Tuesday 18 June 1661

All this morning at home vexing about the delay of my painters, and about four in the afternoon my wife and I by water to Captain Lambert’s, where we took great pleasure in their turret-garden, and seeing the fine needle-works of his wife, the best I ever saw in my life, and afterwards had a very handsome treat and good musique that she made upon the harpsicon, and with a great deal of pleasure staid till 8 at night, and so home again, there being a little pretty witty child that is kept in their house that would not let us go without her, and so fell a-crying by the water-side. So home, where I met Jack Cole, who staid with me a good while, and is still of the old good humour that we were of at school together, and I am very glad to see him. He gone, I went to bed.

19 Annotations

First Reading

daniel  •  Link

"...kept in their house"

was this witty little thing a relative or neighbor's child?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"I ever saw in my life" He says that about so many things! Well he is a young man anyway

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

And an enthusiastic one! One of his most endearing qualities, IMO...

vicente  •  Link

"...So home, where I met Jack Cole,..."
Old Jack[King] Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, he called for his glass,
And he called for his fiddlers three.

Every fiddler he had a fine fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Twee-tweedle-dee, tweedle-dee, went the fiddlers.
Oh, there's none so rare as can compare
With Jack [King] Cole and his fiddlers three!
"... who staid with me a good while, and is still of the old good humour that we were of at school together..."

vicente  •  Link

Subject: Church and State, which was major contention of the differing parties during the Inter-Regnum:
To day the House of Lords to consider the ACT of repealing of the ACT for disabling Persons in holy Orders to exercise any Temporal Jurisdiction or Authority.
Hodie 3avice lecta est Billa, "An Act to repeal an Act, intituled, An Act for disabling Persons in Holy Orders to exercise any Temporal Jurisdiction or Authority."
And the Question being put, "Whether this Bill, with this small Alteration, shall pass for a Law?"
It was Resolved in the Affirmative.
From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 18 June 1661. House of Lords Journal Volume 11, ().
URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/…
Date: 19/06/2004

Copyright 2003 University of London & History of Parliament Trust

Ruben  •  Link

little pretty witty child:
I red somewhere, years ago, that in those days it was a sign of prosperity to send your siblings away from the city, inmediatly after birth, until school age. They were raised in the country by a nursing lady.
May be what SP is admiring is that this "little pretty witty child" is with her parents and not somewhere else.
As it happened, we hear from SP that the child needed other children or more entertainment...

vicente  •  Link

Separating babes from Mothers is popular in many Cultures, Marx thought it best to put them in a creche, sooner the better, the Jesuits did say, between weening and seven under their care they would be theirs for life, the Ottoman Empire had their janissaries [they just rounded them up and prepared them for the future]and The English[not proserity ,tho it helps , spoilt mummies Hi Tea, it did ] had these fantastique schools for the leaders of the far off places, learning fives after nanny had given up on them.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Vexing about the delay of my painters

Looking back:

Wednesday May 15th: Home and found all my joyner's work now done, but only a small job or two, which please me very well.

Monday March 25, 1661: This morning came workmen to begin the making of me a new pair of stairs up out of my parler, which, with other work that I have to do, I doubt will keep me this two months and so long I shall be all in dirt; but the work do please me very well.

Home renovation: It was then, as now, a long, slow business. This one’s getting on to a 50 percent overrun as to time & probably cost.

E  •  Link

Little pretty witty child
I don't think it has ever been routine for small children to be sent away from home, with the exception of those handed into the care of a wet-nurse. If you were rich enough you got the wet-nurse to live in your house, but this was not always possible. However, I am not aware of normal circumstances where the child would stay with the wet-nurse after weaning, although the wetnurse might then be hired to come to your house as a nanny.

