Monday 20 June 1664

It having been a very cold night last night I had got some cold, and so in pain by wind, and a sure precursor of pain is sudden letting off farts, and when that stops, then my passages stop and my pain begins. Up and did several businesses, and so with my wife by water to White Hall, she to her father’s, I to the Duke, where we did our usual business. And among other discourse of the Dutch, he was merrily saying how they print that Prince Rupert, Duke of Albemarle, and my Lord Sandwich, are to be Generalls; and soon after is to follow them “Vieux Pen;” and so the Duke called him in mirth Old Pen. They have, it seems, lately wrote to the King, to assure him that their setting-out ships were only to defend their fishing-trade, and to stay near home, not to annoy the King’s subjects; and to desire that he would do the like with his ships: which the King laughs at, but yet is troubled they should think him such a child, to suffer them to bring home their fish and East India Company’s ships, and then they will not care a fart for us. Thence to Westminster Hall, it being term time, meeting Mr. Dickering, he tells me how my Lady last week went to see Mrs. Becke, the mother; and by and by the daughter came in, but that my Lady do say herself, as he says, that she knew not for what reason, for she never knew they had a daughter, which I do not believe. She was troubled, and her heart did rise as soon as she appeared, and seems the most ugly woman that ever she saw. This if true were strange, but I believe it is not. Thence to my Lord’s lodgings; and were merry with the young ladies, who make a great story of their appearing before their mother the morning after we carried them, the last week, home so late; and that their mother took it very well, at least without any anger. Here I heard how the rich widow, my Lady Gold, is married to one Neale, after he had received a box on the eare by her brother (who was there a sentinel, in behalf of some courtier) at the door; but made him draw, and wounded him. She called Neale up to her, and sent for a priest, married presently, and went to bed. The brother sent to the Court, and had a serjeant sent for Neale; but Neale sent for him up to be seen in bed, and she owned him for her husband: and so all is past. It seems Sir H. Bennet did look after her. My Lady very pleasant. After dinner came in Sir Thomas Crew and Mr. Sidney, lately come from France, who is growne a little, and a pretty youth he is; but not so improved as they did give him out to be, but like a child still. But yet I can perceive he hath good parts and good inclinations. Thence with Creed, who dined here, to Westminster to find out Mr. Hawly, and did, but he did not accept of my offer of his being steward to my Lord at sea. Thence alone to several places about my law businesses, and with good success; at last I to Mr. Townsend at the Wardrobe, and received kind words from him to be true to me against Captain Ferrers his endeavours to get the place from my father as my Lord hath promised him. Here met Will. Howe, and he went forth with me; and by water back to White Hall to wait on my Lord, who is come back from Hinchinbroke; where he has been about 4 or 5 days. But I was never more vexed to see how an over-officious visitt is received, for he received me with as little concernment as in the middle of his discontent, and a fool I am to be of so servile a humour, and vexed with that consideration I took coach home, and could not get it off my mind all night. To supper and to bed, my wife finding fault with Besse for her calling upon Jane that lived with us, and there heard Mrs. Harper and her talk ill of us and not told us of it. With which I was also vexed, and told her soundly of it till she cried, poor wench, and I hope without dissimulation, and yet I cannot tell; however, I was glad to see in what manner she received it, and so to sleep.

23 Annotations

ellen   Link to this

Not the best way to start the week.

cape henry   Link to this

"...and she owned him for her husband..." So much of what we read in these pages seems so contemporary that anecdotes like this are all the more delightful.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...merry with the young ladies, who make a great story of their appearing before their mother the morning after we carried them, the last week, home so late; and that their mother took it very well, at least without any anger..."

Sam does Jane Austin. One can see why he's anxious (besides his own interest and that of his anxious friends serving milord) to keep my Lord in line for the sake of such a pleasant and likeable family. One hopes the poor lady is clueless regarding Mrs. Becke's daughter. Ed, you really don't deserve Jem.

Then to the rather unpleasant bullying of poor Besse by both Pepys...Not either's finest hour.

"To supper and to bed, my wife finding fault with Besse for her calling upon Jane that lived with us, and there heard Mrs. Harper and her talk ill of us and not told us of it. With which I was also vexed, and told her soundly of it till she cried, poor wench, and I hope without dissimulation, and yet I cannot tell; however, I was glad to see in what manner she received it..."

I assume that would be our dear Jane Birch? Though I suppose it could be Jane Gentleman.

One can't help hoping Sandwich had a similar tale to relate not long ago... "So, Howe, you know I was vexed at that little popinjay Pepys' impudence in writing that letter and told him of it soundly till he cried, poor fellow..."

