Saturday 2 May 1663

Being weary last night, I slept till almost seven o’clock, a thing I have not done many a day. So up and to my office (being come to some angry words with my wife about neglecting the keeping of the house clean, I calling her beggar, and she me pricklouse, which vexed me) and there all the morning. So to the Exchange and then home to dinner, and very merry and well pleased with my wife, and so to the office again, where we met extraordinary upon drawing up the debts of the Navy to my Lord Treasurer. So rose and up to Sir W. Pen to drink a glass of bad syder in his new far low dining room, which is very noble, and so home, where Captain Ferrers and his lady are come to see my wife, he being to go the beginning of next week to France to sea and I think to fetch over my young Lord Hinchinbroke. They being gone I to my office to write letters by the post, and so home to supper and to bed.

50 Annotations

TerryF   Link to this

Pricklouse \Prick"louse`\, n. A tailor; -- so called in contempt. [Old slang] --L'Estrange
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
http://dict.die.net/pricklouse/

also language hat, whose source, the OED, fails to quote Elizabeth Pepys or her amanuensis, Samuel Pepys, Esq., late-night diarist (day-job: Clerk of the Acts to the Admiralty):

January 26, 2003
WORD OF THE DAY.
Pricklouse 'tailor.' From the OED:
pricklouse (‘prIklaUs). Now dial. Also [19th century] prick-the(-a)-louse. A derisive name for a tailor.
1500-20 Dunbar Poems xxvii. 5 Betuix a tel3our and ane sowtar, A pricklouss and ane hobbell clowttar [telyour 'tailor'; souter 'shoemaker, cobbler'; hobble 'cobble, mend (shoes) roughly'; clooter 'patcher, cobbler']. 1668 R. L'Estrange The Visions of Don Francisco Quevedo Villegas (1708) 151 The poor Prick-Lice were damn'dly startled at that, for fear they should not get in. 1709 O. Dykes Eng. Proverbs with Moral Reflexions (ed. 2) 117 What an ignorant Presumption..for an impudent Prick-lowse to set up for a Lawyer, or a Statesman. A. 1796 Burns Answ. to Tailor ii, Gae mind your seam, ye prick-the-louse, An' jag-the-flae. [jag 'prick, pierce' (hence the nickname "the Jags" for the Partick Thistles, a Glasgow football team familiar to fans of the wonderful Jack Laidlaw detective novels of William McIlvanney); flae 'flea' (ie, "jag-the-flae" is modeled on the traditional "prick-(the-)louse")]
http://www.languagehat.com/archives/2003_01.php

John Pepys humiliated again, today by proxy.

Bradford   Link to this

"a glass of bad syder"---another ingenious alternative to medicinal physique.

"his new far low dining room, which is very noble"---would his old one be the "near" one with the "far" new one in a room beyond that?

jeannine   Link to this

"I think to fetch over my young Lord Hinchinbroke"
During his "retirement" Lord Sandwich had actually been spending a lot of time with the education of his children, Lord Hinchinbroke being one of them. This most likely was one of the trips abroad that L.Hinchinbroke made as part of his education. Much of Sandwich's activity in 1663 will be oriented with these types of family matters.

TerryF   Link to this

A better URL for language hat's treatment of Pricklouse http://www.languagehat.com/archives/000364.php

David Scrimshaw   Link to this

While "pricklouse" meant "tailor", I'm wondering if both Samuel and Elizabeth might have been thinking similar things as we might think about the word now.

"Prick" according to the Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/ :
"Earliest recorded use for "penis" is 1592"

And "louse" the singular of "lice": "parasitic insect infecting human hair and skin,". Slang meaning "obnoxious person" is from 1633. The plural lice shows effects of i-mutation. Lousy is 1377 "infested with lice;" figurative use as a generic term of abuse dates from c.1386

Australian Susan   Link to this

" new far low dining room"
Is this a transcription error? Doesn't seem to make immediate sense to me?

