Thursday 26 January 1659/60

To my office for 20l. to carry to Mr. Downing, which I did and back again. Then came Mr. Frost to pay Mr. Downing his 500l., and I went to him for the warrant and brought it Mr. Frost. Called for some papers at Whitehall for Mr. Downing, one of which was an Order of the Council for 1800l. per annum, to be paid monthly; and the other two, Orders to the Commissioners of Customs, to let his goods pass free. Home from my office to my Lord’s lodgings where my wife had got ready a very fine dinner — viz. a dish of marrow bones; a leg of mutton; a loin of veal; a dish of fowl, three pullets, and two dozen of larks all in a dish; a great tart, a neat’s tongue, a dish of anchovies; a dish of prawns and cheese.

My company was my father, my uncle Fenner, his two sons, Mr. Pierce, and all their wives, and my brother Tom. We were as merry as I could frame myself to be in the company, W. Joyce talking after the old rate and drinking hard, vexed his father and mother and wife. And I did perceive that Mrs. Pierce her coming so gallant, that it put the two young women quite out of courage. When it became dark they all went away but Mr. Pierce, and W. Joyce, and their wives and Tom, and drank a bottle of wine afterwards, so that Will did heartily vex his father and mother by staying. At which I and my wife were much pleased. Then they all went and I fell to writing of two characters for Mr. Downing, and carried them to him at nine o’clock at night, and he did not like them but corrected them, so that to-morrow I am to do them anew.

To my Lord’s lodging again and sat by the great log, it being now a very good fire, with my wife, and ate a bit and so home.

The news this day is a letter that speaks absolutely Monk’s concurrence with this Parliament, and nothing else, which yet I hardly believe.

After dinner to-day my father showed me a letter from my Uncle Robert, in answer to my last, concerning my money which I would have out of my Coz. Beck’s hand, wherein Beck desires it four months longer, which I know not how to spare.

44 Annotations

First Reading

Rita  •  Link

Neat's tongue is ox tongue, traditionally served with Cumberland sauce. A recipe, should this sound enticing, can be found at…

David Quidnunc  •  Link

". . . Uncle Fenner, his two sons . . ."

Pepys is referring to the sons-in-law of his uncle. Two of Fenner's daughters, Mary and Kate Fenner, married the brothers Anthony and William Joyce. (Tomalin, p. 128) Fenner is a blacksmith. (John Hearsey, "Young Mr. Pepys," p. 79)

Since the maiden name of Pepys's mother is Kite, Fenner is probably her brother-in-law (although he could be a half-brother).

"W. Joyce . . . vexed his father and mother and wife" -- meaning Uncle Fenner, Aunt Fenner and Kate.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

"Joyce talking after the old rate"

-- meaning "the way he used to talk"? If anyone knows the definition of this phrase, please post it.

The phrase is used in "Ralph Roister Doister," a play from the mid-1500s (Act III), where it seems to mean "the same as ever" (as we'd say in America):

Merrygreek: How feel ye yourself affected here of late?
Dame Custance: I feel no manner change but after the old rate. But whereby do ye mean?…

Peter Marquis-Kyle  •  Link

Thanks Rita for the ox tongue recipe, but I am surprised that it calls for "pickled tongue". Where I come from, tongues are either fresh or corned (soaked in brine).

So, does "pickled" mean soaked in salt water? Or in spiced vinegar?


gerry healy  •  Link

Pickling medium is usually vinegar plus flvouring. Check out cooked tongue is quite hard to find outside specialised delis in NYC. Perhaps because it sells around the price of prociutto.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

"And I did perceive that Mrs. Pierce her coming so gallant, that it put the two young women quite out of courage."

Here's Pepys, who had a lifelong habit of appreciating women's company (according to Claire Tomalin), closely watching the women at his party and interpreting what they seem to be thinking.

Gallant -- "showy and gay in dress or appearance" (one definition in Webster's New World Dictionary).

Does anyone know what "quite out of courage" means?

The same dictionary gives this definition of courage as obsolete: "mind; purpose; spirit."

Possible translation: She dressed so well that it dispirited the two (envious? competitive?) young women. (Does this guess make sense? Is there a better one?)

