Sunday 26 January 1661/62

(Lord’s day). To church in the morning, and then home to dinner alone with my wife, and so both to church in the afternoon and home again, and so to read and talk with my wife, and to supper and to bed.

It having been a very fine clear frosty day — God send us more of them, for the warm weather all this winter makes us fear a sick summer.

But thanks be to God, since my leaving drinking of wine, I do find myself much better and do mind my business better, and do spend less money, and less time lost in idle company.

30 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

Lay bets now on the next sick headache from overindulgence. Hard frosts also kill bugs, both agricultural and pestilential.

Pauline  •  Link

Sounds like Sam is having a John Evelyn moment

Pauline  •  Link

Lay bets
I'm betting on Sam. These moments of stock taking and self discipline (and their all-too-familiar setbacks) surely add up over these early years to the maturity and discipline allowing Sam's other reknown in history, that as a great Navy reformer.

vicenzo  •  Link

There be I, not noticing his reformed behaviour: Hard winter then there be no pestilence.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Sam and wine
Pauline is right that Sam's later accomplishments show that alcohol never became a disabling problem for him. But it has been only four days since his last reported drinking of wine [Entry for 1/22: "a meeting ... with Tho. Trice and Dr. Williams ... after a pint or two of wine we parted"], so it seems a little premature for him to be congratulating himself on having stopped.

vicenzo  •  Link

post script: He doth forget his trip down the garden path:

Pauline  •  Link

his trip down the garden path
which he chalks up to eating too much beef.

vicenzo  •  Link

HE removed all that is rotten in stomach. Starts the day afresh . It be strange, no mention of liquids, if not vino then doth he not drink or sip a little of the ale or mead. Water would not be a good choice. No mention of that strange breakfast meal that was and is and has been popular for centuries, Oatmeal [with salt]?

andy  •  Link

and do spend less money, and less time lost in idle company.

So he's given up the theatre for staying at home playing cards, and now he hopes to give up wine, what will happen to his extensive contacts book?

Pedro.  •  Link

A Ralph Josselin moment.

Jan: 26: God good to me in many mercies, my little Mary very ill with an ague my soul waits on god for her health, and recovery out of it. this day entered my 46. year, god has been good to me in the days past and will in those are to come, and my saved soul shall praise him(.) good was god to me in the word, it was a very wintery day, and a little fluttering snow lay on the ground, I looked on it as a merciful answer of prayer, god give us more such days if it be thy will.…

LCrichton  •  Link

No mention of that strange breakfast meal that was and is and has been popular for centuries, Oatmeal [with salt]?
Thanks Vincenzo: This brings to mind a later writer called Sam (Samuel Johnson), who in his Dictionary, defined oats as "a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people."
It is claimed that James Boswell, his biographer from Edinburgh, retorted by saying, "Which is why England is known for its horses and Scotland for its men."

See wickipedia for more on oatmeal :…

Porridge is enoying a revival as a healthy fast food thanks to microwave varieties.
Though I prefer mine as just oatmeal, water, milk and salt, heated and stirred with a spurtle (…)

alanB  •  Link

one idler to another 'that Pepys has gone soft in 'is 'ead. He don't come out to play anymore. I heard he's taken up playing cards and the other day he was seen talking about laying out his garden. On Sunday, he spent the whole day with his wife and tri-square. He's a right slippers and armchair flop.'

adam w  •  Link

Warm winters lead to pestilence?
A quote from…
"Since the time of Hippocrates, scientists have understood that weather can influence where and when some epidemics occur. For instance, mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria, and yellow fever are generally associated with warm weather, while influenza epidemics usually occur during cold weather, and outbreaks of intestinal illnesses caused by cryptosporidiosis are linked to heavy rainfall."

Parts of England were malarial well after Pepys time, e.g. East Anglian fens. Did this affect London too? Would a cold winter reduce mosquito numbers the next summer?
If he's thinking of plague itself, cold weather might have kept rat numbers down and reduced the risk of plague the next summer, but it could also have aided transmission if it drove rats closer to human habitation for warmth. Plague in cold climates (e.g. the black death in Scandinavia) had a very high mortality with an increased frequency of pneumonic plague, so cold weather per se doesn't seem to be a good insurance!

C.J.Darby  •  Link

Both to church in the afternoon again. I am beginning to wonder why i'm interested in why Liz never seems to go to church in the morning? Catholic hangover.

