Monday 4 January 1663/64

Up betimes, and my wife being ready, and her mayd Besse and the girl, I carried them by coach and set them all down in Covent Garden and there left them, and I to my Lord Sandwich’s lodgings, but he not being up, I to the Duke’s chamber, and there by and by to his closett, where since his lady was ill, a little red bed of velvet is brought for him to lie alone, which is a very pretty one. After doing business here, I to my Lord’s again, and there spoke with him, and he seems now almost friends again as he used to be. Here meeting Mr. Pierce, the chyrurgeon, he told me among other Court newes, how the Queene is very well again, and the King lay with her on Saturday night last; and that she speaks now very pretty English, and makes her sense out now and then with pretty phrazes: as among others this is mightily cried up; that, meaning to say that she did not like such a horse so well as the rest, he being too prancing and full of tricks, she said he did make too much vanity. Thence to the Tennis Court, after I had spent a little time in Westminster Hall, thinking to have met with Mrs. Lane, but I could not and am glad of it, and there saw the King play at Tennis and others: but to see how the King’s play was extolled without any cause at all, was a loathsome sight, though sometimes, indeed, he did play very well and deserved to be commended; but such open flattery is beastly. Afterwards to St. James’s Parke, being unwilling to go to spend money at the ordinary, and there spent an hour or two, it being a pleasant day, seeing people play at Pell Mell; where it pleased me mightily to hear a gallant, lately come from France, swear at one of his companions for suffering his man (a spruce blade) to be so saucy as to strike a ball while his master was playing on the Mall.1 Thence took coach at White Hall and took up my wife, who is mighty sad to think of her father, who is going into Germany against the Turkes; but what will become of her brother I know not. He is so idle, and out of all capacity, I think, to earn his bread. Home and at my office till is at night making my solemn vowes for the next year, which I trust in the Lord I shall keep, but I fear I have a little too severely bound myself in some things and in too many, for I fear I may forget some. But however, I know the worst, and shall by the blessing of God observe to perform or pay my forfeits punctually. So home and to bed with my mind at rest.

  1. When Egerton was Bishop of Durham, he often played at bowls with his guests on the public days. On an occasion of this sort, a visitor happening to cross the lawn, one of the chaplains exclaimed, “You must not shake the green, for the bishop is going to bowl.” — B.

19 Annotations

Pedro   Link to this

"He is so idle, and out of all capacity, I think, to earn his bread."

Interesting use of the term bread? Remember the discussion on "I have got up my crumb again"

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/11/29/

Help please Mr.Hat!

As the use of bread here could be confused for "to earn his living/money", would its slang use be older than we think?


Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...indeed, he did play very well and deserved to be commended; but such open flattery is beastly."

Our honest reporter...Though one wonders how he would have responded to a direct query on the King's play.

***

"...her father, who is going into Germany against the Turkes..."

Good grief let that be a silly notion Sieur Alex is soon removed from...

***

"...thinking to have met with Mrs. Lane, but I could not and am glad of it."

Good husband Sam on one shoulder, urging thoughts of dear Bess...Lecherous Sam on the other, urging thoughts of plump, willing Betty.

Think on Sandwich, Sam...

***
"...but I fear I have a little too severely bound myself in some things and in too many, for I fear I may forget some."

No doubt the contract runs on for ten or twenty pages. Yet apparently none included avoiding dear Mrs. Lane...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...but what will become of her brother I know not."

He'll at least have the good sense not to head for the HRE to offer service against the Turk.

[spoiler]
When will Sam admit he likes Balty? He must have, he put up with him long enough. And, in fairness, Balty did occasionally give good service. Guy must have had the charm to woo a python from a pig.

Clement   Link to this

"into Germany against the Turkes"

The Ottomans' best rulers were mostly in their history by this point, though the greatest extent of Empire's borders were achieved from 1683-1699. Today's reference is to war with their principal regional rival, the Austrian Hapsburgs. "Holy Leagues" with other Eastern European powers, such as Poland, Russia and the Venetians were organized to face the Ottomans and their occasional allies.
The Ottomans led (another) unsuccesful seige of Vienna in 1663, and (hardly a spoiler) lost significantly in 1664 at the Battle of Saint Gotthard.
Their profound influence on the political development of Southeastern Europe lasted for nearly 600 years.

