Tales from an author

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Choosing The Right Distributor: Smashwords vs Draft2Digital

Thoughtful piece, and comments, about book distribution

British weather, a royal wedding, scandal, celebrity gossip

Here are some highlights from the diary of Samuel Pepys written in 1662 – including bad weather, a royal wedding, romance, and celebrity gossip

A Heart to be Contented 1662

February 14 1662 (Valentine’s Day)
I did this day purposely shun to be seen at Sir William Batten’s, because I would not have his daughter to be my Valentine, as she was the last year, there being no great friendship between us now, as formerly. This morning in comes William Bowyer, who was my wife’s Valentine, she having, at which I made good sport to myself, held her hands all the morning, that she might not see the painters that were at work in gilding my chimney-piece and pictures in my dining room. By and by she and I by coach with him to Westminster, by the way leaving at Tom’s and my wife’s father’s lodgings each of them some poor Jack, and some she carried to my father Bowyer’s, where she stayed while I walked in the Hall, and there among others met with Sergeant Pierce, and I took him aside to drink a cup of ale, and he told me the basest thing of Mr Montagu’s and his man Eschar’s going away in debt, that I am troubled and ashamed, but glad to be informed of. He thinks he has left £1,000 for my Lord to pay, and that he has not laid out £3,000 out of the £5,000 for my Lord’s use, and is not able to make an account of any of the money. My wife and I to dinner to the Wardrobe, and then to talk with my Lady, and so by coach, it raining hard, home, and so to do business and to bed.

Windy Tuesday saw one of the most severe storms ever recorded in Britain.

February 18 1662
Lay long in bed, then up to the office (we having changed our days to Tuesday and Saturday in the morning and Thursday at night), and by and by with Sir William Penn, Mr Kennard, and others to survey his house again, and to contrive for the alterations there, which will be handsome I think. After we had done at the office, I walked to the Wardrobe, where with Mr Moore and Mr Lewis Phillips after dinner we did agree upon the agreement between us and Prior and I did seal and sign it. Having agreed with Sir William Penn and my wife to meet them at the Opera, and finding by my walking in the streets, which were everywhere full of brick-battes and tiles flung down by the extraordinary wind the last night (such as has not been in memory before, unless at the death of the late Protector), that it was dangerous to go out of doors; and hearing how several persons had been killed today by the fall of things in the streets, and that the pageant in Fleet Street is most of it blown down, and has broke down part of several houses, among others Dick Brigden’s; and that one Lady Sanderson, a person of quality in Covent Garden, was killed by the fall of the house, in her bed, last night; I sent my boy home to forbid them to go forth. But he bringing me word that they are gone, I went thither and there saw The Law against Lovers, a good play and well performed, especially the little girl’s (whom I never saw act before) dancing and singing; and were it not for her, the loss of Roxalana would spoil the house. So home and to music, and so to bed.

February 23 1662 (Lord’s Day)
My cold being increased, I stayed at home all day, pleasing myself with my dining room, now graced with pictures, and reading of Dr Fuller’s Worthies [History of the Worthies of England]. So I spent the day, and at night comes Sir William Penn and supped and talked with me. This day by God’s mercy I am 29 years of age, and in very good health, and like to live and get an estate; and if I have a heart to be contented, I think I may reckon myself as happy a man as any is in the world, for which God be praised. So to prayers and to bed.

In 1662 Pepys was appointed to a government committee which oversaw the administration of Tangier, a colony acquired from Portugal as part of the dowry of Katherine of Branganza, who married Charles II on May 22 of that year, at Portsmouth. Pepys was to remain a member of this committee through to 1679. Events surrounding the wedding were described by Pepys in his diary.

May 21 1662
My wife and I by water to Westminster, and after she had seen her father (of whom lately I have heard nothing at all what he does or her mother), she comes to me to my Lord’s lodgings, where she and I stayed walking in Whitehall garden. And in the privy garden saw the finest smocks and linen petticoats of my Lady Castlemaine’s, laced with rich lace at the bottom, that ever I saw; and did me good to look upon them. So to Wilkinson’s, she and I and Sarah to dinner, where I had a good quarter of lamb and a salad. Here Sarah told me how the King dined at my Lady Castlemaine’s, and supped, every day and night the last week; and that the night that the bonfires were made for joy of the Queen’s arrival, the King was there; but there was no fire at her door, though at all the rest of the doors almost in the street; which was much observed: and that the King and she did send for a pair of scales and weighed one another; and she, being with child, was said to be heaviest. But she is now a most disconsolate creature, and comes not out of doors, since the King’s going. But we went to the theatre to The French Dancing Master, and there with much pleasure gazed upon her (Lady Castlemaine); but it troubles us to see her look dejectedly and slighted by people already. The play pleased us very well; but Lacy’s part, the Dancing Master, the best in the world.

