Saturday 19 March 1663/64

Up and to the office, where all the morning, and at noon my wife and I alone, having a good hen, with eggs, to dinner, with great content. Then by coach to my brother’s, where I spent the afternoon in paying some of the charges of the buriall, and in looking over his papers, among which I find several letters of my brother John’s to him speaking very foale words of me and my deportment to him here, and very crafty designs about Sturtlow land and God knows what, which I am very glad to know, and shall make him repent them. Anon my father and my brother John came to towne by coach. I sat till night with him, giving him an account of things. He, poor man, very sad and sickly. I in great pain by a simple compressing of my cods to-day by putting one leg over another as I have formerly done, which made me hasten home, and after a little at the office in great disorder home to bed.

20 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"very foale words" = "very foul words" (L&M)

Patricia  •  Link

That'll teach you, John, not to be putting your thoughts down on paper! You can always deny the spoken word, but not the handwriting on the page.

MartinL  •  Link

My chiropractor tells me it's not good for me to cross my legs when I sit. But not for the same reason Sam now repents of it.

cape henry  •  Link

Following yesterday's somber litany of events and sad realizations concerning his lack of personal remorse over his brother's death, Pepys is jolted today by family news of a different sort. Thomas' failure to hit the delete key on some documents before departure has brought evidence of 'crafty designs' on the part of brother John concerning, among other things, some property. Of such stuff the Bard made a living. It will be interesting to see if this early intelligence gives Sam some advantage beyond the already formidable ones he already has.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Hen with eggs"

Does this mean it's the equivalent of a Polish (or Hungarian?) Jewish dish where the hen is cooked whilst it has not yet shelled eggs inside her? Or are we thinking roast hen with poached eggs around it? Or a dish of baked hen with eggs? Or everything boiled together? Just trying to imagine this.

Mary  •  Link

"and shall make him repent them"

Oh dear, the seed of the traditional, post-funeral falling-out amongst the living that happens in so many families.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Somehow it seems awful to eat both hen and eggs and together...Much as I'd happily enjoy each separately.


John's letter. Hmmn...It's one thing to make a few sharp cracks to a fellow long-suffering brother about one's overbearing, self-appointed head of the family, elder. Another to be planning a little underhanded manuevering as to property. Interesting revelation that the family wasn't entirely satisfied with Sam's handling of all such things. I wonder if we'll learn John Sr. was mixed up in some of this.

(By the way, younger brother David...If you've been hanging about here, using the monicker "Grumpy" or "Sam Peeps". Have a care, sir.)

I suppose it was necessary to get Tom buried quickly but it seems a shame Sam couldn't have gotten word that the two (stop that!) Johns were coming and waited another day. He knew his mother might be coming. While we might assume from Sam's breezy confidence that everything was done exactly right, in fact John Sr.'s sorrow and dismay may conceal some anger and dissatisfaction with Sam for rushing things in order to quickly clear a bit of tiresome chore and return to business.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Claire Tomalin on Tom's death ...

"This is where the immediacy of the Diary is supreme. If Pepys had written about his brother's death later, he would have been tempted to smooth and tidy the sequence of events to make it into a more seemly story; improved the number of his visits to Tom, cut out the theatregoing and oyster dinner, called a doctor and nurse earlier rather than relying on neighbours, omitted the rumour of the pox. Instead we get his jumble of reactions: yes, he loves his brother and sorrows for him, but he is also embarrassed by him and resents the interruption of his own activities. In describing Tom's last hours, he reverses the order of events in the Diary, writing of Tom dead and laid out, then remembering and recording his earlier solemn questioning of his still living brother." (Unequalled Self, page 164.)

Stay tuned ... in a few weeks there will be a surprising sequel to Tom's death.

Pedro  •  Link

"and very crafty designs about Sturtlow land and God knows what,"

From Pauline's background concerning uncle Robert's will...

"The executors had no trouble about the Stirtloe land, which was sold immediately in 1661 to the tenant to pay debts."

So what could these crafty designs be?…

LHayes  •  Link

"[H]aving a good hen, with eggs, to dinner, with great content." Anyone else, on first reading this, imagine a happy hen and her eggs sitting down to dinner with Sam and Elizabeth?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"and very crafty designs about Sturtlow land and God knows what,"

And he'd thought John Jr. wasn't paying attention... Seems the brothers take after each other more than they might care to admit.

Clement  •  Link

Hens, eggs, and oysters

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Pass the butter and salt," Bess replied.

Second Reading

Clark Kent  •  Link

RE the chicken egg dish, Paul Simon has said that his song Mother Child Reunion was inspired by a dish on the menu at a Chinese restaurant.

GrannieAnnie  •  Link

"good hen, with eggs," Could this be a misprint? A good HAM with eggs makes more sense for dinner.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

LHayes. "[H]aving a good hen, with eggs, to dinner, with great content." Anyone else, on first reading this, imagine a happy hen and her eggs sitting down to dinner with Sam and Elizabeth?"

I had the same thought. I also wonder if eating hen and eggs would be considered not kosher, like eating meat and dairy. But I suspect Sam wouldn't know anything about that.

Edith Lank  •  Link

My father, who was born in Bessarabia, considered as a delicacy the not-yet-laid eggs found in a hen.

Linda  •  Link

This regards "a good hen, with eggs." Remember that the punctuation is not Pepys's. It may well mean "a good hen with [unhatched] eggs [inside]," as suggested above, such as the Jewish dish called eyerlekh, which is now a rarity partly because of modern methods of slaughtering chickens and also because laying hens are considered only good for soup at the end of their laying career. Here's a link to eyerlekh:…

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