Friday 17 April 1663

Up by five o’clock as I have long done and to my office all the morning, at noon home to dinner with my father with us. Our dinner, it being Good Friday, was only sugarsopps and fish; the only time that we have had a Lenten dinner all this Lent.

This morning Mr. Hunt, the instrument maker, brought me home a Basse Viall to see whether I like it, which I do not very well, besides I am under a doubt whether I had best buy one yet or no, because of spoiling my present mind and love to business.

After dinner my father and I walked into the city a little, and parted and to Paul’s Church Yard, to cause the title of my English “Mare Clausum” to be changed, and the new title, dedicated to the King, to be put to it, because I am ashamed to have the other seen dedicated to the Commonwealth.

So home and to my office till night, and so home to talk with my father, and supper and to bed, I have not had yet one quarter of an hour’s leisure to sit down and talk with him since he came to town, nor do I know till the holidays when I shall.

31 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

Confessions of penance on this Good Friday:

- for not having observed Lent as he ought;

- for having a book that displays a disloyal cover;

- for having failed to find time to talk to his father (i.a., about the account-books that he has kept at Brampton).

TerryF  •  Link

Penance for the title and dedication, not the cover?

TerryF  •  Link

A note by Wheatley explaining the "title" matter:

"Selden's work was highly esteemed, and Charles I. made an order in council that a copy should be kept in the Council chest, another in the Court of Exchequer, and a third in the Court of Admiralty. The book Pepys refers to is Nedham's translation, which was entitled, "Of the Dominion or Ownership of the Sea. Two books . . . ,written at first in Latin and entituled Mare Clausum, by John Selden. Translated into English by Marchamont Nedham. London, 1652." This has the Commonwealth arms on the title-page and a dedication "To the Supreme Autoritie of the Nation-The Parliament of the Commonwealth of England." The dedication to Charles I. in Selden's original work was left out. Apparently a new title-page and dedication was prepared in 1663, but the copy in the British Museum, which formerly belonged to Charles Killigrew, does not contain these additions."…

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Okay, I give. What are "sugarsopps"? A search in this site's archives and in Google reveal only today's entry.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Bread soaked in milk flavoured with sugar.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Ah, thanks to both of you. Should have tried separating the words during my search...

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"... because I am ashamed to have the other seen dedicated to the Commonwealth..."and save thy neck too.

Kilroy  •  Link

Could "sugarsopps" be bread pudding?

"Bread soaked in milk flavoured with surgar" may sound like mush. But baked with some egss; its really quite yummy.

Eggs O.K. for Lent?

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

No time for Pleasures. Well known condition or syn drome of thee whom be on the fast track. "...besides I am under a doubt whether I had best buy one yet or no, because of spoiling my present mind and love to business..." Many of the moderns can share thy predicament Samuell. 'Tis a disease of the affluent.

TerryF  •  Link

"Eggs O.K. for Lent?" Kilroy, afraid not.

One byproduct of riddng the kitchen of the prohibited eggs and butter before Lent is Shrove Tuesday Pancakes!

Pauline  •  Link

"...the only time that we have had a Lenten dinner all this Lent."
Is this from Elizabeth? The cook? Ashwell's influence?
It has a modern cast: Easter really getting underway with Good Friday. All the previous lenten days taken care of by the devout, now a ritual entrance into the celebration ("holiday") days.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

It has a modern cast

I suspect, as IAS says, it is the fast-track syndrome. Keeping focus on the business at hand means less time for practicing the arts and ritual observance. Gee, is it Easter already? How time flies! In this way the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent fly past as quickly as milk stops on an express train or flyover country. It is all too easy to catch this fever. Just walking the streets of London or New York can be enough to give anyone that Dick Whittington/Hortatio Alger fast pace and fixed stare. Sam does have an instinct that balance is lacking, I think.

J A Gioia  •  Link


aka milktoast, a dish which has vanished completely from the american menu; replaced by french toast, bread soaked in egg batter and pan fried, usually eaten with sweet syrup.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Sugarsopps = milktoast ...

