Tuesday 2 April 1661

Among my workmen early and then along with my wife and Pall to my Father’s by coach there to have them lie a while till my house be done. I found my mother alone weeping upon my last night’s quarrel and so left her, and took my wife to Charing Cross and there left her to see her mother who is not well. So I into St. James’s Park, where I saw the Duke of York playing at Pelemele, the first time that ever I saw the sport.

Then to my Lord’s, where I dined with my Lady, and after we had dined in comes my Lord and Ned Pickering hungry, and there was not a bit of meat left in the house, the servants having eat up all, at which my Lord was very angry, and at last got something dressed. Then to the Privy Seal, and signed some things, and so to White-fryars and saw “The Little Thiefe,” which is a very merry and pretty play, and the little boy do very well.

Then to my Father’s, where I found my mother and my wife in a very good mood, and so left them and went home.

Then to the Dolphin to Sir W. Batten, and Pen, and other company; among others Mr. Delabar; where strange how these men, who at other times are all wise men, do now, in their drink, betwitt and reproach one another with their former conditions, and their actions as in public concernments, till I was ashamed to see it.

But parted all friends at 12 at night after drinking a great deal of wine. So home and alone to bed.

32 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

So what?

I'm unsure of the precise meaning of this. Does it mean: (a) she was alone and weeping and so left her ("and because of that" I left her), or (b) she was alone and weeping and so left her ("and so, still in that condition, I left her","and she was still like that when I left her"). In other words, what was the main meaning of "so" at this time? NB Note that there is also a "So I", "and so left them", "So to White-fryars" and "So home" in the entry " when you're writing and haven't fully finalised what you mean to say you can fall into a pattern of repeating certain words.

Anyway, I"m inclined to the second viewpoint: Pepys stayed with her for a while but could not calm her and she was still upset when he left. But perhaps Elizabeth Pepys did better: she was with Samuel when he visited her, and then returned to Mrs Pepys after visiting her own mother.

But when Sam says his mother was on her own, do we think that means that she was also without the maid, or was he just referring to friends and family?

Peter  •  Link

Glyn, I think the meaning of so here is "thus", "like this", or "in this way" ("Make it so"). In other words, she was weeping and he left her so.

Pauline  •  Link

"...so left her, and took my wife to Charing Cross..."
It looks like he left Pall there with their mother. Perhaps Pall cheered her up; and she may look forward (as opposed to froward) to having the young women with her for a few days.

Emilio  •  Link

"do now . . . betwitt and reproach one another with their former conditions"

I had simply imagined the three men (Batten, Penn, and Delabar) as letting the good-natured baiting get out of hand in their drunkenness, but L&M see more to the scene than this:

"All three had compromised themselves by service to the rebels--Batten and Penn in the navy, and Vincent Delabarr (a merchant) as collector of customs at Sandwich--an office from which he had been dismissed for alleged disloyalty."

Perhaps Sam is caught in the middle of an old feud from the Commonwealth days. He wouldn't know the history, so to him his companions' behavior would be not just shameful but totally inexplicable.

vincent  •  Link

As a mere male, long in tooth doth see the morning situation as follows [not dementia] a case of very common tragedy of men not being sympathetic to change in life. While the male of the species [if he has the doe rae me][money] still has a future with the younger versions of the better half [ better to be an old fools darling, than a young mans slave]. She is still upset with the males of the family and now she has friendly females that Mother can emphasize with her . They can point out the stupidiities of the males licking his whiskers. Today there is medical help. Then you either gave up and went into the black, or found other occupying endeavours. Many were lucky, they had grand kids to take ones mind off the tradegy of growing painfully older. One can see the results of a good dose of laughter at the masculine foolies. Sam should have Kids for His Mother to spoil , instead of staring at the old tin can[the old man, hubby] going gogo.[so whats new?]
Just my un-educated take of the Situation.

vincent  •  Link

another of Beaumont's?"...saw "The Little Thiefe," which is a very merry and pretty play, and the little boy do very well. …”
Beaumont, Francis, and Fletcher, John The Night Walker, or the Little Thiefe 1640
The Night-Walker, or the Little Theife has more of London local colour than any of the rest but this is probably to a great extent due to Shirley, who worked upon the play after Fletcher's death. It is a lively comedy, but the plot is a tissue of improbable incidents, with melodramatic scenes of coffins and graveyards
aspersions cast;
6. Thought to be a play of Fletcher’s revised by Shirley. or/both or?
The Night-Walker (1633); with Nathan Field,

Mary  •  Link

...at which my Lord was very angry....

