Sunday 4 January 1662/63

(Lord’s day). Up and to church, where a lazy sermon, and so home to dinner to a good piece of powdered beef, but a little too salt. At dinner my wife did propound my having of my sister Pall at my house again to be her woman, since one we must have, hoping that in that quality possibly she may prove better than she did before, which I take very well of her, and will consider of it, it being a very great trouble to me that I should have a sister of so ill a nature, that I must be forced to spend money upon a stranger when it might better be upon her, if she were good for anything. After dinner I and she walked, though it was dirty, to White Hall (in the way calling at the Wardrobe to see how Mr. Moore do, who is pretty well, but not cured yet), being much afeard of being seen by anybody, and was, I think, of Mr. Coventry, which so troubled me that I made her go before, and I ever after loitered behind. She to Mr. Hunt’s, and I to White Hall Chappell, and then up to walk up and down the house, which now I am well known there, I shall forbear to do, because I would not be thought a lazy body by Mr. Coventry and others by being seen, as I have lately been, to walk up and down doing nothing. So to Mr. Hunt’s, and there was most prettily and kindly entertained by him and her, who are two as good people as I hardly know any, and so neat and kind one to another. Here we staid late, and so to my Lord’s to bed.

20 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

Edge your tools, psychologists: why bother going to Whitehall if afraid of being seen, and why go with your wife if you then act as if you aren't with "that woman"? If one is this afraid of The World's censorious judgment, better stay home and chew the fat (or over-salted meat, ugh) with Pall.

Terry F   Link to this

And why fear being seen by Mr Coventry, whose esteem in the last fortnight and in 1662's summary has been so valued?

jeannine   Link to this

"So to Mr. Hunt’s, and there was most prettily and kindly entertained by him and her, who are two as good people as I hardly know any, and so neat and kind one to another."

Reminds me of the quote by Robert Heinlein "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."

Hopefully Sam can put some thought into WHY the Hunts are so wonderful together and apply it to his own marriage.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"Up and to church where a lazy sermon"
What does he mean by that? Not exciting?puts one to sleep?not well researched?not scholarly enough?

Alan Bedford   Link to this

Sam's fear of being seen, it appears is actually fear of "being seen, as I have lately been, to walk up and down doing nothing." It's Sunday afternoon, when one of Sam's station should be in church; or at least not be out and about unless he is on Navy business. I imagine that the fear of "the World's censorious judgement" struck him about the time he and the wife got to Whitehall, and he caught sight of Coventry.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

What does he mean by that?“Up and to church where a lazy sermon” It has been said before , but my take, it be boring, no inspiring sayings, just a simple reading of the text. The Rev. not calling down the wrath on all those enquiring minds, readers of the Mercury.

Pauline   Link to this

"... afeard of being seen by anybody..."
And, Alan B, parts from his wife to appear to be on business?

Easy to imagine the growing sense that he is known and welcome there, bringing his wife along, and hitting that unsure spot where maybe you look like you are too enthralled and "touristy" about it. Unsure of all the etiquette and custom.

Bless him for sending his wife ahead instead of paces behind?

Or is she out there like a shield?

Pauline   Link to this

"...a good piece of powdered beef, but a little too salt...."
The L&M Companion's Large Glossary says:
(of meat or poultry): iv.3 salted.

Pauline   Link to this

"...but a little too salt….”
Let's blame "Susan, our cook-mayde, a pretty willing wench, but no good cook" for not knowing how to desalt a piece of powdered meat.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Jesu...That little...Bess mutters under breath as she walks along. Glancing back to see a nervous Sam back among the shadows.

Bad enough when he pulls this when I visit Father and Mother...Though I do prefer he not witness their poverty.

"Mrs. Pepys?"

"Mr. Coventry?" Nervous blink...

"Well, how do ye do ma'am on this fine Sunday? Is Samuel with you?" Polite smile.

"Good to see he does leave our office occasionally. Though I did think he was going to finish writing out those sea orders this weekend." Politer smile.

"Oh, no. Samuel dropped me on his way home from service so I could do a bit of shopping and see my parents." Nervous smile. "I'm afraid even I can't keep his nose from the grindstone." (Methinks I see Sam's point...)

