over his trade. He can do no good in it, and will turn what he hath into money and go to sea - his father being dead and leaving him little, if anything. This I was sorry to hear, he being a man of good parts, but I fear debauched.
... And so I made him stay with me till 11 at night, talking of old school stories, and very pleasing ones; and truly I find that we did spend our time and thoughts then otherwise then I think boys do now, and I think as well as my thoughts at the best are now. He supped with me, and so away and I to bed. And strange to see how we are all divided that were bred so long at school together, and what various fortunes we have run, some good, some bad.

July 26th

At noon to Anth. Joyces to our gossips dinner; I had sent a dozen and a half of bottles of wine thither and paid my double share besides, which is 18s. Very merry we were, and when the women were merry and ris from the table, I above with them, ne'er a man but I; I begin discourse of my not getting of children and prayed them to give me their opinions and advice; and they freely and merrily did give me these ten among them.

1. Do not hug my wife too hard nor too much
2. Eat no late suppers
3. Drink juyce of sage.
4. Tent and toast
5. Wear cool Holland-drawers
6. Keep stomach warm and back cool
7. Upon my query whether it was best to do at night or morn, they answered me neither one nor other, but when we have most mind to it
8. Wife not to go too straight-laced
9. Myself to drink Mum and sugar
10. Mrs Ward did give me to change my plat

The 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 10th they all did seriously declare and lay much stress upon them, as rules fit to be observed indeed, and especially the last: to lie with our heads where our heels do, or at least to make the bed high at feet and low at head.

July 28th

... My present posture is this. My wife in the country and my maid Besse with her, and all quiet there. I am endeavouring to find a Woman for her to my mind; and above all, one that understands musique, especially singing. I am the willinger to keep one because I am in good hopes to get 2 or 300l per annum extraordinary by the business of the victualling of tanger - and yet Mr Alsop, my chief hopes, is dead since my looking after it, and now Mr Lanyon I fear is falling sick too. I am pretty well in health; only, subject to wind upon any cold, and then immediate and great pains.... I do now live very prettily at home, being most seriously, quietly, and neatly served by my two maids, Jane and the girl Su - with both of whom I am mightily pleased.

July 31st

... I to my accounts; and to my great joy and with great thanks to almighty God, I do find myself most clearly worth £1014 - the first time that ever I was worth £l000 before ....

August 29th

Creed and I met at my Lady Sandwiches and there dined; but my Lady has become as handsome, I think, as ever she was. And as good and discreet a woman I know not in the world.

October 5th

... to New Bridewell to meet with Mr Poyntz to discourse with him (being master of the workhouse there) about making of Bewpers for us - but he was not within. However, his clerk did lead me up and down through all the houses. And there I did with great pleasure see the many pretty works and the little children imployed, everyone to do something; which was a very fine sight and worthy incouragement.

October 15th

My father and I up and walked alone to Hinchingbrooke; and among the other late chargeable works that my Lord hath done there, we saw his water-works and the Ora [spouts] which is very fine - and so is the house all over. But I am sorry to think of the money at this time spent therein.

December 15th

This night I begun to burn wax candles in my closet at the office, to try the charge and to see whether the smoke offends like that of tallow candles.

December 19th

Going to bed betimes last night, we waked betimes. And from our people's being forced to take the key to go out to light a candle, I was very angry and begun to find fault with my wife for not commanding her servants as she ought. Thereupon, she giving me some cross answer, I did strike her over her left eye such a blow, as the poor wretch did cry out and was in great pain; but yet her spirit wa such as to endeavour to bite and scratch me. But I cogging with her, made her leave crying, and sent for butter and parsley, and friends presently one with another; and I up, vexed at my heart to think what I had done, for she was forced to lay a poultice or something to her eye all day, and is black - and the people of the house observed it.

December 31st

As soon as ever the clock struck one, I kissed my wife in the kitchen by the fireplace, wishing her a merry New year, observing that I believe I was the first proper wisher of it this year, for I did it as soon as ever the clock struck one. So ends the old year, I bless God with great joy to me; not only from my having made so good a year of profit, as having spent £420 and laid up £540 and upward.
But I bless God, I never have been in so a plight as to my health in so very cold weather as this is, nor indeed in any hot weather these ten years, as I am at this day and have been these four of five months. But I am at a great loss to know whether it be my Hare's foote, or taking every morning of a pill of Turpentine, or my having left off the wearing of a gowne.
My family is my wife, in good health, and happy with her - her woman Mercer, a pretty modest quiet maid - her chamber-maid Besse - her cook-maid Jane - the little girl Susan, and my boy which I have had about half a year, Tom Edwards, which I took from the King's Chappell. And a pretty and loving quiet family I have as any man in England.
My credit in the world and my office grows daily, and I am in good esteem with everybody I think.
My troubles of my uncle's estate pretty well over. But it comes to be but of little profit to us, my father being much suported by my purse.
But great vexations remain upon my father and me from my Brother Tom's death and ill condition, both to our disgrace and discontent - though no great reason for either.
Public matters are all in a hurry about a Dutch warr. Our preparations great. Our provocations against them great; and after all our presumption, we are now afeared as much of them as we lately condemned them.
Everything else in the State quiet, blessed be God. My Lord Sandwich at sea with the fleet at Portsmouth - sending some about to cruise for taking of ships, which we have done to a great number.