Sunday 21 February 1663/64

(Lord’s day). Up, and having many businesses at the office to-day I spent all the morning there drawing up a letter to Mr. Coventry about preserving of masts, being collections of my own, and at noon home to dinner, whither my brother Tom comes, and after dinner I took him up and read my letter lately of discontent to my father, and he is seemingly pleased at it, and cries out of my sister’s ill nature and lazy life there.

He being gone I to my office again, and there made an end of my morning’s work, and then, after reading my vows of course, home and back again with Mr. Maes and walked with him talking of his business in the garden, and he being gone my wife and I walked a turn or two also, and then my uncle Wight fetching of us, she and I to his house to supper, and by the way calling on Sir G. Carteret to desire his consent to my bringing Maes to him, which he agreed to. So I to my uncle’s, but staid a great while vexed both of us for Maes not coming in, and soon he came, and I with him from supper to Sir G. Carteret, and there did largely discourse of the business, and I believe he may expect as much favour as he can do him, though I fear that will not be much. So back, and after sitting there a good while, we home, and going my wife told me how my uncle when he had her alone did tell her that he did love her as well as ever he did, though he did not find it convenient to show it publicly for reasons on both sides, seeming to mean as well to prevent my jealousy as his wife’s, but I am apt to think that he do mean us well, and to give us something if he should die without children.

So home to prayers and to bed.

My wife called up the people to washing by four o’clock in the morning; and our little girl Susan is a most admirable Slut and pleases us mightily, doing more service than both the others and deserves wages better.

34 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

"and cries out of my sister's ill nature and lazy life there."

Has Tom been to Brampton? Is he taking Sam's word for her behaviour, or does he also correspond with his father?

Terry F  •  Link

"then, after reading my vows of course, home"

The Office -- where The Vows are kept when Mr, Pepys is in London; where he must go each Lord's day; which he cannot quit for the day without having read them.

OzStu  •  Link

..little girl Susan is a most admirable Slut..
I know that we've been through the etymology of "slut" before but I still find the conjoining of "admirable" and "slut" to be almost an oxymoron though C21 eyes.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Once more into the word
fill the old dictionary Oxford
with new meanings.
So here goes our Master Peeps to use a word more light hearted
"...our little girl Susan is a most admirable Slut and pleases us mightily..."
b. In playful use, or without serious imputation of bad qualities.
1664 PEPYS Diary 21 Feb., Our little girl Susan is a most admirable slut, and pleases us mightily
1678 BUNYAN Pilgr. I. 112 As the Mother cries out against her Child in her lap, when she calleth it Slut and naughty Girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.

Slut: n.
Of doubtful origin: cf. G. (now dial.) schlutt, schlutte, schlutz, in sense 1. Forms having some resemblance in sound and sense also occur in the Scand. languages, as Da. slatte (? from LG.), Norw. slott, Sw. dial. slåta, but connexion is very doubtful.]

1. a. A woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance; a foul slattern.
1402 HOCCLEVE Letter of Cupid 237 The foulest slutte of al a tovne. c
1621 BURTON Anat. Mel. To Rdr. 24 Women are all day a dressing, to pleasure other men abroad, and go like sluts at home.
1642 FULLER Holy & Prof. St. II. xii, Did Rome herein look upon the dust behind her own doores, she would have but little cause to call her neighbour slut.
b. A kitchen-maid; a drudge. rare. c1450
St. Cuthbert (Surtees) 133 The quene her toke to make a slutte, And to vile services her putt
2. a. A woman of a low or loose character; a bold or impudent girl; a hussy, jade. c1450
1621 BURTON Anat. Mel. I. ii. IV. i. (1651) 143 A peevish drunken flurt, a waspish cholerick slut.
4. a. A piece of rag dipped in lard or fat and used as a light.
1609 C. BUTLER Fem. Mon. (1634) 151 Matches are made of linen rags and Brimstone, after the manner that maids make Sluts.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"our little girl Susan is a most admirable Slut and pleases us mightily, doing more service than both the others and deserves wages better."

It's all in the name you see......

I think Sam seems to mean definition 1b. above.

Sjoerd  •  Link

he do mean us well, and to give us something...

Sam here seems to apply the same standards to his family as he applies to his business contacts. Jealousy is what is expected, but it can be put aside for a price ?

