Thursday 17 May 1666

Up, lying long, being wearied yesterday with long walking. So to the office, where all the morning with fresh occasion of vexing at myself for my late neglect of business, by which I cannot appear half so usefull as I used to do. Home at noon to dinner, and then to my office again, where I could not hold my eyes open for an houre, but I drowsed (so little sensible I apprehend my soul is of the necessity of minding business), but I anon wakened and minded my business, and did a great deale with very great pleasure, and so home at night to supper and to bed, mightily pleased with myself for the business that I have done, and convinced that if I would but keepe constantly to do the same I might have leisure enough and yet do all my business, and by the grace of God so I will. So to bed.

9 Annotations

Margaret   Link to this

Having a power nap in the middle of the day makes all the difference!

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"vexing at myself for my late neglect of business, by which I cannot appear half so usefull as I used to do."

Is it all about keeping up appearances -- Mrs. Knepp without her makeup?
Surely not.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"to bed, mightily pleased with myself for the business that I have done, and convinced that if I would but keepe constantly to do the same I might have leisure enough and yet do all my business, and by the grace of God so I will."

Behind and beyond the concern about appearances, the reality trumps!

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Interesting to see Sam now concerned about keeping up appearances, who once beavered away without any explicit thought of striving to make an impression beyond what his achievements would create. Perhaps a concern with "standing" comes with his new station in life achieved these five years by hard work, and also with emerging from the protection of a high-ranking patron who is now under a shadow? Also interesting that he is "wearied" by his body's reaction to 10-12 miles walking. That, to me, is a sign that Sam is out of shape. Too many carriage rides! And, Sam appears to be thinking, too many social dalliances. Time to revive the (mostly) Spartan lad of yore. Can he do it? It is this sort of inner conflict that makes the diary a page turner.

cape henry   Link to this

A.H. seems to have it summed up very nicely. We can assume that Pepys has observed that the trip down the ladder is frequently more sudden and rapid than the trip up.

[Concerning walking and reading from previous entry: it was a fairly common practice to utilize the daylight and the time in transit by reading. Wealthy people often had "reading gardens" which were laid out with paths conducive to walking in a simple pattern over and over while reading.]

JWB   Link to this

"It's good enough for me"

Could there be a more puritan Puritan Diary entry of the 17th C. genre?

Terry Foreman   Link to this

A.H., well-put indeed. Other concerns that SP does not mention in today's entry, but are surely in play at some level, arising from the late naval victory and the prize goods. He is on his own now, his patron, Sandwich, exiled to Madrid, his own link to the prize goods in potential question. In the Royal Court appearance matters.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

JWB, agreed.

Could you imagine John Wilmot having a diary entry like this (or a diary like this?)

Robert Gertz   Link to this

One is tempted to wonder how many times Coventry and the Duke exchanged a joke or two between them of making poor Sam a trifle nervous with a slight frown or minor criticism vs a pat on the head. His anxiety to do be seen as hardest worker and at the top of his game constantly combined with his inability to resist the occasional stroll with a pretty girl or view some art or scientific piece of interest must have been noted by many who knew him, with affection no doubt but no doubt amusement at times.

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