Saturday 19 October 1661

At the office all the morning, and at noon Mr. Coventry, who sat with us all the morning, and Sir G. Carteret, Sir W. Pen, and myself, by coach to Captain Marshe’s, at Limehouse, to a house that hath been their ancestors for this 250 years, close by the lime-house which gives the name to the place. Here they have a design to get the King to hire a dock for the herring busses, which is now the great design on foot, to lie up in. We had a very good and handsome dinner, and excellent wine. I not being neat in clothes, which I find a great fault in me, could not be so merry as otherwise, and at all times I am and can be, when I am in good habitt, which makes me remember my father Osborne’s rule for a gentleman to spare in all things rather than in that. So by coach home, and so to write letters by post, and so to bed.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Lawrence  •  Link

It's been one year since Col, Daniel Axtell, and Col, Francis Hacker, died for their part in the trial and execution of Charles II… Doesn't a year past quickly?

gerry  •  Link

A couple of L&M notes:
Regarding the herring ships (busses)"the establishment of the Royal Fishery Council on 22 Aug. 1661 had been followed shortly afterwards by the issue of letters patent inviting subscriptions to a central fund by means of which a fleet of herring boats would be sent out. The scheme failed, like others before it. Pepys became a member of the Fishery Corporation in 1664.
As to clothes, Francis Osborne, one of Pepys's favourite authors. had written in Advice to a Son, 1658 "Weare your cloths neat, exceeding, rather than comming short of others of like fortune....spare all other ways rather than prove defective in this"

Bradford  •  Link

"neat"ness in clothes: one might think "tidy," or "clean," or "well-pressed."
Companion, Large Glossary, says "handsome, elegant," which can perhaps be enlarged to "showy yet still tasteful." The tailor's son should know.

stolzi  •  Link

Same advice Polonius gave back in Good Queen Bess' time:

"Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man”

Interesting that Sam feels he can’t really be cheerful and chipper in company if he is worrying about his clothes.

vicente  •  Link

'tis like spick and span: "...I not being neat in clothes..."
Dress well, expensively but tastefully, but not show offy- There is nothing better than a suit cut to ones torso [bespoked].[Don't wear a loud green jacket, with big flaming red trous and pink shirt and a blue tie? and sell old nags to nakkers yard]
and for good measure 'Noli simul flare sorbereque Plautus , Mostellaria, 79

Don't whistle and imbibe at the same time.

Mary  •  Link

"neat in clothes"

We've seen Sam paying close attention to his wardrobe when there is a question of 'best' clothes for special occasions. Here he seems to be realising that his everyday, 'office' wardrobe also needs some attention. Perhaps he is still wearing the rather plain and sober wardrobe that he acquired during the Commonwealth era and now acknowledges that he is out of step with the current fashion for day-wear that is rather more stylish.

Xjy  •  Link

"neat in clothes"
The English Hell of sumptuary dictatorship… Where else would there have been a suicide note wailing “all these buttons…” Kleider machen Leute. Time to dig out The Government Inspector again for a good laugh and complete recognition. Oxbridge rules for getting a degree: sleep there, eat the right number of dinners and *wear the gown*…
Is the Drain at 7.30-8.00 still shoal time?

andy  •  Link

get the King to hire a dock

I wonder which dock they had in mind?Limehouse is just downstream of St Katherine's Dock, itself just below Tower Bridge and the Tower, and just upsteam of the Isle of dogs which was full of the London Docks.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

A drawing and a photo of a model of a herringbuss (Dutch: haringbuis) can be seen here:…
They were broad ships with a round bow and poop, and often three masts. They were stable boats; in Dutch there is a saying "Een buis is op zee een huis" ("A buss is a house at sea")

David A. Smith  •  Link

"a gentleman to spare in all things rather than in that"
Clothes make the outer man -- and in the Restoration, they *very much* make the outer man (wait for the perukes and periwigs, which are simply clothing over-the-top, as it were). Here Sam says they also make the *inner* man, enabling him to feel confident if he has dressed to *appear* confident.
It's an investment, in both psychological health and financial health.

JWB  •  Link

re Vincent's link to Limehouse
As an old chemist I note proximity of the lime kilns to the White Lead Yard. Any use of sulfur bearing coal to burn the limestone would have darkened the white lead produced just downstream.

Jim  •  Link

Dress for success...

Despite the vogue for casual dress (where even IBM employees go to work wearing jeans and sneakers) dressing to give the proper impression of business success and seriousness remains as important today as it was in Sam's time. Wear a suit to a job interview even if it is for a shirt-sleeve job. In the office, dress for the job you want to be promoted to, not for the one you have. At a customer site, dress one notch above their standards (i.e., if they wear sports jackets and ties, you wear a business suit). I can easily understand how a rising young man like our Sam could indeed feel uncomfortable if he were to realize that he was dressed below the standards of his companions at dinner.

Bradford  •  Link

If caught somewhat underdressed for the occasion, bear yourself with self-possession, and chances are you'll carry it off.

pat stewart cavalier  •  Link

"neat in clothes" : "Kleider machen Leute" ; but "l'habit ne fait pas le moine."

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"to hire a dock for the herring busses"

A peculiar boat of ten or fifteen tons, for the herring fishery. — Smyth's Sailor's Word-Book.
---Wheatley, 1899.

Bill  •  Link

"to hire a dock for the herring busses"

BUSS, a small Sea Vessel, used by the Hollanders, and now by the English, for the Herring Fishery, etc.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"I not being neat in clothes"

NEAT, clean, trim, cleanly and tightly dressed, clever.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Catharine  •  Link

Yesterday's entry: "... I first put on my waistcoat to lie in all night this year, and do not intend to put it off again till spring. "

That waistcoat is not going to be at all helpful towards the neat look. Might get a bit whiffy too, by spring.

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