Saturday 12 April 1662

At the office all the morning, where, among other things, being provoked by some impertinence of Sir W. Batten’s, I called him unreasonable man, at which he was very angry and so was I, but I think we shall not much fall out about it.

After dinner to several places about business, and so home and wrote letters at my office, and one to Mr. Coventry about business, and at the close did excuse my not waiting on him myself so often as others do for want of leisure. So home and to bed.

21 Annotations

Bradford  •  Link

Pressed beyond forbearance, Pepys erupted, "Unreasonable man!"
Sir William, yielding nothing, retorted, "Insolent fellow!"
Attempting to control himself, in keeping with his many resolutions, Pepys averred, "I am very angry, sir."
"So, sir, am I," Sir William replied in kind, with a look to match his words.
"Well, let us not fall out over such a trifle as this," said Pepys, seeing no advantage to drawing out this confrontation. "Perhaps it is time for us to pause in our work and take some refreshment. Do you know of an eating place where we might find a fine venison pasty?"

---from Horace de Rigueur's historical romance, "Pepys's Progress" (1862).

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"at the close did excuse my not waiting on him myself so often as others do for want of leisure"

Sam, you crafty fox. I wonder if perhaps there was some offhand-yet-disparaging comment in the letter about Sir W. Batten?

dirk  •  Link

"at which he was very angry and so was I"

No duel?

john lauer  •  Link

"Pepys's Progress"


Pauline  •  Link

"...provoked by some impertinence of Sir W. Batten's….”
Batten is 59 and has a lifetime of naval experience; Sam is 29 and has been in the business less than two years. Yet it’s Sam who find Batten impertinent!

David Ross McIrvine  •  Link

I am a professor of English at Rochester Institute of Technology (in short, I teach English to folks who can't major in it as we don't offer such a major). But I find consistently that my students, over the years, have related well to Pepys and his mindset. Sam's willingness to criticize a colleague 30 years his senior suggests that he is of more a technical person mindset than a humanities mindset--i.e. the cocky young likely lad. My students are like Pepys in this regard--maybe that's why they like him, and at any rate they are very different than humanities students.

This is the opinion of my father, formerly the Dean of the College of Graphic Arts and Sciences at RIT--that technical people are much more likely not to doff the cap to seniority. Research and Development politics turn 'round such things I guess.

Pete  •  Link

Professor of English?
Eats, shoots and leaves...

Australian Susan  •  Link

Don't know what Pete finds grammatically wrong in David's entry, but as he has quoted the wrongly punctuated definition of a panda (and the title of an hilarious book by Lynne Truss), can I say that this has now been rearranged in Australia to be the badly punctuated definition of a wombat: "eats, roots and leaves." You can buy suitably illustrated T Shirts. (Adults Only). Deary, deary me. Back on topic, (sorry)
I think David is spot-on about Sam's perennial appeal particularly to certain types of people.

JWB  •  Link

Apr. 8th
"...uncle Fenner and the two Joyces. but I cannot down with their dull company and impertinent." Impertinence from above & below suggests the touble lies with Sam.

Mary  •  Link


As noted before, L&M glosses this word "garrulous, irrelevant, foolish". We are not looking at impertinence in the modern sense: Fenner and the two Joyces natter on about dull, inconsequential matters of no importance.

David Ross McIrvine  •  Link

"That's "guilty, guilty, guilty"--Doonesbury

Oh my entries on this blog are truly atrocious grammatically and orthographically--I think I have yet to master typing in certain formats, and certainly do not proofread my stuff well. I also tend to shoot from the hip in my comments, leading to plenty of mistakes. However, Sam does persistently remind me of those of my students who have--like Sam--an interest in the arts, yet are of a technical mindset. They are much more likely to front off with an elder, more experienced person.

bardi  •  Link

Being of a non-technical mindset, I continue to write with rare abandon in Pepys's footsteps with long, long, run-on sentences to which my editor makes no comment.

JWB  •  Link

Impertinent/impertinence, an impertinent defense-
Feb 5, '61-"I was taken up by Antony Joyce, which came at last to very high words, which made me very angry, and I did not think that he would ever have been such a fool to meddle with other people's business”.

cumsalisgranis  •  Link

One can have fun breaking up this word "impertinence", figuring out how the mind stores and then reissues the verbal form. Thanks to the Specialists , we can keep words to stay with the acceptable meaning.
{im -not, pert - cocky ] Daah!

Nick Patterson  •  Link

Impertinence literally means
"want of pertinence", that is irrelevance.
That is the first meaning given by the OED. The OED gives the earliest usage with the current meaning of "beyond one's province" ... esp. to a superior as 1712.

Australian Susan  •  Link

So if the first mention of impertinence in the meaning we usually give to it nowadays is from 1712, can we assume that Sam does not have that concept in his mind at all when he says people are "impertinent" and means, literally, "want of pertinence" - irrelevance. All those nuances I have been attributing to Sam about being touchy over his status are, therefore, impertinent.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I take it Sir Will B. has been to Coventry's on a regular basis...

"Unreasonable man"?

Well, Cromwell himself is supposed to have said "Be gone ye rogues" when tossing out Parliament.

One wonders...

Lord Sandwich fighting the Dutch...
"Unworthy former allies, may ye vessels sink forthwith!"

On the other hand Sandwich is the guy who came up with that wonderful "like onto a man who shits in his hat and then claps it onto his head" remark regarding York and his bride...

I dunno...somehow I get the vague idea Batten's reply was a tad more unprintable...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Perhaps Sam should have consulted Elisabeth for this vocal joust...Now she's good at the art of cussin'.

And she could've done it in French...

"Unreasonable man!" (to reject my well-padded contract)

Batten offers a harsh, seaman's reply...

"Pardon, Sir William...Let me fetch my wife."

Bill  •  Link

"being provoked by some impertinence"

IMPERTINENCE,IMPERTINENCY, Extravagance, Foolery, Nonsense.
IMPERTINENT, not to the Purpose, absurd, silly.
An IMPERTINENT, a troublesome, foolish, or silly person.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

And don't forget Mr Butler (Mons. L'impertinent)

There was a similar discussion of impertinent in February:

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Batten "What are you fussing your head over now young Pepys? You're spending far more time in the office than your predecessors did!"

Pepys: "I'm looking over the vitualler's account Sir William. I'm sure the rogue is cheating us!"

Batten: "Take it from me Pepys, in my experience no one above us is interested in these things: the Duke won't thank you."

Pepys (sanctimoniously) : "But it's our duty to save his Majesty's money Sir William!"

Batten: "His Majesty won't care about a few hundred pounds on the Navy, when he's lavishing thousands on that Palmer whore - and Sir Denis is an old friend of mine!"

Pepys: "Sir - you are unreasonable!"

Batten: "And you're an interfering upstart dammit!" (He flounces out, slamming the door.)

Pepys sighs and puts the papers away - for now.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

It should be remembered that although the Sir Williams are senior in terms of age and naval experience, they are not Pepys' bosses. They all report directly to Sir John Mennes as Comptroller of the Navy, and informally to Sir George Carteret, who as Treasurer of the Navy controlled the purse strings and was close to the King and Duke.

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