Tuesday 25 December 1660

(Christmas day). In the morning very much pleased to see my house once more clear of workmen and to be clean, and indeed it is so, far better than it was that I do not repent of my trouble that I have been at.

In the morning to church, where Mr. Mills made a very good sermon. After that home to dinner, where my wife and I and my brother Tom (who this morning came to see my wife’s new mantle put on, which do please me very well), to a good shoulder of mutton and a chicken. After dinner to church again, my wife and I, where we had a dull sermon of a stranger, which made me sleep, and so home, and I, before and after supper, to my lute and Fuller’s History, at which I staid all alone in my chamber till 12 at night, and so to bed.

24 Annotations

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

A Quiet Christmas.

Interesting that the day involved no gift-giving at all, but that it's essentially treated as a Sunday, at least by Sam & Co.

And ... though it's been said, many times, many ways, thank you Gyford, for Pepys.

And to all a good night.

language hat   Link to this

Xmas gift-giving basically dates only to the 19th century.
For Christmas history, see David Quidnunc's extremely helpful series of quotes from a book on the subject at the background page here:
http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/314/

vincent   Link to this

"Wot" ever happened to the "tom t" too raw to eat?

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Ah, but there are at least two gifts today, Tom:

Pepy gave his wife a mantle and a muff, which he mentioned buying for her on 21 December -- without her being present:

"By water to Whitehall (leaving my wife at Whitefriars going to my father's to buy her a muff and mantle)”

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/12/21/

I think the turkey from Charles Carter (mentioned 23 December) might have been a Christmas gift. Possibly the candlesticks for Coventry are part of some kind of Christmas gift-giving.

I doubt Pepys received a gift from Elizabeth — because it’s hard to imagine that Pepys wouldn’t mention it in the diary. It’s possible that the idea of gift-giving at that point was solely one from the more powerful person to the less powerful one — a form of charity.

Pepys was also trying to get the work done on his house by Christmas, as he mentions at the end of yesterday’s entry. Tom is visiting for dinner, but perhaps Pepys’s mother, Margaret, who is thought to have leaned toward Puritan beliefs, frowned upon Christmas celebrating, so neither she nor Pepys’s father showed up.

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Christmas "Present"/Christmas "Past"

This would have been the first Christmas in some time that the government in power did not officially discourage celebrating. Christmas would now be the trendy thing to observe, and a show of support for the new government that pays Pepys's salary. Celebrating Christmas also would be an affirmation of Pepys's less Puritanical religiosity.

Last year, government offices would have been officially open. Around Christmastime, the Pepyses received a brawn from Elizabeth Mountagu and, from Edward Mountagu, a dozen bottles of sack on 2 Jan. 1660 as a "New Year's gift" (L&M Vol. 1, p 4, note 1).

The 2 January 1660 page:
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/01/02/

Mary   Link to this

No gift from Elizabeth.

As a corollary to David Q's note, it is unlikely that Elizabeth would have had control of any money apart from that which she was allowed for day-to-day household expenses and, from time to time, larger sums for specific purchases (e.g. substantial items for the house). Unless she were able to fiddle money out of the housekeeping, she wouldn't have been in much of a financial position for gift-buying. As for the housekeeping, I suspect that Sam wanted fairly detailed accounts of the outgoings.

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Actually, Elizabeth probably did the shopping, but I still think it was a Christmas gift.

I said in my first annotation above that Sam bought the mantle and muff for Elizabeth without her being present, but it seems much more likely that on Dec. 21 Sam and Elizabeth together boarded a boat near Seething Lane then went upriver, where Elizabeth debarked at Whitefriars -- very close to John Pepys's house on Salisbury Court -- and Sam continued on without her upriver to Whitehall. She then went on the shopping trip with Sam's father, not Sam.

I think I misread the 21 December entry: "By water to Whitehall (leaving my wife at Whitefriars going to my father's to buy her a muff and mantle), there I signed many things at the Privy Seal …” (L&M render it “to my father, with him to buy her”.)

