Wednesday 2 January 1666/67

Up, I, and walked to White Hall to attend the Duke of York, as usual. My wife up, and with Mrs. Pen to walk in the fields to frost-bite themselves. I find the Court full of great apprehensions of the French, who have certainly shipped landsmen, great numbers, at Brest; and most of our people here guess his design for Ireland. We have orders to send all the ships we can possible to the Downes. God have mercy on us! for we can send forth no ships without men, nor will men go without money, every day bringing us news of new mutinies among the seamen; so that our condition is like to be very miserable. Thence to Westminster Hall, and there met all the Houblons, who do laugh at this discourse of the French, and say they are verily of opinion it is nothing but to send to their plantation in the West Indys, and that we at Court do blow up a design of invading us, only to make the Parliament make more haste in the money matters, and perhaps it may be so, but I do not believe we have any such plot in our heads. After them, I, with several people, among others Mr. George Montagu, whom I have not seen long, he mighty kind. He tells me all is like to go ill, the King displeasing the House of Commons by evading their Bill for examining Accounts, and putting it into a Commission, though therein he hath left out Coventry and I and named all the rest the Parliament named, and all country Lords, not one Courtier: this do not please them. He tells me he finds the enmity almost over for my Lord Sandwich, and that now all is upon the Vice-Chamberlain, who bears up well and stands upon his vindication, which he seems to like well, and the others do construe well also. Thence up to the Painted Chamber, and there heard a conference between the House of Lords and Commons about the Wine Patent; which I was exceeding glad to be at, because of my hearing exceeding good discourses, but especially from the Commons; among others, Mr. Swinfen, and a young man, one Sir Thomas Meres: and do outdo the Lords infinitely. So down to the Hall and to the Rose Taverne, while Doll Lane come to me, and we did ‘biber a good deal de vino, et je did give elle twelve soldis para comprare elle some gans’ for a new anno’s gift … Thence to the Hall again, and with Sir W. Pen by coach to the Temple, and there ‘light and eat a bit at an ordinary by, and then alone to the King’s House, and there saw “The Custome of the Country,” the second time of its being acted, wherein Knipp does the Widow well; but, of all the plays that ever I did see, the worst-having neither plot, language, nor anything in the earth that is acceptable; only Knipp sings a little song admirably. But fully the worst play that ever I saw or I believe shall see. So away home, much displeased for the loss of so much time, and disobliging my wife by being there without her. So, by link, walked home, it being mighty cold but dry, yet bad walking because very slippery with the frost and treading. Home and to my chamber to set down my journal, and then to thinking upon establishing my vows against the next year, and so to supper and to bed.

31 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Royal Society today at Gresham College — from the Hooke Folio Online

Ian: 2d. 1666[/67]. The Norfolk Library presented. [ sc. the Library of Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk ] )

There was brought in by mr Hooke the formerly promised bucket for fetching vp earth or any other solid body from the bottom of the Sea. It was orderd that care should be taken soe to fitt it as that the springs might goe off both together and that easily & certainly & when it meets wth soft ground (as well as hard) as also to grate it ouer.

The same [ mr Hooke ] brought in a new clockwork soe regulating and adiusting a circular pendulum that at the end of a certaine number of vibrations the clock motion shall be reduced to an exactnesse which it had not before, the Inventor was orderd to perfect it & to perfect it & to bring in a ^ /full/ Description of its structure & vse in writing

(Oldenb: two books from Paris. [ Ismaelis ] Bullialdi
[ ] monita ad astronomes. another of mor. [ Antoine-François ] Payen [ French astronomer concerned about the horizontal eclipse ]. the former Recommended to Bp. Exeter later to mr Hooke to whose viewd the author also particularly Designed it

(transfusion to be prosecuted)

capn. Blake liued Long in china)

Expt expt. for next day perfecting the 2 instruments. 3 weather glasse to try all degrees of heat in vizt what degree will melt such &. such bodys 4. instrument to apply the strength of powder to bending springs securely & certainly all by mr Hooke