Thence to my brother Tom’s, in expectation to have met my father tonight come out of the country, but he is not yet come, but here we found my uncle Fenner and his old wife, whom I had not seen since the wedding dinner, nor care to see her. They being gone, my wife and I went and saw Mrs Turner, whom we found not well, and her two boys Charles and Will come out of the country, grown very plain boys after three years being under their father’s care in Yorkshire. Thence to Tom’s again, and there supped well, my she cousin [Judith] Scott being there and my father being not come, we walked home and to bed.

Lady Castlemaine was Barbara Palmer (nee Villiers), Countess of Castlemaine, a mistress of Charles II. Over the next few years, Pepys often glimpsed “my Lady Castlemaine” in London society, and appeared to aspire to a relationship with her. Pepys summed up the year 1662 in a long entry. This included mention of Thomas Povey, a fellow member of the Tangier Committee. James, Duke of Monmouth, was an illegitimate son of the king.

December 31 1662
Lay pretty long in bed, and then I up and to Westminster Hall, and so to the Swan, sending for Mr William Bowyer, and there drank my morning draught, and had some of his simple discourse. Among other things he tells me how the difference comes between his fair cousin Butler and Colonel Dillon, upon his opening letters of her brother’s from Ireland, complaining of his knavery, and forging others to the contrary; and so they are long ago quite broke off. Thence to a barber’s and so to my wife, and at noon took her to Mrs Pierce’s by invitation to dinner, where there came Dr Clerke and his wife and sister and Mr Knight, chief surgeon to the King and his wife. We were pretty merry, the two men being excellent company, but I confess I am wedded from the opinion either of Mrs Pierce’s beauty upon discovery of her naked neck today, being undressed when we came in, or of Mrs Clerke’s genius, which I so much admired, I finding her to be so conceited and fantastic in her dress this day and carriage, though the truth is, witty enough. After dinner with much ado the doctor and I got away to follow our business for a while, he to his patients and I to the Tangier Committee, where the Duke of York was, and we stayed at it a good while, and thence in order to the despatch of the boats and provisions for Tangier away.

Mr Povey, in his coach, carried Mr Gauden and I into London to Mr Bland’s, the merchant, where we stayed discoursing upon the reason of the delay of the going away of these things a great while. Then to eat a dish of anchovies, and drink wine and cider, and very merry, but above all things pleased to hear Mrs Bland talk like a merchant in her husband’s business very well, and it seems she do understand it and perform a great deal. Thence merry back, Mr Povey and I to Whitehall; he carrying me thither on purpose to carry me into the ball this night before the King. All the way he talking very ingenuously, and I find him a fine gentleman, and one that loves to live nobly and neatly, as I perceive by his discourse of his house, pictures, and horses.

He brought me first to the Duke’s chamber, where I saw him and the Duchess at supper; and thence into the room where the ball was to be, crammed with fine ladies, the greatest of the Court. By and by comes the King and Queen, the Duke and Duchess, and all the great ones: and after seating themselves, the King takes out the Duchess of York; and the Duke, the Duchess of Buckingham; the Duke of Monmouth, my Lady Castlemaine; and so other lords other ladies: and they danced the Bransle. After that, the King led a lady a single Coranto; and then the rest of the lords, one after another, other ladies very noble it was, and great pleasure to see. Then to country dances; the King leading the first, which he called for; which was, says he, Cuckolds All A-Row, the old dance of England. Of the ladies that danced, the Duke of Monmouth’s mistress [Anne Scott], and my Lady Castlemaine, and a daughter of Sir Harry de Vic’s [Anne-Charlotte], were the best. The manner was, when the King dances, all the ladies in the room, and the Queen herself, stand up: and indeed he dances rarely, and much better than the Duke of York. Having stayed here as long as I thought fit, to my infinite content, it being the greatest pleasure I could wish now to see at Court, I went out, leaving them dancing, and to Mrs Pierce’s, where I found the company had stayed very long for my coming, but all gone but my wife, and so I took her home by coach and so to my Lord’s again, where after some supper to bed, very weary and in a little pain from my riding a little uneasily tonight in the coach.

