Sunday 9 February 1661/62

(Lord’s day). I took physique this day, and was all day in my chamber, talking with my wife about her laying out of 20l., which I had long since promised her to lay out in clothes against Easter for herself, and composing some ayres, God forgive me!

At night to prayers and to bed.


10 Feb 2005, 2:12 a.m. - Clement

"...composing some ayres, God forgive me!" Sam asks forgiveness for his composition, rather than for spending a large sum on Elizabeth's attire. He's apparently accepted "key learnings" from Lady Montague. At Bradford's prior suggestion I've posted a link to a sample of his later song, "Beauty, Retire" at Entertainment > Music > Songs. But for convenience here it is: http://www.emusic.com/album/10592/10592276.html If the Sample link doesn't work outright, right click it and Save As, and open it at completion of download.

10 Feb 2005, 2:59 a.m. - vicenzo

oh! wot a b***** R*****. so glad he was home, not out at Woolwich testing those cannons? "...I took physique this day, and was all day in my chamber..."

10 Feb 2005, 3:44 a.m. - Robert Gertz

"...talking with my wife about her laying out of 20l..." Sam's had some happy days recently, now it's Beth's turn. Points for making our girl smile, Samuel. Put on that Easter bonnet, Beth...

10 Feb 2005, 4:11 a.m. - dirk

"...composing some ayres, God forgive me!" Clement, I think Sam is asking forgiveness for his composing (an expression of human vanity) on the Lord's Day - and maybe also for not going to church service.

10 Feb 2005, 9:08 a.m. - Pedro

Things look better on the weather front, says the Rev.Ralph Josselin. Feb: 9. Cold dry wholesome weather this Lent, god good in manifold mercies, my Marys ague abates(,) god purge from me all my dross and make me a new lamp. two fires seen in our town from abroad, blessed be god that preserves me and mine.

10 Feb 2005, 11:54 a.m. - Sjoerd

From earlier annotations I understand "Taking physique" is code for "taking a nice laxative"... all the rage at the time apparently.... is there anyone with some medical knowledge who can explain what the health effects would be of taking a nice "sunday laxative". I would think missing church would be one positive effect ?

10 Feb 2005, 2:47 p.m. - Stolzi

"Sam asks forgiveness for his composition, rather than for spending " I think because composing is work, and work is forbidden on the Sabbath. The spending was something they just talked about.

10 Feb 2005, 2:51 p.m. - Rex Gordon

" ... taking physique ... " Sjoerd - If I remember Clare Tomalin's biography of Pepys (at home on a shelf, not here at work) correctly, taking physic was thought to rid the body of harmful humors and generally to improve health. Its actual effects, however, were neutral at best and, at worst, could severely dehydrate or weaken one. L&M, in the Companion volume (here at work, not home on a shelf) point out that Sam, in the Diary period, was "physically energetic and reasonably healthy ... He never had a day in bed from illness, never suffered from an ague, was bled only twice, and seems to have caught only an Englishman's normal quota of colds. He took physic, or a glister, as everyone did, at fairly regular intervals, as a purge and to get rid of what were known in the Galenic jargon of the day as 'peccant humours'. But according to a memorandum on his health he wrote on 7 Nov 1677 he had never had to take a long 'course' or 'season' of physic."

10 Feb 2005, 4:04 p.m. - JWB

"...took physique...composing some ayres..." I think Sam's may be asking God for forgiveness for the crude joke.

10 Feb 2005, 5:56 p.m. - vicenzo

bowel movement was of great concern to the Victorian era, as constipation was a major concern. Cod liver oil was dealt out very frequently [the deal of the day, the young be so lucky as cod is now scarce]. The diet has changed.

10 Feb 2005, 7:46 p.m. - Chris Peach

The essay on dress in the Pepys' Companion says that, "Women's fashions to some extent changed annually at Easter," which is probably why Pepys' has agreed to grant Elizabeth the money.

11 Feb 2005, 1:05 a.m. - Australian Susan

Seasonal clothes It used to be the habit until past the middle of last century, for women to have a new hat for Easter Day and a new winter coat for the Harvest Festival; so you could appear smartly dressed in Church.Maybe with Elizabeth's desires for a new wardrobe for Easter, we have the beginnings of this custom. Until the Restoration of Charles, no such spending on fripperies would have been condoned. Now it is expected and Elizabeth wants to keep up with the best of them. Good for her!