So from this dish is derived the (playfully derogatory?) name "Casper Milquetoast", given to weaklings with an affected air?

TerryF  •  Link

It seems Good Friday brings out Lent's observance

The setting of the solemn tone of Lent was noted in the Diary Sunday 8 March 1663: "the chappell in Lent being hung with black, and no anthem sung after sermon, as at other times"…

Unfortunately, "Good Friday," being here linked to "Easter", there is no sense of the meaning of the season in liturgical terms; but, of course, there is a 'nonobservant' (Puritan) substrate in the Pepys household.

With Pauline I wonder whose idea today's dinner's menu was?

Mary  •  Link

"up by five o'clock as I have long done.."

Now we have Sam's own word for what he regards as 'betimes.'

TerryF  •  Link

What are "the holidays" that may afford Sam'l time to talk to his father?

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Holi days: the Lairds Temporal ET Spiritual, Business leaders and their side kicks[MP'S] be seeing their country estates, as the juices of spring be flowing, time for the first tastes of new veggies, and sampling the prim roses in the shadow of the Timbers and the listerning to Deer enjoying life.
So Samuel will not be pressured by Vendors to purchase this and that and the Ticket house will be closed for the tars to get their back pay, so He should have a little time to enjoy Pops and that singing and tinkler of the ivories, and of course his better 'alf, La Femme de foyer.

TerryF  •  Link

So 'tis the parliament holdays that matter

That's been since Wednesday until two weeks from yesterday, i.e. Thursday, April 29.

Tuesday 14 April
Ordered, That the House be adjourned till To-morrowfortnight.…

TerryF  •  Link

Correction: Parliament reconvenes Wed. Apr. 28

TerryF  •  Link

April 29 was correct: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 29 April 1663', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 472-73. URL:…. Date accessed: 18 April 2006.

matthew newton  •  Link

'up by five o'clock'
any information on sun rise and sun set times?
did Sam go to work by candle light?

celtcahill  •  Link


"“… because I am ashamed to have the other seen dedicated to the Commonwealth…”and save thy neck too."

But mebbee it woulda helped in the Popish Plot buisiness ....?

dirk  •  Link

Sam's new title page to "Mare Clausum"

L&M note that owners of the old edition could buy separate pages containing a frontispiece with the royal arms and the new title, at the bookseller's shop of Robert Walton, near St Paul's Yard.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Great point Dirk, the trade of printer, bookmongers and bookbinder be separate, there by the opportunity to have thy purchase the way thy desire, your imprint and dedications, preface done in print of thy own choosing then over to the bookbinder picking thyne skins to match thyne decor with thyn own skull and crossbones. So civilized

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"...only sugarsopps..." a nice way to waste not and save a few farthings by useing all thy stale bread.

Mary  •  Link


And, alternatively, supper for a very small child during WW2 when there was nothing much else in the larder and the ration didn't run to eggs but bread was still widely available.

Second Reading

Pirate Queen  •  Link

More sugar sops

1690, The compleat English and French cook describing the best and newest ways etc. etc. etc.
Contains a "receipt" for Sugar-Sops, listed with "Cawdles, Soops, Drinks, &c.," possets and other dishes usually given for restorative purposes. I couldn't access the actual recipe, unfortunately.

1749, William Ellis, A compleat system of experienced improvements:
"This shepherd ... never found anything answer better, for curing a griped Sheep (!) than to make some Sugar-Sops directly; and when the Crumb of Bread and Ale is boiled, he then adds some Sugar, and a little Pepper, with a small Quantity of Gin, and gives it out of the Bowl of a Spoon at his Discretion."

1811, Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, Francis Grose:
Sugar Sops: Toasted bread soked in ale, sweetened with sugar, and grated nutmeg: it is eaten with cheese.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘sugar-sop, n. < Old English sopp . .
†1. pl. A dish composed of steeped slices of bread, sweetened and sometimes spiced . .
. . 1663 S. Pepys Diary 17 Apr. (1971) IV. 104 Our dinner, it being Goodfriday, was only sugar sopps and fish . . ‘

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