Samuel Pepys Diary 1668 - extracts

The Complete Diary


1 Jan
nd so with my wife for half an hour walking by moonlight and it, being cold frosty weather, walking in the garden; and then home to supper, and so by the fireside to have my head combed, as I do now often do, by Deb, whom I love should be fiddling about me; and so to bed.

17th Jan
... all the discourse of the Duel yesterday betweeen the Duke of Buckingham, Holmes, and one Jenkins on one side, and my Lord of Shrewsbury, Sir Jo. Talbot, and one Bernard Howard, on the other side; and all about my Lady Shrewsbury, who is a whore and is at this time, and hath for a great while been, a whore to the Duke of Buckingham; and so her husband challenged him, and they met yesterday in a close near Barne Elmes and there fought; and my Lord Shrewsbury is run through the body from the right breast through the shoulder, and Sir Jo. Talbot all along up one of his arms, and Jenkins killed upon the place, and the rest all in a little measure wounded.
[This formidable duel was perhaps the most notorious of the period in England. The Countess was Buckingham's mistress from 1666 to 1674. Shrewsbury died two months later.]
... my Lord Hinchingbrooke hath been married this week [on the 13th] to my Lord Burlington's daughter; so that great business is over, and I mighty glad of it.

22nd Jan
So home, and there to cards with my wife, Deb, and Betty Turner and Batelier; and after, supper and late to sing; but Lord, how did I please myself to make Betty Turner sing, to see what a beast she is as to singing, not knowing how to sing one note in tune; but only for the experiment I would not for 40s hear her sing a tune - worse then my wife a thousand times, so that it doth a little reconcile me to her. So, late to bed.

Feb 13th
... I did meet with several people; and among others, Mr Brisbanke, who tells me in discourse that Tom Killigrew hath a fee out of the wardrobe for cap and bells, under the title of the King's foole or Jester, and may with privilege revile or jeere anybody, the greatest person, without offence, by the privilege of his place.

Feb 19th
... blessed be God, all the Court is full of the good news of my Lord Sandwiches having made a peace between Spain and Portugall [the Treaty of Lisbon ending the 26 years war]; which is mighty great news, and above all, to my Lord's honour, more than anything he ever did; and yet I do fear it will not prevail to secure him in Parliament against incivilities there.

Feb 27th
... to the King's House to see [the play] "Virgin Martyr" ... not that it is worth much but ... that which did please me beyond anything in the whole world was the wind-musique when the Angel comes down, which is so sweet that it ravished me; and endeed, in a word, did wrap up my soul so that it made me really sick, just as I have formerly been when in love with my wife; that neither then, nor all the evening going home and at home, I was able to think of anything, but remained all night transported, so as I could not believe that ever any music hath the real command over the soul of a man as this did upon me; and makes me resolve to practise wind-music and to make my wife do the like.

March 5th
... never in so much trouble in all my life of mind, thinking of the task I have upon me ... [Pepys had to give a speech to Parliament explaining the workings of his department] ... I full of thoughts and trouble touching the issue of this day ...
So we all up to the Lobby; and between 11 and 12 a-clock were called in, with the Mace before us, into the House.... I perceive the whole House was full, and full of expectation of our defence what it would be, and with great prejudice. After the Speaker had told us the disatisfaction of the House, and read the report of the Committee, I begin our defence most acceptably and smoothly, and continued at it without any hesitation or loss but with full scope and all my reason free about me, as if it had been at my own table, from that time till past 3 in the afternoon; and so ended without any interruption from the Speaker but we withdrew.
And there all my fellow-officers overjoyed in it. ...
It is plain we have got good ground; and everybody says I have got the most honour that any could have had opportunity of getting.

