Saturday 28 June 1662

Up to my Lord’s and my own accounts, and so to the office, where all the forenoon sitting, and at noon by appointment to the Mitre, where Mr. Shepley gave me and Mr. Creed, and I had my uncle Wight with us, a dish of fish. Thence to the office again, and there all the afternoon till night, and so home, and after talking with my wife to bed. This day a genteel woman came to me, claiming kindred of me, as she had once done before, and borrowed 10s. of me, promising to repay it at night, but I hear nothing of her. I shall trust her no more. Great talk there is of a fear of a war with the Dutch; and we have order to pitch upon twenty ships to be forthwith set out; but I hope it is but a scarecrow to the world, to let them see that we can be ready for them; though, God knows! the King is not able to set out five ships at this present without great difficulty, we neither having money, credit, nor stores. My mind is now in a wonderful condition of quiet and content, more than ever in all my life, since my minding the business of my office, which I have done most constantly; and I find it to be the very effect of my late oaths against wine and plays, which, if God please, I will keep constant in, for now my business is a delight to me, and brings me great credit, and my purse encreases too.

13 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...we neither having money, credit, nor stores." Gee what has the Naval Office been doing for the past year? And what has the King done with the money Parliament voted him? (Well, actually I can guess that...He's given it to a genteel lady.)

dirk   Link to this

"This day a genteel woman came to me, claiming kindred of me, as she had once done before, and borrowed 10s. of me."

If anything like that were to happen to us now, wouldn't this be one of the weirdest experiences ever?

Yet Sam doesn't seem too surprised. Obviously he didn't even inquire into the nature of that "kindred"! Was it so natural at the time not to be aware of possible members of your family, that Sam accepted the woman's claim at face value?

Australian Susan   Link to this

With the lack of a welfare system and grants for education, poor members of one's family expected to be supported by the richer members and the rich and fortunate ones accepted this as their lot in life - but Sam feels the boundaries for this behaviour have been overstepped. I think that, maybe, when it first happened he was flattered to be regarded as someone able to give patronage (when so recently he was almost totally dependent on Sandwich's patronage), but the second application causes a sour feeling to enter.
Sam's bowels must be OK by now: he was able to face a dish of fish without running from the tavern for the nearest close-stool or nearby garden to throw up in.

dirk   Link to this

"My mind is now in a wonderful condition of quiet and content, more than ever in all my life, since my minding the business of my office"

Sam's become a real workaholic apparently.

Peter   Link to this

Dirk, I think we do get approaches like that of the "genteel woman" these days, only it's a bit more subtle....junk mail, junk phone calls etc. from strangers that seem to know an awful lot about us!

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

My goodness, our Sam can write, can't he?

"Great talk there is of a fear of a war with the Dutch; and we have order to pitch upon twenty ships to be forthwith set out; but I hope it is but a scarecrow to the world, to let them see that we can be ready for them; though, God knows! the King is not able to set out five ships at this present without great difficulty, we neither having money, credit, nor stores."

As for his satisfaction with his lot, I don't see this as workaholism ... I think it's more the good feeling you get from a day's work (or more) well done, knowing that you're living up to your potential. All I know is, it's nice to see friends happy. I'm glad his purse is encreasing.

JWB   Link to this

my uncle Wight
Recall that Uncle Wight is a fish monger. Perhaps Sam purchased that wormy sturgeon from him and this "dish of fish" @ the Mitre is a dig at him.

Stolzi   Link to this

"claiming kindred"

In the Southern US of my younger days, you could still hear a version of this expression - "claiming kin to [whoever]."

ellen   Link to this

"mind in condition of quiet and content"...

beats the old hangovers and bleary eyed mornings.... Sam's growing up

Cumgranissalis   Link to this

Terseness of writing: paper cost then AND one t'ort before putting ink to parchment, one did not get paid by the word. Every syllable counted.
[thanks for the eraser attached to me mices tail.]. No Waffle and no batter, just the facts Ma'm

A. Hamilton   Link to this

My mind is now in a wonderful condition of quiet and content... for now my business is a delight to me, and brings me great credit...

This is truly a remarkable comment following yesterday's long passage on office and court politics. Although his patron is uneasy about his standing with the king's brother and Coventry, Sam has developed an independent confidence in his own value to the Navy (and a keen eye to the specifics of its condition). He is becoming his own man.

Bradford   Link to this

"Oh! don't the days seem lank and long,
When all goes right and nothing goes wrong?
And isn't life extremely flat
With nothing whatever to grumble at?"
---W. S. Gilbert
But Life usually makes the correction sooner rather than later. Let us be happy for Sam while we can.

bw   Link to this

"wormy sturgeon"
Recall that Sam was given some sturgeon from the Baltic, and the discussion indicated that sturgeon from there was always pickled; then when the sturgeon reappeared wormy he suspected that the pickle was too weak. That latter comment indicated that the wormy sturgeon was a leftover from the Baltic gift.

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