Sunday 25 March 1666

(Lady day and Sunday). Up, and to my chamber in my gowne all the morning about settling my papers there. At noon to dinner, where my wife’s brother, whom I sent for to offer making him a Muster-Master and send to sea, which the poore man likes well of and will go, and it will be a good preferment to him, only hazardous. I hope he will prove a good discreet man.

After dinner to my papers and Tangier accounts again till supper, and after supper again to them, but by my mixing them, I know not how, my private and publique accounts, it makes me mad to see how hard it is to bring them to be understood, and my head is confounded, that though I did sweare to sit up till one o’clock upon them, yet, I fear, it will be to no purpose, for I cannot understand what I do or have been doing of them to-day.

28 Annotations

First Reading

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

A little more sympathy for Povy now, Sam?

I thought not. :-)

cgs  •  Link

sins of co-mingling,

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Bess? What the devil are you doing? Do you know how long I've been working on those..."

"There..." hands Sam pile. "All sorted out. It was painful watching you getting so torn up over a few figures getting mixed."

"What?" grabs at pile...Thumbing...

"Well? They're correct aren't they?"


"Ten years of keeping accounts of everything for you and a little something over for...Extras." solemn nod.

Hmmn...She has been very creative over the past few...

"Take me for a moonlight walk and no one on the Tangier commission ever hears of this."

...And reasonably affordable...

"What 'extras'?"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"At noon to dinner, where my wife’s brother, whom I sent for to offer making him a Muster-Master and send to sea, which the poore man likes well of and will go, and it will be a good preferment to him, only hazardous."

"Hazard, my dear brother-in-law...Means nothing to a son of the Sieur de St. Michel. I who have tasted steel in the field as a soldier will find such as child's play, I have no doubt."

"Balty?" Bess, nervously. "The Dutch...Cannons...Furies with swords swooping in...Heads rolling in the red sand on deck...?"

"What?..." Balty blinks. "Are you saying we are still at war with the Dutch? I thought peace was at hand what with the no funds and plague..."

"Oh, you need have no fear of the Dutch." Sam, expansively...

"Ah...But of course I have none."

"It's the tars on board who'll long for the head of a relative of the Clerk of the Acts, given their miserable situation at present. Not to mention the pressed men, ripped from their homes, their families left destitute and starving. Why not long ago Batten was assaulted just outside our office..."

"Uh...Come to think of it, brother Samuel...'Muster-master' really does not sound like a title fit for an heir of the Sieur de St. Michel..."

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"it makes me mad" = 'it drives me crazy'

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Madness, accounts in disarray. All of which proves, nothing worthwhile can be done after 5 PM.

Robin Peters  •  Link

Me thinks our man tries too hard and needs to take a day off. Working in his gowne on Sunday is perhaps just a little excessive.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"What a terrible day, what a terrible day...I perceive I am wearing myself out, Bess."

"Well, if you'd just spent all day in bed with me like I suggested. But it was nice of you on such a day to take time to help Balty out with that muster-master job, when you were so muddled and exhausted, darling."

"What?! I did what?!!"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hmmn...What could possibly have caused him to mix public accounts like the Tangier budget with his own private accounts?

As in, gee...What possible way could that have..."Ah, my 400L gift from Mr. Gauden, put it over there, Hewer. That's 400 for me and..."...happened.

"Well, dear." Bess, called in in desperation, shakes head over figures. "It seems to me the easiest thing to do to avoid possible imprisonment is just give back these "miscellaneous payments to the Clerk" items to the Tangier accounts..."


"...Or, you could just write in Will Hewer's name there."

"My dearest love...And to think at times I've been a little jealous..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Seriously, how did Balty persuade Sam to give him the job at last? Simple as Sam finally getting nervous about the propriety of the brother-in-law of the CoA going off to find work fighting for the Dutch or the HR Empire? Or perhaps at least he's been impressed with Balty's willingness to actually work as opposed to say brother John's lack of enthusiasm...Balty may put on airs but he does seem willing to take on anything.

Or perhaps...

"Muster-master? You? I don't care if you are my Bess' brother I will never put a fop like you in such a position. Get out, sir! And never darken..."

"'Sir...Why do you kiss the gentlewoman so?'" High-pitched voice. "By the way, how is Mrs. Martin nee Lane these days...I hear you still keep...In touch." Innocent look.

"You little..."

"And I understand that young carpenter, Bagwell, is getting a bit peeved waiting so long for his next promotion...Very pretty young lass, his wife, isn't she, brother Samuel?"

Song interlude as Sam fumes...

"Now he's thinking..." Balty

The kid could really put me through hell. Sam

"And he's thinking..." Balty

Bet he could even name the hostel... Sam

"Now he's thinking..." Balty

I wonder if he'd dare...

"And thinking..." Balty

Blackmail's in the air...

So he thinks...And...He thinks...