March 6th
Up betimes and with Sir D Gawden to Sir W Coventry's chamber, where the first word he said to me was, "Goodmorrow Mr Pepys, that must be Speaker of the Parliament-house" - and did protest I had got honour for ever in Parliament. He said that his brother, that sat by him, admires me; and another gentleman said that I could not get less than 1000l a year if I would put on a gown and plead at the Chancery bar. But what pleases me most, he tells me that the Solicitor-general did protest that he thought I spoke the best of any man in England.
.. and I to the Duke of York's lodging and find him going to the parke, it being a very fine morning; and I after him, and as soon as he saw me, he told me with great satisfaction that I had converted a great many yesterday, and did with great praise of me go on with the discourse with me. And by and by overtaking the King, the King and the Duke of York came to me both, and he said, "Mr Pepys, I am very glad of your success yesterday;" and fell to talk of my well speaking; and many of the Lords there, my Lord Berkely did cry me up for what they had heard of it; and others, Parliament men there about the King, did say that they never heard such a speech in their lives delivered in that manner. ... I spent the morning thus, walking in the Hall, being complimented by everybody with imagination.

March 13th
... met with my Lord Hinchingbrooke and his Lady, the first time I spoke to her. I saluted her, and she mighty civil; and with my Lady Jem do all resolve to be very merry tomorrow at my house. My Lady Hinchingbrooke I cannot say is a beauty, nor ugly; but is altogether a comely lady enough, and seems very good-humoured, and I mighty glad of this occasion of seeing her before tomorrow.

March 14th
... Anon comes my company, viz my Lord Hinchingbrooke and his Lady, Sir Ph Carteret and his Lady, Godolphin and my Cosen Roger, and Creed, and mighty merry; and by and by to dinner, which was very good and plentiful ... Most of our discourse was of my Lady Sandwich and his family, as being all of us of that family; and with extraordinary pleasure all the afternoon thus together, eating and looking over my closet; and my Lady Hinchingbrooke I find a very sweet natured and well disposed lady, a lover of books and pictures and of good understanding.

March 24th
[Sir Fr. Hollis] took Lord Brouncker and me down to the guards ... and there he did, in a handsome room to that purpose, make us drink and did call for his Bagpiper; which, with pipes of ebony tipped with silver, he did play beyond anything of that kind that ever I heard in my life. And with great pains he must have obtained it, but with pains that the instrument doth not deserve at all; for at the best, it is mighty barbarous music.

March 27th
... and then home to dinner, where my wife and I had a small squabble; but I first this day tried the effect of my silence and not provoking her when she is an ill humour, and do find it very good, for it prevents its coming to that height on both sides, which used to exceed what was fit between us. So she became calm by and by ...

April 30th
Thus ends this month; my wife in the country. Myself full of pleasure and expense; and some trouble for my friends, my Lord Sandwich by the Parliament, and more for my eyes, which are daily worse and worse, that I dare not write or read almost anything. The Parliament going in a few days to rise. Myself, so long without accounting now, for seven or eight months I think or more, that I know not what condition almost I am in as to getting or spending for all that time - which troubles me, but I will soon do it.
The kingdom in an ill state through poverty. A fleet going out, and no money to maintain it or set it out. Seamen yet unpaid, and mutinous when pressed to go out again. Our office able to do little, nobody trusting us nor we desiring any to trust us, and yet have not money to anything but only what particularly belongs to this fleet going out, and that but lamely too. The Parliament several months upon an act for 300000l, but cannot or will not agree upon it - but do keep back, in spite of the King's desire to hasten it, till they can obtain what they have a mind, in revenge upon some men for the late ill managements; and he is forced to submit to what they please. knowing that without it he shall have no money; and they as well, that if they give the money, the King will suffer them to do little more. And then the business of religion doth disquiet everybody, the Parliament being vehement against the non-conformists, while the King seems to be willing to countenance them: so we are all poor and in pieces, God help us; while the peace is like to go on between Spain and France, and then the French may be apprehended able to attack us. So God help us.