All of Elizabeth’s doings are then neatly separated from Sam’s by the parentheses, and if we assume “her” means “herself” it becomes clearer. That makes me a bit less sure that the muff and mantle were Christmas gifts. Notice that Pepys is very short with the details of the shopping (not even the prices!), which makes it a bit more likely he wasn’t as involved.

Why didn’t Pepys write “to buy herself” instead of “to buy her,” which would make it clear it was Elizabeth and not Pepys doing the shopping? In large part, I think, because it was a gift. If he’d written “to buy herself” (a phrase he writes numerous times in the diary, according to a Google search of the pepys.info site), then it would sound like she’s paying for it out of the regular budget or allowance he gives her (or out of money she had from elsewhere), not as a special (unusually expensive?) gift from him.

It’s also possible that “to buy herself” would indicate more decisionmaking in Elizabeth’s hands than Pepys is allowing her. John Pepys may be controlling a lot of the process of buying the clothes. He might be along to make the final decision on Sam’s behalf, to find a good merchant, a good price or, as a tailor, judge good workmanship. I suppose it’s possible he’s even handling the money. It would be something like a child going out to buy a car with an auto-mechanic grandfather.

John Pepys’s role in all this would have to have been arranged beforehand. Sam and Elizabeth visited his father the previous Sunday, 16 December (last sentence).

dirk   Link to this

"To church..."

It strikes me that on some sundays - and on this Christmas day - Sam goes to church service twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Not always though: he didn't go a second time (or at least he makes no mention in the diary) on 9 and 16 December. Is there an explanation for this, or is it just Sam's whimsy? It can't have been for the (dull) sermon in the afternoon...

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"To church..." I think it was just for socializing;there was not much else to do; he could go to taverns also which he did quite often.

vincent   Link to this

Are the taverns still closed while there is a sermon[homine] being read?

vincent   Link to this

Gifts ? For those that want to share their joy and excess{wealth} [I believe not too many]. Then the rest of the gift giving is either for a little corruption of mind, body or persuasion for future benefits. The Puritans did see it as evil.

dirk   Link to this

Gifts...

"Timeo Danaos dona ferentes" as the Romans said.

(transl. "I fear the Greeks when they are bringing gifts.")

Mike Barnas   Link to this

Sorry, dirk, I believe the line is:
"Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes,"
meaning "I fear the Greeks even when they come bringing gifts."
ANEIDOS II, 48.

MIKE IN CHICAGO

Charlezzzzz   Link to this

Candlesticks for Coventry a gift?
Well...sort of a "gift." A couple of days back, Pepys wrote: "... Commissioner Pett ... told me that he had lately presented a piece of plate (being a couple of flaggons) to Mr. Coventry, but he did not receive them, which also put me upon doing the same too..." In other words, Pett gave Coventry silver in the form of plate. Coventry gave them back ("did not receive them") so Sam, hoping for the same result, decided to give the same kind of "gift." In just the same way, some corporate executives today get "gifts" from the outside vendors they use; many keep the "gifts," and some return the "gifts" with thanks. Corrupt? Or merely trade practice? It's common today; in Pepys' time it was universal.

David Quidnunc   Link to this

That gift & Tom's reason for visiting

"... my brother Tom (who this morning came to see my wife's new mantle put on, which do please me very well)”

Pepys does NOT say that Tom is simply paying a Christmas visit — Tom came to see the mantle on Elizabeth. As a tailor, he would have a professional interest in the item. He’d probably look at the seams, the cloth, the cut, comment on how well it was made and get some idea of how he might make one the same or differently, possibly to follow different fashions. Fashions must be changing in the year that the King and Queen returned and started leading high society.

A mantle (a loose-fitting cloak) and muff (a tube of fur or cloth) must be among the simplest things for a tailor to make, even if he didn’t normally make them.

It’s possible that Tom or his father, John Pepys made the mantle and sold it to Elizabeth. It sounds a little cold, but perhaps the mantle was expensive. As I pointed out in my notes above, Pepys mentions Elizabeth and his father involved in the purchase of a mantle and muff on 21 December, and L&M’s version says she’s buying it “with him,” our version here doesn’t.

