Wednesday 4 December 1661

To Whitehall with both Sir Williams, thence by water, where I saw a man lie dead upon Westminster Stairs that had been drowned yesterday. To the Temple, and thence to Mr. Phillips and got my copy of Sturtlow lands. So back to the 3 Tuns at Charing Cross, and there met the two Sir Williams and Col. Treswell and Mr. Falconer, and dined there at Sir W. Pen’s cost, and after dinner by water to Cheapside to the painter’s, and there found my wife, and having sat a little she and I by coach to the Opera and Theatre, but coming too late to both, and myself being a little out of tune we returned, and I settled to read in “Mare Clausum” till bedtime, and so to bed.

14 Annotations

First Reading

PHE  •  Link

"myself being a little out of tune"
I presume he means: 'myself being in a bit of a sour mood'. A very nice phrase - which I can sympathise with. Another example of how Sam's day-to-day experiences so neatly reflect our own.

dirk  •  Link

Evelyn's diary today:

"I had much discourse with his highnesse the Duke of York concerning strang Cures. He affirmed that a Woman who swallow'd a whole Eare of Barly, had it worke out at her side. I told him of the knife swallow'd, & the pinns: &c: I tooke leave of the Bish: of Cap-Verde now going in the fleete to bring over our new Queene:”

dirk  •  Link

"and thence to Mr. Phillips and got my copy of Sturtlow lands"

I'm a little confused here. Is there a connection with what Sam mentioned in his diary entry for sunday 21 July 1661?

"Old William Luffe having been here this afternoon and paid up his bond of 20l., and I did give him into his hand my uncle's surrender of Sturtlow to me before Mr. Philips, R. Barnwell, and Mr. Pigott, which he did acknowledge to them my uncle did in his lifetime deliver to him.”…

vicenzo  •  Link

I do believe it means, Luffe can now work the Land, but Sam is in Legal ownership [haveing the updated copy], but he can not lease it to a higher guzumpter, as the the man has legal use of lands [until death doth come] as long as he pays his interest & abides by the rule of the day, wheres as modern renter can be terminated on minor infractions of the common law, and no sense of long term security ???

vicenzo  •  Link

"myself being a little out of tune" I love it.

Pauline  •  Link

Sturtlow lands

All the inheritance annotations are now here--Background/People/(the very bottom of the list of people)Sam's ongoing themes:…
"The executors had no trouble about the Stirtloe land, which was sold immediately in 1661 to the tenant to pay debts."

Pedro.  •  Link

From Dirk's entry "the Bish: of Cap-Verde now going in the fleete to bring over our new Queene:"

Cap-Verde (Cape Verde Islands, Cabo Verde)
The man mentioned, not actually the Bishop, was Richard Russell Cannon of the English Chapter see...…

David A. Smith  •  Link

"dead upon Westminster Stairs that had been drowned yesterday"
So much about a society can be gleaned by these edge effects, not just *what happens* but *how people react to it.* A dead man, who has been there for a day, is something to remark, but only on a par with a visit to the opera and theater.

Bob T  •  Link

Dead Man
I suppose that they left him there so that he could be identified, and his family could come and collect his body.
They couldn't mention it on the evening news, or put his picture on the internet. This was probably the standard operating procedure.

Philip  •  Link

"dead upon Westminster Stairs that had been drowned yesterday"
Isn’t it likely that the body washed onto the stairs during the night after having been in the water since the man fell in and drowned the previous day? Pepys makes his observation from the water as he is traveling by boat in the morning. The presence of the body probably was not then generally known. I doubt that it had been deliberately left there for a day.

Second Reading

john  •  Link

How did Pepys know that the man drowned yesterday or even that he drowned?

Gerald Berg  •  Link

"out of tune" Curious whether he means flat or sharp of perfect mood?

Elsebet  •  Link

We were in London (from the US) for two weeks in 2011 and had a lovely time. I wish I had read this diary previous to our trip instead of after, but hopefully we can return someday and do a sort of Pepys self-tour. I was fascinated by small things such as standing on the bank of the Thames near Greenwich and imagining the daily lives of so many people who came before me. I still have the few smooth pebbles I pocketed there (apologies for the theft!) which are one of my favorite souvenirs along with chatting with local gardeners in Hyde Park and shopping at Tesco. :)

I was really interested in the phrase "Westminster stairs" so I did a bit of googling and found some interesting reading on wikipedia:…'s_Stairs…

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