There may have been three young women there: Pepy's wife, Elizabeth, who was 19, and the two Mrs. Joyces -- Mary and Kate. Maybe one of the Joyces was much older than the other, or perhaps Pepys doesn't mean Elizabeth.

language hat  •  Link

"after the old rate":
Yes, this means "in his old (ie, accustomed) way"; it's OED def. 10:

10 a Standard of conduct or action; hence, manner, mode, style. Chiefly with after. Obs.
1529 Skelton Caudatos Anglos 20 Skelton laureat After this rate Defendeth with his pen All Englysh men. 1596 Spenser F.Q. iv. x. 52 Thus sate they all around in seemely rate. 1648 Jenkyn Blind Guide i. 14 He speaking after the rate of the eldest sonne of Gogmagog; more like a Polyphemus than like a Paul. 1659 Shirley Hon. & Mam. v. ii, I have not liv'd After the rate to fear another world. 1702 Eng. Theophrast. 77 They behaved themselves after another rate in private. 1792 Cowper Let. to J. Johnson 22 Oct., I proceed much after the old rate; rising cheerless.., and brightening a little as the day goes on.

b at a (certain) rate: In a..way or manner. So at this rate, etc. Obs.
1654-66 Earl Orrery Parthen. (1676) 782 He used me at a Rate, which might have assured me he would deny me nothing.

language hat  •  Link

"coming so gallant":
Your translation seems fine to me. The OED on gallant as adjective:

Of women: Fine-looking, handsome. Obs.
1579 Lyly Euphues (Arb.) 51 This gallant girle, more faire then fortunate, and yet more fortunate then faithful. 1613 Withers Abuses Stript & Whipt ii. ii, Some gallant Lasse along before him sweeps. ?1650 Don Bellianis 173 The gallant Princess Persiana.

And as noun, with Pepys citation:

Of a woman: A fashionably attired beauty. Obs.
C. 1550 Lusty Juventus C iv b, Now by the masse I perceyue that she is a gallaunde. 1606 Dekker Sev. Sinnes Induct. (Arb.) 8 Thou [London] that wert before the only Gallant and Minion of the world. 1662 Pepys Diary 4 Sept., She would fain be a gallant.

wiggy  •  Link

"quite out of courage"

Same as it ever was. Mrs Pierce's power-dressing signalled strongly to the other girls that they should mind her Manolos. As she hogged the cameras, they were eclipsed - meek, mousy, tongue-tied and bashful. And quite out of courage.
The construction of the phrase has many parallels still in the language today - (in my own case) seldom out of sorts, often out of patience, and always out of pocket

David Quidnunc  •  Link

". . . Will did heartily vex his father and mother by staying. At which I and my wife were much pleased."

Does Pepys mean he and his wife were pleased that Joyce's father- and mother-in-law are vexed? That seems to be the plain meaning.

If Pepys's writing is sloppy, he may mean that they're pleased Joyce and some others decided to stay late. But that idea seems contradicted by the earlier sentence "We were as merry as I could frame myself to be in the company," which is followed by disparaging comments on the guests, especially Joyce.

To be pleased with someone else's discomfort in this situation could sound nasty, even almost sinister. I think nowaday's we'd say "amused" or even "devilishly amused" in place of "pleased." But my dictionary doesn't support that meaning of pleased. Is Pepys using some archaic meaning of the word?

Here's another translation: He and his wife were hoping that Joyce's wife and in-laws would prevail on Joyce to leave, and were pleased while the effort was being made.

But the simplest and most likely interpretation is the "nasty" one, looking just at the words themselves. But if that's true, I would have expected more explanation (even if Pepys is only writing to himself), about why he felt that way about Kate Joyce and the Turners.

That earlier sentence, "We were as merry as I could frame myself to be in the company," may mean that he felt it was laborious to be a pleasant host to these guests. "Frame" might simply mean "make" or it could imply something carefully crafted -- and "in the company" is unnecessary to write unless the point is to emphasize that these guests were a chore to put up with.

Alternate explanations are possible, but I'm left with the idea that Pepys liked the food but not the company, and he tried to be a nice host while groaning inwardly at the boorishness of his guests.

