Sunday 17 September 1665

(Lord’s day). Up, and before I went out of my chamber did draw a musique scale, in order to my having it at any time ready in my hand to turn to for exercise, for I have a great mind in this Vacation to perfect myself in my scale, in order to my practising of composition, and so that being done I down stairs, and there find Captain Cocke under the barber’s hands, the barber that did heretofore trim Commissioner Pett, and with whom I have been. He offered to come this day after dinner with his violin to play me a set of Lyra-ayres upon it, which I was glad of, hoping to be merry thereby.

Being ready we to church, where a company of fine people to church, and a fine Church, and very good sermon, Mr. Plume being a very excellent scholler and preacher. Coming out of the church I met Mrs. Pierce, whom I was ashamed to see, having not been with her since my coming to town, but promised to visit her.

Thence with Captain Cocke, in his coach, home to dinner, whither comes by invitation my Lord Bruncker and his mistresse and very good company we were, but in dinner time comes Sir J. Minnes from the fleete, like a simple weak man, having nothing to say of what he hath done there, but tells of what value he imagines the prizes to be, and that my Lord Sandwich is well, and mightily concerned to hear that I was well. But this did put me upon a desire of going thither; and, moving of it to my Lord, we presently agreed upon it to go this very tide, we two and Captain Cocke. So every body prepared to fit himself for his journey, and I walked to Woolwich to trim and shift myself, and by the time I was ready they come down in the Bezan yacht, and so I aboard and my boy Tom, and there very merrily we sailed to below Gravesend, and there come to anchor for all night, and supped and talked, and with much pleasure at last settled ourselves to sleep having very good lodging upon cushions in the cabbin.

26 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"before I went out of my chamber did draw a musique scale"

L&M say Pepys would not master the complex "existing system of naming the degrees of the scale (the gamut) until 8-10 1668."

"GAMUT (from the Greek letter gamma, used as a musical symbol, and ut, the first syllabic of the medieval hymn Sanctus Johannes), a term in music used to mean generally the whole compass or range of notes possessed by an instrument or voice. Historically, however, the sense has developed from its stricter musical meaning of a scale (the recognized musical scale of any period), originating in the medieval "great scale," of which the invention has usually been ascribed to Guido of Arezzo (q.v.) in the 11th century. The whole question is somewhat obscure, but, in the evolution of musical notation out of the classical alphabetical system, the invention of the medieval gamut is more properly assigned to Hucbald (d. 930). In his system of scales the semitone was always between the 2nd and 3rd of a tetrachord, as G, bA, B, C, so the sharp-B and F of the second octave were in false relation to the Bb and F of the first two tetrachords. To this scale of four notes, G, A, bB, C, were subsequently added a note below and a note above, which made the hexachord with the semitone between the 3rd and 4th both up and down, as F, G, bA, B, C, D. It was at a much later date that the 7th, our leading note, was admitted into a key, and for this the first two letters of the last line of the above-named hymn, " Sanctus Johannes," would have been used....In Germany a remnant of Greek use survives. A was originally followed In the scale by the semitone above...and this note, namely bB, is still called B in German, English sharp-B (French and Italian Si) being represented by the letter H. The gamut which, whenever instituted, did not pass out of use until the 19th century, regarded the hexachord and not the octachord, employed both letters and syllables, made the former invariable while changing the latter according to key relationship, and acknowledged only the three keys of G, C and F; it took its name from having the Greek letter gamma with Ut for its lowest keynote, though the Latin letters with the corresponding syllables when applied to all the other notes."…

dirk  •  Link

From the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library…

Arlington to Ormond

Written from: Lulworth Castle, Mr Weld's house
Date: 17 September 1665

Lord Sandwich's successes taken together, "make a good end of this campagna... If we must have war, may the next be as prosperous."

CGS  •  Link

vacation, n.

[a. OF. (also mod.F.) vacation (= It. vacazione, Sp. vacacion, Pg. vacação), or ad. L. vac{amac}ti{omac}n-, vac{amac}tio (med.L. also vac{amac}cio), f. vac{amac}re: see VACATE v.]

I. 1. a. Freedom, release, or rest from some occupation, business, or activity.
c1386 ...
1531 ELYOT Gov. I. ii, What vacacion had they from the warres?

b. Without const. Freedom or respite from work, etc.; time of rest or leisure.

c. Leisure for, or devoted to, some special purpose; hence, occupation, business. Obs.

d. Absence from duty or from some usual post; also, a sum paid for absence or exemption.

2. a. A period during which there is a formal suspension of activity; one or other part of the year during which law-courts, universities, or schools are suspended or closed; holidays.
1668 DAVENANT Play-ho. to be Let. I. i, We are standing Properties of the Play-house, which, in Vacation, lye in pawn for the Rent.

d. attrib., as vacation-exercise, -task, -time, etc.

