Wednesday 4 March 1667/68

Up betimes and with Sir W. Pen in his coach to White Hall, there to wait upon the Duke of York and the Commissioners of the Treasury, [Sir] W. Coventry and Sir John Duncombe, who do declare that they cannot find the money we demand, and we that less than what we demand will not set out the fleet intended, and so broke up, with no other conclusion than that they would let us have what they could get and we would improve that as well as we could. So God bless us, and prepare us against the consequences of these matters. Thence, it being a cold wet day, I home with Sir J. Minnes in his coach, and called by the way at my bookseller’s and took home with me Kercher’s Musurgia — very well bound, but I had no comfort to look upon them, but as soon as I come home fell to my work at the office, shutting the doors, that we, I and my clerks, might not be interrupted, and so, only with room for a little dinner, we very busy all the day till night that the officers met for me to give them the heads of what I intended to say, which I did with great discontent to see them all rely on me that have no reason at all to trouble myself about it, nor have any thanks from them for my labour, but contrarily Brouncker looked mighty dogged, as thinking that I did not intend to do it so as to save him. This troubled me so much as, together with the shortness of the time and muchness of the business, did let me be at it till but about ten at night, and then quite weary, and dull, and vexed, I could go no further, but resolved to leave the rest to to-morrow morning, and so in full discontent and weariness did give over and went home, with[out] supper vexed and sickish to bed, and there slept about three hours, but then waked, and never in so much trouble in all my life of mind, thinking of the task I have upon me, and upon what dissatisfactory grounds, and what the issue of it may be to me.

13 Annotations

First Reading

Christopher Squire  •  Link

’ . . Brouncker looked mighty dogged . . ’
‘dogged, adj.
. . 1.b. In weakened use: ill-tempered, surly; sullen, morose. Now with some mixture of sense 1d: having an air of sullen obstinacy.
. . 1622    J. Mabbe tr. M. Alemán Rogue i. 248   So his Steward‥turn'd me out of doores. Which I tooke in that foule scorne‥that in a kind of sullen and dogged fashion‥I left the house.
1700    W. Philips St. Stephen's-Green i. 3   Oh, 'tis such a Comfort! When my Husband is in a Dogged Humour, to call for my Glass Chariot, take the Air on the Strand . .

d. In neutral or positive sense: having the persistence or tenacity characteristic of some breeds of dog; obstinate, stubborn; resolute. (Now the usual sense.)
1700    tr. M. de Cervantes Don Quixote I. ii. iv. 107   Her courteousness and fair looks draw on every body to love her; but then her dogged, stubborn coyness breaks their Hearts.
1791    J. Boswell Life Johnson anno 1779 II. 284   [He commended one of the Dukes of Devonshire for] ‘a dogged veracity’ . . ‘ [OED]

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the shortness of the time and muchness of the business"

Sometimes it's like that. As the Dormouse says to Alice in *Alice's Adventures in Wonderland* -- "That begins with an M, such as... muchness - you know you say things are 'much of a muchness' - did you ever see... a drawing of a muchness?"

Christopher Squire  •  Link

I hadn’t realised that ’muchness’ was not a coinage of Carroll; OED has:

‘muchness, n.
1. Large size or bulk; bigness. Also: size, amount, magnitude (large or small). Now rare.

2. Greatness in quantity, number, or degree.
. . 1669    S. Pepys Diary 27 Mar. (1976) IX. 500   To bed, my head a little troubled with the muchness of business I have upon me at present . .

3. An instance of large quantity or (less commonly) large size.
1674    N. Fairfax Treat. Bulk & Selvedge 21   After the nice brattling out of reality, into muchnesses and littlenesses, there falls to the share of this, as little as may be . .
1983    E. McClanahan Nat. Man (1984) v. 60   There framed in the window stood Oddles herself in all her monumental naked splendor‥a true abundance of womanly charms, a plenitude, a muchness . .

 4. much of a muchness: (of) much the same importance or value; very much the same or alike; undifferentiated; occas. also of a muchness (colloq.). a bit of a muchness (rare): rather similar.
The phrase usually occurs predicatively, but occas. as the object.
1728    J. Vanbrugh & C. Cibber Provok'd Husband i. i. 17   Man. I hope‥, you and your good Woman agree still. J. Moody. Ay! ay! much of a Muchness.
1848    T. De Quincey Forster's Life of Goldsmith in N. Brit. Rev. 202   Compare Addison's age‥with Goldsmith's‥the two ages will be found to offer ‘much of a muchness’.
1865    ‘L. Carroll’ Alice's Adventures in Wonderland vii. 109   That begins with an M, such as‥muchness—you know you say things are ‘much of a muchness’—did you ever see‥a drawing of a muchness?’ . .

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Meanwhile no doubt Penn and Brouncker and "Honest John" Minnes are working on their own back-up defenses.

"It was Pepys. I never knew what was going on. Pepys ran everything."

"Naval Office? Did I work there? Not, really...I was sort of a consultant, an inspector for the king...It was that little fellow Pepys who ran the place. My friend Mrs. Williams can give testimony that I was rarely there and had little to do with the place's operation."

