Samuel Pepys Diary 1669 - extracts

The Complete Diary


His fine clothes | The end of The Diary |

1669 complete

1 January

found my Lord Sandwich, Peterburgh, and Sir Ch. Herberd; and presently after them come my Lord Hinchingbrooke, Mr Sidny, and Sir Wm. Godolphin; and after greeting them, and some time spent in talk, dinner was brought up, one dish after another, but a dish at a time; but all so good, but above all things, the variety of wines, and excellent of their kind, I had for them, and all in so good order, that they were mightily pleased, and myself full of content at it; and indeed it was, of a dinner of about six or eight dishes, as noble as any mn need to have I think - at least, all was done in the noblest manner that ever I had any, and I have rarely seen in my life better anywhere else - even at the Court.

So to my wife's chamber, and there supped and got her cut my hair and look my shirt, for I have itched mightily these six or seven days; and when all came to all, she finds that I am louzy, having found in my head and body above 20 lice, little and great; which I wonder at, being more than I have had, I believe, almost these twenty years.

February 23rd
... I now took them [his wife and girl servants] to Westminster Abbey and there did show them all the tombs very finely, having one with us alone ... and here we did see, by perticular favour, the body of Queen Katherine of Valois, and had her upper part of her body in my hands. And I did kiss her mouth, reflecting upon it that I did kiss a Queen, and that this was my birthday, 36 year old, that I did first kiss a Queen.

March 1st
But here I do hear first that my Lady Paulina Montagu did die yesterday; at which I went to my Lord's lodgings, but he is shut up with sorrow and so not to be spoken with .... [Paulina was Sandwich's second daughter an died of "a consumption" in her 20th year]

March 6th
This day my wife made it appear to me that my late entertainment this week cost me above 12l, an expense which I am almost ashamed of, though it is but once in a great while, and is the end for which in the most part we live, to have such a merry day once or twice in a man's life.

April 8th
Going this afternoon through Smithfield, I did see a coach run over the coachman's neck and stand upon it, and yet the man rose up and was well after it, which I thought a wonder.

April 13th
... as God would have it I spied Deb which made my heart and head to work; ... and I run after her and I observed she endeavoured to avoid me, but I did speak to her and she to me ... and so, with my heart full of surprise and disorder, I away ....

... so home to my wife ... 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 out this girl, whom endeed I love, and with a bad amour; but I will pray to God to give me grace to forbear it.

April 26th
... I am told ... of a great fire happenned in Durham-yard last night, burning the house of one - Hungerford, who was to come to town to it this night; an so the house is burned, new furnished, by carelesness of the girl sent to take off a candle from a bunch of candles, which she did by burning it off, and left the rest, as it is supposed, on fire. The King and Court was here, it seems, and stopped the fire by blowing up of the next house.

April 30th
... I did make the workmen drink, and saw my coach cleaned and oyled; and staying among poor people there in the alley, did hear them call their fat child "punch" which pleased me mightily, that word being become a word of common use for all that is thick and short.

May 1st
Up betimes, called up by my tailor, and there first put on a summer suit this year - but it was not my fine one of flowered tabby vest and coloured camelott tunic, because it was too fine with the gold lace at the hands, that I was afeared to be seen in it - but put on the stuff-suit I made the last year, which is now repaired; and so did go to the office in it and sat all the morning, the day looking as if it would be fowle.
At noon home to dinner, and there find my wife extraorrdinary fine with hr flowered tabby gown that she made two years ago, now laced exceeding pretty, and endeed was fine all over - and mighty earnest to go, though the day was very lowering, and she would have me put on my fine suit, which I did; and so anon we went alone through the town with our new Liverys of serge, and the horses' manes and tails tied with red ribbon and the standards thus gilt with varnish and all clean, and green raynes, that people did mightily look upon us; and the truth is, I did not see any coach more pretty, or more gay, than ours all the day.

May 10th
... to my Lord Crewe ... A stranger, a country gentleman, was with him, and he pleased with my discourse accidentally about the decay of gentlemen's families in the country, telling us that the old rule was that a family might remain 50 miles from London 100 year, 100 mile off from London 200 years, and so, farther or nearer London, more or less years. He also told us that he hath heard his father say that in his time it was so rare for a country gentleman to come to London, that when he did come, he used to make his will before he set out.

Thence walked a little with Creed, who tells me he hears how fine my horses and coach are, and advises me to avoid being noted for it; which I was vexed to hear taken notice of, it being what I feared; and Povy told me of my gold-lace sleeves in the park yesterday, which vexed me also, so as to resolve never to appear in Court with it, but presently have it taken off, as it is fit I should.

May 16th
... I all the afternoon drawing up a foul draft of my petition to the Duke of York about my eyes, for leave to spend three or four months out of the office, drawing it so as to give occasion to a voyage abroad....
[It was presented on the 19th May, and refers to the "ill condition whereto the restless exercises of his Eyes requisite to the seasonable dispatching of the Worke of his Place during the late Warr have unhappily reduced him .. he has fruitlessly made many medicinal attempts ... but is told by his doctors that nothing but a considerable relaxation from Worke can bee depended upon either for recovery of what Portion of his Sight hee hath lost, or securing the remainder"]

May 31st
... And thus ends all that I doubt I shall ever be able to do with my own eyes in the keeping of my journall, I being not able to do it any longer, having done now so long as to undo my eyes almost every time that I take a pen in my hand; and therefore, whatever comes of it, I must forbear; and therefore reolve from this time forward to have it kept by my people in long-hand, and must therefore be contented to set down no more than it is fit for them and all the world to know; or if there be anything (which cannot be much, now my amours to Deb are past, and my eyes hindering me in almost all other pleasures), I must endeavour to keep a margin in my book open, to add here and there a note in short-hand with my own hand. And so I betake myself to that course which is almost as much as to see myself go into my grave - for which, and all the discomforts that will accompany my being blind, the good God prepare me.

[Here ends the great diary. Pepys' eyesight seems to have improved after his holiday abroad in the following Autumn. Although he later wrote journals he never continued the personal Diary.

The graphic above is of the last entry in his diaries where he stops writing because of fears of blindness. It is written in shorthand, except for the date at the bottom of the page.]