Friday 24 August 1660

Office, and thence with Sir William Batten and Sir William Pen to the parish church to find out a place where to build a seat or a gallery to sit in, and did find one which is to be done speedily. Hence with them to dinner at a tavern in Thames Street, where they were invited to a roasted haunch of venison and other very good victuals and company

Hence to Whitehall to the Privy Seal, but nothing to do. At night by land to my father’s, where I found my mother not very well. I did give her a pint of sack. My father came in, and Dr. T. Pepys, who talked with me in French about looking out for a place for him. But I found him a weak man, and speaks the worst French that ever I heard of one that had been so long beyond sea. Hence into Paul’s Churchyard and bought Barkley’s Argenis in Latin, and so home and to bed. I found at home that Captain Bun had sent me 4 dozen bottles of wine today. The King came back to Whitehall to-night.

35 Annotations

First Reading

David A. Smith  •  Link

"Captain Bun had sent me 4 dozen bottles of wine today"
An unexpected and un-asked-for gift. I wonder what the good captain will want?

vincent  •  Link

read on line in latin or buy a original "...Barkley’s Argenis in Latin..."BARCLAY, John. Barclay his Argenis: or, The loves of Poliarchus and Argenis faithfully translated out of Latine into English by Kingesmill Long, Gent. London: Printed by G.P. for H. Seile, 1625……

language hat  •  Link

Or, for those whose Latin is a little rusty...
Here's a description:…
"Argenis, daughter and heir presumptive of Meleander, king of Sicily, has four aspirants to her hand: Lycogenes, the rebel whose attempt to carry her off is frustrated by Poliarchus, disguised as a girl; Radirobanes, king of Sardinia, her father's ally against the rebels, who fails in an attempt to seize Argenis and is afterwards slain in single combat by Poliarchus; Archombrotus, a prince who arrives in Sicily incognito, but proves to be Meleander's son by a secret marriage; and the hero Poliarchus, a Gallic king, whose union with Argenis is celebrated at the conclusion…
“The political questions are those of the day, but how far are the principal characters and situations historical? The detail and order of the action is imaginary and a precise allegory is out of the question, but it would certainly seem that, in describing the condition and relation of various countries, Barclay had in mind the recent history of Europe.”

Detailed explanations at the linked article.

vincent  •  Link

Is SP Peev'd ?? Dr Thom.has a Padua M.D.and he is only 39 years of age.
"...who talked with me in French about looking out for a place for him. But I found him a weak man, and speaks the worst French that ever I heard of one that had been so long beyond sea...."

chip  •  Link

To continue L&M, the gallery contained two pews and was used for the first time on the following 11 November. It was built on the s. side of the nave and was approached from the churchyard by a covered staircase of which a view (c.1736) is given in A. Povah, St. Olave, Hart St. It was removed in 1853, a tablet now marking the position of the outside staircase, and the memorial to Pepys (1884) that of the gallery itself. Payments for the work, October-December 1660 (entered under 'Extra Service on the Seas') are in...Both material and workmen came from Deptford yard. Then they mention the medicinal use of wine (the sack for mom) and that Thomas Pepys was SP's first cousin, aged 39, who had been abroad studying medicine at Leyden and Padua. Pepys always regarded him as unemployable. After a mention of the Argenis, they mention Thomas Bunn of the Essex who had just returned from a voyage to Spain and that the King had been deer hunting in the country.

Mary  •  Link

Dr Pepys' poor French
Even if his spoken French was poor, he presumably had enough Latin to enable him to follow his studies in Leyden and Padua

Nix  •  Link

Dr. T. Pepys --

Perhaps Samuel is irritated at being asked for help by a kinsman because he wants to ration his favors to those who either (a) can compensate him well or (b) can advance his interests. The tone of the entry suggests that he didn't view Thomas as a likely prospect on either count. (Recall how unwilling he was to go to bat for his own father.) While advancing rapidly, Samuel may belive that he is still not yet well enough established to be building a patronage network.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"and speaks the worst French that ever I heard of"
Building on Nix's point, the surest way for Sam to lose whatever influence he is coming to understand he has will be to spend his political capital on a worthless candidate. Thus Sam can be expected to be a patron of supplicants, but only if they (1) do something for him (compensate him, do him reciprocal favors) *and* (2) are worthy of advancement. Thus, not only is he nettled at at long-lost relative suddenly surfacing to ask for a freebie, he is also disgusted that someone so late in life (this is the 17th century, after all) has turned it to so little account that he can manage only execrable French.

