Friday 26 December 1662

Up, my wife to the making of Christmas pies all day, being now pretty well again, and I abroad to several places about some businesses, among others bought a bake-pan in Newgate Market, and sent it home, it cost me 16s. So to Dr. Williams, but he is out of town, then to the Wardrobe. Hither come Mr. Battersby; and we falling into a discourse of a new book of drollery in verse called Hudebras, I would needs go find it out, and met with it at the Temple: cost me 2s. 6d. But when I came to read it, it is so silly an abuse of the Presbyter Knight going to the warrs, that I am ashamed of it; and by and by meeting at Mr. Townsend’s at dinner, I sold it to him for 18d. Here we dined with many tradesmen that belong to the Wardrobe, but I was weary soon of their company, and broke up dinner as soon as I could, and away, with the greatest reluctancy and dispute (two or three times my reason stopping my sense and I would go back again) within myself, to the Duke’s house and saw “The Villaine,” which I ought not to do without my wife, but that my time is now out that I did undertake it for. But, Lord! to consider how my natural desire is to pleasure, which God be praised that he has given me the power by my late oaths to curb so well as I have done, and will do again after two or three plays more. Here I was better pleased with the play than I was at first, understanding the design better than I did. Here I saw Gosnell and her sister at a distance, and could have found it in my heart to have accosted them, but thought not prudent. But I watched their going out and found that they came, she, her sister and another woman, alone, without any man, and did go over the fields a foot. I find that I have an inclination to have her come again, though it is most against my interest either of profit or content of mind, other than for their singing.

Home on foot, in my way calling at Mr. Rawlinson’s and drinking only a cup of ale there. He tells me my uncle has ended his purchase, which cost him 4,500l., and how my uncle do express his trouble that he has with his wife’s relations, but I understand his great intentions are for the Wights that hang upon him and by whose advice this estate is bought. Thence home, and found my wife busy among her pies, but angry for some saucy words that her mayde Jane has given her, which I will not allow of, and therefore will give her warning to be gone. As also we are both displeased for some slight words that Sarah, now at Sir W. Pen’s, hath spoke of us, but it is no matter. We shall endeavour to joyne the lion’s skin to the fox’s tail.

So to my office alone a while, and then home to my study and supper and bed. Being also vexed at my boy for his staying playing abroad when he is sent of errands, so that I have sent him to-night to see whether their country carrier be in town or no, for I am resolved to keep him no more.

42 Annotations

First Reading

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"We shall endeavour to joyne the lion’s skin to the fox’s tail."

Love the saying ... anyone care to expand on what exactly it means?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"But, Lord! to consider how my natural desire is to pleasure, which God be praised that he has given me the power by my late oaths to curb so well as I have done, and will do again after two or three plays more."

Just a couple more, Lord ... I mean, c'mon, it *is* the holiday season!

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"He tells me my uncle has ended his purchase, which cost him 4,500l..."

I assume that, in this case, "ended" means "finished" rather than "cancelled," right?

Josh  •  Link

Samson tied foxes tail to tail, set fire to them, and loosed them to race through and burn up the Philistines' wheatfields; but what this new combination portends I know not.

Bradford  •  Link

To and fro, vexed and torn within and without, and the promises of bestsellerdom no more satisfactory then than now. It's almost enough to make a guy want to go back to work.

Terry F  •  Link

Re joining “the lion’s skin to the fox’s tail” and Uncle Wight's alleged purchase --
L&M say Pepys's first phrase is confused, for he seems to intend tact; they also say the purchase was, in the end, not closed [cf.… ]

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"to joyn the lion's skin with the fox's tail"
methinks to be fierce and cunning.
"my natural desire is to pleasure"
Epicure rules.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"my wife to be making of Christmas pies all day"
Two Turtle Doves to all of you and to Elizabeth to make Pigeon Pies.

JWB  •  Link

When the lion's skin falls short, piece it out with that of the fox.
Source: (Italian Proverb)

Jesse  •  Link

"my reason stopping my sense"

I'd have thought reason and sense would normally be allies.

Grace  •  Link

What is meant by "country carrier"?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

4500L?! Uncle Wight is loaded. Methinks the fishmongering trade's a good one.

What's most nice about Sam's "join the lion's skin to the fox's tail" which I gather means combine dignity/courage with craft/skill is the "We shall..." he and Bess are a team in this.

His wise action in not throwing Sarah's remarks about Bess at his "poor wretch" have protected him from looking like a fool now that the lady has shown her true colors. Still think she's a potential good match for Tom, Sam?