Did he know the guests would probably act this way before he invited him? (Will Joyce was certainly no surprise.) If so, why invite them? Perhaps this socializing is a kind of politicking among people who are really pretty impoverished (from our perspective, not theirs) and can use each other for help if they get into trouble (at a time of no life, fire, health or unemployment insurance and no modern welfare). Maybe the best way of thinking about this gathering is as a kind of business lunch where the food is meant to help foster good will.

language hat  •  Link

"as merry as I could frame myself to be"

David, you're a lucky man if you've never found yourself dining with people you weren't crazy about. This is a pretty common phenomenon for all sorts of reasons (not just business), and a chief pleasure of a certain sort of person is the postprandial dissection of the less favored of the company. There's a famous quote from Alice Roosevelt Longworth: "If you don't have anything good to say about someone... come and sit by me." To "be pleased with someone else’s discomfort in this situation” is a basic part of the human makeup, deplorable as it may be.

As for the lack of explanation, it’s already evident that Pepys doesn’t give much for anything. He just says what happened with whom, and leaves us to sort it out.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

RE: "as merry as I can frame myself ..."

(1) He was PLEASED (not amused, PLEASED) at their vexation AT THE TIME. Maybe you've come across people with that personality trait more than I have. Malicious giggling over the guests after they're gone -- that I can see. This sounds sadistic (and inviting them over sounds masochistic). And he's talking about the company in general being a chore, not just one or two.

(2) He's just finished telling us how awful or amusing W. Joyce, Mrs. Pierce and the two young women have been. I'd have appreciated a detail or two explaining how the Turners and Kate Joyce annoy him -- so would he in rereading the diary entry years from this date. Maybe he's just annoyed by them on general principles, but that leads to my next point ...

(3) These were people HE INVITED OVER. This isn't his wife's family, these are his family and acquaintances. Some effort was put into all of this --

I ask again: Why invite 'em?

Grahamt  •  Link

Having seen Language hat's comments about "rate" reminded me that my father (born 1917) always used the phrase "any rate" instead of "anyway". I don't know if this is a Nottinghamshire thing, or generally northern. Any rate, (!) I am aware that I still hear it "back home", but not here in the south of England.

Bottsie  •  Link

I think "Any rate" must be a northern saying. I use it all the time. At any rate I'm not sure Sam uses it in that context.

Julie Kane  •  Link

My mother's family, from Philadelphia PA and Washington DC, used "at any rate" for "in any case." I never noticed - until today - that it was an unusual usage. They used several other phrases which I've come to think of as Britishisms. I wonder why.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

"At any rate"

My mother still uses that phrase (I heard it just last week). She's originally from western Pennsylvania, where there is a great Scotch-Irish influence, and the phrase may have survived that way (although, it may just be an old phrase from all over that has been retained in spots). I've heard somewhere that rural areas tend to preserve language usages and words longest.

Tom Carr  •  Link

"At any rate" in New England

I live in New England. Rural northwest Connecticut to be exact. I personally use "at any rate" and hear others use it quite often.

Glyn  •  Link

When were mealtimes?

If the guests stayed late, but were gone well before 9pm then presumably they started their evening meals very early compared to us. Someone said that at this time they only had 2 meals a day - breakfast and dinner - is that right?

tamara  •  Link

A common version of "anyway" up north, is, I think, "any road"--that might have led to its pronunciation as "any rate."

Mark  •  Link

People are asking why Sam invited guest to dinner whoes company he didn't much care for. I'd say the answer is because they're family. I'd be surprised if all of us didn't have at least one family member, whether related by genetics or marriage, who didn't make us cringe a little at the thought of having to spend the evening with. I know I do. BTW, I grew up in Arkansas, and we say, " any rate" as well.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: When were mealtimes?

From my reading of the diary so far, it seems the substantial meals of the day are dinner (i.e., lunch, the noontime meal) and supper. Pepys often speaks of his "morning draft," and I remember an earlier annotation in which someone (sorry, I forget who) said that it was not common back then to eat breakfast, but instead to drink it (keeping in mind earlier discussions about how beer could be much weaker back then, and was used as an efficient way of preserving the nutritional and caloric value of the grains that went into making it).

