cape henry • Link
Phil's interesting observation of the 19th "It is amazing how Sam comes across in his diary as a person who wishes no harm on anyone, expects fair play and honour and yet, when you think about his past writings, has developed enemies galore."
Today's entry sort of ratifies Phil's remark in one regard. Here we see Pepys burrowing into his work, striving. I would say that Sam does not seem to act underhandedly toward his colleagues, but he does act with open and aggressive self interest and his hard work is a part of that. Sam's work ethic and abilities make him enemies simply by default. But he also has no problem defending his positions no matter the rank of his adversary. Recognition brings reward, to be sure, but it also brings rancor and envy.
Michael Robinson • Link
Phil’s interesting observation ...
I thought, perhaps mistakenly, that Phil's observation was written with deliberate irony. This is SP's own diary, and presentation of himself to himself, and given the nature of the document, and human nature in general, its hardly surprising we have found in the past that he does not perceive others accurately when they conflict with his wishes or his plans are thwarted -- not least his office colleagues and the 'corrupt' Batten. SP also shows little self awareness particularly about money or his own sexual conduct occasionally condemning in others behavior he is describing of himself in the same diary entry.
He is a man who has made a terrific power grab in his primary job as Clerk of the Acts, justified by viewing his substantially more senior and experienced colleagues as corrupt and incompetent, who is now extending his sphere of influence over the Tangier accounts and who has not hesitated to interfere with long standing business arrangements of very influential people, in the case of the Tangier Victualing for his own substantial self interest; I am certain those whose contracts and profits he has affected see SP clearly as one who not only wishes them harm but also acts aggressively to damages their business interests.
I am certain I would not take the word of a man about 'fair play and honour' who describes taking the gold coin out from an envelope in a manner that gives him the opening to say if questioned that he ‘never saw’ it and who bargains at length with God about the precise meanings of the clauses and sub clauses of his oaths.
I think we do have to remember we are seeing only from Sam's pov. Being human, he has his irrational dislikes and prejudices and hatreds and his judgment of others must be taken with a grain of salt and awareness of his human fraility. While we can honor his efforts to do his duty, we have to remain aware of his willingness to accept and adapt to the times he lives in and the need to grab at any chance either to secure his dreams of financial security or to enjoy the currently less than forbidden fruits of daily life. Though no hero, he's honorable in his desire to do his job well and give valuable service for King and Country but he's well aware of the double standard the powerful employ and has no intention of neglecting any chance to rake in a bit for the day when his services will no longer be required. He's all too well aware from his illness that life is fleeing and the time to enjoy it is short...He may love Bess and wish to do right by the values he grew up with but so long as no one is hurt (by his lights) and his duties as servant to the King and husband to Bess are performed he feels he has a right to do as he pleases.
Ruben • Link
Mr. Pepys and Mr. Bloom
The more I enter in Pepys world the more it reminds me of Bloom's diary. This Pepys diary is like a counterpoint fugue with the man from Dublin: One has a diary of 3000 days, the other only one day. One gets more and more intimate, the other is extroverted and open to the world. In one, the world may inspect with a magnifying glass the innards of a poor and decadent refugee, in the other diary, the son of the country is the one describing life...
Phil • Link
I know you and Bess can read this letter from your present heavenly vantage. And believe me when I say I offer this complaint with head bowed and right fist on my heart but why so short a diary entry as that writ this day?
You must know you hooked us, that we include you in our daily lives, that your casa is our casa, your hopes and dreams constantly on our minds and our minds are across the globe.
Did you know, because your entry is oh so short today, that I must cut the grass or some other mundane chore on this Saturday? When I could be in England or Australia or the USA or Lord only knows where all those fertile minds reside, who also must wander away from your diary today.
Sam, if you only knew who your audience was when you set pen to paper I am sure Saturday May 20, 1665 would have something more note worthy than ... up, to office, home and bed.
Your Fellow Citizen in Life
Eric Walla • Link
My further estimable fellow citizen in Life, did you consider the possibility that our friend Sam (in his lofty perch, of course) fully understands how brief both his life and this entry have been? And that, perhaps, he is suitably encouraged by the fact that we have now expanded upon this brief entry by diverse compositions totaling more than one hundred times its size?
It is with great pleasure that I am now reading the combination of the two (and not attacking the ever-lengthening vegetation outside my home).
Yours (plural) truly,
Australian Susan • Link
Brevity and P.O.V.
I feel particularly frustrated by Samual keeping his head down and beavering away, just when his mother is staying. I would really love to know how Elizabeth, Mercer and Margaret are all getting along - where they are going on outings - what new things purchased,items for the house, clothes for Margaret, maybe new things for Pall, left kicking her heels in the country, maybe a new hat for Father, and what is the news from Brampton? How are the rents bearing up? What was the harvest last year like? Any flooding? Is the house structurally sound or have they had to make repairs? And just what Margaret thinks of her son and daughter-in-law? I do think, however, if matters had deteriorated and Elizabeth and her mother-in-law had come to high words et cetera, we would have heard about it - even if only in exasperation from Sam.
It does sound vaguely as though, whatever John Pepys Sr. thinks of his fancy half-French daughter-in-law and her "French" ways, Margaret finds her reasonably good company. Of course given that Bess just got a new hood and seems to be out on the town shopping with her guest Sam may have cut a deal with her..."Just keep Mom out of my hair for three or four days and you have (limited, within reason-this is Sam Pepys, after all) credit at Unthankes for the whole time."
It is a shame that we might be missing the first time Bess has really connected with a member of Sam's family besides poor Tom.