Wednesday 12 February 1667/68

Up, and to the office, where all the morning drawing up my narrative of my proceedings and concernments in the buying of prize- goods, which I am to present to the Committee for Accounts; and being come to a resolution to conceal nothing from them, I was at great ease how to draw it up without any inventions or practise to put me to future pain or thoughts how to carry on, and now I only discover what my profit was, and at worst I suppose I can be made but to refund my profit and so let it go. At noon home to dinner, where Mr. Jackson dined with me, and after dinner I (calling at the Excise Office, and setting my wife and Deb. at her tailor’s) did with Mr. Jackson go to find my cozen Roger Pepys, which I did in the Parliament House, where I met him and Sir Thomas Crew and Mr. George Montagu, who are mighty busy how to save my Lord’s name from being in the Report for anything which the Committee is commanded to report to the House of the miscarriages of the late war. I find they drive furiously still in the business of tickets, which is nonsense in itself and cannot come to any thing. Thence with cozen Roger to his lodgings, and there sealed the writings with Jackson, about my sister’s marriage: and here my cozen Roger told me the pleasant passage of a fellow’s bringing a bag of letters to-day, into the lobby of the House, and left them, and withdrew himself without observation. The bag being opened, the letters were found all of one size, and directed with one hand: a letter to most of the Members of the House. The House was acquainted with it, and voted they should be brought in, and one opened by the Speaker; wherein if he found any thing unfit to communicate, to propose a Committee to be chosen for it. The Speaker opening one, found it only a case with a libell in it, printed: a satire most sober and bitter as ever I read; and every letter was the same. So the House fell a-scrambling for them like boys: and my cozen Roger had one directed to him, which he lent me to read. So away, and took up my wife, and setting Jackson down at Fetter Lane end, I to the old Exchange to look Mr. Houblon, but, not finding him, did go home, and there late writing a letter to my Lord Sandwich, and to give passage to a letter of great moment from Mr. Godolphin to him, which I did get speedy passage for by the help of Mr. Houblon, who come late to me, and there directed the letter to Lisbon under cover of his, and here we talked of the times, which look very sad and distracted, and made good mirth at this day’s passage in the House, and so parted; and going to the gate with him, I found his lady and another fine lady sitting an hour together, late at night, in their coach, while he was with me, which is so like my wife, that I was mighty taken with it, though troubled for it. So home to supper and to bed. This day Captain Cocke was with the Commissioners of Accounts to ask more time for his bringing in his answer about the prize goods, and they would not give him 14 days as he asks, but would give only two days, which was very hard, I think, and did trouble me for fear of their severity, though I have prepared my matter so as to defy it.

9 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"it only a case with a libell in it, printed: a satire most sober and bitter as ever I read; and every letter was the same. So the House fell a-scrambling for them like boys: and my cozen Roger had one directed to him, which he lent me to read."

L&M say this was probably "Vox et lacrimae Anglorum: or The True Englishman's complaints to their representatives in parliament, humbly tendered to their serious consideration at their next sitting", dated 6 February. "It complained of everything from heavy taxation to the King's mistresses, and called for the abolition of monopolies, the relief of debtors, encouragement of husbandry, and justice against 'perfidious Clarendon'. A committee was appointed the following day to discover the author, printerand publisher..., but nothing seems to have come of it."

The 16-page pamphlet of verse has since been identified as a posthumous work of George Wither. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wither
http://search2.library.utoronto.ca/UTL/index?N=...

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Michael Robinson   Link to this

" The bag being opened, the letters were found all of one size, and directed with one hand: a letter to most of the Members of the House. ... The Speaker opening one, found it only a case with a libell in it, printed: a satire most sober and bitter as ever I read; and every letter was the same. "

L&M suggest this was:
[Wither, George, 1588-1667.]
Vox & lacrimæ Anglorum: or, The true English--mens complaints, to their representatives in Parliament. Humbly tendred to their serious consideration at their next sitting, February the 6th. 1667/8.
[London? : s.n.], Printed in the year 1668.
8vo, 16 p. ; In verse. Place of publication conjectured by Wing.
Wing (CD-Rom, 1996), W3208A
reprinted, "The second edition, with marginal remarks explaining the historical passages." Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), W3209
No copy of either edition in the PL.

It complained of everything from heavy taxation to the King's mistresses, and called for the abolition of monopolies, the relief of debtors, encouragement of husbandry, and justice against 'perfidious Clarendon.'

Spoiler. A committee was appointed the following day to discover author, printer and publisher, but nothing substantial resulted.

Mary   Link to this

"which is so like my wife that I was mighty taken with it, though troubled for it."

I think that Sam is saying that he was mighty taken with the likeness to his wife, but troubled that Houblon's wife was left waiting in her coach, in the dark, in an unfamiliar street (albeit with a companion). i.e. the first "it" refers to the likeness and the second "it" to her uncomfortable situation. However, it's not absolutely clear whether it is Mrs. Houblon or the fine lady who bears the striking resemblance to Elizabeth.

It's not the best constructed sentence that he has ever written.

Phoenix   Link to this

"I found his lady and another fine lady sitting an hour together, late at night, in their coach, while he was with me, which is so like my wife, that I was mighty taken with it, though troubled for it."

I read it as Pepys recognising in a stranger a situation common with Elizabeth, that is waiting patiently and uncomfortably (if not late at night in a coach - but who knows?) to be driven home while he is ostensibly doing business. Seeing it in another is a troubling reminder of his own behaviour.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I think I agree Houblon's wife's patient waiting reminded him uncomfortably of Bess'. More so perhaps that Houblon, though perhaps inconsiderate, was not,despite a naturally sophisticated, elegant manner that Sam so much aspires to, up to anything.

Spoiler...

Sam and Sarah Houblon are destined to become great friends...Interesting that he sees something of Bess in her.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I see another trip to Unthankes in the near future...Perhaps even something a bit more substantial in the Bessie's gift department. There is an honest sincerity in Sam's love for Bess that is very touching at times, despite his behavior at other times. I suspect there are many who, in the privacy of a personal diary, would reveal quite a bit less real feeling toward a spouse or supposed loved one despite an outward show of emotion or care.

Mary   Link to this

ladies in waiting.

Phoenix and Robert's interpretations are certainly plausible. My only cavil is that Elizabeth is usually left waiting for Sam somewhere that she might well enjoy spending time - Unthankes, The New Exchange or perhaps with her parents or friends. (She and Sam did miss one another at the theatre the other day, but that was scarcely a matter of neglect). I don't recall that she has ever been left hanging around at a late hour outside someone else's house in the dark on a cold, February night.

Of course, she waits for Sam for hours to come home to dinner, supper or what you will, but that's another matter.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The madcap Commons

Too bad Grey's Debates aren't begun this month until a brief entry for tomorrow.

Australian Susan   Link to this

I wondered why Mrs Houblon and her companion din't come into Sam's house and sit with Bess and be entertained (wine, biscuits?) whilst the men did their business. I assume that the "take up my wife" meant Sam brought her home. Was it that Mr H said the 17thc equivalent of "I'll be 5 minutes" to the ladies and then Sam and he got chatting and the time went on to be an hour? The coachman was probably discreetly armed with a cosh (sand-filled leather walloper) in case of muggers, but yes, not very pleasant to be left to chit chat (no light to do anything else) for an hour.

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