Friday 25 December 1668

(Christmas-day). Up, and continued on my waistcoat, the first day this winter, and I to church, where Alderman Backewell, coming in late, I beckoned to his lady to come up to us, who did, with another lady; and after sermon, I led her down through the church to her husband and coach, a noble, fine woman, and a good one, and one my wife shall be acquainted with. So home, and to dinner alone with my wife, who, poor wretch! sat undressed all day, till ten at night, altering and lacing of a noble petticoat: while I by her, making the boy read to me the Life of Julius Caesar, and Des Cartes’ book of Musick — the latter of which I understand not, nor think he did well that writ it, though a most learned man. Then, after supper, I made the boy play upon his lute, which I have not done twice before since he come to me; and so, my mind in mighty content, we to bed.

8 Annotations

First Reading

Australian Susan  •  Link

A quiet day for Sam and Bess. The big party will be on 12th night. Wonder if Sam is hoping he doesn't get the bean this year and be 'king' and thus have to kiss the 'queen' of the feast, which could result in awkwardness! Unless it is Bess, of course.

Eric Walla  •  Link

Is the textual annotation for Alderman Backewell's lady intended to speak to her girth? ;-)

Carl in Boston  •  Link

They say nothing of Christmas, this December the Twenty Fifth. Scrooogian. I dare say Merry Christmas, yes I do, and God Bless Us Every One.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Hallo! Whoop! Merry Christmas!

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Hello Andrew. I have fond memories of meeting you in Concord, MA to speak of Samuel Pepys and how you could still sing "Fair Harvard". It's odd how every Harvard graduate can sing "Fair Harvard" and not one MIT graduate even knows of the song "Sons of MIT". Merry Christmas to all, and may Harvard beat Yale.

Eric Walla  •  Link

Thanks, Phil.

You certainly can remove my post(s) now that we know it's Mary Backwell.

Merry Christmas!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Lets hope that "noble petticoat" was Sam's much appreciated present. Sounds like a nice, toasty Xmas with Tom reading of Julius Caesar and Descartes while Sam sits by Bess as she alters the new petticoat. Maybe "pricklouse" gave her some pointers? Well, not too bad an end to the year shaping up...Sam seems to be doing his best to keep up his vow of faithfulness and even to have recently proudly noted thanks to the appreciations of other men that he's married to a beauty equal even to Lady Castlemaine...The office is unsettled but not in immediate jeopardy...despite Buckingham's power grab, he seems willing to leave the staff in place...No plagues, fires, or wars for the moment.


We can be glad for our friend that this (last) Xmas is so content...And how good it is that he will be able to remember he spent it with her, no business or "rendezvous" marring it.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"...and Des Cartes’ book of Musick — the latter of which I understand not, nor think he did well that writ it, though a most learned man."

L&M: Probably Brouncker's translation…

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