Monday 29 October 1660

I up early, it being my Lord Mayor’s day,1 (Sir Richd. Browne), and neglecting my office I went to the Wardrobe, where I met my Lady Sandwich and all the children; and after drinking of some strange and incomparable good clarett of Mr. Rumball’s he and Mr. Townsend did take us, and set the young Lords at one Mr. Nevill’s, a draper in Paul’s churchyard; and my Lady and my Lady Pickering and I to one Mr. Isaacson’s, a linendraper at the Key in Cheapside; where there was a company of fine ladies, and we were very civilly treated, and had a very good place to see the pageants, which were many, and I believe good, for such kind of things, but in themselves but poor and absurd. After the ladies were placed I took Mr. Townsend and Isaacson to the next door, a tavern, and did spend 5s. upon them. The show being done, we got as far as Paul’s with much ado, where I left my Lady in the coach, and went on foot with my Lady Pickering to her lodging, which was a poor one in Blackfryars, where she never invited me to go in at all, which methought was very strange for her to do.

So home, where I was told how my Lady Davis is now come to our next lodgings, and has locked up the leads door from me, which puts me into so great a disquiet that I went to bed, and could not sleep till morning at it.

  1. When the calendar was reformed in England by the act 24 Geo. II. c. 23, different provisions were made as regards those anniversaries which affect directly the rights of property and those which do not. Thus the old quarter days are still noted in our almanacs, and a curious survival of this is brought home to payers of income tax. The fiscal year still begins on old Lady-day, which now falls on April 6th. All ecclesiastical fasts and feasts and other commemorations which did not affect the rights of property were left on their nominal days, such as the execution of Charles I. on January 30th and the restoration of Charles II. on May 29th. The change of Lord Mayor’s day from the 29th of October to the 9th of November was not made by the act for reforming the calendar (c. 23), but by another act of the same session (c. 48), entitled “An Act for the Abbreviation of Michaelmas Term,” by which it was enacted, “that from and after the said feast of St. Michael, which shall be in the year 1752, the said solemnity of presenting and swearing the mayors of the city of London, after every annual election into the said office, in the manner and form heretofore used on the 29th day of October, shall be kept and observed on the ninth day of November in every year, unless the same shall fall on a Sunday, and in that case on the day following.”

24 Annotations

Glyn   Link to this

to the next door, a tavern

This was The Feathers, which he visited a few days ago on 17 October:

(I wonder if Mr Isaacson was Jewish?)

language hat   Link to this

"some strange and incomparable good clarett"
"Claret" originally meant a lighter red wine than the cabernet-sauvignon-based Bordeaux we associate with the term; here's the discussion from the Wine Spectator:

"Claret is a British term long used to describe wines of various styles from Bordeaux. Up to the mid-17th century, winemakers in Bordeaux kept their wine's contact with grape skins to a minimum, usually fermenting for only a few days. The result was vin clairet, a pale, light-bodied, early-drinking wine which resembled rosé more than a modern Bordeaux.

“But beginning in the second half of the 17th century, winemakers began to choose grapes more carefully, to employ longer fermentation periods and generally to improve their techniques. The result? Full-bodied, high-quality wines that have evolved into the great Bordeaux “clarets” we enjoy today.”

I wonder if Sam was privileged to try one of those new full-bodied wines, hence the “strange and incomparable good”?

Barbara   Link to this

The Lord Mayor's procession this year is on Saturday 8th November -plenty to see in London that weekend, with the procession on Saturday and Remembrance Sunday processions the day after.

chris bailey   Link to this

Early morning claret, and a tavern not much later. Even if it is the Lord Mayor's day, aren't we getting the impression of Sam's above average bibulousnes? Would his habits be much out of the ordinary? I suppose if you can't drink the water....

Jenny Doughty   Link to this

I don't think Sam's drinking was unusual for the time, Chris. I am intrigued by his use of the word 'strange', though, and wonder if it had different connotations in 1660.

vincent   Link to this

Oh dear!
SP out gallavanting again, squiring the Ladies and leaving poor old thingme at home plastered up while SP gets strangely plastered.
strange? my take: unusual,different.
"...Lady Pickering to her lodging, which was a poor one in Blackfryars, where she never invited me to go in at all, which methought was very strange for her to do..."
strange? here; He expected to see some etchings at least or maybe she did not want show her off her poor circumstances[no place to hang his cape?], or she did not have hat pin ready?

Alan Bedford   Link to this

"I am intrigued by his use of the word 'strange'”

If memory serves, our “strange” comes from the same root as the Latin extraneus, meaning “foreign.” The connotation here is related to that, on the line of “unusual,” “out of the ordinary” or possibly “unfamiliar.”

