Tuesday 4 April 1665

All the morning at the office busy, at noon to the ‘Change, and then went up to the ‘Change to buy a pair of cotton stockings, which I did at the husband’s shop of the most pretty woman there, who did also invite me to buy some linnen of her, and I was glad of the occasion, and bespoke some bands of her, intending to make her my seamstress, she being one of the prettiest and most modest looked women that ever I did see. Dined at home and to the office, where very late till I was ready to fall down asleep, and did several times nod in the middle of my letters.


21 Annotations

Jesse  •  Link

"the husband’s shop of the most pretty woman there, who did also invite me to buy"

I'm assuming the shop is a husband/wife operation. We've friends who own a jewelry store. Generally the wife tends new male customers and the husband female ones. An old, and obviously effective practice ("I was glad of the occasion, and bespoke some bands of her, intending to make her my seamstress"). Especially when the wife is "the most pretty woman there".

Bradford  •  Link

Can she sew?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Can she sew?"

Does anyone believe Mimi could afford a garret apartment in Paris on a seamstress' pay?

Anyway, this is one of the times in Sam's fumblings that I'm sure the intended had a good howl at his expense after he left. Lets hope Mr. Batelier (if it is the Bateliers' place) keeps close watch on our randy hero so that this one at least can remain a comedy.

DougS  •  Link

A lurker here . . . with a basic question: Sam's language sounds archaic when he writes, but I notice when he quotes people (not today, of course) their words sound much more contemporary to us -- not completely but much more so than how his written words read.

Why is this? Is it because the shorthand skews the language? Surely in our own time the written words follows pretty closely on the spoken; certainly it isn't as different as it seems to be with the Diary.

Thanks, and I've really enjoyed the site: the diary and some really great annotations, which I might add, will quite possibly form a significant addition to the Pepys record.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

A keen observation, DougS!

It's all written in the same cypher or shorthand. My own sense is that, though he quotes with care, as you say, he dashes off other descriptions of any day's doings with greater haste, and falls into certain conventions that are oft repeated -- as are his daily activities, e.g., today's "All the morning," "at noon to the ‘Change" and "Dined at home and to the office, where very late". He elides verbs in such passages in the Diary, but not in formal correspondence, as Jeannine's quotations from some of those letters in certain In-Depth Articles shows.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Yay lurkers, and well spotted on the archaic yet contemporary feel of the language. We all (you too) get used to the old language and feel it best in the old archaic. I still grind my teeth at the Episcopal Book Of Common Prayer of 1982 (I think) at its up to date language. What a comfort to go to crusty old Trinity Church in Boston and hear and slip into "we have followed too much the devices and desires of our hearts, and there is no health in us, but Thou, O Lord" etc, etc. Very soothing to hear the old ways as ye language once be spake. Anyone for Roman Catholic Mass in the Latin?
In the words of The Scottish Play (methinks), much good in this DougS, let us hear more. Oops, that was "As You Like It". Study enough of Shakespeare, and his speech seems very natural and better than the f....ing f f f I so often hear.

language hat  •  Link

"in our own time the written words follows pretty closely on the spoken"

Less so than you might think, but much more so than in previous periods, when writing -- even for your own eyes -- was seen as serious business, worthy of a higher form of language than everyday conversation. The striking thing is the fact that he does seem to try to quote people accurately, doubtless part of his nitpicking approach to life in general. (I use "nitpicking" in a positive sense, being a copyeditor by trade.)

DougS  •  Link

Thanks, guys . . . .

Language Hat: I have a sense you're onto it: We do, in fact -- now that you mention it -- speak distinctly differently than we write. The spoken language is always more "advanced" and tends to be less formal than the written -- more idiom, slang, short cuts, etc.

Sam is probably reverting to the formality of how he was taught to write the language (and how others wrote at this time, as well), with somewhat ossified usages that had come down from long in the past and existed in books he had read or in the voices/writing instruction of teachers striving to be "correct." But what he heard and used was more modern and would ("betimes"?!) become the new "standard" in an English language that is famous for change.

I've always imagined Sam talking to Elizabeth, Pen, etc., etc. in the kind of language he used in the Diary, but it's probably better to think of him sounding the way he reports conversations. Unfortunately, there is very little of that, and I don't quite have the imagination to translate a lot of the more archaic Diary language into more contemporary language as I read it.

But, then, Carl: You're right: There is a pleasure all its own in "hearing" and getting a grip on the somewhat foreign -- but still understandable -- language that Sam employs in the Diary. That's one of its many charms.

language hat  •  Link

Well said, Doug S. Please comment more often!

Pedro  •  Link

One that Dirk missed by the Rev Ralph?

This morning I saw the third blazing star northeast. it arose about 3 in morning, and ascending was taken from our sight by light. the stream direct upwards, the star ruddier and brighter than that of December 24 at night and the stream more luminous. this day I fetched all my wood from chadwells safely, yet near dangers, god caution me against sin.

dirk  •  Link

Yes, sorry Pedro, and thanks. I took a few days off, so I wasn't there in time to post.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

April 4: Lond: Commiss: to take order about some Prisoners sent from Cap: Allens ship, taken in the Solomon, viz. the brave Man who defended her so gallantly.

LKvM  •  Link

On the topic of spoken English v. the written language, Liza Pickard writes in *Restoration London* (p. 202) as follows:
"that mainstay of 'old-fashioned' English, the third person singular (he doth, she goeth), had disappeared from *spoken* English by 1653. 'Whensoever eth cometh in the end of any word, we may pronounce it sometimes like S and sometimes like Z.' "
Pickard attributes this quote to R. Hodges, *True-Writing*, London, 1653.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Jesse wrote: “I'm assuming the shop is a husband/wife operation.”

