Friday 21 October 1664

Up and by coach to Mr. Cole’s, and there conferred with him about some law business, and so to Sir W. Turner’s, and there bought my cloth, coloured, for a suit and cloake, to line with plush the cloak, which will cost me money, but I find that I must go handsomely, whatever it costs me, and the charge will be made up in the fruit it brings. Thence to the Coffee-house and ‘Change, and so home to dinner, and then to the office all the afternoon, whither comes W. Howe to see me, being come from, and going presently back to sea with my Lord. Among other things he tells me Mr. Creed is much out of favour with my Lord from his freedom of talke and bold carriage, and other things with which my Lord is not pleased, but most I doubt his not lending my Lord money, and Mr. Moore’s reporting what his answer was I doubt in the worst manner. But, however, a very unworthy rogue he is, and, therefore, let him go for one good for nothing, though wise to the height above most men I converse with. In the evening (W. Howe being gone) comes Mr. Martin, to trouble me again to get him a Lieutenant’s place for which he is as fit as a foole can be. But I put him off like an arse, as he is, and so setting my papers and books in order: I home to supper and to bed.

18 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

"but most I doubt his not lending my Lord money, and Mr. Moore’s reporting what his answer was I doubt in the worst manner."

Methinks these are cases in which "doubt" has the current meaning of "suspect".

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...the charge will be made up in the fruit it brings..."
Reminds me of my son. He bought a fiendishly expensive silk tie and smart shirt for interviews: it seems to work!
"...put him off like an arse..." Not heard that phrase before! Would arse have been very rude and insulting back then? That's how I read it (and inferring that Sam was thoroughly fed up with Mr M to the point of exasperated outbursts[in The Diary, at least]), but if it was much more commonplace, then Sam need not necessarily have been as fed up as I am making him.

djc  •  Link

L&M reads "but I put him off like an asse as he is;"

Laimelde  •  Link

I read it as Sam was putting him off with excuses, particularly excuses with little merit, because Mr. Martin didn't deserve to be given the time of day it would take for a serious conversation on the topic.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks, djc - ass makes much more sense and equates better with "foole" in the lovely alliterative line before. The tone is much more one of contemptuous dismissal.

Kit  •  Link

I've read (can't remember where) that arse wasn't impolite until the 18th c. Probably that society for moral reform in the 1690s did for it.

Does anyone know if it was typical for someone to buy the cloth for a suit himself, rather than having the tailor buy it and mark it up? Or was he just choosing it and having it sent to tailor's, where it would then be marked up? I know THE LONDON TRADESMAN which I think was 1748 says that tailors made most of their money marking up their materials, but of course that might not have been true in the 1660s.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Don't forget - Sam was a tailor's son and brother! He'd know a hawk from a handsaw!

andy  •  Link

But I put him off like an arse, as he is,

Surely "arse" adds to the case against Betty's husband, whereas "asse" just repeats that he's a fool?

I think I prefer this as read above - Sam's never going to like him!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Much as Sam delights in Creed's downfall, he can't help but appreciate his wisdom and good sense, particularly in refusing to lend money to our spendthrift Lord. "Freedom of talke" and "bold carriage", eh? Sounds like Creed under pressure for a loan and refusing, hinted at knowing where the bodies are buried.


To both Mr. Martin and his Betty's credit no threats were made nor entrapping "offers". Seems for all her hopes of friendly assist from her sometime lover, Betty is a good-hearted soul who would not presume to press based on their affair.

We'll see if Sam does so well with the all-too-clever Mr. Bagwell.

jeannine  •  Link

"We’ll see if Sam does so well with the all-too-clever Mr. Bagwell."

