Wednesday 22 April 1663

Up betimes and to my office very busy all the morning there, entering things into my Book Manuscript, which pleases me very much. So to the Change, and so to my uncle Wight’s, by invitation, whither my father, wife, and Ashwell came, where we had but a poor dinner, and not well dressed; besides, the very sight of my aunt’s hands and greasy manner of carving, did almost turn my stomach. After dinner by coach to the King’s Playhouse, where we saw but part of “Witt without mony,” which I do not like much, but coming late put me out of tune, and it costing me four half-crowns for myself and company. So, the play done, home, and I to my office a while and so home, where my father (who is so very melancholy) and we played at cards, and so to supper and to bed.

20 Annotations

First Reading

jeannine  •  Link

What a droopy day. Well work was the peak and then downhill from there. Can't you just picture this as a scene out of some Steven King type movie with a sadistic smiling old lady? She'd be playing a deliberate mind game on Sam. Greasy hands while hacking away at some sloopy looking piece of meat saying "won't you have some more, my Sammy?" Yeech! Then to spend money, not only on himself but on other people while seeing a lousy play. Then home to a melancholy father. I wonder what's bothering John? I think he's been mentioned as down in the dumps before. Not sure if it's just his way in general or something specific. Perhaps he misses his wife???Don't suppose he found out she's dating Captain Ferrers while he's away.....oops, let out a spoiler there....

Bradford  •  Link

There was an earlier instance of "sluttishness" while serving a meal that likewise turned Pepys's stomach (and no doubt many of ours); was it at this same aunt's table, or elsewhere?

dirk  •  Link

Comes to mind that 26 June 1662 when Commissioner Pett found himself in a similar position at Sam's:

"took Commissioner Pett home to dinner with me, where my stomach was turned when my sturgeon came to table, upon which I saw very many little worms creeping, which I suppose was through the staleness of the pickle"…

TerryF  •  Link

Jeannine, I thought John Pepys was *escaping* his increasinjgly irrational wife, Pall, the tedium of the country, etc., and enjoying reconnecting with the old gang in the trades in London?

daniel  •  Link

"but coming late put me out of tune,"

being a musician, I'd be curious as to what this phrase means in this context.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Samuell, not be psyched up to appreciate the wit, as he spent too much for the seats. There by, be out of tune, not in synched with all that titters in the well.

jeannine  •  Link

Terry,,,I was just joking about missing them! Perhaps instead of "spoiler alerts" I'll add "bad joke alerts".
But, more seriously, as I recall, this isn't the only time Sam has talked about his father being down in the dumps. I am remembering a visit when they went for a walk together and Sam (Oct 13, 1663) "Thence home, and with my father took a melancholy walk to Portholme, seeing the country-maids milking their cows there, they being there now at grass, and to see with what mirth they come all home together in pomp with their milk, and sometimes they have musique go before them." can't tell is his father was melancholy, both of them were, or the walk.

TerryF  •  Link

Perhaps with his age and straits, declining independence, etc., John Pepys has become chronically depressed?

(Nice reminder and sourcing, Jeannine.)

Australian Susan  •  Link

"very sight of my aunt's hands and greasy manner of carving" reminds me of "I won't shake hands; I've just been putting lard on the cat's boil.". Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

A miserable dinner churning in the stomach, having to take a coachload...Perhaps including dear ole Aunt and Uncle Wight...And arriving late for a second- or third-rate play.

Worst of all, that title..."Witt Without Money" gnawing at him all through...Four half-crowns wasted, four half-crowns wasted. Wit without money indeed. And damned poor 'wit' at that.

I think I'd be melancholy too considering John's situation. Embarassed at having his pride and joy (but no doubt a bit annoying at times) son learn that his meager means don't match even his limited expenses, his stay in town and meetings with the old gang ending after such a short time, exile to Brampton's bucolic joys looming.

" Book Manuscript, which pleases me very much..." If you mean the Diary, Sam, we're much pleased too. Thanks for what must have been at times quite a labor.

