Thursday 1 May 1662

Sir G. Carteret, Sir W. Pen, and myself, with our clerks, set out this morning from Portsmouth very early, and got by noon to Petersfield; several officers of the Yard accompanying us so far. Here we dined and were merry.

At dinner comes my Lord Carlingford from London, going to Portsmouth: tells us that the Duchess of York is brought to bed of a girl, at which I find nobody pleased; and that Prince Rupert and the Duke of Buckingham are sworn of the Privy Councell.

He himself made a dish with eggs of the butter of the Sparagus, which is very fine meat, which I will practise hereafter.

To horse again after dinner, and got to Gilford, where after supper I to bed, having this day been offended by Sir W. Pen’s foolish talk, and I offending him with my answers. Among others he in discourse complaining of want of confidence, did ask me to lend him a grain or two, which I told him I thought he was better stored with than myself, before Sir George. So that I see I must keep a greater distance than I have done, and I hope I may do it because of the interest which I am making with Sir George.

To bed all alone, and my Will in the truckle bed.

42 Annotations

First Reading

JWB  •  Link

Lord Carlingford
1)"... was known as "a fattey man and a good Drinker”.
2)”…liaison between Charles II and several of his mistresses,”…

Bradford  •  Link

Cooks, ahoy: "very fine meat" is an expression for something good to eat, not necessarily animal flesh. But does "the butter of the sparagus" mean its juices?---for one does not think of asparagus as being particularly juicy. Or does Pepys merely mean eggs + butter + asparagus, like an omelet?

dirk  •  Link


In Flanders (Belgium) the (litterally) age old recipe for asparagus still is: boiled asparagus -don't boil to long: the asparagus should still be whole, not pulp- served with liquid butter and a hard boiled egg. This might be what Sam is referring to.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"at which I find nobody pleased"
Poor little Princess Mary - who is forced into marrying her cousin, so ugly that she bursts into tears on first seeing him. And then has no children, so ends up with nobody pleased with her then either.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

First Batten, and now Penn.

Sam seems to be getting increasingly disenchanted with his colleagues. Familiarity breeding contempt ... and, as his star rises, he no longer feels satisfied in their shadows, I suppose.

Ruben  •  Link

When on a visit to Brampton, Sam wrote his diary only a few days later, when back at home in London.
This time it looks as he or Will took the diary and found a secure place every evening to seat down and write.
Or was it that he made quick annotations and when back home completed them in his diary?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

offended by Sir W. Pen's foolish talk

I think this falling out had its origins in yesterday’s escapade: “and so I took leave of Sir W. Pen, he desiring to know whither I went, but I would not tell him. I went to the ladies…”

My guess is that Sir William, lacking an explanation for Sam’s actions and finding him evasive, is testing Sam to his discomfort.

It also quite likely that Sam is in a generally rebellious mood, as Todd suggests.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"generally rebellious mood"
Success with the ladies makes one fly!

Ruben - my money is on the taking notes and writing them up afterwards.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"grain or two"
Of what?

Clement  •  Link

A grain or two of confidence?
That's what seems to be said, though I'm not clear on what is offensive about Pepys saying Penn has a larger store of confidence than himself. Perhaps it was "want of confidence" that Penn cheekily wanted to borrow from Sam. Hardly makes sense though.

Ruben  •  Link

of salt, of course...

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Grain -- Perhaps of Gold

An ancient unit which was originally based on the weight of a grain of wheat. The grain is the smallest unit of weight in the avoirdupois, troy, and apothecaries systems. Surprisingly it is identical in all three systems.
4 grains = 1 carat
24 grains =1 pennyweight
480 grains = 1 troy ounce
5760 grains = 1 troy pound
437.5 grains = 1 ounce avoirdupois
7000 grains = 1 pound avoirdupois
1 grain = 0.0648 grams (0.06479891)
15.432 grains = 1 gram

Althoughstated above that the grain weighted the same in all three of the above systems, there were at least two different grains. The troy system used the supposed weight of the barley grain, whereas the wheat grain was also used as a standard of weight. There were three barley grains to four wheat grains.

Pauline  •  Link

"...grain or two, which I told him I thought he was better stored with than myself, before Sir George..."
Perhaps a grain or two of confidence, and Sam goes on to say that Sir George had greater confidence in Penn than in Sam? Or that in Sir George's eyes Sam gives more confidence to Penn than Penn to Sam? Whatever, Penn is offended, and Sam goes on to claim an "interest which I am making with Sir George". Geez, I don't know.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Grain Or Two ...

therefore in the context meaning a small amount of cash money; some "pocket change."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"Want of Confidence"

In modern jargon "lack of credit" - no trust or confidence by others in his ability to pay his bill(s).

