Monday 23 September 1661

Up, and sad to hear my father and mother wrangle as they used to do in London, of which I took notice to both, and told them that I should give over care for anything unless they would spend what they have with more love and quiet. So (John Bowles coming to see us before we go) we took horse and got early to Baldwick; where there was a fair, and we put in and eat a mouthfull of pork, which they made us pay 14d. for, which vexed us much. And so away to Stevenage, and staid till a showre was over, and so rode easily to Welling, where we supped well, and had two beds in the room and so lay single, and still remember it that of all the nights that ever I slept in my life I never did pass a night with more epicurism of sleep; there being now and then a noise of people stirring that waked me, and then it was a very rainy night, and then I was a little weary, that what between waking and then sleeping again, one after another, I never had so much content in all my life, and so my wife says it was with her.

26 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro.  •  Link

"which I took notice to both"

Sorry to bring up this old chestnut, but could this be a watershed? Sam seeing that some of the blame, for the wrangling, may also be a fault of his father. Let's hope that his father is not going doolally!

Stolzi  •  Link

'Twas ever thus -

Sam writes "a mouthfull of pork, which they made us pay 14d. for, which vexed us much"

This past week I was in England and consumed a Welcome Dinner for our conference for which I had pre-paid 28 pounds. It was a nice enough three-course dinner - not a gourmet meal - no wine, either. Even with UK prices being generally higher than US prices, this was fairly outrageous.

So happy for Sam's luxurious night. Sleeping in rain - not OUT IN the rain of course - is delightful, especially if you can hear it dimly on the window or roof.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"with more love and quiet"
yes,SP seems to be more even handed now; may be here the Beatles found inspiration for "what we need is love"

daniel  •  Link

epicurism of sleep

what a strange and fascinating description of something otherwise mundane!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...epicurism of sleep..."

Interesting that he shared the thought with Beth and that she echoed it. Brushing aside the easy hee-hawing that they slept better apart this is an indication that theirs is a deeper relationship than sometimes the diary suggests.

Pauline  •  Link

"...epicurism of sleep."
Epicureal from OED: b. Characteristic of a votary of sensual pleasure.

Not an uncommon experience, though rare. Where you are sleeping well and very comfortably; and minor disturbances wake you enough so that you realize that you are sleeping well and very comfortably--the luxury of falling back into sleep and comfort.

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

"picurism of sleep."
Yes, this wonderfully naive commentary on something as simple as why a nights sleep can be so paradoxically exquisite is right up there with Sam’s evidently boundless enthusiasm on the topic of booze and food (notwithstanding his disappointment at the pricey pork ripoff earlier today) and furtermore I too am starved for Vince’s nightly treasure hunting bag of subtlely mind boggling interpretations of such matters!
I do hope the trip is not long!

Xjy  •  Link

Pointer to note for yesterday :-)
The French view-
Thanks Jim W for the reference to Saint-Simon's Memoirs of Louis XIV. Here's the whole text in English available for download thanks to Project Gutenberg:


dr  •  Link

To expand the "pointer to note for yesterday" -- Voltaire wrote a nice bit of history over the years, really the bulk of his writing. His "Siecle de Louis XIV of France," contains quite a discussion of the exiled English monarch & the various intrigues involving who Louis recognized as King of England.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"I should give over care for anything unless ... more love and quiet"
From power comes confidence; from confidence comes mercy; from mercy comes the quiet word.
Generations aged more quickly then. The last 18 months have seen a dramatic shift in the inter-generational power relationships. Now Sam is ascendant, successful, rich; now is gone his uncle; now the estate, lands, titles, *and worries* pass into his hands. Sam is becoming a man of the world, not just worldly but more mature, and in this he gains both some stature to intercede between his parents, some grace in the manner of doing so, and perhaps even some appreciation from them both.
The moment when a son becomes spiritual father to his father is a strangely swiftly passing, almost fleeting instant ... and Sam is now on its far side.