Ah, Gosnell...Watch it, Sam. I sense your inclination is rather to pursue the afooted lady and catch her somewhere in those fields. And your poor Bess dutifully slaving away at Christmas pies all the while...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...abuse of the Presbyter Knight going to the warrs..." Would that be Chaucer's Knight? And this a spoof of Chaucer?

Australian Susan  •  Link

"My reason stopping my sense"
I took that to mean "sense" as in sensuality.
"country carrier"
The regular carriage or cart going to the place in the country where Wayneman and Jane come from. It seems that Sam wants to give Wayneman an indirect warning maybe by sending him on this errand.

Terry F  •  Link

"Would that be Chaucer’s Knight? And this a spoof of Chaucer?"

Something like that:
"Hudibras by Samuel Butler.
Hudibras was written between 1660 and 1680 and is a satire on the Cromwellians and on the Presbyterian church written by a confirmed Royalist and Anglican. Hudibras, a colonel in the Cromwellian army, is involved in various comic misadventures and is shown to be stupid, greedy and dishonest. The poem is very well written in Chaucerian couplets and was popular for about 150 years, as long as its political attitudes were also popular."…

dirk  •  Link

"My reason stopping my sense"

"Sense" should be read here as "feelings" -- meaning anything not decided by reasoning. (Cfr. Fr. "sentir" = to feel, "sentiment" = feeling.)

Sam doesn't like to stay. He'd rather leave -- and he's actually about to leave a couple of times. But his reason (confusingly referred to as "common sense" in modern English) tells him to stay a little bit longer -- until he finally can't stand it any more.

dirk  •  Link

"to joyne the lion’s skin to the fox’s tail"

Matthew Prior (1664-1721) in
"Paulo Purganti And His Wife: An Honest, but a Simple Pair":

"The Lion's Skin too short, you know,
(As Plutarch's Morals finely show)
Was lengthen'd by the Fox's Tail:
And Art supplies, where Strength may fail."…

The last line says it all: art (cunning) supplies, where strength may fail...

(I haven't looked up the reference to Plutarch yet.)

dirk  •  Link


"For where the lion's skin will not reach, you must patch it out with the fox's. Such is the conduct recorded of him in the business about Miletus when his friends and connections, whom he had promised, raised to assist in suppressing popular government, and expelling their political opponents, had altered their minds, and were reconciled to their enemies, he pretended openly as if he was pleased with it, and was desirous to further the reconciliation, but privately he railed at and abused them, and provoked them to set upon the multitude."


Sam has read his classics...

dirk  •  Link

"for I am resolved to keep him no more"

Will this mean the end for Wayneman? Come and see ...

Terry F  •  Link

"to see whether their country carrier be in town or no, for I am resolved to keep him no more."

Some pronominal ambiguities here, mayhap:
- "their"?
- "him" (seems to be Wayneman, but might it be "their country carrier"?)

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"bought a bake-pan ... it cost me 16s"
That's some expensive bake-pan - more than 3 times the weekly wages of the recently departed Sarah, an experienced maid; more than 6 times the cost of a new book. I googled a bit to see if I could find a picture of one, or why it cost so much, but no luck. Anybody have any ideas?

Australian Susan  •  Link

I took "their" as in "their country carrier"to mean the regular transporter of goods (and people) for the area of the country Jane and Wayneman came from.

Mary  •  Link

presbyter knight going to the wars.

Samuel Butler's character is thought to have been drawn from a real Presbyterian knight, Sir Samuel Luke. Butler had once been employed by Luke and in Hudibras ridicules him in a mock-heroic romance in which ridiculous rhymes and a cumbersome octosyllabic metre work together to create a mood of absurdity.

Hudibras owes more to Don Quixote than to Chaucer's knight.

Mary  •  Link

vexed at my boy...

It was only four days ago that Sam was mildly berating himself for having left the poor lad wandering in St. James' Park "all day" whilst fruitlessly looking for his master, who had been on a trip to Woolwich and back. Now the boy is to be sacked for 'playing abroad.' On the face of it, this seems a bit harsh .... though Sam has complained of Wayneman's dilatory habits in the pst.

language hat  •  Link

“My reason stopping my sense”

I read this as meaning that his reasoning powers (his intellectual, argument-loving side) kept overriding his good sense and making him go back to the "dispute" and make one last argument, until finally sense won out and he left the others to their disputing.

Stolzi  •  Link

Just read the first few stanzas of HUDIBRAS and liked it better than Sam did. Here's a famous and very apposite couplet about a certain Puritan strain:

"Compound for sins they are inclin'd to,
By damning those they have no mind to"

Terry F  •  Link

To complete the thought in the next couplet:

"Still so perverse and opposite,
As if they worshipp'd God for spite."