(inquiry for the west of Ireland

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In what Noel Malcolm terms List 3 of Oldenburg's library, John Collins's list of ‘some bookes sent to ye Society and in his [ Oldenburg's ] custody formerly’ (Royal Society, London, MS Domestic V, item 43, transcribed in Malcolm, ‘Library of Henry Oldenburg’), we find the adjacent entries ‘Bullialdi monita ad astronomos’ and ‘A booke of mr Payen’. Given that Boulliau's Monita Duo and Payen's Selenelion were presented simultaneously to the Society and, as we have seen, that the former was handed over to Ward and the latter to Hooke, it seems probable that Collins reconstructed these items from their occurrence in the Society minutes. Ward seems not to have returned his copy to the Society because it is not in their library, but the copy at British Library 530 d. 36 may just be his (it bears the original black ‘Museum Britannicum’ stamp). Hooke evidently regarded the Payen copy forwarded to him as his own property. Given the contiguity of the Boulliau and Payen works in both the minutes and in Collins's list, it is almost certain that Collins's ‘booke of mr Payen’ is the Selenelion, not his Adulterium Solis et Lunæ, Sol Larvatus, or Extrait.

William Poole, "Antoine-François Payen, the 1666 Selenelion, and a rediscovered letter to Robert Hooke"

Terry Foreman  •  Link

“So down to the Hall and to the Rose tavern, while Doll Lane came to me and we did biber a good deal de vino, et jo did give ella twelve solidos para comprar ella some gans for a new ano’s gift. I did tocar et no mas su cosa, but in fit time and place jo creo que je pouvais faire whatever I would con ella.”

CGS  •  Link

such a nip in the aire " walk in the fields to frost-bite themselves ..."

CGS  •  Link

"Count Clodio is an Italian governor who claims the traditional right of droit de seigneur; he is also the suitor of Zenocia. " [synopsis ]

rings a belle, Samuelle.

"...But fully the worst play that ever I saw or I believe shall see...."

CGS  •  Link

More why Samuell maybe find it an ill play.

help to too understand the mores of the City and why some banned plays or left for the New Lands.
courtesy of Project Gutenberg EBook of Beaumont & Fletcher's Works

Actus primus. Scena prima....

Ecert for the hardy;
Arn. But O the wicked Custom of this Country, The barbarous, most inhumane, damned Custom.

Rut. 'Tis true, to marry is a Custom
I' the world; for look you Brother,
Wou'd any man stand plucking for the Ace of Harts,
With one pack of Cards all dayes on's life?

Arn. You do not Or else you purpose not to understand me.

Rut. Proceed, I will give ear.

Arn. They have a Custom In this most beastly Country, out upon't.

Rut. Let's hear it first.

Arn. That when a Maid is contracted
And ready for the tye o'th' Church, the Governour,
He that commands in chief, must have her Maiden-head,
Or Ransom it for mony at his pleasure.

Rut. How might a man atchieve that place? a rare Custom! An admirable rare Custom: and none excepted?


Mary  •  Link

Houblon intelligence
seems to be very good. The French ships (per L&M) sailed for the West Indies and were subsequently followed by an English squadron of five vessels a few weeks later.

No wonder the Houblons are as successful as they are; all six (father and five sons) apparently work harmoniously together for mutual advantage, their intelligence is good and they have the knack of friendship and good humour.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"to frost-bite themselves"

Why? What's going on here? Is it thought that to get chilled is good for your health? (which seems to go against all the folk-medicine practices which Sam gets up to with keeping extra layers on until May etc.) Most mysterious.

Stephen  •  Link

I read "to frost-bite themselves" with a kind of resigned irony, but perhaps this is inappropriate.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link


I like Stephen's reading.

The whole entry is a pocket version of La Comedie Humaine. It begins with Sam's description of his wife and Mrs. Pen going forth on a chilly walk and goes on to the court's talk of a French invasion and orders for naval preparations to Sam's pious "God have mercy on us." Then we get the Houblon's knowing laughter at Sam and the court.

Sam entertains himself with a cross-section of London life:
--a Parliamentary conference committee;
-- an erotic dailliance with Doll Lane;
-- a performance of "the Custome of the Country," "the worst play that ever I saw" despite his actress friend Knipp.

He does home "much displeased for the loss of so much time," (laughter from the audience) and thinks about"establishing my vows against the next year" having pretty much violated most of his old vows today.
And, of course, "so to supper and to bed." Sam and Sam's London in a nutshell. Very amusing.