I read "that is kept in their house" as implying "by someone else" -- most probably a servant. However, she might be a child, a niece perhaps, being kept by the Lamberts temporarily owing to family upheaval.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

'I am not aware of normal circumstances where the child would stay with the wet-nurse after weaning,'

According to Claire Tomalin's biography of Jane Austen, it was the normal practice in the Austen household for Mrs Austen to breastfeed each new baby herself for about three months, and then send it out to nurse, from where it didn't come back until the age of about three.

dirk  •  Link


Annotators who have been around for some time may recall the *lively* discussion on "delayed bonding" ref the diary entry for Tuesday 1 January 1660/61. In the case Jenny is referring to there certainly wouldn't have been anything like the mother-child bond (or father-child bond for that matter)we expect to find today!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Jane Austen's childhood
Tomalin (and other biographers) make clear that this arrangement of the Austens was unusual (probably connected to the fact that they ran a school for boys at the Rectory) and that Mrs Austen did see her children every day. I took Sam's phrase to mean what E suggests above.

Ruben  •  Link

I search the Internet and found at http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o… the following (I think it applies to SP's times too):
" Girls growing up in later medieval England" by Jeremy Goldberg

"Children, our grandparents were told, should be seen and not heard. The historian of the later Middle Ages finds that children, and particularly younger children, are rarely either seen or heard. And if this is not so true of boys, it is rather more true of girls... We are told that children were born into a hostile or at least uncaring world. Numbers of girl babies were disposed of at birth as a burden to their parents. There was little bond between mother and child as many children passed their infancy suckled by a wet-nurse. As an infant the child was constrained in swaddling bands and left unattended and unchanged for many hours on end. Until the child reached her fifth birthday, she was treated with indifference because high rates of infant and child mortality warned parents against investing emotionally in such fragile lives.... "

vicente  •  Link

Ruben: More things change, the more they do not, see customs of Asian areas with new Technology screening out Girls even before birth. Most of us here that doodle on this wall of info may have not seen the cruelties to children. The adage "children seen and not heard" was most popular up to the forties. The port cities of the world were full of entreprenures of dubious backgrounds, other wise known as street urchins. I had a Chinese shoe from the 1870's that My Gran had that bound the foot so tight that the foot was stump. Just one example of the many cruelties inflicted on children.
Children should be seen and not heard.
Proverb of Unknown Origin

Ruben  •  Link

chapeau for you! "Le plus change, le plus le meme",
"El zorro cambia de pelos, pero no de ma?as”,
or in our small garden:”life begins when the children leave the ancestral home and the family dog dies”.
Life is worth almost nothing in most of the world.
I was astounded as a youngster when I red Julio Jurenito (Ilia Ehrenburg) and Julio, who wanted to commit suicide, did it by going to the public garden with new boots. There, he was murdered to rob his boots…

I suspect some annotators do not comprehend that SP was living in another England.
Far, far from us and yet almost the same language, almost the same places, almost the same institutions… and that is what makes more difficult the comprehension.
And yet, different mores, different religion, different expectations.
Many compensate by extrapolating from their own experience but the farthest they imagine the past is Victorian Empire.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Chinese foot-binding
This was only conincidentally cruel to children: we are now in the realms of male sexual fantasy. In China, small feet were a sexual turn-on for the men, so the ladies obliged by making their feet smaller and smaller. Eventually this led to the practice of foot-binding, starting at the age of six (but only for non-peasant families). The binding eventually broke the bones and forced the foot bones up against the ankle bones to give the desired hook- shaped foot. The toes were bound under the foot (except for the big toe) and evntually atrophied and withered. I too have a child's shoe prepared for the first binding. It's about 3 inches long and dates from the 1920's (my mother was in Beijing in the 1930s). I am uncertain what Sam and his friends would have found a sexual turn on, but I doubt it would have been deformed feet. I am also uncertain whether or not they would have found this cruel. Daughters were their father's chattels even in Sam's day.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"we took great pleasure in their turret-garden"

The munificence of a man of taste raises at an immoderate expense a column or turret in his garden, for no other purpose than the generous one of 'giving delight and wonder to travellers' and the ungrateful public calls it his Folly.
---The London Magazine. 1754.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Thank you Andrew Hamilton! I was wondering how long the stairs were taking to build. 3 months and counting! The stairs to my basement took 2 days.

Turret-garden. So is this a first example of a garden folly? Very early for what became an 18th C. must have. Visionary...

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Gerald Berg says his stairs took only two days, but that was no doubt, with power saws, nail guns, modern lumber and modern transportation of building materials. Any kind of building in Sam's day took far longer than it does today. We sometimes forget that we in the 21st Century are living in an absolutely different world than Sam was.

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