The verse then uses as an example where we were yesterday:

"The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for.
Free-will they one way disavow,
Another, nothing else allow:
All piety consists therein
In them, in other men all sin:
Rather than fail, they will defy
That which they love most tenderly;
Quarrel with minc'd-pies, and disparage
Their best and dearest friend, plum-porridge;"…

Terry F  •  Link

“The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for."

Why didn't Sam'l see that this can be 'reason' versus 'sense' --

Bradford  •  Link

Pedantic foonote: "Hudibras" is written in loose octosyllabic couplets, with a great many feminine rhymes (giving nine syllables to the line rather than eight), not Chaucerian couplets, the vehicle for the greater part of the "Canterbury Tales," which are iambic pentameter (with ten or eleven syllables), the couplet which reaches its apogee with Pope. (This misdescription crops up on several Websites, but I don't think that makes it correct.)
Anyway, as with his attitude toward Shakespeare, Pepys's evaluation of Samuel Butler's magnum opus goes against the general critical grain; perhaps he took some of its satirical points personally? At least he is forthright in his literary judgments, embodying the sentiment of the second Samuel Butler, who said, "Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on." Or the bass viol. (Just ask Balty's new wife.)

Josh  •  Link

Duh, Bradford: four-foot couplets are called Hudibrastic couplets in honor of this here very poem.
Thanks to JWB for his elegant rendition of the lion-fox proverb, suitable for a johnny-come-lately gentleman's coat-of-arms motto.

Nix  •  Link

"Hudibrastic verse" (iambic tetrameter) was satirized in the 1960s novel "The Sot Weed Factor" by John Barth (set in early 18th century Maryland)

Pauline  •  Link

'...with the greatest reluctancy and dispute (two or three times my reason stopping my sense and I would go back again)...."
Surely Sam is writing this with the wit in which I can't help but read it. His cool intellect being beaten down by his "natural desire" for pleasure.
I call this "holiday mode": eating hospitably what is not good good for me, drinking more than is wise, seeing movies with abandon, and not getting enough sleep.

"...but that my time is now out that I did undertake it for." That free zone when one oath is timed out and the next not made and need not be made until "after two or three plays more".

andy  •  Link

my wife busy among her pies

mine too! (lovely phrase).

dirk  •  Link

lions and foxes

Nicolo Machiavelli, probably directly inspired by Plutarch, also used the proverb in the famous "Il Principe" (The Prince):

"A prince, therefore, being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast, ought to choose the fox and the lion; because the lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox cannot defend himself against wolves. Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves."…
[search for "fox"]

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

“bought a bake-pan … it cost me 16s”

I have seen in American historical homes recreated a kind of heavy pan with a lid which was used for 'baking' over an open fire. The mixture was placed in the pan and burning wood or coals heaped over the top as well as underneath. It provides a surprisingly good result for people accustomed to using it. I can imagine this would, being larger and heavier, cost more than the kind of cake tin we tend to think of as a bake pan.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Thanks, Jenny. That makes good sense.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"We shall endeavour to joyne the lion’s skin to the fox’s tail."

Coudre une peau de Renard a celle du Lion, to patch a Foxes tail to a Lions skin (that is to attempt that by sleight which could not done by might.)
---A short dictionary English and French. G. Miège, 1684.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Why did Sam object to 'Hudibras'?

I think it was too one-sidedly partisan for his taste. Sam has respected friends and acquaintances amongst the former Commonwealth/Protectorate men, and the excesses of the new Court are attracting unfavourable attention and criticism, even amongst some former Cavaliers in Parliament.

It's not, I think, that Sam hankers after the old regime: he is a new man, and he sees that the well-being of the country, and and his own prospects, depend upon old enmities being buried.

Dissatisfaction with the lifestyle of the courtiers may well have had a part in Parliament's passing of an Act against "deceitful, disorderly, and excessive Gaming" during 1663.…

Catharine  •  Link

How Sam would have loved the movies!

Ivan  •  Link

"but it is no matter, we shall endeavour to joyne the Lyon's skin to the Foxes tail."

L&M comment in a note: "Pepys has the words in the wrong order: he means to suggest that cunning is necessary."

So we should be joining the tail of the fox to the body of a lion, as Bill's quote from a French dictionary would suggest.

meech  •  Link

What Jenny said…that sounds like a Dutch oven. My husband used to cook like that with one on river trips. It’s a typical cast iron Dutch oven except the lid had a turned up edge to keep the coals on it He could made scrumptious peach cobbler in it, or (my favorite) enchiladas. You see why I married him.

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