Monday 21 May 1666

Up between 4 and 5 o’clock and to set several papers to rights, and so to the office, where we had an extraordinary meeting. But, Lord! how it torments me to find myself so unable to give an account of my Victualling business, which puts me out of heart in every thing else, so that I never had a greater shame upon me in my owne mind, nor more trouble as to publique business than I have now, but I will get out of it as soon as possibly I can. At noon dined at home, and after dinner comes in my wife’s brother Balty and his wife, he being stepped ashore from the fleete for a day or two. I away in some haste to my Lord Ashly, where it is stupendous to see how favourably, and yet closely, my Lord Ashly carries himself to Mr. Yeabsly, in his business, so as I think we shall do his business for him in very good manner. But it is a most extraordinary thing to observe, and that which I would not but have had the observation of for a great deal of money. Being done there, and much forwarded Yeabsly’s business, I with Sir H. Cholmly to my Lord Bellassis, who is lately come from Tangier to visit him, but is not within. So to Westminster Hall a little about business and so home by water, and then out with my wife, her brother, sister, and Mercer to Islington, our grand tour, and there eat and drank. But in discourse I am infinitely pleased with Balty, his deportment in his business of Muster-Master, and hope mighty well from him, and am glad with all my heart I put him into this business. Late home and to bed, they also lying at my house, he intending to go away to-morrow back again to sea.

13 Annotations

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Well done, Balty! Genuinely glad that you're living up to Sam's expectations.

Phil, looks as if we have a definition of "betimes" -- in late spring/early summer, anyway...

gingerd   Link to this

Business x 8 in this entry, a record?

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

But, Lord! how it torments me to find myself so unable to give an account of my Victualling business, which puts me out of heart in every thing else, so that I never had a greater shame upon me in my owne mind, nor more trouble as to publique business than I have now
Have I missed the story here? What is Sam so upset about?

GrahamT   Link to this

I have often suspected that betimes meant around dawn. Adding on the days for the Julian calendar, dawn is around 03:50 this day in 1666, so "Up between 4 and 5 o’clock... " almost fits. The sun has risen, the cock has crowed and Sam is setting the world - I mean his papers - to rights, while the rest of London lies abed.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Midsummer only a month away.

Has anyone detected any seasonal affective effects in Sam or his circle?

A. Hamilton   Link to this

I have in mind such lifting experiences as this from the Prologue of Geoffrey Chaucer's Legend of Good Women:
(Text F)

And as for me, though that I konne but lyte,
On bokes for to rede I me delyte,
And to hem yive I feyth and full credence,
And in myn herte have hem in reverence
So hertely, that there is game noon
That fro my bokes maketh me to goon,
But yt be seldom on the holyday;
Save, certeynly, whan that the month of May
Is comen, and that I here the foules synge,
And that the floures gynnen for to sprynge,
Farewell my bok and my devocioun!
Now have I thanne eek this condicioun,
That, of al the floures in the mede,
Thanne love I most thise floures white and rede,
Swiche as men callen daysyes in our toun.
To hem have I so gret affeccioun,
As I seyde erst, whan comen is the May,
That in my bed ther daweth me no day
That I nam up and walkyng in the mede,
To see this floure ayein the sonne sprede,
When it upryseth erly by the morwe.
That blisful sighte softneth all my sorwe,

Ira   Link to this

I don't understand Sam's use of the term "grand tour." Was the "grand tour," in its 19th-century sense, already part of a gentleman's upbringing? Is Sam using the term in a playful or ironic sense?

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Ira, as Terry's annotation shows, Sam's being playful. Another way to think of it would be if he said, "our favorite drive."

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"Have I missed the story here? What is Sam so upset about?"

Tony, I think Sam's just beating himself up because he's been playing a bit and so is not completely in the know about each detail of where his victualling business stands. He thus runs the risk of not having a ready answer for anyone in the office who queries him about it, and this might hurt his (self-made) reputation as the whiz-kid businessman...

Lawrence   Link to this

"But in discourse I am infinitely pleased with Balty, his deportment in his business of Muster-Master, and hope mighty well from him, and am glad with all my heart I put him into this business. Late home and to bed, they also lying at my house, he intending to go away to-morrow back again to sea"
I think balty's wife's name is esther? but where is she living whilst her Husband is away at sea?

cgs   Link to this

The Grand Tour: It was 17 C version of Year off before getting serious about settling down to enjoy the grown up life,for those with Quids , Papa would send 'is offspring to go and visit all watering and flesh pots spots of Europe.
Evelyn has an account of his grand tour of France and Italy.

For the "Nouveau Riche" of the day, it be showing off ones finery in a fine Carriage to the hoi polloi of the neighbourhood, next best thing to actually going and seeing a building leaning and straining ones neck seeing an image on a ceiling.

Who does not like to show off the latest in a 600 horses of gas guzzler.

jowo   Link to this

Can't help but wonder whether Sam's troubles with the Tangier accounts have caused him to rethink Thomas Povy's difficulties keeping those same accounts under control. This has been a real drain on Sam, and a constant concern.

This is not to say that I doubt Povy was in over his head; it's pretty clear he couldn't handle the job. But it's also quite clear that he wasn't the incompetent dolt Sam sometimes portrays him as being. It was obviously difficult and consuming, and Povy at least had the good sense to recruit a competent successor. (And to keep a share of the cash flow.)

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