Bob T  •  Link

she and I to his house to supper
Sam uses the word "supper" for his evening meal, and people here in Eastern Canada still do the same. Except those that want to appear to be posh that is, and they call their evening meal "dinner". Too much Brit television I suppose.

language hat  •  Link

"I think Sam seems to mean definition 1b. above."

Yes, and everything after that could well have been cut. Citations in extenso, containing all manner of irrelevant material, are not especially helpful to the reader who wants to know what Sam means.

Glyn  •  Link

It happens after the Diary ends, so I don't think it's a spoiler, but Wight dies in 1672 without leaving a will.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

"an oxymoron though C21 eyes."
It was then too totally dependant on the filters of the reader.
The extensive OED piece is for those that are unable to dash off to the Library.
In Future I will answer a query for OED by email. I be be no macadamien to give the accepted answers , just my lopside version.

Miriam  •  Link

Another old usage, like "supper," says, "If you boys cain't get along you'll both have to go outside."

Clement  •  Link

OED citations

Less is more, but more is better than nothing.

I sometimes read the entire entry CSG/V or others provide to understand usage development, and sometimes skim to find that most likely in Sam's 17th C. context. In all cases I find more information than I would have had otherwise, so thanks for that.
I agree that it would be nice to have an easy indication of the relevant definition, but if that's not possible ("I be no macadamien to give the accepted answers") would prefer to have a "data dump" of the usages at least to the 17th C. That's my penny's worth.

Nate  •  Link

As far as I'm concerned, Salty, keep the definitions coming. It's interesting to me to see the usages.

Dan Jenkins  •  Link

Another vote for the Salty Data Dump. (I can always skip it, but ofttimes enjoy irrelevant bits in their own right.)

On the supper/dinner topic, supper is still the evening meal in northern New England too. Dinner was the noon meal. I only heard lunch used when I went to school. (The teacher said, "At dinner time, when the bell rings, go to the lunch room." :-) That has changed in recent decades, but it is still common.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Let's throw another meal word into the mix! Just because it hasn't been done - I still tend to refer to the meal I eat in the evening about 6 or 7 o'clock as "tea". And have passed this onto my children who used to say "what's for tea?" (they've all left home now). This is a North West of England expression. Comes from High Tea, which is confusingly now used in Australia for what I would call Afternoon Tea. (tea, scones, sandwiches and cakes). High Tea traditonally contains such things as cold ham and is designed to be a meal eaten by children who are too young to stay up for evening dinner. It was used as a designation for an evening meal which was being eaten early in the evening. To my mind, supper means bread and cheese after a trip to the pub. The pattern of meals I grew up with was early morning cup of tea, breakfast, morning coffee, luncheon, afternoon tea, hgih tea or dinner (age dependent) and supper if anyone was still up. Oh, and late night cups of tea to goto bed with. Or maybe cocoa if it was chilly.
In Sam's time and much later, you ate your main meal in daylight if possible to save on lighting, unless you were very wealthy.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Meal Words
"Comes from High Tea, which is confusingly now used in Australia for what I would call Afternoon Tea. (tea, scones, sandwiches and cakes)." Yes. I think the change in usage came because "High Tea" sounds hoity-toity to people, so they imagine perfect cucumber sandwiches and petits four with a sliver tea service. Whereas the origins of High Tea, as I understand it, lies with the nursery and the working class family -- a real meal for those who who wouldn't wait until eight to eat.

"Early morning cup of tea, breakfast, morning coffee, luncheon, afternoon tea, hgih tea or dinner (age dependent) and supper if anyone was still up." It makes me think of of the hobbits in the "Lord of the Rings." "But... what about Second Breakfast? What about Elevenses?"

language hat  •  Link

Objection withdrawn.
Citation in extenso is obviously enjoyed by most, so carry on!

A.De Araujo  •  Link

"then, after reading my vows of course, home"
Are you losing your memory Sam?

