Sunday 17 November 1661

(Lord’s day). To our own church, and at noon, by invitation, Sir W. Pen dined with me, and I took Mrs. Hester, my Lady Batten’s kinswoman, to dinner from church with me, and we were very merry. So to church again, and heard a simple fellow upon the praise of Church musique, and exclaiming against men’s wearing their hats on in the church, but I slept part of the sermon, till latter prayer and blessing and all was done without waking which I never did in my life. So home, and by and by comes my uncle Wight and my aunt and Mr. Norbury and his lady, and we drank hard and were very merry till supper time, and then we parted, my wife and I being invited to Sir W. Pen’s, where we also were very merry, and so home to prayers and to bed.

23 Annotations

First Reading

Glynn  •  Link

Things have changed from Puritan times!

Jesse  •  Link

"very merry"

Indeed. Before church, after church and before "home to prayers and to bed". Almost three and a half centuries later many of us are able to share his merriment. Hope he wouldn't mind.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Partying with the Penns...Marred only by the dullest of sermons (by what sounds like a Restoration government clerical hack-up with church music, down with hats at church)at 2nd church.

Wonder if Beth was at the 2nd service, nudging him...Or if she was one of those who 'drank hard' later...

Pedro.  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin on this day would be pleased with the release of the current Band Aid single.

A very cold day, yet something cheerful; god good to us in the mercies of my family, my child Jane up and down with us again, lord let us live to keep thy word, a dear time for corn. rye 7s. and wheat 8s.6d. per bushel, but few consider the famine of the word, and yet men loath the ordinances of god.…

Ruben  •  Link

How merry can "very merry" be, 3 times in a day?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Very, very, very merry!
Not much Sabbath observance here.
Watch out for bad temper and fault-finding with wife, work colleagues and servants tomorrow!

Bob T  •  Link

we drank hard and were very merry till supper time,

I think that Sam means that they were engaged in "recreational drinking". They were not drinking shooters, B52's, or Jelly Beans. They were drinking wine, eating a few nibblies, and having a great time.

roboto  •  Link

"but I slept part of the sermon"
I can relate to that. It may have happened to me from time to time.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Robert Gertz: I think men and women sat on opposite sides of the aisle; so no nudging from Elizabeth.

Ruben  •  Link

to Wim:
Pepys had in "his own church", his own privileged place to sit apart from the public, together with his wife, guests and servants (servants standing or sitting behind him).
Check around a year ago, when he moved to the new housing.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"all was done without waking which I never did in my life"
Aside from the sheepish overtones of this private confession, Sam is an incessant chronicles of life's peaks and valleys -- the diary is a cavalcade of firsts, bests, mosts, worsts. Milestones in his life, or keeping a curious internal personal score?

Nix  •  Link

"which I never did in my life" --

Samuels' frequent use of this kind of superlative construction -- "the best that ever I saw" -- has been commented on by several of us. I wonder whether this was simply the most usual way of saying "very" in those days, or was Samuel a particularly aggressive hyperbolist?

Joe  •  Link

It's his disarming honesty that keeps us coming back...

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: The Bests and Worsts

I've always viewed this as an indication of Sam's lust for life and for new experiences. I don't think it's simply a way of saying "very," nor is it hyperbolic -- I think it's the result of a childlike enthusiasm. One of his more charming attributes, if you ask me...

Glyn  •  Link

You're right, Glynn! However, I don't remember him recording going to a tavern on a Sunday, so presumably they are still closed on Sundays (during the times of the services, at least).

By the way, I've just noticed at the bottome of this message box (i.e. where you type in your responses). A heading "Trackback" under which are two entries titled "The Blog of Samuel Pepys" - what's all that about?

Josh  •  Link

Sam is 28, going on 29. Having now, through some mistake of celestial arithmetic, reached the ripe old age of---well, never mind that, the point being that almost every day I too encounter something never experienced before, or experienced in such a degree. Don't we all? My mother's phrase for this was "I never ceased to be amazed." Neither does Sam.

vicente  •  Link

along with this "I never ceased to be amazed." One should learn or experience a new item each and every day. Tis why Sams experiences are so charming. Many of the our normal days doings are repartisious, but where ever or when ever, I like to have at leased one different routine.[ I hate cow paths, one of the reasons of many, that I failed to accomplish anything is because I disliked repeating or doing it the same old way. no discipline, although now I am a total regurgitator, [ so things do change]

vicente  •  Link

As Tacitas, from De Vita et Moribus Iulii Agricolae , 30 : did put to wax
'Omne ignotum pro magnifico est '
"the best that ever I saw"
all that is unknown before is noble {Fantastic}.

Grahamt  •  Link

...which I never did in my life:
This sounds very much like the exclamation: "Well, I never did see such a thing in all my life" usually shortened to "Well, I never did..." said by my (mainly) female relatives, whenever they were surprised. It may be just such a phrase/cliché that he uses to express pleasure in a novelty, rather than a literal statement. It certainly sounds better than “It was, like, wow!”

Grahamt  •  Link

...exclaiming against men's wearing their hats on in the church:
Well, that was certainly taken on board. Unthinkable now. It would be interesting to know when it became de rigeur that men uncovered their heads in church and women covered theirs Was it just a glitch during the interregnum that men started wearing hats in church?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Hats in Church
Wearing hats or not is a sign of respect. Keeping the hat on in church implies disrespect for the institution and also the minister. The Quakers towards the end of the 17th century got into lots of trouble as they would not doff their hats to their (supposed) betters - even the King!
But in the 16th century, when reformed church innovations were introduced from Geneva, Zurich and the Netherlands, it became the practice in some churches for the Altar to become The Lord's Table and to be moved into the middle of the Church and in some churches it is recorded that the men used it as a convenient place to put their hats! So obviously, at that time, keeping the hat on in church was not synonymous with Protestant Church behaviour.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Sermons about hats were a way of trying to reinforce worship conformity. As we saw a while back with the sign of the cross at baptism it didn't always work.

"The male members of the sect of Quakers were notorious for refusing to take off their hats in church or before any human"
---The Anthropological Turn in Literary Studies. J. Schlaeger, 1996.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"exclaiming against men’s wearing their hats on in the church"

L&M note Archbishop Laud had condemned the practice.

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