"Alright, you're promoted!"

"And it's been a long...Been a long...Been a long...Been a long day." Balty and fuming Sam...

(from of course "How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying)")

cgs  •  Link

'tis okay for Samuell to use the Kings muney for the groceries but the river styx will be waiting for the office boy when he losses the chief clerk's farthing that was for a piece of Norwich cheese.
It be perfectly OK to use the kings muney as long he gets on Lady Day .
Long live the grasping covetous rapacious 'Avaricious Insatiable Greedy' guy, for he is still alive and well.


cgs  •  Link

errata:'he gets on Lady Day' S/B "he gets it on Lady Day" [the munies due ]

A. Hamilton  •  Link

to my chamber in my gowne all the morning

Forerunner of Pajamas Media?

Ruben  •  Link

We tend to be one sided because we read what Samuel writes without editing in his diary. I am sure most of the people he comments about in harsh tones have good qualities too, but Samuel does not write down those because they are so evident to him. Every person has good and bad qualities. So with Balthazar: when Pepys was in a very dangerous situation (in the Tower) he risked his own liberty to help him.

cgs  •  Link

Ruben: Thankee, for the alerting us to the two sides to any view along with the serrated edge.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"so great a pique against him"
pique:"transient feeling of wounded vanity"cf Merriam Webster

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Balty seems in fact quite able if sometimes inclined to airs. At this time being in the position of having no trade, profession, or outstanding talent (rather like our hero, in fact) left one totally dependent on the luck of having or finding a patron. Sam rejected or did not expect to succeed in the professions open to him via his university career-law, medicine, clerical-but had Sandwich and his talent for administrative work. Balty, whatever flairs he may have, has (apparently) only Sam to give him a start.


John Pepys Jr. with a university education and Sam...And potentially Sandwich if he'd set about pleasing his powerful relation...Will be about as dependent as Balty on Sam for jobs. As I said above it's not impossible Sam developed more respect for Balty as he saw the young man was at least willing to take on anything he could get for him. They did, after all, remain relatively close until Sam's death...Though I suspect Balty would never let a little thing like Sam's annoyance and impatience stop him from pleading his case.

It is interesting to speculate why brother John and brother-in-law Balty did not make more of a success like Sam. Clearly Balty lacked the university education Sam had but he must have had chances to impress his superiors in the jobs Sam found for him and he certainly did not succeed as a soldier in Europe during his times there. John with more going for him doesn't seem to have ever quite caught his brother Sam's fire though he showed some promise, winning I believe a preferment or scholarship earlier in the Diary...Did the boys lack Sam's ability or his energy...Or was it some scruple Sam lacked in his fierce drive to succeed that they retained? Plus Sam had become the eldest...All the family hopes and pressures were on him...And he had Bess to support. That may not explain Balty but it could John, who must have been constantly told that dear big brother Sam had everything in hand.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

""At noon to dinner, where my wife’s brother, whom I sent for to offer making him a Muster-Master and send to sea, which the poore man likes well of and will go, and it will be a good preferment to him, only hazardous.""

L&M: Balty St Michel served this summer in Harman's fleet in this capacity.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

An officer in charge of the muster roll of part of an army or (less commonly) of a dockyard, penal colony, etc.;
a person responsible for the accuracy of a muster roll.

Origin: Mid-16th century. From muster + master.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I suspect little Miss Tooker was bored during Pepys' dinner, and went to see what Uncle Sam found so interesting in his office. One thing led to another, so she went to bed hoping everyone would forget she was in the house.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Anyone know when Easter was in 1665-66?

Yesterday is displayed Saturday 24 March 1665/66
Today is displayed Sunday 25 March 1666

Did Phil make a mistake, or has Pepys' become so God-less he not only did not go to church, but he didn't even mention the start of the "new year"?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Apparently I've had it wrong all these years ... Lady Day is the first day of the New Year.

I saw this today:
"In the 12th century Lady Day was considered the first day of the year and persisted until the official calendar change of 1752."

This is in an article about the Tichborne Dole (a village in Hampshire, near Cheriton, with a charming Lady Day tradition) which has zilch to do with Pepys, but you'll like it:…

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Povy strikes again! My admiration remains undiminished.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thanks Louise ... I should have known there was an easy way to find out, but the census department of the US Government would never have occurred to me to be the place to look.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Mr Povy and one of Pepys's claims to fame

On 8 February 1665 Pepys was nominated for fellowship of the Royal Society. A week later, on the 15 February, he wrote in his Diary:

“Thence with Creed to Gresham College – where I had been by Mr Povy the last week – proposed to be admitted, by signing a book and being taken by the hand of the President, my Lord Brunkard (sic) and some words of admittance said to me.”…

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Sarah: I should have known there was an easy way to find out, but the census department of the US Government would never have occurred to me to be the place to look.

It didn’t occur to me, either. I found it with a Google search.

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