Monday 24 May 1669

To White Hall, and there all the morning, and thence home, and giving order for some business and setting my brother to making a catalogue of my books, I back again to W. Hewer to White Hall, where I attended the Duke of York and was by him led to [the King], who expressed great sense of my misfortune in my eyes, and concernment for their recovery; and accordingly signified, not only his assent to desire therein, but commanded me to give them rest summer, according to my late petition to the Duke of York. W. Hewer and I dined alone at the Swan; and thence having thus waited on the King, spent till four o’clock in St. James’s Park, when I met my wife at Unthanke’s, and so home.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"setting my brother to making a catalogue of my books"

Pepys records having catalogued and ordered his books since late 1666:

"Spent the evening in fitting my books, to have the number set upon each, in order to my having an alphabet [index] of my whole, which will be of great ease to me. "…

"I to my chamber, and there to ticket a good part of my books, in order to the numbering of them for my easy finding them to read as I have occasion."…

"...finished the putting of little papers upon my books to be numbered hereafter."…

"my wife and Deb. and I and Betty Turner, I employed in the putting new titles to my books "…

"I had tired my own backe, and my wife’s, and Deb.’s, in titleing of my books for the present year, and in setting them in order "…

"all the morning making a catalogue of my books, "…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Up till now the cataloging and ordering of books has been a wintertime activity; but he's currently planning to leave for France.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M note none of the catalogues referred to in the Diary appear to have survived.

Allen Appel  •  Link

I think he's just giving his brother a little job to do so he can pass along a few pounds that the brother may need. Besides, why are we not commenting on the fact that he just went before the King who commiserated about our boy's eyes, told him to take the summer off and generally showed him great kindness. I mean, this is the King, the King of England! But of course you knew that. Sorry, I'm pretty impressed, even if Sam is extremely modest about this honor. Perhaps my after dinner whiskey is altering my judgment.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Charming of Charlie to show Sam such kindness...But he was famous for doing well charmwise in one-on-one personal relationships. Does go far to explain why Catherine continued to find him lovable. Nice to see in spite of recent shakeups at Navy, Sam is still held in high esteem.

And of course Charles may be aware of Jamie and Sam's plans for Samuel Pepys, master spy, in Holland.

"Eh, Jamie...Explain to me again why we're sending a half-blind agent to Holland to observe their navy?"

"It's the perfect cover, Charlie...He's our top naval Renaissance man. His wife is a fine sketch artist, trained by him in various sciences. You see the way it works?"

"I see two English spies hanging from Dutch yardarms. Any children I will have to console?"

Jesse  •  Link

re: Sam is still held in high esteem

By the DoY certainly, but by the King I'm not so sure. The DoY and the King don't exactly see eye to eye as it were. Also Pepys has been 'professionally' close with Sir W. who is not exactly a favorite w/HRH (recall the visits to the Tower last March). The King may be glad to get Pepys out of the way for awhile.

Peter Last  •  Link

The king's genuine kindness to Sam brings me to Phil's request for the diary entry we regard most highly. For me, it's the Great Fire, when Sam consciously recorded the history that he became part of.

He went of his own volition to Westminster, being then a minor civil servant, confronted the King and the Duke of York with the disaster, and returned to take royal commands to the Lord Mayor. It's more than great prose, because it shows how Sam's initiative started the process whereby he became a familiar and respected figure to the royal couple and the great people in their penumbra.

In addition, there are so many delightful little pieces, displays of his honesty in confronting his weaknesses, self-indulgences and impulses, and the infatuation with Deb Willet.

It's deeply sad that it's all about to end.

I can't thank too much Phil for making it possible and the bloggers who have contributed so much since the beginning. My daily regime will be very much the poorer without the pleasure and stimulus of the Diary.

Chris Squire  •  Link

St Olave’s Annual Pepys Commemoration Service: Friday 25 May 2012 at 12 noon

The service traditionally features an address on aspects of Pepys, his life and times and the church has been honoured to welcome a number of extremely fine speakers over the years. This year we will be pleased to have with us Prof. Peter McCullough of Oxford University, who will speaking on the subject “Pepys and Faith”. This is a subject which we have wanted to address for a number of years and are very glad that Prof. McCullough has been able to accept our invitation on this occasion.