"While I defended the Nation from the deck of my fighting vessel, shedding my blood for Crown and England, the administration of affairs in the Naval Office was entirely in the hands of Samuel Pepys, Clerk of the Acts, a creature of the notorious Lord Sandwich."

language hat  •  Link

Reminds me of the time I visited the Soviet Union and wound up with a group of fellow night owls trying to get back to our hotel (the Ostankino, well north of the central city) after the subway had stopped running. I was the only one who spoke Russian, not very well, and I was having trouble finding out how to manage it; fed up with the querulous complaints of my group, I finally threatened to leave them to their own devices and go find my own way back, at which point they shut up. (A kindly bus driver eventually drove us there, even though he was theoretically off duty and heading back to the garage.)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"much of a muchness"

"In fact, the word was in use by the 14th century, predating Shakespeare by more than a century. Also, the Shakesperian-sounding phrase 'much of a muchness' first appeared considerably later, in the play The Provok'd Husband, 1728, which was a collaboration between John Vanbrugh and Colley Cibber:

" Man: I hope.., you and your good Woman agree still.
J. Moody: Ay! ay! much of a Muchness."…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The provok'd husband: or, a journey to London. A comedy. As it is acted at the Theatre Royal, by His Majesty's Servants, Written by the Late Sir John Vanbrugh, and Mr. Cibber.
LONDON: Printed by and for J o B N Watts at the Printing-office in Wild-Court near Lincoln's-Inn Fields.
(search for "muchness" > P. 31.)…

pepfie  •  Link

Addendum to "dogged" citations:
OED SE on CD-ROM v. sub 2.c (same sense as CS' 1.b above)
"1667 Pepys Diary (1879) IV. 424 My wife in a dogged humour for my not dining at home. "

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"called by the way at my bookseller’s and took home with me Kercher’s Musurgia — very well bound,"

L&M: Of the binding Mr. H. M. Nixon writes: 'The volumes are in thick calf, with gold tooling on the spines;..... But there is nothing else in the PL uniform with them. Bought in sheets for 35s. from Shrewsbury or Allestree, they were now bound by (or for) Martin, the bookseller. Pepys has a note (on the flyleaf of the first volume) of the total cost (£3), which would make the binding-costs 12s. 6d. per vol.'

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"So God bless us, and prepare us against the consequences of these matters."

Mutinies at home ... invasion from abroad ... no wonder Pepys would welcome being fired.

And no wonder Charles favored being nice to cousin Louis rather than the Triple Alliance. Much easier to sell England than to defend it.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

And now that the beancounters have their teeth into the Navy, you can expect more why-this and why-that. Today Sir G. Downing (secretary to the Treasury Commision) sent an invitation "to the Navy Commissioners (...) to speak with them on Monday [the 9th] to know why they charged so great a sum in their weekly credits due to the seamen" (State Papers No. 2,…)

Every question, if answered, can lead to another question, especially from titled gentlemen who, themselves, happily live on credit they repay once a year, if ever and, for the luckiest of them, get paid for so-called "charges" by a government that can always press for what it cannot buy ("do you really have to pay the seamen? I mean, they get food and board, no?") But, apart from not enjoying the liberties of that plane of existence, Sam is also a perfectionist, he likes the books to be exactly balanced and people to do their jobs and be paid on time. One wonders if Coventry, Duncombe and the Admiral, repairing to a tavern after today's hearing, couldn't have had this exchange:

Coventry: So, John, did you understand what this was all about?

Duncombe: Not a word. Meself, I leave the money stuff to the wife, and am the better for it. But our Mr. Pepys is always agitated about it, isn't he. Hey, Admiral, since he's your neighor - why does he do like that, y'know, the midnight oil and all?

Penn: Who knows. Do normal people work at midnight? Best case, the fellow's a worrier. He's making himself sick with all that crazy scratching in books. Worst case, it's to sidetrack us away from the real stuff. Like, you know [in a low tone] he's a p-a-p-i-s-t.

Sam is, of course, not the only honest and conscientious professional around, but in 1668 almost everyone cuts corners, and those who don't could pass for maniacs, or be suspect of just hiding it really well. Another vignette from the State Papers (No. 3, same page), from a Wm. Bodham of Woolwich, whose job is to inspect deliveries of hamp (from Flanders, of all places, in an "age of sail" that could be properly called The Age of Rope): "We must open every bundle of it, knowing what cheats are usually packed up in the midst of it. This is an impartial report, although we have been terrified by menaces, and tempted by allurements, to take it in, right or wrong."

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Alone now in the tavern after the others went off to see their mistresses, John Downing tries to puzzle out, if he can after all, the discussion at the Commission of the Treasury.

Nah. Wasn't ever good at calculus. Especially after a bottle of sack, heh heh. What's the point anyway, if Pepys redoes everything overnight. I liked Downing's wig, though. Gotta have the same. So something will remain of these 3 hours in a stuffy room.

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