Monday 25 July 1664

Up, and with Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten by coach to St. James’s, but there the Duke being gone out we to my Lord Berkeley’s chamber, Mr. Coventry being there, and among other things there met with a printed copy of the King’s commission for the repair of Paul’s, which is very large, and large power for collecting money, and recovering of all people that had bought or sold formerly any thing belonging to the Church. And here I find my Lord Mayor of the City set in order before the Archbishopp or any nobleman, though all the greatest officers of state are there. But yet I do not hear by my Lord Berkeley, who is one of them, that any thing is like to come of it. Thence back again homewards, and Sir W. Batten and I to the Coffee-house, but no newes, only the plague is very hot still, and encreases among the Dutch. Home to dinner, and after dinner walked forth, and do what I could I could not keep myself from going through Fleet Lane, but had the sense of safety and honour not to go in, and the rather being a holiday I feared I might meet with some people that might know me. Thence to Charing Cross, and there called at Unthanke’s to see what I owed, but found nothing, and here being a couple of pretty ladies, lodgers in the kitchen, I staid a little there. Thence to my barber Gervas, who this day buries his child, which it seems was born without a passage behind, so that it never voided any thing in the week or fortnight that it has been born. Thence to Mr. Reeves, it coming just now in my head to buy a microscope, but he was not within, so I walked all round that end of the town among the loathsome people and houses, but, God be thanked! had no desire to visit any of them. So home, where I met Mr. Lanyon, who tells me Mr. Alsop is past hopes, which will mightily disappoint me in my hopes there, and yet it may be not. I shall think whether it will be safe for me to venture myself or no, and come in as an adventurer. He gone, Mr. Cole (my old Jack Cole) comes to see and speak with me, and his errand in short to tell me that he is giving over his trade; he can do no good in it, and will turn what he has into money and go to sea, his father being dead and leaving him little, if any thing. This I was sorry to hear, he being a man of good parts, but, I fear, debauched. I promised him all the friendship I can do him, which will end in little, though I truly mean it, and so I made him stay with me till 11 at night, talking of old school stories, and very pleasing ones, and truly I find that we did spend our time and thoughts then otherwise than I think boys do now, and I think as well as methinks that the best are now. He supped with me, and so away, and I to bed. And strange to see how we are all divided that were bred so long at school together, and what various fortunes we have run, some good, some bad.

22 Annotations

Terry F   Link to this

"my barber Gervas, who this day buries his child, which it seems was born without a passage behind"

Imperforate anus, the congenital absence or obstruction of the anal opening and its repair are illustrated here.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article...

Sad for Gervas, his child's mother and all their like before modern remedies.

Martin   Link to this

A nice entry in which Pepys shows the breadth of his experience. Starts the day heading to St. James but fails to meet up with the Duke (the future James II); ends the day swapping school stories with an old buddy who has hit upon hard times. In between, thinks about buying a microscope, offers condolences to the barber who has lost an infant child, check's out Fleet Lane once again, hangs out with the gal lodgers at Unthanke's, and more. Illustrating just why we're addicted.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"I shall think whether it will be safe for me to venture myself or no, and come in as an adventurer."

Is he therefore considering a try at offering to run the victualing service himself should the Alsop/Lanyon contract fall through? Or merely pondering if it would be good form (and safe) to visit poor Alsop and check his condition out to his satisfaction?

"PPPPepppyyysss..."

"Alsop, old man. How are you? You're looking (apart from that first stage rigor mortis, God if only I'd demanded first payment in advance...) very well, old fellow. Up and about in no time, eh?"

"Pppppeeepppyyysss..." rattling gasp. Wave of trembling finger...

"That's the spirit. We men of action and business can't be held back for long by a little chill. By the way, Alsop...Have you by any chance made arrangements for Lanyon to handle your affairs while you're...Temporarily, of course...Indisposed? The King's business as you well know, waits for no man's minor ague to fly."

"Beeeewarrreee, Pepppysss..."

"Yes, old man? Beware? Alsop? Is there something wrong with the contract?"

"Looook to yooour soooul, Ppppepyss...And thossse whhho love yoooou..."

"Yes, yes...Good advice old man. Getting philosophical in your time away from the hurly-burly, very good...Cleansing the soul and all that, yes. Now about Lanyon and the contract... Alsop? Allllsoppp. Don't mean to disturb your spiritual ruminations, man but the Navy's proper supply is a critical matter. And if I may, Alsop...Regarding our little personal arrangement...Alsop? Alsop?" Ummn...