Mary  •  Link

Tempus fugit.
(Off topic)
Oh dear, I've just taken the 1667 volume of the diary down from the bookshelf whilst in search of a footnote and realised that it's the penultimate volume in the L&M edition. Admittedly this is a good, fat volume, but the next one is decidedly slender. What shall we do when we come to The End of Pepysian Days?

Perhaps we should start all over again in light of the knowledge that we have gained over the previous years. But would Phil have the stamina for that? We already owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for all the work that he has done to bring us and Sam closer together over the past seven years. Without it I know that I should never have had the self-discipline to read the entire diary day by day and then, what a lot I should have missed.

JWB  •  Link

"...Vice-Chamberlain, who bears up well and stands upon his vindication..."
The Guns of October:
1)"...and the House likely to be very full to-day about the money business. Here I met with several people, and do find that people have a mighty mind to have a fling at the Vice-Chamberlain, if they could lay hold of anything, his place being, indeed, too much for such, they think, or any single subject of no greater parts and quality than he, to enjoy. But I hope he may weather all, though it will not be by any dexterity of his, I dare say, if he do stand, but by his fate only, and people’s being taken off by other things."
2)"...the House has a great envy at Sir G. Carteret, and that had he ever thought fit in all his discourse to have touched upon the point of our want of money and badness of payment, it would have been laid hold on to Sir G. Carteret’s hurt; but he hath avoided it,"

Australian Susan  •  Link

Don't want to think of the end of the Diary! I *was* reading this day by day (from the Wheatley version), but it's rather lonely. I was amazed to discover this site and have kept up ever since.
Maybe we should move on to another diary, but the thought of starting all over again does have appeal.
Wonderful entry today and I love the fact that Sam sees no irony whatsoever in his choice of play!

JWB  •  Link


Reading his bio / Terry's link, get glimpse Hooke's mendacity in claiming priority vs Newton to gravity decreasing inversely with the square of its distance.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"My wife up, and with Mrs. Pen to walk in the fields to frost-bite themselves."

Before it was puppy-dog water, then going out at a frighteningly (to Sam's concern) early hour for dew, now this. On the other hand, we have the interesting modern practices of encouraging eating disorders, injecting ourselves with small amounts of a deadly poison, Botox (with little long-term data and the occasional hideous misapplication), cutting ourselves up with cosmetic surgery, and other practices that would probably make Bess and Lady Penn blanch.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I can't help thinking the Houblons would make perfect French sleeper agents. But I suppose they're really the French Protestant version of the Rothchilds...Acting as a single unit in all their endeavors for the family's success. Though perhaps not quite as internationally widespread or so successful over time...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...disobliging my wife by being there without her."

I suppose better to explain all that time out by confessing to running out to a play alone than to what went on with dear ole Doll today.

jeannine  •  Link

“Thence to the Hall again, and with Sir W. Pen by coach to the Temple, and there ‘light and eat a bit at an ordinary by, and then alone to the King’s House, and there saw “The Custome of the Country,” the second time of its being acted, wherein Knipp does the Widow well; but, of all the plays that ever I did see, the worst-having neither plot, language, nor anything in the earth that is acceptable; only Knipp sings a little song admirably. But fully the worst play that ever I saw or I believe shall see.”

I wonder if this knocks out the other 2 contenders for the ‘worst play I ever saw”?

March 1 1661/62

Thence my wife and I by coach, first to see my little picture that is a drawing, and thence to the Opera, and there saw “Romeo and Juliet,” the first time it was ever acted; but it is a play of itself the worst that ever I heard in my life, and the worst acted that ever I saw these people do, and I am resolved to go no more to see the first time of acting, for they were all of them out more or less.

September 29 1662

I sent for some dinner and there dined, Mrs. Margaret Pen being by, to whom I had spoke to go along with us to a play this afternoon, and then to the King’s Theatre, where we saw “Midsummer’s Night’s Dream,” which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life. I saw, I confess, some good dancing and some handsome women, which was all my pleasure.

Michael McCollough  •  Link

On behalf of those of us who came in in the middle, I call for starting over. Perhaps we could take up a collection to reimburse Terry for his costs and the time he's invested? Or someone could point me to the collection plate if I just can't find it?