He is Professor and Fellow in English at Lincoln College, Oxford, and a Lay Canon of St Paul's Cathedral. His research specialism is the religious literature and history of early modern England, particularly the works of Lancelot Andrewes and John Donne , and religious life in London in the seventeenth century . .…

NJM  •  Link

I am looking forward to the lecture and also the chance to see Elizabeth's monument once again - but also to the "wittals" at Trinity House after the service !

See you there !!

languagehat  •  Link

"The king’s genuine kindness to Sam"

What "genuine kindness"? He murmured a few polite phrases, as bosses are wont to do when they're in a good mood. Let's not fall into the absurd error of Ezra Pound, who mistook Mussolini's "Thanks for the gift of your very nice book" (or whatever his exact wording was) for a knowledgeable endorsement of his entire poetic, philosophical, and economic system. Kings are just people.

Linda F  •  Link

Re: the King, "who expressed great sense of my misfortune in my eyes, and concernment for their recovery"

We have sometimes seen Sam very impressed with himself, and we don't know how that "great sense of my misfortune in my eyes" and "concernment for their recovery" was expressed, but this does suggest a King with good interpersonal skills when he chooses to exercise them, much more than, "so sad -- however shall we replace you?"

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin, spent the spring of 1669 in London. This is his journal for today.

I've standardized the spelling of names I know, corrected scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. Sometimes I got confused making the N.S./O.S. date conversions, so I apologize if they are wrong:


On the morning of 24 May/3 June, 1669, his highness, having heard mass, went out at a late hour, and visited the painter who was employed upon his portrait;


after which, for the sake of passing away midday, he took a tour in his carriage about the city, and returned home at dinnertime.

Having amused himself in his room for some time, his highness gave orders for dinner, at which, besides his own attendants, Henry Neville and some other gentlemen were present.

In the afternoon, his highness left home earlier than usual to make his visits, that he might be at the King's Theatre in time for the comedy, and a ballet set on foot and got up in honor of his highness by my Lord Stafford, uncle of the Duke of Norfolk.

On arriving at the theatre, which was sufficiently lighted on the stage and on the walls to enable the spectators to see the scenes and the performances, his highness seated himself in a front box, where, besides enjoying the pleasure of the spectacle, he passed the evening in conversation with the Venetian ambassador, the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Stafford, and other noblemen.

To the story of Psyche, the daughter of Apollo, which abounded with beautiful incidents, all of them adapted to the performers and calculated to express the force of love, was joined a well-arranged ballet, regulated by the sound of various instruments, with new and fanciful dances after the English manner, in which different actions were counterfeited, the performers passing gracefully from one to another, so as to render intelligible, by iheir movements, the acts they were representing.


This spectacle was highly agreeable to his highness from its novelty and ingenuity; and all parts of it were likewise equally praised by the ladies and gentlemen, who crowded in great numbers to the theatre, to fill the boxes, with which it is entirely surrounded, and the pit, and to enjoy the performance, which was protracted to a late hour of the night.

At the end of it, his highness returned home, and, dismissing his attendants, retired to his apartments, and supped in private.


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

part 2

The afternoon visits were often to the wives of noblemen and ambassadors who had already met on Cosmo socially. They seem to have kept open houses regularly for this purpose.

The visit to Hyde Park was a regular thing for the late afternoon in the springtime, see…

According to Cosmo's travelogue, Happy Hour seems to have been a regular Court event at Whitehall and St. James’s for the nobility in 1669


His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

'Tis said one should live with the times. In this spirit, how can we not comment indeed on the Duke of Tuscany's vacation? Why, Sam himself gave us leave, by ticking off that box and ogling the "comely, fat black man" as he came out of the Queen's chapel, making sure to name-drop him in the Diary (this was at…, back when he still cared about the Diary).

The prince's visit is such an attraction that today the French Gazette publishes (at…) an "Extraordinaire", a "Letter from an Englishman to a Frenchman", to which it supplies the headline ("La Réception faite au Prince de Toscane, dans les villes d'Angleterre") and three full pages. Of course in that news-letter's style the letter is generally uninformative, though exceedingly well written, but it does include droll details of how the Prince's boat was tossed by storms from Irish port to Scottish port, and what looks like an ad planted by the English Tourist Board: "Vous ſerez bien aiſe d'apprendre de quelle manière, nous accüeillons ceux de ſa qualité" ("you will be well pleased to learn how we welcome those of his quality"). We phant'sy that a gazette devoted entirely to vignettes of the private entertainments of the rich and famous could attract the favors of a broad public; perhaps with illustrative wood-cuts.