11 Feb 2005, 9:11 a.m. - GrahamT

Wrong oil Vicenzo: Caster oil is taken as a laxative. Cod liver oil was taken against rickets. (lots of Vitamin D) Not sure if they knew that in Pepys or even Victorian times, but certainly post-war they did. Now is fashionable against joint problems, so I get to take it as a child and now as an oldie.

11 Feb 2005, 2:40 p.m. - Xjy

Cod liver oil... ... is good for everything! Iceland's gift to humanity. I love the stuff (got hooked as a kid) and swig it straight from the bottle. Those around me are unappreciative, however, even of colourless, tasteless and odourless capsules... Their loss ;-)

11 Feb 2005, 6:45 p.m. - vicenzo

Graham you are correct, true : but best for laxative for moi, it were a nice dose of blackberries straight from the hedge. There was no tested science for home remedies, so if it be good for one result, it must work for other problems too. Looking up Culpeper, he has many remedies for the popular blockage.

11 Feb 2005, 7:55 p.m. - Jenny Doughty

I imagine that with a diet rather lacking in fresh fruit, vegetables and fibre by today's standards, the problem of constipation might have been a more frequent one.

11 Feb 2005, 7:59 p.m. - Ruben

I imagine that with a diet rather lacking in fresh fruit, vegetables and fibre by today’s standards, the problem of constipation might have been a more frequent one. ...and having to evacuate out in the cold...

11 Feb 2005, 8:46 p.m. - Glyn

Very expensive though, couldn't she get something a lot less extravagant? It was only at the New Year that Pepys was promising himself to be less of a spendthrift. Sam now has about 500 pounds in total savings (including investments), so 20 pounds is a hefty bite out of it. Still, Easter is over 6 weeks away (30 March) so maybe he has the time to persuade her to be more reasonable. I wonder if they are planning so far ahead because fewer clothes then were "ready-to-wear"?

12 Feb 2005, 3:02 a.m. - vicenzo

The only ready to wear clothing or otherwise put, off the h'anger, were 'and me downs. The Spring clothing was a major issue before HP [or Credit card] along with Santa's gift of a 'Luverly tie'. Showing the world that one inhabits, that thee have the 'BRASS';'Tis this that is the success of advertisment to have the most expensive item that no one else has to show the world that you are the big 'I AM' so necessary for ones self esteem. So 4% of gross savings be nowt for a few ooohs and ahs.

20 Feb 2005, 4:42 p.m. - JWB

Psalm 51: Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. There is a spiritual element to purging. A combination of the lowest and highest in human condition. Luther and Germans have expressed this. Here's Luther's translation of Psalm 51, v 7: Entsündige mich mit Isop, daß ich rein werde; wasche mich, daß ich schneeweiß werde.

28 May 2014, 5:10 p.m. - Terry Foreman

"composing some ayres, God forgive me!" L&M note Pepys's previous anxiety over a Sabbath indulgence in a musical hobby. "Today at noon (God forgive me) I strung my lute, which I had not touched a great while before." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/10/21/

9 Feb 2015, 8:51 a.m. - Sasha Clarkson

I wonder if Pepys knew in advance whose sermons he was missing at church? Note that he was in his chamber all day, and not the "house of office". Presumably he had some sort of "close stool" upon which to enthrone himself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_stool Here's a picture of a contemporary (to Pepys) royal one! http://www.ambienceimages.co.uk/media/bc171e0e-7728-11e1-bc66-1b67279472e8-royal-close-stool-knole-sevenoaks-kent-17th-century-charle

10 Feb 2015, 5:12 a.m. - Umbragetsker

£20 in 1661 has a relative purchasing power today of about £2500. A princely sum for an Easter outfit?

10 Feb 2015, 8:19 a.m. - Mary K

Yes, £20 is a lot of money, but perhaps the new clothes included a piece of lace which could later be used to accessorise other garments. Lace was decidedly a luxury item (and remained so well into the 19th century) but over a lifetime women could acquire a selection of pieces of lace that would be carefully washed and cared-for, adorning different garments at different times.