Thus ends this year with great mirth to me and my wife: Our condition being thus – we are at present spending a night or two at my Lord’s lodgings at Whitehall. Our home at the Navy Office, which is and has a pretty while been in good condition, finished and made very convenient. My purse is worth about £650, besides my goods of all sorts, which yet might have been more but for my late layings out upon my house and public assessment, and yet would not have been so much if I had not lived a very orderly life all this year by virtue of the oaths that God put into my heart to take against wine, plays, and other expenses, and to observe for these last twelve months, and which I am now going to renew, I under God owing my present content thereunto. My family is myself and wife, William, my clerk; Jane, my wife’s upper maid, but, I think, growing proud and negligent upon it: we must part, which troubles me; Susan, our cook-maid, a pretty willing wench, but no good cook; and Wayneman, my boy, who I am now turning away for his naughty tricks. We have had from the beginning our healths to this day very well, blessed be God! Our late maid Sarah going from us (though put away by us) to live with Sir William Penn do trouble me, though I love the wench, so that we do make ourselves a little strange to him and his family for it, and resolve to do so. The same we are for other reasons to my Lady Batten and hers. We have lately had it in our thoughts, and I can hardly bring myself off of it, since Mrs Gosnell cannot be with us, to find out another to be in the quality of a woman to my wife that can sing or dance, and yet finding it hard to save anything at the year’s end as I now live, I think I shall not be such a fool till I am more warm in my purse, besides my oath of entering into no such expenses till I am worth £1,000.

By my last year’s diligence in my office, blessed be God, I am come to a good degree of knowledge therein; and am acknowledged so by all the world, even the Duke himself, to whom I have a good access and by that, and my being Commissioner with him for Tangier, he takes much notice of me; and I doubt not but, by the continuance of the same endeavours, I shall in a little time come to be a man much taken notice of in the world, specially being come to so great an esteem with Mr Coventry.

The only weight that lies heavy upon my mind is the ending the business with my uncle Thomas about my dead uncle’s estate, which is very ill on our side, and I fear when all is done I must be forced to maintain my father myself, or spare a good deal towards it out of my own purse, which will be a very great pull back to me in my fortune. But I must be contented and bring it to an issue one way or other.

Public matters stand thus: The King is bringing, as is said, his family, and Navy, and all other his charges, to a less expense. In the mean time, himself following his pleasures more than with good advice he would do; at least, to be seen to all the world to do so. His dalliance with my Lady Castlemaine being public, every day, to his great reproach; and his favouring of none at Court so much as those that are the confidants of his pleasure, as Sir Henry Bennet and Sir Charles Berkeley; which, good God, put it into his heart to mend, before he makes himself too much condemned by his people for it! The Duke of Monmouth is in so great splendour at Court, and so dandled by the King, that some doubt, if the King should have no child by the Queen (which there is yet no appearance of), whether he would not be acknowledged for a lawful son; and that there will be a difference follow upon it between the Duke of York and him; which God prevent! My Lord Chancellor is threatened by people to be questioned, the next sitting of the Parliament, by some spirits that do not love to see him so great: but certainly he is a good servant to the King. The Queen Mother is said to keep too great a Court now; and her being married to my Lord St Albans is commonly talked of; and that they had a daughter between them in France, how true, God knows. The Bishops are high, and go on without any diffidence in pressing uniformity; and the Presbyters seem silent in it, and either conform or lay down, though without doubt they expect a turn, and would be glad these endeavours of the other fanatics would take effect; there having been a plot lately found, for which four have been publicly tried at the Old Bailey and hanged.

My Lord Sandwich is still in good esteem, and now keeping his Christmas in the country; and I in good esteem, I think, as any man can be, with him. Mr Moore is very sickly, and I doubt will hardly get over his late fit of sickness, that still hangs on him. In fine, for the good condition of myself, wife, family, and estate, in the great degree that it is, and for the public state of the nation, so quiet as it is, the Lord God be praised!

Bruce Springsteen and the Alternative Universe (Tracks)

As I write this I am listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Tracks 4 CD collection from the alternative universe (the one where Bruce releases all his best records rather leaving them in the vaults). Have just heard TV Movie – I saw the live premiere in Cardiff last month.

Here is a link to a Blog by other people searching for the Promised Land

Big Les

Big Les.

