Saturday 26 January 1660/61

Within all the morning. About noon comes one that had formerly known me and I him, but I know not his name, to borrow 5l. of me, but I had the wit to deny him.

There dined with me this day both the Pierces and their wives, and Captain Cuttance, and Lieutenant Lambert, with whom we made ourselves very merry by taking away his ribbans and garters, having made him to confess that he is lately married.

The company being gone I went to my lute till night, and so to bed.

20 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

"with whom we made ourselves very merry by taking away his ribbans and garters, having made him to confess that he is lately married."
How different from the undignified behavior, last year, of our friends the---oh, fie, what was the name of the couple who made a spectacle of themselves over their ribbons &c., and when?

Bradford  •  Link

"About noon comes one that had formerly known me and I him, but I know not his name, to borrow 5l. of me, but I had the wit to deny him."

Kafka ou Beckett, avant la lettre.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"but I had the wit to deny him" If a "friend" borrows money from you, you probably will lose the "friend" and the money; it follows that you have to have the wit to deny it, in which case you will lose just the "friend".

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Here's the scene, from Tuesday 24 Jauary 1659/60. The difference in Sam's sense of ease in the two entries is worth pondering -- the young man of a year ago uncertain about his dignity vs. the confident Sam of today.

There when we came we found Mrs. Carrick very fine, and one Mr. Lucy, who called one another husband and wife, and after dinner a great deal of mad stir. There was pulling off Mrs. bride's and Mr. bridegroom's ribbons;1 with a great deal of fooling among them that I and my wife did not like.


The scramble for ribbons, here mentioned by Pepys in connection with weddings (see also January 26th, 1660-61, and February 8th, 1662-3), doubtless formed part of the ceremony of undressing the bridegroom, which, as the age became more refined, fell into disuse. All the old plays are silent on the custom; the earliest notice of which occurs in the old ballad of the wedding of Arthur O'Bradley, printed in the Appendix to "Robin Hood," 1795, where we read-

"Then got they his points and his garters,
And cut them in pieces like martyrs;
And then they all did play
For the honour of Arthur O'Bradley."

Sir Winston Churchill also observes ('Divi Britannici,' p. 340) that James I. was no more troubled at his querulous countrymen robbing him than a bridegroom at the losing of his points and garters. Lady Fanshawe, in her 'Memoirs,' says, that at the nuptials of Charles II. and the Infanta, "the Bishop of London declared them married in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and then they caused the ribbons her Majesty wore to be cut in little pieces; and as far as they would go, every one had some." The practice still survives in the form of wedding favours.

A similar custom is still of every day's occurrence at Dieppe. Upon the morrow after their marriage, the bride and bridegroom perambulate the streets, followed by a numerous cortege, the guests at the wedding festival, two and two; each individual wearing two bits of narrow ribbon, about two inches in length, of different colours, which are pinned crossways upon the breast. These morsels of ribbons originally formed the garters of the bride and bridegroom, which had been divided amidst boisterous mirth among the assembled company, the moment the happy pair had been formally installed in the bridal bed."Ex. inf. Mr. William .Hughes, Belvedere, Jersey."B.

vincent  •  Link

I guess the Pierces had more fun with the 'lefttenants' ribbons and other pieces of linen than displaying their own dirty linen.

vincent  •  Link

"...within all morning..." No gastric problems and no spliting head?

dirk  •  Link

"to borrow 5£.”

Two days ago the same sum of five pounds was what it cost Sam to provide an elaborate meal for eight persons (and some more probably, as nine were expected - and quantities would have been such as to provide for the required leftovers too). This gives us some idea of the value of a fiver in everyday life: must have been somewhere around 150-200£ present value (conservative estimate) ???

That would be a lot of money to lend on trust to somebody whose name one can’t even remember…

vincent  •  Link

5L was a "bloody fortune". the first time I had a five Pound note in me hand was when I took out my savings to go on a trip to Roma.

