Thursday 15 September 1664

At the office all the morning, then to the ’Change, and so home to dinner, where Luellin dined with us, and after dinner many people came in and kept me all the afternoon, among other the Master and Wardens of Chyrurgeon’s Hall, who staid arguing their cause with me; I did give them the best answer I could, and after their being two hours with me parted, and I to my office to do business, which is much on my hands, and so late home to supper and to bed.

36 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"the Master and Wardens of Chyrurgeon's Hall, who staid arguing their cause with me;"

Almost a fortnight ago (3 September) Mr. Hollier (as a Warden of the Worshipful Company of Barber-Surgeons) was the first to attempt to get Pepys (as Clerk of the Acts for the Navy Board) to sign off on a scheme that Navy ships would hire such ships' surgeons and buy such surgical goods as the Company of Barber-Surgeons should propose. Big arm-twisting going on today. In vain.…

jeannine  •  Link

"Big arm-twisting going on today"

Thanks for the memory refresh Terry. It seems like life will be either having your arm twisted or twisting someone else's---all in a day's work!

Cum grano salis  •  Link

"...where Luellin dined with us,..."
wonder what this lad has been up to?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... where Luellin dined with us, ..."

Perhaps his reappearance at table means Mr Deering is discussing another contract with the Navy.

"... Luellin for his kindness about Deering's 50l. which he procured me the other day of him. "…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... the Master and Wardens of Chyrurgeon's Hall, who staid arguing their cause with me ..."

Perhaps, like almost every other supplier, they ought just to have offered SP the cash for him to discover that they were acting in the King's best interest.

Pedro  •  Link


Some info from Gentlemen and Tarpaulins by J. D. Davies...

"The surgeon, like the commissioned officers, served only for the duration of the active service of the ship...

Surgeons were examined at the Barber-Surgeons' Hall and appointed by Admiralty board warrants, but disputes between the two authorities over their respective jurisdictions occurred regularly, and captains were often able to take advantage of the lack of qualified surgeons to appoint their own, often unworthy, nominees..."

jeannine  •  Link

"Journal of the Earl of Sandwich" edited by R.C. Anderson

(and a slight spolier for tomorrow)

15th. Thursday took physic
16th. Friday took physic

Carl in Boston  •  Link


Eleven of us met at the Union Oyster House: Jeanninne, Ed, Diana, Mary, Lisa,
Ed, Neil, Tony, Jodi, Carl, and Barbara. Four of us are serious annotators, and
brought fraternal greetings from four other annotators. There seem to be 20
usual annotators. I am told that 10,000 people tune in every day to read the
diary, and two of them were at the table and both independently called
themselves lurkers. That means there are 9,980 lurkers out there thirsting to
read what happened. There were two spouses at the table who do not read the
diary. Thus there are 9,000 spouses who haven't got a clue about this. There
were numerous sidebars up and down the table, I can only report a couple useful ones I heard at my end.

Several of the annotators not present were named and discussed with affection,
all of them, and the meanings of their curious email handles were discussed. On yonder Book, an oath I took, to keep the secrets of their email addresses and their real names. And would I break it? No, not I, but by this, and by this,
and by this, keep hidden and inviolate the secrets of their names.

The subject was floated that we all get a little nervous at the reception we
will get after we post an annotation. I myself have not been flamed, and
appreciate it. Some have received some crisp and "acerbic" remarks from other
commentators, known to be very serious annotators but very lovable and
gentle people, known personally to the recipient. Such "acerbic" remarks were taken with a good grace and in the knowledge that professorial people can be "acerbic", and there is no personal slight intended. Nay rather, the "acerbator" would jump forth to apologize for fifteen minutes if he had known his "acerbism" would have caused some hurt. The Reverend Mister Collins of Pride and Prejudice comes to mind in this regard. So I'm happy, you're happy, and everyone is happy.

It was good to see that everyone jumped in and talked with a good bit of
knowledge and a lot of interest, all about Samuel Pepys. Spouses and lurkers
were jumping in in there too. So what do Pepysians talk about when they are at
table? Samuel Pepys, and that as if he were in the next room.

Yes, oysters were eaten, and a couple bottles of Sancerre wine selected by Ed
were downed with help from four other glass holders. There were proper pints of ale drunk, and some Indian pudding eaten (an American dish, quite unique). Oyster chowder, very good, but a light meal all told. The Sancerre had a mild, full, lush flavor and went well with the fish, just as Ed said it would. The bill for dinner with tip came to $25 per person (x 11 = $275). It wasn't Championship Eating, but very nice. We had a couple of toasts to Samuel Pepys, and more than once it was asked, what have the Londoners been doing?

People were asked, how did you get interested in Samuel Pepys? I was studying
for a PhD in Chemistry at MIT from 1966 to 1970, (and got it), and from time to
time seated in an upholstered easy chair in the undergraduate library would look over at the collection of books two feet away from the estate of an MIT Professor of English. Anon I would stretch forth my hand and take one of
the 21 volumes of Ye Compleat Samuel Pepys, and drink.