Drinking cider which has gone off or over-fermented sounds disgusting. I'm surprised we don't have a description of Sam throwing up in the garden again.

TerryF   Link to this

"new, fair, low dining-room" is what L&M have; methinks a transcription error by Wheatley.

Thanks for the heads-up, Australian Susan.

dirk   Link to this

“I think to fetch over my young Lord Hinchinbroke”

re - Jeannine

This would not be to see Hinchinbroke off to France -- presumably Sandwich intends to go to France to bring Hinchinbroke (who -- with his brother -- had been spending some time in France for his education) back to England.

On 11 April 1663 (Continental calendar = 1 April 1663 British calendar) a Mr De Jacquières (presumably the children's teacher in France), from Paris, wrote a letter to Sandwich:

"Thanks the Earl for the kind and only too favourable impressions of the writer, which his Lordship's generosity has led him to form, and to express in the letter lately received. The writer has the highest expectations of the good conduct and great promise of the Earls' boys ["De messieurs (sic) Le Comte, et de M. de Sidni, vos enfans"]; and will do his best, in the discharge of his duty in respect to them."

-----

A month earlier Hinchinbroke had written to Sandwich that:
"The writer and his brother go on steadily with their exercises, but the latter is not yet strong enough to learn to ride. Both grow fast in stature, and will strive also to grow in merit."

Source:
Bodleian Library
http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects...

Michael L   Link to this

More likely she called him a slang word for a tailor because Sam's father is a tailor -- it is an insult at his family origins.

Mary   Link to this

pricklouse/beggar

Presumably Sam flings the term 'beggar' at Elizabeth because she brought no dowry with her when they were married but, on the contrary, regularly seeks her husband's help in promoting the interests of her lacklustre brother.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

home to dinner, and very merry and well pleased with my wife

It would be nice to have E's view of this turn. For Sam, the morning storm cleared the air, it seems. He remembers to record the taunts, and the diary gives us the the ups and downs, but all from his side.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

One does wonder what Bess did to "please" her boy.

Or perhaps Sam is hesitant to tell even the Diary that he wussed completely...Returning bearing some trinket purchased by Hewer and with abject apology.

1)the dutiful wife

"Well?"

"My God. Bess, the house has never been so clean. Well done."

"We just needed a little time, Sam. I know you rise early and work late and I feel badly ma petit when you're not satisfied with my running of the house but please, dear, a little forbearance, there's no need to hurt my feelings as mistress of the house."

"My, my. I'm sorry, dearest."

***
2)the coquette...

"Well?"

Ummn...Sam stares.

"Am I...Properly dressed...Or otherwise...for thorough house cleaning? Ma petit..." wicked grin.

"Ah...Ha-hah...Ummn..."

"I've sent the girls out for the afternoon. Suppose we do a little...Cleaning...here in the kitchen before we dine."

"Ah...Hum...Ha...Ah..."

"Ma petit..."

I really must take dinner alone with Bess more often...

3) the repressed wife...

"So, rather a rough morning, eh Mrs. P? Well, let us speak no more of it. I'm sure my little beggar of a wife will try harder to please me in future."

Hmmn...Bess fingers the chopper behind her back. Hack him up in the kitchen and face hanging?...Or try to grin and bear it a bit longer?

C.J.Darby   Link to this

"Being Weary" It appears to me he seldom goes to bed before midnight and rises regularly "betimes" which I have gotten into my head is approximatly 6.00 a.m. No wonder he is sometimes tired. He has also written into his diary in the past 3 days the equivalent of 2500 words. Busy man, it's a pity he takes it out on poor Elizabeth but he seems to have realised he was at fault in this case.

Stolzi   Link to this

Pricklouse and beggar

He was from the striving bourgeoisie, she was from the impoverished nobility. A fact which resurfaces here in this quarrel, I think.

