Wednesday 12 July 1665

After doing what business I could in the morning, it being a solemn fast-day1 for the plague growing upon us, I took boat and down to Deptford, where I stood with great pleasure an houre or two by my Lady Sandwich’s bedside, talking to her (she lying prettily in bed) of my Lady Jemimah’s being from my Lady Pickering’s when our letters come to that place; she being at my Lord Montagu’s, at Boughton. The truth is, I had received letters of it two days ago, but had dropped them, and was in a very extraordinary straite what to do for them, or what account to give my Lady, but sent to every place; I sent to Moreclacke, where I had been the night before, and there they were found, which with mighty joy come safe to me; but all ending with satisfaction to my Lady and me, though I find my Lady Carteret not much pleased with this delay, and principally because of the plague, which renders it unsafe to stay long at Deptford. I eat a bit (my Lady Carteret being the most kind lady in the world), and so took boat, and a fresh boat at the Tower, and so up the river, against tide all the way, I having lost it by staying prating to and with my Lady, and, from before one, made it seven ere we got to Hampton Court; and when I come there all business was over, saving my finding Mr. Coventry at his chamber, and with him a good while about several businesses at his chamber, and so took leave, and away to my boat, and all night upon the water, staying a while with Nan at Moreclacke, very much pleased and merry with her, and so on homeward, and come home by two o’clock, shooting the bridge at that time of night, and so to bed, where I find Will is not, he staying at Woolwich to come with my wife to dinner tomorrow to my Lady Carteret’s. Heard Mr. Williamson repeat at Hampton Court to-day how the King of France hath lately set out a most high arrest against the Pope, which is reckoned very lofty and high.1

19 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

On this day...

July 12/22, De Ruyter learns of the defeat at Lowestoft, and from Norwegian sailors that his passage from Ireland and the Faroes had been reported and that the English fleet were cruising in the hope of intercepting him.

(Life of Admiral De Ruyter by Blok)

dirk  •  Link

prate: verb (prat·ed, prat·ing), noun

–verb (used without object) 1. to talk excessively and pointlessly; babble: They prated on until I was ready to scream.

–verb (used with object) 2. to utter in empty or foolish talk: to prate absurdities with the greatest seriousness.

–noun 3. act of prating.

-noun 4. empty or foolish talk.

[Origin: 1375–1425; late ME praten (v.) < MD praeten. See prattle]

Source: Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.


"praten" still exists in modern Dutch with the same meaning.

CGS  •  Link

Prat or prate;
OED:prat [Cognate with early modern Dutch parte trick, prank (Dutch part; compare Middle Dutch pratte stubbornness,
Dutch prat pride (1567)) and (from a variant of the same base with i-mutation) Middle Dutch perte trick, stratagem (compare Dutch pret pleasure (c1600)),

German regional (Low German: East Friesland) pret pleasure,
Old Icelandic prettr trick,
Norwegian prette trick; further etymology uncertain. Compare PRETTY adj., PRAT adj.

A trick; a piece of trickery or fraud; a prank or practical joke.
prat-wrench n. Obs. a trick, trickery.
1. a. slang (orig. cant). In early use: a buttock. In later use: a person's bottom; the buttocks. Cf. PRATFALL n. 1.
2. Brit. slang. An idiot, a fool; an ineffectual or contemptible person.
[< PRATE v. Compare West Frisian praat, Middle Dutch praet (Dutch praat), Middle Low German (rare) pr{omac}t (German regional (Low German) praat, (East Friesland) prôt), Swedish prat (1732), Danish prat (17th cent.).]

The act or action of prating; talk; (in later use esp.) idle, profitless, or irrelevant talk; chatter, prattle; (also) an instance of this.

to prare
[App. < either Middle Dutch pr{amac}ten to babble, to speak (Dutch praten) or Middle Low German pr{omac}ten, pr{amac}ten to talk, to babble (German regional (Low German) praten, proten, (East Friesland) proten); further etymology uncertain, perhaps ult. of imitative origin. Compare West Frisian prate, Middle High German braten (early modern German praten), Icelandic prata, Norwegian prate, Swedish prata (1651), Danish prate; all app. < either Middle Low German or Dutch.
1. intr.

a. Of domestic poultry: to make a characteristic sound; spec. (of a cock) to crow (obs.); (of a hen) to cluck, esp. to make the loud clucking noise associated with laying an egg (regional in later use).
In origin perh. an extended use of sense 2, although recorded slightly earlier.
2. intr.

a. To talk or chatter; to speak foolishly, boastfully, or at great length, esp. to little purpose; to prattle.
Formerly also: to tell tales or inform against someone (obs.). Also fig.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...(she lying prettily in bed)..."

Hmmn...I wonder if Lord Sandwich sometimes found Sam's constant presence about Jemina and her affection for him just a bit irritating.

Lady Sandwich seems to be rather unconcerned about the plague as opposed to Lady Carteret.