May 12th
... I having there seen a Mummy in a merchant's warehouse there,all the middles of the man or woman's body black and hard; I never saw any before, and therfore pleased me much, though an ill sight; and he did give me a little bit, and a bone of an arm I suppose; and so home and there to bed.

May 21st
.. and at noon my clerks dined with me; and there do hear from them how all the town is full of talk of a Meteor, or some fire that did on Saturday last to fly over the City at night; which doth put me in mind that being then walking in the dark an hour or more myself in the garden after I had done writing I did see a light before me come from behind me, which made me turn back my head and I did see a sudden fire or light running in the sky, as it were toward Cheapside-ward, and vanished very quick; which did make me bethink myself what holiday it was; and took it for some Rocket, though it was much brighter then any rocket, and so thought no more of it; but it seems Mr Hater and Gibson, going home that night, did meet with many clusters of people talking of it, and many people of the towns about the City did see it, and the world doth make much discourse of it - their apprehensions being mighty full of the rest of the City to be burned, and the papists to cut our throats - which God prevent.

May 24th Lords day
I up at between 2 and 3 in the morning; and calling up my boy and father's boy, we set out by 3 a-clock, it being high day; and so through all the waters with very good success, though very deep almost all the way, and got to Brampton where most of them in bed; and so I weary up to my wife's chamber, whom I find in bed and pretended a little not well, and endeed she hath those upon her ...
I to my father, poor man, and walked with him up and down the house, it raining a little - and the waters all over Portholme and the meadows - so as no pleasure abroad.
After dinner, my Lady Sandwich sending to see whether I was come, I presently took horse and find her and her family at chapel ... After sermon, I with my Lady and my Lady Hinchingbrooke and Paulina and Lord Hinchingbrooke to the dining room, saluting none to them [showing his exalted status] and there sat and talked an hour or two, with great pleasure and satisfaction, to my Lady about my Lord's matters ....

June 18th
At noon home to dinner, where my wife still in a melancholy fusty humour, and crying; and doth not tell me plainly what it is, but I by little words find that she hath heard of my going to plays and carrying people abroad every day in her absence; and that I cannot help, but the storm will break out, I know, in a little time.

June 30th
Up and at the office all the morning. Then home to dinner, where a stinking leg of mutton - the weather being very wet and hot to keep meat in.
... after supper parted and to bed - my eyes bad but not worse; only, weary with working. But however, I very melancholy under the fear of my eyes being spoilt and not to be recovered; for I am come that I am not able to read out a small letter, and yet my sight good, for the little while I can read, as ever they were I think

July 15th
Wonderful hot all day and night, and this the first night that I remember in my life that ever I could lie with only a sheet and one rug; so much I am now stronger than ever I remember myself to be, at least since before I had the stone.

July 24th
Up, and by water to St James ... and there, after the Duke of York was ready, he called me to his closet, and there I did long and largely show him the weakness of our office, and did give him advice to call us to account for our duties; which he did mighty well, and desired me to draw up what I would have him write to the office. I did lay open the whole failings of the office, and how it was his duty to find them and to find fault with them, as Admiral, especially at this time - which he agred to - and seemed much to rely on what I said.

July 27th
At noon dined; and then I out of doors to my bookseller in Duck Lane, but the wife not at home. And it was pretty here to see a pretty woman pass by with a wanton look; and I did follow her round about the street from Duck Lane to Newgate market and then she did turn back and I did lose her.

So ... to Spring Garden and there eat and walked, and observe how rude some of the young gallants of the town are become, to go into people's arbors where there are not men, and almost fortce the women - which troubled me, to see the confidence of the vice of the age....

August 26th
... to Whitehall; and it is strange to see with what speed the people imployed do pull down Paul's steeple - and with what ease. It is said that it and the Quire are to be taken down this year and another church begun in the room thereof the next. [ the building of Wren's church was begun in 1673 and ended in 1716]

October 17th
Mr Moore tells me the sad condition my Lord Sandwich is in his estate and debts and the way he lives in, so high, and so many vain servants about him, that he must be ruined if he doth not take up ....

