Thursday 24 December 1668

A cold day. Up, and to the Office, where all the morning alone at the Office, nobody meeting, being the eve of Christmas. At noon home to dinner, and then to the Office busy, all the afternoon, and at night home to supper, and it being now very cold, and in hopes of a frost, I begin this night to put on a waistcoat, it being the first winter in my whole memory that ever I staid till this day before I did so. So to bed in mighty good humour with my wife, but sad, in one thing, and that is for my poor eyes.


6 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Royal Society today at Arundel House -- from the Hook Folio Online 

Dec. 24. noe meeting.

Valerie  •  Link

How odd to modern eye, that there's no mention of Christmas festivities. Though I suppose there must have been some, as people weren't at the office. I wonder if he bought a present for Bess, or if Valentine's was the big gift-giving day?

Roger The Weather  •  Link

'and it being now very cold, and in hopes of a frost, I begin this night to put on a waistcoat, it being the first winter in my whole memory that ever I staid till this day before I did so.'

December 1668 had been mild up to now (the month ranks 247th coldest December out of 352 since 1659) and is very similar temperature-wise to the current December(the current month a little milder still). Readers in the UK will know that both months are in stark contrast to last December(2010) which was the 2nd coldest ever in 'Central England'
Sam will experience a much colder Decemeber next year and several more in the next 10 years.

languagehat  •  Link

"How odd to modern eye, that there’s no mention of Christmas festivities."

Remember, the holiday had been banned altogether until the restoration. There's a good piece (focusing on the U.S., but with background on England) here:
http://theweek.com/article/index/222676/when-amer…

"Puritans in the English Parliament eliminated Christmas as a national holiday in 1645, amid widespread anti-Christmas sentiment. Settlers in New England went even further, outlawing Christmas celebrations entirely in 1659. Anyone caught shirking their work duties or feasting was forced to pay a significant penalty of five shillings. Christmas returned to England in 1660, but in New England it remained banned until the 1680s, when the Crown managed to exert greater control over its subjects in Massachusetts."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"How odd to modern eye, that there's no mention of Christmas festivities. Though I suppose there must have been some, as people weren't at the office. I wonder if he bought a present for Bess, or if Valentine's was the big gift-giving day?"

What was yesterday's 4/.-worth of lace for then, Valerie? New coach and pair and coachman? Trip to France coming up? New hangings and upholstery throughout the house? New tapestries? You want MORE??? Okay, they all defied gift wrapping, I'll grant you that.

And search VALENTINE in the box, top right, to see that Elizabeth got lots of attention on February 14 ... and not only from Pepys, as was the custom.

And as to festivities, again, search for balls, gambling, and Christmas in the Diary and the Annotations, and you'll see there were many parties, card games, balls, and reckless, drunken carrying ons over the years. Puritan Pepys was cautious with how he spent his money, so the Pepys have only recently joined the ranks of party givers. We shall see what they do this year ... he doesn't always tell us in advance.

Scube  •  Link

And a Merry Christmas to Sam, Bess, and all their crew with whom I share my morning coffee! And to you thoughtful annotators (both old and new) for your keen insights! While I mostly remain one of the "silent majority," I certainly appreciate your notes and am impressed by your knowledge!

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