Thursday 3 September 1663

Up betimes, and for an hour at my viall before my people rise. Then up and to the office a while, and then to Sir W. Batten, who is going this day for pleasure down to the Downes. I eat a breakfast with them, and at my Lady’s desire with them by coach to Greenwich, where I went aboard with them on the Charlotte yacht. The wind very fresh, and I believe they will be all sicke enough, besides that she is mighty troublesome on the water. Methinks she makes over much of her husband’s ward, young Mr. Griffin, as if she expected some service from him when he comes to it, being a pretty young boy.

I left them under sayle, and I to Deptford, and, after a word or two with Sir J. Minnes, walked to Redriffe and so home. In my way, it coming into my head, overtaking of a beggar or two on the way that looked like Gypsys, what the Gypsys 8 or 9 days ago had foretold, that somebody that day se’nnight should be with me to borrow money, but I should lend none; and looking, when I came to my office, upon my journall, that my brother John had brought a letter that day from my brother Tom to borrow 20l. more of me, which had vexed me so that I had sent the letter to my father into the country, to acquaint him of it, and how little he is beforehand that he is still forced to borrow. But it pleased me mightily to see how, contrary to my expectations, having so lately lent him 20l., and belief that he had money by him to spare, and that after some days not thinking of it, I should look back and find what the Gypsy had told me to be so true.

After dinner at home to my office, and there till late doing business, being very well pleased with Mr. Cutler’s coming to me about some business, and among other things tells me that they value me as a man of business, which he accounts the best virtuoso, and I know his thinking me so, and speaking where he comes, may be of good use to me.

Home to supper, and to bed.

28 Annotations

TerryF  •  Link

"they value me as a man of business, which he accounts the best virtuoso"


virtuoso 1620, "scholar, connoisseur," from It. virtuoso (pl. virtuosi), noun use of adj. meaning "skilled, learned, of exceptional worth," from L.L. virtuosus (see virtuous). Meaning "person with great skill" (as in music) is first attested 1743.

The OED might give a shout out to PEPYS Diary.

TerryF  •  Link


An online article thereon by the late Marjorie Hope Nicolson in the *Dictionary of the History of Ideas*, Vol. 4, pp. 486-490, featuring, near the beginning, "John Evelyn is the best single example of the English virtuoso both before and after the Restoration." (486).The initial meaning had to do with collecting, then was a term for a member of the Royal Society, at first in description -- Pepys's Diary is cited -- then in satire (the RS experiments were not understood by outsiders or the King); and Elizabeth Pepys is cited as an example of a virtuosa. -

Bradford  •  Link

"But it pleased me mightily to see how . . . after some days not thinking of it, I should look back and find what the Gypsy had told me to be so true."

Why so? Pepys does not seem the sort who seeks justifications of superstition. Perhaps it's that he now finds his ninepence was not misspent on an inaccurate prophecy? Value for Money!

dirk  •  Link

Probably Pepys was superstitious to a degree, although he also was a practical man with a scientific mind. Superstition was still very much alive in 17th britain -- albeit unofficially, as serious religion of course couldn't approve of it.

At a later stage of the diary [slight spoiler !!!] Sam will even record a couple of "medical" charms. Whether he believed in them is another matter!

1 December 1664:
(for dealing with burns)
"There came Three Angels out of the East;
The one brought fire, the other brought frost –
Out fire; in frost,
In the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen."
[No, there's no error here: the contradiction between 3 and 2 is apparently part of the charm in its 17th c form.]

31 December 1664:
(for a cramp)
"Cramp be thou Faintless, As our Lady was sinless, when she bore

For a discussion of these charms and others, see:

chris  •  Link

Sam and the gypsies. We all nurse the irrational alongside the rational. We drink or smoke despite the evidence, and hold all sorts of irreconcilable beliefs. Don't the psychologists call it cognitive dissonance? Sam is very familiar to us.

tel  •  Link

Sam and the gypsies.
I imagine Sam may have felt slightly guilty about turning Tom's request down in such an agressive manner. The gypsies may have allowed him to justify it to himself - "it wasn't just me being mean, it must have been fate."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

What's eating Sam regards the Battens? Seems he's being especially snappish today. Just mad at being dragged off to see them off? Mot being invited to join the cruise? Or does he sense calculation and insincerity in Lady Batten's invites...One too many pointed questions as to how good ole Sandwich is doing...In Chelsea...These days? A strong hint that a "good fellow and office comrade" like Sam ought to overlook a few merchants visiting Sir Will in his home or be more willing to pass on contracts of interest to the Battens?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I notice he's eager to throw in the final note about being appreciated by Cutler as a man of business. Did Lady Batten and Sir Will perhaps rub salt in the old "Your servant, Samuel Pepys" wound, even albeit unconsciously? A few too many jokes about how quaint and unnecessary Sam's busy fluttering about the office is?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Naval...House of Cards."

"Oh...They treat me like their errand boy." Sam notes grimly to Bess on return from his forced attendance on Sir Will and his Lady.

"But I'll bring them all down...One day. And run that office as its Master."

"You will, dearest." Elisabeth nods solemnly. "You'll break them in the end. You just let Coventry and the Duke keep seeing you for what you are and them as the fools they are."