Pity that, as we read yesterday (at…, courtesy of San Diego Sarah), the English "are not accustomed to that delicacy and variety in their dishes for which the French are so remarkable, and, following their example, the Italians also". Or, as the prince in another Age would post on Tripadvisor, "they served us the same meat pies every day".

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The prince, recall, is travelling incognito. 'Twas a wise precaution, given the cost of an official entourage and the fights which have been known to break out, and spread from, the escorts of grandees when their coaches cannot both pass at once through some narrow street. But as for this particular incognito, may we be suffered to say "LoL"? Since His Highness ('tho you're not supposed to call him that, shh, shh, he's incognito) has landed, it's been a non-stop deluge of honors, dinners, cannonades and receptions. He was so grandly received at Oxford, and the London Gazette covered it in so much detail, that a Cambridge official, Dr. John Carr, complained to Williamson on May 11 (in the State Papers) that "they talk here that you were too succint in omitting in the Gazette the Prince of Tuscany's entertainment at Cambridge, and too copious in the narrative of his reception at Oxford".

It seems the PR disaster resulted from Williamson missing the man who was bringing him the press kit for Cambridge. "I could not find you yesterday, to let you know the Prince's desire concerning his reception at Cambridge", an Italian diplomat, Bernard de Gascoigne, wrote to Williamson on April 26; this was just five days before the reception, close enough for Williamson to miss the press release if that's all he based the story on, rather than having a local correspondent (at which we would be shocked). Diplomatically Williamson had made it up by printing what news he still had (in Gazette No. 361, page 2) in large type.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

But the best is, as always, in a report by Venetian ambassador Piero Mocenigo. The latter keeps an eye on his fellow Italian. The chat with Piero which the prince's Journall mentions today, won't make it into the ambassador's weekly report, but this comedic episode will, in his dispatch sent yesterday, May 24 (at…):

"In respect of ceremonious relations with the prince of Tuscany I have conformed precisely with the practice of the ambassadors of France and Spain. As they thought fit not to follow the example of Madrid and not be seen expressly in a third place, I also abstained and only paid my respects in the queen's chamber after the Spanish ambassador [in a less ignominious show, then, of coming second; coming before the Spaniard would have probably have caused a clash]. The Ambassador Colbert, who first raised the difficulty about visiting in a third place, wrote to Paris. While he was waiting for the reply he found that the grand prince had responded to the courtesy of [Spanish ambassador] Molina by visiting the ambassadress, his wife, according to the style introduced of visiting the wives of gentlemen who have favoured him in his house. Colbert being offended at this step taken at the Spanish embassy before coming to his own, did not abstain from speaking to the prince in the queen's chamber [one gathers that being there as a wallflower and ignoring the prince would have made Colbert officially 'not there']. When his Highness sent to arrange a visit to the ambassadress, the time was fixed; but when he arrived at the house and mounted the stair he was told that the ambassadress had gone out. This action which shows the feeling of Colbert about the precedence claimed from Spain is received by the prince as the act of the wife without having arranged it with her husband and so the ambassador did not offer a word of excuse to his Highness when they met last Tuesday, in the presence of his Majesty, who was holding a state review of his troops in this neighbourhood."

Piero, it must be said, has to put up with all this folderol of precedence and elbowing in the Queen's antechamber, so important to the French and Spaniards, but always relates it with a heavy sigh.

James Morgan  •  Link

It's nice to know that the English dancing and music pleased the prince. I think at the time there was some desire to show they were up to French and Italian standards.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The detailed daily reports about precedent, and whether or not you stood on the staircase or at the front door to greet someone, were wearing a hat or not, who sits where in the carriage, etc., are most illuminating. Remembering and applying all the rules must have been exhausting, but dictated whether or not you were a gentleperson and worthy of your place in society.

I can see that the excessive use of internationally-agreed-upon manners and protocol largely avoided accidentally giving offense, calling for duels of "honor" and wanton bloodshed amongst the footmen.

The rules still exist: Remember the uproar when Michelle Obama wore a knit suit (referred to as a cardigan) to a Buck House reception, and then touched the Queen first? Fortunately Her Majesty liked her casual colonial guests and invited them back for the weekend.

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