Thursday 12 April 1666

Up and to the office, where all the morning. At noon dined at home and so to my office again, and taking a turne in the garden my Lady Pen comes to me and takes me into her house, where I find her daughter and a pretty lady of her acquaintance, one Mrs. Lowder, sister, I suppose, of her servant Lowder’s, with whom I, notwithstanding all my resolution to follow business close this afternoon, did stay talking and playing the foole almost all the afternoon, and there saw two or three foolish sorry pictures of her doing, but very ridiculous compared to what my wife do. She grows mighty homely and looks old. Thence ashamed at myself for this losse of time, yet not able to leave it, I to the office, where my Lord Bruncker come; and he and I had a little fray, he being, I find, a very peevish man, if he be denied what he expects, and very simple in his argument in this business (about signing a warrant for paying Sir Thos. Allen 1000l. out of the groats); but we were pretty good friends before we parted, and so we broke up and I to the writing my letters by the post, and so home to supper and to bed.

15 Annotations

Mary  •  Link

She grows mighty homely and looks old.

Poor woman!

(Just in case our overseas colleagues haven't had the chance to note this) "homely"is no longer used in this sense - 'plain, unattractive' - in modern Standard English, though it may survive in some dialectal contexts.

"mighty homely" sounds very American to most English ears.

Bergie  •  Link

"Homely" still means "plain, unattractive" in the United States. The meaning of "overseas" is necessarily relative. I'm not overseas; I'm right here in California.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Breath fire and invective against the Penn clan in private, kiss up to the neighboring gentry and superior officer in public...That's our boy. Unavoidable to some extent, the Penn being the neighbors and to his credit he does seem willing to oppose Penn on some office matters where he feels him wrong...But I suspect his opposition, though clear, is put in terms not too disimiliar to his famous letter to Lord Sandwich.


Must be a bit awful for Bess in Brampton without even Mercer for company, even if she's likely enjoying the job of arbitrating Paulina's future happiness. Of course there's Hinchingbrook not far away, with Lady Sandwich and the ever-gallant Capt Ferrers...

And the parade of local, lusty lads seeking to win that, Paulina...

Of course Meg Pepys seemed to have a good time with Bess in London during her visit in the early stages of the plague...Perhaps she and her daughter-in-law have gotten somewhat closer. Sam's mention of her suggests an independent streak and some emotional distance between him and her, though he feared for her health when he was at sea...Perhaps she disliked her husband's preference for Sam over the other surviving kids? It's interesting that Tomalin paints a picture of Sam's mom as a rather tough old woman, probably illiterate, who tosses her voided kidney stone in the fire without a thought and was likely emotionally blunted by drudgery and the constant deaths of her children...Whereas the London trip vaguely suggests a different side and a woman who did appreciate the finer things when given a chance to enjoy them.

Mary  •  Link

"...out of the groats"

This was a neat little scheme that must have delighted the seamen. Each month a groat (fourpence) was docked from a man's pay, the resulting accumulated sum being earmarked for the provision of naval chaplains.

According to L&M, by an order of February 1665, any surplus was to be paid to the commanding admiral. £1000 would seem to represent quite a handsome surplus. Allin's payment was ordered by the Duke of York the previous July but, as shown by Pepys entry for 8th April 1666, a dispute arose between Allin and Mr. Wayth about the use to which some of the money was put

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Thanks, Mary. You have precisely answered my question about the groats, and I hope your entry goes to the top of the matter at the link to groat. Having grown up partly in the American South, I can attest that homely still means plain, unattractive, and that "mighty homely" would be colloquial among older natives in Appalachia to this day.

Bradford  •  Link

Ditto, A. Hamilton, here in the Mid-South, even among the middle-aged. Curious how it leaped from the Thames to west of the Mississippi.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Breath[e] fire and invective against the Penn clan in private, kiss up to the neighboring gentry and superior officer in public"

Did Samuel not visit Sir W, Penn when the old boy was laid up with the gout?

Paul Dyson  •  Link

Oh, is there not one maiden here
Whose homely face and bad complexion
Have caused all hope to disappear
Of ever winning man's affection?
To such an one, if such there be,
I swear by Heaven's arch above you,
If you will cast your eyes on me,
However plain you be, I'll love you!

-- The Pirates of Penzance

jeannine  •  Link

For all the homely ladies of the world, there are still those astute men who recognize their value. I think Sam only too well recognizes the angst that goes with having a beauty by his side.

If You Wanna Be Happy
Jimmy Soul
On You Tube here, lyrics below

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall.
As soon as he marries her
Then she starts to do
The things that will break his heart.
But if you make an ugly woman your wife,
You'll be happy for the rest of your life,
An ugly woman cooks her meals on time,
She'll always give you peace of mind.

Don't let your friends say
You have no taste,
Go ahead and marry anyway,
Though her face is ugly,
Her eyes don't match,
Take it from me she's a better catch.

Say man.
Hey baby.
Saw your wife the other day.
Yeah, she's ugly.
Yeah, she's ugly but she sure can cook.
Yeah?. Okay.

Louise  •  Link

Mary, I'd disagree about "homely" no longer being in use in modern standard English. I'd consider myself a speaker of standard English and have frequently has recourse to "homely" as an adjetive. I am living in Ireland but don't speak a distinctly Hiberno English dialect. As I've been reading and enjoying Pepys I can see a lot of usage I'd thought was distinctly Irish is Stuart/Jacobean, this was the period when the Irish learned/imported English and some old usages have been preserved here. I hadn't thought homely was one of them however.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

home·ly / ˈhōmlē/ adjective

North American
(of a person) unattractive in appearance.
synonyms: unattractive, plain, unprepossessing, unlovely, ill-favored, ugly; informalnot much to look at
"she's rather homely"
antonyms: attractive
(of a place or surroundings) simple but cozy and comfortable, as in one's own home.
"a modern hotel with a homely atmosphere"
unsophisticated and unpretentious.

Tonyel  •  Link

As a Brit, I still recognise "homely" in the same way - not ugly, but rather plain perhaps.
However, who is Sam describing as such? He has just mentioned four women including his wife in one sentence.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

“She grows mighty homely and looks old. Thence ashamed at myself for this losse of time”

He would have been less likely to consider it a loss of time if she’d been younger and better looking.

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