Sam did get for sub letting his old place on the axe."...This afternoon I agreed to let my house quite out of my hands to Mr. Dalton (one of the wine sellers to the King, with whom I had drunk in the old wine cellar two or three times) for L41..."
31st. aug

vincent  •  Link

P.s. considering a flat in London goes from 300L a week [let alone a house], and up, then (1660) 16/- a week ? so 6 weeks at L300 =? roughly

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Lambert shorn.

And maid married. But Pierced or Cuttanced up? Such ribanditry from Sam, who, at the end of the day, has got hold of the loot, and ol' Whatsisname didn't burrow himself into Sam's pockets. And so to bend ...

Glyn  •  Link

It can't be much of a "friend" if you don't even know his surname. But it must be a little embarrassing for Pepys: if you've known someone for years it's way too late to ask who the devil are they.

Regarding weddings: have Sam and Elizabeth been invited to any over the past year? Several of their friends and acquaintances have got married but I don't remember them being invited to any of them. Were weddings more private and smaller affairs in those days?

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Vincent's exchange rate

Vincent makes a convincing case that the pound in Sam's day was worth 60L today, at least insofar as central London rents are concerned. It would be interesting to accumulate such comparisons for other transactions Sam records.

PHE  •  Link

Value of pound?
See Background - Money

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

" that had formerly known me and I him, but I know not his name..."

I assumed that the would-be borrower's opening gambit would have been something like "Hi Sam, remember me, Joe Blow", and that Sam's "I know not his name" meant that he didn't recognize it, but I am still no nearer to understanding this entry. Oh well, at least Sam is not a fiver poorer.

Mary  •  Link that had formerly known me ....

Sam and this fellow apparently knew one another by sight at some time in the past, but were not really acquainted. Perhaps they were both up at Cambridge at the same time and crossed one another's paths then? If so, the 'other man' is unlikely to have been a Magdalene man (the college had only 30 undergraduates during Pepys' time) but a member of one of the other colleges. Now that Pepys is clearly a rising man, his better acquaintance (and money) are worth pursuing than they were in the days when he was a 'sizar', a poor student with no social standing.

All speculation, of course, but plausibe

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"There dined with me this day both the Pierces and their wives"

The surgeon and the purser of the same name.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

The purser is Andrew Pearse:…

Bill  •  Link

"taking away his ribbans and garters"

RIBBAND, or Ribbon, a narrow sort of silk, chiefly used for head ornaments, badges of chivalry, &c.
---The Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 1766

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Meanwhile, at the Palace of Whitehall, Charles II breaks with tradition:

"The advantages of a standing army were clear to the new king, not least to the survival of his regime. In 1660-61, Charles raised a force of 5,000 men known as the ‘King’s Guards and Garrisons’.

On 26 January 1661, he issued the warrant creating the English Army.

"Financed by a new Parliament, it included Royalist units from his exile - like the King's Troop of Horse Guards (later The Life Guards) - and old regiments from the New Model Army which were disbanded and then quickly re-mustered - such as Monck’s Regiment (later The Coldstream Guards).

"The Declaration of Breda had stated that New Model Army soldiers would be recommissioned into service under the crown, along with the promise that their pay arrears would be remunerated. This incentive had won the acquiescence of many veteran soldiers to the restoration.

"Although Charles did not employ every former New Model Army soldier, he found it politically expedient to take many on. Thousands more were paid off through new taxes and coin from the royal coffers.

"Charles was also the king of Ireland and Scotland, so their parliaments paid for units as well. By the mid-1660s, the Irish Army numbered around 5,000 infantry and 2,500 cavalry. Its Scottish counterpart had about 3,000 men.

"Initially, these remained separate military establishments from Charles’ English troops. But as time went on, they were unofficially merged.

"Charles’ force gradually increased in size thanks to the demands of foreign wars and the need to garrison new colonies like Tangier and Bombay. These became English possessions in 1661 through the dowry of Charles' new wife, the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza."

Excerpt from 'The Restoration and the birth of the British Army'
The National Army Museum website…

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