Wednesday 24 September 1662

Up betimes and among my workmen, and among them all the morning till noon, and then to my Lord Crew’s, and there dined alone with him, and among other things he do advise me by all means to keep my Lord Sandwich from proceeding too far in the business of Tangier. First, for that he is confident the King will not be able to find money for the building the Mole; and next, for that it is to be done as we propose it by the reducing of the garrison; and then either my Lord must oppose the Duke of York, who will have the Irish regiment under the command of Fitzgerald continued, or else my Lord Peterborough, who is concerned to have the English continued, and he, it seems, is gone back again merely upon my Lord Sandwich’s encouragement.

Thence to Mr. Wotton, the shoemaker’s, and there bought a pair of boots, cost me 30s., and he told me how Bird hath lately broke his leg, while he was fencing in “Aglaura,” upon the stage, and that the new theatre of all will be ready against term.

So to my brother’s, and there discoursed with him and Mr. Cooke about their journey to Tom’s mistress again, and I did speak with Mr. Croxton about measuring of silk flags.

So by water home and to my workmen, and so at night till late at my office, inditing a letter from Tom to his mistress upon his sending her a watch for a token, and so home and to supper, and to my lodgings and to bed.

It is my content that by several hands to-day I hear that I have the name of good-natured man among the poor people that come to the office.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link


L&M note: "A play by Sir John Suckling which he originally wrote as a tragedy, but transformed into a tragicomedy; first acted in 1737, and published in 1638. The scene mentioned here is probably the one at the beginning of Act V, involving a fight between Ariaspes and Ziriff."

" a tragedy of court intrigue, of which the scene is supposed to be Persia, was acted in the winter of 1637, when its literary qualities received less attention than the novelty and magnificence of the scenery used and the dresses presented by the author to the actors. King Charles is said to have requested an alternative final act with a happy ending, which Suckling afterwards wrote. Flecknoe saw the play when it was revived at the Restoration, and his criticism, that it was 'full of flowers, but rather stuck than growing there,' applies to all Suckling's dramatic work. He has imagination, fancy and wit, but these faculties are not usually employed upon his plot and his characters. The famous lyric, 'Why so pale and wan, fond lover?' occurs in the fourth act of Aglaura.”…

Why so Pale and Wan?

WHY so pale and wan, fond lover?
Prithee, why so pale?
Will, when looking well can’t move her,
Looking ill prevail?
Prithee, why so pale?5
Why so dull and mute, young sinner?
Prithee, why so mute?
Will, when speaking well can’t win her,
Saying nothing do ‘t?
Prithee, why so mute?10
Quit, quit for shame! This will not move;
This cannot take her.
If of herself she will not love,
Nothing can make her:
The devil take her!15…

“the new theatre of all will be ready against term.”

L&M note: “The new Theatre Royal being built for Thomas Killigrew at a cost of £2400 between Drury Lane and Bridges St; opened on 7 May 1663.”

Pauline  •  Link

"...I have the name of good-natured man among the poor people that come to the office."
And this poor person who comes to his diary.

JWB  •  Link

infra dig?
Yesterday's comments by Carteret led to today Sam asking about his eleemosynary rep? " several hands to-day I hear..." How else would he have heard, on the day after, except by asking?

Pauline  •  Link

'How else would he have heard'
not sure I follow you, JWB; but if Sam went down to Deptford yesterday "to give order for things about [his] house" and then spent a good amount of time today up among his workmen, he may have been privy to reports from those on site about how those down at the yards felt about dealing with him (Sam).

Pauline  •  Link

Never post in haste on your way out the door on a Saturday night!
Actually, I have no idea who these poor people who come to the office are.


Terry F  •  Link

"inditing a letter from Tom to his mistress upon his sending her a watch for a token"

Transitive verb: Inflected forms: indited, inditing, indites

1. To write; compose. 2. To set down in writing. 3. Obsolete To dictate.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English *enditen*, from Old French *enditer*, from Vulgar Latin *indictre*: Latin in-, toward; see in + Latin *dictare*, to compose, to say habitually, frequentative of *dicere*, to say
The American Heritage

A. Hamilton  •  Link


A good Chaucerian word, as Terry's etymology suggests. In the opening stanza of Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer calls on the goddess Thesiphone: "thou help me t'endite/These woful vers, that wepen as I write." OED notes that one specialized meaning of the word, to bring a legal charge against, has usually since about 1600 been spelled "indict."

