Sunday 22 February 1662/63

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed and went not out all day; but after dinner to Sir W. Batten’s and Sir W. Pen’s, where discoursing much of yesterday’s trouble and scandal; but that which troubled me most was Sir J. Minnes coming from Court at night, and instead of bringing great comfort from thence (but I expected no better from him), he tells me that the Duke and Mr. Coventry make no great matter of it. So at night discontented to prayers, and to bed.

34 Annotations

First Reading

Bob T  •  Link

he tells me that the Duke and Mr. Coventry make no great matter of it.
Been there, done that, worn out the t-shirt.

Terry F  •  Link

"So at night discontented to prayers, and to bed."

Indeed, apparently Pepys's pain's a product of his superiors' apathy.

Miss Ann  •  Link

"... he tells me that the Duke and Mr. Coventry make no great matter of it."
So, all yesterday's dramas are trivialised by the great Sir J Minnes - what a pompous git!

A. Hamilton  •  Link

went not out all day

Self-imposed house arrest, per advice of Mr. Clerke the lawyer (a case of nomen et omen?). How tedious for an active man like Sam! Then the deflating message from Sir J. Minnes (some malice there, I suspect). No wonder he is discontented. (Miss Ann's "pompous git" about sums up Sam's attitude toward Minnes.)

Bob T  •  Link

What is a git? I've heard the word before, but have never really understood what it meant.

Churchy la femme  •  Link

Has he stopped going to church?

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

nah! he be frit in case the constables did not get their share of the Marks ,be coming for his hide. then as there be no Moon [????] sneak across the road in to pew to break up the monotony of the day.
Just a thought.

Terry F  •  Link

"What is a git?"

S: (n) rotter, dirty dog, rat, skunk, stinker, stinkpot, bum, puke, crumb, lowlife, scum bag, so-and-so, git (a person who is deemed to be despicable or contemptible) "only a rotter would do that"; "kill the rat"; "throw the bum out"; "you cowardly little pukes!"; "the British call a contemptible person a `git'"…

Quite tasteful, really.

Miss Ann  •  Link

Thanks for that Terry F, I couldn't have said it better myself (nor could the inimitable Alf Garnett!).

Michael Robinson  •  Link

... make no great matter of it ...

Pepys is stil young and concerned too much with "reputation" & has still to gain sufficient perspective to see the humor of yesterday's situation and that most, if not all, of his superiors must have lived through equivalent "messes" themselves more than once clambering up the greasy pole; after all, they had got through the war and the commonwealth and then the restoration.

Clearly the Chancellor, Edward Hyde, was aware of the type of “rent – a –thugs” hired as bailiffs and just said "find some sailors to deal with then" meaning its a trivial administrative mess, just deal with it at the appropriate level in the same way and don’t worry, have perspective.

I imagine Pepys 20 years later, post diary, saying with a chuckle over a glass of wine about an analogous event in the life of a junior "its good for him -- remember the time the bailiffs were chasing me round the Navy Office -- he doesn't know how easy his life is and what dealing with real problems is about!"

Pedro  •  Link

Don't shoot the messenger.

Let’s not be too hard on messenger Minnes here. The Duke, Covenrty and others may be having a laugh at Sam’s expense. Sam does not like Sir J because of his difficulty in adapting to office life, and the problem with room allocation.

Sam is not without fault himself at times, commenting in the confines of his Diary, about such persons as Sir John Lawson and Lord Windsor.

matthew newton  •  Link

'a git'
i thought that a git was a yound camel?
my grandfather was in Iraq during the second world war and came home with a few ripe expressions.

alanB  •  Link

“So at night discontented to prayers, and to bed.”
It may be Terry that Sam's pain has something to do with turning 30 tomorrow - the decades slipping away. There'll be cards tomorrow Sam, if not from your friends, perhaps from a certain gentleman trying to locate your whereabouts
Sleep tight, may the bed bugs not bite.

GrahamT  •  Link

As well as Alf Garnett calling Cherie Blair's father a Scouse git, another scouser, John Lennon, used it in "I'm So Tired" (White Album):
Although I'm so tired I'll have another cigarette
And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
He was such a stupid git."

Mary  •  Link


Comes originally from 'get' - meaning something begotten. By about 1500 the meaning of 'get' had acquired the pejorative sense 'misbegotten' - i.e. bastard.

This sense underlies the modern, increasingly frequently used, term.

alanp  •  Link

This has been a great couple of days but I still don’t understand exactly what Sam is being charged with. Can anybody help with a brief explanation?

Mary  •  Link

What is Sam charged with?

If you go to the entry for Field in the People section of the Background information and follow the links, much will be explained.

jeannine  •  Link

"his superiors must have lived through equivalent “messes” themselves"
Michael brings up a good point here--In his younger days, the Duke himself "escaped" once dressed as a female, the King was famous for hiding out in a tree (a story he apparently told over and over and over and over) and other great escapes, so in comparison a rooftop runaway may be trite by comparison. Had he been wearing high heels and a boa and stopped to burst into song along the way, they might actually have been impressed, but he's going to have to try harder on the adventure scale to impress this crowd.

R. O. Curtis  •  Link

No great comfort from Sir J.M.
Given Sam's eye-rolling dismissal of Sir J. at…, I'm surprised he would have expected more from our "doting coxcomb."

bardi  •  Link

Poor Sam! A miserable day and no acknowledgement of his birthday - not even a birthday cake.

