Monday 17 July 1665

Up all of us, and to billiards; my Lady Wright, Mr. Carteret, myself, and every body. By and by the young couple left together. Anon to dinner; and after dinner Mr. Carteret took my advice about giving to the servants, and I led him to give 10l. among them, which he did, by leaving it to the chief man-servant, Mr. Medows, to do for him. Before we went, I took my Lady Jem. apart, and would know how she liked this gentleman, and whether she was under any difficulty concerning him. She blushed, and hid her face awhile; but at last I forced her to tell me. She answered that she could readily obey what her father and mother had done; which was all she could say, or I expect. So anon I took leave, and for London. But, Lord! to see, among other things, how all these great people here are afeard of London, being doubtfull of anything that comes from thence, or that hath lately been there, that I was forced to say that I lived wholly at Woolwich. In our way Mr. Carteret did give me mighty thanks for my care and pains for him, and is mightily pleased, though the truth is, my Lady Jem. hath carried herself with mighty discretion and gravity, not being forward at all in any degree, but mighty serious in her answers to him, as by what he says and I observed, I collect. To London to my office, and there took letters from the office, where all well, and so to the Bridge, and there he and I took boat and to Deptford, where mighty welcome, and brought the good newes of all being pleased to them. Mighty mirth at my giving them an account of all; but the young man could not be got to say one word before me or my Lady Sandwich of his adventures, but, by what he afterwards related to his father and mother and sisters, he gives an account that pleases them mightily. Here Sir G. Carteret would have me lie all night, which I did most nobly, better than ever I did in my life, Sir G. Carteret being mighty kind to me, leading me to my chamber; and all their care now is, to have the business ended, and they have reason, because the sicknesse puts all out of order, and they cannot safely stay where they are.

17 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"But, Lord! to see, among other things, how all these great people here are afeard of London, being doubtfull of anything that comes from thence, or that hath lately been there, that I was forced to say that I lived wholly at Woolwich."

Has this changed much? (for "London" substitute "New York" on the west side of the Pond)

"doubtfull" = "suspicious"

Samuel  •  Link

Ruben, thanks for yesterday’s explanation.

jeannine  •  Link

Terry, I am reading the Moote book "The Great Plague" which has been discussed a little bit on the site (and is an exceptional book!). What is amazing to me is that Sam, compared to other writers of the time, is rather mellow about the whole plague situation. I think that’s what he is referring to in terms of the fear of London. In the book they have an interesting footnote about a psychoanalyst who wrote an article about the Diary, giving his perspective on Sam. During the plague year, the footnote mentions that Sam acting under a ‘fear-of-death” point of view during this time, thus his dalliances, etc. (Of note—I have not found on the web anywhere a good explanation of that the ‘fear-of-death’ syndrome implies from a psychoanalytic view). He does not seem to record the level of concern, fear and despondence of others who are witnessing and/or caring for others who have been touched by the plague. I’d suggest this book to anyone as it follows the plague from the human perspective (as opposed to just tracking the scientific germs, etc,). And, to add to the fun, I have tracked down the psychoanalyst’s article and once I get it, that may add a fun little dimension about our pal Sam!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I suspect that Sam has simply been so busy and so focused on his own business and the Carteret-Montagu affair that he hasn't had time to fully realize the uniqueness of the situation as compared to other bouts with disease and plague in the past. And the worst by far hasn't hit yet. Soon even he is going to have take a bit more notice.

CGS  •  Link

more on indoor game of hoops
1. A game played with small solid ivory balls on a rectangular table having a smooth cloth-covered horizontal surface, the balls being driven about, according to the rules of the game, by means of long tapering sticks called cues.

1591 SPENSER M. Hubberd 803 With all the thriftles games that may be found..With dice, with cards, with balliards.

1598 FLORIO, Trucco, a kinde of play with balles vpon a table, called billiards.

1606 SHAKES. Ant. & Cl. II. v. 3 Let it alone, let's to billards.
1611 COTGR., Billiard, a short and thicke trunchion, or cudgell: hence..the sticke wherewith we touch the ball at billyards.
a1637 B. JONSON Celebr. Charis, And cheek..Smooth as is the *billiard-ball.
1677 EVELYN Mem. 10 Sept., The gallery is a pleasant, noble room: in the..middle, is a billiard-table.

Mary  •  Link

"I collect"

Sam uses this expression in much the same contexts as a modern speaker might use the words "I gather."

i.e. no-one has delivered the information etc. in terms, but the speaker has drawn together relevant statements/actions and reached this (possibly tentative) conclusion.

