Monday 9 December 1661

To Whitehall, and thence to the Rhenish wine-house, where I met Mons. Eschar and there took leave of him, he being to go this night to the Downs towards Portugall, and so spent all the morning. At noon to dinner to the Wardrobe; where my Lady Wright was, who did talk much upon the worth and the desert of gallantry; and that there was none fit to be courtiers, but such as have been abroad and know fashions. Which I endeavoured to oppose; and was troubled to hear her talk so, though she be a very wise and discreet lady in other things. From thence Mr. Moore and I to the Temple about my law business with my cozen Turner, and there we read over T. Trice’s answer to my bill and advised thereupon what to do in his absence, he being to go out of town to-morrow. Thence he and I to Mr. Walpole, my attorney, whom I never saw before, and we all to an alehouse hard by, and there we talked of our business, and he put me into great hopes, but he is but a young man, and so I do not depend so much upon his encouragement. So by coach home, and to supper, and to bed, having staid up till 12 at night writing letters to my Lord Sandwich and all my friends with him at sea, to send to-morrow by Mons. Eschar, who goes tomorrow post to the Downs to go along with the fleet to Portugall.

26 Annotations

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"and the desert of gallantry"
It is better than the gallantry of the desert!

Bradford   Link to this

"there was none fit to be courtiers, but such as have been abroad and know fashions."
Indispensable to the smooth running of government, the maintenance of fiscal responsibility, and the defense of the nation from bellicose foreigners. Ooops---wouldn't they be the height of fashion themselves?

Stolzi   Link to this

"but he is but a young man"

Sam himself was only about 33!

Sean   Link to this

"we all to an alehouse hard by, and there we talked of our business . . . ."
Sounds like a 17th century version of a three martini lunch. I hope Sam's lawyer picked up the check.

dirk   Link to this

"my attorney, whom I never saw before"

Sounds strange to someone not familiar with the British lawyer system...

vicenzo   Link to this

There be age and there be age:["... he is but a young man...'] 15 years of trudging the kings highway[street] versus 8 years since getting ones baculum[bacterium] means one has twice the experience.

dirk   Link to this

fashion debate

Cfr. also
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/12/07/#c25286
(annotation to the diary for 7 December - John Evelyn's "Tyrannus")

Paul Chapin   Link to this

young man
Actually, Sam was just 28. Makes one wonder how young the attorney was.

andy   Link to this

Mons Eschar -
his journey seemed to slip during this extract from going to the Downs for Portugal "this night" at the beginning of the entry to "tomorrow" at the end of it. I wonder when Sam wrote this entry. The Downs themselves are at Plymouth (where the fleet is) I assume.

Interesting construction - Sam uses "post" in the last sentence to mean Eschar's really going to Portugal but he's calling in at the Downs.

Australian Susan   Link to this

The Downs
I thought they were off Kent - by the Goodwin Sands??? Or is this just one of several areas called The Downs and was this a generic term for protected waters, safe for shipping to lie off at anchorage?? Shipping experts, please!

Mary K McIntyre   Link to this

Attorney but a young man

Pedro.   Link to this

The Downs.

The Downs in general (South) would refer to area along the rolling chalk downs of Sussex and Hampshire, through the heart of the area that is eventually to become a new National Park.
And North Downs along chalk ridges and wooded downland of Surrey and Kent through Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, grazing the southern edge of greater London and ending at the celebrated White Cliffs.
In particular this could be referring to the area around Portsmouth where Sam has made visits?

Pedro.   Link to this

Portsmouth.

Portsmouth, of course, is where the fleet returned with the Queen.

Stolzi   Link to this

Thanks all.

Don't know how I got my subtraction wrong in figuring Sam's age.

