Sunday 31 March 1661

(Sunday). At church, where a stranger preached like a fool.

From thence home and dined with my wife, she staying at home, being unwilling to dress herself, the house being all dirty.

To church again, and after sermon I walked to my father’s, and to Mrs. Turner’s, where I could not woo The. to give me a lesson upon the harpsicon and was angry at it.

So home and finding Will abroad at Sir W. Batten’s talking with the people there (Sir W. and my Lady being in the country), I took occasion to be angry with him, and so to prayers and to bed.

33 Annotations

First Reading

BradW  •  Link

There there, Sam, I've had days like that too, when nobody will cooperate. I hope he prayed for temperance and humility. One of my fascinations with this unfolding diary is Sam's character arc, from the humble, hopeful and (sometimes) pious young husband to the now somewhat jaded and worldly man of ambition. Knowing more or less how the opus ends in 6 years doesn't spoil the journey for me.

Glyn  •  Link

Today's Biorythms are all wrong

His wife refuses to walk to church with him; the house is dirty; the sermon is bad; the slip of a girl humiliates him by refusing to teach him to play the keyboards; and Will is goofing off again.

But I wonder if stress and (yes) overwork is another cause for Pepys' bad temper. He and the others are working against the clock to equip an important fleet of ships for an unknown but faraway destination with all that that implies: getting materials, bargaining with all manner of people, overcoming the inevitable setbacks etc and all without a telephone or e-mail. It's one of his first major projects in his new job so I wonder how he is coping in his own estimation (and those of his colleagues and superiors). In general, Pepys seems to record only exceptional, one-off business transactions in his diary rather than the general office routine; and doesn't seem to have much self-doubt about his ability to handle the job (or at least doesn't express it even to himself), yet I do wonder if days like this are a reflection of his inner uncertainties and insecurities, however calm and confident a front he shows to the world.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

Sam is certainly grumpy today isn't he? It doesn't seem to have been a good day for him at all. He gets angry at the bad sermon, at Theophila for being uncooperative, and at Will for socializing.

I wonder if Will should have been doing something else and was neglecting his duties, or if Sam just happened to want to talk to Will, and became angry at not finding him when it was most convenient?
Sometimes a little annoyance when you're in a bad mood can really get you upset.

I hope Sam has a better day tomorrow!

Susan  •  Link

Servants were/are supposed to ask permission before leaving the house. Sam, in a bad mood already, becomes really annoyed when he sees his authority thwarted yet again that day: his wife refused him, a pert little girl refused him and now one of his servants seems to be disregarding him. Yes, I agree with Glyn, I think this reflects uncertainty and insecurity in his position - but how honest he is to mention it all.

Josh  •  Link

"At church, where a stranger preached like a fool."
And the rest of the day Pepys suffers from dissing the Lord's would-be servant, and during Lent too!* Q.E.D.

*p.s.: Is Easter ever going to get here?

language hat  •  Link

"At church, where a stranger preached like a fool"

I love this guy! No namby-pamby pulling of punches or beating around the bush. And yes, he seems pretty disgruntled today. Nice summary, Glyn.

Bob C.  •  Link

"... prayed like a fool" can mean with extreme exhuberance or abandon, at least in modern U.S. parlance. I don't think SP meant this, but I wonder when this alternative usage became current.

Michael  •  Link

"I took occasion to be angry with him"
Does this mean that he became deliberately angry and that he knows that he did this, at least at the moment when he sat down writing, or is there (as there is so often) some different use of the words? If it is the first interpretation this seems to be remarkable, not so much for SP blowing off steam after a rotten day, but for knowing it and reflecting on it - once again quite elegantly in as few words as possible.

vincent  •  Link

At the Abbey Dr Heywood did preach 9 Heb: a.v.4 ad 16 a selected line
"...10: Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Susan  •  Link

Michael - I took this to mean that Sam delibrately told Will off and chose to do this, rather than turn a blind eye to what was a fairly minor wrongdoing, which he might have done if he not had such a rotten day. Maybe he still feels uneasy about how to treat servants - how much to give and take.

Pauline  •  Link

"deliberately", yes
versus flying off in anger.
I think he sometimes has to make himself act as the master, but is more than willing to take that role. With his female servants, though, he seems more likely to fly off the handle.

