Saturday 5 December 1663

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and then with the whole board, viz., Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and myself along with Captain Allen home to dinner, where he lives hard by in Mark Lane, where we had a very good plain dinner and good welcome, in a pretty little house but so smoky that it was troublesome to us all till they put out the fire, and made one of charcoale.

I was much pleased with this dinner for the many excellent stories told by Mr. Coventry, which I have put down in my book of tales and so shall not mention them here.

We staid till night, and then Mr. Coventry away, and by and by I home to my office till 9 or 10 at night, and so home to supper and to bed after some talke and Arithmetique with my poor wife, with whom now-a-days I live with great content, out of all trouble of mind by jealousy (for which God forgive me), or any other distraction more than my fear of my Lord Sandwich’s displeasure.

39 Annotations

First Reading

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"My book of tales"?!? Do tell! Does anyone with L&M access know if this has been found? (I assume not.)

"My poor wife" is certainly turning into a drumbeat, isn't it? Cognitive therapists would counsel Sam to start writing about her in nicer terms as a first step toward treating her a bit more nicely...

Terry F  •  Link

Todd, your are correct: L&M say of "my book of tales" - "Untraced."

jeannine  •  Link

"where he lives hard by"..

Can someone explain the meaning here -thanks!

Ironsights  •  Link

"hard by" is nautical for close by, in this case, close by SP's home.

Terry  •  Link

"Hard by" simply means "close by".

jeannine  •  Link

Thanks Ironsights and Terry!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Hard by
Was this in common terminology then? Or was it an exclusively nautical term and thus one that Sam has picked up because of his job? It's one I have always been familiar with (and certainly not because of any naval connections)so obviously ceased to be what Sam calls "dialect" some time ago, but would other non-Naval 17th cdentury people have been flummoxed by the usage?

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Milton used the term. OED: TO THE RESCUE;HARD adv. 6 + BY prep. and adv.]
A. prep. Close by; in close proximity to; close to, very near to. (Now only of place.)
1526 TINDALE Acts xxvii. 7 We saled harde by the costes off Candy.
1659 D. PELL Impr. Sea 575 note. Your ships were hard by drowning. \
1682 MILTON Hist. Mosc. v. Wks. 1738 II. 143 They saw many Whales very monstrous hard by their Ships.

B. adv. In close local proximity; close by, very near;
also transf. close at hand in time. 1535

Roboto  •  Link

Hard by

I think that "by" means "close" and that "hard" would mean "very" or "really". The nautical term "full and by" means that the sails are full of wind with the spars turned very close to the ship.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

" home to supper and to bed after some talke and Arithmetique with my poor wife, with whom now-a-days I live with great content, out of all trouble of mind by jealousy (for which God forgive me), or any other distraction more than my fear of my Lord Sandwich's displeasure...."
I Dothe thinke that Sandwiche dothe say a mouthful about Samuell's probiscus.
Samuell is racking his brain about one of Cicero's saying's
Cuiusvis hominis est erarare; nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare.

Any man can make a mistake; only a fool keeps making the same one.

alanB  •  Link

Re this 'book of tales' to rival Chaucer. For some reason I'd assumed that it had survived and had somehow found its way, after many generations, into the hands of Bob Gertz with his insights into Pepysian gossip. Own up Robert (and do finish the Oliver tale - please ..)

Matt  •  Link

The 'book of tales' was also mentioned on 24 October 1663. Mark Dawson discusses this book and other texts produced by Pepys in the writing of his Diary, but only finds two mentions of the book of tales: 5/12/63 and 24/10/63.

'Histories and Texts: Refiguring the Diary of Samuel Pepys'
Mark S. Dawson
Historical Journal, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Jun., 2000), pp. 407-431. Citation on p. 415.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Could the book of tales be tucked in among his book of papers and info on Captain Scott? I suppose Pepysians have searched diligently for it, though. Tragic loss.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Mark lane (aka Mart lane) ...

In his Survey of London John Stow reports that Mart Lane was "so called of a privilege sometime enjoined to keep a mart there, long since discontinued, and therefore forgotten, so as nothing remaineth for memory but the name of Mart lane, and that corruptly termed Marke lane. I read that, in the third of Edward IV, all basket-makers, wire-drawers, and other foreigners, were permitted to have shops in the manor of Blanch Apleton (at the northeast corner of Mart lane), and not elsewhere, within this city or suburbs thereof."

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Mart lane

And was this lane by the wall?

Nix  •  Link

"Cuiusvis hominis est erarare" --

Cumgrano, thanks for this marvelous proverb. It ought to be engraved over the door of every public building. Most private ones, too.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Mart lane ...

It was in Tower Street Ward, the "first ward in the east part of this city within the wall ... Then have ye out of Tower street, also on the north side, one other lane, called Mart lane, which runneth up towards the north, and is for the most part of this Tower street ward; which lane is about the third quarter thereof divided from Aldgate ward, by a chain to be drawn athwart the said lane, above the west end of Hart street."

Ruben  •  Link

"so home to supper and to bed after some talke and Arithmetique with my poor wife"
With all this every day Arithmetique before bed no wonder Pepys calls his wife "poor wife"!
Now we know why they had no children!

