Sunday 5 November 1665

(Lord’s day). Up, and after being trimmed, by boat to the Cockpitt, where I heard the Duke of Albemarle’s chaplin make a simple sermon: among other things, reproaching the imperfection of humane learning, he cried: “All our physicians cannot tell what an ague is, and all our arithmetique is not able to number the days of a man;” which, God knows, is not the fault of arithmetique, but that our understandings reach not the thing. To dinner, where a great deale of silly discourse, but the worst is I hear that the plague increases much at Lambeth, St. Martin’s and Westminster, and fear it will all over the city. Thence I to the Swan, thinking to have seen Sarah but she was at church, and so I by water to Deptford, and there made a visit to Mr. Evelyn, who, among other things, showed me most excellent painting in little; in distemper, Indian incke, water colours: graveing; and, above all, the whole secret of mezzo-tinto, and the manner of it, which is very pretty, and good things done with it. He read to me very much also of his discourse, he hath been many years and now is about, about Guardenage; which will be a most noble and pleasant piece. He read me part of a play or two of his making, very good, but not as he conceits them, I think, to be. He showed me his Hortus Hyemalis; leaves laid up in a book of several plants kept dry, which preserve colour, however, and look very finely, better than any Herball. In fine, a most excellent person he is, and must be allowed a little for a little conceitedness; but he may well be so, being a man so much above others. He read me, though with too much gusto, some little poems of his own, that were not transcendant, yet one or two very pretty epigrams; among others, of a lady looking in at a grate, and being pecked at by an eagle that was there. Here comes in, in the middle of our discourse Captain Cocke, as drunk as a dogg, but could stand, and talk and laugh. He did so joy himself in a brave woman that he had been with all the afternoon, and who should it be but my Lady Robinson, but very troublesome he is with his noise and talke, and laughing, though very pleasant. With him in his coach to Mr. Glanville’s, where he sat with Mrs. Penington and myself a good while talking of this fine woman again and then went away. Then the lady and I to very serious discourse and, among other things, of what a bonny lasse my Lady Robinson is, who is reported to be kind to the prisoners, and has said to Sir G. Smith, who is her great crony, “Look! there is a pretty man, I would be content to break a commandment with him,” and such loose expressions she will have often. After an houre’s talke we to bed, the lady mightily troubled about a pretty little bitch she hath, which is very sicke, and will eat nothing, and the worst was, I could hear her in her chamber bemoaning the bitch, and by and by taking her into bed with her. The bitch pissed and shit a bed, and she was fain to rise and had coals out of my chamber to dry the bed again. This night I had a letter that Sir G. Carteret would be in towne to-morrow, which did much surprize me.

26 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Mr. Evelyn, who, among other things, showed me most excellent painting in little [miniatures]; in..."

distemper (paint made by mixing the pigments with water and a binder)
http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=diste...

Indian incke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_ink

mezzo-tinto http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezzotint

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... the whole secret of mezzo-tinto, and the manner of it, ..."

"A mezzotint is a distinctive tonal print made using a copper plate that has been worked or 'grounded' using a semi-circular fine-toothed hand tool known as a 'rocker' so that the entire surface is roughened with tiny pits. In this state, when inked the plate will print a solid black. Grounding a plate by hand is very laborious task and needs to be done in a systematic way, down the plate, across the plate and diagonally. ... Nevertheless, despite how laborious preparing the plate is, it is a lot easier and quicker to produce a mezzotint compared to the highly skilled and laborious technique of engraving. The design itself is created by scraping down and polishing with a burnisher areas of the plate. These will hold less ink and so print more lightly than the unpolished areas. The mezzotint plate is particularly prone to friction during printing. The result is that the earliest impressions are the finest and print very dark with strong definition whereas over the course of time the plate becomes worn and the resulting prints become paler."

'The early mezzotint,' From a lecture delivered at The National Portrait Gallery, 20 November 2003.
http://www.npg.org.uk/live/mellonmezzotint.asp

Evelyn had acquired his mechanical and technical knowledge of the process from Prince Rupert in 1661, see: Evelyn 'Sculptura,' 1662, ed. Bell, Oxford: 1906. Text available at:
http://www.archive.org/details/evelynssculptura...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...all our arithmetique is not able to number the days of a man;” which, God knows, is not the fault of arithmetique, but that our understandings reach not the thing."

Here, here.

Jesse   Link to this

“…all our arithmetique is not able to number the days of a man”

Curious no mention of John Graunt http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/2630/#wi... . From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actuarial_science "Another important advance came in 1662 from a London draper named John Graunt, who showed that there were predictable patterns of longevity and death in a defined group, or cohort, of people, despite the uncertainty about the future longevity or mortality of any one individual person."

