Friday 20 December 1661

Lay long in bed, and then up, and so to the Wardrobe to dinner, and from thence out with Mr. Moore towards my house, and in our way met with Mr. Swan (my old acquaintance), and we to a tavern, where we had enough of his old simple religious talk, and he is still a coxcomb in these things as he ever was, and tells me he is setting out a book called “The unlawfull use of lawfull things;” but a very simple fellow he is, and so I leave him. So we drank and at last parted, and Mr. Moore and I into Cornhill, it being dark night, and in the street and on the Exchange discoursed about Dominion of the Sea, wherein I am lately so much concerned, and so I home and sat late up reading of Mr. Selden, and so to bed.

16 Annotations

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"enough of his old simple religious talk"
I ain't puritan no more Mr Swan.

Ann Martin   Link to this

After yesterday's outburst to poor Elizabeth he stayed in bed as late as possible and then fled the house for the Wardrobe as quickly as possible - trying to stay out of her way? Has he actually said "sorry" to Elizabeth, I bet he hasn't, he's just wallowing in his own sorry state and drinking with the boys, notwithstanding he doesn't seem to like poor Mr Swan, better than returning home.

Bradford   Link to this

It will be interesting to see whether all Pepys's research into the Striking of Sails, Dominion of the Sea, and such, will prove any more useful or enduring than "fanatic and rogue" (as he is called elsewhere) Mr. Swan's quondam legal treatise.

john lauer   Link to this

"into Cornhill, it being dark night"
Would there have been at least some lamp light on such a spacious, rich street at this time, to explain its explicit mention here?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"After yesterday's outburst to poor Elizabeth he stayed in bed as late as possible and then fled the house…”

I dunno…If Sam laid long in bed, it’s certain Beth was with him. Sounds like he spent the night in reconcilation mode and the morning in make up sex…

vicenzo   Link to this

"...into Cornhill, it being dark night..." 'twas one of those loverly moonless lit nights. It be either rainy [which he does not say] or the moon be not awake yet.
re: night on the sofa: It seems that the upward mobile couple be copying the Royals and be having separate closets for good nights rest and strife free: it be cold too, no doubt,
leads to so many speculations. If he be honest about his words I think he would mention his rewards too. The Male of the species of course never admits that he is not the master of the situation. I think there would be more of a spring in his step, if all be forgiven. Staying bed awhile would be because he waited 'til the sun warmed the air abit.

David Stanford   Link to this

"into Cornhill, it being dark night", yes, there would have been light, which is why he went that particular way, being a dark night meant he needed to get into a street which was well lit.

Grahamt   Link to this

Winter Solstice:
Today in London the sun rises (though we may not see it) at 8:08 and sets at 15:48, a mere 7hours 40 mins of daylight. In Pepys' day there was no organised street lighting and on an overcast, perhaps moonless night, a link boy to light the way would be the only way to venture out early or late. A few days ago we saw him out and about 3 hours before sunrise, but today he lies long in bed. Who can blame him for staying in a warm bed on a cold, dark winters morn?
We forget, with modern city lighting, that people used to be ruled much more by the seasons than we are. They worked long hours in summer and short in Winter. Much more so in the country than in the city, but there would still be a marked difference in the number of people around town in the evening. The inns and taverns would be welcome oases of light and heat in the cold, dark desert of a 17th century London winter's night. Even busy thoroughfares like Cornhill would be unlit.
Home - Work - tavern - home is the pattern of the last few days: none of the strolls across town, walks in the meadows or rides in the countryside that characterised his summer. Even the morning drafts seem to be less frequent.

Roger Arbor   Link to this

"enough of his old simple religious talk … coxcomb”. Strange comparison this, a coxcomb is a ‘conceited man’ and yet Swan seems a simple (i.e. convinced) Christian man.

Am I getting just a whiff of contempt of a worldly man for one whose motivations Pepys cannot understand — or is he secretly convicted and is contemptuous as a defence?

Mary   Link to this

Street lighting.

There were ordinances in force that obliged householders to hang out a candle or a lantern from dusk until 9 o'clock in the evening, but this duty seems to have been honoured as much in the breach as in the performance.

Pedro.   Link to this

For Inhabitants of London in 1638
St. Michael, Cornhill see..
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com...

For Map 1746 see:
http://www.motco.com/Map/81002/SeriesSearchPlat...

Martin   Link to this

Winter solstice:
As England did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752, I believe the solstice has actually already gone by at this point. The adjustment in 1752 was a leap forward of 11 days, so the soltice in 1661 presumably took place on or about the 10th.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

Winter solstice:
The shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere since the days of the dinossaurs.

Glyn   Link to this

"a lantern from dusk until 9 o'clock in the evening”

Following on from Mary, the reason it was specifically 9 o’clock rather than any other time was because that was when the curfew bells were rung so that the City Gates were closed and the London apprentices finished working for the day. So householders didn’t need to refer to clocks to know when 9 o’clock was. (However, if they ignored the regulation anyway, it hardly makes much difference.)

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"winter solstice"
my mistake.

Terry F   Link to this

Corporation Act

(1661, December 20. 13 Charles II, st. 2., c. 1. 5 S. R. 321. The whole reprinted in G. and H. 594-600.)

WHEREAS questions are likely to arise concerning the validity of elections of magistrates and other officers and members in corporations, as well in respect of removing some as placing others, during the late troubles, contrary to the true intent and meaning of their charters and liberties; and to the end that the succession in such corporations may be most probably perpetuated in the hands of persons well affected to His Majesty and the established government, it being too well known that notwithstanding all His Majesty's endeavours and unparalleled indulgence in pardoning all that is past, nevertheless many evil spirits are still working: .... http://home.freeuk.net/don-aitken/ast/c2.html#223

The Corporation Act of 1661 is an Act of the Parliament of England (13 Cha. II. St. 2 c. 1). It belongs to the general category of test acts, designed for the express purpose of restricting public offices in England to members of the Church of England. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation_Act_1661

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