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

from OED boiled down [Chai that be Te ]:
Breakfast: Break thy knightly fast.
Dinner : Main Meal of the Day:
Supper: Last meal of the day:
Affluence created new meanings for the simple task of being fed.
tea time be a latter requirement for those that just entertained and sat at the high table [1831]
"high table, a table raised above the rest at a public dinner; spec. in colleges, the table at which the president and fellows sit;
high tea, a tea [black or green] at which meat is served;"
Main meal be Twelve or Eleven according to the OED
[ "MIDDLETON, 1627., Changeling (N.), Dinner time? thou meanst twelve o'clock. and
VENNER . 1620 Via Recta viii. 173 Our vsuall time for about eleuen of the clocke."]
In pre industrial times when thee needed cheep [sic] labor and
was in walking distance of the Boss and the bench. The law said I hour at noon had to be given so that a man could go to the local diner and eat and/or drink his daily draft.A work day be 12 Hrs and only time off for a day of prayer.
{it is some where on Commons site] Then as more monies be flowing and the Boss could use hoofs [24] to commute to where his day labour be, and the Mistress would then request a dinner suit and a more angelic hour for enjoying the fruits of a days labour. and provide fodder for Karl M.
"1887 Spectator 26 Feb. 287/2 The dinner-bell would begin to ring at half-past 5."
Hi-tea was for those that could not wait for the master to return from ensuring that his factory be working 12 hrs.
"1831 F. A. KEMBLE Rec. Girlhood 14 June (1878) III. 49 We did not return home till near nine, and so, instead of dinner, all sat down to *high tea.
1856 E. G. K. BROWNE Tractar. Movem. (1861) 337 At one of the 'High Teas' of S. Barnabas. "

Pedro  •  Link

Dinner and Lunch.

From an English working class perspective, say about 40 years or so ago, dinner was the main meal of the day. You could have your dinner at midday, and then you would have your tea in the late afternoon. If you did not have your dinner at midday, then you would have your dinner at tea time.

But you would never have lunch, because only posh people had lunch, and if you did not have your dinner during the day you could look forward to a fish and chip supper!

Paul Chapin  •  Link

More on "a spot of tea"
Thanks to Todd for that fun link. It reminded me of an experience in cross-cultural (mis)understanding I had many years ago. I was doing field research on Polynesian languages in New Zealand (this was in 1974), visiting and working with different Polynesian communities that live in the Auckland area. Some very nice Cook Islanders invited me to return in the evening for a "spot of tea." To my American ears this sounded like tea and maybe some cookies. I had my dinner (supper/evening meal) before going. When I got there, there was this enormous spread of food, a potluck to which scores of people had contributed, and politeness demanded that I partake fully and with gusto. At no feast since have I ever felt so stuffed as I did that evening - but I did learn the meaning of "a spot of tea."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Movable Feasts ...

For serious but near shandean antiquarian reflections on the vagaries of the temporal drift in gastronomic podnsapery see:

Arnold Palmer, Movable Feasts: a Reconnaissance of the Origins and Consequences of Fluctuations in Meal-Times with Special Attention to the Introduction of Luncheon and Afternoon Tea Oxford: 1952…

Australian Susan  •  Link

Michael Quinion is spot on ! thanks, Todd!
Confusion reigns so much down here over meal terms that I have taken to asking people to "come round and eat with us this evening" making it clear they will get a proper meal!
Yes, my meal list did sound Hobbit like (and also Pooh Bear like). Australian school children also eat something called "little lunch" - taken during the late morning recess. And afternoon tea is the cookies, muffin or whatever they eat straight after school at 3.
With reference to the length of the working day by our Salty Friend, in Sam's time, things would have been less rigid, because governed so much by natural light and other weather-driven variables: so in the summer, people tended to work much longer. Incidently, Australia was the first country to legislate for the 8 hour working day in 1856. (in NSW).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...but I am apt to think that he do mean us well..."

So will Blazes Boylan to the Blooms, Sam.

"I did endeavor to explain my wife that while yes, before God, any lewd action by my Uncle Wight would be taken by me with all my full jealousy of the past which doth...As she well knows of old...Wax hot. And yet...That we must of course be...Careful in our dealings with my Uncle. Meaning that as I did tell her that she ought not to offend him in any way nor read such meanings into his actions and words that might give offence to him or my aunt. And that she should refer to me any such actions and words that I might weigh them...Carefully.

At which point I did find myself locked out of our room on a sudden..."

