Thursday 17 November 1664

Up and to my office, and there all the morning mighty busy, and taking upon me to tell the Comptroller how ill his matters were done, and I think indeed if I continue thus all the business of the office will come upon me whether I will or no.

At noon to the ’Change, and then home with Creed to dinner, and thence I to the office, where close at it all the afternoon till 12 at night, and then home to supper and to bed.

This day I received from Mr. Foley, but for me to pay for it, if I like it, an iron chest, having now received back some money I had laid out for the King, and I hope to have a good sum of money by me, thereby, in a few days, I think above 800l. But when I come home at night, I could not find the way to open it; but, which is a strange thing, my little girle Susan could carry it alone from one table clear from the ground and set upon another, when neither I nor anyone in my house but Jane the cook-mayde could do it.

15 Annotations

First Reading

Pauline  •  Link

"my little girle Susan could carry it alone ...Jane the cook-mayde could do it."

All the lifting and scubbing of the house will come upon them whether they will or no. Strong young women, who sleep soundly at the end of the day.

jeannine  •  Link

“The Navy White Book” from “Samuel Pepys and the Second Dutch War” (transcribed by Matthews and Knighton, edited by Latham)

Nov 17. 1664.

Computation of Mr. Chr. Pett and Mr. Shish of the charge per ton of building a 2nd-, 3rd-, 4th-rate ship and a ketch. [Sam had a little table which can’t be duplicated in the annotation properly and it won't align well either, but the info follows ~~note that rates are per ton]

Rate £. s. d.

2 ……… 11.00. 00
3 ……….. 8.00.00
4 ………. 7.00.00
ketch…… 5.00.00

jeannine  •  Link

And a word of advice to Sam --don't mess with Susan or Jane or you'll be history sooner than you already are!

Terry F  •  Link

An iron chest that's to serve as a safe is hardly secure if a little girl....

Robert Gertz  •  Link

But with Susan and Jane to mount guard...God help the thief.

Now I believe I see why Sam did not press matters with Gervais' assistant Jane.

Australian Susan  •  Link

" ..I could not find the way to open it..."

As with all new technology - ask the younger generation - bet the boy could open it (and program the DVD recorder today).

Bradford  •  Link

It will be heavier once it's fully loaded with pelf. (Recently saw this world categorized as obsolete, poetic, and forgotten. But I bet all of you recognize it.)

JWB  •  Link

"...neither I nor anyone in my house..."

What the new boy couldn't lift it? Bet Wayneman could'a done it. Sam probably too timid to try, fearing opening his incision or fearing the example of his father's rupture or fearing failure before house full of women.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...and taking upon me to tell the Comptroller how ill his matters were done..."

Whatever happened to the bad ole days' habit of hiring goons to deal with such upstart commoners? I would think Sir John rather put out if Sam really did confront him as he suggests.

Or perhaps he put it in another letter.

"November the 16th, 1664.

My dear Sir John,

People of all situations, Sir John, have informed me..."

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"Pelf", eh? The word seems to predate our Sam's era. It's a middle English word, certainly used in the 11th century. Originally meant "booty" and Bradford seems to have that connotation in mind. The Random House Unabridged says "money or wealth, esp. when regarded with contempt or acquired by reprehensible means."

Was it in common use in the 17th? One of you with access to the OED can no doubt provide the answer.

SusannaG  •  Link

I just checked the OED, and yes, the word "pelf" was still in use (there's a citation from 1656 and more well into the 19th century).

Paul Dyson  •  Link


New to me, but presumably connected with "pilfering".

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I think this is the first time Pepys has had an extra-marital encounter and not had a temper tantrum within the next couple of days. I suppose this is an improvement.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘pelf’

‘pelf, n. . . < Anglo-Norman pelfre . .
. . 3. Chiefly depreciative. Money, riches (esp. viewed as a corrupting influence); lucre.
. . 1656 Bp. J. Hall Shaking of Olive-tree (1660) ii. 203 Ye rich men cannot think to carry your pelfe with you into Heaven . . ‘

‘pilfer’ is from the same source.


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