Mary  •  Link

'the worst French..'
I suppose we should consider the possibility that Dr. P's French, although grammatically accurate, is spoken with the worst accent that Sam has heard. Remember, both Elizabeth and her parents are French speakers, so Sam is used to hearing French pronounced 'as she is spoke' rather than heavily Anglicized.

Judy  •  Link

"....who talked to me in french... Has the learned doctor forgotten english or is he just trying to be 'sophisticated' - or something!

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Why French?
Judy wonders why they were speaking in French. My inference was that there were others present, at least Sam's father and maybe his mother, and Dr. T. Pepys used French to try to keep the content of his conversation private. A rude thing to do, of course, but Sam doesn't give us much reason to think highly enough of T. P. to be surprised.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Why French?
He could also want to impress SP with his command of French or he might want to hide the fact that he's simply asking for a job.

Glyn  •  Link

In "Bollywood" Indian films the characters will naturally drop English phrases into their conversations as well as complete English sentences before reverting to Hindi. It's a sign of status, showing their education and sophistication in being men-of-the-world. I suspect the same thing applies here since, after all, France is the richest and most powerful nation in the world and educated foreigners would be expected to know French in the same way that English is now the primary world language.

But this affectation has backfired on T. Pepys since Samuel Pepys speaks the language so much better, even though I don't think he's actually ever been to France. So far as I know, the closest he has got so far was on April 9th.…

Glyn  •  Link

Hence into Paul’s Churchyard and bought Barkley’s Argenis in Latin,

There were substantial bookshops and printshops built right up to the north walls of St Paul's Cathedral where new and second-hand books were bought and sold. Nearby in Ave Maria Lane was (and still is) Stationers Hall and the Royal Livery of Stationers, who made sure that nothing illegal or blasphemous was published. So this was probably the best place to browse if you were seeking new books. This information is taken from Michael Wood's excellent 4-part television series about Shakespeare (available on PSBR)who by Pepys time would have been considered a little old fashioned.

Glyn  •  Link

speaks the worst French that ever I heard of

Mary makes a good point that perhaps he was speaking grammatically correct French but with a poor Anglicized accent. But perhaps we're taking too much on trust from Sam, who after all was still very little travelled. Perhaps Dr T Pepys is speaking French with a southern French or Italianate accent that Sam is unacquainted with, so assumes is wrong. France is a big place with plenty of room for variations in speech - just a thought anyway.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Thence vs Hence
"Thence with them to dinner"
"Thence to Whitehall"
"Thence into Paul's Churchyard”
I’ve been picking up a stylistic pattern over the last several entries in this part of August. Wheatley seems to have chosen the word “Hence” to begin sentences where L&M uses the word “Thence”. (The OED defines hence as “(Away) from here, from this place; to a distance.” while it describes thence as “From that place; from there.”) The Wheatley wording seems to give the diary a different and to my ears a more present tense sense. I’m reasonably sure the shorthand was different so I’d like to bet there’s some random sort of tinkering going on in the Victorian editor’s work. In earlier sections of the diary (up to mid August) both seem to agree on the choice of thence and hence.