So Robert, based on your comment yesterday and today that Mr. Bagwell may be somewhat pushing his wife towards Sam, it seems we now have a case of 2 creepy guys and one manipulated woman. Once again, I am grateful to be living in a time and place that affords more females (albeit FAR from all) the ability to earn their own living with some protection from the Sams of the world.

language hat  •  Link


It's way too early for this usage; "asse" must be correct. OED:

Brit. slang. A stupid, unpleasant, or contemptible person; a fool.
The use in quot. c1784-5 is of a form deleted in the original manuscript, recorded by the editor, G. Keynes.
[c1784-5 W. BLAKE Island in Moon ii, in Compl. Writings (1972) 46 If I have not presented you with every character in the piece, call me (Ass* Arse del.) Ass.] 1968 E. LOVELACE Schoolmaster xii. 191 Look, boy, don't play the arse, you hear. 1986 C. PHILLIPS State of Independence 139 A couple of stupid arses on motor bikes. [etc.]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

In fairness to young Mr. B, life is a desperate struggle at this time and he and his wife are very likely close to the starvation line...And yes, again to be fair we don't know how willing Mrs. B is in this little game, having only Sam's pov, though however willing she remains the prime victim here-with little to gain for what she loses.

Sam is of course learning to enjoy the despicable side of power and perhaps for those who like and love him that's the saddest thing of all. But he is merely a human being with his flaws and nobler qualities; that he remains true to the Diary is really all we can demand of him.

jeannine  •  Link

To Language Hat
(a translation of your annotation for any OED drop outs among us)

Mr. Martin’s a fool you see
But he’s married to our Betty
Though the OED parse
He’s an asse not an arse
As transcribed by Mr Wheatley

Pedro  •  Link

Martin may be an arse but what is Sam?

The background shows that Betty Lane (Martin) has been around since the start of the Diary, and that she ran a drapery stall with tax returns suggesting that, along with her sister, they were more than assistants. She is lately married, but cannot be too badly off even if her husband is not worth a farthing. I feel that, at present, she has become easy meat for Sam; he is bored with her and exited by a fresh challenge.

Much more interesting is the pursuit of Bagwell by seeking out her craftsman husband, even going to their house where they live prettily. Mr Bagwell’s request to find a better ship will be much easier to swing than getting a lieutenants post for Martin. So sod Betty Martin, let her brew as she is baked!

Bradford  •  Link

"I find that I must go handsomely, whatever it costs me, and the charge will be made up in the fruit it brings."

"Be so good as to remember, Mr. Pepys," said Mrs. Pepys, most courteously, "that a well-dressed man who appears in public with an out-of-mode wife on his arm is less liable to attract fine fruit than overripe tomatoes."
---from Horace de Rigueur’s historical romance, "Pepys’s Progress" (1862).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Heh, heh...Sam relishes his little power game...

On board in office closet, chess piece representing Bagwell, female...Being slowly, daily pushed away from piece representing Bagwell, male. Male piece turned to face toy ship set on board.

Ah, ha, ha, hah, ha!

Bagwell home...

Bagwell relishing his little power game...

Cloth doll with idiotic face in silly wig representing a certain superior...arms tied to strings attached to puppeteer's sticks. Doll made to chase ridiculously after prim-looking female Bagwell doll.

Ah, ha..hah, hah, hah, ha


Barbados...Voodoo priestess' shop...

Wayneman Birch giving delighted smirk at collection of wooden figurines over which priestess chants.

"More, more...And have him write down every sordid detail of all his pathetically perverse little pursuits. He's not to realize what a fool he's been till she's on her deathbed. Oh, and don't forget the papist accusations...I want him hounded from his office at the height of his success!"

"Doin' me best, man. The voodoo's not an exact science, doncha know, man. Ought to be able to give you most of it though."

"Good. Good! In control, are we, Master Pepys?!! Ah,ha,ha, hah!!!"


Australian Susan  •  Link

A lovely fantasy about Wayneman! If only we knew.......Thank you Robert. History as it ought to have been, not how it was.

centus ii  •  Link

T.F. your suspicions be rite
'Methinks these are cases in which “doubt” has the current meaning of “suspect”.'

doubt OED:
b. To suspect, have suspicions about. arch.

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