Stolzi  •  Link

Night prayers

Not, as In Aqua Scripto suggests, in the church 'cross the way, but something that was regularly done in many proper households, at home, with family and servants in attendance.

Even my old copy of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer contains a printed order for same.

jeannine  •  Link

Dirk's entry on Life Expectancy.

I remember reading Dirk's recent and great entry to the background and thought it pertinent so here's another link.

Average life expectancy at birth for English people in the late 16th/early 17th centuries was just under 40 - 39.7 years. However, this low figure was mostly due to the high rate of infant and child mortality - over 12% of all children born would die within their first year. A man or woman who reached the age of 30 could expect to live to 59. […] Life expectancy in London was lower than that of England in general, even for the wealthy. Crowding, poor sanitation and increased likelihood of disease all took their toll on the population. “Expectation of life at birth varied greatly from the wealthy to poorer parishes of London. St Peter Cornhill, 1580-1650 had an expectation of life of 34-6 years. Comparatively, the poor parish of St. Mary Somerset, 1606-1653, had a life expectancy at birth of only 21 years.”…

Terry F  •  Link

"no acknowledgement of his birthday" which is today!!

Of course, today's entry will be written and blogged tonight.

alanp  •  Link

thanks no brief explanation more a saga but I think I get the drift

DiPhi  •  Link

Garrison Keillor, of public radio's Prairie Home Companion fame, also offrs Writer's Almanac to the world. Today's Almanac honors our Sam's birthday. You can read it here:


I was hoping Sam's birthday would make the Google page, but he was trumped by the Olympics.

Happy Birthday, Sam'l!

dirk  •  Link

On the site mentioned by DiPhi, I find the following quote from Sam's diary, well worth repeating:

"The truth is, I do indulge myself a little the more in pleasure, knowing that this is the proper age of my life to do it; and, out of my observation that most men that do thrive in the world do forget to take pleasure during the time that they are getting their estate, but reserve that till they have got one, and then it is too late for them to enjoy it."

How true, Sam!

(This is from Sam's entry for 10 March 1665/1666 -- so theoretically a spoiler -- though of course it isn't...)

Bradford  •  Link

The rooftop escape &c. looks forward to Stendhal's "Charterhouse of Parma," and is told with the same zest. But at least Sam now has reached the age of 30, so he'll have years to look back in mirth on this occasion, especially when he's mired in much worse scrapes.

How Garrison Keillor's fact-checkers let him say that the Diary begins in 1659 beats me.

Terry F  •  Link

The Diary began 1 January 1659/60, so likely there was some confusion.

Australian Susan  •  Link

At this time, there was still a plurality of dating. In some cases 1660 would be deemed to have started on January 1st, but for most it would be Lady Day, March 25th. The hangover from this is to do with the UK financial year beginning April 1st. This practice originates in starting a New Year at Easter. It makes working out dates in, for example, Anglo-Saxon times, fraught. (I have been reduced to scribbling on bits of paper)

Pedro  •  Link

“the Duke and Mr. Coventry make no great matter of it”

Not pertaining to this entry, and I don’t think too much of a spoiler.

For a little money that the Duke makes on the side, before Sam and others take their share see background……

dirk  •  Link

Letter from Peterborough to Sandwich

Written from: Tangier
Date: 22 February 1663

Extraordinary rains have caused much injury to the buildings at Tangier. Had the recent order for the departure of ships, a step which has left the settlement without even a boat, come two months earlier than it did, the preservation of the place for the King would probably have been found impossible.

Bodleian Library…

Second Reading

StanB  •  Link

A rather short, sombre entry today Sam still reeling from yesterdays rather Dickensian episode never mind Sam it's your birthday tomorrow

Clark Kent  •  Link

Re Robinson's comment about Sam's concern for his "reputation"--we all should bare in mind the following bit of received wisdom:
When your reputation's done,
Prepare yourself for a life of fun.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘git, n.< variant of get n.1
slang. In contemptuous use: a worthless person.
1946 Penguin New Writing 28 171 Chalky! You idle git!
. . 1967 Listener 3 Aug. 136/3 That bald-headed, moon-faced, four-eyed git Garnett gristling on about Harold Wilson.
1967 Observer 24 Sept. 36/6 The girl scarcely turned her head: ‘Shutup yerself yer senseless git!’‘

‘get, n.1 < get v.
. . 2.a. What is begotten; an offspring, child. Also collect. progeny. Now only of animals.
. . a1500 (▸a1460) Towneley Plays (1994) I. vi. 63, I pray the, Lord, as thou me het, That [thou] saue me and my gete.
. . 1795 J. Haldane in J. Robertson Agric. PerthApp. (1799) 534 Some of his [a ram's] gets were of the best country kind.
1815 Sporting Mag. 46 118 The Stradling or Lister Turk..proved his high blood, by the racers, his immediate get . .

2.b. orig. Sc. and north. In contemptuous use = brat. Also spec. a bastard; hence as a general term of abuse: a fool, idiot. (Cf. git n.) Now dial. and slang.
1567 R. Sempill in J. Cranstoun Satirical Poems Reformation (1891) I. viii. 11 Blasphemus baird and beggeris get!
. . 1880 W. H. Patterson Gloss. Words Antrim & Down 43 Get, an opprobrious term used in scolding matches.
. . 1940 Daily Mail 7 Sept. 3/8 Here are some current military phrases interpreted:..get, chump, fool . . ‘

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