Monday 7 April 1662

By water to Whitehall and thence to Westminster, and staid at the Parliament-door long to speak with Mr. Coventry, which vexed me. Thence to the Lords’ House, and stood within the House, while the Bishops and Lords did stay till the Chancellor’s coming, and then we were put out, and they to prayers.

There comes a Bishop; and while he was rigging himself, he bid his man listen at the door, whereabout in the prayers they were but the man told him something, but could not tell whereabouts it was in the prayers, nor the Bishop neither, but laughed at the conceit; so went in: but, God forgive me! I did tell it by and by to people, and did say that the man said that they were about something of saving their souls, but could not tell whereabouts in the prayers that was.

I sent in a note to my Lord Privy Seal, and he came out to me; and I desired he would make another deputy for me, because of my great business of the Navy this month; but he told me he could not do it without the King’s consent, which vexed me. So to Dr. Castle’s, and there did get a promise from his clerk that his master should officiate for me to-morrow.

Thence by water to Tom’s, and there with my wife took coach and to the old Exchange, where having bought six large Holland bands, I sent her home, and myself found out my uncle Wight and Mr. Rawlinson, and with them went to the latter’s house to dinner, and there had a good dinner of cold meat and good wine, but was troubled in my head after the little wine I drank, and so home to my office, and there did promise to drink no more wine but one glass a meal till Whitsuntide next upon any score.

Mrs. Bowyer and her daughters being at my house I forbore to go to them, having business and my head disturbed, but staid at my office till night, and then to walk upon the leads with my wife, and so to my chamber and thence to bed.

The great talk is, that the Spaniards and the Hollanders do intend to set upon the Portuguese by sea, at Lisbon, as soon as our fleet is come away; and by that means our fleet is not likely to come yet these two months or three; which I hope is not true.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

"God forgive me! I did tell it by and by to people, and did say that the man said that they were about something of saving their souls, but could not tell whereabouts in the prayers that was."

The worst part, Sam, about embellishing a story to make it good is not the fib so much as keeping up with it.

Now that, thanks to Dirk and Alan (see April 2) we know that Whitsuntide falls on 18 May, we're prepared to see what larks will follow.

JWB  •  Link

Vexing Monday
1) vexed by Coventry
2) vexed by Robartes
3) vexed by the wine
4) vexed by Mrs Boyer & daughter
5) vexed by rumor of Hollanders & Spaniards
Perhaps Elizabeth had to talk him down off the leads.

vicenzo  •  Link

For those that want the news straight from the Horses mouth at the House of Lauds:
'Tis the butter bill [Caveat emptor]: then bill to prevent the Importing of Foreign Bone Lace,Cutwork, Embroidery,Fringe,.Band straps, Buttons, and Needlework.
Sam just in time, must buy English; Sam! Now I wonder, Why Cheap inports?
"...bought six large Holland bands..." must heard heard the news [inside trading]

then there be the Bill for Uniformity of Worship; not in full accord.
nowt said about SOS.…

A nice touch: They turn up in Jeans and all the street dirt then Primp themselves up to crow to the others, Lairds Territorial & spirital.
"...and while he was rigging himself, he bid his man listen at the door, ..."

Britney Spears  •  Link

I don't see how Sam was embellishing the story.

Do we know what prayers they would be reciting today?

vicenzo  •  Link

House of Commons was concerned with age old problem of spending monies one does not have, thereby one must pay a forfeit;
see Bankrupts.…

Mary  •  Link

Embellishing the tale.

Sam's embellishment would appear to be the detail that the Bishop could not recognise the reference to the saving of souls as a mark of the place reached in the prayers. In his initial account of the incident, Sam only mentions observing the Bishop's man say 'something'..... i.e. something unspecified. The implication is that he did not hear the precise words but decided to improve his tale by adding the bit about the saving of souls.

Britney Spears  •  Link

I'm pretty sure that wasn't an embellishment. I think this is just another sentence written in jumbled-up fashion.

Peter  •  Link

Britney... I think the fact that he asks for God's forgiveness is a strong indication that he did embellish. He knew he wasn't really being straight when he recounted the story. I am sure we have all done it... telling the story as it should have been rather than as it really was. The great thing about Sam is that he can admit these things to us.

Gus Spier  •  Link

Embellishing the Tale
Wasn't the service recently re-organized? It makes sense to send a man to monitor the activities from the door, and then recognize that you wouldn't know where they were anyway if the whole agenda had been changed .. especially if you've been officiating some other service for lo those many years ...

Even more interesting: Navy work has become more important than Privy Seal ?? Doesn't Sam stand to make some money doing his clerks's office?

