Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sometimes life really is like a John Updike novel.

from The Diary of Samuel Pepys

January 12, 1668

This evening I observed my wife mighty dull, and I myself was not mighty fond, because of some hard words she did give me at noon, out of a jealousy at my being abroad this morning, which, God knows, it was upon the business of the Office unexpectedly: but I to bed, not thinking but she would come after me. But waking by and by out of a slumber, which I usually fall into presently after my coming into the bed, I found she did not prepare to come to bed, but got fresh candles, and more wood for her fire, it being mighty cold, too. At this being troubled, I after a while prayed her to come to bed; so, after an hour or two, she silent, and I now and then praying her to come to bed, she fell out into a fury, that I was a rogue, and false to her. I did, as I might truly, deny it, and was mightily troubled, but all would not serve. At last, about one o'clock, she came to my side of the bed, and drew my curtaine open, and with the tongs red hot at the ends, made as if she did design to pinch me with them, at which, in dismay, I rose up, and with a few words she laid them down; and did by little and little, very sillily, let all the discourse fall; and about two, but with much seeming difficulty, came to bed, and there lay well all night, and long in bed talking together, with much pleasure, it being, I know, nothing but her doubt of my going out yesterday, without telling her of my going, which did vex her, poor wretch! last night, and I cannot blame her jealousy, though it do vex me to the heart.

[P.S. He really "was a rogue, and false to her," though not, apparently, on this particular occasion.]

3 comments:

Maureen said...

Perhaps she should have put the "tongs red hot" to him.

Dawn Potter said...

That would have made the scene more like Aeschylus and less like Updike.

M.L. Gallagher said...

LOL -- re Aeschylus than Updike.

Great letter! And how righteous he could be when knowing this time... he was not caught out!