Sunday 8 October 1665

(Lord’s day). Up and, after being trimmed, to the office, whither I upon a letter from the Duke of Albemarle to me, to order as many ships forth out of the river as I can presently, to joyne to meet the Dutch; having ordered all the Captains of the ships in the river to come to me, I did some business with them, and so to Captain Cocke’s to dinner, he being in the country. But here his brother Solomon was, and, for guests, myself, Sir G. Smith, and a very fine lady, one Mrs. Penington, and two more gentlemen. But, both [before] and after dinner, most witty discourse with this lady, who is a very fine witty lady, one of the best I ever heard speake, and indifferent handsome. There after dinner an houre or two, and so to the office, where ended my business with the Captains; and I think of twenty-two ships we shall make shift to get out seven. (God helpe us! men being sick, or provisions lacking.) And so to write letters to Sir Ph. Warwicke, Sir W. Coventry, and Sir G. Carteret to Court about the last six months’ accounts, and sent away by an express to-night. This day I hear the Pope is dead; —[a false report]— and one said, that the newes is, that the King of France is stabbed, but that the former is very true, which will do great things sure, as to the troubling of that part of the world, the King of Spayne1 being so lately dead. And one thing more, Sir Martin Noell’s lady is dead with griefe for the death of her husband and nothing else, as they say, in the world; but it seems nobody can make anything of his estate, whether he be dead worth anything or no, he having dealt in so many things, publique and private, as nobody can understand whereabouts his estate is, which is the fate of these great dealers at everything. So after my business being done I home to my lodging and to bed.

18 Annotations

Nix  •  Link

"a very fine witty lady . . . and indifferent handsome" --

Decades ago when I was in the newspaper business, reference to a woman as "handsome" was code for "a face like a horse, but she has money." I'm not sure how "indifferent" modifies that, but it can't be complimentary.

cgs  •  Link

indifferent handsome”

non political striking lady+

some meanings change as in the mode of awful

once inspiring now a bl*** mess

cgs  •  Link

handsome, a. (adv.)

A. adj.S
[Known only from 15th c., f. HAND n. + -SOME: cf. toothsome. Cf. early mod. (16th c.) Ger. handsam, Ger. dial. and EFris. handsam, early mod. Du. handsaem, Du. handzaam, all in sense 1.]

{dag}1. a. Easy to handle or manipulate, or to wield, deal with, or use in any way. Obs.

b. Handy, ready at hand, convenient, suitable. Obs. or dial.
2. a. Of action, speech, etc.: Appropriate, apt, dexterous, clever, happy: in reference to language, sometimes implying gracefulness of style (cf. 3, 6). ? Obs. exc. U.S.

b. Of an agent: Apt, skilled, clever. Obs. exc. in U.S., or as associated with other senses.

3. Proper, fitting, seemly, becoming, decent.

4. a. Of fair size or amount; ‘decent’, fair, considerable, moderately large. Now unusual.

b. Of a sum of money, a fortune, a gift, etc.: Considerable. Now (by association with 5) in stronger sense: Ample, generous, liberal, munificent.

c. Humorously, of a reproof or punishment: Ample, strong, severe, ‘fine’.

5. a. Of conduct, etc.: Fitting, seemly, becoming; courteous, gracious, polite. Now in stronger sense, denoting a quality that evokes moral admiration (cf. sense 6): Generous, magnanimous.

make a handsome atonement.

b. spec. Of military exploits: Soldierly, gallant, brave, admirable. Obs. or arch.

6. a. Having a fine form or figure (usually in conjunction with full size or stateliness); ‘beautiful with dignity’ (J.) ‘fine’. (The prevailing current sense.)
1590 SPENSER F.Q. II. iv. 3 A handsom stripling. 1601 R. JOHNSON Kingd. & Commw. (1603) 69 The streetes..more neate and handsome then those of Italy. 1604 SHAKES. Oth. IV. iii. 37 This Lodouico is a proper man..A very handsome man. 1622 WITHER Mistr. Philar. Wks. (1633) 710 Who could dote on thing so common As meer outward handsome Woman? 1662 J. DAVIES tr. Olearius' Voy. Ambass. 17 Young Lords, very handsome, both as to Face and Body.

b. Used, sometimes ironically, to address, or as a designation of, a handsome person. colloq. (orig. U.S.).

B. adv. = HANDSOMELY (in various senses). Now only in vulgar use, exc. in proverb handsome is as (also that) handsome does.

indifferent, a.1 (n. and adv.)
[a. F. indifférent (15th c. in Littré), or ad. L. indifferent-em not differing, making no difference, of medium quality, of no consequence, not particular, careless, f. in- (IN-3) + different-em DIFFERENT.]

I. Of a person or thing, in relation to two or more objects, courses, etc.

1. Without difference of inclination; not inclined to prefer one person or thing to another; unbiased, impartial, disinterested, neutral; fair, just, even, even-handed. Const. to, unto ({dag}for). arch. a. Of persons: esp. indifferent judge, critic, reader.

1. One who is impartial or disinterested. Obs.

2. One who is neutral or unconcerned, esp. in religion or politics; a neutral; an apathetic person.
¶Hence, as a quasi-proper name, John Indifferent.

Bergie  •  Link

The link "Solomon" produces "A lovely week in Abbey Dore." This failed to explain anything for me.