Mark Pearson  •  Link

Do you think Vincente keeps a diary?

David A. Smith  •  Link

"I never had so much content in all my life"
While I too delighted in Sam's sweet phrase "epicurism of sleep," one has the further sense that his contentment radiates outward from things being well with Elizabeth, with the estate, his parents, his life generally, and the white noise of that gentle evening's rain.

Ruben  •  Link

"epicurism of sleep"
Wonderful words.
John Fletcher (1579-1625), whom we found a few weeks ago in the diaries and still can find at the theater, wrote a short, nice poem about it:
“Care-charming Sleep” to be found in:…

Lawrence  •  Link

Heart Wrenching to see one's parents at each other, but with less diversions than the City has to offer, I suppose it gives the bickering fuel, six of one and half a dozen of the other!

A. Hamilton  •  Link

O Lente, lente, currite noctis equi

( O Slowly, slowly, run you horses of the night -- Ovid)

Night's horses run fast or slow depending on one's inner state. Sam's inner state is in good shape, it seems. His delight in his restful sleep -- even in spite of those noises off that occasionally swam into his consciousness -- speaks of a mind letting go of worry and tension over the property settlement and friction between parents. We've all had the experience, but who among us has highlighgted the experience like Sam: "of all the nights that ever I slept in my life I never did pass a night with more epicurism of sleep"?

Myles Callum  •  Link

Enjoyed all the above comments, but why are they limited to Sept. 23 & 24 of 2004?! This marvelous site is obviously going unremarked for far too long. I first read the above passage as a student at NYU in the early 1960's, and loved it; but over the years the paperback edition it was in got lost, and as the decades went by I would think longingly of this passage as among the most soothing and delightful of benign sedatives ... so I was thrilled to rediscover it here. I liked the comments by Pauline, Stolzi and Bullus Hutton. It is raining gently now as I write ... now, if a few of you obliging souls would kindly clump up and down the stairs of the inn, stirring a bit, so that a weary soul could sleep, then wake, and sleep again ... ah, bliss!

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

So glad to hear that you've found your favorite Pepys Passage and that you've enjoyed the comments. What you haven't realized yet is that this is one page of a web site, founded by Phil Gyford, devoted to the project of publishing the entirety of the Pepys diary as a blog, one entry per day: He began on 2003-01-01 with the first entry in the diary, from 1660-01-01. We are now up to 1664-04-19! Check it out:….

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"I never did pass a night with more epicurism of sleep"

Sam used the phrase "epicure-like" on 3 May 1661 and there are many annotations of epicurism there.…

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Pedro wrote "Sam seeing that some of the blame, for the wrangling, may also be a fault of his father."

That's exactly the first thought I had when I read it--10 years after Pedro's annotation.

I know the history of this site, but, I, too, wish there could have been some comments between 2004 and 2014. Oh, well, That's life. And so to bed!

Tim  •  Link

That is what I find strange - trying to engage with commentators of a decade ago. Are such as the formidable Vicente and Australian Susan still around?

Bill  •  Link

It is a bit disconcerting, but just think about those who follow us in 10 or 20 years!

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Some of the old timers are still around, I had a response from one gentleman after 10 years. I forget who it was now.

Bill  •  Link

Last year I was chastised by an old-timer for being negative about vincent. I learned my lesson!

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

I have found some of my posts from 10 years ago.

OED has:

‘epicurism . . 3. a. The disposition and habits of an epicure; cultivated taste in the pleasures of the table.
. . 1665 S. Pepys Diary 21 Aug. (1972) VI. 199 Captain Cocke, for whose epicurisme a dish of Patriges was sent for . .

b. transf.
. . 1661 S. Pepys Diary 23 Sept. (1970) II. 183, I never did pass a night with more epicurisme of sleep . . ‘

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"we took horse and got early to Baldwick; where there was a fair,"

L&M: For Baldock fair, see VCH, Hertz.,iii. 67.

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