Sunday 22 December 1661

To church in the morning, where the Reader made a boyish young sermon. Home to dinner, and there I took occasion, from the blacknesse of the meat as it came out of the pot, to fall out with my wife and my maid for their sluttery, and so left the table, and went up to read in Mr. Selden till church time, and then my wife and I to church, and there in the pew, with the rest of the company, was Captain Holmes, in his gold-laced suit, at which I was troubled because of the old business which he attempted upon my wife. So with my mind troubled I sat still, but by and by I took occasion from the rain now holding up (it raining when we came into the church) to put my wife in mind of going to the christening (which she was invited to) of N. Osborne’s child, which she did, and so went out of the pew, and my mind was eased. So home after sermon and there came by appointment Dr. T. Pepys, Will. Joyce, and my brother Tom, and supped with me, and very merry they were, and I seemed to be, but I was not pleased at all with their company. So they being gone we went to bed.

14 Annotations

First Reading

tc  •  Link

"...troubled...troubled...not pleased..."

A grumpy day.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: A grumpy day

My thoughts exactly! Sam got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning ... or maybe it was the "boyish young sermon" that got his panties in a bunch...? In any case, I bet he regretted his falling out with his wife over the black meat once Captain Holmes was there in his gold-laced suit!

Buck up, Sam. Tomorrow's another day.

Bradford  •  Link

In the background link to Captain Holmes, Pauline kindly copied this from the Companion, repeated here for the convenience of the curious:

"Pepys had a particular animus against him in the early diary years because of the 'old business' -- whatever that was -- he had attempted on his wife.”

So not even L&M, with their thorough knowledge, can tell us whether this matter had to do with sex or money---though if you can think of another topic which might get Pepys in a swivet (religion seems unlikely here), speak up.

Josh  •  Link

Grumps indeed! Yet only the sufferer suffers from them, at least.

vicenzo  •  Link

Yesterday, after being put in ones place, Hurts. So the cat, maids etc., stay out of sight[site]. He is P****d ***. Equal but not equal. Even Generals get that way when one of equal rank but has hours more superiority, is doing stupid things and ye swallow ye pride.
It takes a certain personality to keep ye counsel inspite of the obvious mistakes, because ye do not have parchment required, and ye want to progress.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"in his gold-laced suit,at which I was troubled"
male display to attract the female?

David A. Smith  •  Link

"it raining when we came into the church"
Writers call this the 'pathetic fallacy,' the sense that it rains when we are unhappy. Rather, rain and gloom contribute to making us unhappy, and we *notice* and *interpret* the weather based on our internal mood.

Mary  •  Link

Pathetic fallacy.

Certainly self-conscious writers do use the pathetic fallacy to heighten the effect of their writing, but I don't believe that Pepys is being 'literary' here; he's simply recording the fact that the cessation of the rain that was falling earlier allows him to extricate his wife from a situation that he doesn't like.

The rain may have added to his catalogue of grumps, but he's not implying that the heavens were weeping in sympathy with his mood.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Pathetic Fallacy

Mary is right.

We owe the term to John Ruskin, who wrote "Of the Pathetic Fallacy" in Modern Painters, vol iii, pt 4, 1856. Although he concedes that we often enjoy descriptions of nature that impute to it human characteristics and feelings, he finds that this is a distortion of reality most often indulged in by poets of the second rank. Or as Robert Frost notes in "The Need of Being Versed in Country Things," concerning a burned-out farmhouse, "One needed to be versed in country things/Not to believe the phoebes wept."…

Glyn  •  Link

Personally, I just admire the cunning, indeed sly, way Sam steers Elizabeth away from the captain without putting his foot down and insisting she didn't talk to him. Was it a case of the christening being after service in another church so Elizabeth wasn't bothered in going to it at first - I'm a little surprised she wasn't going anyway.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"to fall out with my wife and my maid for their sluttery"

1 A dirty woman.
2 A word of slight contempt to a woman.
---A Dictionary Of The English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1756.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

"to fall out with my wife and my maid for their sluttery"

He probably meant slovenliess or carelessness because the meat was not well cooked.

Apparently he never did a thing in the kitchen (befitting his station and the times). Complaining and verbal abuse he was good at. How I wish Elizabeth had kept a diary that survived.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

I doubt whether Elizabeth was actually DOING anything in the kitchen: on a normal day it would not befit her station either: her role was supervisory. There were two maids in the house, Sarah and Nell. I suspect that it was Nell, "the simple/lazy slut", with whom Elizabeth fell out a few days ago on 15th December, whom Sam berated with his missus.

"Mr Pepys rose early and went to the early service. I arose and, having ordered Sarah's tasks in the parler and the Master's study, then instructed Nell as to turning the meat for dinner on the spit. Then I to dress in my Sunday clothes to accompany the master to church this afternoon, only to find that though Nell's inattention the meat was burned. Mr Pepys very angry with both of us, and regarded me with a cruel eye: methinks he blames me for having chosen such a plain maid as Nell. I shall put this slut in her place later when Mr Pepys is out; tis a pity we are bound to keep her for six whole months. Finding good servants is so difficult .... etc."

Louise Hudson  •  Link

You may be right but the Mrs. got blamed, anyway, not just the maid.

"there I took occasion, from the blacknesse of the meat as it came out of the pot, to fall out with my wife and my maid for their sluttery"

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.