Bradford  •  Link

"to frost-bite themselves": a bit of Pepysian wit, there's no way around it, and its rarity makes it all the more cherishable.

If we started all over, how many mistakes of interpretation and judgment would we make all over again? "Well, we know where this is going to end up!"

Who next? Francis Kilvert? Who's out of copyright?

Michael McC., perhaps Phil will forgive if I veer (as I so infrequently do) off-topic to point to this useful if well-hidden donor page:

And if you had your own PayPal account, Phil, that would make largesse all the easier!

arby  •  Link

I arrived late too, a few years ago, so I would like to second Michael's suggestion that we go back to the beginning. While I could go back and read the archives or buy the book, I don' wanna, this is too much fun. This is the perfect format for a diary. Thanks Phil. rb

CGS  •  Link

I vote Go back and see our glaring faults, just as Samuell did when he had to leave his inner self for the wits of 200x, and then think how the Academician and the Macadamians will treat these annots..

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link


OED gives as a figurative meaning, "to invigorate by exposure to the frost," and cites this passage from the diary. It also quotes Swift from a century later urging young ladies to "walk when the frost comes, ... go a frost-biting." It may have been a term in somewhat common use meaning a brisk walk in cold weather, perhaps to bring color to the cheeks.

CGS  •  Link

Frost follow up:

frost-nip, v.

1642 FULLER Holy & Prof. St. IV. i. 241 They..will not so much as frostnip their souls with a cold thought of want hereafter.
1616 B. JONSON Epigr. lii, I rather thou should'st utterly Dispraise my work, than praise it frostily.

to frost:
4. To treat (a horse's shoes) by the insertion of frost-nails, roughing, etc., as a protection against slipping in frosty weather; to shoe (a horse) in this way.
1572 in Gage Hist. Hengrave (1822) 192 For frosting the cart-horses at Thetford..vd.

1665 PEPYS Diary 26 Nov., I..set out, after my horses' being frosted, which I know not what it means to this day.

an aside:

A touch of the frost doth make the cheeks attractive and then for the male a comforting warm up?

CGS  •  Link

Thank goodness for the OED:
Frost-bite it be only use literally to-day, no innuendos:
originally used ? 1605?
on line Dict.
–verb (used with object)
2. to injure by frost or extreme cold.
1605–15; frost + bite
Me old Gran-paw would utter,"what be wrong with you Lad? got frost bitten have YOU" when I was just contemplating me olde naval.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Francis Kilvert

Reading the descriptions in Sam's Diary of his, as we would phrase it, sexploitations, has made many of us faintly queasy. In FK's diary, we would find something similar: the 19th century male's obsession with little girls. I am sure FK was innocent of anything physical, but the descriptions conjure up, for me, the same sensations of being repelled.

Bradford  •  Link

“to invigorate by exposure to the frost": well, what ideas of fun people will come up, though my impression is that many of this site's readers today, from Mid-South America to New York on the Hudson to the depths of Yorkshire to the seasides of Belgium, could duplicate the ladies' pleasure-ramble.

You're quite right, A. Susan, I'd forgotten that drawback. The reason Pepys pops up everywhere is that he can appeal to the widest possible readership; and though there have been many wonderful and noteworthy diary-keepers since, it's impossible to think of a similarly-situated successor.

And who else would have us hanging on a promise like "Home and to my chamber to set down my journal, and then to thinking upon establishing my vows against the next year" to find out just how he'll pledge to compromise the pleasures so freely indulged in of late?

Australian Susan  •  Link

.......and all sorts of alarums and excursions with the Dutch to look forward to also! And how far will Our Lad go with the juggling of girlfriends all over the place and avoiding overlaps. To say nothing of what Bess is thinking of all this.( wish she'd kept a diary). Going to be an interesting year.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Folks, we have more than two years to go before the end of the diary. I recommend we emulate my Buddhist friends and relatives and try to live more in the present moment. When the end starts drawing near in a couple of years, it may be entirely clear what if anything comes next. And of course, anyone can start again at the beginning at any time - it's all on line.

That said, I would surely like to meet all of you before we go our separate ways.

ian  •  Link

I love the way we had to settle for the right definition of frost bite as a verb after making up a more entertaining reading. The context of the Swift citation in oed is unimpeachable when cross referenced against the slightly ambiguous Pepys entry.

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