(There are various summaries of "Ottoman Wars in Europe" online, but Wikipedia has one of the more comprehensive, yet concise treatments.)

tel   Link to this

But however, I know the worst, and shall by the blessing of God observe to perform or pay my forfeits punctually. So home and to bed with my mind at rest.

Have we ever established to whom the forfeits are paid?

deepfatfriar   Link to this

"....where it pleased me mightily to hear a gallant, lately come from France, swear at one of his companions for suffering his man (a spruce blade) to be so saucy as to strike a ball while his master was playing on the Mall."

A spruce blade?????

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"A spruce blade."

Along with "jaunty fellow" not an expression much in use outside Errol Flynn films since WWI.

Mary   Link to this

spruce blade.

spruce = trim; neat, smart in dress and appearance.

blade = dashing, lively man.

Tom Burns   Link to this

...the Queene is very well again, and the King lay with her on Saturday night last...

The 1664 version of "Entertainment Tonight"...

I am continually amazed at how little human nature has changed in 400 years.

Xjy   Link to this

A humdinger!

What an entry. So many details from such a range of contexts. The duke's little velvet bed cos of his wife; the king and the "loathsome" "beastly" flattery; the provocations between teams of noble and servant (shades of Don Giovanni and Leporello); New Year vows and the whole religious ballast involved; the queen's English; foreigners and their doings - French, Austrian, Turk; in-laws father and son; all over central London; the wife; the floozy.... Duty, patriotism, deceit, cowardice, bravery, stoicism.

Wow...

Don McCahill   Link to this

> to whom the forfeits are paid

I don't recall seeing, but I suspect that the Church poor box would be the recipient.

> makes her sense out now and then with pretty phrazes

Ah yes, let's all laugh at the foreigner who can't learn proper English what we all learned as children.

Nix   Link to this

"Yet apparently none included avoiding dear Mrs. Lane... " --

The whole secret of keeping New Year's Resolutions is to choose the right ones.

Clement   Link to this

Poor box
5 March, 1662: "Thence to Tom's about business, and so to the pewterer's, to buy a poore's-box to put my forfeits in, upon breach of my late vows."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/03/05/
As mentioned earlier that month, his vows seem to be more of a financial compass than a moral one. He was concerned with restricting spending on plays and wine, with the consequence of modifying behavior and "minding business" more astutely.
"...some strict rules for my future practice in my expenses."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/03/03/
The occasional tussle with Betty Lane or "stolen" kiss from a servent were free, and perhaps not subject to penalty. I don't recall him paying more than a fearful sideward glance toward heaven for those transgressions, but perhaps he has.

deepfatfriar   Link to this

"spruce blade" redux

Thanks, Robert and Mary.

I was reading this entry at work, where I don't have the OED on my hard drive. Having got home, I am somewhat surprised at not finding this as a citation in the definition of either word......

Nate   Link to this

Definitions of spruce on the Web:

* light soft moderately strong wood of spruce trees; used especially for timbers and millwork
* spruce up: make neat, smart, or trim; "Spruce up your house for Spring"; "titivate the child"
* spruce up: dress and groom with particular care, as for a special occasion; "He spruced up for the party"
* dapper: marked by up-to-dateness in dress and manners; "a dapper young man"; "a jaunty red hat"
* any coniferous tree of the genus Picea
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

* Spruce refers to trees of the Genus Picea, a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from 20-60 (-95) m tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical form. The needles, or leaves, of spruce trees are attached singly to the branches in a spiral fashion, each needle on a small peg-like structure called a pulvinus. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spruce

* A light, strong wood that's easy to dry and glue, used as a core material under veneers.
www.newportfurnishings.com/Reference/Finish_glo...

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

Re Pedro's comment: - Earn his bread - The Dutch expression is the same: "je brood verdienen". This is probably an old Germanic way of saying.

Ruben   Link to this

Earn his bread
For 10000 years the West is eating bread. No wonder every one in Europe and the Middle East is using the same symbol.
In China this expression would not work.

In the Bible (Genesis) it is "by the sweat of your face you will earn your bread" and this are very strong words.

The Spanish Poet Antonio Machado wrote "I do my work, with my money I pay the cloth that covers me, the house were I live, the bread I eat,...,etc.

pepf   Link to this

"and at my office till *is* at night making my solemn vowes for the next year" obviously should be "till *12* at night".

Mary   Link to this

is/12

Scanning errors of this kind are relatively common in the on-line text, but it's always as well to check with the L&M edition as sometimes the "errors" prove to be the authentic reading.

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