Saturday 2 December 1665

Up, and discoursing with my wife, who is resolved to go to London for good and all this day, we did agree upon giving Mr. Sheldon 10l., and Mrs. Barbary two pieces, and so I left her to go down thither to fetch away the rest of the things and pay him the money, and so I to the office, where very busy setting Mr. Poynter to write out my last night’s worke, which pleases me this day, but yet it is pretty to reflect how much I am out of confidence with what I had done upon Gibson’s discourse with me, for fear I should have done it sillily, but Poynter likes them, and Mr. Hater also, but yet I am afeard lest they should do it out of flattery, so conscious I am of my ignorance.

Dined with my wife at noon and took leave of her, she being to go to London, as I said, for altogether, and I to the office, busy till past one in the morning.

9 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"giving Mr. Sheldon 10l., and Mrs. Barbary two pieces"

A little pin money. L&M explain Elizabeth P. and Mary Mercer had stayed at the house of William Sheldon (Clerk of the Cheque, Woolwich) since 9 July. Barbara, his niece, served as a companion.

I take it "two pieces" = two shillings?

cgs  •  Link

piece:= a bit of sumthin'
otherwise OED
16. a. A coin. Freq. with modifying word, as crown piece, seven-shilling piece, tenpence piece, gold piece, etc. Cf. sense 1b.
c. Any of various English gold coins current in different periods; spec.
(a) the unite of James I;
(b) a sovereign;
(c) a guinea.
See also BROAD-PIECE n. Obs.
1631 B. JONSON Divell is an Asse III. iii. 83 What is't? a hundred pound?..No, th' Harpey, now, stands on a hundred pieces.

1660 S. PEPYS Diary 14 Mar. (1970) I. 86 Here I got half a piece of a person of Mr. Wrights recommending to my Lord to be preacher in the Speaker frigate.

OED: 18. Brit. regional (chiefly Sc., Irish English, and Eng. regional (north.)) and U.S. regional. A portion of bread, esp. eaten on its own rather than as part of a meal; a sandwich; (gen.) a morsel of food, a snack, a light meal.

1619 A. SIMSON in W. K. Tweedie Sel. Biogr. (1845) I. 103 He took a piece and blessed it.

c1660 S. RUTHERFORD Christ's Napkin 15 The bairn that is greeting..for a piece or a drink.

This lass be no uncouth mistress but from a more gentile family of equal rank or pecking order,
thus could be two small gold coins

Bryan M  •  Link

"she being to go to London, as I said, for altogether"

There was some discussion much earlier about the way Sam viewed his diary. I get the feeling that life was just so interesting for Sam that he was bursting to tell it all to someone. The conversational style here and elsewhere suggests that the diary was Sam's imaginary confidant. Compare it to Sandwich's business-like prose or the jolly Reverend Josselin's tally of woes.

PHE  •  Link

"it is pretty to reflect how much I am out of confidence with what I had done upon Gibson’s discourse with me...".

A great example of Sam's self analysis, and the amusement he gets from it.

Mary  •  Link

"pretty to reflect...."

If there is amusement here, then I think that it has a somewhat wry look on its face.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam at his most winning in his sincerely earnest desire to do things right and well.

I take it Bess is bored beyond fear of death (to a certain practical extent) in Woolwich.

"Bess...I really don't think London is quite the place for you yet, especially with me still working here in Greenwich. Why not wait another month here and continue your painting?"

"Another month? Would you like to see my latest...?"


"I call this series my 'suicide' phase."



Sam eyes the gruesome deplictions...


"That's the one where I hang for decapitating you in your sleep."

"Ah, yes...What are those words in all those lines above your drowned corpse in this one? The 'Ophelia Redux'?"

"Same as in all...'All work and no play makes Bess a mad girl.'"

"Right...You know, perhaps Seething Lane isn't such a bad idea..."

Second Reading

JayW  •  Link

Two guineas wasn't the same as two pounds. A guinea was £1.05 (one pound one shilling).

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

JayW ... you are correct NOW ... but if you read the Wikipedia link you'll find that a guinea has had a number of values over the last 450 years.

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