The passage caused me to look up the biographical entry for Elizabeth Pepys, and to read her epitaph. This part of it confused me:

"She bore no offspring, for she could not have borne her life."

Any interpretations? And can anyone tell me, was this epitaph originally written in Latin, in which case there might be some fault in the translation here?

Saying that a person "cannot bear their life" usually means aggravation, but I have never thought that either of the Pepyses would be sorry to have children, - on the contrary.

GrahamT   Link to this

Stolzi:
Original Latin epitaph here:
http://static.flickr.com/52/117787356_58f873ca5...
(it means nothing to me)

Linda   Link to this

Being Weary. I have been trying to work out how much he generally gets - I can't see many entries which say when he goes to bed. But he is active up until 9 or 10 at night at least. I suppose his world is relatively small, so it doesn't take him long to walk between work and home, or between the houses of hs friends or social places.

GrahamT   Link to this

Robert: sorry to be pedantic: once I would have ignored, but the same error 3 times in one posting, I can't.
Elizabeth probably spoke good French, (being French) so she would never mix her genders. She would have said mon petit (maculine) or ma petite (fem) depending on what the implied subject was, so mon petit pou (my little louse) or ma petite puce (my little flea), but never ma petit anything.

language hat   Link to this

epitaph:
I'm very dubious about that version. If you google “She bore no offspring, for she could not have borne her life,” that's the only hit. The original epitaph was in Latin, as we learn from Highways and Byways in London by Emily Constance Baird Cook: "Poor Elizabeth Pepys! She was only twenty-nine when she died, and that long, artificial Latin screed seems all too long and laboured for her lovely and poetic youth." I hope someone can locate it. (If you want to see the Cook book, go to Google Books and search on "Elizabeth Pepys", epitaph -- it's the only hit.)

language hat   Link to this

OED:
In case it's not clear, the bracketed insertions in the citations TerryF quotes are by me.

jeannine   Link to this

Elizabeth's epitaph
I posted the orignal epitaphs (translation from the Latin probably,although not noted on that site). It was from a website that is now gone. I have another version from a book that translates that section differently saying "without having borne issue, becasue she would not produce her equal" (Patrick Delaforce's translation).

It definitely was intended to be a compliment.

jeannine   Link to this

"Beggar" and "Pricklouse"
This exchange is often quoted when writers discuss the Pepys relationship. Stolzi sums up the basic insults. He slams her for her poverty and she slams back for his lack of status.
Robert brings up another whole issue that the diary leaves us with throughout. We never know how these things erupted, who said what first, etc. We never hear Elizabeth's voice and are left to wonder just where she came from on these issues. Robert gives up 3 totally different scenarios and there could be many, many more. We'll just never know her side.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Deuce it be:(being come to some angry words with my wife about neglecting the keeping of the house clean, I calling her beggar, and she me pricklouse, which vexed me)

TerryF   Link to this

Are the “beggar” and “pricklouse” competing perfectionists?

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

advantage Sam? "...and very merry and well pleased with my wife..." Winner in game of tennis/Life, for a moment she had rattled Sam and Sam finally got the last lob in. He ate well, now in some Households, it be not a burnt offering in sight and his cap be in the churchyard across the street, or would that be the cole sellar with the Dogge.

jeannine   Link to this

Stolzi, part II

"She bore no offspring, for she could not have borne her life.” -this was copied and pasted from a website. Upon research, that site must have had a typo-- I have found another version in a book , very similar to that site's translation and it reads "like" not "life", which makes more sense to the reading. It probaly should read
"She bore no offspring, for she could not have borne her like."
I'll follow up and will locate the orignal Latin and will post it but it will take me awhile to do so.

Clement   Link to this

Inscription
Todd Bernhardt provided a photo of Elisabeth's memorial bust in a wonderful Discussion Page photo album, "City of London Walk." It is tantilizingly close to legible.
http://www.smartgroups.com/pictures/openpicture...
Surely one of our annotaters with more familiarity with Latin than I have can suss this out.

