Monday 25 March 1661

(Lady day). This morning came workmen to begin the making of me a new pair of stairs up out of my parler, which, with other work that I have to do, I doubt will keep me this two months and so long I shall be all in dirt; but the work do please me very well. To the office, and there all the morning, dined at home, and after dinner comes Mr. Salisbury to see me, and shewed me a face or two of his paynting, and indeed I perceive that he will be a great master.

I took him to Whitehall with me by water, but he would not by any means be moved to go through bridge, and so we were fain to go round by the Old Swan.

To my Lord’s and there I shewed him the King’s picture, which he intends to copy out in little. After that I and Captain Ferrers to Salisbury Court by water, and saw part of the “Queene’s Maske.” Then I to Mrs. Turner, and there staid talking late. The. Turner being in a great chafe, about being disappointed of a room to stand in at the Coronacion.

Then to my father’s, and there staid talking with my mother and him late about my dinner to-morrow.

So homewards and took up a boy that had a lanthorn, that was picking up of rags, and got him to light me home, and had great discourse with him how he could get sometimes three or four bushells of rags in a day, and got 3d. a bushell for them, and many other discourses, what and how many ways there are for poor children to get their livings honestly.

So home and I to bed at 12 o’clock at night, being pleased well with the work that my workmen have begun to-day.

55 Annotations

jc   Link to this

"but he would not by any means be moved to go through bridge"

In Neal Stephenson's novel Quicksilver (which has Pepys as a character) he describes the choice- either braving the fast flowing waters around the piles of the bridge; or else making the laborious journey up and over the bridge.

The first sounds terrifying- a kind of Restoration extreme sport. In the second case, I'm not sure what would happen to the boat- would they swap boats, let the boatman go through alone, or even let the boat itself go through alone?

Paul Brewster   Link to this

L&M replace "parler" with "parlour"
As happens so often, Wheatley chooses just one of the many obsolete alternate spellings.
Per the OED:
"Parlour, Parlor -- Forms: parlur, -lure, parlore, perlowr, parlowr, -lere, parler, -loure, perler, -lour, parlar; parlour, parlor. Parlour is now usual in Britain, parlor in America."

Paul Brewster   Link to this

but he would not by any means be wooed to go through the bridge
L&M substitute "wooed" for "moved". The shorthand may be ambiguous here. They certainly have made an interesting choice.

tc   Link to this

Lady Day...

(reminds me of a Bob Dylan song...)

Here we see why Sam is a great diarist: so much going on and he finds a way to add a tidbit about each little thing. The new stairs: "...living in dirt..."; Mr. Salisbury the painter: "...I perceive that he will be a great master..." and his refusal to go through the bridge; the boy with the lanthorn: "...had a great discourse with him..."

Today Sam is in top form. But what's this about a dinner tomorrow he spent all the time talking about with the folks?

Paul Brewster   Link to this

to Salisbury Court by water, and saw part of the "Queene's Maske."

Doesn’t need to see the whole play again. He’s seen it before and obviously liked it. (2 March 1660/61 ‘I went out again, and so to Salsbury Court, where the house as full as could be; and it seems it was a new play, "The Queen's Maske,"’)

hilliard   Link to this

this was a more innocent time for children, when they could go pick up rags late at night without worrying about being harmed

dirk   Link to this

the other side of the social spectrum...

The boy is earning (at best): 3 bushels of rags X 3d per bushel X 30 days = 270d = slightly more than 1£

Sam’s income is just *a little bit* higher…!

dirk   Link to this

Quicksilver

Just for the record:
On Stephenson's "Quicksilver" (with preview):
http://www.baroquecycle.com/preview.htm

Emilio   Link to this

Btw, everyone, happy Lady Day and (official) 1661!

dirk   Link to this

Happy New Year

And, in olden times, now for seven days of feasting and then April Fools...

