Friday 20 December 1661

Lay long in bed, and then up, and so to the Wardrobe to dinner, and from thence out with Mr. Moore towards my house, and in our way met with Mr. Swan (my old acquaintance), and we to a tavern, where we had enough of his old simple religious talk, and he is still a coxcomb in these things as he ever was, and tells me he is setting out a book called “The unlawfull use of lawfull things;” but a very simple fellow he is, and so I leave him. So we drank and at last parted, and Mr. Moore and I into Cornhill, it being dark night, and in the street and on the Exchange discoursed about Dominion of the Sea, wherein I am lately so much concerned, and so I home and sat late up reading of Mr. Selden, and so to bed.

20 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"enough of his old simple religious talk"
I ain't puritan no more Mr Swan.

Ann Martin  •  Link

After yesterday's outburst to poor Elizabeth he stayed in bed as late as possible and then fled the house for the Wardrobe as quickly as possible - trying to stay out of her way? Has he actually said "sorry" to Elizabeth, I bet he hasn't, he's just wallowing in his own sorry state and drinking with the boys, notwithstanding he doesn't seem to like poor Mr Swan, better than returning home.

Bradford  •  Link

It will be interesting to see whether all Pepys's research into the Striking of Sails, Dominion of the Sea, and such, will prove any more useful or enduring than "fanatic and rogue" (as he is called elsewhere) Mr. Swan's quondam legal treatise.

john lauer  •  Link

"into Cornhill, it being dark night"
Would there have been at least some lamp light on such a spacious, rich street at this time, to explain its explicit mention here?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"After yesterday's outburst to poor Elizabeth he stayed in bed as late as possible and then fled the house…”

I dunno…If Sam laid long in bed, it’s certain Beth was with him. Sounds like he spent the night in reconcilation mode and the morning in make up sex…

vicenzo  •  Link

"...into Cornhill, it being dark night..." 'twas one of those loverly moonless lit nights. It be either rainy [which he does not say] or the moon be not awake yet.
re: night on the sofa: It seems that the upward mobile couple be copying the Royals and be having separate closets for good nights rest and strife free: it be cold too, no doubt,
leads to so many speculations. If he be honest about his words I think he would mention his rewards too. The Male of the species of course never admits that he is not the master of the situation. I think there would be more of a spring in his step, if all be forgiven. Staying bed awhile would be because he waited 'til the sun warmed the air abit.

David Stanford  •  Link

"into Cornhill, it being dark night", yes, there would have been light, which is why he went that particular way, being a dark night meant he needed to get into a street which was well lit.

Grahamt  •  Link

Winter Solstice:
Today in London the sun rises (though we may not see it) at 8:08 and sets at 15:48, a mere 7hours 40 mins of daylight. In Pepys' day there was no organised street lighting and on an overcast, perhaps moonless night, a link boy to light the way would be the only way to venture out early or late. A few days ago we saw him out and about 3 hours before sunrise, but today he lies long in bed. Who can blame him for staying in a warm bed on a cold, dark winters morn?
We forget, with modern city lighting, that people used to be ruled much more by the seasons than we are. They worked long hours in summer and short in Winter. Much more so in the country than in the city, but there would still be a marked difference in the number of people around town in the evening. The inns and taverns would be welcome oases of light and heat in the cold, dark desert of a 17th century London winter's night. Even busy thoroughfares like Cornhill would be unlit.
Home - Work - tavern - home is the pattern of the last few days: none of the strolls across town, walks in the meadows or rides in the countryside that characterised his summer. Even the morning drafts seem to be less frequent.

Roger Arbor  •  Link

"enough of his old simple religious talk … coxcomb”. Strange comparison this, a coxcomb is a ‘conceited man’ and yet Swan seems a simple (i.e. convinced) Christian man.

Am I getting just a whiff of contempt of a worldly man for one whose motivations Pepys cannot understand — or is he secretly convicted and is contemptuous as a defence?

Mary  •  Link

Street lighting.

There were ordinances in force that obliged householders to hang out a candle or a lantern from dusk until 9 o'clock in the evening, but this duty seems to have been honoured as much in the breach as in the performance.

Martin  •  Link

Winter solstice:
As England did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752, I believe the solstice has actually already gone by at this point. The adjustment in 1752 was a leap forward of 11 days, so the soltice in 1661 presumably took place on or about the 10th.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Winter solstice:
The shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere since the days of the dinossaurs.

Glyn  •  Link

"a lantern from dusk until 9 o'clock in the evening”

Following on from Mary, the reason it was specifically 9 o’clock rather than any other time was because that was when the curfew bells were rung so that the City Gates were closed and the London apprentices finished working for the day. So householders didn’t need to refer to clocks to know when 9 o’clock was. (However, if they ignored the regulation anyway, it hardly makes much difference.)

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"winter solstice"
my mistake.

Terry F  •  Link

Corporation Act

(1661, December 20. 13 Charles II, st. 2., c. 1. 5 S. R. 321. The whole reprinted in G. and H. 594-600.)

WHEREAS questions are likely to arise concerning the validity of elections of magistrates and other officers and members in corporations, as well in respect of removing some as placing others, during the late troubles, contrary to the true intent and meaning of their charters and liberties; and to the end that the succession in such corporations may be most probably perpetuated in the hands of persons well affected to His Majesty and the established government, it being too well known that notwithstanding all His Majesty's endeavours and unparalleled indulgence in pardoning all that is past, nevertheless many evil spirits are still working: ....…

The Corporation Act of 1661 is an Act of the Parliament of England (13 Cha. II. St. 2 c. 1). It belongs to the general category of test acts, designed for the express purpose of restricting public offices in England to members of the Church of England.…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The King present, both Houses of Parliament meeting in Lords, there are announced the Bills passed.

"1. An Act for the well-governing and regulating Corporations."

"2. An Act for Prevention of Vexations and Oppressions by Arrests, and Delays in Suits of Law."

The Royal Assent to these Bills severally was pronounced, by the Clerk of the Parliaments, in these Words,

"Le Roy le veult."

"3. An Act for granting to the King's Majesty Twelve Hundred and Threescore Thousand Pounds, to be assessed and levied by an Assessment of Seventy Thousand Pounds by the Month, for Eighteen Months."

The Royal Assent to this Bill was pronounced in these Words.

"Le Roy, remerciant Ses bons Subjects, accepte leur Benevolence, et ainsi le veult."

and 5 private bills, followed by The King's Speech and adjournment until 7 January next.…

Bill  •  Link

"he is still a coxcomb"

COXCOMB, a conceited Fool, a Fop
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Although, in 1661, the Winter Solstice was on the 11th December in the Julian Calendar, because the sun is close to perihelion at this time of year, an astronomical day is longer than 24 hours: therefore the sun rises a little later each day until about 10 days after the solstice at this latitude.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘coxcomb . . 3. a. A fool, simpleton (obs.); now, a foolish, conceited, showy person, vain of his accomplishments, appearance, or dress; a fop; ‘a superficial pretender to knowledge or accomplishments’ (Johnson).
. . 1667 S. Pepys Diary 13 Feb. (1974) VIII. 59 A vain coxcomb..he is, though he sings and composes so well.’

I think ‘A fool, simpleton’ is the meaning here.

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