TerryF   Link to this

Inscription tantalizingly close to legible.

but not quite using Microsoft Photo Editor. Perhaps someone adept in Photoshop can make it out and transcribe it, then a superior Latinist can translate it for the rest of us.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Elizabeth's epitaph

GrahamT (above) supplies a view of the memorial bust on which one can make out the following words bearing on the disputed translation: "Prolem enixa, quia parem non potuit," followed by what appears to be the word "nulli."

Prolem means progeny, enixa can be gatranslated "gave birth to," parem, a present subjective active form of to provide or furnish. So I suggest that the phrase is a simple, straightforward description of her condition:
"She had no children because she was unable to conceive."

Clement   Link to this

Epitaph

Thank you, A.Hamilton, and Graham T's photo is much clearer.
I'd only modify the interpretation to say it's a straightforward description of what Sam wants to portray as her condition.

language hat   Link to this

"quia parem non potuit"

This means 'because she could not [give birth to] an equal'; parem is the accusative of par '(an) equal.'

Ruben   Link to this

Samuelis Pepys has no demonstration that the lady was to blame for her being childless. Till this day a lot of females have to live with this kind of sex discrimination.

Xjy   Link to this

The epitaph
From Graham T's pic.

"ELISABETHA PEPYS, SAMUELIS PEPYS, Classi Regiae ab Actis, Vxor, Quae in Cornobio primum, Aula dein educata Gallica, Vtriusque, una claruit virtutibus; Forma, Artibus, Linguis cultissima; Prolem enixa, quia parem non potuit, nullam; Huic demum placide cum valedixerat, Confecto per amaeniora fere Europae itinera, Potiorem redux abiit lustratura mundum.
Obiit X.o Novembris ANNO AEtatis 29.o ANNO Conjugii XV.o ANNO DOMINI 1669.o"

[Very roughly] "Elizabeth Pepys, wife of Samuel Pepys, of the Documents of the Royal Navy, who was first educated in Cornobio [?] then in the French Hall [?], equally splendid for her prowess; most cultivated in beauty, arts and tongues; she bore no offspring, because she was unable to bear her like; when she had finally bidden this world farewell, worn out [?] by rather pleasant journeys around Europe [?], she departed to shine, come again, her light on a better world.
Died on 10th November in her 29th year of age, 15th year of marriage, and 1669th year of the lord."

Some experienced New Latinist needs to work on this, especially the "confecto" clause.

language hat   Link to this

The epitaph

Thanks for the transcription, Xjy. Cornobio seems to be a variant of Cornubio '[in] Cornish' (Cornubia is the medieval Latin name of Cornwall, and I presume this is an adjective Cornobius, but what it's modifying is a mystery to me); Aula Gallica is 'the French Court'; the “confecto” clause is a mystery to me as well (again, why is confectus in the masculine dative/ablative?).

language hat   Link to this

cornobio:
I just checked the translation jeannine quoted, and it says 'convent.' That must be right, but I'd sure like to know how they get it.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Caenobio be convent many references on Google :
Cornubio be Cornwall and Cornugallia French segment Horn of France : Cornu be horn that be, the horn of England jutting out to the mare
there could be a miss-spelling

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Errata : s/b Cornubia

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Convent/covent ,Nunnery : was not available for young girls till the age of 12; with a dowery to boot;
Education for girls was strictly by tutor, or a wise parent

language hat   Link to this

"Cornobio" = Coenobio
Of course you're right, IAS, that must read -oe- (an alternate spelling of -ae-), not -or-. Well done!

