Monday 5 August 1667

Up, and with Sir W. Batten in the morning to St. James’s, where we did our ordinary business with the Duke of York, where I perceive they have taken the highest resolution in the world to become good husbands, and to retrench all charge; and to that end we are commanded to give him an account of the establishment in the seventh year of the late King’s reign, and how offices and salaries have been increased since; and I hope it will end in the taking away some of our Commissioners, though it may be to the lessening of some of our salaries also. After done with the Duke of York, and coming out through his dressing-room, I there spied Signor Francisco tuning his gittar, and Monsieur de Puy with him, who did make him play to me, which he did most admirably — so well as I was mightily troubled that all that pains should have been taken upon so bad an instrument. Walked over the Park with Mr. Gawden, end with him by coach home, and to the Exchange, where I hear the ill news of our loss lately of four rich ships, two from Guinea, one from Gallipoly, all with rich oyles; and the other from Barbadoes, worth, as is guessed, 80,000l.. But here is strong talk, as if Harman had taken some of the Dutch East India ships, but I dare not yet believe it, and brought them into Lisbon.1 Home, and dined with my wife at Sir W. Pen’s, where a very good pasty of venison, better than we expected, the last stinking basely, and after dinner he and my wife and I to the Duke of York’s house, and there saw “Love Trickes, or the School of Compliments;” a silly play, only Miss [Davis’s] dancing in a shepherd’s clothes did please us mightily. Thence without much pleasure home and to my Office, so home, to supper, and to bed. My wife mighty angry with Nell, who is turned a very gossip, and gads abroad as soon as our backs are turned, and will put her away tomorrow, which I am not sorry for.

  1. “Sept. 6, 1667. John Clarke to James Hickes. A vessel arrived from Harwich brings news that the English lost 600 to 700 men in the attempt on St. Christopher; that Sir John Harman was not then there, but going with 11 ships, and left a ketch at Barbadoes to bring more soldiers after him; that the ketch met a French sloop with a packet from St. Christopher to their fleet at Martinico, and took her, whereupon Sir John Harman sailed there and fell upon their fleet of 27 sail, 25 of which he sank, and burnt the others, save two which escaped; also that he left three of his fleet there, and went with the rest to Nevis, to make another attempt on St. Christopher. “Calendar of State Payers, 1667, p. 447

14 Annotations

nix   Link to this

"My wife mighty angry with Nell" --

Coming on the heels of the Knipp episode, I assumed this was a reference to Nell Gwynne. This Nell must not be much of a cook, or Samuel would be more cautious about canning her over a bit of belowstairs gossip. Especially after Penn's spoiled venison, he has to appreciate the value of good kitchen staff.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Nell's gadding about appears to have been far more than "a bit of belowstairs gossip": her stories have evidently come back to the Pepyses from outside friendlies.

Stefan   Link to this

Hahaha - he still hasn't got over the last venison! Wife still in a mood, it seems.

cum salis grano   Link to this

"...two from Guinea, one from Gallipoly, all with rich oyles; and the other from Barbadoes, worth, as is guessed, 80,000l...."
oyles from Galipoly? { en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli }

Was this oil from Baku or be it olive,

Bradford   Link to this

"only Miss [Davis’s] dancing in a shepherd’s clothes did please us mightily": try divining from this what the rest of the entertainment must have been like. How does one dress like a shepherd, other than carrying a pastoral crook?

"I there spied Signor Francisco tuning his gittar, and Monsieur de Puy with him, who did make him play to me, which he did most admirably — so well as I was mightily troubled that all that pains should have been taken upon so bad an instrument."

One assumes that in Pepys's opinion the "badness" resides not in Sr. F.'s particular instrument, but in the guitar qua guitar, as not being on the aesthetic level of, say, one of the viol family; akin to someone nowadays disparaging the accordion or harmonica for not being a concert grand or a clarinet, regardless of the performer's virtuosity.

Jesse   Link to this

"Miss [Davis’s] dancing in a shepherd’s clothes did please us mightily"

Having put two daughters through many, many years of dance lessons I was rather curious. Wikipedia of course has a brief entry on Baroque dance and YouTube has videos, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVQtvPeHAak - worth a look if you've half an interest.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

I had the same reaction as Bradford to the line about the guitar. I would guess, though, that the lute or the theorbo, plucked instruments that Sam likes well, are more likely than bowed viols to be instruments to which he compares the guitar and finds it wanting.

Margaret   Link to this

"...I perceive they have taken the highest resolution in the world to become good husbands...

Husband: a prudent or frugal manager.

Ruben   Link to this

"gittar"
Pepys was comparing a precursor of the classic guitar with a precursor of the classic violin.
You can see an illustration of a guitar by Vermeer (1672) at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar#Renaissance...
wiki says: "They are substantially smaller and more delicate than the classical guitar, and generate a much quieter sound" and "They were more often used as rhythm instruments in ensembles than as solo instruments".
Now that we know Sam Pepys better, I would say he preferred an instrument neighbours would hear.

language hat   Link to this

"Was this oil from Baku"

No, that's a couple of centuries away.

djc   Link to this

"and how offices and salaries have been increased since; and I hope it will end in the taking away some of our Commissioners, though it may be to the lessening of some of our salaries also"

How times change

Carl in Boston   Link to this

I was mightily troubled that all that pains should have been taken upon so bad an instrument. Guitar is an easy instrument at the beginning, but is very difficult to do anything interesting when you get better. Segovia could make it sing, given the notes were written to humor how the instrument likes to lay down. I have a bagpipe chanter and am giving up, it's just too primitive and cranky. I picked up the clarinet right here, I play it maybe every two years, and it's easy to use. It's a modern instrument, and I'm playing it in a concert tonight.

cum salis grano   Link to this

oil: it was there but no one was available to exploit it or too dirty to talk about it.
oleum igni.....

P2. (to add) oil to (the) fire (also flame) (and variants) [compare classical Latin oleum cam{imac}n{omac}, oleum flammae, in post-classical Latin also oleum igni (4th cent.)]:
used in similative and figurative contexts to refer to something which makes existing anger, conflict, emotion, etc., more intense. to pour oil on the fire (and variants): to increase or aggravate anger, passion, etc.
1548 Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. ccxxviiiv, There were also certaine other malicious and busye persones who added Oyle..to the Fornace.

1560 J. DAUS tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. ccxxviijv, As the common saying is, powred oyle vpon the fyre.
1630 J. TAYLOR Wks. 92 But all intreaty was like oyle to fire, Not quench'd; but more inflam'd the scurvy Squire.
1647 A. COWLEY Incurable in Mistress iv, But Wine, alas, was Oyl to th' fire.

With modern research tools one could find references that those not of western education were using oil from the ground.

The educated ones of yester year never mentioned boring mundane items that were useful but distasteful, like the not realizing the Otterman Empire were using a pinprick of smallpox of beauty treatment long before Western world deemed and invented the cure. [Lady Worsley Montegue introduced the concept to the Great Medicine Men of London, only to be told that she was right daft.]

Just an uneducated thought.

cum salis grano   Link to this

NIbus or not invented by us syndrome.

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