"Ah..." Kindly nod, pleased smile. "Well don't let our poor Samuel overdo. Fine lad, with a great future, your husband, but one mustn't let him wear himself out."

"I do my best..." Beaming smile, wave as Coventry happily toddles off...

Right...Fuming glare. It's Goddamn Sunday and he's been up at work past eleven every night this week you miserable sob... Why don't you go hound Batten or Penn? (Like I don't know why...Can't disturb the 'Sirs' on their day off.)

My poor wretched little pricklouse...Sympathetic vague glance behind.

My girl...sigh of relief from dark corner.

Australian Susan   Link to this

To render salt beef palatable it needs to be washed and washed and soaked in clean water for at least 12 hours and then rinsed off again. It seems that whoever is doing the cooking since Sarah left, they are trying to cut corners or don't know what they are doing! Here in Australia, salted meat was ubiquitous until quite recently because of the lack of affordable reliable refridgerators and reliable elctricity. Even now, in a State capital, every time we have a storm (which can be a couple of times a week at this time of year) we get power-outs to thousands.(lack of investment in infrastructure). Anyway, people retained a liking for salted meat and you can still buy joints of salted brisket or silverside, commonly served with mashed potatoes, pumpkin and chokoes (the latter a type of squash).The taste is fine.
"lazy sermon" - maybe the preacher just read from a book of prepared commentary-type sermons or paraphrased such an essay. For someone like Sam, who really works hard and takes his work seriously, seeing someone not earning their keep like this would be irksome.

Mark Riley   Link to this

I wonder what Mr Coventry was doing out and about 'doing nothing' on a Sunday - why should Sam worry?

dirk   Link to this

"being much afeard of being seen by anybody, and was, I think, of Mr. Coventry, which so troubled me..."

Mark Riley, Robert Gertz, and Alan Bedford seem to interpret this phrase as if Sam has indeed been spotted by Mr Coventry. I'm rather inclined to read it as: "being much afeard of being seen by anybody, and was [much afeard], [when] I think [about it], of [being seen] of [=by] Mr Coventry, which [thoughts] so troubled me..."

This would mean that Coventry hasn't actually seen Sam -- which would (to me at least) make more sense. I think that if mr Coventry had been there, and seen Sam, general politeness as well as Sam's closeness to Coventry would at least have required that they exchange greetings -- which clearly didn't happen...

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

"...being much afeard of being seen by anybody ..." the Simple answer in my simple mind, I dothe think, it meant, this be Sunday, and I dinae want to answer any fool questions without my notes, and Samuell be wee bit guilty, about the fact, that does not want to talk shop, besides which he [Sam] be covered in mud from the slops of the street, and besides that he walked , to save a few pence. Never nice to confront ones betters in a state of disarray [menata or physical].

Australian Susan   Link to this

I read the phrase about Mr C as that Sam thought Mr C *had* seen him and this fact (the having been seen) troubled him.

Mary   Link to this

Sam fears that he has been seen by Coventry.

That's the plainest reading of the text. Why mention Coventry at all, otherwise?

Brian   Link to this

"being much afeard of being seen by anybody." I took this passage to mean that Sam was being frugal (cheap, unfashionable) by making he and his wife walk all the way to Whitehall on a sloppy winter day, and so he was hoping that nobody of "quality" saw them en route.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

“being much afeard of being seen by anybody"

Much as the modern homeowner glances nervously around as he or she darts outdoors in dressing gown (or less) to pick up the carelessly flung morning paper.

Sam and Elizabdeth appear to have sallied out in the 17th Century equivalent of blue jeans and wellies, deciding to walk and not take a coach. He is torn once again between frugality (see his resolutions) and the need to keep up appearances. I think he lets his wife go on alone because there is less chance the casual passer by will recognize her. He then realizes his mistake in taking shelter from censorious eyes at White Hall Chapel, since he is more likely to recognized there (and have his presence questioned by gossip) than on the street, so off to the Hunts where he can relax. My guess is that the standard for a Sunday appearance in the city by a person of supposed important station and means has been rising fast.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

afeared

There is also the point raised by Alan Bedford that Sam and Elizabeth ought to be in church and are playing hookey.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Nope, that he feared being seen by Coventry not that he was spotted. My playlet with Bess was just a what if...

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