12 February 2010

My Wife's Valentine

(aside: Comrade Bingo is an Olympics free zone. There will be no enthusiasm about the Olympics. There will be no cynicism about the Olympics. There will be no criticism of those who are enthused or cynical about the Olympics. Nothing. Nada.)

You might have heard about this site which posts Pepy's Diary following the calendar along with Pepy's entries. Readers add annotations providing invaluable context. Comrade Bingo friend The Great Catriona, suggested a Valentine's Day entry for today's blog. The annotations explain the in Pepy's time, "it was the custom to choose someone to be one's Valentine for the day. 

Do go to the website, the hyperlinks greatly enhances one's enjoyment of the diary.

(Valentine’s day). I did this day purposely shun to be seen at Sir W. Batten’s, because I would not have his daughter to be my Valentine, as she was the last year, there being no great friendship between us now, as formerly. This morning in comes W. Bowyer, who was my wife’s Valentine, she having, at which I made good sport to myself, held her hands all the morning, that she might not see the paynters that were at work in gilding my chimney-piece and pictures in my diningroom. By and by she and I by coach with him to Westminster, by the way leaving at Tom’s and my wife’s father’s lodgings each of them some poor Jack, and some she carried to my father Bowyer’s, where she staid while I walked in the Hall, and there among others met with Serj’. Pierce, and I took him aside to drink a cup of ale, and he told me the basest thing of Mr. Montagu’s and his man Eschar’s going away in debt, that I am troubled and ashamed, but glad to be informed of. He thinks he has left 1000l. for my Lord to pay, and that he has not laid out 3,000l. Out of the 5,000l. for my Lord’s use, and is not able to make an account of any of the money. My wife and I to dinner to the Wardrobe, and then to talk with my Lady, and so by coach, it raining hard, home, and so to do business and to bed.


  1. So charming! I always think of Pepys, round about Valentine's day (!) and would love to go to Magdalene College in Cambridge to cast my eye over the original (in it's glass case, I'm sure).
    I was fascinated to discover that the Diary was only rediscovered in 1819, almost 150 years after it was written. Pepys invented a language of his own to describe the parts of his life of which he was rather coy. Easily (and comically)
    understood if you have even a basic understanding of any of the Romance languages.

    I must read it all again!! Thank you EC!

  2. I was at Maudlin just a few years ago. I had no idea it was there. Thanks for giving me the idea, Cat.