AussieRene  •  Link

"mighty"...I do not recall our mate Sam using this word as often in any other entry but I stand to be corrected.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"In our way Mr. Carteret did give me mighty thanks for my care and pains for him, and is mightily pleased, though the truth is, my Lady Jem. hath carried herself with mighty discretion and gravity, not being forward at all in any degree, but mighty serious in her answers to him, ..."

SP seems 'mightily' chuffed; carried away by the success of his role and over the past few weeks and the many and 'mighty' evidences of his social acceptance by the ancient, well connected and influential Cartarets -- a wealthy and 'mighty' clan.

C.J.Darby  •  Link

"I collect" as in I recollect.

language hat  •  Link

"I collect"

This is not the same as "recollect." OED:

5. To form a conclusion, draw an inference; to conclude, deduce infer. Now rare, the current word being "gather". a. with obj. phr., subord. clause, or inf.
1581 LAMBARDE Eiren. IV. xxi. 622 Hereof also M. Marrow collecteth, that.. only eight of them shall receiue the wages. 1646 SIR T. BROWNE Pseud. Ep. VI. i. 277 Clemens Alexandrinus collecteth the time from Adam unto the death of Commodus to be 5858 years. ... a1661 FULLER Worthies I. 240, I collect him to have died about the year 1635. 1671 MILTON P.R. IV. 524 By all best conjectures, I collect Thou art to be my fatal enemy. ... 1818 CRUISE Digest (ed. 2) VI. 445 What the Judges collected to be the intention of the testator. 1856 WHEWELL in Todhunter Acct. Whewell's Writings II. 408, I collect that you are returned, from your communication to the Athenæum.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I collect

Jane Austen has Mrs Elton using this phrase in Emma, so it was still in common use in the 2nd decade of the 19th c.

Sam and plague

Sam, and others of the middle classes, could and did move around freely at this time and could escape the worst ravages of the disease. And the Court had already decamped entirely.Those unable to leave London had the most to fear as they could not flee the flea.

Linda F  •  Link

It's difficult to tell just how concerned Sam really is about the plague. Enough to remove his wife and some of his household, but wanting his clerk and some staff at home. Acknowledging that the Carterets are in peril at Deptford, but disdaining the local fear of what comes from London. Shocked by the number of "plague houses" in town, but staying even when there is no business at the Exchange.
(Evoking old photos of WWII Liverpool when, after an air raid, townsmen in suits and hats gathered amid ruined buildings to carry on-- even if there was none -- business as usual. What mattered was that they were there.)

Ruben  •  Link

The plague
They did not know they have to flee the flea.
They knew they have to flee the flu.

Flu "emanated" from wetlands and special climatic conditions. This was the origin of the words "influenza" "malaria" and the like.
Bad air was "influencing" London and that was the reason to move. Not the flea or the Norwegian rat.

I would like to remind the annotators that previous generations had also big plagues, and Samuel and others knew that, and accepted it as part of the world around them. The difference between previous plagues and "our" plague is that this time you have 2 of the most important English writers preserving the memory of the dramatic event and also that this was the first time that statistics registered the deceased in a cientific, although rudimentary way.

So, the plague was God send. It happened from time to time in an aleatory way, specially in times of war and mediated by bad air.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

acting under a ‘fear-of-death” point of view

Jeannine, I seems to me that fear of the plague (if Sam acknowledged it -- he displays a "carry-on" attitude) wild be only one of the stresses in Sam's life, which has undergone a series of them in recent weeks, from the Dutch war to the finances of the Navy and Tangier to butting heads with the Duke of Albemarle. His outlets (having sent Bess to safer ground) are gossipping with the ladies, acting as a matchmaker, and sexual adventures. I'm reminded of Evelyn Waugh's war novels.

tyndale  •  Link

Plague statistics did indeed exist prior to 1665. In fact, several broadsides are published this year comparing the '65 plague to the tolls of previous plagues.

Here's one of those broadsides, though too low-resolution to read:

cgs  •  Link

more that Samuell does not speak or write of

Desperate Measures. By mid July over 1,000 deaths per week were reported in the city. It was rumored that dogs and cats spread the disease, so the Lord Mayor ordered all the dogs and cats destroyed. Author Daniel Defoe in his Journal of the Plague Years estimated that 40,000 dogs and 200,000 cats were killed. The real effect of this was that there were fewer natural enemies of the rats who carried the plague fleas, so the germs spread more rapidly.

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