Monday 25 February 1666/67

Lay long in bed, talking with pleasure with my poor wife, how she used to make coal fires, and wash my foul clothes with her own hand for me, poor wretch! in our little room at my Lord Sandwich’s; for which I ought for ever to love and admire her, and do; and persuade myself she would do the same thing again, if God should reduce us to it. So up and by coach abroad to the Duke of Albemarle’s about sending soldiers down to some ships, and so home, calling at a belt-maker’s to mend my belt, and so home and to dinner, where pleasant with my wife, and then to the office, where mighty busy all the day, saving going forth to the ‘Change to pay for some things, and on other occasions, and at my goldsmith’s did observe the King’s new medall, where, in little, there is Mrs. Steward’s face as well done as ever I saw anything in my whole life, I think: and a pretty thing it is, that he should choose her face to represent Britannia by. So at the office late very busy and much business with great joy dispatched, and so home to supper and to bed.

25 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"at my goldsmith's did observe the King's new medall, where, in little, there is Mrs. Steward's face as well done as ever I saw anything in my whole life, I think: and a pretty thing it is, that he should choose her face to represent Britannia by."

The medal itself
http://www.romanbritain.freeserve.co.uk/britann...

Guy de la Bédoyère explains its context:

"In 1667 a 56mm-wide medal was struck to commemorate the Second Dutch War, which was fought at sea between England and the Netherlands. It depicts the King on the obverse and on the reverse Frances Stewart (later Duchess as Richmond) as Britannia, celebrating recent successes in the Second Dutch War (1665-67). The legend Favente Deo, means ‘God being propitious’. The figure was based on the original coins struck by Hadrian and Antoninus Pius.

"The medal’s triumphant tone was a little premature. Within months the Dutch had sailed up the river Medway near Rochester in June 1667 and humiliated Charles II by stealing seven ships, including his flagship the Royal Charles. The war ended in July with the Treaty of Breda. Despite the difference in dates, the medal is usually known as ‘the Breda Medal’.

"Samuel Pepys saw the medal, which was designed by John Roettier, on 25 February 1667:

"'At my goldsmith’s did observe the King’s new Medall [sic], where in little there is Mrs Steward’s [sic] face, as well done as ever I saw anything in my whole life I think ­ and a pretty thing it is that he should choose her face to represent Britannia by’.

"Samuel Pepys, Diary 25 February 1667

http://www.romanbritain.freeserve.co.uk/britann...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The States General to the King
Written from: La Haye
Date: 25 February 1667

Have received from the Minister of Sweden, the King's Letter of 31 January and tender to H.M. their thanks for the honour conferred upon them by the offer to treat within their own territory. Offer the King the choice of Maestricht, Bois-le-Duc, or Breda, and adduce reasons for regarding either of those towns as preferable to the Hague as a place of negotiation.

French.

http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects...

Bradford   Link to this

"and persuade myself she would do the same thing again, if God should reduce us to it."

Oh, the dear little woman! Isn't that just like a man. Much as one admires Elizabeth's resilience, one can't quite picture her reveling in getting her eagerly-sought gains rescinded.

cape henry   Link to this

Lay long in bed, talking with pleasure with my poor wife, how she used to make coal fires, and wash my foul clothes with her own hand for me, poor wretch! in our little room at my Lord Sandwich’..." Recognizable as nostalgia mixed with a healthy dose of sentimentality.
Time flies.

Eric Walla   Link to this

I may not have been sufficiently observant, but I have noted quite a lot of "talking with pleasure" statements about Elizabeth, but lately Sam has recorded taking "other pleasures" only with his lady friends. Previously he would comment on their mutual sexual activity. Does this appear to be a sign of them not engaging in sex, or rather in Sam discovering more modesty when discussing his marriage? Or thirdly, has he become so inured to a difficult sex life within his marriage that only illicit affairs generate enough interest to comment on?

Louise H   Link to this

Thanks, Terry, for the links to the medal with explanation. I'm still uncertain, though, what the function of this medal was. Does anyone know who would have acquired one of these medals, and why? It looks like they were intended as "collectibles," as opposed to circulating money. Who (if anyone) profited from their creation?

Susan Scott   Link to this

"there is Mrs. Steward’s face as well done as ever I saw anything in my whole life, I think: and a pretty thing it is, that he should choose her face to represent Britannia by."

A pretty thing, and a pretty obvious thing, too. At this time the King is shamelessly (and unsuccessfully) attempting to maneuver the beautiful Frances Stewart/Stuart into his bed. Having her pose as Britannia for this medal was supposed to help charm her into succumbing. It didn't.
Sam is far from the only wandering husband with unrequited longings in London....

cum salis grano   Link to this

What is in the diary, usually unless it is a report for security purposes to aid the short term memory, one only records the unusual, rarely the common place or mundane, we only lust after the unattainable, who records how many Wheaties we ate, only if we discover a new way to eat them by standing on one's head.
My guess, Samuell is rediscovering the old elixir, realising, he has some tasty fillet Mignon at home and it is better than old shank.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Lay long in bed, talking with pleasure with my poor wife, how she used to make coal fires, and wash my foul clothes with her own hand for me, poor wretch! in our little room at my Lord Sandwich’s; for which I ought for ever to love and admire her, and do; and persuade myself she would do the same thing again, if God should reduce us to it."

There are "those girls" and there is Bess...Nothing like compartmentalization. Of course it is difficult for her to have sex owing to her condition. Which Sam has acknowledged as serious enough at one point to consider risky surgery, so it's possible our hero has made some kind of mental compromise where he doesn't press her for sex when she's not up to it, but feels free to engage in whatever he can get, whenever he can get it, short of risking STD or pregnancy.

