Friday 8 July 1664

Up and called out by my Lord Peterborough’s gentleman to Mr. Povy’s to discourse about getting of his money, wherein I am concerned in hopes of the 50l. my Lord hath promised me, but I dare not reckon myself sure of it till I have it in my main, —[hand.]— for these Lords are hard to be trusted. Though I well deserve it. I staid at Povy’s for his coming in, and there looked over his stables and every thing, but notwithstanding all the times I have been there I do yet find many fine things to look on.

Thence to White Hall a little, to hear how the King do, he not having been well these three days. I find that he is pretty well again. So to Paul’s Churchyarde about my books, and to the binder’s and directed the doing of my Chaucer, though they were not full neate enough for me, but pretty well it is; and thence to the clasp-maker’s to have it clasped and bossed. So to the ’Change and home to dinner, and so to my office till 5 o’clock, and then came Mr. Hill and Andrews, and we sung an houre or two. Then broke up and Mr. Alsop and his company came and consulted about our Tangier victualling and brought it to a good head. So they parted, and I to supper and to bed.

21 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"I dare not reckon myself sure of it, till I have it, in my mind."

So L&M transcribe, and remark on how much better this would read had Pepys ended with "till I have it." The 1893 text tries to unwind the awkward syntax by reading "mind" as "main." Hard work, theirs.

Terry F  •  Link

"the clasp-maker"

We don't usually hear of this tradesman because he was usually a subcontractor:

"Booksellers seem to have got the upper hand of printers as well as of authors; and Christopher Barker, in his report of 1582, complains that booksellers were able to drive such good bargains that printers were mostly but small gainers and ofttimes losers. George Wither cannot be cited as an impartial witness, since his embittered controversy with the stationers, about the privilege which he obtained in 1623 ordering his Hymns and Songs of the Church to be appended to every copy of the Psalms in metre, no doubt surcharged his ink with gall. He himself says that he goes not about to lay a general imputation upon all stationers, but there is no reason to question the general truth of the statement which he makes in his *Schollers Purgatory*, when he says that 'the Bookeseller hath not onely made the Printer, the Binder, and the Claspmaker a slave to him: but hath brought Authors, yea the whole Commonwealth, and all the liberall Sciences into bondage.'" The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, XVIII. The Book-Trade, 1557-1625.…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The binder's...Nothing more pleasant than going to see a book well bound. We used to travel up to St. Johnsbury, Vermont during my undergrad years for the annual trip to see our journal prepped, always fascinating.

Patricia  •  Link

" but I dare not reckon myself sure of it till I have it in my main"
I don't have a problem understanding this as "hand", but usually when Pepys launches into French he's talking about other body parts and activities. Here he just seems to be wary of counting his chickens before they're hatched.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"till i have it in my main"
Portuguese: mão, Spanish: mano = hand; according to Daniel Defoe, there were colleges that thought in Portuguese in Great Britain at the time.

Patricia  •  Link

Question: Do you think Pepys could read Chaucer without a "Coles Notes" sort of book to explain some of the words? Or was English too far advanced by that time?

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Question are notes needed? Samuell being familiar to the various dialects of London town amd he has spoken to many pof the literate and those of the inter land, he would not be hard put, in following the tales.
Changes from 1400 to 1660 be less than the changes from 1660 to 1920, now more speak with a uniform tone 1920 2007, my experience of changes in clarity.
[ except mine own]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Bess?! Look, my new Chaucer has been bound, clasped, and bossed!" Sam happily sets the new work down and heads for his closet to fetch something.

"I know the feeling, ma petite." she eyes the book.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Do you think Pepys could read Chaucer without a "Coles Notes" ...

The edition he purchased, Speght ed., 1602, lists the following apparatus on its title:-

"... 3 Sentences and prouerbes noted. 4 The signification of the old and obscure words prooued: also caracters shewing from what tongue or dialect they be deriued. 5 The Latine and French, not Englished by Chaucer, translated ..."

"Spoiler" L& M note to the following:-
Among other things, Sir J. Minnes brought many fine expressions of Chaucer, which he doats on mightily, and without doubt he is a very fine poet.…

" ... Pepys later made a small collection of Chaucer MSS; his collation of them with the edition of 1602 may be found inserted in the back of his copy. He came also to possess an engraved portrait of the poet."

If Pepys was able to collate in detail early MS to a heavily edited C17th. printed edition it seems to me clear that by that time he must have gained an extensive working facility with Chaucer's language.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

"...but I dare not reckon myself sure of it till I have it in my main, --[hand.]-- for these Lords are hard to be trusted...."
'main' has many conitations as OED shows;
BUT heres an entry for the purists:
[< Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French, French main hand < classical Latin manus (see MANUS n.1). With sense 2 cf. French main in sense 'small metal device for taking money across a counter' (attested late 17th to late 18th cent.), and also in such uses as denoting a shovel for cinders or embers.
For quot. 1688 at sense 1 cf. note s.v. MAINT a.
N.E.D. (1904) gives the pronunciation as (min) /men/.]

1. Heraldry. A hand.

[1307-27 in J. Parker Gough's Gloss. Terms Heraldry (1894) 305 Sire Johan de Coyners dazure ov la maunch dor e ove la meyn.]

1688 R. HOLME Acad. Armory I. 103/2 Our old English terms were..Maine for Hand. Meane Dexter for R. Hand.
2. A banker's shovel for coin.

a1877 E. H. KNIGHT Pract. Dict. Mech. II. 1375/2 Main, a banker's shovel for coin.

[Shortened < DEMESNE n. 8 (although the latter is attested somewhat later in attributive use); cf. MAINS n.]

