Thursday 8 December 1664

Up, and to my office, where all the morning busy. At noon dined at home, and then to the office, where we sat all the afternoon. In the evening comes my aunt and uncle Wight, Mrs. Norbury, and her daughter, and after them Mr. Norbury, where no great pleasure, my aunt being out of humour in her fine clothes, and it raining hard. Besides, I was a little too bold with her about her doating on Dr. Venner. Anon they went away, and I till past 12 at night at my office, and then home to bed.

11 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

From the Carte Calendar - Sandwich is sent more mail

William Coventry to Sandwich
Written from: [St James's]

Date: 8 December 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 265-266
Document type: Holograph

Has received his Lordship's letter of 5th inst. and did accordingly propose to the King in Council "the matter of the Guinea Fleet's proceeding, but no resolution was taken" thereupon. There have been reports of the Dutch having taken some ships from Newcastle, but, says the writer, "I scarce believe it true, as yet". Adds long particulars of the preparation of various ships for Sea; and communicates several naval advices. ...…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I was a little too bold with her about her doating on Dr. Venner"

Is this a payback for her husband(Uncle Wight)'s "doating on" Elizabeth Pepys?

Martha Wishart  •  Link

It's good to know that uncomfortable family dinners are not a new phenomenon. This entry is so wonderfully evocative...the aunt in her uncomfortable new dress bristling at Sam's teasing.

cape henry  •  Link

Evocative indeed. One of the things that jump out from time to time is the more direct relationship to the elements people of every class had until recently. Those who supported the Pepys' lifestyle, drivers, link boys, boatmen and the like, would have spent a goodly percentage of their lives wet. For those like Sam who walked a good deal, or rode in open conveyances, the weather would also been a constant and remorseless presence. While many of us may have experienced this sort of thing temporarily, camping and so forth, it is difficult to imagine living so exposed, whatever the season.

cgs  •  Link

"the aunt in her uncomfortable new dress"... missing words be the soaking wet new dress.,

Oh! how the ladies hate to see a new item, spoiled. 'Twas the norm for most, until the oil and gas was available to all of the land and rationing be no longer the norm , just that silly little gas fire on the meter and one had to hang up ones drenched clothing around this object d'arte. and watch the steam rising , the shoes squelching and leaving a trail like ones favourite snail. Even those that had the pennies got caught trying to get from the Hansome to thy front door. Macs and ground sheets rarely protected one from get a good drenching with that fine drizzle as well suffering from those famous cats and doggs downpour.
sweet memories of early 20 th C.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"my aunt being out of humor"
She dressed very nice,went to the dinner hoping to be at the center of all the attention,flirts with Dr Venner,is rebuked by body language by Sam,raining hard outside;I would be out of humour too.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I would guess Dr. Venner, popular physician, was not actually present or Sam would have mentioned it. My feeling is Aunt as a well-to-do woman has been indulging in the game of frequent visits to London's current doctor darling, no doubt a charmer who pays her the attention and little complements dear ole Uncle is far too busy (seeking women to take up his indecent proposal) to offer. Sam has caught wind of it and enjoyed a little teasing.

It may also suggest Aunt is not comfortable visiting with the Pepys. Perhaps she's sensed her husband's overinterest in Bess or has known for some time and is tired of watching his foolish attempts to cozy up to his pretty young niece-in-law.

Mary  •  Link

'and it raining hard'
No wonder Aunt Wight is out of humour. If her fine clothes are made of silk, plush or velvet the chances are that they have 'spotted' badly in the rain. The plush or velvet will have to be carefully steamed and brushed to bring it back into good condition and the silk will need careful sponging and pressing. Moreover, there are likely to be mud-stains (or worse) from the dirty streets.

In an age when most people expected their clothes to do service for many years, this sort of running maintenance was a time-consuming business.

jeannine  •  Link

‘and it raining hard’

Help for the ladies during rainstorms is on its way, but not to become ‘streamline’ for a few more years, AND, from an unusual source ~~~Queen Catherine!

“....the umbrella, which had first been noticed in England among Catherine’s Portuguese possessions, was still an ‘exotic’ novelty. Originally built for shade (Latin ‘umbra’) in its native India, the climate of England changed it from a bit of elegance into a large oil-soaked necessity.”

From “Richer Than Spices” by Gertrude Thomas, page 152

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Parasols and umbrellas were introduced to France and England in the 17th-century by Jesuits who had visited East Asia.

On 22 June 1664, John Evelyn mentioned in his diary a collection of Father Thompson S.J., who had been in China and Japan. Among the artifacts were “fans like those our ladies use, but much larger, and with long handles, strangely carved and filled with Chinese characters” – parasols.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’umbrella’:

‘umbrella, n. < Italian . .
1. a. A light portable screen or shade, usually circular in form and supported on a central stick or staff, used in hot countries as a protection for the head or person against the sun.
1611 T. Coryate Crudities sig. Lv Many of them doe carry other fine things.., which they commonly call in the Italian tongue vmbrellaes... These are made of leather something answerable to the forme of a little cannopy & hooped in the inside with diuers little wooden hoopes that extend the vmbrella in a prety large compasse.

2. A portable protection against bad weather, made of silk or similar material fastened on slender ribs, which are attached radially to a stick and can be readily raised so as to form a circular arched canopy.
1634 T. Herbert Relation Some Yeares Trauaile 149 A Shagg or Yopangee which riding serues [in Persia] as an Vmbrella against raine.
1716 J. Gay Trivia i. 14 Good houswives..underneath th'Umbrella's oily Shed, Safe thro' the wet on clinking Pattens tread . . ‘


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