Look at the entry, and you'll see that Sam and his wife had a light supper ("ate a bit and so home") after their "very fine dinner" earlier.

tamara  •  Link

re: "any rate"
not meaning to harp or anything, but the original comment was about a relative rarity: using "any rate" instead of "anyway"--not "AT any rate," which has a slightly different meaning and an extra word, and is quite common.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Correction, Justification for "RE: As merry ..."

I say in paragraph (2) that Kate is William Joyce's wife. Actually it's Mary, her sister. (Henry B. Wheatley, "Samuel Pepys and His World" 1889 edition, p. 119.)

Here's a quote Wheatley (p. 118) pulls out of the diary for 6 August 1663 that makes one of my points very well:

"I think it convenient to keep in with the Joyces against a bad day, if I should have occasion to make use of them."

So the reason he hosts people that he can barely stand is because they are a kind of insurance against bad times. I wouldn't judge him too harshly for that.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

RE: "at any rate"/"any rate"

Tamara's sane comment brought me up short. "At any rate" is, of course, now that I come to think of it, pretty common. Common enough to get 580,000 citations when I plugged the phrase into (you have to put quotes around it). It would be hard to get more common than that.

This quote from Oscar Wilde popped up in the Googling: "The liar at any rate recognizes that recreation, not instruction, is the aim of conversation, and is a far more civilised being than the blockhead who loudly expresses his disbelief in a story which is told simply for the amusement of the company."

(Of course, for annotations, the aim is instruction, not recreation!)

What I'd like to know is: What's the difference in meaning between "at any rate" and "any rate"?

tamara  •  Link

I'd say that "at any rate" in your Oscar Wilde quote means something closer to "at least" than "in any case" which is I think certainly one of the chief meanings of "anyway." And the original discussion was about "any rate" as a synonym for "anyway." But I fear that this discussion will soon cease to be for the amusement of the company!

oliver  •  Link

The quantity of food Pepys laid out for his guests on January 26 seems extraordinary, even for the 13 people (by my count) that Pepys says were present. Did they really eat it all, or was the seemingly extravagant amount just for show? If there was any food left over, what happened to it? Would Pepys and his wife have eaten proportionately as much food even when alone? Did servants eat the left-overs from their employers' tables, or did they have their own foods and menus?

In general, I'd enjoy receiving any thoughts or references about the "food economy" of middle and upper income (forgive the anachronism) households during Pepys' time.

jcallan  •  Link

re: "as merry as I could frame myself to be"

“Frame” is still used (at least in Yorkshire) to mean “to draw one’s strength together”. Often said as an encouragement “Come on, frame yourself”.
So Pepys probably just means “make”.

vicente  •  Link

Pickle : from Dictionary: a brine[salted water] or vinegar solution for preserving foods] actually very necessary process [see book Salt by Mark Kurlansky , many references to being pickled]

James Taylor  •  Link

I believe Samuel Pepys had no idea what he wanted to mean when he wrote this. According to cambridge scholars who uncovered his idary in 1889, several side nots or post scripts if you will were found containing his true feelings of his wife and how he despised her for all she was worth.

James Taylor  •  Link

Actually according to my history of literature class at Yale University Dr. James Byron, told me that Pepys' analytical satire conforms with the idea that he wrote this piece at random and was not aware of the true meaning he wanted to present in this entry. It seems to me that this is true when I break it down line by line. He wrote in his post scripts how he wrote at random sometimes. I should send you the link for copies of these post scrips at Yale's lit website.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... according to my history of literature class at Yale University ..."

Your comments are completely without foundation: I suggest you review the lengthy introduction in Vol I of Latham and Matthews, the modern standard edition of the Diary, the manuscript, the shorthand, the text are discussed pp. xli - lxvii.

James Taylor  •  Link

I understand. It may seem too ridiculous how qualified I am in this subject but i urge you to check out the website. I did take your advice and I looked up the book and indubidubly agree with his aim toward his goal of perfect historic recordings. I am very impressed with the information in the book. Thank you. My research still backs up my claim even though the evidence is quite good in Latham and Matthews. Although I question its authenticity due to lack of knowledge of his background. It is just a little shady.

JRQuilcon  •  Link

James Taylor:

Link plz?