Well, I guess the sermon was about the days of "a" man rather than the days of man.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

"a simple sermon"

OED shows "simple" to be a word of many overlapping meanings, ranging from not complex to artless to stupid.

Here I think Sam means something close to this definition: "characterized by a certain lack of acuteness or quick apprehension." That reading is reinforced by his acute critique of the preacher's assertion that "all our arithmetique is not able to number the days of a man”: to wit, "which, God knows, is not the fault of arithmetique, but that our understandings reach not the thing."

Bradford   Link to this

He (or she) who lies down with dogs . . .

Australian Susan   Link to this

What a wonderful entry! I am so glad Sam could not sniff out Sarah at the Swan, but went to Evelyn's instead! This entry shows why we love Sam so much - it combines fascination with science and the arts, appraisal of character and attributes, downright gossip, domestic details and allusion to randiness. Wonderfully honest and lovely quick memorable verbal portraits of the ignorant chaplain, drunken Captain slightly showing off Evelyn and worried dog owner (I'm one of those too). Amazing stuff.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Just remembered: it's November 5th. No mention of Bonfires.
Remember, remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot!
The BBC website has the following article about this event:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/768...
It's a good read.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Remember, remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot!

Fawkes, Guy (bap. 1570, d. 1606), conspirator, only son and second child of Edward Fawkes (d. 1579) of York and his wife, Edith Jackson, was born in the Stonegate district of York and baptized at the church of St Michael-le-Belfrey on 16 April 1570. ...

Continued (for one week only) at:-
http://www.oxforddnb.com/public/lotw/

Firenze   Link to this

I also note the first appearance of the 'All this modern science and they can't find a cure for the common cold' (or ague).

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... and all our arithmetique is not able to number the days of a man; ... ”

Presumably an allusion to Psalm 90 (AV):

8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.

10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

http://kingjbible.com/psalms/90.htm

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"He read me, though with too much gusto, some little poems of his own, that were not transcendant, yet one or two very pretty epigrams; among others, of a lady looking in at a grate, and being pecked at by an eagle that was there. ..."

L&M footnote the following, from a small Ms. volume (Evelyn MSS 124):

Celia afraid of an Eagle

Faire Celia do you wonder why
This royal Bird presumes so nigh?
He struggles onely thro’ his Grate
To Shew himself legitimate,
Finding in this imprison’d place
No other Sunn to prove his race.
Fly not so fast tho’ you have read
How he once trust up Ganymede.
Think you he hold Commission now
Or like designe to sieze on you?
If the Gold Messenger presumes
On Such a Rape to try his plumes
Though he beare Lightening free from harme
Your brighter Eyes will prove to warme

Though "as drunk as a dogg, but could stand," Captain Cooke must have been heartily welcomed by SP.

JonM   Link to this

Sam has written about bonfires & fireworks quite a few times on previous Nov 5. A day of celebration & remembrance was required by law. Maybe because today is a Sunday? Or maybe no mention because he's not in the city? Or maybe the effects of the plague?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Intgresting that Cocke felt free to wander into Evelyn's, presumably Lady Anne on his arm.

and what a great portrait of Mrs. Robinson, by the way...Amusing combination of compassion and friskiness. She must be quite a handful for Sir John...And yet one senses, such a joy.

Though I would imagine Sam will never be too anxious to have her meet Bess...

"Well, well...So you're Mrs. P." Gives Bess a careful look over.

Bess offers demure curtsy.

"Pepys, you rascal, man." Friendly nudge at Sam. "Why you've been keeping this flower locked away far too long. My dear girl, I know a group of very lonely, lovely Dutchmen who would very much appreciate a visit from such a lovely lass. Tomorrow you and I will go a galvanting among the poor lads."

Uh...Sam staring... "Uh, my lady..."

"Pepsy. Have a few things packed up for the poor boys for the morning. Some good meat, bread, and that wine of yours, Cocke tells me you keep by the barrel. And man, buy this poor girl some new clothes today...She's far too pretty to be in old things like this. My coachman'll take you over to my tailor. What's that look, my little Pepsy? Come, you rogue...Cocke told me what a killing you and he have just made off the King's prize goods. Well, you can have them charge it to my Johnny if you're so worried about a few pounds. Now, girl, Bess is it? Make sure this sober-looking little rascal of yours takes proper care of you. From what I hear, he certainly takes care of himself. Now, I shall be by at nine...Well...Ten...Mmmn...Perhaps eleven, yes, eleven, tommorow. And buy some ribbon for your hair, the boys like that."