Nix  •  Link

St. Paul's Churchyard and the book trade --

Is this the same as (or adjacent to) Paternoster Row?

vincent  •  Link

"French" SP's French surely has the "Hugonaut" over tones. While Cousin Dr. Thom: has Paduan version. Regional differences were surely greater at that time than they are now, because of less cross polination (communication) between Regions . Not Unlike Cambridge fen dialect(townies) was so different from the Educated gown group. Even centuries later the Town and Gown did not cross polinate.
And then from the how names at that time were spelt gives clues to they how spoke and did write. Take the the name Pepys -peps, pepis,peapeas, perse etc., ref: are the wills written at the time, It does make very hard for the Conformists,Comput(o)(e)rs and H.Fords offspring thinking , one mold for all. One I like for a peps was fermor(farmer,) Peapes

maureen  •  Link

Paternoster Row was to the north of St Paul's Churchyard and south of Newgate Street. That area of London is currently rebuilding for the second time since WWI so modern maps are no help. The 1746 Rocque map is here -…

maureen  •  Link

Sorry, folks! I meant World War TWO

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

'speaks the worst French that ever I heard of'

I've just finished reading Sarah George's "Mrs Pepys' Diary", in which 'Mrs Pepys' comments that Sam's French isn't nearly as good as he thinks it is. Now I know that book is a work of fiction, but I wondered if there was any evidence as to Sam's linguistic prowess in French?

vincent  •  Link

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursel’s as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
And foolish notion.
Robert Burns (1759–1796)…
please don't tell me either

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Why French, indeed?!

L&M note Thomas Pepys had been abroad studying medicine at Leyden and Padua.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I found at home that Captain Bun had sent me 4 dozen bottles of wine today."

L&M note Thomas Bunn of the "Essex" had just returned from a voyage to Spain.

Bryan  •  Link

The covered staircase leading to the gallery - here's a treat:

"A watercolour by G Robertson of the south east view of the Parish Church of St Olave, Hart Street, London EC3, showing the exterior staircase used by the English diarist and naval administrator Samuel Pepys, (1633 - 1703), to gain access to the pew in the gallery reserved for the Navy office."…

ciudadmarron  •  Link

re: French regional differences, despite the Academie being created in 1634, it was the French Revolution in 1789 which began to solidify a standard French. It is estimated by Hobsbawm in his tome on nationalism that at that time 50% of the population could not speak French and only 12 to 13 % of it "fairly". Little wonder that over one hundred years before an expatriate who had been living in another country could not pass muster!

Bill  •  Link

Bryan, nice find! Don't forget the encyclopedia.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Why speak French?

French replaced Latin as the most important language of diplomacy and international relations (lingua franca) in the 17th century. It retained this role until approximately the middle of the 20th century, when it was replaced by English as the United States became the dominant global power following the Second World War.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Charles II returns to Whitehall ... they are expecting a visitor of France:

In 1660, England having lately been regarded as a first-rate Protestant power, and Charles II being viewed with suspicion in England as being half a Romanist, the French government resolved to send a Protestant envoy to compliment Charles on his restoration.
Henri de Massue, Marquis de Ruvigny was selected as a most eligible nobleman, particularly because he was also the brother-in-law of Treasurer Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton.

The Marquis had other acquaintances in England, among whom was the Countess-Dowager of Derby, née Charlotte de la Tremoïlle.
Lady Derby wrote to her cousin and sister-in-law, the Duchess de la Tremoïlle from London, 13 August, 1660, “I shall be very glad if M. De Ruvigny comes; I was acquainted with him before; but I did not know he was so much attached to you; and I will do as you wish.” [11]

Secretary Sir William Nicholas wrote, 24 August, 1660, “Monsieur De Ruvigny is coming as envoy from France.”

Robert Covin, master of the ship Alliance of Dieppe, petitioned “for an order for exemption from tonnage — is employed for transport of the horses, baggage, &c, of Monsieur De Ruvigny, a person of state lately come from France, and hath brought no other goods; such vessels are usually exempt from duty.”

Secretary Nicholas again wrote on September 6, 1660: “Monsieur De Ruvigny, French Envoy, has had several audiences.”

The Countess-Dowager of Derby, Charlotte de la Tremoïlle, wrote on September 22, 1660: “M. De Ruvigny has been twice to see me.”

About this time Henri de Massue, Marquis de Ruvigny seems to have been made a French Privy Councillor, for in 1661 Daillé’s Exposition of 1st Timothy was published, dedicated to Monsieur De Ruvigny, as “Conseiller du Roi en ses conseils, Lieutenant-General de ses armées, et Deputé-General des Eglises Reformées de France auprès de sa Majesté.”

