Tuesday 24 January 1659/60

In the morning to my office, where, after I had drank my morning draft at Will’s with Ethell and Mr. Stevens, I went and told part of the excise money till twelve o’clock, and then called on my wife and took her to Mr. Pierces, she in the way being exceedingly troubled with a pair of new pattens, and I vexed to go so slow, it being late. There when we came we found Mrs. Carrick very fine, and one Mr. Lucy, who called one another husband and wife, and after dinner a great deal of mad stir. There was pulling off Mrs. bride’s and Mr. bridegroom’s ribbons;1 with a great deal of fooling among them that I and my wife did not like. Mr. Lucy and several other gentlemen coming in after dinner, swearing and singing as if they were mad, only he singing very handsomely. There came in afterwards Mr. Southerne, clerk to Mr. Blackburne, and with him Lambert, lieutenant of my Lord’s ship, and brought with them the declaration that came out to-day from the Parliament, wherein they declare for law and gospel, and for tythes; but I do not find people apt to believe them.

After this taking leave I went to my father’s, and my wife staying there, he and I went to speak with Mr. Crumlum (in the meantime, while it was five o’clock, he being in the school, we went to my cozen Tom Pepys’ shop, the turner in Paul’s Churchyard, and drank with him a pot of ale); he gave my father directions what to do about getting my brother an exhibition, and spoke very well of my brother.

Thence back with my father home, where he and I spoke privately in the little room to my sister Pall about stealing of things as my wife’s scissars and my maid’s book, at which my father was much troubled.

Hence home with my wife and so to Whitehall, where I met with Mr. Hunt and Luellin, and drank with them at Marsh’s, and afterwards went up and wrote to my Lord by the post.

This day the Parliament gave order that the late Committee of Safety should come before them this day se’nnight, and all their papers, and their model of Government that they had made, to be brought in with them. So home and talked with my wife about our dinner on Thursday.

  1. The scramble for ribbons, here mentioned by Pepys in connection with weddings (see also January 26th, 1660-61, and February 8th, 1662-3), doubtless formed part of the ceremony of undressing the bridegroom, which, as the age became more refined, fell into disuse. All the old plays are silent on the custom; the earliest notice of which occurs in the old ballad of the wedding of Arthur O’Bradley, printed in the Appendix to “Robin Hood,” 1795, where we read —

    Then got they his points and his garters,
    And cut them in pieces like martyrs;
    And then they all did play
    For the honour of Arthur O’Bradley.

    Sir Winston Churchill also observes (“Divi Britannici,” p. 340) that James I. was no more troubled at his querulous countrymen robbing him than a bridegroom at the losing of his points and garters. Lady Fanshawe, in her “Memoirs,” says, that at the nuptials of Charles II. and the Infanta, “the Bishop of London declared them married in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and then they caused the ribbons her Majesty wore to be cut in little pieces; and as far as they would go, every one had some.” The practice still survives in the form of wedding favours.

    A similar custom is still of every day’s occurrence at Dieppe. Upon the morrow after their marriage, the bride and bridegroom perambulate the streets, followed by a numerous cortege, the guests at the wedding festival, two and two; each individual wearing two bits of narrow ribbon, about two inches in length, of different colours, which are pinned crossways upon the breast. These morsels of ribbons originally formed the garters of the bride and bridegroom, which had been divided amidst boisterous mirth among the assembled company, the moment the happy pair had been formally installed in the bridal bed. — Ex. inf. Mr. William Hughes, Belvedere, Jersey. — B.

38 Annotations

language hat   Link to this

"a pair of new pattens":
A kind of overshoe, definition 1b in the OED:

patten ('p

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Ethell -- Mr. or Mrs.?

Are Pepys and Stevens downing their liquid breakfast (see line 2) with a man or a woman?

This assumes Ethel was a women's name back then. Would Pepys ever use just a woman's first name (as he does with his sister, Pall)? If it was a woman, perhaps he didn't know her last name.

Pepys normally puts "Mr." or "Mrs." in front of every last name of people he meets with. But he doesn't use it for public personalities he hears about (Monk, Lawson, Fairfax).

A few exceptions to the "Mr." rule: On the 10th (first line) he "met with Greatorex"; on the 17th he was out "with Simons, Luellin, and all the rest of the Clerks of the Council"; and again today there's "Mr. Hunt and Luellin" (eight lines from the bottom).

It's possible that Pepys simply forgets the title. Yet Luellin is denied it in two separate entries.

We have no reason to think Pepys looked down on Luellin, or that Luellin (or Greatorex) had some lower social status than Pepys.