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"The news this day is a letter that speaks absolutely Monk’s concurrence with this Parliament, and nothing else, which yet I hardly believe."

Three letters from Monck were read this afernoon in parliament:…
Pepys probebly refers to the one published on the 27th as A Letter of General George Monck's, Dated at Leicester 23 Jan. and Directed Unto Mr. Rolle to be Communicated Unto the Rest of the Gentry of Devon: Occasioned by a Late Letter from the Gentry of Devon Dated at Exceter, 14 Jan, and Sent by Mr. Bampfield to the Speaker to be Communicated Unto the Parliament…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Diary of Ralph Josselin (Private Collection)
26.1.1660 (Thursday 26 January 1660)
document 70012245
Jan: 26: 59: my 43. year complete, and 44: entering.

26: This day I reckon my birthday, I preached at Wakes, church snowy, the way bad, twice I slumped in and was wet, yet I bless god for the sermon a birthday sermon from psal: 119.73, and so do some others, thats a great honour to do good, lord be with me, and bless me in christ Jesus, and command thy favour for my seed. I am yours, I look you should save me

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I'm fascinated by why Pepys throws this lavish party for 13 at Montagu's Whitehall apartments. Last week he had no coal and insufficient funds for the rent, and his job is in jeopardy. Afterwards he sits by the light of the warm log fire to work on Downing's cipher, which indicates to me there still may be little or no coal at home. It's too late for 12th night ... it's nobody's birthday ... March 26 is the anniversary of the stone operation ... he doesn't mention giving tours of the rich cousin's home to the poor relatives ... Mr. Shepley went back to Hinchingbrooke on January 20. Perhaps he left a larder full of spoiling food? It didn't sound that way yesterday, but I can't think of anything else.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The answer to my party question above emerges in a couple of days


And this may explain the three letters read in Parliament:…

26 A general indemnity offered to Lambert's army.
Lambert himself ordered to retire to the house of Captain Baynes at Holdenby in Northamptonshire. HCJ, ODNB

Terry Foreman  •  Link

A better copy of the letter from Monk

A letter of General George Monck's, dated at Leicester 23 Ian. and directed unto Mr. Rolle to be communicated unto the rest of the gentry of Devon: occasioned by a late letter from the gentry of Devon dated at Execter 14 Ian. and sent by Mr. Bampfield to the Speaker to be communicated unto the Parliament. Read in Parliament Ian. 26.
Albemarle, George Monck, Duke of, 1608-1670.
London: printed by Iohn Redmayn in Lovels Court in Pater noster row, 1660.
Early English Books Online [full text]…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

An answer (Pepys seems unaware of) to Monk's letter of the 23rd::

A letter to General Monck,: in answer to his of the 23th of January, directed to Mr. Rolle, to be communicated to the gentlemen of the county of Devon· By one of the excluded Members of Parliament.
Morris, Richard, fl. 1660., Albemarle, George Monck, Duke of, 1608-1670.
London: printed for R. Lowndes, at the White Lyon in S. Paul's Church-yard, 1659 [i.e. 1660] Early English Books Online [full text]…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pepys sees and obtains this letter and praises it on 31 January, and pledges to "keep it by" him.

Third Reading

Croakers Apprentice  •  Link

This 'time capsule' dinner- party shows that some things never change, any rate.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Aye Sam, that's right, party like it's the end of the world. Dance on that volcano! Monk's still a few days away with his, what, 6,000 horse, all of them battle-hardened tree-throwing savage Scots. Aren't you relieved at every shred of evidence that, though Monk could feel he doesn't have to bend the knee to anyone, he won't seize power, that they won't sack London, that they won't quarter a dozen of these troopers in your spare bedroom. Of course he'd want everybody to believe that, wouldn't he, before he got to Parliament's doors with these rams.

Surely you would tell us, if you weren't as relaxed as your Diary suggests, if the city was as much on edge as this dispatch tends to suggest, from John Shaw to the king's secretary in Brussels in today's State Papers: "The western declaration is very seasonable to induce Monk to be of the same sense as undoubtedly he will find the City of London, of whose temper those of Westminster must doubt, by their drawing so great guards into the city, as they probably do of Monk, as if they designed to possess themselves of the city before his coming".

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