Saturday 18 June 1664

From morning till 11 at night (only a little at dinner at home) at my office very busy, setting many businesses in order to my great trouble, but great content in the end. So home to supper and to bed. Strange to see how pert Sir W. Pen is to-day newly come from Portsmouth with his head full of great reports of his service and the state of the ships there. When that is over he will be just as another man again or worse. But I wonder whence Mr. Coventry should take all this care for him, to send for him up only to look after his Irish business with my Lord Ormond and to get the Duke’s leave for him to come with so much officiousness, when I am sure he knows him as well as I do as to his little service he do.

9 Annotations

cape henry  •  Link

"Pert" is not a word that I would normally associate with Sir W. Pen - or Sir Anybody for that matter. But I must say I did love this little rejoinder:"When that is over he will be just as another man again or worse."I may steal this little bon mot for use myself.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link


A. adj.

I. Open; outspoken; lively.

1. a. Open, unconcealed; evident, manifest; public; = APERT adj. 1 , APERT adj. 2. Also (quot. a1375 at ): acknowledged. Freq. opposed to privy. Obs.


b. Of open countenance; unreserved, approachable. Obs.

1567 T. DRANT tr. Horace Pistles in Arte of Poetrie sig. Fvj, Be perte, and cleare in countinaunce Not malipert, and light.
2. In negative sense.

a. Of a person, esp. a young one, or one regarded as socially inferior: impertinent or saucy in speech or manners; malapert; cheeky. Cf. APERT adj. 5.
Cf. also sense A. 5.


1618 B. HOLYDAY II. i, Twill come to a fine passe in a while, if wee suffer euery young pert thing to be prachant, especially towards their elders. 1682 T. D'URFEY Royalist IV. i. 39 What, d'ye grow pert, you little Buttock!

b. Of behaviour, speech, features, etc.: impertinent, cheeky.

1664 G. ETHEREGE Comical Revenge IV. iii. 53 If you ask such pert Questions, Madam, I can stop your mouth.
3. a. Bold, valiant; eager to fight. Obs.
Cf. also quots. c1390 at sense A. 8a, a1500 at sense A. 8a.


b. In negative sense: audacious, culpably bold or daring; presumptuous; insubordinate. Obs.
In early use having more force than sense A. 2a, but later merging with this.
b. In negative sense: audacious, culpably bold or daring; presumptuous; insubordinate. Obs.
In early use having more force than sense A. 2a, but later merging with this.
4. Alert; lively, sprightly; cheerful. In later use also Eng. regional and U.S. regional (esp. in form peart): in good health or spirits, as opposed to sickly or depressed.


7. a. Of a person, his or her appearance: beautiful, attractive. In later use also: smart, dapper. Now rare (Eng. regional).


1628 R. HAYMAN Quodlibets II. 35 So haue I seene a plaine swarth, sluttish Ione, Looke pretty pert, and neat with good cloathes on. 1684 T. OTWAY Atheist III. 32 He's so very little, pert, and dapper.

III. Expert, clever.
a. Skilled or expert (in); experienced. Cf. APERT adj. 4. Obs.
In quots. c1390 and a1500 the sense possibly overlaps with sense A. 3a.

c1390 b. Quick to see and act, sharp; clever; quick-witted; adroit. Now rare (regional in later use).
2. A pert person (in various senses). Also with pl. concord and the: pert people as a class. Now rare (poet. in later use).

1652 J. FLETCHER Wild-goose Chase IV. ii. 40 Thou Impudent, thou Pert; do not change countenance?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Now, Pepys..." Coventry eyes his clearly upset, though desperately trying to hide, Clerk of the Acts. "We're not jealous of Sir Will, are we? Not my little Pepys." Pat to head. "We know we're still my little first in the office, CoA, don't we? Now, who's my little CoA?"


"Who's my little CoA?"

"Heh, heh...I am."

"Come on, yes. Yes, you are."


Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"Il n'y a pas de grand homme pour son valet de chambre." Mme. Bigot de Cornuel

Sam sees the great Admiral Penn pottering about in his snug harbor at the Navy Board; Coventry sees a man capable of managing a fleet. Here I think we see Sam's essential callowness at this stage of his life.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Bitterness and jealousy can blind. Sam and Admiral Sir Will were once close when they started in the office, Penn seeming to take very much to his eager young colleague until that fateful day when he slapped him down over the drawing up of contracts and Sam saw or believed he saw, that to him he was a junior, a clerk and nothing more. Perhaps it was inevitable and a necessary driving force if Sam was to ever emerge as a great administrator, but it is a shame considering how alike in enjoyment of life and, from what we see of Penn's efforts though colored negatively by Sam, dedication to the job, they are.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

he will be just as another man again or worse.

It is striking how SP can disregard completely the available evidence of Penn's substantial and repeated successes as a naval commander (a single victory could be a fluke but Penn delivered consistently over time) and as a naval administrator; Penn, as SP must have known, was the de facto author of the "Duke's Instructions" under which the Navy Board operated.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

'...When that is over he will be just as another man again or worse...." then 'e becomes just an Ex-pert.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

then 'e becomes just an Ex-pert.

Harvard preacher George Buttrick once defined expert as a combination of "X, an unknown factor" and "spurt -- a drip under pressure."

Terry F  •  Link

Sir W. Penn's "Irish business with my Lord Ormond"

The King to the Lords Justices of Ireland
Written from: Whitehall

Date: 28 October 1661

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 42, fol(s). 509
Document type: Original

Sir William Penn to have a lease for a term of years of certain lands, in the county of Cork, in reprisal for other lands late in his possession, and now yielded to the Earl of Clancarty.

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