Paul Dyson   Link to this

The epitaph
According to Tomalin pp280ff Sam and Elizabeth visited France, especially Paris, from late August to mid-October 1669. On the journey home Elizabeth was taken ill and she died at Seething Lane on 10th November.
This, I submit, explains the tricky sentence "Huic ... mundum."
"Huic" is dative singular (all genders) and means "to this"; if unaccompanied by a noun it often means "to this man/woman/person". As "confecto" can also be dative singular it is likely that it agrees with "huic". I suggest that both refer to Sam and that, if so, the meaning of the sentence is: "When at last she had gently said goodbye to this man [i.e. Sam], who was worn out by generally rather pleasant journeys in Europe, she departed, taken back to make a tour of a better world." It does seem odd to describe Sam as the one who was worn out and it would be more comprehensible if the feminine "confecta" were use. On the other hand "confecto" might have an intransitive meaning "after he had finished". Apologies for the Latin pedantry but it all looks like Sam's tenderly allusive way of saying that Elizabeth tragically died at the end of a journey abroad they had enjoyed together, and on which, as Tomalin suggests, she may have enjoyed showing him the places of her childhood upbringing, including the convent.

jeannine   Link to this

Paul,
Spoiler (but after the diary closes), When seeing the "itinerary" given to Sam by John Evelyn for their journey to France, it must have been an unbelievable adventure for them. John Evelyn's letter to Sam around August 1669 is called a "brief guide to France" and in perfect "Eveyln" style-- it's about 8 pages of book size type and detail galore --full of things to see and do during their travels. Elizabeth returned home ill from that journey, so the references to being worn out could have easily refered to her. At that point in their life I believe that Sam was working on "repairing" their marriage and found this trip to be an enjoyable delight. It must have been full of riotous laughs and enjoyment, after all, they went with Balty!

Ruben   Link to this

Another first for Pepys, this grand tour of his, years before the crowd.

language hat   Link to this

confecto:
Doesn't have to mean 'worn out'; conficio can mean 'carry out, accomplish; manufacture, prepare; record, compose; produce, cause; collect, amass; finish off, conclude; traverse, cover (a distance); live through (a period of time); consume; destroy' among other things. In classical Latin, that is; we need an expert on 17th-century UK Latinity! But in this case it looks to me like "having accomplished generally rather pleasant journeys in Europe" is more plausible.

Australian Susan   Link to this

confecto

When I learnt Latin (not quite in the 17th century, but nearly then), "confecto" was taught to me as completed, finished or done with.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Every word can have a subtle inferred meaning, like "Aula Gallica "
French Courtiers. There be "Palace, Court etc." The Word "educata " can also mean Tutors which be more appropriate for the times. [Educator, -oris, educata Nom Plu] So few got formal brainwashing, those that swore on a stack of books, got the seats at the feet of the sanctioned clergy at the time, other wise it be tutors.

Bradford   Link to this

Another transcription of Elisabeth's epitaph is posted on her separate page; I should have noted it here. I mention it now only because I attempted to transcribe what I saw, not what I expected to see. Can someone explain the scatteration of strange accents, if that's what they are?

http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/150/

Paul Dyson   Link to this

Elizabeth's epitaph

Thanks to Grahamt for the much improved clarity of the photo of Elizabeth's epitaph, and to Bradford for the very detailed transcription.

On Roman tombstones letters were often combined to save space or even omitted, which presumably saved engraver's fees too. In the latter case they were usually replaced by a sort of shorthand mark. Similar practice continued in the 17th century, so that here a swung dash indicates that an "m" has been omitted at the end of a word; as Latin is inflected it is vital to know this in order to recognise an accusative case singular ending. The 3 symbol at the end of "utriusq" indicates the omission of the letters "ue". The horizontal line under "p" indicates the omission of "er". The circumflex (inverted v) accent over some final letters "a" shows that the words are ablative case singular rather than nominative which has the same form. The other accents I am unable to explain. The "o" superscript after the numerals in the lower cartouche represents an ablative ending of a Latin ordinal numer, e.g Xo = "decimo" = "on the tenth [day]". It's anomalous to find this after an arabic numeral.

