Saturday 22 March 1661/62

At the office all the morning. At noon Sir Williams both and I by water down to the Lewes, Captain Dekins, his ship, a merchantman, where we met the owners, Sir John Lewes and Alderman Lewes, and several other great merchants; among others one Jefferys, a merry man that is a fumbler, and he and I called brothers, and he made all the mirth in the company. We had a very fine dinner, and all our wives’ healths, with seven or nine guns apiece; and exceeding merry we were, and so home by barge again, and I vexed to find Griffin leave the office door open, and had a design to have carried away the screw or the carpet in revenge to him, but at last I would not, but sent for him and chid him, and so to supper and to bed, having drank a great deal of wine.

27 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

"had a design to have carried away the screw or the carpet in revenge"

L&M Companion Large Glossary defines the former as "key, screw-bolt." Any historical locksmiths out there to explain how this worked and how long it would take to realize it was missing?---in comparison to the carpet.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Am I right in assuming after each toast to a wife's health eight or nine guns were fired off in salute from one or more ships?

"To Elisabeth Pepys..." Ka-boom!

Too bad Beth couldn't've been there. Not to mention the oft neglected Lady Penn.

dirk   Link to this

John Evelyn's diary today:

"I made an accord with Mr. Scott for 150 pounds for the rectifying my son Johns crooked leg, & knee-pan:"

Apparently 17th c surgery was very expensive... (Still is!)

"In 2002, £150 0s 0d from 1662 is worth:
£12,280.85 using the retail price index."
Source:
http://eh.net/hmit/ppowerbp/

vicenzo   Link to this

If it be in the States, having a baby be in excess of $10 G's for a normal birthing.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

a merry man that is a fumbler

Any ideas as to Sam's meaning?

JWB   Link to this

two conjectures:
1) The gun ("seven or nine guns apiece") refers to the "buck"(as in 'the buck stops here') or model gun set on the wardroom table & pointed at the man who is to say grace or make a toast.
2) The "screw" was a letter press.

vicenzo   Link to this

"...a merry man that is a fumbler..."
fumbler maybe a bumbler who be one who keeps every one in stiches for airhead ideas. He appears to be a merchant therefore his speech is not aligned with his appearance. Not one to command a serious or wise crowd, none the less, he be a succesful merchant, and your mind is picked clean as he is never given serious consideration.? O.E. needed.

vicenzo   Link to this

"...having drank a great deal of wine...." the ledger be duly and cleanly up to date.

Mary   Link to this

fumbler

L&M notes that Jefferys was childless - "hence a fumbler" - and so he and Pepys were reckoned to be brothers. Neither Sam nor Jefferys seems to have taken the joke badly.

Mary   Link to this

More fumbling.

OED quotes a 1700 Dictionary of Cant[ing] Crew: an unperforming Husband; one that is insufficient.

Australian Susan   Link to this

"...a fumbler, and he and I are called brothers, and he made all the mirth in the company"
Poor Sam. Poor Jeffreys. 'Tis ever best to make sure they laugh with you, not at you. Many a successful comic began in self-defence. Because if you try and point out that a certain self-directed remark is *not* funny, you are called a kill-joy, or over-sensitive etc.
"having drank a great deal of wine"
Bad head and cross with wife and servants tomorrow?? Even money, I think.

Rex Gordon   Link to this

" ... seven or nine guns ... "

L&M point out in a footnote that an even number "signalled a funeral".

APB   Link to this

I'm afraid Mr Bradford has spoilt my day as I was thinking Sam's removal of the screw was 'by the look and the dress' the office bicycle who had been collected on his travels yesterday :)

A. Hamilton   Link to this

fumbler

Mary,

Much obliged. I saw the OED entry, but failed to make the connection to Sam's childless state, being slow of mind.

JohnT   Link to this

Is not the second sentence grammatically strained ? I presume that the first"Lewes" is a reference to the surname "Lewis" and not as I first thought to the slightly inland Sussex town of that name. But what is the significance of the definite pronoun ? Is it some sort of implied possessive, as in the Lewis' house/harbour/mooring etc ? Or is Lewes/Lewis some recognisable place accessible by boat ? Is it the name of Captain Dekens' ( also known as Deakins or Daking ) boat ? Even if any of these, the sentence construction is abnormal for Sam.

JWB   Link to this

17th Century Signal Chamber Cannon
http://www.adrax.com/watsons/sigcan.htm
2Wms+2Lewes+2fumblers+several others=~10. 10 X 7 or8 salutes=~80 salutes in or just below Pool of London. Looking at the "cannon" and seeing ease with which could be loaded & fired, I guess the were not just "passing the buck" as I speculated above.

Mary   Link to this

The Lewis is a merchant-ship.

See backround info. for more.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

"and exceeding merry we were... having drank a great deal of wine."

I rather like the imagined scene of this party sitting around a wardroom table (it being perhaps a bit fresh out on deck) taking turns to propose a toast when pointed to by a model cannon. Seven or nine toasts apiece would imply a lot of wine and a merry time. Poor young Sam, being made the butt of the fumbler joke, along with Captain Jeffreys, by all the worthy graybeard sirs and notables!

vicenzo   Link to this

Mary : perfect:

Maurie Beck   Link to this

Back to his old ways.

It's nice to see Sam backsliding and tearing it up. He may aspire to more seriousness and all work and no play, but tis not his nature I think.

Nix   Link to this

"a very fine dinner ... drank a great deal of wine" --

So much for Lent! Or were the rules suspended on the water?

Eric Walla   Link to this

Will there come a time when Sam realizes that drink and entertainment are in fact an integral part of his duties? Were he to go about his business and nothing but his business, it appears pretty clear that his informants and associates would begin to take their business elsewhere. He would become the butt of jokes ("stuffy ol' Sam") and find, without too great a stretch of the imagination, that his influence and upward mobility had come to an end.

dirk   Link to this

"At noon Sir Williams both and I by water down to the Lewes, Captain Dekins, his ship, a merchantman, where we met the owners, Sir John Lewes and Alderman Lewes, and several other great merchants; (etc)

For the sake of clarity:
I read this:

"At noon both Sir W. and I by water down to the "Lewes" (= name of the ship), Captain Dekins' ship (old genitive construction with name + his), a merchant vessel (cf. man-o-war = war vessel), where we met the owners, Sir John Lewes and Alderman Lewes (not unnatural that their vessel is named after them: "Lewes"), and several other great merchants; etc.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Will there come a time when Sam realizes...

Well observed, though I think Sam does realize it. This trip differs, by being related to business, from some of his more optional frolics. Whenever he is in the company of the two Sir Williams, I suspect, he doth as he must when in Rome, and there is little evidence that they share his more puritan scruples.

Carolina   Link to this

I have been meaning to ask this before: This firing of the guns -
What did they fire?
Could they just do it for no good reason?

vicenzo   Link to this

If it were 3 guns, it be someones funeralle [Sailors Grammar P 69]
"...with seven or nine guns apiece; and exceeding merry we were.."
I'm so glad!

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