Ralph Berry  •  Link

Is Sam playing the big man here. Summons all of the captains, does "some business with them", then goes off to have a big lunch with Captain Cocke and chats up Mrs Penington, then after an hour or two goes back to the office where he finishes his business with the captains. What were the captains doing in the meantime, twiddling their thumbs waiting for him or off to the local for a nosh up. All the while England needs as many ships out of the river as possible to "joyne to meet the Dutch". It all seems to lack a sense of urgency, so perhaps there wasn't one.An hour or two with Mrs Penington has priority!!!.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"A lovely week in Abbey Dore" Zenish, I like it. Or can we start considering conspiracy theories?

Interesting that in midst of a serious war crisis...The fleet badly undermanned and poorly provisioned with plague dangerously sapping the strength of the armed forces...That Sam doesn't seem to let that affect his dealings with Gauden and others. Of course he may simply factor all that in and is being quite careful to ensure that they are up to the job without recording it in detail here but his focus on ensuring his own payoff and a satisfactory deal for them rather than on whether they can improve ship supply leads one to wonder. Then too there does seem little pressure on Sam from above-Coventry, Jamie, etc to demand things be straightened out immediately. Apart from Albemarle's slight press and Sandwich's mild noting that his fleet was badly provisioned, Sam seems largely left unbothered. Still seems insane that there should be loaded prize ships being looted by courtiers and adminstration officials for private profit while hundreds of seamen starve outside the doors of the Navy Office and ill soldiers and prisoners of war beg for death rather than suffer such miserable wants as they do.

This may change once the plague has abated and people can start to look around and ponder other things...

Still...2005-present...Soldiers on endless cycles of tours of duty, their health needs uncared for, and Iraqi civilians murdered, starving, and without water or electricity while corporate types and their lobbyists chortle over their huge "Iraqi reconstruction" profits and the leadership promises a "painless" (no taxes, no draft) war. Guess we can hardly point a finger.

Ruben  •  Link

"All the while England needs as many ships out of the river as possible to “joyne to meet the Dutch”. It all seems to lack a sense of urgency, so perhaps there wasn’t one."
I am no expert in those tall ships, but may be you need a tide? or wind from the West? to sail out of the Thames. If conditions were not OK, there probably had to wait for another day, or two or more to sail away?
In the meantime you eat your food... or your nails.
I remember this happened before with Sandwich's fleet anchored near the coast and Samuel payed him a visit.

A Hamilton  •  Link

Seven ships out of 23 are fit for duty. A sign of hard times for Charles II's fleet. The U.S. Navy rule of thumb, as I recall, is two ships at home for every one deployed. But one of the two home-ported ships must be ready for action, while the other undergoes overhaul, crew leave, etc. Here it would appear that slightly less than one in three ships are ready.

Don McCahill  •  Link

> indifferent handsome

I take this to read that she is attractive, but not a beauty. What seems to have impressed Sam is her wit, and I am just guessing here, but I suspect she returns his innuendos rather than just blushing like the average woman of the time.

language hat  •  Link

> indifferent handsome

"I take this to read that she is attractive, but not a beauty."

Exactly. There was nothing disparaging about the word "handsome" in the 17th century; the modern equivalent to "indifferent handsome" would be "rather pretty."

Mary  •  Link

"fairly good-looking"?

"handsome", at least to English ears, has somewhat more weight to it than "pretty".

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"King of Spayne"
The one whose family was painted by Diego Velasquez in Las Meninas.

cgs  •  Link

Admirals learn from previous admirals , not to get caught sitting in a SAFE harbour, like the Scarpa Flow.

Lessons of history are rarely understood.
Captain always waits for instructions, cannot sail without the correct paper work that only gets issued when commissioners get their dose of punch [rum].

dirk  •  Link

From the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library

Sir Allan Brodrick to Ormond

Written from: Oxford
Date: 8 October 1665

Mentions the assembling of many members of the Houses of Parliament, and various preparations made for opening the session. Says of the Earl of Sandwich, that whatever the satisfaction he may have given to the King or Council, "the general vogue of the town is very smart upon him". Adds that the Court mourning is delayed, "till some purple cloth come out of France for the King".

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary (in lieu of Dirk's posting it)

8: The Parson of Wotton Mr. Higham on 15 Luke 18.19.20: & then before Dinner, was my Daughter Christnd Mary in the Chamber cald the red chamb[e]r, where borne, Her Grandfath[e]r Sir R: Bro: my Aunt Hunger-ford of Cadenam (by proxy) & my Neepce Mary (& God-daught[e]r) being Gossips:

Luke.15 Verses 18 to 20
[18] I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
[19] And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
[20] And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Sir Martin Noell’s lady is dead with griefe for the death of her husband and nothing else, as they say, in the world; but it seems nobody can make anything of his estate, whether he be dead worth anything or no, he having dealt in so many things, publique and private, as nobody can understand whereabouts his estate is, which is the fate of these great dealers at everything."

L&M: Noell (one of the greatest merchants and financiers of the century) had died of the plague on 29 September; his widow on 4 or 5 October. The wills of both were proved on 6 October and long wrangles followed. Noell left land in Staffordshire and Tipperary, plantations in the W. Indies, a mansion house in St Botolph's, Bishopsgate, interests in several government farms etc. He had been a member of the Royal African Company, the Levant Company and the E. India Company.

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