Stolzi  •  Link

Liz may have stayed home in the morning to see after dinner.

BradW  •  Link

I'm interested in why Liz never seems to go to church in the morning?

I don’t think it’s individual choice. I seem to recall that the Sunday morning service was men-only, or at least that men and women worshipped separately. The afternoon service was open to all.

Mary  •  Link

warm winters lead to pestilence?

Cold winters may not have had a significant effect on rat numbers (these successful mammals are highly adaptable and able to cope with wide variations in temperature) but would certainly have slowed growth of the flea population. This could explain the fact that plague figures tended to fall significantly during the winter months, only to resurge again in warmer weather.

Glyn  •  Link

I think that Elizabeth has been to morning service a few times.

Sam hasn't been to a theatre or a named tavern for a month (the sole exception being to a formal event that he hated), so I do think that he is making a sincere effort over this. The standard beer was mostly weaker then and perhaps the wine was also (we've discovered that they didn't have corks to stopper up the bottles so the wine was usually drunk younger).

But personally I think the new, sober Sam is duller than last year's version who would start the day buying drinks for some cab drivers and clerks, and end it flirting with the female barstaff. How long can he keep this sobriety up?

Maurie Beck  •  Link

warm winters lead to pestilence?

Flea numbers are tied directly to their hosts (rats). Most mortality for rats would likely occur in winter when resources might become scarce. It is true that rats are able to persist in many environments and live in close proximity to people, probably more so during the winter.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"warm winters lead to pestilence"
adam w, methinks that that SP was afraid that the warm wheather could have led to proliferation of insects in the winter time leading to "pestilence"; as far as fleas, they stay indoors with the rats;if the rats die for whatever reasons they look for some other source of blood.

Sherman  •  Link

" since my leaving drinking of wine, ..."
Nobody has said anything about that hogshead of wine Sam acquired six days ago. If he is truly abstaining, I wonder what he plans on doing with it.

Glyn  •  Link

I don't think he ever wanted to become teetotal, he just wanted to stop spending so much time in bars, where he was wasting his money, and drinking and spending too much in the company of people he didn't respect.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam and Church
Sam would have been expected to go to the Navy Church (St Olave's) and sit in the Navy Office pew - to see and be seen - as a social obligation. Later on, it would become very important to be seen to conform (1680's), but the paranoia has not yet taken hold. I am uncertain what time Sam would have been at Church: 8, 9, 10? Anyone know? When dairy herds became large, it became the practise both in the USA and the UK for church morning services to be at around 11 to enable dairy farmers to get to church after milking. This settled in the 20th century in England anyway to a pattern of early (said) Holy Communion at 8, Mattins at 11 and Evensong at 6.30 for the majority of Church of England churches. This pattern altered after the 60s. But quite what time Sam is walking off to services, I don't know. My guess is that Elizabeth is staying behind to supervise the getting of a good dinner - Sam complains if the food is not good and he hasn't been doing that recently. Without modern appliances, ensuring success with a meal needed much more care and attention than it does now.

roboto  •  Link

"my leaving drinking of wine"
Sam gave up wine. Now if only he could do something about the bulimia.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I notice no comment as to whether Bess appreciates the "new Sam". I'd think he'd eagerly note any signs of approval on the Missus' part.

Perhaps, like so many of us, she's withholding judgment, anticipating backsiding...

Or perhaps, she can't stand puritan Sam, but must refrain from commenting as he would immediately note past complaints as to his behavior...

john lauer  •  Link

The 'spurtle' link above of Crichton's works after truncating that final paren.

dirk  •  Link

"warm winters lead to pestilence"

I think this has everything to do with the common view at the time that "pestilence" is the result of "bad fumes" - and of course warmer weather leads to more "fumes".

If the cold of winter isn't there to reduce these fumes to an acceptable level, there will probably be an overload the following summer.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

It wouldn't surprise me if Sam bought the wine more in impress guests (look, my own supply!) than for personal consumption. He seems to put a lot of importance in looking good for guests he invites over, and likes to feed the important ones some good quality stuff.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

Oops, I meant "more to impress guests"

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"It having been a very fine clear frosty day — God send us more of them, for the warm weather all this winter makes us fear a sick summer."

L&M note the contemporary proverb: 'A green winter makes a fat churchyard.'

Log in to post an annotation.

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