"Greatorex" is an Irish name, and I think I've heard that "Luellin" is Welsh -- but I doubt that explains it (and wouldn't many families with Irish and Welsh names have become English for many generations by then?).

David Quidnunc   Link to this

The Mister-y Deepens

A quick check shows a few more Mister-less men (there really are very few):

23rd -- "paid Wilkinson"

21st -- Luellin again without "Mr." (now THIS is a pattern!); also a Banister

20th -- "Mr. Stephens and Wootton" and "Mr. Maylard and Hales"

Pepys seems to use "Mr." as we'd use "Messrs." to encompass a number of men. Perhaps the term wasn't used back then, although even if it was, style rules were lax.

JonTom Kittredge   Link to this

"They declare for law and gospel,

and for tythes; but I do not find people apt to believe them." Can anyone explain what "law and gospel" mean in this context? It sounds like declaring in favor of motherhood and apple pie, but I'm guessing it referred to some particular political program in 1660. And as for tithes, had they been abolished or something?

David Bell   Link to this

Law, gospel, and tythes.

Tithes (as we spell the word now) lasted into the 20th Century, though had largely been bought off by individual land owners in the previous century. (My father has told me of one or two he knew, as a young man, who hadn't done this, and were later prone to grumble about having to pay.)

Since they funded the established church, this looks like Parliament saying the Puritans who banned Christmas are not going to get their own way, but the reference to law and gospel suggests that they're not going for a return to the status quo ante.

Glyn   Link to this

Claire Tomalin, Pepys' biographer

is answering questions about Pepys at this address: http://booktalk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?50@@.3ba7af5e

Perhaps someone could mention this site to her.

"Kiss my Bush" ?!! Arf, arf - good one Nix - gave me my first groan of the weekend and I needed cheering up after watching England lose the cricket to Australia in the last over, in a cinema full of Aussies. Happy Australia Day to them anyway.

Bored   Link to this

Regarding marriage customs, I was surprised, when I stayed overnight in a small Scottish town several years ago, to see a teenage woman and two teenage men being driven repeatedly around the town on a tractor trailer. The boys were throwing mud at the girl from buckets. My bed&breakfast landlady explained that this was done before the marriage. It may have had some obscure Scottish name that I've forgotten.

M. Stolzenbach   Link to this

Garters, and Ethell

It was at least until recently a custom in America for the bride's garter to be taken off and thrown for the groomsmen, like the bouquet for the bridesmaids. That said, I haven't seen any garters thrown at recent weddings. One Web source says:

"Modern etiquette has the groom being handed the garter by his new wife, tossing her handkerchief instead, or dropping the ritual altogether."

Another suggests that the groom removes the garter, tosses it, and it is placed (I am sure with much giggling and scuffling) on the girl who caught the bouquet.

I think Ethell was definitely a man. My "Pan Book of Names" says "Ethel did not come into use as an independent name in England until well into the nineteenth century." (Before that, it was an Anglo-Saxon prefix to some names, e.g. St. Aethelthryth, who later became much more pronounceably known as St. Audrey.)

Glyn   Link to this

Elizabeth hobbling through the streets in her painful new shoes and her husband trying desperately to hurry her up and failing! :-)

As was mentioned previously "this day sennight" means in 7 days time. "fortnight" = 14 days.

Glyn   Link to this

I've just remembered that Pepys was prettifying his own pair of shoes just two days ago - are they about to go somewhere special?

Regarding Westminster Hall, I was there a few weeks ago. It is huge and is the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament. Back in 1941 it was struck by incendiary bombs at the same time as the Chamber of the House of Commons and they only had one fire engine left available - so they chose to protect Westminster Hall and let the House of Commons burn down, which shows how historically important it is.

Nowadays it's where Royal Coffins are kept before their burials, including the Queen Mother and the last two kings. Londoner's tip: if you go to visit it or Westminster Abbey also go to St Stephens Church next to the Abbey. It's the official church of Parliament - is free to enter - and was lavishly restored after its destruction in the bombing with generous American donations. Well worth a visit.

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Mr. Crumlum

Samuel Cromleholme, master at St. Paul's School. Claire Tomalin calls him "high master."

According to Tomalin, Cromleholme was a "surmaster" and not yet 30 when Samuel Pepys arrived as a schoolboy at St. Paul's. He was an "enthusiastic book collector" and impressed Pepys with his learning. ("Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self," p. 26). Cromleholme had helped inspire Pepys love of books and is said to have had the best private library in London ("Unequalled Self," pp. 26, 227).