Don   Link to this

"I doubt will keep me this two months and so long I shall .." The context of this statement seems to denote the opposite to the modern use of "I doubt" - here, he "has no doubt" the work will take two months. I notice that same meaning in other places in the diary when he thinks there is a good chance of some outcome. In still other places in the diary, it's used in the modern sense when an outcome is unlikely. Interesting that the same two words can refer to two opposite conditions.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"had great discourse with him ... to get their livings honestly"
Folks, this is remarkable.
Sam is a gentleman, one of the nobility (by dress, manner, purse), yet he falls into easy conversation with a ragamuffin, shows unassuming curiosity, and goes home with not a little admiration of one so low who nevertheless "get their living honestly." These traits would be rare in our time; in his time, they are remarkable.

vincent   Link to this

Sorry, don't agree about innocent times,Life was extremely harsh[life expectancy was definitely very short] then and they had to be quick of foot, their antennas were a tuned to trouble, they could sniff it. Like all the other rag pickers in the rest of the world even to day."this was a more innocent time for children, when they could go pick up rags late at night without worrying about being harmed" Youngsters

Jenny Doughty   Link to this

I highly recommend a reading of Neal Stephenson's 'Quicksilver', which really gets a good flavour of the period over.

vincent   Link to this

everyone, happy Lady Day and (official) 1661! service at the Abby [1661]by a prebend[JE]Luke 1 26 ad 39___
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/luke.htm

vincent   Link to this

" new pair of stairs up out of my parler," It never dawned on me the the meaning of Parlor, 'tis so descriptive of its function , Brandy to loosen the tongue , and they say "women" Talk?

vincent   Link to this

"great chafe" a great vextation I doth think.?

vincent   Link to this

I wonder how much interpretation took place rather than straight transcription: " but he would not by any means be wooed to go through the bridge"
L&M substitute "wooed" for "moved". The shorthand may be ambiguous here.
Using the the Code if the ink faded on the first up stoke of V which is u or double U and for the second V is a blob of Ink then? so much like a lost chaff?

Susan   Link to this

Well, it is Lady Day and thus pay day, but no mention of making money over to Mr Barlow?? Did he die? Is SP waiting to be chased for the money?

upper_left_hand_corner   Link to this

Dirk, yes, 7 days of feasting, but April Fools wasn't observed in England at this date.

April Fool's Day started in France after the conversion to the Gregorian calendar (which has already occurred by 1661). The peasants who came into town in their best clothes on April 1st hadn't figured out the change, and so they were called April Fish.

At least that's how I hear tell of it.

And April 1st in France was already a couple of days before March 25 in England. Fooled you!

Mary   Link to this

'Shooting' the bridge.

What happened to the boat would depend entirely on the state of the river and the attitude of the boatman. If he deemed conditions too dangerous to pass under the bridge, he would offload his passengers on one side of the bridge and let them seek another boat on the other side,whether that were on the same bank of the river or on the opposite bank (depending on their final destination). He would certainly not wish to risk his entire livelihood by letting the boat attempt to pass between the piles completely unmanned.

If he thought that passage was possible and that the eventual fare was worth the probable wetting, then he might well have taken the boat through the piers by himself and picked up the passengers again on the other side.

Rich Merne   Link to this

"pair of stairs", slightly quaint; Webster 1913 gives 'pair', as "a number of things resembling one another or belonging together", now disused in most cases sic. "except as to stairs", That was 1913, I don't think the expression is in use any more as far as I know. Anybody hear it today?

Kevin Sheerstone   Link to this

"...poor children to get their livings honestly."

Dirk has done the arithmetic and Vincent has commented. And yes, I agree. I would take Sam's comment to read, in modern English: "There, see what a lad with a bit of initiative can achieve". [Expletive (mine) deleted]. But, lest I be accused of Sam-bashing, he was not the first to voice such sentiments, nor the last. I hear them every day. And the fact that he mentioned the encounter at all perhaps indicates that he was not unaware of life's unfairness.

Xjy   Link to this

"poor children to get their livings honestly."

Definitely today’s nugget. But the attitude is still very much with us. The Happy Shoe-Shine Boy (Get Rhythm). Note that Sam doesn’t mention how much he paid the lad for his services. Nor make any comment about the justice, fairness, desirability etc of the situation.

Mary   Link to this

a pair of stairs.

I had always understood that a pair of stairs was a different article from a flight of stairs. The flight would reach from one floor to the next in a single stretch. The pair would change direction, often turning through 180 degrees from a small landing, typically half-way up its overall rise. This, of course, saves space in a stairwell. Pairs of stairs are still built in this way, but the name no longer seems to be used.

Gus Spier   Link to this

poor children to get their livings honestly …

Times for the poor are always hard and dangerous. And, it could be, that the gentleman was chatted up so he could be struck later …

Christo   Link to this

'Doubt' can certainly mean 'suspect' in dialect English today. See: http://www.tartarus.org/~martin/readings/poem08...
for a discussion of these lines from Hamlet:

'Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.'