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Luncheon, lunch, was it a modern idiom ? for those that had the boss provide a voucher at a local eatery, to have a spot refreshment at the moon hour as the Employer failed to provide a living wage for hired 'elp to buy their own.
The OED came to the rescue. I've tried to reduce the verbage [ dump ] to a low fat diet.
lunch from luncheon evolved from lump? [hunch hump or bump] Lounge a large lump of bread and cheese,1829]
then in 1591 it be 'lunch of bacon', 1600 it be rote "he shall take bread and cut into little lunches", by 1622 it be writ " Our Master was well content that we should roste a good lunch of porke"
Lunch: officially, it be light meal any time of the day, also the Victorians thought the word be vulgar, only fit for the masterless.

As a Verb 1. intr. To take lunch.
1823 D'ISRAELI Cur. Lit. Ser. II. I. 402 She is now old enough, she said, to have lived to hear the vulgarisms of her youth adopted in drawing-room circles. To lunch, now so familiar from the fairest lips, in her youth was only known in the servants hall.
No better said than by a PM.
1580 A lumpe, a goblet, a luncheon.
1617 Eating a great lumpe of Bread and Cheese
1660 [date of story as told he be a kid at the time] Chas II's escape story at Worchester " The Colonel plucked out of his pocket a good luncheon of bread and cheese."
U.S. Boston 1903 says Lunch be applied to a late supper 9.0 o'clock till midnight.
As for dinner : The Literary Club {Johnson's 1775} Dinner be forthnightly at 4.30 PM and failure to show thy face with out an excuse note, fine be 5 bob. and Supper be at 10.00 p.m.
bottle of house? wine[Claret] be 1s. 6d. and a bottle of Porto finest be 1 bob.
lifted from…

GrahamT  •  Link

In British schools, the midday meal is still dinner (the Brits will know all about "Jamie's School Dinners"… ) unless it as something brought from home, then it is a packed lunch.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a letter to Mr. Coventry about preserving of masts, being collections of my own"

Dated Shrove Tuesday (23 February): Further Corr., pp. 15-19. Pepys argued, largely on the advice of Warren, that the best method would be to submerge the masts in the water of creeks. He opposed the building of a mast-house at Deptford, and the suggestion of keeping them in the proposed new dock at Chatham. (Per L&M footnote)

13 January Dr. Whistler had explained to Pepys why keeping masts dry was inadvisable:…
In 1689, after Pepys had retired, a wet-dock for masts was built at Deptford:…

Louise Hudson  •  Link

The first use of the word luncheon I ever heard was in Nancy Drew mysteries. It did add an air of sophistication to my ears that lunch never had. That, along with her roadster. Lunch was what we ate at school from brown paper bags.

I can imagine Sam was quite happy with the most admirable slut Susan.

RSGII  •  Link

Re preserving masts. The French buried the beams for their chateus in creeks for decades before using them.

Robert Harneis  •  Link

RSGII I seem to remember, on visiting a castle in the Dordogne, being told they kept them in baths full of brine to harden for at least ten years before use. After the big storm in eastern and northern France in 1996(?) that devastated many forests, for years afterwards huge amounts of pine tree trunks were piled up and sprayed continually with water to stop them decaying.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Loved today's entry. Good news! Pall is not a slut!

Re preserving wood. You can preserve wood by drying it out. Fine for fire wood, lasts forever. Unfortunately (in the case of masts) the wood splits. Cold, deep water is the cure. Witness wreck preservation in the Great Lakes.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘high tea’:

‘high tea n. Brit., Austral., and N.Z. a meal eaten in the late afternoon or early evening, typically consisting of a cooked dish, bread and butter, and tea. If a main meal in the evening, more commonly called tea (cf. tea n. 4a*), although in this case tea may not be served alongside the food.
1787 Blenheim Lodge II. xiii. 13 Just as we were at high tea, Doctor Shatford made his appearance.
. . 1922 W. S. Maugham On Chinese Screen xlix. 193 He thought of the high tea to which he sat down when he came home from school.., a slice of cold meat, a great deal of bread and butter and plenty of milk in his tea.
. . 2009 J. Struthers Red Sky at Night 171 High tea..was an amalgam of afternoon tea and an evening meal.’

* ‘ . . locally in the U.K. (esp. northern), and in Australia and N.Z., a cooked evening meal . . ’


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