And so to bed

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Putting my blogroll in recent-update order has called my attention back to blogs I marked long ago, but haven't read in a while.

You may have noticed a couple of dead bloggers on the blogroll. One of them is Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist of 17th century London. His blog posts the entry from his diary for today's date, 343 years ago.

Here's his entry for January 5, 1661/1662:

(Lordís day). Left my wife in bed not well . . . and I to church, and so home to dinner, and dined alone upon some marrow bones, and had a fine piece of rost beef, but being alone I eat none. So after dinner comes in my brother Tom, and he tells me how he hath seen the father and mother of the girl which my cozen Joyces would have him to have for a wife, and they are much for it, but we are in a great quandary what to do therein, 200l. being but a little money; and I hope, if he continues as he begins, he may look out for one with more. To church, and before sermon there was a long psalm, and half another sung out while the Sexton gathered what the church would give him for this last year. I gave him 3s., and have the last week given the Clerk 2s., which I set down that I may know what to do the next year, if it please the Lord that I live so long; but the jest was, the Clerk begins the 25th psalm, which hath a proper tune to it, and then the 116th, which cannot be sung with that tune, which seemed very ridiculous. After church to Sir W. Battenís, where on purpose I have not been this fortnight, and I am resolved to keep myself more reserved to avoyd the contempt which otherwise I must fall into, and so home and six and talked and supped with my wife, and so up to prayers and to bed, having wrote a letter this night to Sir J. Mennes in the Downs for his opinion in the business of striking of flags.

Some things I found interesting in this short entry:

  • Samuel thinks his brother ought to hold out for a wife with a bigger dowry -- more than 200 pounds, which seems a pretty substantial sum for the time.
  • Money is collected for the clergy's pay only once a year, and Pepys gave a grand total of 5 shillings (1/4 of a pound) for the clerk and sexton. (I assume that the church received more substantial funds from the state and from wealthy patrons.)
  • The problem of church musicians choosing unsingable melodies or matching words with an ill-fitting tune has been around for a very long time.

The site is updated nearly every day, and each entry is generously annotated with hyperlinks for more information about the places and people Pepys writes about. It's a fascinating look into another time and place, but one that is not entirely foreign or incomprehensible.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 7, 2005 6:05 AM.

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