Friday 3 April 1668

Up, and Captain Perryman come to me to tell me how Tatnell told him that this day one How is to charge me before the Commissioners of Prizes to the value of 8000l. in prizes, which I was troubled to hear, so fearful I am, though I know that there is not a penny to be laid to my charge that I dare not own, or that I have not owned under my hand, but upon recollection it signifies nothing to me, and so I value it not, being sure that I can have nothing in the world to my hurt known from the business. So to the office, where all the morning to despatch business, and so home to dinner with my clerks, whose company is of great pleasure to me for their good discourse in any thing of the navy I have a mind to talk of. After dinner by water from the Tower to White Hall, there to attend the Duke of York as usual, and particularly in a fresh complaint the Commissioners of the Treasury do make to him, and by and by to the Council this day of our having prepared certificates on the Exchequer to the further sum of near 50,000l., and soon as we had done with the Duke of York we did attend the Council; and were there called in, and did hear Mr. Sollicitor [General] make his Report to the Council in the business; which he did in a most excellent manner of words, but most cruelly severe against us, and so were some of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, as men guilty of a practice with the tradesmen, to the King’s prejudice. I was unwilling to enter into a contest with them; but took advantage of two or three words last spoke, and brought it to a short issue in good words, that if we had the King’s order to hold our hands, we would, which did end the matter: and they all resolved we should have it, and so it ended: and so we away; I vexed that I did not speak more in a cause so fit to be spoke in, and wherein we had so much advantage; but perhaps I might have provoked the Sollicitor and the Commissioners of the Treasury, and therefore, since, I am not sorry that I forbore. Thence my Lord Brouncker and I to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and there saw the latter part of “The Master and the Man,” and thence by coach to Duck Lane, to look out for Marsanne, in French, a man that has wrote well of musique, but it is not to be had, but I have given order for its being sent for over, and I did here buy Des Cartes his little treatise of musique, and so home, and there to read a little, and eat a little, though I find that my having so little taste do make me so far neglect eating that, unless company invite, I do not love to spend time upon eating, and so bring emptiness and the Cholique. So to bed. This day I hear that Prince Rupert and Holmes do go to sea: and by this there is a seeming friendship and peace among our great seamen; but the devil a bit is there any love among them, or can be.

10 Annotations

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"and so bring emptiness and the Cholique"
Sam's "Cholique" was probably renal rather than intestinal;he is somewhat young to have had diverticulosis.

Christopher Squire   Link to this

‘devil n. Etym:  Old English déofol, < Greek διάβολος . . The Greek word was adopted in Latin as diabolus,
. . 21.a. Expressing strong negation: prefixed to a substantive, as the devil a bit , the devil a penny .
. . 1708    P. A. Motteux Wks. F. Rabelais (1737) V. 221   The Devil-a-Bit he'll see the better.’ [OED]

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"the devil a bit is there any love among them, or can be."
Is that how this passage reads in L&M? I can't really parse it.

Beth Lee   Link to this

"The devil a bit" is a strong negative. See http://www.jstor.org/pss/3719705.

So the above phrase might be read something like: "... but there never was any love among them, nor can be."

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

Poor Sam! Feeling under threat from all sides, reassuring himself that he has nothing to hide (well, not much) but scared of upsetting powerful people who could easily dump him in the mire to distract attention from themselves. It's not easy being a middle manager when the heat is on.

Mary   Link to this

The devil a bit ....... or can be.

L&M edition gives the same reading. It's a bit compressed, but not too obscure.

-"The devil a bit" = by no means
- Supply [if] after "the devil a bit"
-"is there": rhetorical reversal of "there is" for emphasis

-[n]or can [there] be.

Beth's rephrasing gives a comparable modern version of Sam's statement.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... and thence by coach to Duck Lane, to look out for Marsanne, in French, a man that has wrote well of musique, but it is not to be had, but I have given order for its being sent for over, and I did here buy Des Cartes his little treatise of musique, and so home, and there to read a little, ..."

SP had almost certainly been talking his musical ideas over with Brouncker who was one of the leading mathematical / musical theorists in England. Brouncker published his English translation of Descartes’ 'Musicae Compendium' in 1653 but he added notes of his own which doubled the size of the text. Mersenne had proposed a scale of 12 equal semitones after Descartes’ manuscript had been written and in his notes Brouncker proposed a variation of Mersenne’s ideas but he divided the scale into 17 equal semitones which he derived algebraically using ratios based on the golden section.

Alan Kerr   Link to this

" I do not love to spend time upon eating, and so bring emptiness and the Cholique.".
I read this to mean Sam didn't like eating alone, and it made him feel emotionally empty and melancholy. "Cholic" in the sense of the old humors, rather than in a modern physiological understanding. This is an emotional state I understand well when my wife is gone and the house feels empty.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...so home to dinner with my clerks, whose company is of great pleasure to me for their good discourse in any thing of the navy I have a mind to talk of."

Team Pepys rides again...

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: Cholique

Alan, Sam has written before how lack of eating and an empty belly brings on bouts of "wind" for him, so that is most likely his meaning here.

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