[An assumption, I do not have my OED to immediate hand at the present]

Peg  •  Link

Could Penn perhaps have meant "confidence" either as in M. Robinson's "lack of credit", or as in a teasing "C'mon Sammy, you could've taken me into your confidence." But then Sam turned it to mean confidence as we commonly use it, with a "self-" in front of it? And Penn was embarrassed by Sam's sassy (if not impertinent) rejoinder, particularly as he made it in front of Sir George? It's just the kind of thing that happens when people have made a bit too merry and someone gets offended. The Samster might've felt he needed a "time out!"

Mary  •  Link

grain or two.

I'm with Michael. Pen charges Sam with lack of trust (for example, Sam wouldn't tell Pen where he was off to yesterday afternoon)and tries to get him to affirm his trust at the most basic level by lending him a small amount of cash. Sam's response does not go so far as an impolitic, "I wouldn't trust you as far as I could throw you," but makes it clear that he is not Pen's ardent supporter.

sharon  •  Link

grain or two.

Might we be dealing with a small translation error here? If you substitute "which I thought I was better stored with than himself", Sam is just grumpily refusing to confide in Penn after the older man twits him about yesterday's clandestine excursion. Perhaps Sam is also concerned that anything Penn knows about this is likely to get back to Elizabeth.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam doesn't often mention that Will is with him or where he sleeps. Wonder how privy Will was to all the carryings-on with the ladies and where was he at that time? By mentioning that Will was in the truckle bed, does this imply that it is OK to share a bed with your equals (the Doctor as on recent nights) but not with your subordinates (Will). Or is it unusual for Will to share a chamber with Sam and thus it is remarked on. Maybe Will usually bunked down with the servants in the hayloft on something.

JWB  •  Link

Are we home yet?
"Sir William so long off the hooks" asks Sam for a few grains of confidence. Sam takes umbradge, thinking Penn gibing him for too much self-confidence- not enough truckle to his superiors- & in front of Carteret to boot.

Clement  •  Link

Pick a pique of Pepys.
I think JWB, Peg et al have it. Sam feels guilty about yesterday, has no reasonable explanation that he can give Penn, can't tell him the truth for fear of the gossip spreading, so instead he picks a silence-inducing fight, blaming the "foolish talk" of Penn, and aiming at somehow impressing Carteret with childish and insolent behaviour.
Of course, Carteret and Penn have far more in common than Sam would like to admit here.

Ruben  •  Link

the Duchess of York is brought to bed of a girl, at which I find nobody pleased;
Well, Queen Mary II was born today!

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Luv all of the above: my pennyworth:
He be saddle sore, also a little short on sleep and there be Sir Wm. Pen scoring points on 'wot' Sam be up to last few nights, nice remarks I'm sure [foolish talk, bosses luv to kid the younger males about their stamina with the Ladies] about the ladies whithers and seat no doubt. All of this, spoken in front of the clerks. [My answers] Sir Pen " do a biological impossibility, jack tar style "?
As for a grain or two, I doth think it mean a couple of farthings or mites for the water and oats boys at the stables, and huffy Sam, be trying to TELL SIR Wm. to dig into his own pockets as his be deeper and better lined and not to be so cheap.

Jackie  •  Link

Queen Mary II - the only Queen in history to have overthrown her father. People forget that it was truly a joint reign - the only one in our history to date.

Interesting times ahead.

language hat  •  Link

grain or two

Not cash -- I've looked through the OED definitions and there's no indication of such a use. The natural interpretation is Clement's: "I don't have enough confidence, and you've got plenty -- lend me a couple of grains, will you?" ("grain" meaning 'small amount, bit').

