Creepy Pepys

Interesting article on Samuel Pepys and some of the more seedy elements of his diary. I still haven’t gotten around to reading his famous diary yet, but I was broadly aware of his creepiness, and he would often spring immediately to my mind when I’d hear someone say “men use to be much more gentlemanly and chivalrous back in the day”. However I didn’t realise he went quite this far:

In an incident that is difficult to interpret as anything but rape, Pepys recounts entering the home of a ship’s carpenter—a man very much under his control, since Pepys was a naval official—and noting that, after a struggle, “finally I had my will of her.” His only recorded regret is “a mighty pain” in his finger, which he injured during the apparent assault.

The victim, identified only as Mrs. Bagwell, had been instructed to offer herself to Pepys by her husband, who thought it would help his advancement. “The story,” notes Tomalin, “is a shameful one of a woman used by two bullies: her husband, hoping for promotion, and Pepys, who was to arrange it. Pepys did not present it in quite those terms, but it is clearly how it was.”

On a more light-hearted note:

Living well, in Pepys’s household, meant accumulating an extensive personal library, which included books, manuscripts, and English ballads. His passion for collecting was part of a lifestyle that depended on steady infusions of cash. Money—the getting of it, the spending of it, the lack of it—is an abiding theme of his diary. […] On December 31, 1661, like many a person then and now facing the post-Christmas blahs, he wonders whether he spent too much, and whether the New Year might be time for fiscal restraint, and restraint in general. “I have newly taken a solemn oath about abstaining from plays and wine,” he writes.

I know the feeling Samuel. My diary often has a similar theme.