Now bring on the dance...

JWB  •  Link

Bradford, an earlier instance:

"Up betimes, and after a little breakfast, and a very poor one, like our supper, and such as I cannot feed on, because of my she-cozen Claxton’s gouty hands;"…

Bradford  •  Link

Aha! Thanks to Dirk and JWB (and full marks to A. Susan for slipping in the Pythonism). It is an annotation to JWB's entry that provides the clue to my recollection of things not yet past:

"It is well-documented how Pepys hated food to be served with hands that were dirty, or on a plate unclean enough to show a thumbprint (Percival Hunt, in his essays, details this quite modern aversion well)."

See the book Jeannine discovered, "Samuel Pepys in His Diary," probably under "Further Reading." Spoiler! More distasteful meals are yet to come!

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

wit without cash: For Samuell, it be not his cup of T, as the play speaks of money and copy holding, too close to Samuell's problems of estate, cash flow and family disputes etc....

Terry Foreman  •  Link

This day the Second Charter of what was now officially named "The Royal Society of London for improving Natural Knowledge" -- retaining all the clauses of incorporation contained in the first Charter -- passed the Great Seal.…

It is the second Charter which ensures the Society its privileges, and by which the Society has since been, and continues to be, governed. In this Charter, the King declares himself to be the Founder and Patron of the Society.…

The Latin original:…

The RS English translation:…

It was read before the Royal Society on 13 May.…

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

" Book Manuscript, which pleases me very much..." If you mean the Diary, Sam, we're much pleased too.

Mr. Gertz, I agree about the diary, but suspect in this case Sam was talking about his labor of love from yesterday: "Up betimes and to my office, where first I ruled with red ink my English “Mare Clausum,” which, with the new orthodox title, makes it now very handsome." After all, he has been tasked with writing and presenting a report on flag protocol.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Forks were a recent addition to tableware. According to…

"Many British clergymen were vehemently opposed to forks; they believed that only human fingers were worthy of touching God's food. Often, when someone died after having used a fork, these clergymen preached that it was God's way of showing His displeasure over the use of such a shocking novelty."

And according to…:
"The English were quite a bit behind the French in the use of forks, maybe because they were naturally suspicious of things from abroad. ... by the mid 1600's, eating with a fork had nearly become the norm for the upper classes and nobility of England. Then slowly the use trickled down to the craftsmen, merchants, and as styles and customs usually did, eventually reached the poor. Even as forks were gaining in popularity amongst those in the upper classes, many hosts, inns, and even the palaces did not provide table settings for dinner guests. By the mid-1600's cutlery centers such as Sheffield, England were not producing large numbers of forks along with knives and spoons. ... By the end of the 1600's, manufacturers were adding additional tines, usually a third to denote the old custom of eating with just the first three fingers, and sometimes a fourth as we generally see now."

So maybe auntie was old-fashioned or superstitious, and young Sam was eager to show off his modern, fashionable, upper-class ways.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘tune < Latin tonus n. . . 5. fig. Frame of mind, temper, mood, disposition, humour . .
1600 Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing iii. iv. 38 Hero How now? do you speake in the sicke tune? Beat. I am out of all other tune, me thinkes.
1608 Shakespeare King Lear xvii. 40 [Lear] some time in his better tune remembers, What we are come about.
. . a1691 J. Flavell Faithful Narr. Sea-deliv. in Wks. (1701) II. 72 Our Fancies were out of Tune to be pleasant with any thing.’

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Four half-crowns = 10/- old money = 50p current money which doesn’t sound much now but was a huge sum then: £1,050 in ‘labour value’ = average earnings or £2,600 in ‘income value’ = per capita GDP. See:…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Historic Houses website has a post with photos, showing the cutlery carried by Sir John Fenwick MP (executed for treason 1697). Considering how often Pepys has lunch at an ordinary, his boy must have also carried them for him along with all the paperwork. A very inconvenient system.…

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