As we approach the end of the diary it would be great to read what your favourite moments from the diary are. Any particular phrases or events that have stuck in your head? Any especially memorable descriptions? If it’s a brief snippet, post it in a comment below, with a link to the diary entry. If you have an entire entry that you want to share, just post a link to it and tell us why you love it.

Thanks to Pauline Benson on the discussion list for this idea!



16 Comments

Michael L  •  Link

Favorites for me include:

* Pepys' justifiably famous description of the London fire. He has a terrific eye for detail, including "poor pigeons" trying to return home, only to have their wings burnt. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/09/02/

* The long, lingering description of the plague.

* The treasure hunt in his home in Brampton. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/10/10/

* His accounts of the Dutch War, including hearing the cannons of the Four Days Battle from miles away, and the muddled intelligence of who won. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/06/04/

* His terrific account of exploring the Dutch spice ship, describing all the open wares spilled in the hold, "Pepper scattered through every chink, you trod upon it; and in cloves and nutmegs, I walked above the knees; whole rooms full." What vivid, breathless writing! http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/11/16/

Ramona in Idaho  •  Link

It’s hard to choose favorites but two of mine would be
his great feast for Lord Sandwich on January 23,1669:"as noble as any man need to have I think, at least all was done in the noblest manner that ever I had any, and I have rarely seen in my life better anywhere else.”
And secondly, his incomparable address to Parliament
which brought tears of joy to my eyes for our boy.

sue nicholson  •  Link

Without a doubt the 6th May 1666 when Sam sat singing in the garden and all his neighbours opened their casement windows to listen.

Tom Carr  •  Link

My favourite diary entry is this piece of wisdom:

"The truth is, I do indulge myself a little the more in pleasure, knowing that this is the proper age of my life to do it; and out of my observation that most men that do thrive in the world, do forget to take pleasure during the time that they are getting their estate, but reserve that till they have got one, and then it is too late for them to enjoy it with any pleasure." (10 March, 1666)

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/03/10/#ann...

Louise H  •  Link

Reposting from May 22:

Hands down, mine is 9 January 1662/63, http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/01/09/. Such an astonishing range of emotions, astonishingly honestly laid out. Far better than fiction. Sam, I’ll miss you!

Paul Chapin  •  Link

For the writing: Sam's multilingual mashups when describing his amorous adventures - thanks to Terry and others for filling out the dots left in place of these passages by our prim editor.

For the content: May Day of 1665, when Sam spent the day in the company of intellectual giants - Robert Hooke, John Wilkins, William Brouncker, John Evelyn - and "noble discourse all day long did please me."

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/05/01/

Snow  •  Link

'At last, about one o’clock, she come to my side of the bed, and drew my curtaine open, and with the tongs red hot at the ends, made as if she did design to pinch me with them, at which, in dismay, I rose up, and with a few words she laid them down;'

He doesn't record where she tried to pinch him with the tongs but I think we know.

djc  •  Link

Words to live by:
"This day my wife made it appear to me that my late entertainment this week cost me above 12l., an expence which I am almost ashamed of, though it is but once in a great while, and is the end for which, in the most part, we live, to have such a merry day once or twice in a man’s life."
Pepys Saturday 6th March 1668/69

And for the cadence and syntax, above all, this:

"neither hath, nor do, nor, for the future, likely can..."

22 November 1667

Eric Walla  •  Link

So many human moments stand out, from the threat to fling the little dog out the window, to the glorious description of the coronation (until his bladder got to full and he had to go outside), to the anxiety-filled pursuits of Deb in the streets.

Too many passages to number, too many memories I will never lose in my life.

Larry Neal  •  Link

The moment when, after an certain event occurred on the afternoon of Oct. 25, 1668, his wife "about two in the morning waked me and cried, and fell to tell me as a great secret that she was a Roman Catholique and had received the Holy Sacrament, which troubled me, but I took no notice of it..."