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Samuell be thinking of the Cuckoo song.

c1250 Cuckoo Song, Bulluc sterte, bucke uerte.
c1386 CHAUCER Miller's T. 152 He was somdel squaymous Of fartyng.

[f. the vb.; cf. OHG. firz, furz, mod.G. farz, ON. fretr.]

1. a. A breaking wind. Often in let (let flee) a fart.

c1386 CHAUCER Miller's T. 620 This Nicholas anon let flee a fart

b. As a type of something worthless. Obs.

c1460

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"It seems Sir H. Bennet did look after her."
I'm not sure this means what I think it means. But if Neale's rival for Lady Gold's affections was Baron Arlington, the Secretary of State, I can't say I blame her brother for trying to get Neale out of there. But the lady's heart, it seems, was smitten with Neale.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Jane
I think this must be Jane Gentleman, as the link indicates, since Mrs. Harper was her kinswoman.

Terry F   Link to this

"Sir H. Bennet did look after her."

The priest was a button man for the Catholic mafia.

Paul Dyson   Link to this

Here I heard how the rich widow, my Lady Gold, is married to one Neale,...

Maybe this is obvious, but is the scenario as follows?

Lady Gold is a rich widow; she has suitors, including Sir H Bennet [looked after = fancied, but didn't do much about it]. One of these, described as a "courtier" [one who courts a woman] has arranged with her brother to guard the door against rivals. But Neale gets there first, forces his way in, to the evident delight of the lady. She sends for a priest (are we sure he is Catholic?) and they are married at once ("presently"), whether there in the house or in a nearby church, and set about consummating the marriage forthwith, unabashed by the interruption of the serjeant.

It's a neat and concise anecdote, as told by Sam, but we can imagine the enjoyment and hilarity of the young Sandwich ladies, and their mother, as they milked every last detail.

Pedro   Link to this

"but we can imagine the enjoyment and hilarity of the young Sandwich ladies, and their mother, as they milked every last detail."

I don't think this is the first time that Sam has discussed Court gossip with the Sandwich household. If so, then maybe the Lady has some idea of her husband's affair?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"But I was never more vexed to see how an over-officious visitt is received, for he received me with as little concernment as in the middle of his discontent, and a fool I am to be of so servile a humour, and vexed with that consideration I took coach home, and could not get it off my mind all night."

Sam the rising man is no longer content to grovel and dance on his cousin's pleasure.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

...And yet more angry with himself for that knee-jerk, instinctive servility he can't quite abandon.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I can't help thinking there must also be some little anger there even if Sam hesitates to express it even to himself. He's just come from hearing about what must have been an embarrassingly humilating scene where poor Lady Jemina was made (no doubt at Sandwich's request or command, probably in an attempt to curb gossip about Chelsea Betty) to visit the mother of his mistress and meet the mistress herself. Even if Jem is unaware (and she seems to follow court gossip well) it would be tough for anyone who loves her as Sam does to hear of such a scene. Following that he's treated as practically an equal and beloved member of the family by the girls and mother. Then he goes to pay respects to my Lord who it seems didn't even have the decency to accompany Jemina on her visit and is fobbed off, presumably after wasting considerable valuable time waiting.

Bradford   Link to this

Thanks to Paul for "translating" the anecdote which had left this reader more bemused than amused.

Why does Pepys describe his own visit as "over-officious" (unless he means "not on official business"), given that to our ears someone who is overly officious isn't particularly welcome at any time?

Terry F   Link to this

"After dinner came in Sir Thomas Crew and Mr. Sidney, lately come from France, who is...not so improved as [M. De Prata] did give him out to be, but like a child still."

Sandwich has some distractions. Sir Thomas Crew is My Lady's father, and pet (second) son Sidney is, so far, not maturing.

Martin   Link to this

over-officious

Pepys seems to use "officious" usually to mean deferential or dutiful, not in today's usual sense of being pompously meddlesome or unnecessarily formal. So Sam is going through the formalities befitting the relationship, treating the boss the way he should be treated, but my Lord, in a foul mood, responds with little "concernment" which I take to mean he is unresponsive to Sam's properly deferential attitude. Sam goes home thinking, "F__ you, too, Eddie," and can't get his blood pressure down all night.

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

over-officious ; "...But I was never more vexed to see how an over-officious visitt is received..."

OED:[< classical Latin officisus dutiful, attentive, obliging, importunate < officium OFFICE n. + -sus -OUS.

Cf. Middle French, French officieux dutiful, obliging (1544; 1848 in sense 5), Italian uffizioso (14th cent., rare; 1831 in sense 5), Spanish officioso (1444), Portuguese officioso (17th cent.).]

I. General uses.

. a. Of persons or their actions, etc.: active or zealous in the exercise of an office; dutiful. Obs. c1487
1598 BACON Hypocrites in Ess. (1862) 117 As to these others who are so officious towards God.

