Wednesday 26 August 1668

Up, and to the office, where all the morning almost, busy about business against the afternoon, and we met a little to sign two or three things at the Board of moment, and thence at noon home to dinner, and so away to White Hall by water. In my way to the Old Swan, finding a great many people gathered together in Cannon Street about a man that was working in the ruins, and the ground did sink under him, and he sunk in, and was forced to be dug out again, but without hurt. Thence to White Hall, and it is strange to say with what speed the people employed do pull down Paul’s steeple, and with what ease: it is said that it, and the choir are to be taken down this year, and another church begun in the room thereof, the next. At White Hall we met at the Treasury chamber, and there before the Lords did debate our draft of the victualling contract with the several bidders for it, which were Sir D. Gawden, Mr. Child and his fellows, and Mr. Dorrington and his, a poor variety in a business of this value. There till after candle-lighting, and so home by coach with Sir D. Gawden, who, by the way, tells me how the City do go on in several things towards the building of the public places, which I am glad to hear; and gives hope that in a few years it will be a glorious place; but we met with several stops and new troubles in the way in the streets, so as makes it bad to travel in the dark now through the City. So I to Mr. Batelier’s by appointment, where I find my wife, and Deb., and Mercer; Mrs. Pierce and her husband, son, and daughter; and Knepp and Harris, and W. Batelier, and his sister Mary, and cozen Gumbleton, a good-humoured, fat young gentleman, son to the jeweller, that dances well; and here danced all night long, with a noble supper; and about two in the morning the table spread again for a noble breakfast beyond all moderation, that put me out of countenance, so much and so good. Mrs. Pierce and her people went home betimes, she being big with child; but Knepp and the rest staid till almost three in the morning, and then broke up. [Continued tomorrow. P.G.]

12 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"it is strange to say with what speed the people employed do pull down Paul's steeple, and with what ease: it is said that it, and the choir are to be taken down this year, and another church begun in the room thereof, the next. "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_St_Paul%27s_Ca...
Scroll down for "Remains of the Cathedral after the fire drawn by Thomas Wyck, c. 1673" ( Was this done from earlier sketches? )

Evidently, from what Pepys writes, the tear-down went quickly at first; then it was slowed by lead calking (see the link). Due to having to get a committee and the Dean approve a design, after two major plan alterations Sir Christopher Wren's church.would begin to be built in 1673 -- and because it was altered in many ways as it was built-- not be concluded until 1716.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

This day's entry gives a vivid sense of what a construction-zone London was at this time.

Chris Squire   Link to this

'There till after candle-lighting . . '

Sunset: 7 pm GMT. No British Summer Time in those days.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

There's a party going on at Batelier's...A celebration to last the remainder of the year. Sam, have some good times and some laughter too, we're gonna party vicariously with you...

Wild London party of the late 60's...Viol on, Sam. Gumbleton get down!

"Really, Gumbleton, get off that noble breakfast table." Gumbleton looks up from table...Ohhhh...

"Wild...Simply...Wild..."

"Ohhh...Am I out of countenance..." Sam groans. "Bess?..."

"Don't...Talk..." puts up hand, holding head. "Just get me a cab home."

"I'm Robin Leech of the London Gazette, here at the posh townhome of London's favorite provider of choice beverages, Mr. Will Batelier, where the night has just been violed away by some of London's brighter celebrites...I see our distinguished Clerk of the Acts and man-about-town, Sam Pepys, with his lovely wife on arm and a bevy of beauties beside him, heading out... Mr. P, a word for our readers on this evening's champagne wishes and caviar dreams?"

"Out of countenance...Going home now...Good night, all...Ohhh...Support your navy...Good night."

"Sam Pepys, staunch advocate of Britain's defense, and his lovely wife, Elisabeth...Dancing the night away here in London..."

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"At White Hall we met at the Treasury chamber, and there before the Lords did debate our draft of the victualling contract with the several bidders for it, which were Sir D. Gawden, Mr. Child and his fellows, and Mr. Dorrington and his, a poor variety in a business of this value."

L&M note the Board was now directed to alter certain details of their draft contract and again meet with the Treasury Commissioners and the merchants named.

"Much ado about nothing," says Pepys to himself, but faintly recalling the play he had seen 6 1/2 years ago. http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/5448/#wi...

***

Mary   Link to this

"bad to travel in the dark now through the City"

Anyone who recalls the risky nature of picking one's way through heavily blitzed areas of London in the years after WW2 will appreciate this sentiment.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I note Sam rarely speaks much about James Pierce these days. He once quoted him fairly routinely as to Court gossip but it almost seems as if they avoid each other even at these functions. You'd think with his curiosity on all things, including natural philosophy and Court doings he and James would be spending much time putting heads together.

LKvM   Link to this

Gumbleton

What a great Dickensian name for a "good-humored, fat young gentleman . . . that dances well."

Carl in Boston   Link to this

about two in the morning the table spread again for a noble breakfast beyond all moderation, that put me out of countenance, so much and so good.
I don't see why Sam has any reason for complaint, when Batelier is putting on the spread.
Gumbleton is a great Dickensian name, right up there with Sam Weller.

Background Lurker   Link to this

"that put me out of countenance"

Rather than meaning that he was unhappy with the spread, I think Sam was indicating that he overindulged.

"Sam rarely speaks much about James Pierce these days"

Sam is on jocular terms with HM the King himself and is the DoY's (current) fairhaired boy. What need of Pierce (and his rather unattractive painted wife) for inside information?

Mary   Link to this

"that put me out of countenance"

To put someone out of countenance generally means to cause them to lose face. Pepys regards the provided breakfast as so extraordinarily generous that it makes his own standards of hospitality seem inadequate. He is not complaining, he is confessing to feeling abashed at the thought of the more modest meals that he has offered to members of this same company on other occasions.

pepfie   Link to this

OED I.6.b ... to put out of countenance: to disconcert. Also fig.

...1668 Pepys Diary IV. 11 The table spread‥for a noble breakfast‥that put me out of countenance, so much and so good.

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