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Samuel Pepys' female friends terrific advice... get children...

I'm reading the Illustrated Pepys at the moment, and boy am I enjoying myself! The man is so special, an enormous 'joie de vivre', very naughty... clever, committed... and he paints such an interesting picture of his time.

Anyway, why am I starting this topic? He and his wife wanted children but all 'attempts' appeared to be fruitless. So, one afternoon when he coincidentally finds himself in the company of women alone, he asks them for opinions and advice. And what he gets is so funny, and sweet and in some ways sensible too, that I cannot resist sharing it.

26 July [1664]

[...]Verry merry we were, and ris from table, I above with them, ne'er a man but I; I begin discourse of my not getting children and prayed them to give me their opinions and advice; and they freely and merrilydid 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 straightlaced
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. [...]

When Pepys described his escapades with other women he used to express himself in a mixture of English, French, Spanish etc... so that nobody, certainly not his wife, would understand, were they to read his diary.


Re: Samuel Pepys' female friends terrific advice...

I remember reading that bit, and being surprised by the mixture of good and bad advice in there! LOL!

BTW Renee, I found this site which you might enjoy - it is a serial posting of Pepys' journal entries, in blog format - with peoples' notes, questions and/or comments appended at the end of each daily entry. Very interesting! It's an on-going thing, I think they are up to 1662 so far:


Re: Samuel Pepys' female friends terrific advice...

Lovely site, Joanie, thank you. I had this one bookmarked before my harddisk crashed (lost all my favourites...!)

Samuel Pepys Diary

Can't get enough of this man. He's fascinating, and his era, of course!


How to cure a sick horse... :)

I'm so totally, utterly, completely hooked on this guy, I can't get enough of him. The diaries of this cheerful, optimistic, sensitive, mischievous, talented man makes my day almost every day. When I'm reading I'm LOL so often, as often as I'm moved or fascinated by the major historical things happening at the time!

The enthusiasm of the man for everything and everybody is so catching! So many times you read "...I ever saw in my life" Cute!

Anyway, I just read about a day in the country which was very pleasant. On the way back however one of the coach horses fell 'sick of the staggers'. Well, this is how to cure such a horse...

[...]The coachman was fain to light and hold him up and cut his tongue to make him bleed, and his tail - the horse continued shaking every part of him, as if he had been in an ague a good while, and his blood settled in his tongue, and the coachman thought and believed he would presently drop down dead. Then he blew some tobacco in his nose; upon which the horse sneezed, and by grows well and draws us the rest of our way as well as he ever did; which was one of the strangest things of a horse I ever observed -- but he says it is usual. It is the staggers.


CONSTRICTING ONE'S EQUIPMENT & Samuel Pepys' Little Problem

Hi Renee,

Regarding his inability to procreate, there has been some research regarding men wearing loose drawers as opposed to tight drawers + certain activities like bike riding constricting a man's hrummph . . . baby making equipment.

"5. wear cool Holland-drawers"


Re: Samuel Pepys' female friends terrific advice...

That's true, Stevie! Tight drawers are very bad for the semen, they say.