Thursday 21 May 1668

Up, and busy to send some things into the country, and then to the Office, where meets me Sir Richard Ford, who among other things congratulates me, as one or two did yesterday, [on] my great purchase; and he advises me rather to forbear, if it be not done, as a thing that the world will envy me in: and what is it but my cozen Tom Pepys’s buying of Martin Abbey, in Surry! which is a mistake I am sorry for, and yet do fear that it may spread in the world to my prejudice. All the morning at the office, and at noon my clerks dined with me, and there do hear from them how all the town is full of the talk of a meteor, or some fire, that did on Saturday last fly over the City at night, which do put me in mind that, being then walking in the dark an hour or more myself in the garden, after I had done writing, I did see a light before me come from behind me, which made me turn back my head; and I did see a sudden fire or light running in the sky, as it were towards Cheapside ward, and it vanished very quick, which did make me bethink myself what holyday it was, and took it for some rocket, though it was much brighter than any rocket, and so thought no more of it, but it seems Mr. Hater and Gibson going home that night did meet with many clusters of people talking of it, and many people of the towns about the city did see it, and the world do make much discourse of it, their apprehensions being mighty full of the rest of the City to be burned, and the Papists to cut our throats. Which God prevent! Thence after dinner I by coach to the Temple, and there bought a new book of songs set to musique by one Smith of Oxford, some songs of Mr. Cowley’s, and so to Westminster, and there to walk a little in the Hall, and so to Mrs. Martin’s, and there did hazer cet que je voudrai mit her, and drank and sat most of the afternoon with her and her sister, and here she promises me her fine starling, which was the King’s, and speaks finely, which I shall be glad of, and so walked to the Temple, meeting in the street with my cozen Alcocke, the young man, that is a good sober youth, I have not seen these four or five years, newly come to town to look for employment: but I cannot serve him, though I think he deserves well, and so I took coach and home to my business, and in the evening took Mrs. Turner and Mercer out to Mile End and drank, and then home, and sang; and eat a dish of greene pease, the first I have seen this year, given me by Mr. Gibson, extraordinary young and pretty, and so saw them at home, and so home to bed. Sir W. Pen continues ill of the gout.

15 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The Royal Society today at Arundel House — from the Hooke Folio Online

May. 21. 1668. mr Hooke brought in the Acct. of the staticall expt. made the Last Day for Examining the Penetration of Liquors It was orderd to be entred .

(Boyle Expt. of glutting [aqua fortis ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_fortis )] with [mercury] .)

Ld Brounk. weighing &. mixing salt & water. Boyle to try this by weighing salt in oyle of turpentine) Boyle by soe weighing sublimate finds its goodnesse

Trauaginj [ http://is.gd/kB6FWj ] Letter about his new system of Phylosophy.

The expt. made this day was another staticall one with [aqua fortis] & [Mars/iron]
The Curator coming Late the Expt. which requires much time could not be finisht

(Collins Receipt for making Gum Lac Vernice [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varnish ] entred)

http://webapps.qmul.ac.uk/cell/Hooke/hooke_foli...

Michael L   Link to this

"... their apprehensions being mighty full of the rest of the City to be burned, and the Papists to cut our throats. Which God prevent!"

It is amazing to me how truly afraid people of the era were about Catholics plotting to slit their throats and torture their family. There was an interesting program on BBC radio last year about the impact of Foxe's Book of Martyrs on English attitudes towards Catholics. The luridly illustrated book was a compendium of Catholic crimes through the ages, and was second in sales only to the Bible. The program suggests that the book's immense popularity had an enormous impact on feeding English fears.

Link to Melvyn Bragg's "In Our Time" program on Foxe's Book of Martyrs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vy2dd

Chris Squire   Link to this

Re ’. . but I cannot serve him, though I think he deserves well, . . ’

‘Serve v. tr, . . 16. a. trans. To render useful service to, do good offices to (a person); to work for or assist in any matter.
. . 1658 W. Dugdale Let. 9 Nov. in Life (1827) 340, I‥shall rest At your commands wherein I may serve you, W. Dugdale.
1727 Lady M. W. Montagu Let. 28 June (1966) II. 80, I am sure whatever I can serve my poor Nieces and Nephews in, shall not be wanting on my Part.’ [OED]

JWB   Link to this

Fears
The Waldensian massacre was just in 1655 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensian ).

Here's Milton: "On the Late Massacre in Piedmont"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Late_Massac...