Elizabeth falls short of keeping the domestic arrangements up to Sam's expectations, but he is disappointed and put out more often than angry.

dirk  •  Link

"I took occasion to..."

From a liguistic point of view a very interesting expression. Grammatically it's an active use of the verb to take, but I have the impression that it has a passive meaning. Maybe you could even have said something like: "I took occasion to have a headache". Anybody know anything more on this.

Mary  •  Link

Take occasion

I can find no authority for the usage that Dirk suggests (which would roughly equate to the modern use of 'happen': I happened to have a headache, I happened to be angry with him). I think Sam's phraseology implies that he's decided that enough is enough as far as Will's conduct is concerned and that he chooses to remonstrate forcefully on this particular day.

Pedro.  •  Link

Poor old Sam.

"Illegitimi nil carborundum."
(Please excuse my vulgar pidgin latin.)

Xjy  •  Link

Take occasion
I agree with Mary, with the additional element that he deliberately picks on Will to let off steam after the accumulated frustrations of the day. Maybe a different kind of rage from when he batters the female servants.
A real look-back-in-anger kitchen-sink kind of Sunday.

Rich Merne  •  Link

"I took occasion to be angry with him", I think Sam is saying something very literal in the sense of the times. In our modern parlance you can get very close to Sam's event if you insert the determiner 'an', between Sam's "took" and "occasion". He made it his business to find an occasion (remote from the actual event) to be angry with him. From that point of view it was deliberate and predetermined and he took or found a time to do it. 'As soon as I see him, I'll give him what for' (sic)

ledmat  •  Link

Illegitimis non carborundum est?

Emilio  •  Link

"Illegitimis non carborundum"

For any wondering, I believe this is a phrase I ran across in The Handmaid's Tale: 'Don't let the bastards get to you'. Please correct me, anyone, if I'm not remembering it quite right.

And are we perhaps reading too much into "take occasion"? I agree it implies a certain deliberate quality to Sam's anger, but the descriptions are also starting to make it sound calculated and vindictive.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Maybe Will's misbehaviour was only the last drop after the day's frustrations. In that case Sam just flew off the handle and Will just happened to be the bystander to bear the brunt of it; there was not any deliberation on Sam's part... At least this would have been more like the Sam as we have seen him till now.

Susan  •  Link

It's literally "grind you down"; schoolboy dog-Latin. Remember the scene in Life of Brian when the John Cleese Roman Soldier makes Graham Chapman (Brian) correct the grammar in his dog-Latin grafitti? Cleese originally earned his keep as a teacher in a boys' public school in Bristol: his Roman soldier parodied a bullying Latin teacher very well!

David Duff  •  Link

"Illegitimis non carborundum". That used to be the motto (unofficial) of my old regiment!

Mary  •  Link

the house being all dirty.

If the building of this staircase has involved knocking any holes in walls, I can sympathise with Elizabeth not wanting to risk her Sunday best dress or her neck in scrambling up and down the ladder that Sam mentioned 4 days ago. If she has any sense, she is keeping her chamber door firmly shut against all the plaster/brick dust (it gets everywhere)and is wearing her oldest clothes around the house at present.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"Illegitimum non Carborundum"
It's fake Latin, not real, but no less entertaining for that:
Indeed, for thirty years I have sung it to the tune of "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard," for which purpose I believe it was written!

Illegitimum non Carborundum; Domine salvum fac.
Illegitimum non Carborundum; Domine salvum fac.
Gaudeamus igitur!
Veritas non sequitur?
Illegitimum non Carborundum--Ipso facto!

There is a further verse, also in pseudo Latin (ending with a raucous English "and save some for me!"), that is too vulgar for our tender audience ...

Michael  •  Link

"took occasion"
The interesting part about it is not so much that he told his servant off, but that he is self-conscious about it. My guess is that most people would just give hell to their servants at that time, perhaps punish them, and never give it a second thought. I have seen in some less developed countries how servants are treated as non-entities even today. Sam is much more reflective about it, and he seems to feel that there is some role playing involved - perhaps a role he likes to play, but not one which has become second nature to him. At least not yet.

vincent  •  Link

Prayers at home"...and so to prayers and to bed...." It appears that He {SP} does observed other Religious activities. After such an emotional day from morning to night "Everything " appears to be against his thoughts, nowadays he would pop a pill, at least the dog stays out of site. Luv all of the above.

