Saturday 30 May 1663

Up betimes, and Creed and I by water to Fleet Street, and my brother not being ready, he and I walked to the New Exchange, and there drank our morning draught of whay, the first I have done this year; but I perceive the lawyers come all in as they go to the Hall, and I believe it is very good.

So to my brother’s, and there I found my aunt James, a poor, religious, well-meaning, good soul, talking of nothing but God Almighty, and that with so much innocence that mightily pleased me. Here was a fellow that said grace so long like a prayer; I believe the fellow is a cunning fellow, and yet I by my brother’s desire did give him a crown, he being in great want, and, it seems, a parson among the fanatiques, and a cozen of my poor aunt’s, whose prayers she told me did do me good among the many good souls that did by my father’s desires pray for me when I was cut of the stone, and which God did hear, which I also in complaisance did own; but, God forgive me, my mind was otherwise. I had a couple of lobsters and some wine for her, and so, she going out of town to-day, and being not willing to come home with me to dinner, I parted and home, where we sat at the office all the morning, and after dinner all the afternoon till night, there at my office getting up the time that I have of late lost by not following my business, but I hope now to settle my mind again very well to my business.

So home, and after supper did wash my feet, and so to bed.

29 Annotations

First Reading

Roy Feldman  •  Link

"Aunt James"

Do we know anything about her? Specifically:

1) Whether she is a "fanatique" herself? And

2) Where her singular name comes from? (Is it somehow short for "Jamesina", perhaps?)

TerryF  •  Link

The L&M Index says that "Aunt James" is Mrs. James, rather than "James Pepys" as the link says.

Her first name is not known. From Samuel's perspective her pious language and belief in the power of prayer remind him of the "fanatiques"; but note how clinical he is concerning what brought him through his being cut of Ye Stone!

("Ye" is pronounced "The," theinital 'Y' being a type-setters equivalent of the Anglo-Saxon letter Thorn or þorn.)…

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary for today:

"This morning was pass’d My Lease from the Crowne of Say[e]s-Court, for the finishing whereof I had ben obligd to such frequent journeys to Lond: I returned this Evening, having seene the Russ: Ambassador take leave of their Majesties with greate solemnity:"

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"but I perceive the lawyers come all in as they go to the Hall, and I believe it is very good."

Huh? You lost me, Sam. Anyone care to help with this seeming non-sequitur?

dirk  •  Link

"but I perceive the lawyers come all in as they go to the Hall, and I believe it is very good"

For their "morning draught of whay", Terry -- because "it is very good"...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Nice to see Sam turn on the charm for a sweet soul who can in no worldly way help him. The little flashes of kindness, regard, and respect he shows towards such people throughout remain among his most likeable traits.

TerryF  •  Link

"getting up the time that I have of late lost"

Interesting idiom, "getting up the time".
Methinks we would say "making up the time".

Does the OED have anything to say about "getting up"?

Ken welsh  •  Link

Well I'll be.....all along I thought his morning draught was alcoholic and it turns out to be the same drink as little Jack Horner enjoyed. Just would not do at my local Bondi hotel!!

dirk  •  Link

morning draught

Could be alcoholic or not: beer (never wine or anything stronger -- and beer was consumed here for its nutritional value), whey, or even by this time hot chocolate...

"Up and Mr. Creed brought a pot of chocolate ready made for our morning draft."…

Margaret  •  Link

What a sentence! ("Here was a fellow . . . my mind was otherwise") I count 103 words, and even if you subtract the beginning and ending clauses set off by semicolons, it would be 83. Easy to follow, however. Like a ball rolling down a slope.

serafina  •  Link

eeeowww.... washing one's feet was such a novelty that one had to record it in one's diary??!!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Ken - it was Little Miss Muffett that had curds and whey - Little Jack Horner got a plum pie!

Roger Arbor  •  Link

So to my brother’s, and there I found my aunt James, a poor, religious, well-meaning, good soul, talking of nothing but God Almighty, and that with so much innocence that mightily pleased me.

Dear Aunt J. Funny how such holiness is so attractive to Sam. A very modern trait. We like to see such piety, but "not me Lord, I want a foot in both camps".