"He is asleep, right?"

***
Wispy misty rumors of the plague slowly creeping in...

Australian Susan   Link to this

"...being a holiday..."
Either for St James the Great or St ChristopherSt. James the Greater (Israelite, son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of St. John, fisherman, apostle of Jesus, martyred by the sword [first Apostle martyred] c. 44)
St. Christopher [originally named Offero] (Palestinian, carried people across a stream, martyred c. 251)

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

"...it coming just now in my head to buy a microscope, ..." Latest and greatest toy for the ladds that want to be in on the cutting edge of flea watching.

Mary   Link to this

"come in as an adventurer"

It sounds as if, failing Alsop, Sam is considering buying himself a share in any replacement contract by going into some kind of partnership with the successful bidders. There is surely no way that he can raise enough cash himself to undertake the whole enterprise, even if such a move were to pass muster with the other members of the Navy Board. But a small 'interest' might be feasible.

andy   Link to this

I could not keep myself from going through Fleet Lane, but had the sense of safety and honour not to go in

To get a feel for Sam's experience in Fleet Lane, try a stroll amongst the girls of Rue St Denis in Paris - see

http://www.parisbestlodge.com/ruestdenis.html

for a useful map - and guard your cash and your honour as you walk by, chaps!

Pedro   Link to this

"the King's commission for the repair of Paul's"

It had sat listing and decaying, bearing the scars of vandalism, desecration and misuse owning the Civil Wars and the Interregnum. The Commission appointed in I663 had wide powers to appoint advisors, "persons of known ability and integrity."

Spoiler?...In August I666 Clarendon appointed Evelyn as surveyor for "repairs of Pauls and to consider a model for the new building or (if it might be) repairing of the Steeple which was most decayed."

(Biography of Evelyn by Darley)

Michael Robinson   Link to this

printed copy of the King's commission for the repair of Paul's,

His Majesties commission concerning the reparation of the cathedral church of St. Paul in London.
London : printed by John Bill and Christopher Barker, printers to the Kings most Excellent Majesty, 1663.
35, [1] p. ; 2⁰. Wing (2nd ed.), C2938
There were two editions; with, and without, a coat of arms on the title

Per L&M Vol iv, 261 (August 4 1663):-

On April 18th. 1663 commissioners had been appointed to collect money and supervise the work; on July 23rd. 1663 they had ordered a survey of the building to be made by Sir. John Denham, John Webb and Edward Marshall. Wren later made a survey and drew up plans. The building had been in bad repair since the fire of 1561; attempts at renovation began under Charles I had been interrupted by the civil war, during which further damage was done; by now the central tower was in danger and the s. transept in ruins. About L 3,600 was now subscribed and spent (mostly in repairs to Inigo Jones' portico) before the fire of 1666 completely gutted the building.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"I find my Lord Mayor of the City set in order before the Archbishopp or any nobleman ..."

Within the City the Lord Mayor has precedence over all but the Royal family; the order of precedence for England is the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop of York, ...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

? Spoiler. "Clarendon appointed Evelyn as surveyor ..."

The appointment of a Surveyor to the Fabric of St Paul's has always been by the Dean and Chapter. It was Dean Sancroft who called upon Wren in 1664 to make a report on the fabric.

"In August 1666 John Evelyn who, with two others, had been deputed by the Commission to determine a course of action, tells of a meeting at St. Paul's with the Bishop, the Dean, Wren, Pratt, May, the Master of the Ordinance, and Master of the Mint. Pratt had already declared his opposition to Wren's scheme, chiefly on the ground of expense. But at this meeting he was overruled, and after some argument Wren's plan was, in principle, agreed on. This included the dome, "a form of church-building" says Evelyn, "not as yet known in England but of wonderful grace." That was on 27 August. Six days later, about 10 o'clock in the evening, the Great Fire of London began to burn.'

John Summerson, 'Architecture In Britain 1530-1830' London: 1953, 4th. rev & enlarged edition, 1963 p. 117

Bradford   Link to this

"walked all round that end of the town among the loathsome people and houses, but, God be thanked! had no desire to visit any of them."
Who were they, what made them so loathsome, and why would you "visit" folk you didn't know? All code for brothels? Another unsolvable mystery of life.