John Warrington's "Everyman's Library" edition of the Diary seems to say "Crumlum" was an alternate, acceptable spelling.

language hat   Link to this

I believe I've also seen Cromwell spelled "Crummel."

P. Benson   Link to this

"a great deal of fooling among them that I and my wife did not like"
Ah, the 'upwardly mobile' Mr. and Mrs. Pepsy--he with new buckles, she with new pattens--projecting a certain refinement they think they are moving into. Wait until they get a close-up of the royals.

Jonathan   Link to this

Fortnight
Amusing that Glyn has to explain that 'fortnight' = 14 days, since it's just a normal English word. Until today I didn't realize it wasn't understood in the US. What do you say instead??

Warren Keith Wright   Link to this

"fortnight" (Brit.) = "two weeks" (US) (Flat, but effective.)
On the other hand, "Wednesday week" (for example)---that is, a week from the Wednesday coming up---is both British and, until fairly recently, common with older folks in parts of the American south.

Emilio   Link to this

Ethell and Mr. Stevens

After a quick look through the past entries, I think the lack of a "Mr." before a few men's names simply implies that Pepys had closer ties with them than with most of the people he mentions. As noted, few people in the diary are mentioned without a title of some kind, which fits with the intensely class-conscious society in which (for instance) Pepys is regularly called to bedside audiences with his employer. Those without titles tend to have them consistently NOT given, particularly with Luellin (apparently a friend, and one of Pepys's fellow Clerks of the Council).
Lack of a title does not necessarily imply lower social status, since on the 25th he mentions "Mr. Evans," butler to Lady Wright. The best answer seems to be that the "Mr."s he bestows on almost everyone imply personal as well as social distance. Thus, even though Pepys must be quite familiar with "Mr. Sheply," his fellow servant of Sir Edward Montagu, the fact that Pepys doesn't call him simply "Sheply" implies that they are not especially close, no doubt in part because Sheply seems significantly older than Pepys.

Gerry Healy   Link to this

The custom of the groom, and sometimes the Best Man, removing the brides garter is alive and well at least in the New York area. At a wedding I was at a few years ago the BM removing the garter led to a major wedding day punch up!

becky   Link to this

To Jonathan: Re: "Fortnight" in US

We don't use "Fortnight" and I bet 99.99% of Americans would not know that that word is still used in England now (I didn't either). To us it would be a word that was used exclusively "in the olden days". If we needed to talk about 14 days, we would just say "two weeks."

David Quidnunc   Link to this

More on Cromleholme

"Samuel Cromleholme, the then Sur Master of St. Paul's [when Pepys was a student at the school] was a bibliophile and clearly an inspiring man whom Pepys was to honour for his 'abundance of learning and worth,' for all that he would later see that he was in part at least a 'conceited pedagogue.'"
-- Stephen Coote, "Samuel Pepys: A Life" (2000) p. 10.

grahamt   Link to this

A little more on pattens...
The French equivalent - patin - also originally meant waterproof oversoles for shoes, (patte is French for an animal foot or hoof, from which the word is derived) but then much later came to mean felt overshoes for indoors to protect the parquet. This further came to refer to polishing or sliding, (you can imagine why!) and is now the word for a skates (patins a glace) or roller skates (patins a roulette) so is still in current use.

chris   Link to this

Working in Buffalo, New York, schools in the late 60s, a high school student excercise was to make up sentences using different words. One word was fortnight and a helpful definition was given....'a two week period'. One student's response 'Mary had a fortnight'

megannnn   Link to this

Regarding fortnight and "Wednesday week". I concur with the above poster who noted that fortnight is not used in America much. However, "Wednesday week", "Tuesday week" etc are used more than implied. I am southern, but not old (well, I'm 30) and I can tell you that these words are used very frequently to refer to day specified, plus one week. So if it's currently Monday and you say something will happen "Wednesday week" you are indicating that it will occur not "this coming Wednesday", but "next Wednesday". This phrasing fixes the problem with using "this" and "next" to refer to days in the near-future.

We southerners have some very useful expressions --- don't even get me started on how great "y'all" is as a word!

-megan

Peter Mehlin   Link to this

Here in New England fortnight is a word that I might not use often but would understand easily where "Monday week" is one I would have to think about. Also, the last wedding I went to the groom removed the bride's garter with his teeth (hands clasped behind his back) and then threw it.

Ed   Link to this

Garter-throwing is alive and well as a wedding tradition in Italy, I can report!

