Sunday 20 August 1665

(Lord’s day). Sir G. Carteret come and walked by my bedside half an houre, talking and telling me how my Lord is in this unblameable in all this ill-successe, he having followed orders; and that all ought to be imputed to the falsenesse of the King of Denmarke, who, he told me as a secret, had promised to deliver up the Dutch ships to us, and we expected no less; and swears it will, and will easily, be the ruine of him and his kingdom, if we fall out with him, as we must in honour do; but that all that can be, must be to get the fleete out again to intercept De Witt, who certainly will be coming home with the East India ships, he being gone thither. He being gone, I up and with Fenn, being ready to walk forth to see the place; and I find it to be a very noble seat in a noble forest, with the noblest prospect towards Windsor, and round about over many countys, that can be desired; but otherwise a very melancholy place, and little variety save only trees. I had thoughts of going home by water, and of seeing Windsor Chappell and Castle, but finding at my coming in that Sir G. Carteret did prevent me in speaking for my sudden return to look after business, I did presently eat a bit off the spit about 10 o’clock, and so took horse for Stanes, and thence to Brainford to Mr. Povy’s, the weather being very pleasant to ride in. Mr. Povy not being at home I lost my labour, only eat and drank there with his lady, and told my bad newes, and hear the plague is round about them there. So away to Brainford; and there at the inn that goes down to the water- side, I ‘light and paid off my post-horses, and so slipped on my shoes, and laid my things by, the tide not serving, and to church, where a dull sermon, and many Londoners. After church to my inn, and eat and drank, and so about seven o’clock by water, and got between nine and ten to Queenhive, very dark. And I could not get my waterman to go elsewhere for fear of the plague. Thence with a lanthorn, in great fear of meeting of dead corpses, carried to be buried; but, blessed be God, met none, but did see now and then a linke (which is the mark of them) at a distance. So got safe home about 10 o’clock, my people not all abed, and after supper I weary to bed.

15 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Sir G. Carteret did prevent me in speaking for my sudden return to look after business"

prevent = to anticipate (L&M Select Glossary), < praevenio, "to come before, anticipate, get the start of"

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... all ought to be imputed to the falsenesse of the King of Denmarke, who, he told me as a secret, had promised to deliver up the Dutch ships to us, and we expected no less; and swears it will, and will easily, be the ruine of him and his kingdom, if we fall out with him, as we must in honour do;..."

Here using ethical terms, 'falsenesse' & 'honor,' in the context of realpolitik is reminiscent of the old saw, "An honest politician is one who, when bought, stays bought"

Mary   Link to this

"Thence with a lanthorn, in great fear of meeting of dead corpses, carried to be buried; but, blessed be God, met none, but did see now and then a linke (which is the mark of them) at a distance.

Pepys here gives a remarkably atmospheric pointer to one change wrought by the plague. In other days the light of the links was a comfort and source of assurance in the night-time streets of London; now it suggests an immediate, indiscriminate threat. No longer a question of 'lead, kindly light, amidst the encircling gloom.'

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

Indeed a fine description and insight into the gloom of the days. Sam, as we have seen before, manages to describe life and mood in just a few words.

Martin King   Link to this

I imagine that the Brainford referred to is the present day Brentford in Middlesex. It seems to be in the right location, downstream from Windsor. Much shorter distance overland via Staines than following all the bends in the river.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

So Povy has a "lady". Sam's never noted a Mrs. P or whatever before that I can recall. Interesting he makes no descriptions or comments regarding her, considering his low opinion of Povy at times.

Harry Lime   Link to this

The Queenhithe link is wrong, it's off Upper Thames Street near Southwark Bridge, not Greenwich!

language hat   Link to this

"using ethical terms, ‘falsenesse’ & ‘honor,’ in the context of realpolitik"

Yes, this struck me as well. "How appalling that they did not hold to our sneaky backdoor deal! How can they be trusted when they won't break their word as they swore to us they would!" Politics is a nasty business, and it's best not to pretend otherwise.

Sam's "Queenhive" is interesting; I wonder if it's related to modern Cockney -v- for -th-?

Martin King   Link to this

Harry Lime:

Queenhithe would be OK if he was going back "home" to Seething Lane.

Harry Lime   Link to this

Well yes the one off Thames Street would be. It would be a long walk home from Greenwich!

CGS   Link to this

Ritten as pronunced, or be it just a case of 'ithchin' to spell the word as known not the way one says it as the 'ocals dothe..

Phil Gyford   Link to this

The map on Queenhithe's page was obviously pointing to the wrong location. I've corrected it now.

Glyn   Link to this

In justice(?) to the king of Denmark, he was planning to betray the Dutch and divide the substantial spoils with the English, but his message to the defenders in Bergen didn't arrive in time.

It strikes me that this was the worst possible outcome for the English and the best for the Dutch who couldn't have planned it better. It would have been so much better for the English if the Danish king had promised to keep his alliance, because then they wouldn't have attacked.

Glyn   Link to this

Can I mention again how energetic he is? 2 days ago he was in Sheerness, Chatham and Dartford; and now he is in Staines, Hounslow (where I live, incidentally) and Brentford. I've never myself been to Chatham and Dartford because I've always considered it too far away. I guess Sam has shamed me into going (at some indefinite time in the future).

dirk   Link to this

From the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library
http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects...

Ralph Montagu to Sandwich

Written from: York
Date: 20 August 1665

Asks the Earl to give instructions for the re-embalming of the body of the writer's deceased brother; and to order some servants to attend upon it; the deceased "having had no English servants with him, when he was killed"...

Log in to post an annotation.

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