We talked about the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1911, and the Wheatley edition of 1893, and we believe these are used because they are beyond copyright and
in the public domain. It was also advanced that the 1911 Encyclopedia is the
most perfect edition ever done, declining in quality to these degenerate times when standards are falling and there is a need for a call to quality once again.

Jodi and I were asked about Pepys' tune "Beauty Retire" . We are both pipe
organists, she in churches and I not in churches. We think Beauty Retire is a hot lick from an amateur. I read it off the oil painting once and thought
it was a lame tune. To be a gentleman amateur is not to be a professional,
but to have fun with the playing and never mind if the audience thinks you stink. That's what went on recently with Pepys throwing a professional out of his library band.
Jeannine gave me a copy of the tune, and I just played it on the organ. It's a four bar blues lick, needs to be repeated and end on the tonic, then it comes out fine. It's typical of the period, and sounds like St James Infirmary. Actually it's pretty good. Done. I'll play it in Masonic Lodges where someone is walking a short distance and an eight bar blues would fit. The copy Jeannine gave me has a classical accompaniment and it would sound dreary as written. It needs to be taken as a Mick Jagger blues.

Poetry was read. Ed read from John Updike, most advanced poetry indeed.
To Luck by W. S. Merwin was read.
"Tis the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" didn't get read.
Jeannine read from the Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sept 11, 1664.
She had a clear speaking voice that carried well, and she got into the part.
We were finally seated all at one table, the sun shone over her shoulder through
the long window of the Upper Room, and the Dream came true.

We will meet again, in one year, at The Tavern Room of The Wayside Inn, Sudbury Mass. Until then, we have been broadcasting around the world, this is Carl In Boston, wishing you all a pleasant Good Evening.

Bradford  •  Link

"Sentiments to which every [Pepys-loving] bosom returns an echo": thanks to Carl in Boston, and his fellow-revelers, for standing proxy to all posters and lurkers present only, alas, in spirit.

When Tomalin's biography appeared in the States, one reviewer proposed that Pepys was nearly forgotten. Today, if one reads periodicals of any sort, you can run across Our Sam almost every day, even in such unlikely resorts as "USA Today."

And to make these remarks relevant to this day's entry, let's quote from the current "New York Review of Books" on the entertwined British Navy and shipbuilding industry, speaking of a period sixty years later but one which Pepys would still recognize:

"Shipwrights did not qualify as gentlemen or their wives as ladies. But they were part of the respectable working class, and high enough to cherish thoughts of climbing higher. Not to cherish such hopes, in a world where kinship and friendship networks drove a system geared by kickbacks and gratuities, would have been thought peculiar."

And yes, at the bottom of the column Pepys himself appears. (Edmund S. Morgan and Marie Morgan, "A Very Satisfied Survivor," 27 Sept. 2007 NYRB 57.) Next year, in Lond and Boston and elsewhere!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Carl In Boston, wishing you all a pleasant Good Evening.

Thank you, Carl, for the prompt dispatch; relieving the curiosity, but exciting the envy, of one who was present in spirit only. Congratulations and warm regards.

"I am told that 10,000 people tune in every day to read the diary, ..."
This is a boggling achievement on Phil's part: to have created such an institution in electronic broadcast form, yet to retain some of the sense of intimacy of an early salon.

" ... a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring hostess or host, partly to amuse one another and partly to refine their taste and increase their knowledge through conversation and readings, often consciously following Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "to please and educate" (aut delectare aut prodesse est). The term is commonly associated with French literary and philosophical gatherings of the 17th century and 18th century, though the practice continues today in many cities around the world. ..."…

Terry F  •  Link

And today, by happy chance, Samuel Pepys is hosting a post-meridian salon!!

language hat  •  Link

Thanks very much for the report: I wish I could have been there, but I was thinking of you all!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Wish I could have been with you! Had a glass of excellent Semillion Blanc in Sam's honour and toasted you all last night!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hmmn...So all those folks came to the house rather than the office, since Sam mentions getting to the office later. Whatever became of the days when young Mr. Pepys grumbled at Sir Will Batten's practice of having merchants visit at his home? Certainly interesting that they all seem to feel their chances are better if they catch Sam at home rather than at the office.

Would be interesting to tally off the folks as they enter...Perhaps Hewer might have done the service.

Afternoon visits, September the 16th.

Merchant...Barber-surgeon...Barber-surgeon...Sailor demanding pay (out you go, fellow)...Barber-surgeon...Old friend of Mr. P...Pembleton (Hey!)...Barber-surgeon...Old friend of Mrs. P. (?-Note from Mr. P. to determine fellow's background, note length of stay)...Merchant...Sir John Minnes wondering at the crowd...Merchant...Man leering at Mrs. P...Waterman, friend of Jane (chased out of kitchen)...That officious twit Penn just out of France back yet again (edit entry before handing to Mr. P)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Correction Sept the 15th, (edit)

...Barber-surgeon...That odd fellow Maes...Merchant...Sailor back again (chased off by Mr. P.)...Idiot fop Penn still hanging round, kissed Mrs. P.'s hand twice...Merchant...Mr. Hunt to discuss music session...Merchant...Leering man back again, turned out to be Mr. P's uncle...Mr. Hayter with note from Mr. Coventry...Leaving with Mr. P for office (Moron Penn still hanging round)...