Pity the poor Restoration housekeeper; she's supposed to ensure that there is adequate food available for whoever decides to drop in for dinner, whether it be an outsider or the master of the house who has come home unexpectedly.

I wonder whether the food eventually produced in this instance was dressed at home, or whether it was bought in, ready-dressed, from a nearby cook-shop? The 'something dressed' sounds more substantial than just a bit of bread and cheese from the pantry.

Susan  •  Link

I thought "dressed" always referred to meat dishes, so what My Lord wanted and eventually got (takeaway or not)was something substantial. Was Sam feeling a bit guilty? had he been partly responsible (from dining well) for their being no meat in the household??

Paul Brewster  •  Link

playing at Peslemesle -- the first time that I ever saw that sport.
L&M print the name of the sport in italics probably indicating that SP wrote it out longhand. Yet another odd spelling variant ...

tc  •  Link

...my Lord was very angry...

No wonder; no meat left in the house to put together even a...sandwich?

David A. Smith  •  Link

"my mother alone weeping upon my last night's quarrel”
I sense in Sam confusion, a slight embarrassment, and a tinge of shame that he spoke harshly (last night’s entry references his “high words, which I was sorry for”). It’s the next morning, he thinks he was right but he wishes his mother weren’t still hurt, and seeing no quick way to make it better, he heads off, doubtless relieved to arrive at “my Father's, where I found my mother and my wife in a very good mood”

Michael  •  Link

"till I was ashamed to see it"
There might also be the element that during these Restoration days one should not talk about the past too much, let alone while drinking in a public space where everyone can hear it. This reminds me a bit of bygone days, when in my homecountry (Germany) elderly men would start talking about the comradeship of their war days - to the embarrassment and chagrin of the listeners. It is unwise for Sams drinking companions to get into topics which are unfit for public consumption, perhaps even dangerous.

helena murphy  •  Link

The fact that the meat is all gone when Sandwich calls for some may be indicative of his and his lady's largesse towards their servants and possibly others, in spite of his anger in this instance,which is the typical response of a hungry man. A fringe benefit for a maid in a grand household might have been to have had a London relative or sibling conveniently "drop in"when she sat down to eat with her fellow servants.Likewise it may have been customary to parcel up some pie to take home to one's family if one were not a live in maid. The beggar at the gate and the canines would also have had to be fed and even perhaps some of the neighbourhood poor.

Susan  •  Link

We have had two instances recently of servants "pushing the envelope" with their employers: Sam's Will going out without permission and now My Lord's servants being too quick to eat up all the spare food, without being sure no one else from "upstairs" was going to come in wanting to be fed. Both Sam and his Lord had been raised in status - perhaps they are both (at different levels) having problems of finding the right path to take with their servants, so as not to be taken advantage of.

vincent  •  Link

in veritas vino "...who at other times are all wise men, do now, in their drink, betwitt and reproach one another with their former conditions, and their actions as in public concernments,..." Old soldiers do love their sandbox [sweet and sour memories]
The saying [ "in vino veritas" ] googled will give 20 thou + hits] it appears to be from the Greek 7C Pre CE. Alcheius. meaning given in 1545, In wyne trouthe, Erasmus Adages.

vincent  •  Link

something prepared [complete meal] "...last got something dressed for ..." I can see it now. He comes in, the Platters polished off. The Air full of Verbage. There is a rush to the Kitchens, first to get out of wraths way and then to get back into the bosses good books [they don't want to be keel hauled off to Tangier]. Thus they get a proper meal with all the trimmings for his Laudship, not yesterdays leavings. Especially after all that Ranting and Railing?

E  •  Link

The size of my Lord's household?
Any ideas of how many servants would be in the Whitehall house when my Loard and Lady were staying there? Surely there were so many that separate meals would be cooked for them, making the disappearnace of the leftovers from the family table less excusable.