3. {dag}a. A state or period characterized by the intermission or absence of something. Obs.
b. A cessation from something.
1617 in Buccleuch MSS. (Hist. MSS. Comm.) I. 184 This day is here Good Friday, and such a dead vacation from all kind of business, as I can now add little to this letter

c. A state or period of inactivity.

4. A time of freedom, release, or respite (from something).

II. {dag}5. a. The fact of an office or post becoming or being vacant; the time during which the vacancy lasts. Obs.

b. A vacant post; a vacancy. Obs.
1535 CROMWELL in Merriman Life & Lett. (1902) I. 398, I hertely desyre & pray graunt vnto the said Robert the next vacacion of one of the iiii Clarkes of that your courte.

6. The fact of a house being unoccupied or untenanted; loss of rent due to this. Obs.

III. {dag}8. The action of voiding or evacuating.
1607 MARKHAM Cavel. VII. (1617) 33 From fulnes, as from surfeit of meate or drink, or the want of vacation of humors.

9. The action of vacating, of leaving (or being left) vacant or unoccupied.

[ad. L. vac{amac}t-, ppl. stem of vac{amac}re to be empty, free, etc.]

1. a. trans. To make void in law; to deprive of legal authority or validity; to annul or cancel.
Very common in the 17-18th c. Now only in legal use.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Thanks to CGS for the "vacation" entry. I speculate that in this context Sam was using the word in a sense that we would express today by "evacuation," referring to his being forced to vacate his London house because of the plague.

Jesse  •  Link

"like a simple weak man"

What, first Penn now Mennes? These guys have impressive resumes yet get no respect from Pepys. Perhaps past their prime and a little like fish out of water but how 'bout a little slack? (Today's management is often promoted for incompetence where they can do less harm :)

Neighborhood issues w/both?

Pedro  •  Link

management is often promoted for incompetence where they can do less harm...

The Pedro Principle!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...there find Captain Cocke under the barber’s hands..."

Door slam...

"Mr. Todd? Did you..."

"I had him, Mrs. Lovett. That fiend Cocke was in my...Ummn...Power at last. But then that fool Pepys had to show. And when will...Ummn..."

"...Cocke come again?"

"Mrs. Lovett..."

"Couldn't be helped Mr. T. But you know practice makes perfect and that Mr. Pepys is a steady customer and a good friend of the Capt's."

"You mean start by cutting his throat and those of other lesser beings till I again have that loathsome creature who condemned me and drove my wife to death back in my sights? Yes, yes."

"Well, I'm thinkin' more along the lines of his satisfaction might be getting Cocke to come back. A well-known gentleman is Mr. P, Mr. T. His approval'll bring in the trade, Mr. T."

"Another fiend abusing the poor who deserves to die, Mrs. Lovett. Why only the other day that ship's carpenter young Bagwell was telling me..."

"Tis a bit more complicated in that case, Mr. T."

"Well, yes...But Pepys is still a fiend."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"But this did put me upon a desire of going thither; and, moving of it to my Lord, we presently agreed upon it to go this very tide, we two and Captain Cocke."

So now an entire office of doting fools is to descend upon poor Sandwich and his fleet...

"Message! Important message for the Naval Office now in Woolwich!!"

"Here, boy. It seems right now I am the Naval Office." Minnes takes message.

Hmmn...Dutch fleet of 100 ships descending with French transports upon the east coast.

I suppose...This should be brought to someone's attention...Minnes ponders, looking round the empty office room.

On the other hand, I'm only the Comptroller...Hardly my business. 'Tis pity Pepys and the rest went off to the fleet.

"Well...Nothing that can't wait till they return, I'm sure." folds invasion warning carefully and places it on Pepys desk.

dave h  •  Link

I don't want to sound "weird" but is the phrase "to shift myself" a euphemism for taking a dump???

He often refers to this,as well as "taking physique"
I think BM's were a big deal back then...

language hat  •  Link

"to shift myself" = "to change clothes"


refl. To change one's clothing; to put on fresh clothing, esp. undergarments. Obs. exc. dial. ...
a1548 HALL Chron., Hen. VIII, 64 He shifted hymself into a robe of a Cardinall. ... 1622 in Foster Eng. Factories India (1908) II. 125 Nott leavinge one ragge to shift us. 1719 DE FOE Crusoe I. 53, I was wet, and had no Cloaths to shift me. 1839 Heref. Gloss. s.v., A man who changes his clothes is said ‘to shift himself’.

Judith Boles  •  Link

I wonder if the barber arrived after dinner with his violin, to find a departed Pepys? No mention of sending word to him of the change in plans.

dave h  •  Link

l hat;
Thanks..any ideas on "physique" ?

ie what was it,and for what purpose ?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

In re gamut (= Gamma ut), OED notes
"The names of the six notes [of the hexachord] are from certain initial syllables in the following sapphic stanza (Hymn for St. John Baptist's day): Ut queant laxis resonare fibris Mira gestorum famuli tuorum, Solve polluti labii reatum, Sancte Iohannes."