"Ah...Ha, ha...My lady Robinson...I..."

"Plan to dine out, tomorrow, Pepsy...Your Bess and I will be quite late." Takes Bess by the arm... "My dear, it's high time you were introduced at Court. Pepys...!"

"My lady..."

"Perhaps you'd better stay behind, Pepsy. Best to get hard at it, boy. A pretty wife at Court will be needing considerable coin...At least until ole Charlie takes notice. Come, girl, I'll take you over to the tailor's now."

Uh...Sam staring after the pair...

Chris Faulkner   Link to this

Maybe because today is a Sunday?

How quickly we get used to the way things are, and how they have changed. When I was a child, in the late 1950s, nothing happened on a Sunday. Shops, Theatres, Cinemas, Professional sporting events; nothing happened on a Sunday. All you could do was go for a walk, play amateur sport and go to Church. Even the TV shut down for Evensong. This only changed when the BBC thought up 'Songs of Praise'. I was never allowed fireworks on a Sunday, my Mother wouldn't even consider it. Even Sam in a time of war rarely works on Sunday.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"lady looking in at a grate and being pecked at by an eagle that was there"
Nice entry Michael Robinson;reminds me of "Leda and the Swan" but"how he once trust up Ganymede" is too S&M ish.

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

Further to Michael's explanation: the technique of the mezzotint is not often used these days, however, there is a Dutch artist, Joop Vegter, who reached great hights in it. He was specially good in colour prints (so he made two or more plates, to be printed on top of each other). See: http://www.schuetz.nl/joop_vegter.htm

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

Pages of mezzotints, and of the materials to make one are here: http://images.google.nl/images?client=firefox-a...

Maurie Beck   Link to this

Duke of Albemarle’s chaplin make a simple sermon: “All our physicians cannot tell what an ague is, and all our arithmetique is not able to number the days of a man;”

The chaplain had no problem with increasing knowledge of the world, even though it is not in the bible. The Christianity of the time was not anti-intellectual, unlike the kind practiced in much of the U.S. of today.

language hat   Link to this

"The chaplain had no problem with increasing knowledge of the world, even though it is not in the bible. The Christianity of the time was not anti-intellectual"

I'm not sure what you're going by. The quote seems to directly contradict you.

BOSSY   Link to this

Arithmetique. Not only can't Bossy do it, but now she apparently can't spell it.

Cheers - brilliant site.

Ruben   Link to this

“All our physicians cannot tell what an ague is, …all our arithmetique is not able to number the days of a man;” which, God knows, is not the fault of arithmetique, but that our understandings reach not the thing.”
Pepys answer is a modern person response!
Those anxious to have an answer to everything prefer not to look further than their navel. This is the people of the Inquisition and the hanging of witches.
On the other hand, those rational enough will become members of the Royal Academy (like Evelyn, Brounker and Pepys)and contribute to the advancement of Science, their country and humanity.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

The preacher and Sam agree that there are more things in Heaven and Earth...But where the minister would throw up hands and leave all to God, even denouncing attempts at understanding as futile, Sam and his friends want to try and understand, however imperfectly. And they are willing to accept that it may require even more than a lifetime's or several lifetimes' work to do it. A lesson for all human endeavors...

Australian Susan   Link to this

A note to Michael Robinson's annotation on Guido F: Not sure if they still have the sign, but Young's Hotel in York used to have a sign saying it was the birthplace of GF. Then someone actually bothered to examine the facts and found out that the Fawkes parents paid rates on a house in Stonegate [York being a city with Scandinavian influences gate=street) and a suitable plaque was put up on what was then a Chinese Restaurant. Young's refused to take down their (large and expensive) sign. The tale then went around that Mrs F actually gave birth at Young's because she had got fed up with all the Chinese food and fancied a more resplendent meal, went and ate at Young's and the baby arrived there.....
what is true is that Guy went to St Peter's School in York, which does not celebrate November 5th. they don't burn old boys - even in effigy.

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer has a service of thanksgiving for this day, but it would not have been sued this year because of the day falling on a Sunday.

JWB   Link to this

"...reproaching the imperfection of humane learning..."

Some of us have not read our Goedel, studied Quamtum Meachanics or tried to solve Schoredinger's equation beyond hydrogen. A little humility on part of positivist surviving 20th century, I think, in order.

cgs   Link to this

"...reproaching the imperfection of humane learning..."

'twas why Adam was dismissed from the perfect land, the 'uman must struggle to find the perfect answer.

The ague be necessary to keep man in awe of his weaknesses.

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