Tuesday 6 February 1665/66

Up, and to the office, where very busy all the morning. We met upon a report to the Duke of Yorke of the debts of the Navy, which we finished by three o’clock, and having eat one little bit of meate, I by water before the rest to White Hall (and they to come after me) because of a Committee for Tangier, where I did my business of stating my accounts perfectly well, and to good liking, and do not discern, but the Duke of Albemarle is my friend in his intentions notwithstanding my general fears. After that to our Navy business, where my fellow officers were called in, and did that also very well, and then broke up, and I home by coach, Tooker with me, and staid in Lumbard Streete at Viner’s, and sent home for the plate which my wife and I had a mind to change, and there changed it, about 50l. worth, into things more usefull, whereby we shall now have a very handsome cupboard of plate. So home to the office, wrote my letters by the post, and to bed.

15 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

6 My Wife & family return’d to me now out of the Country, where they had ben since August by reason of the Contagion, now almost universaly ceasing: Blessed be God for his infinite mercy in preserving us; I having gon through so much danger, & lost so many of my poore officers, escaping still my selfe, that I might live to recount & magnifie his goodnesse to me:

Lawrence  •  Link

Remind me? what day is the post? I suppose he would be writing to his father in Huntingdon?

cgs  •  Link

"..., wrote my letters by the post,..."
get 'is letters writ before the royal mail leaves town.

jean-paul  •  Link

i understand this does not belong here, but the low level of activity on the other pages makes me fear this will be read too late—please remove my comment if i'm out of line!
"The Private Life of Samuel Pepys" (Sky TV 2003) is being seeded from today at UKnova (it is a members-only UK TV site; if you do not belong already, check for membership slots availability).

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"I ... do not discern, but the Duke of Albemarle is my friend ..."

I can't find a reading of "discern" that makes sense in this passage. Possible guess: remove the comma, and take it to mean "I discern that the Duke ..."

Any thoughts?

Mary  •  Link

I do not discern, but that .....

L&M edition does indeed omit the comma. What Sam is saying is that he makes no other observation, comes to no other conclusion ("do not discern but that") than that Albermarle is friendly towards him.

The way that this is phrased shows that Sam is specifically reassured that Albermarle views his work with favour. It's all a bit more tentative than a straightforward "I do discern.."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

I do not discern, but that …..

All commas are editorial additions according to the L&M note on the text and their transcription in the introduction in Vol i.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Paul, Mary Michael

Thanks for unriddling a tricky passage. Discerning annotators, all.

cgs  •  Link

I beg to differ,
refers be to his accounts that they be no problems to create havoc.

"..where I did my business of stating my accounts perfectly well, and to good liking, and do not discern,but the Duke of Albemarle is my friend in his intentions notwithstanding my general fears..."

discern, v
[a. F. discerner, in OF. also disserner (13th c. in Hatz.-Darm.), ad. L. discern-{ebreve}re to separate, distinguish, determine, f. DIS- 1 + cern{ebreve}re to separate. In early times sometimes confused with
1. trans. To separate (things, or one thing from another) as distinct; to distinguish and divide.
2. To recognize as distinct; to distinguish or separate mentally (one thing from another); to perceive the difference between (things). arch.
3. intr. To perceive or recognize the difference or distinction; to make a distinction; to distinguish or discriminate between. arch.

4. trans. To distinguish (one thing or fact) by the intellect; to recognize or perceive distinctly. (With simple obj., or clause expressing a proposition.)
c. intr. To have cognizance, to judge of.
5. trans. To distinguish (an object) with the eyes; to see or perceive by express effort of the powers of vision; to ‘make out’ by looking, descry, behold.
c. trans. To distinguish or perceive distinctly by other senses. rare.
6. Formerly sometimes used for DECERN.

DECERN, which in OF. also appears as descerner.]
[a. F. décerne-r (1318 in Godef.), ad. L. d{emac}cern{ebreve}re to decide, pronounce a decision, f. DE- I. 2 + cern{ebreve}re to separate, distinguish, decide: see CERN v. In OF. décerner was confused in form with descerner, discerner; the clear distinction between the two dates only from the 16th c.; hence, in English also, decern is found with the sense DISCERN.]

I. To decide, determine, decree.

Mary  •  Link

cgs, I'm not sure what distinction you are trying to draw here. I doubt that Sam thinks he's well on the way to becoming Albemarle's bosom buddy, but he is somewhat relieved to find that Milord's attitude to his professional work indicates favour. The bit of professional work concerned here is, indeed, the Tangier accounts. Fears that A. would take exception to the accounts (which have presented some tricky problems) and hence show displeasure with Sam, have been allayed. It's all of a piece.

Nix  •  Link

"do not discern, but the Duke of Albemarle is my friend" --

I read it as a double negative: "I don't see any indication that the Duke is not friendly toward me" -- not quite the same as a positive, reflecting a hint of his old concerns that Moncke opposes him.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"We met upon a report to the Duke of Yorke of the debts of the Navy"

L&M: 'Minutes in proofe of the State of Navy Debts presented to the D. Yorke. Febr.6.1665'. BM, Add 9316, ff. 23-6. Throughout January the newspapers had carried notices informing creditors of the office that two clerks would be on duty every morning and afternoon to receive information about any outstanding debts incurred since 24 June 1660.

Phil C.  •  Link

What made me laugh here is Samuel having to take things back to the store for exchange or refund, because his wife didn’t approve of what he’d chosen. How very like my own home life!

Mary K  •  Link

Exchanging goods at the goldsmith's

This, surely, is the plate that arrived as an unexpected gift recently and was not thought very useful. Now being exchanged for items that are more to Samuel and Elizabeth's liking.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Phil and Mary -- I think he's been even more devious than both of you say: He collected samples and gifts ... then invited the office over for a big lunch ... and then returned what he didn't need/like. There's very little new under the sun.

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