I think Sam is Tom's ghost writer for legal docs and social niceties, but hardly his Cyrano.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

poor people

First I can recall reading that "poor people ... come to the office." Perhaps beggars? I can imagine how the crusty Sir William Penn might deal with a beggar, and the other old salts were probably no better. If that's the setting, I can see how Sam, being more egalitarian in his approach to people he encounters (at least, by his own report) could get "the name of good-natured man." This says nothing, however, about his charity.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Maybe the paupers of London went round all the Govt offices asking for charity and this is a normal occurrence, which is why Sam has not noted it: he tends to note only the out of the ordinary. The way he phrases it implies (to me anyway) that they arrive frequently and are accepted as part of normal office life. Maybe they are ex-sailors fallen on hard times.But to Sam, they are people and he is always interested - remember how he engaged a link boy in talk about his life once?

A.Hamilton  •  Link

he engaged a link boy in talk

Exactly what I was thinking. "Courteous to the least," our Sam at this stage of life. And more than courteous-- actively curious about all walks of life, it seems.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

...the poor people...

I'd tend to suspect he primarily means the common seamen who come in hoping to get paid or seek a new ship, promotion, etc and their wives who come seeking aid when the men are at sea or ill or wounded. In either case it's a nice indication that Sam hasn't completely forgotten where he came from and to his natural good heart.

Jemina's dad, Lord Crew, is one sharp fellow... And clearly spotted a sharp lad in Sam years ago. I wonder if much of Sandwich's interest in Sam has been due to dad-in-law's high opinion of him.

Of course like other governments we could mention, once a major project like Tangier and its Mole have been pronounced and declared "essential"...and everyone has begun feeding at the trough, it's rather hard to shut things down.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Yes! It probably is all the old sea hands. And Sam *is* good to them - in the post Diary period this is remarked on by others.(with ref. to the Chatham Chest for example).
And a big YES to your comment Robert G. on govts. old and new - once the trotters are in the trough, takes a lot to shift 'em!

Pedro  •  Link


"Social distinctions were clear in this closed world. At the top of English society were the Governor, senior officers and the chief engineers who formed an exclusive group of around 20 families which welcomed only the most distinguished visitors to Tangier. Below them ranked municipal dignitaries, professionals and the more important merchants. The base of this social structure was made up of private soldiers and their families, shopkeepers and workmen. In addition there was a shifting body of foreigners, with their own social rankings, from merchants to adventurers. Separate from these was the Jewish community with its own quarters and synagogue. Not surprisingly, given the variety of ethnic, national and religious groups, factional disputes were a feature of daily life in the city.

The earliest garrison was an uneasy mixture of republicans from the New Model Army of Cromwell, former royalist soldiers and Irish Catholics"

(link mislaid)

Glyn  •  Link

"inditing a letter from Tom to his mistress upon his sending her a watch for a token"

Sometimes we've wondered how Sam kept to his schedules, and was it by the chiming of church bells, but if Tom is buying a watch then I imagine that his elder brother already has one as well, although it's strange that he's never mentioned purchasing one, especially when you consider how fond he is of the latest gadgets.

In the above phrase, does "inditing" mean that he was reading a letter from Tom to his proposed fiance or that Sam was actually drafting one out for Tom?

Australian Susan  •  Link

I took this phrase as meaning Sam was drafting the letter.
It also occurs to me - isn't a watch, at that time, a very expensive item - a most costly gift? Any ideas of what would be the equivalent in worth now? - a laptop? diamond earrings?

dirk  •  Link

17th c. watches

A very good summary of London watchmaking in the 17th c -…

Nice to know - although not strictly relevant here: a tax was imposed on the possession of clocks and watches in July 1797 (by George III) of "5 shilling on every clock, 10 shiling on every gold watch and 2s.6d. on every silver or other metal watch". It proved untenable, and was repealed, nine months after it had been enforced.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

veddy strange:?"...his sending her a watch for a token..." when Sam goes to the play and 'ears this "But as when an authentic watch is shown,
Each man winds up and rectifies his own,
So in our very judgments. 2 Aglaura. Epilogue.

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