Obviously it was harder to "keep" food then, but strategies existed.

Grahamt  •  Link

To twit is to Find fault with in a good-humoured or teasing way; taunt, or tell tales; blab. (SOED)
Either sense fits here, though the first seems more likely.
Nowadays (in British English) a twit is a stupid, foolish or ineffectual person

Andew Hamilton  •  Link

"and so left" her/them

I read left her/them in that state, rather than left because she/they were in that state. However, I think David Smith, in detecting Sam's embarrasment, is on to something. He doesn't appear to be comfortable staying around whether his mother is weeping or in a very good mood.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

John Warrington gives "to upbraid" as the meaning of -betwitt-.
Also from the Everyman's edition: "Pelemele was derived from 'paille maille', French; at which word Cotgrave thus describes the game: "A game, wherein a round box is, with a mallet struck to a high arch or iron (standing, at either end of an alley, one), which he that can do at the fewest blows, or at the number agreed on, wins." In France it was the common appellation of those places where the game was practised."
Also: "'A Pele Mele was made at the further end of St. James's Park, which made of his Majesty to play, being a very princely play'. - Rugge

Emilio  •  Link


A note on the odd spelling: As modern French developed, the pronunciation of 'es' ("ess") simplified to "eh" and became spelled as ê. Thus current French ‘evêque’ (bishop) was originally ‘evesque’, from the Latin episcopus. Sam’s spelling is likely based on the actual French spelling of the time, which later developed into the more familiar ‘pêle-mêle’.

Emilio  •  Link

On the other hand, the pronunciation "pessle-messle" is just a little bit awkward, and doesn't fit the derivation of the word. So I guess Sam is just using 'es' to represent an "ay" sound, which is still how French pronounces that spelling. So much for fancy speculations.

vincent  •  Link

Spellings vs incoming sounds and outgoing sounds. Only yesterday I overheard a group talking away and my first thoughts were, Ah! visitors from Spain or South America, then it dawned on me, Twas English from Geordie Land. And now English English is now universal in sounding, even the BEbeCee has gone generic. So what was it like? when so many peoples were isolated from one another by space or culture or economics, including all the different spellings, which I believe represent the best of the differences. For instance there was one Peepees who was called Fermour Pepes. and he was a relation.
Lets face it, London was full of estrangers, from the Known world, all either running away from wives? or in the business of making a living, without these imports, London could not have grown and flourished.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"betwitt and reproach one another"

To TWIT, to upbraid with; to twit or hit in the Teeth
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘beˈtwit, v. Emphatic of twit n.1
1661 S. Pepys Diary 2 Apr. (1970) II. 65 Strange how these men..betwitt and reproach one another with their former conditions.’

‘twit, v.
1. a. trans. To blame, find fault with, censure, reproach, upbraid (a person), esp. in a light or annoying way; to cast an imputation upon; to taunt.
. . 1594 Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 2 iii. i. 178 Doth he not twit our soveraigne Lady here, As if that she had sobornde or hired some to sweare against his life . . ’

Bill  •  Link

Chris, anything in the OED about a "hit in the Teeth"?

Third Reading

Josh Crockett  •  Link

I love how the work part of his day was covered in nine words out of 278.

LKvM  •  Link

"Meat" redux:
Bear in mind that Sam's mention that there was no "meat" left for late-comer Lord Sandwich means that for Sandwich there was no "food," the root for "meat" having been a word that meant "food" in general, not just "flesh."

徽柔  •  Link

"I found my mother alone weeping upon my last night’s quarrel and so left her"
Pepys being such a model of filial piety.

RLB  •  Link

@Josh Crockett: It does have a bit of a "Da geh ich zu Maxim" vibe, doesn't it? But I get the impression that a lot of this socialising was at least work-adjacent, and could be described as networking.

RM  •  Link

"So I into St. James’s Park, where I saw the Duke of York playing at Pelemele, the first time that ever I saw the sport."

Pall Mall is immediately adjacent, to the north of the park – could this be the origin of its name? Was there some kind of lawn billiards croquet pitch there back in the 1660s?

RLB  •  Link

RM: it very definitely is. As is the Mall; the Maliebaan in Utrecht; and several others all over Europe, and even, I believe, the older American colonies.

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