Wednesday 11 June 1662

At the office all the morning, Sir W. Batten, Sir W. Pen, and I about the Victualler’s accounts. Then home to dinner and to the office again all the afternoon, Mr. Hater and I writing over my Alphabet fair, in which I took great pleasure to rule the lines and to have the capitall words wrote with red ink. So home and to supper. This evening Savill the Paynter came and did varnish over my wife’s picture and mine, and I paid him for my little picture 3l., and so am clear with him. So after supper to bed.

This day I had a letter from my father that he is got down well, and found my mother pretty well again. So that I am vexed with all my heart at Pall for writing to him so much concerning my mother’s illness (which I believe was not so great), so that he should be forced to hasten down on the sudden back into the country without taking leave, or having any pleasure here.

19 Annotations

First Reading

daniel  •  Link

" took great pleasure to rule the lines and to have the capitall words wrote with red ink. "

My, our Sam is exhibiting his most detail-oriented side. No wonder he went on to become a bureaucratic wonder! I admire you, Sam, if I had only one once of that conscientiousness.....

Bradford  •  Link

Did they leave extra spaces between each letter's entries for later additions? All it takes is one upset inkwell. . . .

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"So that I am Pall"
Well she didn't die so Pall must have been crying Wolf!

JWB  •  Link

"This evening Savill the Paynter came..."
The two pictures were completed in mid-January, so the vehicle (linseed oil?) was allowed to dry ~ 6 months before varnishing.

Pauline  •  Link

"...the Victualler's accounts….”
Filed (and listed) under “v” in the new system, or by company name? I assume order in the storing of documents (filing) as well as this alphabetized list. Or is this ‘Alphabet’ writing today making file labels?

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Ah! that be where it all started, the red ink entries for what be owed.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Anyone know if any of these early records of the Navy Office survive in the PRO? And if so, are they ever on display?
Sam used the same sort of layout as he describes here for his diary - margins and red letters.

Mary  •  Link

Navy Office records

According to L&M, this 'Alphabet' is Pepys' own, personal, record; abstracts of contracts to which he first alluded on 16th April 1662. The original has not been traced.

Similarly the official contract-books for the period 1660 - 1686 also seem to have disappeared.

Mary  •  Link

Pall's alarm-call.

Although it's tempting to interpret Pall's action as purely selfish, let's not lose sight of the possibility that Margaret may have appeared very ill indeed for a day or two. A vicious bout of 'flu, a severe throat infection with accompanying raging fever, a thoroughly debilitating gastro-intestinal infection .... any of these and more could have given rise to real alarm in the case of an 'elderly' woman.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Pall's alarm-call"
Of course Mary, I was trying to interpret Pepys' thinking,very unreasonable towards his sister.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Pall's alarm...

Sam's main source of anger is, he claims, that his father was deprived of having a nice time in London by Pall's exaggerated claims of Mum's illness. Very likely Paulina was not happy at being stuck alone in Brampton with Margaret and furious that Dad's London jaunt hadn't included her. Hard to say if anyone holds the moral cards here, but if Pall had been willing to be Sam and Bess' maid in order to stay on in London away from her parents earlier, surely Sam could have shown a little understanding that sis is bored to tears out in the sticks...

Glyn  •  Link

Australian Susan. Yes, the Public Record Office at Kew still has naval records from the 17th century.…

But you don't have to wait for them to be put on display. Any member of the public can sign in and order any records that they wish, so if you want to you can personally handle letters and documents with Pepys' signature. The hard part is using the indexes to find what you want, and spending the time to go to Kew though I suppose you could combine it with a visit to Kew Gardens

E  •  Link

No evidence!

We don't know if the serious illness of Mrs Pepys Senior was:
a) real
b) exaggerated by Mrs Pepys
c) exaggerated by Paulina
d) exaggerated by them both in collusion
d) exaggerated by a local doctor for financial gain
etc etc

language hat  •  Link

"to have the capitall words wrote with red ink"

Hence the word "rubric," from Latin rubrica, formed from ruber 'red'; OED:

2. a. A heading of a chapter, section, or other division of a book, written or printed in red, or otherwise distinguished in lettering; a particular passage or sentence so marked.
c1450 St. Cuthbert (Surtees) 1317 Of this chapiter the sext, In the rubryke is the text, How bosilus bare witnes [etc.]. 1658 PHILLIPS, Rubrick,.. a noted sentence of any book marked with red Letters. [&c]

Australian Susan  •  Link

In the new prayer book which all the clergy are presently learning in 1662, the "rubric" was, as language hat points out, written in red. The rubric in a prayer book are, usually, the instructions, so to speak, for how to carry out the services. Nowadays in a prayer book, they can be any colour, though often red, but are still called the rubric.
From this practice is also dervied the term Red Letter Days, which are the important Saints' Days in the church Calendar, because these also used to be printed in red. The term is still used, but the printing is no longer in red. Similarly, there are Red Letter Bibles, which have all Jesus's words printed in red type, because these are deemed to be the most important words in the Bible. Anyone know why red was chosen for this function? Other than the obvious one that it stands out? Is that it?

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Apart indeed from the fact that red will stand out against the black or brown of the usual ink used, red was cheap and easy to make and did not fade. It was usually made from madder (Rubia tinctorum - in Dutch 'meekrap'), which had been used by the Greeks already.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Madder: many refs in the British parliaments for limiting trade, "too much red ink? I be thinking"

Second Reading

John York  •  Link

Red ink appears not to be made from Madder, which is well known for producing a red dye, but from Vermilion.
" Red ink in manuscripts goes back at least to the fifth century and flourished until the fifteenth. Vermilion is mercuric sulphide, and is turned into red ink by grinding up and mixing it with white of egg and gum arabic. Red ink can also be made from brazilwood chips which were infused in vinegar and mixed with gum arabic. Brazilwood, one should explain, is not a native of South America - the country was named after its abundance of the well-known trees already familiar to makers of medieval red ink."
Ink in -…

Bill  •  Link

"I took great pleasure to rule the lines and to have the capitall words wrote with red ink"

Red ink is made thus: take wine vinegar a pint; raspings of brazil, one ounce; alum, half an ounce; boil them gently, and add five drams of gum arabic; dissolve the gum, strain the ingredients, and keep the liquid for use.
---A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 1763.

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