Monday 24 December 1666

Up, and to the office, where Lord Bruncker, [Sir] J. Mennes, [Sir] W. Penn, and myself met, and there I did use my notes I took on Saturday night about tickets, and did come to a good settlement in the business of that office, if it be kept to, this morning being a meeting on purpose. At noon to prevent my Lord Bruncker’s dining here I walked as if upon business with him, it being frost and dry, as far as Paul’s, and so back again through the City by Guildhall, observing the ruines thereabouts, till I did truly lose myself, and so home to dinner. I do truly find that I have overwrought my eyes, so that now they are become weak and apt to be tired, and all excess of light makes them sore, so that now to the candlelight I am forced to sit by, adding, the snow upon the ground all day, my eyes are very bad, and will be worse if not helped, so my Lord Bruncker do advise as a certain cure to use greene spectacles, which I will do. So to dinner, where Mercer with us, and very merry. After dinner she goes and fetches a little son of Mr. Backeworth’s, the wittiest child and of the most spirit that ever I saw in my life for discourse of all kind, and so ready and to the purpose, not above four years old. Thence to Sir Robert Viner’s, and there paid for the plate I have bought to the value of 94l., with the 100l. Captain Cocke did give me to that purpose, and received the rest in money. I this evening did buy me a pair of green spectacles, to see whether they will help my eyes or no. So to the ‘Change, and went to the Upper ‘Change, which is almost as good as the old one; only shops are but on one side. Then home to the office, and did business till my eyes began to be bad, and so home to supper. My people busy making mince pies, and so to bed. No newes yet of our Gottenburgh fleete; which makes [us] have some fears, it being of mighty concernment to have our supply of masts safe. I met with Mr. Cade to-night, my stationer; and he tells me that he hears for certain that the Queene-Mother is about and hath near finished a peace with France, which, as a Presbyterian, he do not like, but seems to fear it will be a means to introduce Popery.

5 Annotations

Larry Bunce  •  Link

I thought that the references to Pepys' eye problems were just beginning this week, but he has been having occasional problems since the start of the diary.
Pepys' descriptions of his complaints are so good that modern opthamologists can give a fairly accurate diagnosis.
Here is an interesting article on Pepys' eye problems.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... it will be a means to introduce Popery."

There is much about the distinction and differences between the Anglican 'Catholic' practice of the 1662 prayer book and 'Popery' in the introduction to and selection of materials in Paul E More & Frank L. Cross, 'Anglicanism. The thought and practice of Church of England , illustrated from the religious literature of the seventeenth century.' London: SPCK, 1935, and many reprints.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"my eyes are very bad"
Thanks Larry Bunce for a very informative site;I do think that Sam had dry eyes,beside some other ailment,because his eyes were worse in wintertime when the indoor humidity is usually low;artificial tears would have helped.

Robert Gertz  •  Link




"Your eye problem is a punishment from God Almighty, Samuel! Take heed and mend thy ways lest thine sight be taken from thee."

"Uh-huh...I see. Right."

"Ah!! Sam'l?! Who's that?"

"Another one of those people from the future purporting to be the Lord, dear. Go back to sleep, I'll deal with him."


"We've been getting visits from you people once a week. Can you not find a better use for the miracle of time-travel, sir?"

"Sam'l? What was that about mending thy way?"

"...And interfering in the private lives of individuals? Go back to sleep, sweetheart."

"Well, can I at least see the original Diary, Sam?"

"No, sir. That happens to be my private journal, sir. And what the devil do you mean, addressing me by my Christian name? At least the people from 2075 had manners."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

deneaultb posted in the pepysdiary yahoogroups discussion:

24 December 1666 entry, Pepys spells Guildhall as Yildhall. William Matthews footnotes: "Guildhall (common pronunciation-spelling)."

Yate [yai't], sb. a [country] gate; Plot's Staffordshire, p. 157 [A. S. geat, a gate, opening]. See Ray. This is not so purely Northern, but you have it sometimes in the South; for I found it in the old Parish Book of Wye in Kent, 22 H. VIII. The g in our language softens into y; hence Yild Hall. Percy's Songs, i. pp. 65, 66; Degare", 664; Hampole, MS. Line. p. 368.

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