Buried treasure

Another piece of Pepys that has caught my attention

The value of money

Imagine burying £1.15 million in your dad’s back garden!

I’ve been enjoying the dramatised version of Samuel Pepys’ Diary on Radio 4. The lastest episode describes how in 1667, due to fear that the invading Dutch might steal his gold, Pepys has it buried in his father’s garden. However once the Dutch retreat, he has problems relocating the entire amount buried: 1,300 gold coins.

When I was a child I would read fairy tales where just a few gold coins would buy a huge amount of goods, and would be very highly valued. I would often think how poor people must have been in those days, as they had so few coins.

My child’s brain didn’t understand about inflation, or currency devaluation, both of which have rocketed in recent years. Samuel Pepys was a wealthy man. If his 1,300 gold coins had contained one ounce of gold, they would be…

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Once again: Thank you, Bruce!

Just found this from a while back – amazing information

Better days!

AgteroorThis article sums up beautifully the gift from Springsteen to all depression fighters – the gift of not hiding it any more:

Bruce Springsteen’s decision to take antidepressants was coloured by the fact that his father didn’t or wouldn’t. But it took a lot of psychotherapy for him to reach that point.

That is the stark admission we get from Bruce, the recent biography by Peter Ames Carlin. While the book wasn’t authorised per se, Springsteen gave Carlin countless interview hours, facilitated meetings with family and friends, and opened up his personal scrapbook to the author.

The fact that Springsteen has spoken openly about his chronic depression and other issues, and his use of medication to deal with those problems, has been welcomed by some in the fields of medicine and psychology as a breakthrough, given his popularity as a performer. It’s been quite a

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The Diary of Samuel Pepys

The Diary of Samuel Pepys.

The Diary of Samuel Pepys (aged 13 and three quarters)

An amusing fragment shooting through cyberspace

The Iron Room

During preparations for the move to the Library of Birmingham, an exciting discovery has been made in Birmingham Archives & Heritage. It is a 17th-century manuscript, which is headed: The Diary of Samuel Pepys (aged 13 and three quarters). We are here publishing a transcript of this diary for the first time.

 24 November 1646

I have this day decided to begin a journal or diary on the off chance that someone in some future age will want to write a biography of me. My headmaster tells me that I might turn out to be quite interesting, which is more than I can say for him. What shall I call myself (apart from a scholar and a potentially interesting person) ? Am I a journalist or a diarrhoea ? I must consult a dictionary.

 25 November

I showed my diary to the headmaster and he crossed out diarrhoea, saying that the correct word…

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Say “Cheese”!

This one caught my eye – the wonders of bookshelves

Samuel Pepys 1661

My new book about Samuel Pepys is now available on Amazon in both paper and Kindle form – the magic of new technology.

Here are a few pages from Pepys’ diary in 1661:

At the start of 1661, Pepys outlined circumstances, a year on from commencement of his diary. James Pierce was a surgeon, who worked at the court of Charles II, and passed a lot of gossip on to Pepys. Elizabeth Pierce, the wife of James, was a beautiful woman, with whom Pepys was also friendly. Will Hewer, who initially worked as a servant in Pepys’ household, later moved to a career in naval administration. Pepys and Hewer were to remain friends until the death of the former.

January 1 1661
At the end of the last and the beginning of this year, I do live in one of the houses belonging to the Navy Office, as one of the principal officers, and have done now about half a year. After much trouble with workmen I am now almost settled; my family being myself, my wife, Jane, Will Hewer, and Wayneman – my girl’s brother. Myself in constant good health, and in a most handsome and thriving condition. Blessed be Almighty God for it. I am now taking of my sister Paulina to come and live with me.

As to things of state – the King settled, and loved of all. The Duke of York matched to my Lord Chancellor’s daughter, which do not please many. The Queen upon her return to France with the Princess Henrietta. The Princess of Orange lately dead, and we into new mourning for her. We have been lately frightened with a great plot, and many taken up on it, and the fright not quite over. The Parliament, which had done all this great good to the King, beginning to grow factious, the King did dissolve it December 29th last, and another likely to be chosen speedily. I take myself now to be worth £300 clear in money, and all my goods and all manner of debts paid, which are none at all.

