Tuesday 11 September 1660

At Sir W. Batten’s with Sir W. Pen we drank our morning draft, and from thence for an hour in the office and dispatch a little business.

Dined at Sir W. Batten’s, and by this time I see that we are like to have a very good correspondence and neighbourhood, but chargeable. All the afternoon at home looking over my carpenters. At night I called Thos. Hater out of the office to my house to sit and talk with me. After he was gone I caused the girl to wash the wainscot of our parlour, which she did very well, which caused my wife and I good sport. Up to my chamber to read a little, and wrote my Diary for three or four days past.

The Duke of York did go to-day by break of day to the Downs. The Duke of Gloucester ill. The House of Parliament was to adjourn to-day. I know not yet whether it be done or no.

To bed.

16 Annotations

Brad W.   Link to this

I caused the girl to wash the wainscot of our parlour, which she did very well, which caused my wife and I good sport

Can't blame them, I like to watch other people work too....

Seriously, what can he mean? Perhaps the tireless and amiable Jane made a game of the work, and they all had a laugh?

Nix   Link to this

"I see that we are like to have a very good correspondence and neighbourhood, but chargeable" --

Samuel seems to be saying that he an Batten should be able to get along well -- but what does he mean by "chargeable"?

OED gives 10 definitions of "chargeable", and I am having trouble making any of them fit sensibly to this usage:

1. Burdensome, troublesome. Obs.

2. Weighty, grave; important. Obs.

3. Involving responsibility; responsible. Obs.

4. Burdensome (as a tax or payment); costly, expensive. Obs. (Formerly the most frequent meaning.)

5. Liable to be called to account, answerable, responsible. Obs. or arch.

6. Liable to be charged with (a fault, etc.).

7. Subject to a charge, tax, or payment.

8. Liable to be made a charge or expense (to the parish, etc.).

9. Capable of being charged as a liability, obligation, debt, fault, offence, upon, on a person, etc.

10. Proper to be charged to an account.

Paul Brewster   Link to this

The House of Parliament was to adjourn to-day. I know not yet whether it be done or no.
L&M footnote: "It did not adjourn until the 13th."

Paul Brewster   Link to this

I see that we are like to have a very good correspondency and neighbourhood, but chargeable
My guess is that SP fears that the cost of entertaining the neighbors ("keeping up with the Joneses") will run into quite some expense (i.e., Once they invite you over for dinner and feast you lavishly, you'll be forced to reciprocate in the same high style.).

chip   Link to this

My initial response to chargeable was that of charge, as charged with energy. I took Pepys to mean that there are some lively characters on Seething Lane, and the atmosphere promises to be charged. I realize this is over 90 years before dear Ben Franklin flew his kite. But we still say, he or she is a charge. But now that Paul and Nix have chimed in, I am not so sure. Maybe it does have to do with money. It would be so like Pepys to think of it.

Paul Brewster   Link to this

I caused the Girle to wash the wainscote of our parler, which she did very well; which caused my wife and I good sport.
I wonder if washing a wood panelled wall is something so la-di-dah that it gets them to giggling about there newly achieved place in high society.

Paul Brewster   Link to this

Chargeable, a
I think the roughly contemporary quotes from the OED for definition 4 give me the best clue to SP's meaning.
4. Burdensome (as a tax or payment); costly, expensive. Obs. (Formerly the most frequent meaning.)
...
1618-29 in Rushw. Hist. Coll. … The Innes and Victualling-houses in England are more chargeble to the Travellers, then in other Countreys. 1660 Trial Regic. … That [royalty] was a dangerous, chargeable, and useless Office. 1706 Estcourt Fair … Oxford is a chargeable Place, Sir, there is no living there without it [money].

Roger Arbor   Link to this

... and for those who venture out into today's City of London... will find it's rather 'Chargeable' too.