Paul Brewster   Link to this

Pair of stairs
The OED simply includes the phrase under the following set of definitions of the word,
" Pair, n ... II. A set, not limited to two ... 6. b. pair of stairs: a flight of stairs."

Rex Gordon   Link to this

Hey Group: Great annotations today!
For a wonderful chapter on the poor children of London and their various means of earning a living, many perilous if not deadly, I recommend Peter Ackroyd's "London: The Biography." It's a remarkable work of popular history and I think everybody who contributes to these annotations would enjoy it very much.

JWB   Link to this

Don't cry for me Dickensians...
Doubt but Pepys identified with the kid. He's not too far removed in time from delivering his father's "rags" in the streets himself.

ii   Link to this

ragamuffins: kids who made muffins out rags and eat them?

Ann   Link to this

Regarding "Ragamuffin" OED says:

[Prob. from RAG n.1 (cf. RAGGED 1c), with fanciful ending.]

1. The name of a demon. Obs. rare1.

1393 LANGL. P. Pl. C. XXI. 283 Ac rys vp ragamoffyn and reche me alle e barres, That belial y bel-syre beot with y damme.

2. A ragged, dirty, disreputable man or boy.

1581 G. PETTIE tr. Guazzo's Civ. Conv. (1586) IV. 187b, Others there are..who care not how like slouens and raggamuffins they goe. 1607 DEKKER & WEBSTER Westw. Hoe D.'s Wks. 1873 II. 350 What set of Villaines are you, you perpetuall Ragamuffins? 1622 T. SCOTT Newes fr. Pernassus 48 It is no marvaile if I be spoyled to clothe so many Raggedemuffins. 1704 SWIFT Batt. Bks. Misc. (1711) 243 Rogues and Ragamuffins, that follow the Camp for nothing but the Plunder. 1764 Mem. G. Psalmanazar 152, I soon persuaded half a dozen of my fellow ragamuffians to follow me. c1817 HOGG Tales & Sk. V. 178 Come out, ye vile rag-o-muffin. 1840 DICKENS Barn. Rudge xxxv, A set of ragamuffins comes a-shouting after us, "Gordon for ever!� 1894 JESSOPP Rand. Roam. ii. 32 A caretaker..to warn off ragamuffins.

b. attrib. or as adj. Rough, beggarly, good-for-nothing, disorderly.

1602 ROWLANDS Greenes Ghost 37 There are a certaine band of Raggamuffin Prentises about the towne, that will abuse anie vpon the smallest occasion that is. 1668 EVELYN tr. Freart’s Idea Perfect. Paint. 105 He rather chose to resemble a ragamuffin Vagabond than a Philosopher. 1772 GRAVES Spir. Quix. VIII. xxiii. (1783) II. 262 Mr. Aldworth..turned over the rest of this ragamuffin assembly to the care of his Butler. 1812 H. & J. SMITH Rej. Addr., T. Drury Lane (Revival), Many a raggamuffin clan With trowel and with hod. 1858 R. S. SURTEES Ask Mamma xxiv. 92 Look at a shooter, what a ragamuffin dress his is.

3. dial. The long-tailed titmouse.

1885 SWAINSON Names Birds 31.

Hence ragamuffinery = ragamuffinry. ragamuffiness, a female ragamuffin. ragamuffinism, the world of ragamuffins. ragamuffinize v. trans., to render disreputable. ragamuffinly a., beggarly. ragamuffinry, (a) the disreputable classes of society; (b) depraved actions or conduct.

1831 Fraser’s Mag. IV. 5 A fair specimen of the manner in which the *ragamuffinery will manage their members.

————————————————————————————————————————
1868 HELPS Realmah xvii, Six or eight *ragamuffinesses..began to dance.
————————————————————————————————————————
1859 MASSON Brit. Novelists ii. 95 He..knew the very face of the mob and *ragamuffinism in its haunts.
————————————————————————————————————————
1832 Blackw. Mag. XXXI. 668 You will not object..to *ragamuffinize that House a little.
————————————————————————————————————————
1890 J. FOTHERGILL March in Ranks I. x. 154 His attire was..shabby, not to say *ragamuffinly in the extreme.
————————————————————————————————————————
1831 Fraser’s Mag. III. 745 Hunt..is jostled by every-day compeers in *ragamuffinry. Ibid. IV. 131 The whole..of the ragamuffinry of the town proceed to the fight. 1851 Life Bunyan in Scott’s Pilgr. Progr. 6 He never committed theft or ragamuffinry as a boy.
————————————————————————————————————————

Doug Siddall   Link to this

"poor children to get their livings honestly."
I agree with Kevin, Sam is expressing respect/admiration for the young man. I wonder “what and how many ways there are for poor children to get their livings honestly” he discovered during their conversation.
Rex, I agree with you also; today is a good example of the quality comments that are usually made here. I’ve been lurking on these pages for over a year now, but if not for the annotations, undoubtedly would have lost interest long ago.