JWB   Link to this

And more fears...
And the Thirty Years War had just ended in '48.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"I did see a sudden fire or light running in the sky, as it were towards Cheapside ward, and it vanished very quick, which did make me bethink myself what holyday it was, and took it for some rocket, though it was much brighter than any rocket"

L&M note this meteor was observed by a certain Wood in Bucks: "May 16, Sat, between 9 and 10 of the clock at night being then at Borstall, com. Bucks, I saw a Draco volens (flying dragon) fall from the sky. It made the sky soe light that one might see to read. It seemed to me to be as long as All Saints Steeple, Oxon. It was long and narrow and when it came to the lower region it vanished in sparkles. Mr. Sanders of Hadnam whom I met at Notley on Monday following told me that with them it vanished with a report. Great rains and inundations followed."

Carl in Boston   Link to this

Reading about the Waldensian massacres and such, small wonder the Pepysians feared to be set upon by Papists. Sobering thoughts on this Rapture Day.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...took it for some rocket, though it was much brighter than any rocket, and so thought no more of it..."

I take it Sam means fireworks rockets.

But there always good ole Alex to consider...

"Sir? What do you think?"

"Probably my father-in-law the crackpot French inventor, Hewer. Mrs. Pepys was going on about some giant rocket he was building that he'd test fly over England, then fire off to the moon."

"Sir, I mean...Should we?..." Sound of rocket swooping...

"...Duck?...Yes, by all means, Hewer."

Splat of rocket hitting mudhole...

"Hewer?!"

"Here, sir...Is it quite sunk in the mud, sir?"

"Appears so...Hmmn...Quite a large one...Didn't think it would be quite that large. But I suppose to shoot it to the moon..."

"Of course, sir...It could always have come...From the moon, sir."

Hmmn...Whoa...Bubbling in mudhole.

"Sir? Mightn't we best...?"

"Run, Hewer? Probably the best thing."

Figure emerges from the mud... "Sam'l?" Bess removes what would be recognized as a diving helmet.

"Bess?!"

"Father? I'm afraid we didn't make it to the moon, after all..." Bess calls back to the emerging Alex, likewise in helmet and thick leather suit.

***

Massacre Protestants? Why I don't know how these rumors about us get started...Pay no attention to that Inquistitor behind the curtain. Pardon me, Mr. Pepys but would you hold this "kill me, I'm Protestant" sign while I nail it to your door? Thanks so much old fellow.

Meanwhile...At that Earthly Den of Iniquity, the Vatican...

"Cardinale...?" young kneeling figure consults red-robed kneeling figure.

"Son?...er, boy?"

"That heavy breathing, Cardinale? A bit unnerving..."

"His Holiness' bronchitis acting up again...Quiet."

"Speak, Cardinal."

"Holiness...About your plan to take the 'direct' approach in England...Given our failures with Revolution, Plague, and Fire..."

"Don't tell me..."

"Well, Holiness..."

"I mean, Cardinal...Don't tell me..." grimly dark tone...

"Si, Holiness...A thousand pardons for troubling you with a small matter which can of course wait..."

"But Father...er Cardinale...?"

"Just shut up and back away, bowing, boy."

Mary   Link to this

"extraordinary young and pretty"

I presume that it is the peas that are so young and pretty (not Mr. Gibson). They sound delicious - young, sweet and succulent without the starchiness of more mature examples.

Mary   Link to this

"and yet do fear that it may spread in the world to my prejudice"

Indeed, especially as the matter of the prize cargoes has not yet been put to rest. Awkward assumptions might be made.

Mark S   Link to this

Thursday 21 May 1668

I think it is Mr Gibson who is 'pretty' - but not in our meaning of the word.

It is probably the meaning common in Scottish dialect and older English. A 'pretty man' meant someone strong, athletic, brave, capable, or with the qualities of a soldier.

The Dictionary of the Scots language says:

"Applied to men as having the proper or desirable qualities or skills. a. Most freq. with reference to manly or martial qualities: Brave, stout, doughty, ‘good’."

It gives some examples of usage:

1617 Your ablest and prettiest men
1643 He was ane prettie soldiour
1672 The clan Torkil in Lewis were the stoutest and prettiest men

Mary   Link to this

Yes, I'm aware of the use of 'pretty' in such a context. It was the 'extraordinarily young' that surprised. Pepys knows Gibson well (he's a clerk in the Navy Office) and mentions him fairly often, so why should he suddenly decide that the fellow is extraordinarily young?

Terry Foreman   Link to this

‘extraordinarily young’ Gibson?

Annote by nix says "The Oxford DNB says that Gibson was born in 1635"....

language hat   Link to this

"I presume that it is the peas that are so young and pretty"

Yes, I don't see how it can sensibly be read any other way.

pepfie   Link to this

"...and there did hazer cet que je voudrai mit her"

For the first time ever in his - well, not life, but diary, I perceive a German word seasoning his usual Romance olla podrida. Should we feel flattered now that even innocent German prepositions may have a sexual connotation or is it just intended to contrast?
Fortunately, the Project Gutenberg text contains only two instances all in all.

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