Wednesday 18 January 1659/60

To my office and from thence to Will’s, and there Mr. Sheply brought me letters from the carrier and so I went home. After that to Wilkinson’s, where we had a dinner for Mr. Talbot, Adams, Pinkny and his son, but his son did not come. Here we were very merry, and while I was here Mr. Fuller came thither and staid a little, while. After that we all went to my Lord’s, whither came afterwards Mr. Harrison, and by chance seeing Mr. Butler coming by I called him in and so we sat drinking a bottle of wine till night. At which time Mistress Ann1 came with the key of my Lord’s study for some things, and so we all broke up and after I had gone to my house and interpreted my Lord’s letter by his character I came to her again and went with her to her lodging and from thence to Mr. Crew’s, where I advised with him what to do about my Lord’s lodgings and what answer to give to Sir Ant. Cooper and so I came home and to bed.

All the world is at a loss to think what Monk will do: the City saying that he will be for them, and the Parliament saying he will be for them.

  1. Probably Mrs. (afterwards Lady) Anne Montagu, daughter of Sir Edward Montagu, and sister to Mrs. Jem. [Latham & Matthews suggest this is in fact Mrs. Jem’s maid, which would appear to make more sense. P.G.]

13 Annotations

M. Stolzenbach   Link to this

Here

David Bell   Link to this

What ciphers did Pepys use?

We have a reference to a letter from Lord Montagu, with the note that ciphers were a popular entertainment, but the combination doesn't quite ring true. With the people he's involved with, would they be using a cipher in a letter for entertainment? I think not.

There's certainly scope for people to be using the puzzle aspect as a mask for more serious uses, though cryptography was quite a serious business, even without the science that developed.

Alternatively, was the reference to a letter written in a shorthand, as were Pepys diaries?

It does suggest there was something special about the letter, however it was written, and also something special about Pepys relationship with Montagu. Who would you trust with a cipher system, in that time and place?

Bored   Link to this

I wonder if Pepys ever mentions seeing any of Shakespeares plays, who died in 1616?

Roger Miller   Link to this

Cryptology: I happened across this survey of of cryptology in the 16th and 17th Centuries:-
http://home.att.net/~tleary/cryptolo.htm

It seems to me to be a bit like those secret drawers that you sometimes find in old pieces of furniture. They could be places to hide things or they could be just displays of ingenuity.

Or possibly both.

Fred Coleman   Link to this

The Diary mentions quite a few of Shakespeare's plays that Pepys attended. A few that come to mind include "Merry Wives of Windsor", "The Tempest", "Henry IV, Part 1", "Othello" and "Midsummer's Night Dream". He could be very critical. Of the latter he wrote, "the most insipid, ridiculous play that I ever saw in my life".

Susanna   Link to this

Pepys' Cipher

Let us hope for his and Montague's sake that they were using a polyalphabetic subsitution cipher, though a simple substitution cipher is more likely for the time period. The former is much more difficult to break.

mary   Link to this

Pepys does mention seeing at least one Shakespeare play. I don't remember which one it was, but he wasn't impressed.

Eric Walla   Link to this

Re: Monk's decision

I keep imagining all "men of means" walking around with preoccupied looks on their faces, doing as little as necessary. Imagine the indecision that reigned in all their minds, the damper it put upon their every action or avowal of allegiance.

It is as if the broader cast is just waiting for the major players to appear on the scene. Will we have a comedy, tragedy or farce?

David Bell   Link to this

Pepys' Cipher

According to David Kahn's "The Codebreakers", there was a statute of 1657 which established a postal service, and provided for the interception of mail. A little further down the page is written, "Nevertheless, most men of affairs were aware of the practice of opening private letters, and the often enciphered their correspondence or entrusted it to private messengers when secrecy was essential."

(This is near the end of chapter 6.)

Perhaps this casts some light on Pepys' earlier efforts to send a letter to Lord Montagu at Hinchenbrooke.

I still wonder if the letter from Montagu was written in a shorthand rather than in any code or cipher.

Or just dreadful handwriting?

Paul Chapin   Link to this

By "all the world" Pepys obviously means "everybody in and around London", using the phrase in the sense of French "tout le monde". You can't do that in contemporary American English - does British English still allow this usage? (apologia - I'm a linguist by trade, and these things catch my attention)

Grahamt   Link to this

We don't say "all the world" to mean everybody in normal speech in British English, but we do use the cliche "the world and his dog" to mean emphatically everyone. Here, "the world" is obviously being used in the same sense as Pepys used it. I guess "Invent a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door" is a similar usage.

Daniel Baker   Link to this

Where was "my Lord's," I wonder? Montagu himself was in Hinchingbrooke at this time, and that's up in Cambridgeshire, so obviously Pepys wasn't going there. How many residences did Montagu have in London/Westminster, anyway?

This is my second attempt reading the diary, and this time I'm trying to follow Pepys's movements better. I've been using Horwood's 1799 map of London, obviously long after Pepys's time, but the oldest one I can find that has enough detail. It's presently available here: http://www.oldlondonmaps.com/horwoodpages/horwo...

Mary   Link to this

Mountagu's London addresses.

The L&M Companion is useful here.

From 1653 until the date of his death, Mountagu had an official residence in Whitehall Palace. These lodgings comprised part (all?) of the gatehouse of the King's Gate together with rooms adjacent to it on both sides of the street.

He also had official lodgings at The Wardrobe in the years 1660-1668 and, from 1664 onwards, rented other premises in Lincoln's Inn Fields and Hampstead.

Thus he had residences in both London and Westminster and also a 'country' residence in Hampstead as well as his country seat at Hinchingbrooke.

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