Mary  •  Link

"and from before one, made it seven ere we got to Hampton Court"

Six hours pulling against the tide! You'd need at least a couple of 'sturdy rogues' for that trip. Presumably the tide would have been against them again for the return trip, unless they decided to cut their losses and wait for the next ebb tide to take them back to the city.

Mary  •  Link

[I] was in a very extraordinary straite....

Can't you just see Sam's panic? His whole reputation as a most reliable and valuable intermediary, agent and representative stands in jeopardy until the letters are found and delivered.

JWB  •  Link

Jansenists: "You can have your own opinions, but not your own facts."

Arret(Louis & Pope) v Jansenist: "Oh yes we can"

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

staying a while with Nan at Moreclacke, very much pleased and merry with her

Sam, that's where you dropped the letters last night, you ninny. Wasn't that warning enough? (Of course, if you are trying to close the mistress gap,m it all makes sense.)

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

prating Sam

There are times when our hero seems to dote on boudoir gossip as though he were one of the girls.

JWB  •  Link


Do you suppose Sam pronounced like he spelled the name of the place? Wikipedia give derivation from 'salmon stream'.- Lachs being German for salmon, A/S similar.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

To: Dutch High Command
From: Confidential agent code name "Nan"
Re: Recent operation to secure intelligence from British Navy Office

Mine Heers,

Subject Pepys, Clerk of the Acts for the Naval Office was targeted as susceptible based on observation (and how, "Nan" grins, writing) and was approached. The subject proved quite susceptible and encouraged a rendezvous at Moreclacke on the 11th. During the course of events subject revealed information as to antagonisms developing between the Lord High Admiral, His Grace the Duke of York and the Lord Sandwich, Edward Montagu. The Prince Rupert is also a party to these antagonisms which may prove important since it is likely he and Sandwich will soon share a joint command over the fleet, given the intention of the King to remove the Duke from operational command of the fleet for his safety. Subject also indicated serious problems in the administration of the Tangier colony, particularly regarding finances. I recommend investigation of the possibility of an approach to the members of the garrison. Finally, subject had on him letters of confidential though personal nature regarding a matrimonial alliance between the Montagu and Carteret families. The letters were temporarily held before being restored to the subject on the 12th and copies are enclosed. Given recent speculation as to the declining position of Montagu in the current regime this information may be of significance.

All efforts will be made to continue the operation as subject Pepys shows no indications of suspicion and considerable (and I means, considerable...The things I do for the Republic, "Nan" sighs) interest in continuing the relationship.

JWB  •  Link


Froude's "Lectures of the Council of Trent", Voltaire's "Age of Louis XIV" and Pascal's "Provincial Letters" were required undergraduate reading not so long ago. There are some places a young man's mind just did not want to go, but today an old man's mind might find them engaging if only he had the energy.

CGS  •  Link

'Tis is the age of speaking out writely[sic] or wrongly ; there be over 2 K reverends of the protesting group along with others of Roman flavouring and others that be trying to level the field and other socialistic tendances,, all asking for freedom of thought for themselves and trying to put a cork in the other mouths.

see previous discourse at……

The Jansenists de-emphasized free will and discounted the idea that Christ died for all men. Jansenism was not an organized sect, but more of a movement. ...

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Confidential agent code name “Nan”

The plot si, er, thickens

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Elizabeth Pepys is safely ensconced away from London on the Thames at Woolwich; My Lady Sandwich is on the Thames at Deptford, close in to London, where it is "unsafe to stay long." Is there a move of the latter in the offing, perhaps back to the Sandwich House Hinchingbrooke?!…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

*_____ _____ A form of Common Prayer, together with an order for fasting for the averting of Gods heavy visitation upon many places of this realm. The fast to be observ'd within the cities of London and Westminster and places adjacent, on Wednesday the twelfth of this instant July, and both there and in all parts of this realm, on the first Wednesday in every moneth during the visitation*. London: John Bill and Christopher Barker, 1665.

Benjamin Franklin had a copy of this and copies of similar documents in his library when he died (April 17, 1790)…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Benjamin Franklin had a copy of this

For those interested Franklin's copy is held now by 'The Library Company of Philadelphia', founded by Franklin in 1731 and America's first successful lending library and oldest cultural institution; now a great independent research Library. Among many others over the years it was used by the delegates to the first (1774) and second (1775/6) Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention of 1787.……

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the King of France hath lately set out a most high arrest against the Pope, which is reckoned very lofty and high."

L&M: Probably the arrêt of the Parlement (not the King), 13/23 June, forbidding the clergy to receive the anti-Jansenist papal bull of 5/15 February: see C. Gérin, Louis XIV. et le Saint Siège, ii. esp. pp. 7-8. Williamson was secretary yo Arlington.

arby  •  Link

Perhaps Sam killed some time with Nan waiting for the tide to turn, since they had to shoot the bridge at night. Not that I know which would be more dangerous, shooting the bridge with or against the tide.

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