October 23rd
This day Pierce doth tell me, among other news, the late frolic and Debauchery of Sir Ch. Sidly and Buckhurst, running up and down all the night with their arses bare through the streets, and at last fighting and being beat by the watch and clapped up all night.
That the King was drunk at Saxam with Sidly, Buckhurst etc the night that my Lord Arlington came thither, and would not give him audience, or could not ....

October 25th
... and after supper, to have my head combed by Deb, which occasioned the greatest sorrow to me that ever I knew in this world; for my wife, coming up suddenly, did find me embracing the girl with my hand under her skirts; and indeed, I was with my hand in her cunny. I was at a wonderful loss upon it, and the girl also; and I endeavoured to put it off, but my wife was struck mute and grew angry, and as her voice came to her, grew quite out of order; and I do say little, but to bed; and my wife said little also, but could not sleep all night; but about 2 in the morning waked me and cried ... till at last it appeared plainly her trouble was at what she saw; but yet I did not know how much she saw and therefore said nothing to her. But after her much crying and reproaching me with inconstancy and preferring a sorry girl before her, I did give her no provocations but did promise all fair usage to her, and love, and foreswore any hurt that I did with her - till at last she seemed to be at ease again; and so, towards morning, a little sleep ....

October 26th
Thence by coach home and to dinner, finding my wife mightily discontented and the girl sad, and no words from my wife to her. So after dinner, they out with me about two or three things; and so home again, I all the evening busy and my wife full of trouble in her looks; and anon to bed - where about midnight, she wakes me and there falls foul on me again, affirming that she saw me hug and kiss the girl; the latter I denied, and truly; the other I confesed and no more....

October 27th
... my wife did towards bedtime begin to be in a mighty rage from some new matter that she had got in her head, and did most part of the night in bed rant at me in most high terms, of threats of publishing my shame; and when I offered to rise, would have rose too, and caused a candle to be lit to burn by her all night in the chimney while she ranted; while I, that knew myself to have given some grounds for it, did make it my business to appease her all I could possibly, and by good words and fair promises did make her very quiet; and so rested all night and rose with perfect good peace, being heartily afflicted for this folly of mine that did occasion it; but was forced to be silent about the girl, which I have no mind to part with, but much less that the poor girl should be undone by my folly.

October 31st
So ends this month, with some quiet to my mind, though not perfect, after the greatest falling out with my poor wife, and through my folly with the girl, that ever I had; and I have reason to be sorry and ashamed of it - and more, to be troubled for the poor girl's sake; whom I fear I shall by this means prove the ruin of - though I shall think myself concerned both to love and be a friend to her.

November 1st
... and so to supper and to bed - my mind yet at disquiet that I cannot be informed how poor Deb stands with her mistress, but I fear she will put her away; and the truth is, though it be much against my mind and to my trouble, yet I think it will be fit that she be gone....
This noon Mr Povy sent his Coach for my wife and I to see; which we like mightily, and will endeavour to have him get us just such another.

November 2nd
So to Povy's to talk about a coach, but there I find my Lord Sandwich and Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke, Ch. Herbert and Sidny Mountagu; and there I was stopped, and dined mighty nobly at a little table, with one little dish at a time upon it - but mighty merry; ...

November 3rd
... and I observed my wife to eye my eyes whether I did ever look upon Deb; which I could not, but do now and then (and to my grief did see the poor wretch look on me and see me look on her, and then let drop a tear or two )...

November 10th
... so home to dinner, where I find my wife mightily troubled again, more than ever, and she tells me that it is from examining the girl and getting a confession from her of all ... which doth mighty trouble me.
... we to talk again, and she to be troubled, reproaching me with my unkindness and perjury, I having denied my ever kissing her - as also with all her old kindnesses to me, and my ill-using of her from the beginning, and the many temptations she hath refused out of faithfulness to me; whereof several she was perticular in, and especially from my Lord Sandwich by the sollicitation of Captain Ferrer; and then afterward, the courtship of my Lord Hinchingbrooke, even to the trouble of his Lady. All which I did acknowledge and was troubled for, and wept; and at last pretty good friends again ... and at last, with new vows, and perticularly that I would myself bid the girl be gone and show my dislike to her - which I shall endeavour to perform, but with much trouble.

