Sunday 16 June 1667

(Lord’s day). Up, and called on by several on business of the office. Then to the office to look out several of my old letters to Sir W. Coventry in order to the preparing for justifying this office in our frequent foretelling the want of money. By and by comes Roger Pepys and his son Talbot, whom he had brought to town to settle at the Temple, but, by reason of our present stirs, will carry him back again with him this week. He seems to be but a silly lad. I sent them to church this morning, I staying at home at the office, busy. At noon home to dinner, and much good discourse with him, he being mighty sensible of our misery and mal-administration. Talking of these straits we are in, he tells me that my Lord Arlington did the last week take up 12,000l. in gold, which is very likely, for all was taken up that could be. Discoursing afterwards with him of our family he told me, that when I come to his house he will show me a decree in Chancery, wherein there was twenty-six men all housekeepers in the town of Cottenham, in Queene Elizabeth’s time, of our name. He to church again in the afternoon, I staid at home busy, and did show some dalliance to my maid Nell, speaking to her of her sweetheart which she had, silly girle. After sermon Roger Pepys comes again. I spent the evening with him much troubled with the thoughts of the evils of our time, whereon we discoursed. By and by occasion offered for my writing to Sir W. Coventry a plain bold letter touching lack of money; which, when it was gone, I was afeard might give offence: but upon two or three readings over again the copy of it, I was satisfied it was a good letter; only Sir W. Batten signed it with me, which I could wish I had done alone. Roger Pepys gone, I to the garden, and there dallied a while all alone with Mrs. Markham, and then home to my chamber and to read and write, and then to supper and to bed.

11 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...did show some dalliance to my maid Nell, speaking to her of her sweetheart which she had, silly girle..."

She said no, didn't she, Sam?

But hey, even in time of disaster there's always time for ...

Don McCahill  •  Link

> wherein there was twenty-six men all housekeepers in the town of Cottenham, in Queene Elizabeth’s time, of our name.

That must be a usage change over the years, with housekeepers then meaning what we would call home owners. He is saying that there were 26 Pepys families in Cottenham at that time.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... twenty-six men all housekeepers ..."

He is saying rather more about their political and economic status than just 'homeowners' in the modern sense -- an 'household' had status as an independent legal entity which would mean they were 'free' and not subject to the lordship of another. The concept does not really exist or have much meaning post the Reform Act of 1832 or the C18th. ideas of individual 'person-hood' embodied, for example, in the US Constitution.

cum salis grano  •  Link

housekeeper 1. = HOUSEHOLDER. Now rare or Obs.
c1440 Promp. Parv. 251/1 Howskepare, edituus, editua.
1536 STAPLETON in Lett. & Pap. Hen. VIII (1890) XII. 189 At the request of honest men, he, being a house-keeper, was suffered to go unpunished.
1605 Lond. Prodigal I. ii, She hath refused seven of the worshipfull'st And worthiest housekeepers this day in Kent.
1685 in Picton L'pool Munic. Rec. (1883) I. 329 None but housekeepers shall sitt in the seate on ye north side..and..none but the wives and widdows of housekeepers..'twixt the baylives wives and ye font.

1766 ENTICK London IV. 128 A handsome street, private housekeepers.
keeper: One who or that which keeps.

I. From trans. senses of the vb.

1. a. One who has charge, care, or oversight of any person or thing; a guardian, warden, custodian.
2. (With qualifying adj.) One who ‘keeps a (good, bountiful, etc.) house’ (see HOUSE n.1 18b); a hospitable person. Obs.
1538 LATIMER Serm. & Rem. (1845) 411 The man is ..a good housekeeper, feedeth many, and that daily.
1586 J. HOOKER Girald. Irel. in Holinshed II. 137/2 Bountifull and liberall..a great housekeeper, and of great hospitalitie.
a1661 FULLER Worthies (1840) I. 281 John Barnston..a bountiful house~keeper.
b. A dog kept to guard the house; a watch-dog. Obs.
1605 SHAKES. Macb. III. i. 97 The valued file Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle, The House-keeper, the Hunter.
1688 R. HOLME Armoury II. ix. 186/1 The Village-Dog, or House-keeper..bigly barking, so as to terrifie Rogues and Theives.

4. A woman engaged in housekeeping or domestic occupations (see HOUSE n.1 18c); a woman who manages or superintends the affairs of a household; esp. the woman in control of the female servants of a household.

1607 SHAKES. Cor. I. iii. 55 How do you both? You are manifest house-keepers. What are you sowing [sewing] heere? 1724 SWIFT Stella's Birthday 9 Merry folks..Call the old house-keeper, and get her To fill a place

3. a. A person in charge of a house, office, place of business, etc.
1632 J. HAYWARD tr. Biondi's Eromena 6 The day following came to court the housekeeper of Poggio.

5. One who ‘keeps the house’, or stays at home (see HOUSE n.1 18d).
c1710 C. FIENNES Diary (1888) 75 They..scarce ever go 2 or 10 mile from thence especially the women, so may be termed good housekeepers.

to keep ; an old old word with interesting roots.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"He seems to be but a silly lad."


"It could be worse..." John Pepys, Jr notes to the fuming Talbot with sigh. "You could be immortalized by my brother as 'harmless'."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

“He seems to be but a silly lad.”

It must be a clever ploy: Talbot Pepys was admitted to the Middle Temple four years ago at 17 (in 1663).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Talbot: "I'll remember forever...When I was but three.

Dear Father Roger remarking to me. "Son, when you're grown and want everything nice. I've got your future sewn up if you take...This...advice."

"Be a clown...Be a clown...All the world loves a clown. Wear the cap...And the bells...And you'll rate with all the top swells."

"Be a crank...Jackanappes...And they'll imitate ya like apes."

King Charles, nodding:"A college eductaion...I should never propose."

Courtier in finery:"That bachelor's degree won't even keep you in hose."

Roger: "But millions for you Talbot if you spin on your nose...(Not to mention avoid the likely fate of the current administration's officers if this disaster keeps up.)...Be a clown, be a clown, be a clown."

Sam: "I still say he's but a silly lad."

Australian Susan  •  Link

I think Sam is meaning here that Talbot is simple - a country boy, an innocent - not that he's stupid. Naive maybe. And of course not with Our Sam's social skills.

cum salis grano  •  Link

country bumkin


[Later form of ME. sely SEELY a.]
From c 1550 to c 1675 silly was very extensively used in senses 1-3, and in a number of examples it is difficult to decide which shade of meaning was intended by the writer.

A. adj.

3. a. Unlearned, unsophisticated, simple, rustic, ignorant. Obs. or arch.

3b. Of humble rank or state; lowly. Obs.
a1568 A
1610 J. GUILLIM Heraldry IV. v. (1660) 281 Before the invention of Printing, the onely means of preserving good Arts..was by this silly instrument the Pen.

1629 MILTON Hymn Nativ. viii, Perhaps their loves, or els their sheep, Was all that did their silly thoughts so busie keep.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Discoursing afterwards with him of our family he told me, that when I come to his house he will show me a decree in Chancery, wherein there was twenty-six men all housekeepers in the town of Cottenham, in Queene Elizabeth’s time, of our name."

So, Pepys is doing the further rudimentary genealogical probe he promised himself to do foure days ago. L&M say Roger Pepys probably got his information from the MS he mentioned then:

The Chancery case concerned a dispute about the marriage contact of John Pepys (d. 1589). There is a (fragmentary) petition of 1558 in the National Archives (C3/136/29); the decree has not been traced.

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