Friday 1 January 1668/69

Up, and presented from Captain Beckford with a noble silver warming-pan, which I am doubtful whether to take or no. Up, and with W. Hewer to the New Exchange, and then he and I to the cabinet-shops, to look out, and did agree, for a cabinet to give my wife for a New-year’s gift; and I did buy one cost me 11l., which is very pretty, of walnutt-tree, and will come home to-morrow. So back to the old Exchange, and there met my uncle Wight; and there walked, and met with the Houblons, and talked with them — gentlemen whom I honour mightily: and so to my uncle’s, and met my wife; and there, with W. Hewer, we dined with our family, and had a very good dinner, and pretty merry and after dinner, my wife and I with our coach to the King’s playhouse, and there in a box saw “The Mayden Queene.” Knepp looked upon us, but I durst not shew her any countenance; and, as well as I could carry myself, I found my wife uneasy there, poor wretch! therefore, I shall avoid that house as much as I can. So back to my aunt’s, and there supped and talked, and staid pretty late, it being dry and moonshine, and so walked home, and to bed in very good humour.

25 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

John Evelyn's Diary

1st January, 1669. Imploring his blessing for the year entering, I went to church, where our Doctor preached on Psalm Ixv. 12 [ "They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side." http://goo.gl/hprhR ], apposite to the season, and beginning a new year.

http://goo.gl/eySTk

Terry Foreman   Link to this

John Gadbury’s London Diary's "Cloudy cold, snowy night" quite diverges from Pepys's "it being dry and moonshine, and so walked home" and we know whom to believe: the experimentalist!

MaggieNY   Link to this

Captain Beckford was a "slopseller" to the Navy. what exactly was a slopseller??? Thank you.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Slops were the clothing issued to sailors of thee navy to wear on board ship. Later on, this was clothing issued to convicts being transported to first America and then Australia. It was made of the cheapest materials and of the one size fits all tailoring. Having an ongoing contract to supply slops was lucrative - thus the gift to Sam and his uneasiness in accepting it - what is the fine line between gratitude and bribery - Sam has to work this out.

Chris Squire   Link to this

‘slop, n.1 Etym: . . Middle Dutch slop , Old Icelandic sloppr . .
. . 5. a. pl. Ready-made clothing and other furnishings supplied to seamen from the ship's stores; hence, ready-made, cheap, or inferior garments generally.
1663 S. Pepys Diary 16 Mar. (1971) IV. 74 Advising upon the business of Slopps, wherein the seaman is so much abused by the pursers.
1764 J. Byron Voy. in Hawkesworth I. 9 The men‥who had contrived to sell not only all their warm clothes, but their bedding,‥now applied in great distress for slops.
1799 Ld. Nelson 16 Feb. in Dispatches & Lett. (1845) III. 267 Slops are not to be purchased here but at an enormous price.
1847 L. Hunt Men, Women, & Bks. I. ii. 22 A young sailor, with a face innocent of everything but a pride in his slops.
1878 W. Besant & J. Rice By Celia's Arbour II. xi. 186 He used to sell his slops for brandy, and cobble his old garments with the brown canvas of the sandbags.’ [OED]

Robert Gertz   Link to this

A present for Bess, eh? Yes, nothing like a little bribe at the right time to ensure domestic bliss after a major gaffe. Though it is amazing that Bess tolerates Sam's sudden rush of holiday affection for the Wights.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"did agree, for a cabinet to give my wife for a New-year’s gift; and I did buy one...of walnutt-tree"

L&M remind that this is the first time Pepys records giving his wife a New Year's gift; and walnut was just coming into use, so presumably very much in vogue.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Terry, I noticed the same discrepancy in the weather reports. Made me wonder if maybe this was one of those entries Sam wrote some days later after the fact, and he misremembered. I don't see how anyone could be anything but an experimentalist when it comes to reporting the weather.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Paul, though Pepys's walk home last night seemed a memory-marking experience, he did this so often, that what you suggest is possible.

In Murray. KY, with little terrain, a mile can matter, weather-wise. In NYC, given the rivers and wind-tunnels between buildings, it is far more so. I wonder what weather-variability there can be in London, with the Thames and the hills. Might it matter where in London and at what time of day John Gadbury made his observations?