These are:

ut re mi fa sol la

Which, with the addition of a seventh note, ti, evolved in France in the 16th century, I have read, into

do re mi fa sol la ti

and that will bring us back to do, oh, oh, oh...

Also attributively, as in the famous but probably apocryphal saying attributed by Alexander Woollcott to Dorothy Parker concerning Katherine Hepburn's performance in the 1934 play, "The Lake": She ran the gamut [of emotions] from A to B.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

"Taking physique"

Dave - "Taking physic" meant undergoing a course of purgatives, usually under the supervision of a doctor, to get your humours back in balance. Basically, you swallowed some vile stuff to make you vomit and/or empty your bowels. This could go on for several days, so people stayed home and were indisposed. Many people must have become severely dehydrated when they took physic. Here's a link to an interesting essay on purging in the 1600s:…

CGS  •  Link

Oh shiftless one, go and shiften thy shift then shiften thyself to the evening shift and shift thy monies before thy shifty lawyer shift thy real-estate, do that before the wind dothe shift or thy cargo dothe shift when thee row across the Tems and and thee get into a row with the shifty sculler..
Shift over 21 subtle meanings.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary (in lieu of Dirk)

17: Receiving a Letter from his Excellency my L[ord] Sandwich of a defeate given to the Dut[c]h, I was forc’d to travell all Sonday, when by the way calling in to see my other Bro: at Woodcot, as I was at dinner, I was surpriz’d by a fainting fit: which much a’larm’d the family, as well it might, I coming so lately from infected places; but I blesse God it went off, so as I got home that night; but was exceedingly [perplex’d], to find that there were sent me to dispose of neere 3000 Prisoners at Warr; so as on the 18[th] I was forc’ to go to Lond: & take orders from my Lord Gen [George Monck, Duke of Albemarle]: what I should do with them, they being more than I had places fit to receive & guard, he made me dine with them, & then we consulted about it:

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Jesse, Sam often castigates Mennes for being a "doting fool" and other such things, especially when it comes to business (he has a higher regard for some of his other gifts, such as those in the literary area) ... he generally had a low regard, for various reasons, for Mennes, Penn and Batten. Seems Sam was, to his mind, the only one in his immediate office who really knew how to run things.

CGS  •  Link

Best Man for the job, see tomorrows entry for "wheres the meat and beer"

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... but in dinner time comes Sir J. Minnes from the fleete, like a simple weak man, having nothing to say of what he hath done there, but tells of what value he imagines the prizes to be, ..."

Pepys has described Mennes as being "ill at ease" in his role of Controller, and when exasperated by his incompetence Pepys refers to him as "dolt" "dotard" and "old fool" -- but as of January 1664 it appears Mennes may have been experiencing Parkinson's, lead or alcohol poisoning. Outside the office Pepys admits that Mennes, with his skills as a poet and mimic, was the best of company.

Plus it seems reasonable to me that the Controller of the Navy might be interested in gauging the approximate revenue about to be realized by the Prize Committee.

mountebank  •  Link

Sam's use of "Vacation" makes me wonder what arrangements there were for holiday. I suppose with his role being somewhat freelance, he could go away if he arranged time in his schedule. Although his "holidays" largely seem to be visiting family rather than going to somewhere interesting/relaxing to get away from it all.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Mountebank -- did you see the episode of Downton Abbey were the family were discussing what they were going to be doing over the weekend, and Dowager Countess asks, "What's a weekend?"

These folk worked every day until they died. Yes, Sunday was the sabbath, and Easter was a Holy Day, and as such work was minimal, but the stove still needed wood put on it, food had to be cooked, and Elizabeth and Sam would need help shifting.

I recall a couple of years ago Sam promised the household a trip to Dunkirk next summer as a way of lifting the household gloom about something. It was cynical on his part because he knew the war was coming. Even Elizabeth's trips out-of-town in the summer are to avoid the plague, not to have fun walking on the seashore for a few days.

We have much to thank Unions for.

Mary K  •  Link

The Dowager Countess's question.

The Dowager Countess is of a generation that did not use the term "weekend", which was a relatively recent introduction. She was accustomed to the phrase " a Saturday to Monday". In 1909 the editor of The Spectator was slightly sniffy about the "relatively modern" widespread use of the term "weekend".

Claire  •  Link

Yes, holidaying as we know it wasn't really something that ever occurred to people in Sam's day. Although the rich travelled more than the poor, I don't think people often went away for a break as such - like you say, mountebank, it was usually to visit family or for another specific purpose.

As San Diego Sarah pointed out, people basically just worked each and every day. Sundays must have been more different for anyone who went out to work but, for most women with families, it can't have been much of a day of rest.

Weekend is probably a relatively new term because the concept is relatively new. I don't think Saturday was considered much different from Monday to Friday in the 17th century. I could be wrong but I think their working weeks were six days long.

RSGII  •  Link

Or some places in the 20th century. I remember the shock of being posted to Hong Kong in the 1960s and finding the standard workweek was 5 1/2 days. Sunday was the only real day off.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.