"... to be angry with him ..."
SP forgot his Horice "ira furor brevis est" anger is madness short lived.
Epistles I ii 62.
for verification, see or google……

Eric Walla  •  Link

I agree with Michael and crew that Sam was deliberate in his choice of words concerning the berating of Will ...

... Sam does seem to be in a learning phase on how to deal with servants. This appears to be an instructional sort of anger, for Will's own good, so to speak. He may easily have let this minor gaff pass by on other occasions, but why waste a good opportunity to put your boy in his place when you already have a full head of steam!?

Dennis Richards  •  Link

"took occasion"

I belive that the modern usage of the above would be -"took the opportunity to...

E  •  Link

I agree with Dennis. Googling shows "took occasion to" being used just as one might use "took the opportunity to", for either a sudden whim seizing the moment, or for recognising an opening to carry out an existing plan.

Unless anyone has clear quotes from the period, it would appear that we cannot determine whether Pepys' action was calculated or not.

Second Reading

Tonyel  •  Link

"took occasion" is definitely active. Compare and contrast with the late Ronnie Scott's line:
"I was out one evening and was taken suddenly drunk"

Sorry, off topic and ten years late - but it is April Fools Day and a little humour seems overdue.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘occasion, n.1 I. Senses relating to action arising from a chance or opportunity.
1. a. A conjunction of circumstances favourable or suitable to an end or purpose, or admitting of something being done or effected; an opportunity. In early use: esp. †an opportunity of attacking, of fault-finding, or of giving or taking offence; an opportunity for trouble (obs.).

to take occasion : to take advantage of an opportunity.

. . 1660 S. Pepys Diary 6 Dec. (1970) I. 311, I took occasion to go up and to bed in a pett.
. . 1875 B. Jowett tr. Plato Dialogues (ed. 2) III. 597 Here..we may take occasion to correct an error which occurred at p. 582.
. . 1943 K. A. Porter Let. 29 May (1990) iv. 267, I take occasion for a little side-swipe at the high-powered Hollywood aspects of this war as photographed by such fakes as Zanuck et al.’

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Monsieur and Princess Henrietta Anne “Minette” signed their marriage contract in the Palais Royal on 30 March, 1661. The ceremony took place the next day in front of selected members of the court. The bride came with a promised dowry of 840,000 livres.

Madame Élisabeth-Charlotte du Palatinat, AKA Liselotte von der Pfalz, wrote after 1702: “The Queen Mother of England had not brought up her children well: she at first left them in the society of femmes de chambre, who gratified all their caprices; and having afterwards married them at a very early age, they followed the bad example of their mother.” [Minette was 17, a fairly late marriage for royalty in those days. And as to "their caprices", should that read "they had minds of their own"?]

Monsieur treated Madame with great respect at the beginning of their marriage and was even proud to show her off at court, in the finest and most fashionable gowns adorned with jewels. Minette, as she was nicknamed by her brother Charles II, enjoyed the attention greatly which everyone bestowed upon her and was the jewel of many festivities.

The idyll did not last long. The English chronicler Bishop Gilbert Burnet described Monsieur as ‘a poor-spirited and voluptuous prince; monstrous in his vices and effeminate in his luxury in more senses than one. He had not one good quality, but courage; so that he became both odious and contemptible.’ He was a cross-dresser and bisexual. He claimed he no longer loved Madame after two weeks of marriage. However, the couple maintained regular marital relations at first and Madame had several pregnancies which took their toll on her health. https://thefreelancehistorywriter…

Madame Minette’s flirting with Louis XIV started early in the summer of 1661 while the newly-weds were staying at Fontainebleau for the summer. Monsieur complained to Queen Mother Anne of Austria about the intimacy that the King and Henriette displayed, which led Anne to reprimand both son and daughter-in-law. This brought tension into the brothers’ relationship.

Madame Minette also started a friendship with Guy-Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche in 1661, while he was still her husband’s official favorite, and soon he also became her lover.
[The Comte de Guiche was the brother of the Count de Gramont who wrote such a fanciful Memoir.]…

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