St. Paul's injunction applies, "I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil" (Romans 16:19)

Mary  •  Link


Apparently whey was considered to be more wholesome for adults at this period than whole milk; the latter was deemed most suitable for infants and the elderly.(L&M)

Firenze  •  Link

'getting up' seems to be a once common idiom we have completely lost. It is still around in Dickens, meaning something like 'laundered' as in 'quantities of linen very badly got up'. But schoolboys also (in the 19thC) 'get up' their lessons - so possibly a more general meaning of 'preparation'?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Interesting that Sam doesn't seem to feel uncomfortable to be in the presence of a former Puritan (fanatique)parson. Has the political climate eased that much or does he just feel safe at Tom's?

Just so long as dear aunt James doesn't turn Quaker, I guess...

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: whey

Mary, nutritionally, they were on the right track here -- whey is particularly rich in calcium, among other things. (It's also low-fat, and has a good bit of protein ... though, given his meat consumption, Sam certainly didn't need more protein in his diet!)

Don McCahill  •  Link


I'm not sure. Was the water of the Thames not terribly polluted by this time, and thus undrinkable? This led people to drink other things, and whey would be one of the few non-alcoholic drinks available.

Martin  •  Link

On that 103-word sentence:
Note that the entire midsection between semicolons would today be set off by dashes or parentheses. The last piece is a comment on the first -- the grace was pretty damn long, but his mind was elsewhere (God forgive him).
Also, "said grace so long like a prayer" seems to imply that a standard brief grace was not really a prayer, or at least was not the same in Sam's mind.

language hat  •  Link

"the grace was pretty damn long, but his mind was elsewhere"

I disagree, and I think your interpretation (that the last clause comments on the first) is highly implausible. Sam is not Joyce or Faulkner, composing long intricate sentences that wind around to their beginnings; he's writing the way people talk, with each clause growing out of the previous. Furthermore, note that he doesn't say "elsewhere" but "otherwise" (i.e., "I disagreed," not "I wasn't paying attention"). The last part of the sentence means "She said it was people's prayers that enabled me to survive the operation, and to be nice I pretended to agree, but in fact (God forgive me) I didn't believe a word of it."

language hat  •  Link

"getting up the time"

This is the OED's get 80 (get up):
n. To make good, recover (an expense, a deficiency, loss, arrears).
1607 MIDDLETON 5 Gallants I. i, Tis got vp at your house in an after-noone ifaith, the hire of the whole month. 1622 WESTON in Bradford Plymouth Plant. 115 Mr. Beachamp and myselfe bought this little ship.. partly to gett up what we are formerly out. 1687 MIEGE Gt. Fr. Dict. II. s.v., I am so much a Loser, I must get it up another Way. 1872 BLACK Adv. Phaeton xv, The afternoon was spent in getting up arrears of correspondence.

jeannine  •  Link

Little Miss Muffet…

Little Sam Pepys

You might think it strange Sam at the Exchange
Drinking his draught of whay
But stranger it seems
When he welcomes moonbeams
With a footwash to close the day!

TerryF  •  Link

On that 103-word sentence's structure

L&M say the only punctuation in the MS are "certain full-stops" [periods, I take it], colons and parentheses" and paragraph-breaks (which they honor, but Wheatley doesn't); so the semicolons, &c., in that sentence are editorial, in this case Wheatley's. L&M make the point that punctuation-marks can be confused with shorthand.

TerryF  •  Link

Prayers of several kinds

I'm a bit amused that in the same entry in his personal Diary in shorthand, Samuel Pepys decries a "grace so long like a prayer"; considers the efficacy of those who did "pray for [him] when [he] was cut of the stone", then he himself writes - in another sort of prayer - "but, God forgive me, my mind was otherwise."

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Finally Creed leaves ... I wonder if these hilarious 'men's' nights have contributed to the recent communications problems with Mrs. P.

Bill  •  Link

"at my office getting up the time that I have of late lost"

Language Hat's OED citation above quotes a French dictionary for a use of the term "get up". Here is the way that dictionary translated the phrase into French. And the way I translate the French back into English:

I am so much a Loser I must get it up another way. J'ai perdu tant, it faut que je trouve le moyen de me rembourser, ou de reparer cette perte.
---A short dictionary English and French. G. Miège, 1684.

I lost so much, it is necessary that I find a way to reimburse myself (or to repair that loss).

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