"And strange to see how we are all divided that were bred so long at school together, and what various fortunes we have run, some good, some bad."
Ah, like attending one's XXth high school reunion.

John Eure   Link to this

"so I walked all round that end of the town among the loathsome people and houses"

W. Hewer, mulling his promise to Elizabeth to keep an eye on Sam, decides what to say if Sam really gets into trouble:

"But if people go down to the end of the town, well, what can anyone do?"

Michael Robinson   Link to this

so I walked all round that end of the town

James James
Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree
Took great
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
James James
Said to his Mother,
"Mother", he said, said he;
"You must never go down to the end of the town,
if you don't go down with me."

James James
Morrison's Mother
Put on a golden gown,
James James
Morrison's Mother
Drove to the end of the town.
James James
Morrison's Mother
Said to herself, said she:
"I can get right down to the end of the town and be
back in time for tea"

King John
Put up a notice,
"LOST or STOLEN or STRAYED!
JAMES JAMES
MORRISON'S MOTHER
SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN MISLAID.
LAST SEEN
WANDERING VAGUELY;
QUITE OF HER OWN ACCORD,
SHE TRIED TO GET DOWN TO THE END OF THE TOWN-
FORTY SHILLINGS REWARD!

James James
Morrison Morrison
(Commonly known as Jim)
Told his
Other relations
Not to go blaming _him_.
James James
Said to his Mother,
"Mother", he said, said he:
"You must never go down to the end of the town with-
out consulting me."

James James
Morrison's Mother
Hasn't been heard of since.
King John
Said he was sorry,
So did the Queen and Prince.
King John
(Somebody told me)
Said to a man he knew:
"If people go down to the end of the town, well,
what can anyone do?"

(Now then, very softly)

J. J.
M. M.
W. G. Du P.
Took great
C/o his M*****
Though he was only 3.
J. J.
Said to his M*****
"M*****", he said, said he:
"You-must-never-go-down-to-the-end-of-the-town-if-
you-don't-go-down-with-ME!"

-- A. A. Milne

Pedro   Link to this

"only the plague is very hot still, and encreases among the Dutch."

News has swept round the Spanish ports where De Ruyter is having problems supplying his ships, due to the plague in Amsterdam. Cadiz and Malaga refuse entry to the ports. He has also been in Algiers where the plague seems a regular visitor each summer around May.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...that end of town..."

Picture Sam in that scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" when George wanders the sordid (actually rather bustling) streets of downtown Pottersville.

***

"...among the loathsome people and houses..."

"Bess?! What the hell are you doing here?!!"

"Uh...Would you buy that we wanted to see the sights?"

"We?!"

"Hello, son. Ummn..."

"Mother?!! Bess...?!!!"

"If I promise not to berate you for the rest of your life with the same question..."

***

djc   Link to this

"being a holiday"
L&M say St James's Day

Xjy   Link to this

Michael R: ...after some argument Wren's plan was, in principle, agreed on. This included the dome, "a form of church-building" says Evelyn, "not as yet known in England but of wonderful grace." That was on 27 August. Six days later, about 10 o'clock in the evening, the Great Fire of London began to burn.'

Ah, so it was Wren wot done it...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Nero, Stalin, Mao...Wren?

I guess Baron Haussman, the emperor Constantine, and a number of faceless nineteenth and twentieth century city planners would follow in the second tier. Hitler would have destroyed Berlin to clear the way for Speer's hideous hulks but didn't get the chance. Who else is famous for destroying the ancient to make way for their "brilliant" new architectural conception?

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Who else? The name Robert Moses comes to mind.

GrahamT   Link to this

"...I find that we did spend our time and thoughts then otherwise than I think boys do now, and I think as well as methinks that the best are now."
Refreshing that he thinks that schoolboys spend their time better 'now' then when he was a boy. It is now usually expressed that "the kids of today don't know what hard work is".

pepf   Link to this

“…I find that we did spend our time and thoughts then otherwise than I think boys do now, and I think as well as methinks that the best are now.”

I take this the other way round: otherwise than now, viz. then (all) as well as today's best. So sadly no refreshing change; it's just another example of the laudatio temporis acti / se puero topos even if he doesn't trip over the difficilis and querulus parts like me yet.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.