Eric Walla  •  Link

Ruben, are you suggesting that, rather than adding and subtracting, they should be working on multiplication?

pjk  •  Link

Hard by
In my youth I thought the lyric of Good King Wenceslas included the lines:
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Hard against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

But all the versions I see now say "right against the forest fence". Am I misremembering?

Sinclair  •  Link

My family have been connected with the merchant marine for 300 years. "Hard to starboard" and "hard to port" were frequent phrases in nautical anecdotes my father told and I had always assumed that this stemmed from the days of sail, steam, tugs and towing. The physical strength required to move or hold the helm in any given position would have been considerable and contributed to the feel of the vessel's progress through the sea or river. In the days before "power assisted" steering the further the rudder had to be moved, the "harder" it would have been.

Glyn  •  Link

All of the streets that Rex Gordon mentions in his last posting: Tower Street, Mark Lane, Aldgate, Hart Street, are still there. Pepys wouldn't recognise the buildings, but if you blindfolded him he could still find his way around this bit of London very easily.

But I'm a little surprised that he hasn't visited or seen Captain Allen's house before because he must have walked past it a hundred times or more - perhaps Allen has only just moved in?

Ruben  •  Link

To Eric Walla
The proper think to do was to combine the bodies in an infinity sign (introduced by Wallis a few years before).
But in 1663 Ppys did not yet met Sir Isaac, that probably would have suggested some motion and acceleration till momentum is reached.

John M  •  Link

My Poor Wife

Could these constant references to 'my poor wife' be an indication that Elizabeth's gynaecological or peri-anal problem is persisting. Could a tousing of fat Betty be imminent. Is this also an indication of why Sam's jealousy has abated.

Clement  •  Link

"...if you blindfolded him..." he'd be noted as a speed bump by the first cab or bus he encountered.

Canongate  •  Link

I grew up in Texas and remember my grandparents using the phrase "hard by" occasionally. The lyric quote from Good King Wenceslaus you quoted pjk is in my "Little Children's Book of Christmas Carols."

Clement  •  Link

"Book of Tales"

I imagine an older, blinder, ricketier Sam sitting by the fire, reviewing and purging his library of dross in anticipation of a bequest to Magdalene. As Hewer read to him the first few records from the Book of Tales they may have sounded like "urban legends" 40 years after writing, and it was tossed to the fire with a "Bah! To think I once believed the tripe of those salty old liars!"
Still, it's a loss to us.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

smokeless heat "...pretty little house but so smoky that it was troublesome to us all till they put out the fire, and made one of charcoale. ..." good for making draughts of ships on paper, showing a whaler hard by the dock.

GrahamT  •  Link

smokeless heat:
At least you can see and smell the smoke. The charcoal fire is producing odourless, invisible - and potentially deadly - carbon monoxide

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: carbon monoxide

But, no doubt, the houses were drafty enough that this was not a problem...!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Good King Wenceslas words

I have found an 1871 edition of the carol and it uses the word "right"not hard. The carol was written in 1854, so 1871 is quite near the time of original composition.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

"hard by" last mentioned OED 1886 RUSKIN Præterita I. ix. 300 The lily of the valley wild in the copses hard by.

language hat  •  Link

All that means is that it was then in current use.
That fascicle of the OED came out in the 1890s, and the 3rd ed. hasn't gotten around to the H's.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Capt. John Allen -- Clerk of the Ropeyard, Chatham 1660-1663 -- (L&M Companion)
Yesterday the hemp arrives from Archangel ... today hob-nobbing with the rope maker at his house.
Quality time with Coventry, Batten and Mennes.
Cousin Sandwich might make an unpleasant stink, but Pepys doesn't have anything to worry about really.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Charcoal burns hotter than coal or wood, so its easier to get an updraught in a chimney if the weather conditions are encouraging the smoke to blow back down.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Carbon monoxide can be produced by anything burning, including wood and ordinary coal. A stopped up fireplace or stove flue can create dangerous levels of CO. It's horrifying to think of the lethal conditions that people didn't understand in Pepys' time, and, in fact, for many years after.

Jonathan V  •  Link

CO is cool and all, but I'm still stuck on Pepys' "book of tales." I had never seen a reference to this, and now it makes me wonder if that's where he also may have written down those ghost stories that he mentions hearing (and telling?) earlier this year. I hope this comes to the light of day during my lifetime.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Perhaps when he came to catalogue his library at the end of his life he opened this collection which he hadn’t looked at in decades and realised that it was full of smut - which did no credit to his public reputation as a dignified public servant - and also of gossip, true and false, about the great personages of the past age.

All of which would have delighted the students of Magdalene College, who would have lost no time in circulating the juicy libels to the wider public. Better to put it all beyond reach before it could do any harm. So into the fire it went.
Re ‘hard by:

‘From the updated OED Third Edition, June 2015:

‘ . .1935 Lincoln (Nebraska) Star 8 Jan. 12/2 The old red brick university hard by the Cambridge subway station.
1989 J. Conway Road from Coorain (1990) vii. 167 A few unpretentious blocks of flats, and one modest hotel, hard by the miles of quiet, uncrowded beach.
2003 Smithsonian July 48/1 Eventually, I repair to a teahouse..on a narrow, curving street hard by Insadong.

. . 2004 Church Times 28 May 36/1 They respond well to having the originals hard by, but the contemporary artist's response is not intended to copy the purpose of the Tuscan artist. ‘

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