Putting the transcription into modern lettering and completing all words it reads as follows:

ELISABETHA PEPYS
SAMUELIS PEPYS, Classi Regiae ab Actis, Vxor
Quae in Coenobio primum, Aula dein educata Gallica
Utriusque una claruit virtutibus;
Forma, Artibus, Linguis cultissima;
Prolem enixa, quia parem non potuit, nullam;
Huic demum placide cum valedixerat,
Confecto per amaeniora fere Europae itinere
Potiorem redux abiit lustratura mundum.

Obiit
Xo Novembris
ANNO Aetatis 29o
Coniugii XVo
Domino 1669o

Now that the word "itinere" is clearly readable, it can be seen that it is an ablative singular with which "confecto" agrees. The phrase "confecto itinere" is thus an Ablative Absolute, meaning (literally) "a journey having been completed", or (more felicitously) "after completing a journey". This renders much of my previous annotation incorrect and redundant.

Thus a possible full translation might be [words in square brackets not present in the Latin]:

ELIZABETH PEPYS
Wife of SAMUEL PEPYS, Royal Navy Clerk of the Acts,
Who, educated first in [the] Coenobium, then in the French Court,
shone above all others in the virtues of both;
[She was] most refined in Beauty, Arts and Languages;
She bore no offspring, because she could not [have borne] her equal;
When she had gently bidden farewell to this [world] just after completing a journey through altogether the more pleasant parts of Europe, she departed, taken back to wander over a better world.

She died
On the 10th of November
In the 29th Year of her Age
In the Fifteenth Year of her Marriage
In the Year of Our Lord 1669

Bradford   Link to this

Superbly informative in every way: thank you, Paul. And a most moving testimonial.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

I fully concur,
Paul Dyson’s thorough exegesis clarifies the entire epitaph, and he deserves our warm appreciation. For its literary quality, however, I would still commend the English translation that Jeannine found for us on 3 January, with ‘like’ substituted for ‘life’ (a crucial mistranscription) and ‘grander” properly spelled. I take the liberty to reproduce it here, with those changes, for the possible convenience of later readers:

Wife of Samuel Pepys (who serves the Royal Navy).
She was educated first in a convent, and then in a seminary of France.
She was distinguished by the excellence of both at once,
Gifted with beauty, accomplishments, tongues,
She bore no offspring, for she could not have borne her like.
At length when she had bidden this world a gentle farewell,
(After a journey completed through, we may say, the lovelier sights of Europe) —
A returning pilgrim, she took her departure to wander through a grander world.

Xjy   Link to this

The epitaph
Yep. Our collective sinews seem to have cracked the conundrum.
I think the two translations given last - Paul D's and the one reproduced by Paul C - do the job.

But I would replace the "gentle"s with "peaceful" and (after wallowing in the etymological swamps of "luo" and "lustrum" etc) still go for "illuminate" instead of the more prosaic "wander".
My thought is that she is being compared to a heavenly body wandering the skies and illuminating the better afterworld that way. It is after all a Baroque conceit... ;-) This gives the "redux" a hint of resurrection like the returning stars etc ("soles occidere et redire possunt.//Nobis cum semel occidit breuis lux//nox est perpetua una dormienda").

So I'd suggest something like:
"when she had finally bidden this world a peaceful farewell, after completing a journey through the most delightful parts of Europe, she departed it to return to a better one and shine her light upon it."

It's nice to actually be able to make some sensible use of all the magical tools of communication and reference we are spoilt with!! :-) Tying together Lewis and Short (Latin dic), paleographical refs, pix of the epitaph, etc, pooling our various Latin knowledges and contextual snippets... it feels just wonderful!

Paul Dyson   Link to this

The epitaph
Sam was probably more steeped in classical literature than any of us, given the higher education curriculum of that time. Perhaps he is using "lustratura" in a punning way, getting in ideas of shining light, going on a grand tour and religious purification all at once. Difficult to find a single adequate translation, despite the enthusiasm of such a group of Latin-lovers!

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.