"Yes...Well, we may very well think so, Bess. But...For now, I couldn't possibly comment."

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"Methinks she makes over much of her husband’s ward, young Mr. Griffin, as if she expected some service from him when he comes to it, being a pretty young boy."

What exactly does Sam mean by this? Sounds salacious to me, but that's probably my filthy mind, and not Sam's...

Bradford  •  Link

Projection: if Pepys had a ward (or a protege, or a brother under his direction) (my word, so he does), he would expect Great Things as a return on his investment---as with the gypsy---as with Mr. Cutler---as with (add your own examples from recent entries). Money answereth all things.

Aqua  •  Link

RG: Yes, very Formal and the contrast of the meaner sort, studied with full blown servitude, of a lessor, I was waiting for him to say 'My dreaded liege [or Sire]',[word or two ] Sir J Minnes.

TerryF  •  Link

Pepys, ever-eager to comply with "my Lady's desire", has even more urgent motives than ever -- surely pity and concern, and anger at Milord, who done her wrong (or so SP, along with many others).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Aren't we talking about Lady Batten here, Terry? Not dear Lady Jem.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thw Ward and Lady Batten

Yes, well, the ideas floating around TerryF's mind floated round mine too, but I think Sam is meaning she expects either a monetary return or some sort of social advantage once the young man is raised in importance or has a place somewhere. And he's mildly peeved that he does not have a chance of such advantages to exploit. I am not sure how Sam would react to Lady B having a toy boy.(or being a Mrs Robinson) Probably how he reacts to Sandwich and the "Chelsey slut".

Australian Susan  •  Link

"an hour at my viall before my people rise"

C'mon RG, this cries out for dialogue!!

Wonder if later entries record mysterious unseen string breakages......

Aqua  •  Link

Who gives a hoot, the owl be abed and Sam'l be upset after a session at the old Baily where necks come and go for wringing, and ripe venison not be washed down with germ killing swill, and there be the laudly ones on their hi horse, of course Sam'l want to drown out 'is thoughts. "an hour at my viall before my people rise"

Joe  •  Link

"and looking, when I came to my office, upon my journall..."

The fortune-teller incident is interesting, perhaps not least because it prompts Pepys to reread his "journall" to refresh his memory. Until now, as far as I can tell (after a search of "journall" and "journal"), Pepys mentions only writing it, not reading it.

arby  •  Link

I think it's cognitive dissonance only when the person is aware of the contradictions. I think we all know people who can float through life completely unaware of that some of their beliefs are in opposition.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. / Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance—as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Yesterday "... the Lords called us in, being appointed four days ago to attend them with an account of the riott among the seamen the other day, when Sir J. Minnes did as like a coxcomb as ever I saw any man speak in my life, and so we were dismissed, they making nothing almost of the matter." Later Pepys left Mennes with the Lord Mayor to write an indictment ... I wouldn't want to be involved with it either!

And today Pepys checks in with Mennes in Deptford for a word or two to make sure everything's proceeding. Isn't this the scene of the crime of short-paying the sailors?

StanB  •  Link

Remembering The Lord Protector today on the 358th Anniversary of his death, Love him,Hate him there's no disputing the part hes played in the rich tapestry of this country's history and lets not forget where Sams initial feelings laid Pre-Restoration. Had Richard had is fathers strength,iron will and constitution, do you think we would be living in a different England today ?

David G  •  Link

I had the same reaction to today's entry as Australian Susan ten years ago. If Sam was up early practicing his viall for an hour but thinks that the rest of the house slept through it, either he's deluding himself or people slept a lot more soundly in 1663 than they do today. As Australian Susan says, a dialogue about people who practice musical instruments at 5:00 am would have been fun.

NJ Lois  •  Link

Cognitive Dissonance : "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth... ." and Darwin's Theory of Evolution. What Fun !

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . which he accounts the best virtuoso . .’

‘virtuoso, n. and adj. < Italian . .
. . 2. a. A person who demonstrates special skill, knowledge, or accomplishment in a particular sphere; an expert or master.
1682 T. Hoy in tr. Ovid Two Ess. Pref. sig. A2v, The extraordinary Conduct and refined Conversation of our new Virtuosi in Love.
. . 1757 London Chron. 8 Jan. 40/1 They had observed with how great Success our Virtuosi in Fruits and Vegetables had heightened the Flavor and improved the Taste of our native Productions.
. . 2000 S. M. Pollan & M. Levine Die Broke Financial Prob. Solver (2001) i. 8 Forget about becoming a financial expert, a marketing virtuoso, or a management guru . . ‘

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’ . . how little he is beforehand . .’

‘beforehand adv.
. . 3. In or into a condition of having more than enough to meet present demands or future contingencies; . . Obs.
. . a1645 D. Featley in T. Fuller Abel Redevivus (1651) 484 He brought the College much before hand, which before..was very much impoverished.
1712 R. Steele Spectator No. 450. ⁋3 Having little or nothing before~hand, and living from Hand to Mouth.
. . 1849 Dickens David Copperfield (1850) xi. 121 ‘And then,’ said Mr. Micawber,..‘I shall, please Heaven, begin to be beforehand with the world,..if—in short, if anything turns up.’ . . ‘

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