Grahamt  •  Link

The construction is very similar to "lend me a bob or two... (until payday) even though the bob (shilling) is no more legal tender than the grain. However there is also the phrase "a grain of common sense" which seems closer to this usage: Penn lacks confidence, (with women?) so asks Pepys to lend him a grain or two of his. Pepys sarcastically replies that it is better "stored" (left) with him than Penn, who takes umbrage with the suggestion that confidence would be wasted on him.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"a child"
The future Queen Mary II; reminds me of
"how sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child"
King Lear, Act I.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"thankless child"
Sorry, but we have no evidence of really what Mary thought of her father. See my note above for what she thought of her husband! It may have been a joint reign in name (only way to make it legal) but William made quite sure he would be wearing the trousers and grasping the reins of state before he came over in 1688. The events of the Glorious [sic] Revolution were more to do with William overthrowing his uncle than Mary her father. She, and her sister Anne, were used and manipulated by the statemen of the day who did little to hide their exasperation when neither fulfilled what was perceived by these men as their only function in life - producing a healthy male heir. Anne had probably 19 children. Mary may have been the victim of her dwarfish husband's infertility (but men were never blamed in those days).

A. Hamilton  •  Link

want of confidence... grain or two

This little flare up is quite fascinating, even if the exact meaning of Pepys's account is obscure. It is between the 29-year old Pepys, only recently elevated above servant status, and the 41-year old Admiral who commanded a ship at 21 and wrote the memo that defined the Navy office where he and Pepys are "principal officers," a man of explosive temper as described eslewhere by Pepys, and obviously a man used to commanding men and figuring out who is, and is not, a "good 'un," and who expects to be treated with deference. I can't help wondering if Sam is making a mistake in getting huffy with this formidable man who has the Duke of York's ear.

language hat  •  Link

"even though the bob (shilling) is no more legal tender than the grain"

You're missing the point. Whether the term is "legal" is irrelevant; the OED records all uses, official or not. "Bob" in the sense of 'shilling' has its own entry (the origin, by the way, is unknown); there is no indication that the word "grain" has ever been used to mean money, therefore that's not what it means here.

GrahamT  •  Link

Language hat: I was agreeing with you. It was just an aside that the construction was similar to a bob or two followed by "However..."

Erna D'haenen  •  Link

The Flemish asparagus which Dirk mentions above is prepared with white spears
which are not common in England. They are traditionally grown in the region of
Mechelen (Malines) and the recipe is as follows : cook the vegetables al dente,
chop up two hard-boiled eggs and mix with chopped parsley. Heat this
mixture in clarified butter and pour it over the bottom half of the asparagus.
This is usually served as a first course but can do quite well as a
(vegetarian) main course when served with boiled potatoes. I think Pepys's
asparagus would probably have been green ones.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"To bed all alone, and my Will in the truckle bed."

To TRUCKLE, to submit, yield, or buckle to.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675

Bill  •  Link

"did ask me to lend him a grain or two"

GRAIN, all Sorts of Corn; also the smallest Weight used in England, the 20th Part of a Scruple, or 24th Part of a Pennyweight Troy; the Value of a grain of Gold is a d. of Silver half a Farthing.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

John York  •  Link

“in the truckle bed “

Surely here truckle is being used as an adjective and not a verb.
“Truckle-bed - a low bed running on truckles or castors, usually pushed beneath a high or 'standing' bed when not in use.”
“Truckle - a small roller or wheel placed under or attached to a heavy object to facilitate moving it; a castor on a piece of furniture”
– Oxford English Dictionary

Bill  •  Link

I think the (original) idea of a "truckle bed" was that it was for someone who was beneath you, literally and figuratively. Someone who "submitted" to you.

Bill  •  Link

"a dish with eggs of the butter of the Sparagus, which is very fine meat"

MEAT, Flesh, Provisions of any Sort.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

Bill  •  Link

Hmm, a search of the internet (where are the OED people when you need them?) indicated that "truckle" applied to a bed came first, from a Latin word meaning "small wheel." And around Pepys' time the word as a verb came to have a pejorative meaning, as in the dictionary entry above.

john  •  Link

My OED actually lists truckle-bed, thusly:
"A low bed running on truckles or castors, usually pushed beneath a high or ‘standing’ bed when not in use; a trundle-bed. So truckle bedstead. "

The following quote may be of interest: 1662 Pepys Diary 1 May, To bed all alone, and my Will in the truckle bed.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"that Prince Rupert and the Duke of Buckingham are sworn of the Privy Councell"

L&M: Rupert, Buckingham and the Earl of Middleton (Commander-in-Chief and Commissioner to Parliament and Scotland) were admitted to the Council on 28 April: PRO, PC 2/55, p. 618.

Third Reading

Michael Cook  •  Link

Egg yolk with butter warmed and stirred into a little vinegar/shallots is Hollandaise sauce, with a little tarragon Bernaise sauce, on Asparagus... heaven.

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