Thursday 20 March 1661/62

At my office all the morning, at noon to the Exchange, and so home to dinner, and then all the afternoon at the office till late at night, and so home and to bed, my mind in good ease when I mind business, which methinks should be a good argument to me never to do otherwise.

13 Annotations

Jesse  •  Link

"my mind in good ease when I mind business, which methinks should be a good argument to me never to do otherwise."

While I certainly can sympathize, what kind of diary would that make?

vicenzo  •  Link

The House of Commons is busy putting bills together to reduce fraud in Customs [& Excise] and in Publick Accompt[accounts] although he be not saying, he is making sure all his "els" "es" "dees" and farthings be all lined up and dotted .

Clement  •  Link

"good ease when I mind business"
Agreed, Jesse, and it seems to me that he's becoming a bit compulsive about mentioning this "virtuous" behaviour.

I'm not sure if these recently frequent fillers occur because nothing has happened worthy of mention, and that he's obsessively making daily journal entries with throw-away lines of fluff, or if he's affirming a change in direction he'd like to see in his own character. Speaking of lines of fluff, I'll avoid further comment on this.
I appreciate the background stories and links from Vincenzo and others on days like this.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

It is beginning to sound as a sort of mantra, the intended sticking to work and no more play. I think Sam is aware that he will often stray from the straight path.

Eric Walla  •  Link

I seem to remember a conversation we had early on about the origins of diaries in the pre-Restoration period as being religious in nature, often involving reflections on the daily sins committed by the diarist.

Do I remember correctly? If so, Sam seems to be pursuing this same line, albeit in reverse.

nick sweeney  •  Link

Yes, the relationship between diaries and Protestant 'conduct manuals', as they were known, is fairly well-established. Although in this case, I'm reminded more of Samuel Johnson's comment that "There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in getting money."

It may also be worth noting that we're headed to the financial New Year for our dear diarist, so there's likely work to be done...

Australian Susan  •  Link

March 25th is Lady Day and end of financial year, so it had occurred to me as nick sweeney mentions, there will be lots of work to be done and proably many clerks all around are hard at it and there is not much opportunity for temptation as there is no-one around to do the tempting!

Nix  •  Link

"my mind in good ease when I mind business" --

Have we figured out whether he is in Lent, with his mind concentrated on virtue and piety? I don't recall him passing through Ash Wednesday yet, but I may have missed it.

Mary  •  Link

Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Sam is indeed working his way through Lent at present. Ash Wednesday has not been pointed up; it would probably have seemed a rather High (even Popish) church observation at this point in England's ecclesiastical history

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Jesse wrote

"my mind in good ease when I mind business, which methinks should be a good argument to me never to do otherwise."

"While I certainly can sympathize, what kind of diary would that make?"
I am pretty sure Sam kept his diary for himself, alone, so it wouldn't matter what kind of diary it might make for others. I'm also sure he would be horrified at the thought that it would be published. He wrote much of it in code and probably thought no one would ever figure it out--or even want to try. He would never have guessed that people in many countries some 400 years after he wrote it would be reading it.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

How many days since SP's last drink till drunk cycle? All this year yet? Not that I think he should or anything like that but "as I wished to do so I do" is worthy and liberating. Well done Sam!

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

The odd thing, in retrospect, is that it took scholars so long to realise that the key to his code was hidden in plain sight, in his library.

OED has: ‘tachygraphy, n. < Greek ταχύς swift + -graphy
‘The art or practice of quick writing’ (Johnson); variously applied to shorthand, and (in palæography) to cursive as distinguished from angular letters, to the Egyptian hieratic, and to the Greek and Latin writing of the Middle Ages with its many abbreviations and compendia.
. . 1656 T. Blount Glossographia Tachygraphy, the art or description of swift writing.
1778 Biographia Britannica (ed. 2) I. 538 (note) , Thomas Shelton became famous..for his Tachygraphy; or easy, exact, and speedy short writing.’

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