Now, as to the Downs, we're not talking hills here:

"THE DOWNS is also the name of a roadstead in the English Channel off Deal between the North and the South Foreland. It forms a favorite anchorage during heavy weather, protected on the east by the Goodwin Sands and on the north and west by the coast. It has depths down to 12 fathoms. Even during southerly gales some shelter is afforded, though under this condition wrecks are not infrequent."

http://68.1911encyclopedia.org/D/DO/DOWNS.htm

I believe Mons. E will take horses ("post") to the coast and then be rowed out to a ship anchored in the Downs.

The Downs are also mentioned in at least one version of that fine old sea song, "Spanish Ladies."

David   Link to this

It is still the case that gray hair on top is worth an additional $100/per in the litigation biz.

Clement   Link to this

"Which I endeavoured to oppose"

The last time Sam commented on Lady Wright's snobbery and professed disdain for unfashionable people he "said nothing to it"
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/12/03/
I wonder if she intentionally provoked him for the pleasure of debate--it certainly seems within her--or if she was being mean-spirited to Sam, or perhaps cajoling him to better array his own wife, has Lady Montegu has directly advised him previously.

In any case I'm sure Sam was pleased to mount a defense for his more egalitarian sensibilities. He has few outlets for that part of his psyche these days, though they continue to inform his Naval reform policy initiatives.

Mary   Link to this

"post to The Downs"

I too took this to mean that Eschar was going by post-horse to The Downs; i.e. to a spot on the Kent coast whence he could be ferried out to his ship. Nothing to do with being posted in the military sense.

Ruben   Link to this

The Downs
We had an exhaustive explanation about The Downs a year ago.
Ships waited in The Downs for appropiate winds to sail to high seas.
That could take several days.
As Mary wrote you could ride from London to a place near The Downs or otherwise you could go there from London by water.

Pedro.   Link to this

The Downs as posted by Stolzi.

For a map of the area, and the Goodwin Sands (Perhaps we should have a background entry) see..

http://www.whitecliffscountry.org.uk/seabritain...

Ruben   Link to this

The Downs
the best annotation on The Downs
as posted by Mary on Tue 2 Sep 2003

An area of sea lying between the Thames Estuary and the Straits of Dover, protected by the Goodwin Sands from easterlies and by the land mass of Kent from westerlies. Hence a favoured (and often very crowded) holding point for merchant, and other, shipping that was awaiting a favourable wind for an outward voyage. (annot. 3 April 1660)

A. Hamilton   Link to this

the worth and the desert of gallantry

Can anyone shed light on this use of "desert"? Is the reference to a dearth or absence of gallantry (cf. H.L. Mencken, who called the American South "the Sahara of the Beaux Arts") or does the word amplify "worth", perhaps in the sense of deservingness?

Glyn   Link to this

I'd go for the first meaning, i.e. absence of gallantry = she thinks English men and women aren't as fashionably dressed or chic as the new arrivals from France and the rest of the Continent. England's been a bit of a backwater for years, with no copies of Vogue etc to show people what to wear.

Pepys is is from a family of tailors, so he may be taking this a little bit personally (and I wonder if Ms Wright knows of his background when she discussess this).

language hat   Link to this

desert
It means 'what you deserve.' No problem here.

vicenzo   Link to this

NIH 'not invented here' takes extreme positions.[A] If it be from Paris [or where ever] it must be fantastic or [B] if it be from Calais [or where ever ] it must be useless. It be a case of in the good old days syndrome "... who did talk much upon the worth and the desert of gallantry; and that there was none fit to be courtiers, but such as have been abroad and know fashions..." When 'eroes be 'eroes and de ladies be ladies, never this bad stuff. That is all one hears from the monday morning drinking wotever cliche.
Therefore in this case . Ah? those fops of Louis [the absolute monarch, the fore runner of Antoinette] are so emasculated they have servants for their servants to tie a Knot in ones epaulette.

Bradford   Link to this

"desert" = as Language Hat says:
L&M Companion, Large Glossary: "deservingness, value"

Maurie Beck   Link to this

Attorney but a young man

Not just experienced but connected. The legal system is a club where members are chummy. You don't want some wet-behind-the-ears lawyer who hasn't drunk port with the judges.

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