David A. Smith  •  Link

"I desired he would make another deputy for me ..."
In our modern experience with vast machineries of government, we forget how small-scale and personal was even the national government at this time: "he told me he could not do it without the King's consent, which vexed me.” Can you imagine a mid-level civil service asking to create a new position, and being told it needed the PM’s personal signoff?
Perhaps this was the vexing that emptied his patience reservoir and made the rest of the day so very vexing.

Stolzi  •  Link

God forgive me!

I can't tell if the story was embellished or not, but Sam is probably ashamed of telling sniggering stories on a Bishop at all. Yet he can't quite get rid of his pre-Restoration, puritan, scorn for the High Church frivolities. At least, I read "rigging himself" as rather scornful. Maybe it's not, in the usage of the time.

It's "Good Resolutions" time again. Not to drink too much until Whitsun, and he already promised not to go to the theatre again until Whitsun... All this following on a general resolution, earlier in the year, to stick to business and not do any of the other things that are so bad for business and so much fun to read about.

vicenzo  •  Link

It be very confusing times. The Bishops be back sitting in the house of [the] Lord[s] playing Politics leaving the Church affairs to the Deans, no wonder they want the Flock to follow one set Theme [Act of Uniformity], The Bishops can then only issue the page no. to give the appropiate homily to their flock. Use Romish procedures but don't send the Collection to Italia. Then there be those that have been listed as bad Guys, The Quakers, no respect or the shaking of fetlock, then there be those that want to have Rome as the ultimate authority, so no vote for them. Then there be those that be against Bishops living in London, Tis better to have an Elder chosen by the Flock. Then there be the Mob, it be listening to rantings of the Equilisers.
So a joke about Bishops and their gaitors would be rife in the streets of London, Sam just said it to the wrong people and they be upset.

language hat  •  Link

"I read 'rigging himself' as rather scornful. Maybe it's not…”

I don’t think so. Here’s the OED’s citations; it looks like a neutral word:

1534 MORE Comf. agst. Trib. II. Wks. 1201/1 When he beholdeth him self richly appareled & ye beggar rygged in his ragges. 1625 B. JONSON Staple of N. II. v, P. Iv. Your Fortunate Princesse, Vncle, is long a comming. P. Ca. She is not rigg’d, Sir. 1689 Chancellor’s Prep. for Trial in Harl. Misc. (1746) VIII. 603/1 New Liveries of the best Irish Frize, completely to rig a whole Regiment of his new~raised Teagues. 1721 SWIFT Epil. to Play Wks. 1751 VII. 182 We’ll rig in Meath-Street [?]gypt’s haughty Queen. […]

refl. 1662 PEPYS Diary 7 Apr., While he was rigging him~self, he bid his man listen at the door. 1693 Humours Town 24 She hastens home, washes, new riggs, and seats herself. 1819 J. H. VAUX Mem. I. 241 The liberty-men were busily employed in rigging themselves.. in their best togs.[…]

b. Const. with out.
c1616 BEAUM. & FL. Four Plays, Triumph of Time Prol., All occupations.. That serve to rig the body out with braverie. 1676 WYCHERLEY Pl. Dealer IV. i, You shall see, how I have rigg’d my Squire out, with the remains of my shipwrack’d Wardrobe. 1730 SWIFT Death & Daphne Wks. 1751 X. 156 A Consult of Coquets below Was call’d, to rig him out a Beau.[…]

refl. 1673 R. HEAD Canting Acad. 107 She riggs her self out in the best manner she can. 1688 S. PENTON Guardian’s Instruction (1897) 28 He riggs himself out in a new Suit.[…]

Incidentally, I read the Tale of the Bishop the same way as Mary.

Grahamt  •  Link

to Rig oneself out is still used, though not commonly, meaning to dress up. I assumed it was a nautical expression.

dirk  •  Link


Rigging refers to the basic action of leading a lace or rope though holes or rings. Knowing that this kind of thing was often required to close clothing in the 17th c - as well as for "rigging" ships - the use of this verb seems logical, and was probably very common in connection with clothing.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"The great talk is, that the Spaniards and the Hollanders do intend to set upon the Portuguese by sea, at Lisbon, as soon as our fleet is come away; and by that means our fleet is not likely to come yet these two months or three; which I hope is not true."

DeGruyter, with a fleet of 17 sail, had been in the Mediterranean since the end of the previous August, under orders to protect the Spanish treasure fleet. Suspicions that he meant to attack the Portuguese seem to have been unfounded, The main part of the English fleet left the Tagus in early April. (L&M note)

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