Pauline   Link to this

Elizabeth plastered, Sam plastered
Vincent, you have me laughing again.
But Sam does have Lady Davis to contend with now. I'm trying to visualize how her lodgings allow her to lock up Sam's door to the leads. A joint deck area and she has just locked his door so he can't go out there? Or some kind of common access to the leads that she has locked the door from?

Paul Brewster   Link to this

had a very good place to see the pageants
L&M: "Described by John Tatham (author of the verses declaimed on this occasion) in 'The royal oake with other various and delightfull scenes presented on the water and the land, celebrated in honour of the deservedly honoured Sir Richard Brown ...' (1660); .... The tableaux consisted of scenes peopled with allegorical figure who gave tongue in verse written for the occasion. They greeted the Lord Mayor on his progress by water in the morning to the law courts at Westminster, and on his progress after the Guildhall dinner to his house."

Paul Brewster   Link to this

some strang and incomparable good Clarett
L&M replace "strange" with "strang" and add in a textual footnote, "possibly 'strange'"

Firenze   Link to this

strange clarett/Lady Pickering's strangeness

I think there are differing usages of 'strange' from the modern going on. In the first instance, it seems to equate to 'unfamiliar' rather than 'odd', and in the second, he is commenting on the Lady's unsociability. She is treating him as a stranger, rather than she is behaving in a disturbing way.

Nix   Link to this

Usages and derivation of "strange" --

Well, here are the OED etymology and definitions (the entry is way to long to include the examples):

[a. OF. estrange (mod.F. étrange) = Pr. estranh, estrang, Sp. estrño, Pg. estranho, Rum. strâin, It. strano adj., stranio, strangio n.:L. extrneus external, foreign (see EXTRANEOUS), f. extr adv. outside, without.]

I. 1. a. Of persons, language, customs, etc.: Of or belonging to another country; foreign, alien. Obs.

b. Of a country or other geographical feature: Situated outside one’s own land. Obs.

2. Belonging to some other place or neighbourhood; unknown to the particular locality specified or implied. Of a place or locality: Other than one’s own.

3. Belonging to others; not of one’s own kin or family. Obs.

4. strange woman: a harlot. (With the, as denoting the class.) After many passages in the Book of Proverbs. The adj. renders two different Heb. words, nokryh and zrh, both which have the sense 'not one’s own (wife)' (see 3).

5. Added or introduced from outside, not belonging to the place or person where it is found, adventitious, external. In Surg. = FOREIGN a. 5.

6. With from: Alien, far removed; diverse, different. Obs.

7. Unknown, unfamiliar; not known, met with, or experienced before. Const. to.

8. Of a kind that is unfamiliar or rare; unusual, uncommon, exceptional, singular, out of the way. Obs. (Merged in 10.)

9. a. Exceptionally great (in degree, intensity, amount, etc.), extreme. (Now tending to merge in 10.)

b. quasi-adv., qualifying an adj.: Very, extremely. Also strange and . Now dial.

10. a. Unfamiliar, abnormal, or exceptional to a degree that excites wonder or astonishent; difficult to take in or account for; queer, surprising, unaccountable.

b. to think (it) strange of (or concerning): to be surprised at. Obs.

c. strange to say, tell, etc., used parenthetically: cf. SAY v.1 11. Similarly strange enough.
d. quasi-int. 'An expression of wonder' (J.); 'an elliptical expression for it is strange (W. 1828).

e. Particle Physics. Epithet of those sub-atomic particles that have a non-zero value of the strangeness quantum number. So called orig. because they had lifetimes much longer than was expected from their being produced by the strong interaction.

11. Of persons: a. Unfriendly; having the feelings alienated.

b. Distant or cold in demeanour; reserved; not affable, familiar, or encouraging; uncomplying, unwilling to accede to a request or desire. Obs.
c. Sparing of (one’s favour). Obs.

d. to make oneself strange: to be distant or unfriendly. Obs.

e. to look strange: to look at a person as if one did not know him. Obs.

12. Of a person: Unfamiliar or unacquainted with something (specified or implied); inexperienced or unversed in; fresh or unaccustomed to; unpractised or unskilled at.

13. to make (it) strange: to make difficulties, refuse to assent or comply, be reluctant or unwilling; to hold back, keep a stand-off attitude; to be distant or unfriendly; to affect coyness; to pretend not to understand; to affect or feel surprise, dislike, indignation, etc. Const. of (= about) a matter, etc.; to (do something); also to make strange at. a. to make it strange. Obs.

b. to make strange. Also (esp. in earlier use) const. at, of. Now dial. and N. Amer.

II. absol., passing into n.

14. A strange person, stranger; in pl. sense, strangers. Also rarely in pl. form. Obs.

15. pl. News. Obs. rare1.

