Saturday 18 October 1662

This morning, having resolved of my brother’s entertaining his mistress’s mother to-morrow, I sent my wife thither to-day to lie there to-night and to direct him in the business, and I all the morning at the office, and the afternoon intent upon my workmen, especially my joyners, who will make my dining room very pretty. At night to my office to dispatch business, and then to see Sir W. Pen, who continues in great pain, and so home and alone to bed, but my head being full of my own and my brother Tom’s business I could hardly sleep, though not in much trouble, but only multitude of thoughts.

12 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"my brother Tom's business"
methinks Sam loved his brother Tom.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "intent upon my workmen"

How are Sam's joyners going to make his "dining room very pretty"? What would they be doing?

dirk  •  Link


A joiner is the equuivalent of a skilled carpenter. Since most of the interior - including non-bearing walls - was normally woodwork, the joiner's job included both rough work (separation walls) and finer work (the finishing touch to the interior).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

An example of modern day joyners
and mighty beautiful colonial reproduction work...…

They also might have done wainscotting for the room.

Methinks you're right AD. It is the first time in the business we see Sam letting some indication of real feeling about Tom spill out. And Bess is a peach to help as well. Must have been quite a scene her teaching Tom how to deal with the ladies...Poor Tom facing meeting potential mum-in-law, desperate to make a good impression, anxious to have everything settled and confirmed. And yet, standing before him, the beautious and living proof that an occasional lapse into letting the heart run wild can work out pretty nicely.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

This little passage is an unconsciously beautiful reading of Sam at a personal high point... Deep concern for his brother, he's made Bess his full partner in the business with an indictation of quiet respect for her ability which must have her feel great and needed, he's sacrified her company ("alone to bed") for the good cause of helping Tom, done a dutiful day and evening's labor...And even showed Sir Will P some kindness and consideration.

If we could only die on days like this...

GrahamT  •  Link

There are three grades of woodworker involved in a house: The carpenter who builds the wall and roof timbers (the charpente in French), the joiner who does the more skilled work, where real joints are needed, and the cabinet maker, the most skilled and highest class woodworker, who made the furniture and fine fittings. There are also carvers, but they were perhaps more artists/sculptors than just woodworkers and would be employed in the stately homes, rather than, perhaps, those of a humble clerk of the acts.

Jeannine  •  Link

Robert... The only thing missing is Sam teaching his younger brother how to "woo" a lady.....hmmm....perhaps a play?

PJK  •  Link

It may have appeared on this list before,
but for those in or near London this might be worth a look although I have not visited it myself:…

laura k  •  Link

Prince Henry (above link)

Ah, I visited that on my last trip to London (1998), long before I dreamt I'd be reading the Diary online. If I recall correctly, it's very near the Samuel Johnson house - makes for a good literary day.

JWB  •  Link

" him in the business..."
And business it is - the negotiation of a jointure or the estate settled on the wife if widowed. Since E. there to give adivce, I think we can assume she has such a claim on Sam's estate.

Second Reading

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