If Tom or John Pepys made the mantle, then Tom is examining an item to make sure everybody is satisfied, although it seems a little late in the process for that.

vincent   Link to this

Re: gifts: It is said that gifts persuade even the gods.
- Medea (964) [Gifts]
Benefits are acceptable, while the receiver thinks he may return them; but once exceeding that, hatred is given instead of thanks.
[Lat., Beneficia usque eo laeta sunt dum videntur exsolvi posse; ubi multum antevenere pro gratia odium redditur.]
- Tacitus (Caius Cornelius Tacitus), Annales (IV, 18)
To accept a favor is to sell one's freedom.
[Lat., Beneficium accipere, libertatem est vendere.]
- Syrus (Publilius Syrus), Maxims

http://www.giga-usa.com/gigaweb1/quotes2/qutopb...
MONEY AND FRIENDS do not mix. It is better to be thought as money OR friends.

Pauline   Link to this

..."(who this morning came to see my wife's new mantle put on, which do please me very well.)”

I’m reading this as Elizabeth having gone to Sam’s father’s shop to order a mantle and muff. This morning, brother Tom brings the mantle and puts it on Elizabeth to see how she and Sam like it. Sam is very well pleased. I doubt a mantle or muff requires a lot of fitting, but there is a certain professional presentation in putting it on and seeing how it looks. And fun for Elizbeth to “model” the new garment for her husband and Tom.

The plan may have been for him to bring it today when he came to them for Christmas dinner.

Hic retearivs   Link to this

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.

Retearivs sed scholaticvs non svm'is not the second line correct? 'Ferentis' modifies 'dona', isn't that what was intended? In either quotation, 'dona' is not in the accusative and in any case (!) could not possibly be plural. Was not old Laoco'n peering at the gift and expressing the idea that he smelled a rat. Isn't he saying there, essentially: 'I don't believe this horse; what the hell ever it is, I fear Greeks even be they of the giftborne variety'? The 'gift' and the 'bearing' are singular.

Let us not perpetuate an error.

What we need on this board is a Latin scholar. Please, somebody step forward and make a decree.

vincent   Link to this

'tis pandora's box: google says " ...es" to "...is "1460 to 161.
"oxford" says
Teucri.
Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.
Do not trust the horse, Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts.
Aeneid bk. 2, l. 48
Lets here from Rome.
enjoy

language hat   Link to this

dona ferentes
Of course dona is plural; it's the nom/acc plural of donum 'gift.' Ferentes modifies Danaos 'Greeks bringing.' With all due respect, if your Latin is that rusty, you shouldn't be trying to correct quotes.

Glyn   Link to this

An article on how the Pepys celebrated Christmas, from "History Today":

http://www.historytoday.com/dt_main_allatonce.a...

Onion   Link to this

Ferentis is accusative plural.

It goes with DANAOS, not dona.

Allen/Greenaugh 118 shows the morphology of adjectives and present participles.

-is is a proper accusative plural.

Don't claim factual knowledge before looking it up. Odds are good the OCT and Virgil know more latin than you.

joe fulm   Link to this

proof that even in 1660 Christmas day, without the surprise in children, is a dull day

Chris Squire UK   Link to this

' . . As related in the Aeneid, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, . . Calchas induces the leaders of the Greek army to offer the Trojan people a huge wooden horse . . while seemingly departing. The Trojan priest Laocoön . . warns the Trojans not to accept the gift, crying, Equō nē crēdite, Teucrī! Quidquid id est, timeō Danaōs et dōna ferentīs. ("Do not trust the horse, Trojans! Whatever it is, I fear the Danaans, even when bringing gifts.") . .

Although the commonly used form of this quotation has ferentēs (with a long ē), the original text has ferentīs (with a long ī). The "-ēs" form is more common in classical Latin . . '

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeo_Danaos_et_do...

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