III. 16. Comb., forming adjs. a. parasynthetic, as strange-plumaged, -tongued; b. prefixed as compl. to pres. pples., as strange-looking, -sounding; c. adverbially (now rare), as strange-achieved, -composed, -digested, -moulded, etc.

vincent   Link to this

John Evelyn appears to be unimpressed by all the pomp and circum stance as this is one of the first fancy "do's" since the change in the power structure.
"...29 Going to Lond: about my affaires, My Lord Majors shew stop'd me in cheape-side: one of the Pageants represented a greate Wood, with the royal Oake, & historie of his Majesties miraculous escape at Bosco-bell &c:…”

vincent   Link to this

"...So home, where I was told how my Lady Davis is now come to our next lodgings, and has locked up the leads door from me, which puts me into so great a disquiet that I went to bed, and could not sleep till morning at it...."
I wonder why? I guess the the area was common to all who could stray. I wonder how she prevented him from entering the the area? Too cold to be sun bathing "ala" ? No blinds?? or is his playing the music a little off key (which I do believe he has not done yet?) Or that old fear of being seen thru the lights of skie doing what she not be seen doing. any guesses?
He not sleeping thinking of all the possibilities?

hungover chad   Link to this

"...stange and incomparable good clarett"

Just a thought- perhaps Sam was intending "strong" rather than "stange" (or "strang", as L&M have it?)But I much prefer Language Hat's reading: it's a full-bodied red the likes of which Sam has never tasted before, hence "strange"; but perhaps it is his first tasting of a full-bodied red, and he finds it "strong" (or stronger than the weak piffle Sam is used to drinking...)

Carolina   Link to this

Lady Davis has locked the leads door from me. How ? Did she have a key ?
I am wondering if perhaps Mrs.Pepys locked the door to stop Sam from going out there and looking at something he ought not to, and is blaming her new neighbour ?

Gene Strangio   Link to this

The discussion of the word 'strange'also intrigues me. One of the variants, Strangio, is actually my surname. It is Italian, but have anecdotal information that it could originally be Spanish or Sephardic. Any philologists there know the answer to my question?

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"at the Key in Cheapside" - Perhaps a market. I find no info on this in L&M or on the 1746 map showing Cheapside

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Pepys seems both drawn to and to have a low opinion of grand public spectacle (termed here "absurd"), both civic and ecclesiastical, but we will find him addicted to the theatre and its actors and esp. actresses..

Bill   Link to this

"some strange and incomparable good clarett"

CLARET [Clairet, F. of Clarus, L. clear] a general Name for the red Wines of France.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Sylviasmother   Link to this

I don't know where to post this but have you seen this animated computer model of Pepys London? A fly-through of 17th century London. It is incredible! Here is the link

Dick Wilson   Link to this

Sylviasmother: That is a very interesting video. One can almost smell the place -- and be grateful that you can't!

Chris Squire UK   Link to this

This is the sense of ‘some strange and incomparable good clarett ‘ I think:

‘strange adj.
. . 9 b. quasi-adv., qualifying an adj.: Very, extremely. Also strange and —. Now dial.
. . 1669 S. Sturmy Mariners Mag. i. ii. 17 The Sea breaks strange and dangerous.
. . 1888 G. M. Fenn Dick o' the Fens 160 I'm straänge and glad you've caught him.’

and this for ‘which methought was very strange for her to do.’:

‘ . . 10. a. Unfamiliar, abnormal, or exceptional to a degree that excites wonder or astonishment; difficult to take in or account for; queer, surprising, unaccountable.
. . 1823 Byron Don Juan: Canto XIV ci. 165 'Tis strange—but true; for Truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction.

b. to think (it) strange of (or concerning) : to be surprised at. Obs.
1585 T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie i. xvii. 19 b, He had vnderstanding, that the Frigate..was of Malta, whereof he thought very straunge [Fr. ce qu'il trouuoit estrange & mauuais].
1611 Bible (A.V.) 1 Pet. iv. 12 Beloued, thinke it not strange [Gk. μὴ ξενίζεσθε] concerning the fiery triall, which is to try you.’


Nate Lockwood   Link to this

The fly-through is a great simulation.

I think that there would have been more haze (smog) from cooking fires and a lot more in the winter when at least some who could afford it would have heating fires in fireplaces.

The lanterns and lights escaping from windows would have been much dimmer and no outside lights, at least, would have been lit in daytime but the creators probably wanted a more artistic effect.

At least a couple of the streets had the centers lower than the sides for drainage of sewage and I suspect that most of the paved streets would have been built that way.

Sure looks like a prosperous area. I can imagine Sam walking down the streets and lanes which were full of people, dogs, livestock, etc. keeping an eye out for where his next step would land and for any coaches, carriages, or mounted horsemen whose horses would be splattering the drainage everywhere. The fact that almost no one bathed would be lost in the general miasma.

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