EIS   Link to this

Parliament declaring for law and gospel

would have been a politically loaded assertion to a doubting public! Considering the instability of English government and the frequency of change over the preceding decade, this most recent republican parliament (with potential Puritan sympathies)would have been hard pressed to reassure the nation that it would indeed uphold these basic tenets. In the face of such evidence as defeating and executing the king; eliminating the House of Lords; tampering with certain established Anglican practices; and pronouncing themselves highest authority, it wasn't a claim that all of Pepys's contemporaries would have accepted! Additionally, not everyone would have considered these controversial actions truly 'legal', so a declaration for 'law' would have been open to strong debate! Even today, how often does government prioritise stating the truth versus attempting to sway popular opinion in its favour? The rump parliament of Jan 1660 was no different!

Madman   Link to this

Garters

This custom is alive & well in the Chicago area. In fact, it is rare when the garter is not thrown!

Keith Wright   Link to this

For further adventures with Mr. Lucy, and more details about weddings and untied ribbons, see the entry and annotations a month hence for February 24th.

sarah dewolfe   Link to this

To: Becky
Re: "fortnight" and "...99.99% of Americans..."

Surely more than 00.01% of "us" (Americans) have spent enough time in Britain, around British individuals, reading British publications or watching British films and television programs to know that "fortnight" and "Wednesday week" are still in use in Britain, and the meaning of each!

Bill Gremillion   Link to this

I use "Wednesday a week" etc. all the time. (San Antonio, TX, USA)

I would think "Ethyll" (var. "Aethyl") was definitely a man. The Saxons had kings or nobles with names like Ethelred, Ethelwulf and Ethelbert.

"Luellin" I would guess to be Pepys' version of the common Welsh name we would spell Llywellyn.

"Greatorex" seems to have roots in Derbyshire. See http://www.wirksworth.org.uk/A97-GROX.htm

Great site! I'll be back.

sandra   Link to this

'Ethell' is a surname (my maiden name) and may originate more recently in Wales.

dirk   Link to this

Aethyl etc

As far as I am aware, the Saxon/Germanic "Aethyl/Ethel/etc" is in origin an adjective, meaning "noble". It still exists in German and Dutch in only slightly modifies forms, with that same meaning. As an adjective it would be applicable to both men and women, and both male and female names would most likely be shortened forms of a longer original containing also a noun element. E.g. Aethelstan = noble stone.

My linguistic knowledge is limited, so if I'm wrong, please correct me. Unfortunately I know nothing of Welsh and other Celtic languages, so I can't say anything about a possible Celtic drivation of Ethell.

language hat   Link to this

Ethel(l)
The given name Ethyl is a "19th-century revival of an Old English or Continental Germanic short form of the various female personal names beginning with the Germanic element ethel noble, including Ethelburga 'noble fortress', Etheldreda ['noble strength' > Audrey], and Ethelgiva 'noble gift'. All of these are now very rare (and were never common), but Ethel itself enjoyed great popularity for a period at the beginning of the 20th century, although it is now out of fashion." (Hanks & Hodges, A Dictionary of First Names)

I have no information on the family name Sandra mentions.

Will   Link to this

Pattens

Pattens were also wooden under-shoes used in much earlier periods to keep the wearers' feet and hems above the general filth in the streets and fields. Think of something like a wooden-soled platform sandal strapped over shoes or boots.

Cumgranissalis   Link to this

Re: Pattens and foot wear. See: pixs inserted into Restoration London Eliza Picard page 234.

craig greatorex   Link to this

Greatorex is in fact not an Irish name but in fact originates from Wirksworth in Derbyshire, there are indeed records unearthed in the tracing of my family tree which indicate a member of my ancestory was in fact an associate of Pepys and of equal social standing to him at the time. Hope this helps in some way.

Kate Bunting   Link to this

It's my understanding that the girl's name "Ethel" was invented by Thackeray for the heroine of his novel "The Newcomes". Her parents have given their children "Anglo-Saxon" names to stress how old their family line is. In reality, of course, Ethel is only the first element in many names of that time.

Bill   Link to this

PATTEN, PATTIN, a sort of wooden Shoe with a Supporter of Iron.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill   Link to this

"A patten was a type of 'undershoe' consisting of a wooden sole fitted with leather straps and mounted on a large metal ring to raise the wearer from the muddy roads. By fastening the shoe on top of this with a leather strap, the wearer could walk through the mud of the City and arrive cleanshod."
---from the web site of St. Margaret Pattens where there is an explanation of the church's name and also a picture of a pair of pattens. http://www.stmargaretpattens.org/Our_name.htm

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