Tuesday 30 June 1668

Up, and at the Office all the morning: then home to dinner, where a stinking leg of mutton, the weather being very wet and hot to keep meat in. Then to the Office again, all the afternoon: we met about the Victualler’s new contract. And so up, and to walk all the evening with my wife and Mrs. Turner in the garden, till supper, about eleven at night; and so, after supper, parted, and to bed, my eyes bad, but not worse, only weary with working. But, however, I very melancholy under the fear of my eyes being spoiled, and not to be recovered; for I am come that I am not able to read out a small letter, and yet my sight good for the little while I can read, as ever they were, I think.

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ormond to Ossory
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 30 June 1668

Yesterday, the writer was unable to come to any certain judgment how far he could depend on Lord Arlington, in the event of a declared enmity with the Duke of Buckingham. Now, he feels secure that Arlington will in the first place endeavour to prevent an attack from Buckingham; failing that, he will give seasonable notice; finally, he will assist, with all the interest he has in the writer's defence against it.

Arlington has been very jealous [= fearful] lest the writer should join with those whom he suspects of designing to bring back Clarendon; more doubtful [ = fearful] still that Sir W. Coventry might gain the writer to his, or "the Duke [of York]'s party". Now, these doubts are cleared, without giving Arlington any cause to think that the writer had abandoned his friendship to Clarendon, or would be found wanting in duty to the King. ...


Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a stinking leg of mutton"
Maybe innocent, perhaps not:
"flesh of sheep used as food," late 13c., from O.Fr. moton "ram, wether, sheep" (Fr. mouton), from M.L. multonem (8c.), probably from Gaulish *multo-s, acc. of *multo (cf. O.Ir. molt "wether," Mid-Breton mout, Welsh mollt). Transf. slang sense of "food for lust, loose women, prostitutes" (1510s) led to extensive British slang uses down to the present day for woman variously regarded as seeking lovers or as lust objects. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=mutton

Jenny  •  Link

High summer in London. I think we can be pretty certain it was a "stinking leg of mutton".

NJM  •  Link

Such a shame about the eyesight problem isn't it ? You almost want to reach back in time and tell him it can be resolved, poor Sam.
By the way for those of you not in London the reading of extracts from the diary at Dr. Johnson's house last week was wonderful - despite a burglar alarm on a nearby building sounding through half of it ! - if you ever get the chance do see it. Well worth any time or expense.
In the building of the period it was easy to be transported back !

GrahamT  •  Link

The use Terry cites is in use today in the slang phrase: "Mutton Dressed as lamb", i.e. an older woman dressed younger than her years to attract a younger man, perhaps.
However I agree with Jenny as to its literal meaning here.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...stinking leg of mutton..." Yum. But have the chamber pots standing by, Jane.

DiPhi  •  Link

NJM, I'm curious to know what modern science would be able to do for Sam's eyesight. Is he just nearsighted, and a pair of well calibrated glasses would fix him up, or is something else going on with him? Every time he mentions his eyes, I start getting early DTs!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pepys’ eye trouble —-
From Vol X “Companion” to the “Diary” by Latham and Matthews (1983): “It is generally agreed that the nature of Pepys’ eye trouble was a combination of long sight [farsightedness or hyperopia] and astigmatism.” Both of these problems are easily corrected today by eye glasses. Such glasses were not really available in Pepys’ day. Posted by Allen http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/330/#c42422

Mary  •  Link

Many thanks for the reference to this enthralling paper.

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