Tuesday 8 December 1663

Lay long in bed, and then up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and among other things my Lord Barkely called in question his clerk Mr. Davy for something which Sir W. Batten and I did tell him yesterday, but I endeavoured to make the least of it, and so all was put up. At noon to the ‘Change, and among other businesses did discourse with Captain Taylor, and I think I shall safely get 20l. by his ship’s freight at present, besides what it may be I may get hereafter. So home to dinner, and thence by coach to White Hall, where a great while walked with my Lord Tiviott, whom I find a most carefull, thoughtfull, and cunning man, as I also ever took him to be. He is this day bringing in an account where he makes the King debtor to him 10,000l. already on the garrison of Tangier account; but yet demands not ready money to pay it, but offers such ways of paying it out of the sale of old decayed provisions as will enrich him finely. Anon came my Lord Sandwich, and then we fell to our business at the Committee about my Lord Tiviott’s accounts, wherein I took occasion to speak now and then, so as my Lord Sandwich did well seem to like of it, and after we were up did bid me good night in a tone that, methinks, he is not so displeased with me as I did doubt he is; however, I will take a course to know whether he be or no. The Committee done, I took coach and home to my office, and there late, and so to supper at home, and to bed, being doubtful of my pain through the very cold weather which we have, but I will take all the care I can to prevent it.

6 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

"methinks, he is not so displeased with me as I did doubt he is; however, I will take a course to know whether he be or no."

And if no, what solace then? One might as well make a fortune selling wormy hardtack, like Lord Tiviott---but who would purchase it? Caveat emptor!

Terry F   Link to this

"did discourse with Captain Taylor, and I think I shall safely get 20l. by his ship's freight at present, besides what it may be I may get hereafter."

This goes back to 21 February 1662/63 - "Captn. Taylor and Bowry, whose ship we have hired for Tangier, they walked along with me to Cornhill talking about their business, and after some difference about their prices we agreed, and so they would have me to a tavern, and there I drank one glass of wine and discoursed of something about freight of a ship that may bring me a little money" http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/02/21/

A little here, a litte there; it all adds up, if we don't spend too much on clothes, etc.

cumgranosalis   Link to this

investment business, risque couple a bob and if the goods be 'wot' they say sell it and get thy monies back plus prophet back.
Many were and still are ready to risk monies on getting wealthy, West Africa still a place that many will risque their life savings for a gift horse.
Sam has some inside Knowledge and some leverage over his taking chances with his little sack of gold.
Bottoms up.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

A Pepysian Christmas Carol, cont...

"The door of Sam's closet was open that the great man, now after years of vicious, bitter infighting with his colleagues, sole ruler of the roost, might keep his eye upon all his clerks, who in their dismally dark and chilly room beyond, were feverishly copying hundreds of letters and documents, led from a dank corner cell, counted by Pepys as a generously bestowed office, by his able chief clerk, one Will Hewer.

Now the fire in Pepys' office was miserable and that of the great outer office, niggardly...But the fire in Hewer's tiny chamber, door open to the outer office at all times, was a single feeble coal. But Will dared not replenish it anymore than his subordinates, for the coal-box was in Sam's room and so surely as the chief clerk or any other came in with a shovel, so surely would the master have felt it necessary for them to part. Therefore he, like his fellows, bundled himself as best he could and tried to warm his hands by candle...Which being a young man of limited imagination, he failed.

"Merry Christmas, brother!! God save you!!" a woman's cheerful voice. Sam, startled as his stunned clerks looked to see where a handsome, dark-haired woman in her contented late thirties stood, bright roses from the cold outside on her cheeks, her dress plain and sturdy yet with an elegant touch somehow briefly reminding Sam, as he looked her over with a icy frown, of...Someone... It was the voice of Sam's sister, Paulina, Pall by nickname...

"Take it out side, sister! This is a place of business, what the devil do you mean storming in here...?"

"And...?" Pall, with mischeiveous grin, glowing from her fast walk, waiting expectantly for completion of her brother's yearly rant.

Not bad at all...Why does her brother call her plain? One of the clerks eyeing her briefly out of a corner cubbyhole...

"What? Oh, yes...Bah, humbug."

She grinned more merrily, shaking head..Samuel... "Christmas a humbug, brother? Come on, you don't mean it and you know it."

'I do,' said Sam. 'Merry Christmas?! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough.'

'Come, then,' returned the sister gaily. 'What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough.'

Pepys having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, 'Bah!' again, and followed it up with 'Humbug!'

'Don't be cross, brother.' said the sister.

'What else can I be,' returned Pepys, 'when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas. What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and finding them barely so? If I could work my will,' said Sam indignantly,'We\'d go back to the fanatiques' way of banning the silly celebrations and having every idiot who going about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, declared a Papist, hanged, drawn and quartered, then boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!'

'Samuel! You know the King loves Christmas!' pleaded the sister, looking nervous. 'As does our father.'

Ummn... 'Well, a king must set the religious tone for the State. And Father is a foolish old man who can be forgiven his weaknesses. But everyone else who celebrates here is probably a Papist.'

'Sam!'

'Sister!' returned the brother, sternly, 'You and the King keep Christmas in your own ways, and let me keep it in mine.'

One of the King's spies among the clerks carefully noting the remark for his report on the Naval Office...Not one that would land Pepys in the Tower as it suggested unflinching devotion to duty but definitely another nix on the knighthood, the King prefering a little gaiety among his courtiers.

'Keep it!' repeated Pall, sighing. 'But you don't keep it. Not even with your aged father and family.'

'Let me leave it and you alone, then,' said Pepys. 'Much good may it do you.Much good it has ever done you!'

