Sunday 22 November 1668

(Lord’s day). My wife and I lay long, with mighty content; and so rose, and she spent the whole day making herself clean, after four or five weeks being in continued dirt; and I knocking up nails, and making little settlements in my house, till noon, and then eat a bit of meat in the kitchen, I all alone. And so to the Office, to set down my journall, for some days leaving it imperfect, the matter being mighty grievous to me, and my mind, from the nature of it; and so in, to solace myself with my wife, whom I got to read to me, and so W. Hewer and the boy; and so, after supper, to bed.

This day my boy’s livery is come home, the first I ever had, of greene, lined with red; and it likes me well enough.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

A dual rebirth...They are a remarkably linked couple in many ways, our Sam and Bess.

Grievous and yet he couldn't not be true to his unspoken artistic vision of total honesty and the full exploration of daily human experience...If there is an afterlife, I feel sure Bess is proud of you for that and for making her a major part of this achievement, Sam. Even if she may want to whack you (in the fullest Mob sense) as well...

MaggieNY  •  Link

Can someone explain this sentence please? Thanks!

This day my boy’s livery is come home, the first I ever had, of greene, lined with red; and it likes me well enough.

djc  •  Link

"This day my boy’s livery is come home, the first I ever had, of greene, lined with red; and it likes me well enough."

He has dressed the boy in a green coat with red lining. that is he now reckons himself doing well enough to have his own coach and dress his servants (or at least the boy) in a uniform. This is of course to better please Mr Pepys than the boy: thus he records what he thinks of it not the boy's opinion.

Michael L  •  Link

"Can someone explain this sentence please?"

"my boy’s livery is come home": I think this means that Sam is feeling well off enough to begin dressing his household servants in an official livery, or uniform. The livery would usually be uniform within a particular household, but differ from those of other households. This was standard for nobles or bishops to do for their servants. Sam is neither, so this strikes me as rather ostentatious of him.

(I wonder if the livery style and color is Sam's own design?)

"it likes me well enough": this sounds like Sam's understated approval of the livery. The grammar construction reminds me of Romance languages. For example, in French, you say "ça me plait" = "it pleases me" for "I like it."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Livery is not a new thing for Pepys's boy

L&M note the colors had previously those of Pepys's arm -- those of Thomas Pepys of South Creake, Norf.., in 1653, procured .first for Wayneman Birch 23 March 1661/62: "This morning was brought me my boy’s fine livery, which is very handsome, and I do think to keep to black and gold lace upon gray, being the colour of my arms, for ever. "…

Dorothy  •  Link

Black and gold lace on gray sounds a lot better to me than green lined with red. Perhaps Sam's comment is meant to imply that it doesn't look as good as he thought it would.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Livery dates from a time and world in which occupations and "houses" (families) were dress-coded.

The entire social world in the Middle Ages were a pageants of recognizable regiments -- uniforms received as a privilege of belonging. The word "livery" had connoted the ceremonial conveyance of property, i.e. what properly belongs.…

(I agree, Dorothy: green lined with red? Yuck! -- SPOILER - he used the earlier colors on the memorial he put up at St Olave for Elizabeth after her death.… )

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Livery...Sounds likes Sam is preparing for a splash when the coach comes out with Tom getting the nod as footman.

Spoiler ahoy, take heed...

I wonder if green and red are colors Bess likes, given he used them for her memorial. Perhaps this livery bit is a bit of social status Bess has been eager for?

"Ha, ha, ha, ha..."

"Jane, knock it off and finish the alterations...I want to get this off me." Tom frowns.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Livery -- mal au foie? Certainly Sam has just been through a "crise du foi" of a sort.

john  •  Link

"knocking up nails"

Thanks to the wonderful search engine, I found "knocking up nails for my hat and cloaks in my chamber" on 30 Jan 1659. Would these be nails as we know them or decorative hangers of sort? And putting nails in plaster tends to make a bit of a mess.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

For Elizabeth's memorial Pepys used "the colour of [his] arms" from 1662.

languagehat  •  Link

"it likes me well enough."

This is the original construction; "like" originally meant "please." The modern usage, with "I like X" for what used to be "X likes me," goes back at least to Chaucer ("sche likede hym the bet" = "she liked him the best") but took a long time to prevail, and the same kinds of people who now rail against "I could care less" or singular "they" would back in those days have griped about the "illogical" "I like it" when everybody knows it should be "it likes me"!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Jim. that day's 404 links to the great pics uploaded by Dirk et al. to the smartgroups site is a reminder to see if they can be chased down to be uploaded to the yahoogroups site.

MaggieNY  •  Link

Great explanations folks. Thank you!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Ho! Ho! Ho! Green and red! Sounds like a modern Christmas Elf! Seriously - red was one of the more expensive dyes so Sam is really splashing out here.

Second Reading

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“… set down my journall, for some days leaving it imperfect”. Could “some days” be five or six weeks, and “imperfect” refer to the 13 days gap in October? But it feels too long ago.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Green and red livery? There has to be a reason. We turned to "Green: The History of a Color", the highly recommended study by French historian Michel Pastoureau, and found little encouragement there: Since the Middle Ages poor color green, its pigment unstable and often toxic, was that of weird errant knights, fickle youth (which we're not anymore, right Mr. Pepys?) and other fey creatures. With red, of the hunt - something alien to Sam. More recently, green has become the color of money (and so perhaps of budget managers), and moneylenders have adopted green hats and tableclothes, but as of the late 17C it's also shunned by sailors (it attracts lightning) and in the theater (brings bad luck).

Pastoureau quotes a 16C heraldry guru who advises against red-and-green, "a livery most common" despite the negative associations, "and most ugly" - perhaps, if the fashion mob wouldn't have the green stuff, the rest of us would since it was cheaper? It may also have been easier to spot in the riot of colors that was swingin' London (just check out a few official portraits, not much puritan black and no prohibition on bright colors there), making it easier to find the coach in the Westminster parking lot. The coat of arms adopted in 1660 by My Lord Sandwich (see…) happens to have quite a bit of green and red in it, too.

Maybe Sam hasn't read Pastoureau's book (published in 2000) and, having a green bed and a green dining room, just thinks it's pretty, the color of Brampton fields, sea-green, &c. Let him figure out later why the captains (and, hmm, the actresses maybe) cross themselves before boarding his coach.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.