1641 R. CARPENTER Experience I. 13 To stand like officious, and dutifull servants.

b. Of things: performing the proper office or function; serving the required purpose; efficacious. Obs. 1618

a1657 G. DANIEL Trinarchodia: Henry V ccii, in Poems (1878) IV. 151 The Stronger Squadron of the french fell in Vpon the goreing stakes;..'mongst these officious prongs Surpriz'd; their horse entangled, plunge their way Through many wounds, to Death

2. Doing or ready to do kind offices; eager to serve, help, or please; attentive, obliging, kind. Now rare, exc. as passing into sense 3.
Cf. officious lie, officious falsehood, sense 6. 1565

1679 Season. Adv. Protestants 6 The Peoples aversion they took away by degrees by their officious kind behaviour.

3. Unduly forward in offering one's services, or in taking business upon oneself; doing, or prone to do, more than is asked or required; interfering, intrusive. In later use esp.: inclined to assert authority in a self-important or pompous way, esp. with regard to petty or trivial matters. (Now the usual sense.) 1597

1676 G. ETHEREGE Man of Mode I. i. 15 He..knows not whom, without Some officious Sot has betray'd me.

4. Relating or belonging to an office or business; official, formal. Obs.

1602 B. JONSON Poetaster IV. ix. sig. I4, Farewell, sweete Life: though thou be yet exil'd, Th'officious Court, enioy mee amply still

II. Special uses

officious falsity Obs. rare = officious lie. officious lie [after post-classical Latin mendacium officiosum (a420 in Jerome); cf. Italian bugia ufficiosa (a1595), French mensonge officieux (c1660)], a lie told as an act of kindness to further another's interests.

1676 G. TOWERSON Explic. Decalogue 520 Concerning *officious falsities

Michael Robinson   Link to this

he received me with as little concernment as in the middle of his discontent

SP does seem rather dense about how his behavior might be perceived; not only has he moved away from Sandwich, the original patron, to be 'spear carrier' for Coventry but his last meetings with Sandwich were those when he conveyed, for Coventry, the Duke's message about the fleet command which was little better than a deliberate insult to Sandwich and then served also as the messenger for Sandwich's reply.

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/05/29/
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/05/31/

Michael Robinson   Link to this

PS

Wouldn't Sandwich be thinking something along the lines of "Having meddled with my mistress and my career, the little s**t is trying now to ingratiate himself with my daughters !!!"

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

little s**t, surly it be T**d

Terry F   Link to this

"Vieux Pen;"

L&M note Penn was only 43, and suggest "'vieux' in the sense of 'old enemy'."

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

vieux: OED: first ref 1888 needs updating:
The Fr. word for 'old', used in various idiomatic phrases, as vieux jeu (ø) [lit. 'old game'], (something or someone) old-fashioned, hackneyed, outmoded, 'old hat'; vieux marcheur (marr) ['old campaigner', f. Le Vieux Marcheur (1909), a play by Henri Lavedon], an elderly womanizer; also transf.; vieux port (pr) ['old port'], the old harbour area of a modern French seaport; vieux rose (roz) ['old rose'] = OLD ROSE b.

[1888

1920 G. B. SHAW Shaw on Theatre (1958) 133 All the young men are cads and cowards, all the old men vieux marcheurs.

tonyt   Link to this

On 20th June 1664, Charles II sent a letter to his sister in France which included the following:

'I see you [meaning the French Court generally] are as hot upon setting up an East India Company at Paris as we are upon our Guinea trade. We are now sending eight ships thither to the value of fifty thousand pounds, and I have given them a convoy of a man-of-war, lest the Dutch in those parts might do them some harm in revenge for our taking the fort of Cape Verde, which will be of great use to our trade. I hope my niece [Marie-Louise, aged 2] will have better portion than what your share will come to in the East India trade; I believe you might have employed your money to better uses than to send it off so long a journey.
.......
I am newly returned from returned from seeing some of my ships which lie in the Hope ready to go to sea, and the wind has made my head ache so much as I can write no longer.'

Was Charles really being dismissive of the French as a maritime power or is this just bravado? As a land power, France was certainly too influential to be ignored by either the English or the Dutch.

Pedro   Link to this

"I believe you might have employed your money to better uses than to send it off so long a journey."

I think here that Charles is infering that the new French East India Company (1664) are new kids on the block as far as trade is concerned, and not in any military sense. The English East India Company being set up in 1600, the Dutch in 1602 and the Danish in 1616. The Dutch are by far the most successful, but the English propose to challenge them. But why invest on the other side of the world when Holmes brings back the gold from up the Gambia river!

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