Called up this morning by Mr Moore, who brought me my last things for me to sign for the last month, and to my great comfort tells me that my fees will come to £80 clear to myself, and about £25 for him, which he has got out of the pardons, though there be no fee due to me at all out of them. Then comes in my brother Thomas, and after him my father, Dr Thomas Pepys, my uncle Fenner and his two sons (Anthony’s only child dying this morning, yet he was so civil to come, and was pretty merry) to breakfast; and I had for them a barrel of oysters, a dish of neat’s tongues, and a dish of anchovies, wine of all sorts, and Northdown ale. We were very merry till about 11 o’clock, and then they went away.

At noon I carried my wife by coach to my cousin, Thomas Pepys, where we, with my father, Dr Thomas, cousin Stradwick, Scott, and their wives, dined. Here I saw first his second wife, which is a very respectful woman, but his dinner a sorry, poor dinner for a man of his estate, there being nothing but ordinary meat in it.

Today the King dined at a lord’s, two doors from us. After dinner I took my wife to Whitehall, I sent her to Mrs Pierce’s (where we should have dined today), and I to the Privy Seal, where Mr Moore took out all his money, and he and I went to Mr Pierce’s; in our way seeing the Duke of York bring his Lady this day to wait upon the Queen, the first time that ever she did since that great business; and the Queen is said to receive her now with much respect and love; and there he cast up the fees, and I told the money, by the same token one £100 bag, after I had told it, fell all about the room, and I fear I have lost some of it.

That done I left my friends and went to my Lord’s, but he being not come in I lodged the money with Mr Shepley, and bade good night to Mr Moore, and so returned to Mr Pierce’s, and there supped with them, and Mr Pierce, the purser, and his wife and mine, where we had a calf’s head carboned, but it was raw, we could not eat it, and a good hen. But she is such a slut that I do not love her victuals. After supper I sent them home by coach, and I went to my Lord’s and there played till 12 at night at cards at Best with John Goods and Ned Osgood, and then to bed with Mr Shepley.

The next entry includes an unusual moment at the theatre.

January 28 1661
At the office all the morning; dined at home, and after dinner to Fleet Street, with my sword to Mr Brigden (lately made Captain of the Auxiliaries) to be refreshed, and with him to an ale-house, where I met Mr Davenport; and after some talk of Cromwell, Ireton and Bradshaw’s bodies being taken out of their graves today, I went to Mr Crew’s and thence to the theatre, where I saw again The Lost Lady, which do now please me better than before; and here I sitting behind in a dark place, a lady spit backward upon me by a mistake, not seeing me, but after seeing her to be a very pretty lady, I was not troubled at it at all.

Thence to Mr Crew’s, and there met Mr Moore, who came lately to me, and went with me to my father’s, and with him to Standing’s, whither came to us Dr Fairbrother, who I took and my father to the Bear and gave a pint of sack and a pint of claret. He do still continue his expressions of respect and love to me, and tells me my brother John will make a good scholar. Thence to see the Doctor at his lodging at Mr Holden’s, where I bought a hat, cost me 35 Shillings. So home by moonshine, and by the way was overtaken by the Comptroller’s coach, and so home to his house with him. So home and to bed. This noon I had my press set up in my chamber for papers to be put in.

Samuel and Elizabeth enjoyed celebrating the romance of Valentine’s Day with friends. There is a reference to this at the start of the following entry.

February 14 1661 (Valentine’s Day)
Up early and to Sir William Batten’s, but would not go in till I asked whether they that opened the door was a man or a woman, and Mingo, who was there, answered “a woman”, which, with his tone, made me laugh; so up I went and took Mrs Martha for my Valentine (which I do only for complacency), and Sir William Batten he go in the same manner to my wife, and so we were very merry.

About 10 o’clock we, with a great deal of company, went down by our barge to Deptford, and there only went to see how forward Mr Pett’s yacht is; and so all into the barge again, and so to Woolwich, on board the Rose-bush, Captain Brown’s ship, that is brother-in-law to Sir William Batten, where we had a very fine dinner, dressed on shore, and great mirth and all things successful; the first time I ever carried my wife a-ship-board, as also my boy Wayneman, who has all this day been called young Pepys, as Sir William Penn’s boy young Penn. So home by barge again; good weather, but pretty cold. I to my study, and began to make up my accounts for my Lord, which I intend to end tomorrow. To bed.

The talk of the town now is, who the King is like to have for his Queen: and whether Lent shall be kept with the strictness of the King’s proclamation; which it is thought cannot be, because of the poor, who cannot buy fish. And also the great preparation for the King’s crowning is now much thought upon and talked of.

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