Friday 1 March 1660/61

All the morning at the office. Dined at home only upon fish, and Mr. Shepley and Tom Hater with me. After dinner Mr. Shepley and I in private talking about my Lord’s intentions to go speedily into the country, but to what end we know not. We fear he is to go to sea with this fleet now preparing. But we wish that he could get his 4000l. per annum settled before he do go.

Then he and I walked into London, he to the Wardrobe and I to Whitefryars, and saw “The Bondman” acted; an excellent play and well done. But above all that ever I saw, Betterton do the Bond man the best.

Then to my father’s and found my mother ill. After staying a while with them, I went home and sat up late, spending my thoughts how to get money to bear me out in my great expense at the Coronacion, against which all provide, and scaffolds setting up in every street.

I had many designs in my head to get some, but know not which will take.

To bed.

37 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"my great expense at the Coronacion,against which all provide" plus ça change….nowadays when someone is running for elective office particularly if he is your boss there is always someone looking for contribution and you better give otherwise you’ll be in trouble!

Glyn  •  Link

I saw Betterton do the Bond man the best

But most now think Brosnan is the best Bond

The City of London's motto is "Domine Dirige nos" - does anyone have a translation?

Peter  •  Link

Glyn : "O Lord, give us direction"

vincent  •  Link

"Domine Dirige nos” Dirige is the imperative, not asking,
“O Lord direct us” is the more literal translation I do beleive.

vincent  •  Link

Anxiety: Best bib and tucker and Do I need Ermine? the cost? Where do I get the ever ready?
"...I went home and sat up late, spending my thoughts how to get money to bear me out in my great expense at the Coronacion, against which all provide, and scaffolds setting up in every street. I had many designs in my head to get some, but know not which will take. To bed...."
scheming to get the cash? Oh Dear, wot a to do?

dirk  •  Link

"We fear he is to go to sea (...). But we wish that he could get his 4000£ per annum settled before he do go.”

Worried he may not come back alive, Sam? Not entirily altruistic methinks.

Susan  •  Link

Sam was genuinely fond of "my lady" and knew the hardships she had gone through during the Civil War unrest. He is probably concerned that she should have some security and funds to draw on if her husband is going away in such uncertainty. Sam seems to be trying to keep to his Lenten fast, but surely going to plays is not a suitable Lenten pastime! It is very endearing that he should set down so honestly his schemings and ponderings after ready cash!

The Bishop  •  Link

Massinger's Bondman…

"Massinger also wrote at least two independent plays at this time for the Queen of Bohemia's Men at the Phoenix. The Bondman, which criticized the Duke of Buckingham, was acted before the court in December 1623, and won
him a slight stipend from Sir Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery..."

The play is about a slave revolt in ancient Syracuse. 'Bondman' was a term for an indentured servant.

bruce  •  Link

"my great expense at the Coronacion": at this time would the cost of the Coronation be borne by Parliament, or by the King himself, or by gifts from potential benefciaries such as Sam? Is Sam looking to cut a dash himself, so that he will be noticeable, or is he making a contribution to the general cost in the hope that it will be recognised by the King and the favour returned in terms of security of tenure etc at a later date?

Rich Merne  •  Link

It seems that you had to set up your own scaffold or viewing platform and it would have been fairly elaborate and decorated. In Sam's position he might well have had to make it sufficient to also hold a number of guests, family, or 'hangers on', hence his fretting about the expence which it would entail. A bit stingy really, and in the event he didn't have his own personalised one anyway. Sam had the odd capacity to be stingy and yet surprisingly generous by times. At the occasions of his generosity he usually moaned to his diary about it anyway.

Sid C  •  Link

Sam calls his mid-day meal, dinner. In the north most people still eat dinner in the afternoon and have their tea in the evening. Anyone got any ideas on when dinner became an evening meal in the south?

Pat F  •  Link

I've been reading the entries for some time now and, well, does Sam ever do any work? Well, OK, perhaps he does mention work regularly, but he seems to be able to take time off in abundance!

Wish I could wander off to a play mid-afternoon!