Ruben   Link to this

1- I think that Sam's family would have been, in a modern society "low middle class". His father had a profession, and had to work for a living. Montagu was a relative that did not have to work. Sam was send to school and college. You cannot compare his experience of life with that of a boy trying to make a few cents at nigth.
2- The condition of the poor was "God sent". Some were born aristocrats, others poor. No French Revolution yet.
No one felt guilt for the unfairness of the situation. The most you could expect was interest, and SP excels in curiosity. (Of course charity also existed).
As Vincent wrote some weeks ago: "pecking order". That was the natural law.

Lorenzo   Link to this

Ruben, you are quite wrong. Look into the history of the leveler and digger movements of the civil war.

Ruben   Link to this

Lorenzo:
the rise and fall of the leveler and digger utopian movements just confirm what I wrote.
This were "experiments" that failed to generate social change.
Social hierarchies were very strong and social mobility exceptional.

http://www.social-ecology.org/article.php?story...

vincent   Link to this

All single men between 12 yrs and sixty .......not having any visable [means of] livelihood, are compellable ... to go into service, for the promotion of honest Industry. {from the law of the times} [ lifted from pg 175, Liza Picard Rest: Lon:] read thru to pg: 178 tres interesting. More, pg. 250 thru 257.More about the Dole, pg. 253. interestin' the pawn shoppe, pg, 256.

Pedro.   Link to this

You cannot compare his (Sam's) experience of life with that of a boy trying to make a few pennies at night."
Is it not this that our annotators are doing and providing, whether you agree or not, such interesting information.
Also, is not Sam himself doing the same as he "had great discourse with him" and by the remark "and many other discourses, what and how many ways there are for poor children to get their livings honestly."

Lorenzo   Link to this

The fact that the leveler movement was able to find massive support - enough to pose a threat to the established order - proves that acceptance of the traditional social order was breaking down. That they produced numerous tracts demonstrates that these ideas were already appealing to some among the educated classes.

Social mobility was hardly exceptional - James I was handing out titles left and right in return for cash. Edward Hyde just married his daughter into the royal family.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"and got 3d. a bushell for them"
I concur with Vincent that life was way more dangerous for kids then.

It was just about ten years earlier (1651) that cheerful Londoner Tom Hobbes was forming his leviathan law firm, "Solitary, Poore, Nasty, Brutish & Short."

Jesse   Link to this

"that was picking up of rags"

Scavenging of all sorts obviously continues. I recall as a 'boy' accompanying some friends who collected errant golf balls and resold them. I'd wager that crawling through the scrub with ticks, rattlesnakes and 100 degree(F) heat was probably safer than what the rag collector was doing.

dirk   Link to this

"Sam is a gentleman (...) yet he falls into easy conversation with a ragamuffin"

Re - David

It seems to me that this might have a lot to do with the age difference. It would be easier for Sam to chat with a young lad (man-boy), even a poor one, than with an equally poor adult (man-man).

vincent   Link to this

On the dole[pauper] got thee 3d per week "...and [thee the little rag....[L***** B*****]got 3d. a bushell for them[rags that is]..." and as it was estimated that 25% of the pop: were paupers. He was quite the entrepreneur.If he survived the hurdles of life, he could have been someone. I have met in my lifetime many a person who 'ad bad start in life and has done well, educated 'imself too. Most never let on, because we are so certain ones ancestors were of blud bleu not rouge.
The data gleaned from C. Hill, the Century of Revolution pg. 177 .
Remember for liteing the way he [the kid] got a farthing for his work[I hope], so the lad was not about to turn down a farthing [ I still pick up pennies also, 'tis fun not like the times when thee got a penny you had a choice the Jakes or a cuppu of J. Lyons brew]

Ruben   Link to this

"Social mobility was hardly exceptional - James I was handing out titles left and right in return for cash...": to the very rare rich.
"Edward Hyde just married his daughter into the royal family...": and everyone knew this was an exception possible only because Royal Blood had prerrogatives.
No "well-bred" English of those days would dream to marry his daugther to someone of a "lower class".
When that kind of exception happened (like in General Monck's case)it was the laugh of the "higher" and the admiration of the "lower".
"Well born", "born & bred", "upstairs, downstairs", "to keep his place", had a strong social meaning.
Restoration! (of the old order)

Kevin Sheerstone   Link to this

David A. Smith - Hobbes a Londoner.