11. Lady Derby was Charlotte, daughter of Claude, Duc de la Tremoïlle by Lady Charlotte Brabantine de Nassau, daughter of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, and Charlotte de Bourbon Montpensier, the prince’s third wife. She was writing to Marie de la Tour d’Auvergne, daughter of the Duc de Bouillon by Elizabeth de Nassau, and grand-daughter of William the Silent, and his fourth wife, Louise de Coligny.

When the French church in the Savoy, London, was opened on 14 July 1661, Lady Derby was present with her daughter Amelia Sophia, Countess of Athole.
Charles II esteemed Lady Derby highly and promised to make her the governess of his children; but the expected royal family was never born.
She died in 1664, aged 83.

No doubt Charles II admired Lady Derby because of her spirited defense of Lathom House. It is one of the classic stories about the English Civil Wars:…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I wondered if there was any evidence as to Sam's linguistic prowess in French?"

French and Latin were the universal languages in the 17th century.
Where Pepys learned his, he doesn't tell us.
However, his father-in-law was French,and his wife had briefly spent time in France, so she probably learned the language at home in Devonshire as a child.

All the returning Royalists were conversant in French to various degrees (Hyde always used an interpreter as he said he didn't speak it -- but that might have been a ruse so French courtiers and ambassadors would speak candidly in front of him).

However, Tom Pepys also spoke French when he was in extremis.…
Therefore, it's reasonable to think Sam learn French in his childhood, and not from his wife and in-laws exclusively.

Sandwich wasn't a returning Royalist, and he spoke acceptable French: "To my Lord’s and dined with him; he all dinner time talking French to me, and telling me the story how the Duke of York hath got my Lord Chancellor’s daughter with child, and that she, do lay it to him, and that for certain he did promise her marriage, and had signed it with his blood, but that he by stealth had got the paper out of her cabinet. And that the King would have him to marry her, but that he will not."…

That's all spoken French -- apparently Pepys could read and write it reasonably fluently also:

"The Pepys papers yield proof of the general use then made of the French tongue. An Italian named Cesare Morelli writing to Pepys from Brussels in 1686 discards his mother-tongue; probably knows no English, so naturally uses French."…

"... wrote a letter to the French ambassador, in French, about the release of a ship we had taken."…

"Thence by water to Redriffe, reading a new French book my Lord Bruncker did give me to-day, “L’Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules,” being a pretty libel against the amours of the Court of France."…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


On the other hand, the French saw no reason to learn English: In the 18th century they had never heard of Shakespeare.

"In the [17th] century there came to London, Boisrobert, Voiture, Saint-Amant.
Saint-Evremond lived in England many years without learning more than a few words, such as those he quotes in his works: mince pye, plum-porridge, brawn, and Christmas.
He is credited with a free translation of Buckingham's "Portrait of Charles II," Johnson was probably right in saying that "though he lived a great part of a long life upon an English pension, he never condescended to understand the language of the nation that maintained him."
But Jean Bulteel, the son of a refugee living in Dover, adapted a comedy of Corneille to the English stage (1665).

Scholars were more curious of reading the works of their English confrères. The English had the reputation of being born philosophers. "Among them," wrote Muralt the traveller, "there are men who think with more strength and have profound thoughts in greater number than the wits of other nations."
The works of Hobbes had caused a great stir on the Continent. His frequent and prolonged stays in France, his disputes with Descartes, his relations with Mersenne and Sorbière, contributed to his fame.
The names of Locke and Newton were known.
As early as 1668, Samuel Puffendorf inquired of his friend Secretary Williamson whether there existed an English-French or English-Latin dictionary.
Bayle wished to read the works of those new thinkers. "My misfortune is great," he wrote, "not to understand English, for there are many books in that tongue that would be useful to me."
Barbeyrac learned English in order to read Locke.
Leibniz was proud enough to inform Bishop Burnet that he knew enough English "to receive his orders in that tongue"; yet Aberdeen University remained l'université d'Abredon.