Is it simply that day to day work is to dull to mention in a diary? Or has he risen so high that he is now effectively a man of leisure?

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

Sid C: brunch/lunch/tea/supper/dinner

Good luck in your quest for an explanation of these terms.

At home, in England, I had lunch and tea. At boarding school I had dinner and supper. At university I had lunch and dinner. Here in Canada I have lunch and supper, although if I were to go out to supper I would probably call it dinner. As I said, good luck!

Matthew  •  Link

In "Pamela" by Samuel Richardson (1740) the husband says that he has an old fashioned habit of dining at two and implies that his fellow gentry are inclined to wait till 4,5 or 6 o'clock. Perhaps dinner turned from a midday meal to an evening one in some parts of the country by gradually getting later.

Barbara  •  Link

Pepys certainly does work, sometimes very early in the morning and sometimes in the evening as well as during the day. He doesn't go into detail unless something important occurred. There wasn't the pattern of "working hours" - they arranged between themselves when to work at the Navy Office, and fitted everything else in where convenient. He would have put in considerable extra hours when visiting naval shipyards etc.

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

Re. above, Sid C - I forgot to mention "tiffin" which, in "British India" was a refreshment taken at about 4 pm. - I was very young at the time, but I remember the term. I think it can be equated with "tea".

Christo  •  Link

How dinner-time has changed down the centuries, and much else about the meal, are explained in 'Much Depends on Dinner' by Margaret Visser.…

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Government working hours ...
probably weren't onerous in Sam's day. In our country (the USA), as recently as the 1930s not even the President had to put in a "full" day, as we understand it now. Coolidge and Hoover had a leisurely schedule, a custom revived in the 1980s by a fellow inexplicably nicknamed "The Great Communicator". (The one we have now treats himself to extended vacations, even when contriving reasons for unnecessary wars or exporting the few good manufacturing jobs we have left.)

Sid C  •  Link

Dinner: thanks for the response guys. You're right, Kevin, it is probably a stone best left unturned. It seems that Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, may have started the confusion by introducing afternoon tea in early nineteenth century which led to the introduction of high tea which became the main meal of the day for the working and farming communities, which led to...

I think I'll take the, ' a rose by any other name...' attitude and leave it there.

wyne  •  Link

I love reading Pepys each morning. Getting away from today's conflicts and concerns. Starting off my day with a few moments in his world, 17th century London. Regarding "government working hours" above, I hope that we can keep modern political rants out of it.

Ann  •  Link

Is is my imagination, or is mama a bit of a hypochondriac? Seems every time ole Sammy goes to visit, she's sick. What's up?

Hic Retearius  •  Link

Kevin and Wyne

Kevin, yes. Victoria, that Outpost of Empire in Canada, understood the same terms including tiffin.

Further to Wyne's observation: do let us all be watchful for degeneration in this superb board. Before posting, people who dwell in a country that represents not 5% of the world's population might like to consider that the minutia of its internal doings is of correspondingly small interest elsewhere.

Let this board be about Pepys' life, the Restoration and what we can learn about the universality of human existence from a man who is proving to have been an honest and acute observer of it.

helena murphy  •  Link

I am surprised that "The Bondman" which criticises the Duke of Buckingham should be played before the Caroline court where the said duke held great sway as the king's right hand man and favourite. It is true that Buckingham was highly unpopular in England due to the failure of his foreign policies in continental Europe and his ignominious defeat at La Rochelle. His unpopularity led to his assassination in 1628 by John Felton,a former officer of his to whom he had refused promotion!On the other hand the said performance indicates the acceptance of a certain level of intellectual and artistic freedom in court entertainment at this time as long as the king and queen were not themselves directly criticised.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"to go speedily into the country, but to what end we know not"
Aside from the various mortal risks of ocean voyage, there's the possibility of a war brewing, and Relations Are Unsettled Between the Restored but Improverished King and Chastened but Still Tax-Authorizing Parliament (sounds like the playbill for a 17th century whodunit, eh?). Sam's apprehension is all of a piece for Sandwich, the household, and himself.

