Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Diary of Samuel Pepys: 66% Complete

We're now into the second month of the project and I'm still ahead of schedule.  I've gotten a lot of reading done so far this weekend so I'm up to 66% of the way done and on track to finish this book by Thanksgiving.
The vocabulary word of the day is "obsequious" which means "obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree." (definition from The New Oxford American Dictionary).  The dictionary also has an interesting comparison of this word to similar words such as subservient, servile and slavish.  The proper usage of this word is, apparently, in a situation where the inferiority may or may not be genuine but is used in an attempt to placate a superior.
Today I have two quotes for you, both stories Pepys told that I found humorous, mostly because I can totally picture the same thing happening today.  In the first story, Pepys is traveling in a coach late at night and has drifted off to sleep.  He writes:
"...The coach stood of a sudden and the coachman came down and the horses stirring, he cried, Hold! which waked me, and the coach[man] standing at the boote to [do] something or other and crying, Hold! I did wake of a sudden and not knowing who he was, nor thinking of the coachman between sleeping and waking I did take up the heart to take him be the shoulder, thinking verily he had been a thief.  But when I waked I found my cowardly heart to discover a fear within me and that I should never have done it if I had been awake."
Haven't we all had times when we have been startled awake suddenly and not known what was going on?
In the second story Pepys accidentally leaves his lobsters in a coach he has hired. He writes:

"Thence with mighty content homeward, and in my way at the Stockes did buy a couple of lobsters, and so home to dinner, where I find my wife and father had dined, and were going out to Hales's to sit there, so Balty and I alone to dinner, and in the middle of my grace, praying for a blessing upon (these his good creatures), my mind fell upon my lobsters: upon which I cried, Odd zooks! and Balty looked upon me like a man at a losse what I meant, thinking at first that I meant only that I had said the grace after meat instead of that before meat.  But then I cried, what is become of my lobsters? Whereupon he run out of doors to overtake the coach, but could not, so came back again, and mightily merry at dinner to thinke of my surprize."
I think I'm going to start saying "Odd zooks!" when I'm surprised!


  1. That second quote makes me think of The Scarlet Pimpernel (have you read it?). They have a lot of funny exclamations like "zounds" and "odd's fish" and stuff like that.

    1. No, I haven't read that one! I'll have to add that to my NEXT reading project! lol