Wednesday 18 March 1662/63

Wake betimes and talk a while with my wife about a wench that she has hired yesterday, which I would have enquired of before she comes, she having lived in great families, and so up and to my office, where all the morning, and at noon home to dinner. After dinner by water to Redriffe, my wife and Ashwell with me, and so walked and left them at Halfway house; I to Deptford, where up and down the store-houses, and on board two or three ships now getting ready to go to sea, and so back, and find my wife walking in the way. So home again, merry with our Ashwell, who is a merry jade, and so awhile to my office, and then home to supper, and to bed. This day my tryangle, which was put in tune yesterday, did please me very well, Ashwell playing upon it pretty well.

12 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"talk a while with my wife about a wench that she has hired yesterday, which I would have enquired of before she comes, she having lived in great families..."

And perhaps inclined to proud notions of what is her due? Or to sneer at up-and-coming types? Still, Sam seems unannoyed by it...Just wishing Bess had consulted him.

Unless in haste he cut out the part where he screamed at poor Bess for a solid half-hour.
***

Ashwell promoted to "merry jade" and Sam allowing Bess and said merry jade to travel with him at least part way to Deptford.

Oh, the ominous feeling...

***

Bradford   Link to this

"This day my tryangle, which was put in tune yesterday, did please me very well, Ashwell playing upon it pretty well."

Lest this give rise to hopeful visions of a faux-gypsy performance on an alternative to the tambourine, at this time a triangle or tryangle was a "triangular virginals: probably an ottavino (i.e. at 4ft pitch)," says the Companion Large Glossary. (They also come in pentagonal, hexagonal, polygonal, &c. versions, as well as the boring oblong.)

English virginals were made of oak (rather than the lime of the Low Countries), and retained the vaulted lid that went out of style elsewhere in the early 1600s. "The dark oak of the outside of these instruments is in striking contrast to the gilt paper and brilliant painting discovered when the lid is lifted and the hinged front board lowered." English virginals also had a very wide range---viz. the "4ft pitch" above, just slightly over four octaves, in the one English example whose keyboard I can find illustrated.

All of this cribbed yet again, with shameless admiration, from the 1980 New Grove, "Virginal," 20:10-11.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Thank you, Bradford,

for answering so promptly the question that was on my mind and perhaps others'.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"our Ashwell, who is a merry jade"

As opposed to Balty's wife, whom on Feb. 17 Sam decided was "a very subtle witty jade, and one that will give her husband trouble enough as little as she is, whereas I took her heretofore for a very child and a simple fool."

More discussion of the word here:
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/02/17/

Jon-o   Link to this

Has Sam's harpsichord been mentioned before? I gather he doesn't play it himself, sticking to the viols, flutes, and lutes...

Australian Susan   Link to this

Thank you, Robert - I was just wondering how on earth one tuned a triangle! All is now clear!

The comment about the servant reminds me of the adage that there are only two types of cleaning-lady: the ones who scare you into cleaning the house beforehand and the ones you have to clean the house for after they've gone.

Ruben   Link to this

English virginals:
see the now difunct magazine about
English harpsichords:
http://www.harpsichord.org.uk/EH/ehm.htm
and see N. 3 for interesting info.

Alan Bedford   Link to this

A triangular virginal:
http://www.rom.gr/rom14/cdromweb/big/Virginal.jpg

Bradford   Link to this

Ruben's article (a .pdf file that downloads in no time) is splendidly full and readable, and cites Pepys in search of a regular harpsichord in 1668. The illustrations that "have been held over until the next issue" aren't given, but Alan's Greek site fortunately shows the wide English keyboard. (In many paintings of the instrument, Ashwell or one of her sisterhood obstructs the view of the keys.) In answer to Jon-o's question, the Companion Glossary---which usually gives the first appearance of a rare word---cites under "triangle" ii.109. Could some intrepid soul hunt up its first appearance?

dirk   Link to this

Ruben's web reference

Great site!

The PDF file "Early English Harpsichord Building", under Nr 1 (2nd item) contains a couple of relevant pictures.

TerryF   Link to this

Bradford, here's the earlier reference:

"I sent to my house by my Lord’s order his shipp [glass] and triangle virginall."
14 June 1661 http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/06/14/

J A Gioia   Link to this

merry with our Ashwell, who is a merry jade

ahem... a triangle indeed.

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