I was reading that London (as a whole) is now the most expensive place (for a visitor) on the planet. I'm sure Pepys would have tut-tutted... and counted the cash (again).

helena murphy   Link to this

Is one to understand that the maid can competently clean the wainscotting with a broom and water? Is the source of the mirth the fact that they can economise on proper cleaning materials?
Beeswax is recommemded for wood and in its absence according to Lisa Picard's "Restoration London", candle-ends, turpentine, with a little oil of lavender to perfume them was the acceptable polish of the day. It seems as if their disposable income is spent on clothes,correctly so in a society where social rank was paramount. They also receive many gifts of food and drink ,and when disposed to buy their own dinner it can be an inexpensive rabbit.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"very good ... but chargeable"
The key is the 'but', connoting a downside. Sam is discovering that when you live with the movers and shakers, there's plenty of action, but you have to spend money to stay in the game. And to spend it, you have to make it. From life in the slow lane, he's a-whirl in the fast lane, with breathtaking financial income and equally breathtaking financial outgo (not just the neighbors, but the wife, the colleagues), and the constant whiff of vacant space underneath (Will Pett go down? Will so-and-so lose his position?)
A diary is a private confessional. Here we see play out all his anxieties, and if some of them only peep through the textual interstices, it's a measure of how deep-seated (and perhaps not yet fully realized) those are.

Paul Brewster   Link to this

Good Sport
Maybe the comment is facetious for an argument. After all SP is assigning housecleaning duties to the girl when that's the wife's prerogative. After the "good sport" he retreats to his chamber.

Mary   Link to this

Good sport

Paul's is an amusing suggestion. Pepys, since the dismissal of thieving Will, has no personal servant in the house, so possibly he feels the need to assert his authority by getting the girl to do his bidding in a domestic matter; this might irritate any housewife.

Bill   Link to this

CHARGEABLE.
1. Expensive; costly. Watton.
2. Imputable as a debtor crime. South.
3. Subject to charge; accusable. Spectator.
CHARGEABLENESS. Expence; cost; costliness. Boyle.
CHARGEABLY. Expensively. Ascham.
---A Dictionary Of The English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1756.

MarkS   Link to this

Regarding washing the wainscot, I don't think that the word 'wash' is being understood correctly.

One definition of wash is 'to cover or coat with a watery layer of paint or other coloring substance.' (Free dictionary. I'm sure the OED has better definitions along with dates, but I don't have access.) This meaning is preserved today in a 'wash' on a watercolour painting, and 'whitewash'.

We know that Pepys had the carpenters in the house that day, presumably repairing the woodwork. What Jane was doing was applying a wash, probably a varnish or lacquer, to the bare wood left by the carpenters. She wasn't cleaning, she was painting. This was normally the job of a workman or tradesman, hence the amusement. She was doing a man's job, and doing it very well.

Robin Peters   Link to this

Mark has a point there. I spent several years as a carpenter restoring Panelling in a large Tudor manor house, which entailed dis-assembling and rebuilding with new oak where it was too rotten. These panels came from various periods dating back to Tudor times. Many of the earliest showed signs of having been painted, with paint residue in the grooves, and then stripped and stained. I was told that this was thought to have been common practice and the vogue for dark panelling was a later fashion. The new parts of the restored panels were carefully stained and then polished to match the existing.

Chris Squire UK   Link to this

I agree that ’chargeable' = costly here.

‘Neighbourhood . . II. Abstract uses.
6. a. Friendly relations between neighbours; neighbourly feeling or conduct. Now rare.
. . 1611 W. Vaughan Spirit of Detraction 81 Then farewell kinde neighbour-hood, farewell good fellowship.
1650 Bp. J. Taylor Rule of Holy Living i. §1. 8 Works of nature, recreation, charitie, friendlinesse and neighbourhood.
1708 Swift Sentiments Church of Eng.-man ii, in Misc. (1711) 149 All the Laws of Charity, Neighbourhood, Allyance and Hospitality . . ‘

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