Thursday 31 March 1664

Up betimes, and to my office, where by and by comes Povy, Sir W. Rider, Mr. Bland, Creed, and Vernatty, about my Lord Peterborough’s accounts, which we now went through, but with great difficulty, and many high words between Mr. Povy and I; for I could not endure to see so many things extraordinary put in, against truthe and reason. He was very angry, but I endeavoured all I could to profess my satisfaction in my Lord’s part of the accounts, but not in those foolish idle things, they say I said, that others had put in. Anon we rose and parted, both of us angry, but I contented, because I knew all of them must know I was in the right. Then with Creed to Deptford, where I did a great deal of business enquiring into the business of canvas and other things with great content, and so walked back again, good discourse between Creed and I by the way, but most upon the folly of Povy, and at home found Luellin, and so we to dinner, and thence I to the office, where we sat all the afternoon late, and being up and my head mightily crowded with business, I took my wife by coach to see my father. I left her at his house and went to him to an alehouse hard by, where my cozen Scott was, and my father’s new tenant, Langford, a tailor, to whom I have promised my custom, and he seems a very modest, carefull young man. Thence my wife coming with the coach to the alley end I home, and after supper to the making up my monthly accounts, and to my great content find myself worth above 900l., the greatest sum I ever yet had. Having done my accounts, late to bed. My head of late mighty full of business, and with good content to myself in it, though sometimes it troubles me that nobody else but I should bend themselves to serve the King with that diligence, whereby much of my pains proves ineffectual.

14 Annotations

Terry F   Link to this

"my father's new tenant, Langford, a tailor, to whom I have promised my custom"

Has John Pepys, Sr., quitclaim title to "his house"? Unclear. L&M (Vol. X, Companion) tell us that Tom had added space on the ground floor; but tenants -- e.g members of the Navy Board -- seem to do such things rather ad hoc and negotiated on the fly when compared to how it is nowadays, what with building-permits in locales with zoning ordinances, etc.

Nice that Samuel will trade at the old shop -- keeping an eye out on the family place.

cape henry   Link to this

"...because I knew all of them must know I was in the right." Then why the huge argument? Yesterday he went into great detail about generalities; today he is merely glib about what would be, for us, very interesting details. I suspect that with his school training and his intellect, his facility with the written word was adjunct to the spoken. I'll bet he made people furious, though.

Terry F   Link to this

"I'll bet he made people furious, though."

Right you are, cape henry. Pepys seems to know that and to need to vindicate himself publically -- to put things on the record -- pretty frequently. We may cringe when he has been offensive, but being so with his, ah, colleagues may have been what had to be done -- getting their attention by smacking them upside their collective head with a blunt disagreement.

A reformer of practices and institutions is perforce a disturber of the peace.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...but I endeavoured all I could to profess my satisfaction in my Lord's part of the accounts, but not in those foolish idle things, they say I said, that others had put in."

Our gallant reformer being not quite so foolish as to bite the hand (of my Lord Peterborough) that might well smite him.

One wonders if Povy's anger stemmed in part from some assurance made to him that Sandwich's "boy" on the Committee would be no trouble.

Terry F   Link to this

"many high words"

One can find fault with a method of handling funds by, say, asking questions about it, or making clear what could result without being explicitly personal about it -- and I suppose this is what Pepys usually does. Then the Povey's invoke the seven deadly words by way of justification - "We have always done it this way." --, claiming the status quo as personal property, and the voices rise in clamor.

Pedro   Link to this

"about my Lord Peterborough's accounts, which we now went through, but with great difficulty,"

The accounts were first mentioned on the 13th February...

"Mr. Coventry to the African House, and there with Sir W. Ryder by agreement we looked over part of my Lord Peterborough's accounts, these being by Creed and Vernaty."

They are also mentioned on 18, 25 and 27th February, the 4 and 26th March, besides other conversations with colleagues.

Did Peterbourough have had a cunning plan to make them so intrigate that in the end they would be passed?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"I left her at his house..."

"Remember, darling?" Sam eyes Bess, Dad safely out of earshot, waiting.

"Everything that isn't nailed down...And all the accounts." Bess nods. A roguish wink...

Ruben   Link to this

"my father's new tenant, Langford, a tailor, to whom I have promised my custom, and he seems a very modest, carefull young man."
I imagine poor Langford with his client, the obsessive son of a tailor. He will probably lose money with Sam...
Robert, were are you?

Bradford   Link to this

"I contented, because I knew all of them must know I was in the right."

There's nothing like being certain you know what other people think---usually because it's nothing like what they're really thinking.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

So...How long before...?

"Now so devilish is my jealousy of Langford, seeing that he cast his gaze upon my wife at church yet again after smiling after her so roguishly when we stopped by to discuss her Easter clothes that I can neither eat or drink but went to bed in an angry frame of mind. And yet, as always, my wife has given me no reason for such a fancy, God knows..."

JonTom Kittredge   Link to this

"Between Mr. Povy and I"
This is not the grammar that I was taught. Bill Clinton was notorious for this kind of construction; I think it would be termed a genteelism. On the other hand, a lot of linguists would say that its use by a native speaker shows that it is perfectly valid, as well as very old. They may have logic on their side, but between you and me, that doesn't mean that I'll concede the point.

language hat   Link to this

Language and religion are the two realms of discourse in which people take positive pride in being irrational.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

LH, I think you give us too much credit. I'd say "two *of* the realms of discourse..."

language hat   Link to this

A much better formulation!

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