Mine used to carry water to me on hands and knees, being disabled, despite terrible sores on her stumps, when I was trapped in bed having thrown my back out so I guess I win, Sam, though Bess sounds wonderful. Go and get her something nice.

Robin Peters   Link to this

"and so home, calling at a belt-maker’s to mend my belt, " Just a couple of extra holes my man, it seems to have shrunk a little!
Don't we all get this problem?

language hat   Link to this

"Much as one admires Elizabeth’s resilience, one can’t quite picture her reveling in getting her eagerly-sought gains rescinded."

I don't think Sam was picturing her "reveling," he meant what he said, that "she would do the same thing again, if God should reduce us to it." And he was probably right. That doesn't make her a doormat.

JWB   Link to this

Or it's his sword belt that needs adjusting, now that he's going about armed.
Don.t we all get this problem?

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"I ought...to...persuade myself she would do the same thing again, if God should reduce us to it.”

I ought to persuade myself she loves me.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"for which I ought for ever to love and admire her, and do; and persuade myself she would do the same thing again,"

"And do" seems pretty conclusive. Again, compartalization seems the answer. Bess on the pedestal, the others, fun and amusement.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

@ Louise H "I’m still uncertain, though, what the function of this medal was. ..."

Portrait and commemorative medals had been produced since the early Renaissance, in imitation of the Romain Imperial coinage, and the habit spread throughout Europe as a sign of cultural identification and sophistication. For a description of one major collection and a podcast, upper right, see: http://www.nga.gov/press/2007/syscat.shtm

They were a form of 'collectible' but of very much greater intellectual and social significance than that term suggests today. Medals and coins were also 'manuscripts in metal' and were so classified at the time and in many of the older collections until the C19th. Perhaps difficult to conceive today but numismatics, along with the associated discipline of chronology, was one of the two cutting edge and fashionable academic disciplines of the C 15th - 18th. providing datable evidence for lettering forms and the succession of rulers which in turn allowed early vernacular texts to be dated --there is very little today written about this chapter in intellectual history, but as a study it was as 'sexy' as the various forms of 'natural history' in the C19th. or relativity / quantum theory & Freudian psychology in the early/mid C20th. In England Cotton, for early example, included the coins and medals as one of the most intellectually significant portions of his library.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_library

Louise H   Link to this

Many thanks, Michael Robinson. Interesting stuff.

arby   Link to this

I'll second that, I had no idea. Thanks.

cum salis grano   Link to this

People "luv" medallions, look in on many a person's best room , trinkets galore, one for this, one for that, ribbon for having the "lousiest pony", silver spoon for drinking water in the Gobi, so and so forth, no longer that popular.
'Twas a great way for Rex C II to buy loyalty.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Function of Medals etc.

The only accessible modern general text I know of which discusses early numismatics and its significance in early cultural history is the first eight chapters of Francis Haskell 'History and its Images. Art & The interpretation of the past.' Yale: 1993.

There is much about the place of chronology in renaissance, and post, intellectual history in Anthony Grafton 'Worlds made by Words. Scholarship and Community in the modern West.' Harvard, 2009 and his earlier 'Defenders of the Text. The Traditions of Scholarship in an age of science, 1450-1800.' Harvard, 1991. But though both allude to the linkages of numismatics and chronology with the study of classical inscriptions, and the group of disciplines today we would call paleography, textual editing and political and cultural history he does not show the extent of the intertwining of all with numismatics at the core of the study of culture in the broadest sense and how this penetrated the general culture; for example how no house of any significance was complete without a medal cabinet and collection of cast impressions of classical 'gems' as an integral part of the library collections. (This is no criticism of Tony Grafton, a splendid scholar and polymath who's wit makes him great fun to read, its just that his emphases and frame of reference stress and center upon the study of written rather than visual texts.)

Nix   Link to this

Ah, nostalgia. The reminiscing reminds me of the Tango-Ballad from Threepenny Opera --

There was a time, and now it's all gone by
When we two lived together, she and I
The way we were, was just the way to be
I cared for her, and she took care of me
And that arrangement seemed to work perfectly
The milkman rang the bell, I got out of bed
I opened up her purse, paid him what he said
I had a glass of milk, and back in bed I'd climb
You understand she was out working all the time
And so we lived, me and my little mouse
In that snug two by four where we kept house

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kh683PwxMtg

Australian Susan   Link to this

Nix - that's lovely! Except, I somehow think our Sam would have ignored the milkman and just rolled over in bed.

Bradford   Link to this

What goes wrong with a belt that can be mended?

Elizabeth is certainly no doormat, I'd be the first to insist, LH. And (I risk going off-topic) Nix delightfully cites, from the 1953 off-Broadway revival, the Marc Blitzstein translation of "Threepenny," never surpassed: look up that original cast recording, which is sly, sinister, satirical, funny, touching, and still modern.

cum salis grano   Link to this

Prosperity has done him in.
Belt n
L. balteus girdle. ON. has balti (neut.), perh. ad. L. balteum, common in med.L.]

1. a. A broadish, flat strip of leather or similar material, used to gird or encircle the person, confine some part of the dress, and to support various articles of use or ornament.
.......................

1597 SHAKES. 2 Hen. IV, I. ii. 159 He that buckles him in my belt.

c. fig.

1483 Cath. Angl. 27/1 A belte of lechery, cestus.

Nix   Link to this

Of course, in Tango-Ballad, Jenny was a prostitute and Mack was a pimp.

Perhaps the song fits better with some of Samuel's female acquaintances whose husbands don't seem overly concerned about their dalliances -- the Martins, perhaps.

pepf   Link to this

EW: marital vs. extramarital sex:
"Lay long with pleasure with my wife"
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/02/07/

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