The Flageolet in Pepys’ Diary

A photograph of a portrait of Samuel Pepys.

The following are passages in Pepys’ diary which mention the flageolet or, as he spelt it, flageolette. Click on the date above the entry to view the entire entry for that day in full.

The Diary Entries

16th January 1659/60

Thence we went to the Green Dragon, on Lambeth Hill, both the Mr. Pinkney’s, Smith, Harrison, Morrice, that sang the bass, Sheply and I, and there we sang of all sorts of things, and I ventured with good success upon things at first sight, and after that I played on my flageolet, and staid there till nine o’clock, very merry and drawn on with one song after another till it came to be so late.

30th January

After that I came back by water playing on my flageolette and not finding my wife come home again from her father’s I went and sat awhile and played at cards with Mrs. Jam, whose maid had newly got an ague and was ill thereupon.

3rd February

Thence to St. James’s Park, and walked there to my place for my flageolet and then played a little, it being a most pleasant morning and sunshine.

8th February

A little practice on my flageolet, and afterwards walking in my yard to see my stock of pigeons, which begin now with the spring to breed very fast.

17th February

I played on my pipe at the Echo, and then drank a cup of ale at Jacob’s.

27th February

Mr. Blayton and I took horse and straight to Saffron Walden, where at the White Hart, we set up our horses, and took the master of the house to shew us Audley End House, who took us on foot through the park, and so to the house, where the housekeeper shewed us all the house, in which the stateliness of the ceilings, chimney-pieces, and form of the whole was exceedingly worth seeing. He took us into the cellar, where we drank most admirable drink, a health to the King. Here I played on my flageolette, there being an excellent echo.

1st May 1660

The rest of the afternoon in my cabin writing and piping.

14th May

The rest of the company got a coach by themselves; Mr. Creed and I went in the fore part of a coach wherein were two very pretty ladies, very fashionable and with black patches, who very merrily sang all the way and that very well, and were very free to kiss the two blades that were with them. I took out my flageolette and piped, but in piping I dropped my rapier-stick, but when I came to the Hague, I sent my boy back again for it and he found it, for which I did give him 6d., but some horses had gone over it and broke the scabbard.

18th May

Besides we went into the garden, wherein are gallant nuts better than ever I saw, and a fine Echo under the house in a vault made on purpose with pillars, where I played on my flageolette to great advantage.

21st June

Thence to my wife, meeting Mr. Blagrave, who went home with me, and did give me a lesson upon the flageolet, and handselled my silver can with my wife and me.

3rd April 1661

Then home with my workmen all the afternoon, at night into the garden to play on my flageolette, it being moonshine, where I staid a good while, and so home and to bed.

5th June

So home Sir William and I, and it being very hot weather I took my flageolette and played upon the leads in the garden, where Sir W. Pen came out in his shirt into his leads, and there we staid talking and singing, and drinking great drafts of claret, and eating botargo and bread and butter till 12 at night, it being moonshine; and so to bed, very near fuddled.

26th March 1662

I had a pretty dinner for them, viz., a brace of stewed carps, six roasted chickens, and a jowl of salmon, hot, for the first course; a tanzy and two neats’ tongues, and cheese the second; and were very merry all the afternoon, talking and singing and piping upon the flageolette.

9th May

So to the Temple and by water home, and so walk upon the leads, and in the dark there played upon my flageolette, it being a fine still evening, and so to supper and to bed.

Compilation made very easy by http://www.pepysdiary.com/.

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