London Paul   Link to this

Talking about the weather is very much part of British life; we all do it 'nice day, gone cold, what's the weather like with you" etc. it is mostly small talk but I'm sure in Pepy's time it was the same so it is quite natural for him to note the weather in the diary. This national characteriistic is probably because the weather may not be extreme but is so changeable. London today 6c and sunny and a bright blue sky - glorious. Tomorrow rain forecast.

Grahamt   Link to this

The most common weather forecast for Britain seems to be "Changeable". An American colleague visiting London for the first time commented: "Well, if you don't like the weather here, you just wait a minute."
I get an underground train from Paddington, West London, to Moorgate (Pepys' Moorfields) every day - about 4 miles - and the weather can be completely different on descending and emerging; rain and sun, fog and blue skies, as recent examples.

BobT   Link to this

Has anyone figured out how Sam managed to break a window in his coach with his knees? What was he doing, and who was he doing it with?

Mary   Link to this

The dull answer could be that there was a glass panel let into the bottom half of the coach door. Alternatively, perhaps glass in the upper part of the coach door was capable of being lowered, but sadly to a vulnerable position.

JWB   Link to this

"The walnut vogue only lasted around 50 years. In 1720, quite suddenly, mahogany from Central America replaced it as the English furniture makers favoured wood. Walnut's disappearance is explained not by fashion but by the weather and the French."

Paul Brown

The Guardian, Sunday 24 April 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/...

Dorothy   Link to this

Perhaps it is easier to stand the Wights now the Pepyses are no longer the poor relations.

Nate   Link to this

I don't completely understand this sentence: “The walnut vogue only lasted around 50 years. In 1720, quite suddenly, mahogany from Central America replaced it as the English furniture makers favoured wood. Walnut’s disappearance is explained not by fashion but by the weather and the French."

Both mahogany and walnut refer to kinds of trees and hence the wood from them. It appears that something was left out.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Changeable weather

In 1993, a retired English attorney Fulbright visitor remarked how violent and dramatically-changeable our mid-American weather fronts could be, quite unlike the maritime climate of the UK or Brussels, where he had worked for the EEC
( pre-Maastricht http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Economic_... ), but Grahamt may have provided a vindication of both Pepys and Gadbury.

I wonder which "night" was “Cloudy cold, snowy" according to Gadbury: perhaps Pepys was surprised that the one following was "dry" and walkable?!

Claire   Link to this

Antique mavens long to see the cabinet and wish it were extant!

Mary   Link to this

Walnut's disappearance.

If you click on the link to The Guardian article, kindly provided by JWB, all will be explained. It's an interesting piece.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Antique mavens long to see the cabinet and wish it were extant!"

Take your pick: https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1440&bi...

Michael Wright   Link to this

@Nate

The problem is an omitted apostrophe:

"mahogany from Central America replaced it as the English furniture makers favoured wood."

"Makers" should be "makers'", and so "favoured" is an adjective, not a verb. I didn't see that, until you pointed it out--maybe I would have been more likely to have read it your way if there'd been a comma after "it".

Gak, I'm doing some Latin at the moment and I'm hypersensitive to minutiae.

Australian Susan   Link to this

I understood the glass breaking incident to mean that Sam had a let down glass window in the coach door with a leather strap to bring it up and down (British Rail had those in the 1950s - anyone remember?) and that he whacked his knee against the door when the glass was in the down position and the door panel was shown to be not thick enough to protect it.

Stan Oram   Link to this

Slops

The clothing store in the Royal Navy (and many commonwealth navies) is still refered to as 'the Slop Room' or just 'slops' and purchases therefrom are still called 'Slops'. Even Naval Associations for former RN personnel list their clothing and other wearable item as 'slops'.

MaggieNY   Link to this

Thank you so much to all those who answered about "slops" for me. I had no idea it had to do with clothing. I am sorry this diary is coming to an end way too soon. I have learned so much from it and from you people. Guess I will have to start over from the beginning. :)

pepfie   Link to this

"a noble silver warming-pan"

OED ˈwarming-pan

1 A long-handled covered pan of metal (usually of brass) to contain live coals, etc., formerly in common use for warming beds.

... 1669 Pepys Diary 1 Jan., Presented from Captain Beckford with a noble silver warming-pan, which I am doubtful whether to take or no.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Beddenpan-bov...

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