Friday 17 January 1661/62

To Westminster with Mr. Moore, and there, after several walks up and down to hear news, I met with Lany, the Frenchman, who told me that he had a letter from France last night, that tells him that my Lord Hinchingbroke is dead, —[proved false]— and that he did die yesterday was se’nnight, which do surprise me exceedingly (though we know that he hath been sick these two months), so I hardly ever was in my life; but being fearfull that my Lady should come to hear it too suddenly, he and I went up to my Lord Crew’s, and there I dined with him, and after dinner we told him, and the whole family is much disturbed by it: so we consulted what to do to tell my Lady of it; and at last we thought of my going first to Mr. George Montagu’s to hear whether he had any news of it, which I did, and there found all his house in great heaviness for the death of his son, Mr. George Montagu, who did go with our young gentlemen into France, and that they hear nothing at all of our young Lord; so believing that thence comes the mistake, I returned to my Lord Crew (in my way in the Piazza seeing a house on fire, and all the streets full of people to quench it), and told them of it, which they are much glad of, and conclude, and so I hope, that my Lord is well; and so I went to my Lady Sandwich, and told her all, and after much talk I parted thence with my wife, who had been there all the day, and so home to my musique, and then to bed.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

"I returned [via] the Piazza"

This is the Piazza in Covent Garden:…

This is from one of the articles in the above link:

"By the Restoration, Covent Garden was no longer on the periphery of London development, as it had been when first constructed, but it was still, by and large, an expensive area in which to live and shop. It is not coincidental that the first theatres to built in the Restoration located themselves near Covent Garden: quite aside from the area’s convenience to both Court and City, the area itself could boast a fair share of the fashionable, theatre-going members of the public. Covent Garden represented, in fact, a kind of centre-of-gravity for the “Town” and the Restoration beau monde.

John Strype noted in 1700 that the area was “well inhabited by a mixture of nobility, gentry and wealthy tradesmen . . . scarce admitting of any poor, not being pestered with mean courts and alleys”; yet, by Strype’s time, the area was already undergoing a slow and painful transition. Ned Ward’s London Spy, published 1698-99, identifies the square - and St. Paul’s Church in particular - as a convenient rendezvous for married men and women making assignations with lovers. More to the point, however, the fruit and vegetable market established by Bedford had begun to affect the area somewhat, attracting a crowd of increasingly less fashionable patrons."

So it’s near the theatre and a lot of taverns that Pepys has mentioned in his Diary, although he seems to have given up going to both - perhaps he just likes to walk past them.

dirk  •  Link

"in my way in the Piazza seeing a house on fire, and all the streets full of people to quench it"

Nothing compared to what Sam will see four years from now though (slight spoiler?).

Mary  •  Link

"yesterday was sennit" (L&M reading)

i.e. a week (seven nights) ago yesterday, 9th January 1662. The paranthetic [proved false] is an editorial addition, not shown in the original text.

Xjy  •  Link

Ear to the ground
Here we can see how Sam picks up news, reacts to it, evaluates it and checks it. The relevance is personal and professional. A death could bring lots of unwelcome changes. Bringing the news of an important death was a sensitive business. Sam is so preoccupied by the news today, and puts so much effort into it, that a fire he witnesses is only mentioned in passing...
Sam is very valuable to his employers and patrons as an interface with the community around them.

alanB.  •  Link

...which they are much glad of...
but not too much hopefully. The George Montagus wouldn't mind a bit of schadenfreude themselves.

Glyn  •  Link

Sennight (one week) = half a fortnight (two weeks). I think the Saxons counted by nights rather than days and these words survived.

Glyn  •  Link

Yes, Xjy it would be his responsibility to break the news of her son's death to the mother, a woman he greatly admires. No wonder he's double checking the news.

Bardi  •  Link

This certainly is a prime example of Sam's ability to write a run-on sentence! It's as though he is gasping for breath to get it all down before he forgets one important tidbit.

vicenzo  •  Link

'yesterday was sennit' needs TWO to make fortnit

vicenzo  •  Link

"se'nnight,” possible connection senarius[ seni,-orum] /senary consisting of six each fr; seni: dict: sen-night or se’nnight ME,OE seofon nihta, seven nights.archaic. [fortnight(fortnit)ME fourtenight (fourtene night)i.e. 2 weeks]
‘tis why one has a 6 night and seven day for a trip to the vacation spot.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sennight and fortnight
Wonder why sennight dropped out of use (used by Jane Austen - not sure when it became archaic) and yet fortnight is still in common parlance.

john lauer  •  Link

-because 'week' has half the syllables ;)

Carolina  •  Link

How about a twelvemonth to describe one year, still quite common in Oxfordshire

pat stewart cavalier  •  Link

se'ennight : and French has huit jours (eight days)

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

SENNIGHT [contracted of seven Nights] a Week
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Gillian Bagwell  •  Link

@AustralianSusan - Though "fortnight" is still commonly used in the UK and (apparently) Australia, it's not in the US!

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘sennight, n. Originally two words: Old English seofon seven v., nihta plural of niht night n. . . Now arch.
a. A period of seven (days and) nights; a week.
. . a1616 Shakespeare Othello (1622) ii. i. 78 The bold Iago, Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts A Sennights speede . . ‘

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"To Westminster with Mr. Moore, and there, after several walks up and down to hear news, I met with Lany, the Frenchman, who told me that he had a letter from France last night, that tells him that my Lord Hinchingbroke is dead."

L&M: Sandwich's eldest son had been in Paris with his brother since August 1661, in the charge of a tutor. The report was false. He suffered all his life from ill health but did not die until 1688.

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