November 12th
... I to my wife and to ssit with her a little; and then called her and Willet to my chamber, and there did with tears in my eyes, which I could not help, discharge her and advise her to be gone as soon as she could, and never to see me or let me see her more while she was in the house; which she took with tears too, but I believe understands me to be her friend ....

November 13th
... Thence I home, and there to talk, with great pleasure, all the evening with my wife, who tells me that Deb hath been abroad today, and is come home and says she hath got a place to go to, so as she will be gone tomorrow morning. This troubled me; and the truth is, I have a great mind for to have the maidenhead of this girl ....

November 14th
[at a short word from Pepys to his wife she lost her temper with him] ... she instantly flew out into a rage, calling me dog and rogue, and that I had a rotten heart; all which, knowing that I deserved it, I bore with ...

And so at night home to supper, and there did sleep with great content with my wife. I must here remember that I have lain with my wife as a husband more times since this falling-out than in I believe twelve months before - and with more pleasure to her than I think in all the time of our marriage before.

November 18th
[unable to put her out of his mind he seeks out Deb] ... and there she came into the coach to me, and I did kiss her and touch her thing but she was against it and laboured with much earnestness, such as I believed to be real; and yet at last I did make her take me in her hand ... with grand delight.

November 19th
Up, and at the office all morning, with my heart full of joy to think in what a safe condition all my matters now stand between my wife and Deb and me; and at noon, running upstairs ... I find my wife sitting sad in the dining room; which enquiring into the reason of, she begun to call me all the false, rotten-hearted rogues in the world, letting me understand that I was with Deb yesterday ... and I did confess all ... And which was worst, she swore by all that was good that she would slit the nose of this girl, and be gone herself this very night from me; ...
[I am now] most absolutely resolved, if ever I can maister this bout, never to give her occasion while I live of more trouble of this or any other kind, there being no curse in the world so great as this of the difference between myself and her; and therefore I do by the grace of God promise never to offend her more, and did this night begin to pray to God upon my knees alone in my chamber ...

November 30th
Thus ended this month with very good content, that hath been the most sad to my heart and the most expenseful to my purse on things of pleasure, having furnished my wife's closet and the best chamber, and a coach and horses, that ever I yet knew in the world; and doth put me into the greatest condition of outward state that ever I was in, or hoped ever to be, or desired - and this at a time when we do daily expect great changes in this office and, by all reports, we must all of us turn out. But my eyes are come to that condition that I am not able to work; and therefore, that, and my wife's desire, makes me have no manner of trouble in my thoughts about it - so God do his will in it.

December 4th
And so home, it being mighty pleasure to go alone with my poor wife in a coach of our own to a play; and makes us appear mighty great, I think, in the world; at least, greater than ever I could, or my friends for me, have once expected, or I think then ever any of my family ever yet lived, in my memory, but my cosen Pepys in Salsbury-court [John Pepys d 1659, secretary to Lord Chief Justice Coke]

December 12th
This day was brought home my pair of black coach-horses, the first I ever was maister of; they cost me 50l and are a fine pair.

December 31st
And blessed be God, the year ends, after some late very great sorrow with my wife by my folly; yet ends, I say, with great mutual peace and content - and likely to last so by my care, who am resolved to enjoy the sweet of it which I now possess, by never giving her like cause for trouble. My greatest trouble is now from the backwardness of my accounts, which I have not seen the bottom of now near these two years, so that I know not in what condition I am in the world; but by the grace of God, as fast as my eyes will give me leave, I will do it,