Dear Reader I read it: The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Speaking in Tongues is Worth it’s Weight in Gold
I acquired this book from a book club in the 70s and read it avidly. Some time this year, I bought a second hand copy of it as I had mislaid the original. So I read it again. The Olde English is a bit hard to get into at first, but after a while a strange thing happens – you start thinking, therefore reading in the language. It all starts making sense! This happened with Irvine Walsh’s ‘Trainspotting’. At first I couldn’t make head nor tail of the words, then ping! the dialect suddenly fell into place and I started thinking (therefore reading) in a Edinburgh (well, a kind of Scottish) tongue! Weird or what? How did that happen? I’ve never even been to Scotland (and I really do need to go at some point). You see, through genealogy, I have found that one Great grandfather (yes that close) was a Blacksmith, born in Newton Stewart Dumfries and Galloway. From that man comes my granddad’s great grandmother (not sure which side there) who came from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and then on to Glasgow.
I digress as usual, – though this a fascinating subject (to me anyway lol!). The point of this post…now then what was the point again? I thought it would be fun to have a look through Pepys Diary and have a look what he was up to on this date over 300 years ago. Why? to see if there is any similariaty to what is happening today. This is what that busy Chief Secretary of the Admiralty was doing today in 1664;
Wednesday 19th October 1664
“Up to my office all the morning. At noon dined at home, then abroad by coach to buy for the office Herne upon the Statute of Charitable Uses, in order to the doing something better in the Chest, than we have done, for we are ashamed to see Sir W Batten possess himself so long of so much money as he hath done. Coming home, weighed my two silver flaggons at Stevens. They weigh 212 ozs 27 dwt, which is about 50/., at 5s per oz., and then they judge the fashion to be worth above 5s. per oz. more – nay, some say 10s. an ounce the fashion. But I do not believe, but yet am sorry to see that the fashion worth so much and the silver come to no more. So home and to my office, where very busy late. My wife at Mercer’s mother’s, I believe, W. Hewer with them, which I do not like, that he should ask my leave to go about business, and then go and spend his time in sport, and leave me here busy. To supper and to bed, my wife coming in by and by, which though I know there was no hurt in it; I do not like.”
The thing that stands out for me in this entry is that people were going to have their silver weighed in over 350 years ago! I don’t think that Pepys was thinking of selling it, I think it was a just a way to have it valued from time to time and to assess it’s monetary value as the market fluctuated. Adverts abound about Cash for Gold these days. ‘Got any unwanted Gold? Why not turn it into cash!’ They say things like;
“I had a pile of unwanted gold, and I sent it off to Blah for Blah and received 84 million”…
or words to that effect. The words ‘unwanted gold’ suggests people sat around in GOLDEN palaces, whilst GOLDEN geese lay GOLDEN eggs. Piles of treasure trove and broken tiaras lay strewn all over the GOLDEN floor. One is so sick of tripping over them all the time…..
“Right, I must have a tidy up! I can’t move for all this GOLD…now where’s that envelope? Hang on, it’s a bit small for all this UNWANTED GOLD!!!!!!…’
Read Pepys’ diary daily HERE. Who knows, you may start reading in Olde English and surprise yourself!