Ken from California  •  Link

Like Ramona, I very much enjoyed Sam's detailed description of his January 23, 1669 dinner party. One could just visulaize the warmth, elegance and conviviality of this intimate and illustrious gathering. The whole entry should be read to be appreciated, but in part:

"And after greeting them, and some time spent in talk, dinner was brought up, one dish after another, but a dish at a time, but all so good; but, above all things, the variety of wines, and excellent of their kind, I had for them, and all in so good order, that they were mightily pleased, and myself full of content at it..."

The bonus was being able to see Sam's pride at how well it went. We can all identify with that feeling of accomplishment at some point in our lives.

Pauline  •  Link

The sense of our reading together around the world, how annotating moved with the sun around the world. Especially remember the March 2003 string of reports of the mass demonstrations around the world against the Iraq War, wherein we learned about being "off topic"--and those annotations were deleted. Also when we circumnavigated the globe with our efforts to sing "the Resurrection of the Rump" to the tune of Green Sleeves.
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/04/23/

And the Deb entries this past Fall/Winter are a favorite. And those mentioned above by others.

Tim Noble  •  Link

I can't provide the date, but one Sunday when he went to church and spent the time sleeping and looking at the fine ladies.

DickC  •  Link

This lovely entry in which he describes being enraptured by music:

'All the morning at the office, and at noon home to dinner, and thence with my wife and Deb. to the King’s House, to see “The Virgin Martyr,” the first time it hath been acted a great while: and it is mighty pleasant; not that the play is worth much, but it is finely acted by Becke Marshall. But that which did please me beyond any thing in, the whole world was the wind-musique when the angel comes down, which is so sweet that it ravished me, and indeed, in a word, did wrap up my soul so that it made me really sick, just as I have formerly been when in love with my wife; that neither then, nor all the evening going home, and at home, I was able to think of any thing, but remained all night transported, so as I could not believe that ever any musick hath that real command over the soul of a man as this did upon me: and makes me resolve to practice wind-musique, and to make my wife do the like.'
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/02/27/

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

For me it was his day avoiding the bayleys (I make more paragraphs to aid my comprehension). Sadly I can't post it all because it's twice as long as allowed, but if it amuses you, see the original entry!
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/02/21/
Saturday 21 February 1663

Towards noon there comes a man in as if upon ordinary business, and shows me a writ from the Exchequer, called a Commission of Rebellion, and tells me that I am his prisoner in Field’s business; which methought did strike me to the heart, to think that we could not sit in the middle of the King’s business. I told him how and where we were employed, and bid him have a care; and perceiving that we were busy, he said he would, and did withdraw for an hour:

in which time Sir J. Minnes took coach and to Court, to see what he could do from thence; and our solicitor against Field came by chance and told me that he would go and satisfy the fees of the Court, and would end the business.

So he went away about that, and I stayed in my closet, till by and by the man and four more of his fellows came to know what I would do; I told them stay till I heard from the King or my Lord Chief Baron, to both whom I had now sent. With that they consulted, and told me that if I would promise to stay in the house they would go and refresh themselves, and come again, and know what answer I had: so they away,

and I home to dinner, whither by chance comes Mr. Hawley and dined with me. Before I had dined, the bayleys come back again with the constable, and at the office knock for me, but found me not there; and I hearing in what manner they were come, did forbear letting them know where I was; so they stood knocking and enquiring for me.

By and by at my parler-window comes Sir W. Batten’s Mungo, to tell me that his master and lady would have me come to their house through Sir J. Minnes’s lodgings, which I could not do; but, however, by ladders, did get over the pale between our yards, and so to their house, where I found them (as they have reason) to be much concerned for me, my lady especially.

The fellows stayed in the yard swearing with one or two constables, and some time we locked them into the yard, and by and by let them out again, and so kept them all the afternoon, not letting them see me, or know where I was. One time I went up to the top of Sir W. Batten’s house, and out of one of their windows spoke to my wife out of one of ours; which methought, though I did it in mirth, yet I was sad to think what a sad thing it would be for me to be really in that condition.

By and by comes Sir J. Minnes, who (like himself and all that he do) tells us that he can do no good, but that my Lord Chancellor wonders that we did not cause the seamen to fall about their ears: which we wished we could have done without our being seen in it; and Captain Grove being there, he did give them some affront, and would have got some seamen to have drubbed them, ...

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