Of or relating to a demesne; = DEMESNE n. 8. Esp. in main lands. Earliest in mainsheaf Obs., a sheaf of wheat from the demesne lands given by a feudal lord in acknowledgement of a service rendered by a vassal.

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

lots of ammo for spin mysters: liftings from OED:
main: from olde Saxon physical or mental strength. leading to force or power.

OED: I. Senses arising from the Old English word.

1. a. Physical strength, force, or power. Now only in with might and main: see MIGHT n.1 7b.

b. Power, virtue, efficacy, as embodied in something. Obs. OE
c. fig., and in immaterial applications. Obs. OE
2. A body of soldiers; a (military) force. Obs. OE

3. a. The most important part of some business, subject, argument, etc.; the chief matter or principal thing in hand. Cf. MAIN n.2 1b. Now regional.

1663 A. COWLEY Country Mouse 5 Frugal, and grave, and careful of the Main

8. a. A principal channel, duct, or conductor for conveying water, sewage, gas, or (usu. in pl.) electricity. Cf. MAIN a.2 5a, MAINSBORNE a. Also in pl.: the public supply of water, (or electricity, etc.) collectively. 1628:
it was also game of chance: a match between fighting cocks.
Here I see Samuell having a dig "for these Lords are hard to be trusted"

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Pepys and Chaucer -- more

Pepys later owned a copy of the 'second,' first illustrated, edition [Westminster, William Caxton 1483]; only 11 substantially complete copies survive and the Pepys' copy lacks only the leaf with Caxton's prologue.

If you wish to view the text SP saw there is a digital facsimile of this, and the 1477 edition, available on the British Library website, with a modern transcription available as a crib. On the second page of the preface to the 1483 edition ("prohemye," leaf a2v - you have to page backward from the apparent beginning of the facsimile to find this) you can read Caxton tell of a gentleman coming up to him complaining about the poor quality of his earlier text and offering to lend his father's better and more complete manuscript to prepare a more accurate edition. Plus ca change ...…

andy  •  Link

in my main, --[hand.]--

reminds me of the old Frankie Howard joke rhetorical question:

"Pretentious? Moi?"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...the 50l. my Lord hath promised me, but I dare not reckon myself sure of it till I have it in my main, --[hand.]-- for these Lords are hard to be trusted."

"Pepys? I am to understand that you expected money of me for this service you tender me?"

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"for these Lords are hard to be trusted"

Plus ca change, indeed.

Plus -- according to Terry's note (and, thus, L&M, whom we usually trust as definitive), discussions of "main" are moot, non?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Welcome, sir. I shall inform Mr. Povy that you are here. Yes, sir? I see the magnificence of the Povy home yet astounds you."

"Yes, quite." Sam stares round. "Tell me, how does he manage all this ?"

Sir...the doorman eyes him.

Right...If you can't guess, you don't ask...If you can, no need to ask. I do believe I'm beginning to catch on.

"Just a moment, sir."

Do not let him touch the paintings again...the doorman hisses in passing to a maid who takes up position by Sam's...Naturally, delightfully comfortable...Seat.

Hmmn...Ah, a book...Sam waits for the maid ...Hmmn, nice...Do wish I had more time...To be distracted and grabs a peek at the cover.

"The Way to be Rich."

Ha...Knew it.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my Lord Peterborough’s...getting of his money, wherein I am concerned in hopes of the 50l. my Lord hath promised me"

£600 was due to Peterborough from Tangier funds (Pepys to Vernatty, 11 June), so Pepys is not speculating. (Per L&M footnote)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Mr. Alsop and his company came and consulted about our Tangier victualling and brought it to a good head." Since he's the royal brewmaster, this is another Pepys pun!

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"my main" .... "usually when Pepys launches into French he's talking about other body parts and activities"

Yes but, for a bibliophile, covetously adding to one's book collection is such a guilty pleasure! :)

Louise Hudson  •  Link

The stationers' monopoly was the beginning of UK copyright. They were called stationers because they left their stalls (barrows, really) out in the street all night but tethered them - they were stationary. The vowel change came later.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: 'stationers'

‘stationer, n.1 < classical Latin statiōnārius (see stationary adj.), in its post-classical Latin use denoting a bookseller . . The probable direct adoption of the Latin word is accounted for by its early use in the context of the universities, where the stationarius was licensed and controlled by the academic authorities, whom he was sworn to obey.

1. a. A person who sells books; a bookseller; (in the Middle Ages) esp. one licensed by a university. Occasionally also: a printer, a bookbinder. Now hist. There is some overlap between the subsenses at sense 1, depending on the historical context (for example, a copyist might produce and sell manuscript copies, and a bookseller might sell writing materials).
. . 1625 G. Wither Scholars Purg. 116 An honest Stationer is he that exercizeth his Mystery (whether it be in printing, bynding or selling of Bookes) with more respect to the glory of God..then to his owne commodity . .

b. A person who publishes and sells books; a publisher. Now hist. . .

c. A scribe, a copyist. Now hist. and rare.
. . 1662 C. Wase Dict. Minus Librarius, a Stationer or Book writer (among the ancients). . .

d. A person or shop selling paper, pens, and other writing and office materials . . The sale of parchment, paper, pens, ink, etc., was originally a regular branch of the business of the ‘stationer’ or bookseller. The restriction of the term stationer to the seller of these articles is first evidenced in quot. 1656 . .
1656 T. Blount Glossographia often confounded with Book-seller, and sometimes with Book-binder; whereas they are three several Trades; the Stationer sells Paper and Paper-Books, Ink, Wax, etc. . . ‘

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