Sunday 15 September 1661

(Lord’s day). To my aunt Kite’s in the morning to help my uncle Fenner to put things in order against anon for the buriall, and at noon home again; and after dinner to church, my wife and I, and after sermon with my wife to the buriall of my aunt Kite, where besides us and my uncle Fenner’s family, there was none of any quality, but poor rascally people. So we went to church with the corps, and there had service read at the grave, and back again with Pegg Kite who will be, I doubt, a troublesome carrion to us executors; but if she will not be ruled, I shall fling up my executorship. After that home, and Will Joyce along with me where we sat and talked and drank and ate an hour or two, and so he went away and I up to my chamber and then to prayers and to bed.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro.  •  Link

"where besides us and my uncle Fenner’s family, there was none of any quality, but poor rascally people. "

Knowing our Sam, this cannot be as bad as it sounds? No quality but rascals?

Nix  •  Link

"a troublesome carrion" --

What a wonderful turn of phrase! I'll definitelly have to save it and toss it out when the appropriate character shows up.

It would also be a great name for a rock band.

language hat  •  Link

this cannot be as bad as it sounds?

I'm afraid it is. A democratic respect for "all men created equal" was not a feature of respectable 17th-century Englishry; Sam was no Leveller.

JWB  •  Link

It's not funny Sam. This goes beyond nasty. It's demented. Suddenly, Mama looks to be the sane one.

OzStu  •  Link

Music and singing.
Sam seems to have lost interest in his music (last singing lesson 31 July ?). With all the stresses of Gravely business, Beths' secret assignations, and troublesome relatives, a few hours music could have provided some welcome respite.

Xjy  •  Link

"a troublesome carrion"
Homo homini lupus (dog eat dog)
Or in good old contemporary Hobbes’s words Bellum omnium contra omnes (every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost)

Aunt Kite is family. God knows what he would say of the untouchables if their situation ever touched his mind…
Sam was anything but a Leveller. Give him a ladder to climb and he’s happy as a squirrel in a squirrel-wheel :-)

helena murphy  •  Link

Although Sam as a university man is a gentleman,it is a shame that he does not behave accordingly ,and not look down on those who attended aunt Kite's burial.
As regards the above comment about" a democratic respect",surely in today's world democracy is becoming more and more a figment of the imagination. Respect for the individual can also be found in other political systems which do not adhere to the western "democratic process".

Australian Susan  •  Link

"a troublesome carrion"
I wondered if Sam had got confused and meant "vulture" (i.e. one that feeds on carcases or carrion). That would seem to make more sense in this context: that he, as executor, did not want to be troubled by the relatives flapping about the corpse of the will, trying to grab at bits and squabbling.

andy  •  Link


The ability to ignore family mourning when a better offer comes along, e.g. a night out on the river with Sir Slingsby.

Kal  •  Link


A little harsh perhaps - the deceased is the remarried-widow of an uncle who died some eleven years previously (when Sam was only 19). Not excusing his airs (thought that would be expected of a man in his position), just his lack of grief.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: poor rascally people

Perhaps Sam was bemoaning the fact that, "besides us and my uncle Fenner's family, there was none of any quality”? Hasn’t anyone here gone to a friend’s funeral and been saddened by a lack of attendance? Remember, funerals back then were events where attendees could hope to receive something (at least in the form of food and drink), and perhaps Sam is simply commenting upon people whom he sees as taking advantage of a sad situation? The rascals…

Bardi  •  Link

Would any of us be less open and candid when writing in our own personal diary? Methinks you've come down hard on our Sam for merely expressing his views when they're not what's current protocol. Sometimes those "warts" are what make him our man!

Stolzi  •  Link

Church today, and "prayers" in the evening, but we note that none of it seems to have improved Sam's temper!

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Hear, hear, Bardi! It's for this very candor (and wartiness) that I read the diary.

A. Hamilton  •  Link


American Heritage Dictionary gives as the 2nd meaning of this noun, "feeding on" rotting flesh.…

By extension, Pegg Kite threatens to feed, kite-like, on the estate?

Pauline  •  Link

"...poor rascally people."
Maybe "rascal" in its meaning of "man of low birth or station," "persons of the lowest class." Sam could just be pointing out a class difference, using a common term. Neither "quality" nor "rascal" is used like this today without our hearing a tone of snobbery, in the one case, or expecting lively misbehavior in the other. That may not have been the case for Sam.

Nix  •  Link

"poor rascally people" --

No reason to be sanctimonious: every family has some, and Samuel is honest enough to recognize it. In my wife's family, they referred to one set of relatives-by-marriage as "carnival people". Certainly vivid, and an accepted view intra-family.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Nice phrase "... I shall fling up my executorship.."

Cum grano salis  •  Link

For this this S. Pepys gets another OED entry;
"...a troublesome carrion to us executors; but if she will not be ruled, I shall fling up my executorship...."

4. Used (contemptuously) of a living person, as no better than carrion. Obs. 1547-64
Dead, fit to be buried and/ or eaten, to be cleaned up,removed to make room for the living.
Natures way of recycling.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"poor rascally people"

RASCALITY, the base Rabble, Scum or Dregs of the People.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

john  •  Link

@Louise: Of course, he was a snob. That was the accepted manner of behaviour in 17th century society.

Tim  •  Link

Kite and carrion:
I agree with A Hamilton of a decade ago. Sam makes a clumsy pun - sort of thing one tries out on friends, one or two who , probably in their cups, think to be hilarious (but then they all can't be gems). Interesting that according to annotations, Peg Kite marries a weaver whom Sam thinks to be a 'beggarly rogue'

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