'There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' Pall shook her head. 'Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, brother, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!'

The clerks in the tank involuntarily applauded. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, Hewer moved to silence them, poking his fire as he rose, and extinguishing the last frail spark for ever.

'Let me hear another sound from you gentlemen!' cried Sam, '...and you'll all keep your Christmas by losing your situation! You're quite a powerful speaker, ma'am,' he added, turning to his sister. 'I wonder you don't go into Parliament.'

[spoiler-there will be a few]
'Are you still smarting over that loss, Samuel? Oh, now, don't be angry, brother. Come! Dine with us tomorrow at Jane Turner's. Father will be there and longs to see you. As do dear Jane and Theophilia...Though The'd never admit it.'

Pepys said that he would see her and them all-yes, indeed he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see them in that extremity first.

'But why?' cried Sam's sister. 'Why?'

'Why did you get married against my wishes?' asked Sam.

'Because I fell in love.'

'Because you fell in love!' growled Pepys, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. 'Good afternoon!'

'Nay, brother, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?'

'Good afternoon,' said Sam.

'Brampton was left to Father in his life you know that. As for me and my dear husband we want nothing from you. Sam, I ask nothing of you, why cannot we be friends?'

'Good afternoon,' said Pepys. 'Hewer! My sister is leaving.'

'I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party.'

Ummn...She paused... 'Well, since I left working for you and Bess, I mean. Anyway, I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humour to the last. So A Merry Christmas, brother!'

'Good afternoon.' said Sam.

'And A Happy New Year!'

'Good afternoon!' said Sam."

***

Terry F   Link to this

(Ebenezer) Pepys's accounts of his accounts -

How much more often we read in the Journall of expenditures rather than income!

How did it come about that at the end of last month Pepys could say "making up my accounts of this month, and blessed be God I have got up my crumb again to 770l."

Robert, simply brilliant!

Robert Gertz   Link to this

And just a bit more... Pepysian Christmas carol, con't.

"His sister left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding. Stopping in the outer office to bestow the greeting of the season on the clerks, who, cold as they were, were warmer than Sam; for all returned them cordially.

'There's a fool's lot,' muttered Pepys. 'My clerks, averaging fifteen shillings a week, some with wives and family, talking about a merry Christmas. I'll retire to the new lunatics hospital at Bedlam."

The lunatic Hewer, in letting Sam's sister out, had let two other people in. They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Sam's office. They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him.

'Mr. Pepys, I believe,' said one of the gentlemen, smiling at him.

'I see you've forgotten me, sir. It's been some time since we met in person. I am Thomas Povey.'

Crap...Sam frowned. A bad penny will turn up...

'Yes of course, Mr. Povey. It has been a while.'

[Spoiler]

'Yes. You've been rather difficult to reach by post, Pepys.' Povey sighed...But waved a hand at Pepys' frown. 'But I'm not hear to discuss the Tangier treasury today.'

Phew...

'Little to discuss, Povey.' Sam hastily noted. 'The job's been of no profit to me except in fulfilling my duty to the King.'

Hewer gagged a bit, listening...Having the latest five hundred pounds profit raked in sitting on his desk. The other clerks eyeing each other.

'Strange. In my worst year...' Povey gave a hard look but shrugged. "Well, save that for now...So you're running the whole show these days, I see. Batten, Penn, and Minnes all gone now?"

'Sir William Batten has been dead these seven years,' Pepys replied. 'He died seven years ago, this very night.'

And his damned wife never did repay me what he owed me...Frown at the memory.

'And Penn and Minnes followed in their due course.'

'A pity, I always enjoyed Sir John's commentary on Shakespeare. Well, we have no doubt his and the Sir Wills famous liberality are well represented by their surviving associate,' said the other gentleman, presenting his credentials.

At the ominous word, liberality, Sam frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back.

'At this festive season of the year, Pepys,' said Mr. Povey, taking up a pen, 'It is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, particularly our gallant ex-seamen, who suffer greatly at the present time. In your position you are well aware that many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir. Not to mention those wounded or suffering from post-traumatic stress from the Dutch war.'

'Are there no prisons?' asked Pepys.

'Plenty of prisons,' said Povey, laying down the pen again.

'And the workhouses.' demanded Sam. 'Are they still in operation?'

'They are. Still,' returned the other gentleman,' I wish I could say they were not.'

'They are in full vigour, then?' said Sam.

'Both very busy, sir.'

Povey eyeing Hewer in his cell who shrugged...

'Oh. I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,' said Pepys. 'I'm very glad to hear it.'

'Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude...' returned Povey, 'A few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. Considering these include many who've done the King and your office good service...Not to mention allowed you to make considerable profit... What shall I put you down for?'

'Nothing!' Pepys replied.

'You wish to be anonymous?' the other gentleman tried.

'I wish to be left alone,' said Sam. 'Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off and can no longer be of service must go there.'

'Many can't go there; and many would rather die. Men who've bled for this Nation, Pepys.'

'If they would rather die,' said Sam, 'They had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides-excuse me-I don't know that or that all have shed blood.'

'But you might know it,' observed Povey. 'And considering you've never shed blood...'

'It's not my business,' Sam returned. 'Human resources in the Navy are handled by Mr. Howe at the Duke's office at Whitehall. It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!'

Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew. Sam resumed his labours with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.

'Hewer? You see how I handled those two clowns?! That Povey...Still and ever a coxcomb for all his culture.'

Ummn... 'Box those Tangier profits and run them up to my banker's at once. Soon as you're sure Povey and his friend have left the grounds.'

'Yes, sir.'"

***

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