Monday 24 June 1661

(Midsummer-day). We kept this a holiday, and so went not to the office at all. All the morning at home. At noon my father came to see my house now it is done, which is now very neat. He and I and Dr. Williams (who is come to see my wife, whose soare belly is now grown dangerous as she thinks) to the ordinary over against the Exchange, where we dined and had great wrangling with the master of the house when the reckoning was brought to us, he setting down exceeding high every thing. I home again and to Sir W. Batten’s, and there sat a good while. So home.

22 Annotations

First Reading

JBailey  •  Link

As I understand it, there were only two seasons then, not the four that we recognize now.

So today was indeed mid-summer, summer lasting from March 21 to September 21. Winter was from September 21 (roughly) to March 21.

Makes sense because this was the longest day.

Conrad  •  Link

The master of the house was only passing on holiday rates, Sam should have read the menu more carefully.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"24 June" Saint Johns' Day in the catholic countries. Johannis Tag in Germany cf Die Meistersingers Von Nurenberg

vicente  •  Link

"...where we dined .... great wrangling ... master of the house when the reckoning was brought to us, he setting down exceeding high every thing..." With Pop, MoH thought they 'was' from Brampton ?.
Shame on the little wifey any speculations on the diagnosis.

Mary  •  Link

"shame on the little wifey"

Why? She feels lousy and worried, the doctor comes ..... all quite reasonable and no cause for shame. Do you mean it's a pity that she feels ill on a holiday?

bradw  •  Link

the little wifey any speculations on the diagnosis?

Do the records show the arrival of any new little Pepyrs in the next 9 months or so? Or would that be a spoiler?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: little Pepyrs

No, no kids show up in nine months ... nor do they ever. (I think this is a well-known enough fact about Sam and Elizabeth to qualify for non-spoiler status ... see many earlier annotations for discussion of this.)

JWB  •  Link

I don't think Pop would've come off as a hick from Brampton. Have you ever delt with a tailor you thought a rube? This hick from Ohio never has. Pop made a living decking out lawyers, not an unsophisticated clientele. I imagine his manners, speech & dress were impeccable. As to wifey-hot days, spoiled food.

vicente  •  Link

"shame on the little wifey” ‘on ’ meant “shame FOR the wifey”. Mind and eye co-ordination out of ‘sink’. She could go out for an ‘ordinary’ had to wait, maybe for the left overs as Pal could still be over at the Mumssys.

Josh  •  Link

"soare belly" suggests that someplace on Elizabeth's abdomen---which in popular parlance takes in plenty of bodily territory---is either sensitive within to the probing touch ("Is that spot tender?" "It is now"), or that it hurts on its own without pressure being applied. Think: gas pain that does not pass as it ought.

language hat  •  Link

"he setting down exceeding high every thing"

Was there no such thing as a price list? Did people just order and hope for the best? (Mind you, I've been in restaurants even today where this system prevails, and they just tell you at the end what your meal cost, without itemization, but it's nervewracking for the unaccustomed diner.)

vicente  •  Link

The Ordinary from Sams scriblings appear to run from One Fourk to 5 Fourks. There is the French Version for the Dowding crowd.…

One in Cambridge, on an old boys outing, getting his kid brother accepted.…
At one, he took a peek inside, boys not there ,so scooted, at another one he clubbed [went Dutch as we use to say before it become not PC]
Another the meal was dirty, at another he received left overs because he came after hours, but was enjoyed, cost 18 d ea.,another not as good as the last time he ate there.
Mentions the Exchange 3 times, each a different place I do believe..
Another place, he liked because he found a bagpiper to teach him to whistle for an Angel.
[money 1/3 of a quid [6s.8d]]
So over all, not the greatest of experiences ,overcharged ,leftovers, dirty, and now can whistle [for the waiter] Three places appear attached to the Inn of choice. In all he a has seen 11 ordinaries.

Alan Burkitt-Gray  •  Link

24 June is a quarter day, when agricultural rents (payable every 3 months) are due. The others are Michaelmas, 29 Sept, Christmas Day, 25 Dec, and Lady Day, 25 March.

24 June is no longer a public holiday in England, or anywhere else in Britain, but is widely celebrated in Scandinavia, usually with bonfires in the midnight twilight -- I think it is an official public holiday in Sweden.

Linda Camidge  •  Link

June 24th is still celebrated here in Penzance, UK, where the traditional feast of St John has been revived as a magnificent week-long festival of performance, parades, and pleasure. Come and see for yourselves!

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link


The celestial Summer of those Places between the North Tropic, and the North Pole, begins when the Sun enters the first of Cancer, on the twenty first of June, and ends, when it enters the first of Libra, on the twenty first of September.
There being twelve Signs in the Ecliptic, and twelve Months in the Year, it goes thro' a Sign in a Month; but enters not the Sign in the beginning of the Month, but about the twenty first Day, according to the Gregorian Calendar, or the eleventh according to the Julian.
---A Compleat System Of General Geography. B. Varenius, 1734.

There may have been an ancient time when June 24 was considered midsummer but geographers in SP's time knew when summer started and when it ended. Using the Julian calendar in England in 1661, it started on June 11!

Freotheric  •  Link

Midsummer is also a national holiday in Quebec, commemorating Jacques Cartier's claiming of Canada for the King of France on the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, 1534. "La Saint-Jean" has long been a day for huge public parades, bonfires, outdoor concerts, fireworks and neighbourhood festivities. Now officially known as "La fête nationale."

Tonyel  •  Link

We kept this a holiday, and so went not to the office at all.
The fact that he mentions this indicates that it was unusual - or a restoration revival of an old custom.

Third Reading

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Interesting that there is an holiday which is not part of the Christian calendar.

Alter Kacker  •  Link

In Tucson, Arizona, where I live, St. John’s Day — Día de San Juan — is traditionally considered the beginning of the summer monsoon. This year it got off to a premature start, with a heavy storm on the 22nd.

JayW  •  Link

We’ve just been staying with relatives in Finland and celebrated Juhannus (Midsummer Day) with them on 21 June.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

It's not a holiday for everybody, including specifically not at the Navy office. The State Papers record that at least two official letters were written there today (or at least dated from 24 June), by anonymous bureaucratic little hands while the bosses were away frolicking.

One of them is, whoa, nothing less than an "Estimate of the cost of repairing the roofs of the lodgings of the Surveyor and Clerk of the Acts. Total, 107£. 15s."

Roof damage, perhaps occasioned by the late heavy rains, sounds bad for a freshly redecorated household, where one likes to climb onto "the leads", and will now have to contend with more muddy-footed workmen clambering up and down the beautiful new stairs. Strange that, unless we're mistaken, we haven't read of it before, especially if fixing it comes to such a tidy sum.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

You're right: 107£. 15s. indicates construction or a remodel more than a repair, Stephane.

Maybe this was a winko entry by Pepys' friend, the landlord Slingsby?
A little creative bookkeeping -- by saying it was for repairing the roof (undoubtedly a landlord function) avoided saying the sum was mostly for installing a beautiful staircase and remodelling the interior access to the second floor (1st floor in British English) which auditors might question. Since Slingsby wants to live there himself, he has a reason to approve the beautification of the property.

I was wondering how Pepys increased his net worth at this time.
From 15 February, 1661, it went from 350l. [that's 54,168l. in 2023 terms] to 500l. [or 77,383l. in 2023 values] on 24 May 1661 AND pay for this work.…

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