Nix  •  Link

Carl in Boston -- thanks for the report. It sounds like a the kind of convivial event Samuel would have enjoyed. Though I trust no one pawed the serving lasses in the back stairs.

Cum grano salis  •  Link

Nix ; Boston it be Puritan country not Casa Blanca London.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Actually CGS, that's why the pawing in my own dear Boston is done on the back stairs. Model of Brahmin (or IC) purity and forebearance in the front parlor; slip off to ole Scullay Square (sadly reformed long ago) or Revere Beach with the kitchen wench as soon as the guests leave. Toss in the cultural and scientific establishments and had he arrived there especially in the nineteenth century Sam would have found Boston quite congenial. Except for all us damned Irish of course.

Cum grano salis  •  Link

RG Now I know how Downing got his bad habits of sneaking down the back stairs in search of secrets.

Bradford  •  Link

IC stands for Identity Card, say my EU correspondents, though Mr. Gertz's usage may differ. Typo perhaps for PC?

Mary  •  Link

The mention of Brahmins calls to mind the 'Heaven Born' of the pre-independence Indian Civil Service, but that was abbreviated to ICS.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Yes! The ICS! I remember my father being very impressed by a boy I knew at University simply because his father had been in the ICS - cast an aura of glamour. You had to be very bright to pass the exacting exams (and know the right people).

Cum grano salis  •  Link

The last UK appointments to the ICS were made in 1942. ... Records of East India College, Haileybury,

Pedro  •  Link

ICS...You had to be very bright to pass the exacting exams (and know the right people).

Competition wallah [1856], an East India Company official selected by examination;

And all the other wallahs...…

pepf  •  Link

"Robert: What’s IC?"

No reply - so we'll have to ask the explanation wallah
or surmise the model of purity and forbearance was drawn from Greek or Latin sources lacking the letter J, as any amen-wallah would tell us.

Background Lurker  •  Link

Robert: What’s IC?”

Pepf I suspect that amen-wallehs were involved but the source was Gaelic rather than Greek or Latin. I understand there might be one or two people of Irish Catholic descent in Boston.

Mary  •  Link

Let's keep asking. RG, what's IC?

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I understand there might be one or two people of Irish Catholic descent in Boston."

And even among the posters there drinking his health! (I wot he'd enjoy them.)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Whatever became of the days when young Mr. Pepys grumbled at Sir Will Batten's practice of having merchants visit at his home?"

Apart from the obvious benefit of lack of scrutiny and ease of getting a nice cup of tea for the guest, I suspect the office was pretty noisy and crowded these days. Pepys grumbles that they are not doing enough to prepare for the coming war, but I note he tries to be out each afternoon, and works there in the evenings and on weekends (when everyone else is home?). If you're trying to get something done, it's easier in a quiet place.

JayW  •  Link

My thanks to our original first post from Terry F for the reminder about the visit from Mr Holliard on 3 September. I'd overlooked it on the day as so much was said about the proposed meeting with Jane!

Tonyel  •  Link

"after their being two hours with me parted, and I to my office to do business,"
Not sure if this has been discussed before, but it seems to me that Sam distinguishes between "the office" and "my office" quite often.
In today's entry I read it that he returned to the Navy office after dinner and met with the surgeons. When they finally left he went to his own office (presumably a room in his house) and did some more, private work.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Tonyel, what to make of entries like 26 September 1664?

"At noon, after dinner, to the ‘Change, and thence home to my office again, where busy, well employed till 10 at night, and so home to supper and to bed"

In the Navy Office Pepys seems to have a cubicle in the side of which he had a hole drilled from which he could spy on who was outside. "My office"?

Would that Pepys were more consistent.

Tonyel  •  Link

Terry, my image of the Navy Office is of a large room full of clerks, Sam's executive office to one side (complete with hole in the wall) and a meeting room where the grandees assemble for board meetings. I can't imagine he keeps potentially damaging information (diary, personal accounts, bribes & commissions) in such a vulnerable place. They would be safer in a private office where he expects to be undisturbed.
I have no evidence to offer for this beyond " it's what I would do in his shoes".

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Tomyel, your image of the Navy Office is like mine, but I would add a table on one side at which the Principal Officers sat when listening to supplicants / proposers / contractors, et al., when they "sat".

I recall (but at the cannot find) diary entries in which SP says he went to the office of an evening to enter several days; diary entries.

Everybody watch for these entries to see if he speaks of a room in his flat or the Navy Office across the way. The diary would be insecure: some clerks (Hewer) and some of Pepys's colleagues (e.g. Coventry) also used the Shelton shorthand:….

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