Hardly: he was born in Wiltshire and wrote "Leviathan" in Paris. He did settle in London after the restoration, and received a pension. As for your law firm, good one! I have added it to my list of "I wish I'd thought of that" postings.

Lawrence   Link to this

Stairs that turn 180 degrees, here in this part of the world, we'd say they have a dog leg in them!

Laura K   Link to this

innocent times for children

Any study of history, of almost any era, will show that there never were innocent times for children. Children have always been at high risk for abuse, neglect and poverty.

These may have been called by different names, or thought of as natural, or as moral failings, or what have you - but innocence and safety were (and horribly, so often still are) luxuries in a child's life.

vincent   Link to this

see prev: pepsy entrees:blud rouge and the tykes impoverished. oct 20th. 1660
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/10/20/
"...my Lady saying that she could get a good merchant for her daughter Jem., he answered, that he would rather see her with a pedlar's pack at her back, so she married a gentleman, than she should marry a citizen..."

poor 21st june "...where Mr. Townsend brought us to the governor of some poor children in tawny clothes; ..."
[http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/06/21/
comment http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/06/21/#c5559

Pedro.   Link to this

"and got 3d. a bushell for them"
Reading this reminded me of the Church of St.Laurece in Bourton-on-the Hill,that is home for a rare "Winchester Standard Measure"
As I dont see any info on "Weights and Measures" maybe this site will be of interest.
It says that in the USA, the old 'Winchester' bushel continued and survives to the present day.
http://www.hants.gov.uk/regulatory/tradesta/wei...

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

I find it of note that the OED has fallen short of full elucidation twice in these comments today. First, I find Mary's explanation for a "a pair of stairs" quite logical and plausible, backed by her distinction between a "pair" and a "flight." The OED definition cited by Paul Brewster misses this nice difference. Second, the OED seems to have given up too readily on the origins of ragamuffin, saying "[Prob. from RAG n.1 (cf. RAGGED 1c), with fanciful ending.]" Brewer(Dictionary of Phrase and Fable) ventures that the origin is French, maroufle, and says, "A muff or muffin is a poor thing of a creature, an "regular muff;" so that a ragamuffin is a sorry creature in rags." Partridge ignores the word, but under "muff" he has this apparently quite pertinent comment:
"1. a muff comes from D mof: Walloon mouffe; Mf-F moufle, a mitten...
"2. Prob akin to muff is -- ? as a dim -- muffin, perhaps from the softness and also from the shape: cf MF moufflet, soft bread..." (Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English)
Here's a lexicological question: Could "ragamuffin" be a description of someone (presumably a poor person) wearing ragged mittens offering little protection against the cold? I like this definition because it conjures up a familiar and vivid image of poverty.

Nigel Pond   Link to this

Parler/Parlour

Reminds me of a house that my wife and rented for a few months at the end of 1995. It was a very oddly designed house and right next to the kitchen it had a small room that was quaintly called the "conversation room"...

language hat   Link to this

"the OED has fallen short"

Just because the OED doesn't say what you'd like it to doesn't mean it's "fallen short." Do you really think you can figure out unusual words and difficult etymologies better than people who have spent their entire working lives analyzing them? Brewer is worthless for etymology; Partridge isn't to be dismissed, but he ranks well below the OED. "Origin obscure" or "Etymology unknown" are signs of a serious dictionary; the word "perhaps" is another. And a good story usually indicates a bad etymology.

Sasha Clarkson   Link to this

Were social differences accepted as "the natural order of things"?

Perhaps so, by many. But there was a long history of revolutionary thought in England: the Levellers etc were merely its latest products. Lollardy long predated the reformation: in 1381, John Ball preached the famous lines:

"When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman?"

Reprtedly , Ball had borrowed them from an earlier source too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ball_%28pries...

RIMNOD   Link to this

I have to say it was not only tougher to be a kid back then but it was tough to even make it to the age where you could scrounge a minimal living. So this boy was in a sense lucky.

I think Pepys nature while very much part of his times reflects a curiosity for the world and the people in it that is rare even today.

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