I doubt there were many husband/wife operations in Pepys’ time. The wife may have done most (or all) of the work, but the business would have belonged to the husband. I think Pepys was trying to say the shop of the husband of the “most pretty woman” but used an awkward sentence structure.

Bradford asked if she could sew. I suspect Pepys was not the least bit concerned with her sewing abilities.

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson:

"I doubt there were many husband/wife operations in Pepys’ time." Do you have any references or research to back that up?

My gut feel is in those days of zero social safety nets people did whatever they needed to in order to survive. If a wife had skills and enough time to make use of them it would be in the best interest of the couple to make use of them. Linens vendor/seamstress seems plausible to me. Maybe lodging/inn, cook-house or tavern, lots of possibilities. Yes, any such joint venture would be the property (and responsibility) of the husband but that was the way it was then, no amount of complaining today can change that history.

"I suspect Pepys was not the least bit concerned with [Mary Batelier's] sewing abilities."

Bit of a spoiler considering this is her first mention in the diary, but if you'd taken the time to visit her references page you would have found there is no mention of any impropriety up to its end, and Sam periodically buys linens from her. More importantly she ends up befriending he and Bess, and over time becomes a regular visitor to her. As I read it, over time Bess spends much more time than Sam with her - she can thank Sam for the introduction.

Even today it's not a sin for a man to admire a pretty and friendly woman.

Matt Newton  •  Link

Admire, yes. Covert, no.
And Sam has a track record of coverting.
He could covert for London.

I took the sewing reference to be ironic.

Good thoughts and comments here.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I doubt there were many husband/wife operations in Pepys’ time."

Pepys knew/knew of many business women. According to J.D. Davies, the Navy and the dockyards were places of employment for women:

Elspeth Browne was one of the owners of the Scottish privateer Margaret,
while Anne and Mary Powlet received letters of marque and reprisal (authorizing them to fit out a privateer) to avenge their dead husbands and reclaim some of the £21,000 of losses that the Dutch had allegedly cost them.

In 1653 Joan Chudleigh ran her late husband’s shipwright’s business at Kinsale, and gave the navy estimates for warship repair;

Mary Harrison was a ship painter at Portsmouth for over 20 years from 1676.

Margaret Browne was the chief supplier of lead to the Deptford yard in 1659,
while in later years ‘widow Braman’ was the lockmaker at Deptford,

and Martha Bradford and ‘Widow Evans’ were the keeper and water-carrier of the payhouse at Chatham.

Susanna Beckford was the supplier of ships’ iron work to both Deptford and Woolwich dockyards, having carried on her husband’s business after his death in 1675; her letters show she was well educated.

Anne Pearson had the least ‘ladylike’ job of all – during the 1670s she had the official contract for poisoning the rats at Deptford and Woolwich dockyards,
see http://hoydensandfirebrands.blogspot.com.au/201...

PLUS:
http://mercuriuspoliticus.wordpress.com/
Many women played a significant role in trades related to books and printing but their roles are obscured by the slender surviving evidence. Even where evidence survives, it has to be read carefully. The terms in which female printers are described by contemporaries underplay their importance. Jane Coe was no exception. The English Short Title Catalogue lists over 70 titles printed with either “Jane Coe”, “I. Coe” or “J. Coe” on the imprint. In the main, these were short quartos: printed versions of letters, satirical pieces accompanied by woodcuts, news pamphlets giving accounts of battles and negotiations, and above all newsbooks. However, we know little about Jane.

And don't forget Pepys' admiration for Sarah Green Bland, the wife of merchant John Bland to whom Pepys went in December 1662 to discuss supplies for Tangier. After business was over, Pepys stayed on to eat and drink 'very merrily'. He commented, 'but above all, pleased to hear Mrs. Bland talk like a merchant in her husband's business very well; and it seems she doth understand it and perform a great deal'.

In 1664 Pepys was once again 'fain to admire the knowledge and experience of Mrs. Bland, who I think as good a merchant as her husband" (p 380-381). http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/12/31/

Men took credit for their wives' work. Only when they became widows did they have any hope of being recognized.

RSGII  •  Link

Interesting piece re role of women. Suggest put a copy in Encyclopedia.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I would be happy to, but there are two issues. Firstly, this annotation is not about Samuel Pepys. Secondly, the Pepys Encyclopedia's last listing offers "Jobs and Professions", subsections "Doctors", "Domestic Servants" and "Lawyers", where none of these professional women belong. I do not see an in-depth subject or catch-all where we can helpfully post random 17th century female work information. If Phil Gifford were to add a subsection like "Women Business Owners" that would be another matter. Thank you for thinking the information worthy of inclusion.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘Matt Newton on 5 Apr 2018 ‘Admire, yes. Covert, no.
And Sam has a track record of coverting.
He could covert for London.’ (sic)

‘covet, v. < Old French . .
†2. a. To desire with concupiscence or with fleshly appetite. Obs. (or merged in sense 3).
. . 1484   Caxton tr. G. de la Tour-Landry Bk. Knight of Tower(1971) lvi. 82   Sychem..sawe her so faire that he coueyted her . .

3. a. To desire culpably; to long for (what belongs to another). (The ordinary sense.)
. . 1611   Bible (King James) Exod. xx. 17   Thou shalt not couet thy neighbours house, thou shalt not couet thy neighbours wife..nor any thing that is thy neighbours.’

(OED)

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