Peter  •  Link

Pauline, I agree. I had visions of a gadget-filled ox cart, courtesy of "Little Llewellyn" (who obviously played a lower-case "q").

corlu  •  Link

In Shanghai in the 1920's and 1930's, 'tiffin' meant what we now call lunch, eaten anywhere from 12 to 2 p.m.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

In the 17th century it appears that the midday meal (dinner) was "fuller" than the evening meal (supper):

Digestion is better made in the Night when we sleep than in the Day when we are awake, ... for in Sleep, the Blood and Spirits, being not so much carried to the external Parts of the Body; the Stomach receives more Acid and Heat, and is the more nearly contracted, and so the better embraces the Meat; and consequently the Supper, which is contrary to Custom now adays, ought to be a fuller Meal than the Dinner; and tho' the Time betwixt Dinner and Supper, is less than betwixt the Supper and the next Days Dinner, yet you must know, that that which is eaten at a large Dinner, is often not fully digested before Supper, and so the Stomach has a double Task.
---A Plain Introduction to the Art of Physick. J. Pechey, 1697.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

By Hic Retearius' reckoning we should then talk of Pepys in relation to China and India only! All else handily fail the 5% ruling. Forget the cultural affinities that some tiny Commonwealth country might share with relation to English habits. Haughty reasoning I think. But hey, I am from a country that is a mere rounding error in the population contest.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED explains:

‘tiffin, n. Etym: Appears to have originated in the English colloquial or slang tiffing < tiff v.2 to take a little drink or sip . .
1785 F. Grose Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue, Tiffing, eating, or drinking out of meal time.
1867 H. Wedgwood Dict. Eng. Etymol., Tiffin, now naturalised among Anglo-Indians in the sense of luncheon, is the North country tiffing (properly sipping).
In India and neighbouring eastern countries, A light midday meal; luncheon.
1800 Ward in Carey's Life (1885) vi. 137 Krishna came to eat tiffin (what in England is called luncheon) with us . . ‘

The word has now gone out of use in Britain.

meech  •  Link

A long delayed response regarding Sam' mother's health...
Instead of hypochondria, which is certainly a possibility, I have wondered if the poor thing was actually very sick with something, possibly terminal, and no one seemed to be taking it seriously. Not that anything could have been done about it if that were the case. She apparently had the same problem as Sam with stones, and did pass away a short five years after this entry. Brings to mind the popular headstone epitaph: "I told you I was sick!"

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

The Coronation takes place on 23 April, in case anyone is wondering. Presumably that schedule is already known. So Sam has some time to plan for it.

Dave Bonta  •  Link

I am absurdly excited for this: the first time since I began following the diary that I can recall the days of the week syncing up! It is Friday in 1661 and in 2024. Huzzah.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I am absurdly excited for this -- I was sulking yesterday that he didn't show up!

Plan B  •  Link

Sarah, you were sulking yesterday. I was positively bereft today as I did not get my daily e mail, so for two days I had no diary in my inbox! I had to send my boy to go and fetch it for me from the website.

Cynara  •  Link

My understanding is that “dinner” has usually meant the main, often hot, meal of the day. Farmers and the countrified ate it in the midday, to fuel hard work. Jane Austen, that country-dweller, dined at midday and ate a light supper in the evening.

In later centuries, the citified and elegant went out of their way to eat their main meal later in the day, the interval being supplied by lunch, tea, etc. to allow them to dine elegantly late.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... sat up late, spending my thoughts how to get money to bear me out in my great expense at the Coronacion, ..."

What's the problem, Pepys? You hock a couple of pairs of candlesticks until such time as the money falls in your lap, when you go and reclaim them. That's why you buy nice silverware when you can -- off to the money-lenders with you.

(Don't forget you've got that expensive velvet coat and mantle locked up in the Privy Seal Office, which you had made last year, just before the country was plunged into mourning for the Duke of Gloucester, and then for the Princess Mary. You haven't worn them yet, and the moth could eat them soon -- or someone else could steal them!… )

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