The teachers of French in England were men of letters, the number and variety of books they wrote showing how vigorously they wielded the pen. ...

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


After the Restoration may be noted Claude Mauger, Guy Miège, Paul Festeau, "maître de langues à Londres," d'Abadie,] Pierre Bérault, "chapelain de la marine britannique."
"If," wrote Bérault in his 'Nosegay or Miscellany of Several Divine Truths' (1685), "any gentleman or gentlewoman hath a mind to learn French or Latin, the author will wait upon them; he lives in Compton Street, in Soo-Hoo Fields, four doors of the Myter."
These men spread the taste of French manners and French books.
One of the more obscure among them, Denis, a schoolmaster at Chester, taught Brereton, the future translator of Racine.

The most unpardonable ignorance was that of most of the travellers. ... Dartford becomes Datford with Coulon (1654);
Payen calls the English coins crhon, toupens, farden (1666);
even sagacious Misson prefers the phonetic form coacres (quakers) and coacresses (quakeresses) (1698).
Sorbière travelled about England, meeting some eminent men of the time, without knowing a word of English. They have for excuse their extraordinary blindness.
Thus Coulon does not hesitate to deliver his opinions on the English language, which he calls "a mixture of German and French, though it is thought that it was formerly the German language in its integrity."

As for Le Pays, he candidly owns that he would have found London quite to his taste if the inhabitants had all spoken French (1672).

And in another excerpt:

Frenchmen of rank seldom leave London. "The quarter of the Common Garden is ordinarily that of the travelling Frenchmen, more busy at Court than at the Exchange. ... Most of our young Frenchmen who go to London know only that region, and have ventured only as far as the Exchange by land or the Tower by water."

How does the Frenchman of rank spend his time in London?
Moreau de Brazey has answered the question in the most satisfactory manner: "We rise at 9, those who assist at the levees of great men have plenty to do till 11; about 12, the people of fashion assemble in the chocolate and coffee houses; if the weather is fine, we take a walk in Saint James's Park till 2, when we go and dine. The French have set up two or three pretty good inns for the accommodation of foreigners in Suffolk Street, where we are tolerably well entertained. At the inn, we sit talking over our glasses till 6 o'clock, when it is time to go to the Comedy or the Opera, unless one is invited to some great lord's house. After the play one generally goes to the coffee-house, plays at piquet, and enjoys the best conversation in the world till midnight." ...

Though the guide-book has expatiated on the attractions of London life, the Frenchman soon gets weary. Neither the country nor the people please him. The English, he thinks, are haughty, fantastic, unfriendly. Moreover, they are melancholy because their climate engenders spleen.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Complaints against the fogs ever recur in the ambassador's dispatches: "What I wish," wrote the Duc d'Aumont to the Marquis de Torcy (19 Jan., 1713), "is that the fog, the air, and the smoke did not irritate my lungs."
Courtin speaks in the same strain: "an ambassador here must be broad-shouldered. M. de Cominges has an everlasting cold that will follow him to the grave or to France, and I who am by nature of delicate health, have grown hoarse for the last 4 or 5 days and feel a burning in my stomach, with great pains in the side."
A bad winter was enough to make Louis XIV's envoys loathe a country they did not care to understand.

Never was a king worse informed by his ambassadors than Louis XIV. None dreamed of forsaking the Court to study the middle classes and the people. Of the institutions of England they knew what contemporary lawyers and archæologists had to teach. The love of freedom, the insular pride, they did not even suspect. Ignorant as they were, they tried by giving advice to the king, who mocked them, and money to his ministers, to subvert parliamentary government established at the price of 6 years of civil war and 6 years of dictatorship.
"The French nobility do not travel"; when the gentlemen of France left Versailles they carried away with them their spirit of caste and narrow-mindedness.
Forgetting nothing, they did not readily learn anything new.

The Anglo-French Entente in the Seventeenth Century,
by Charles Bastide
Published by London, John Lane; New York, John Lane Company, 1914

In short, if Pepys or Charles II wanted to make something happen with the French, it was up to them to make the effort to communicate. The French did not consider English worthy of their time.…

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