Tuesday 26 February 1660/61

(Shrove Tuesday). I left my wife in bed, being indisposed … I to Mrs. Turner’s, who I found busy with The. and Joyce making of things ready for fritters, so to Mr. Crew’s and there delivered Cotgrave’s Dictionary to my Lady Jemimah, and then with Mr. Moore to my coz Tom Pepys, but he being out of town I spoke with his lady, though not of the business I went about, which was to borrow 1000l. for my Lord.

Back to Mrs. Turner’s, where several friends, all strangers to me but Mr. Armiger, dined. Very merry and the best fritters that ever I eat in my life. After that looked out at window; saw the flinging at cocks.1

Then Mrs. The. and I, and a gentleman that dined there and his daughter, a perfect handsome young and very tall lady that lately came out of the country, and Mr. Thatcher the Virginall Maister to Bishopsgate Street, and there saw the new Harpsicon made for Mrs. The. We offered 12l., they demanded 14l.. The Master not being at home, we could make no bargain, so parted for to-night. So all by coach to my house, where I found my Valentine with my wife, and here they drank, and then went away. Then I sat and talked with my Valentine and my wife a good while, and then saw her home, and went to Sir W. Batten to the Dolphin, where Mr. Newborne, &c., were, and there after a quart or two of wine, we home, and I to bed … [and yet again some remark is censored out by Rev. Wheatly D.W.]

  1. The cruel custom of throwing at cocks on Shrove Tuesday is of considerable antiquity. It is shown in the first print of Hogarth’s “Four Stages of Cruelty.”

28 Annotations

Susan   Link to this

Link to the Hogarth picture
http://www.haleysteele.com/hogarth/plates/first...

daniel   Link to this

wait!

I am a bit confused. is this Mrs. The. our young friend Theophila? surely not. who is this that is so interested in the new "harpsicon"?

Bradford   Link to this

Fill-in for the first omission, anyhow, from "The Shorter Pepys":

I left my wife in bed, being indisposed by reason of ceux-la -- and I to Mrs. Turners, [&c.]

L&M put the French in italics. One senses that Pepys wants to say “that there,” even though in fact he is saying “those, there,” and in the masculine plural of the demonstrative pronoun “celui” to boot.

They also describe “flinging at Cocks” as “The Shrove-Tuesday custom of throwing sticks at a bird tethered by its leg.”

Emilio   Link to this

And here's the second

"I went to bed--where (God forgive me) I did please myself by strength of fancy with the young country Segnora that was at dinner with us today."

Segnora, like ceux-la, is in ital as a foreign word.

Wheatley’s sensibilities are obviously coming in for a beating the last couple days—if only Pepys would learn to censor himself like any respectable man, I hear him whispering from his grave.

dirk   Link to this

Cotgrave's Dictionary

See background info:
http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/328/#11959

Emilio   Link to this

Daniel - yes this is our The.

See Feb 22: "In the evening Mrs. The. and Joyce took us all into the coach home, calling in Bishopsgate Street, thinking to have seen a new Harpsicon that she had a making there." Obviously she is one precocious 9-year-old who knows what she wants--she takes after her mother, whom Tomalin calls "the strongest character among the Pepys clan after Sam himself".

vincent   Link to this

Get your own copy of the dict:
A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues
Proverbs in Cotgrave's 1611 French-English Dictionary
A list of pre-1650 books in the French National Library
Arbeau's Orchesography (1589) (or here), and
John Florio's 1598 & 1611 Italian-English Dictionaries
References to Dance in Sixteen Early Modern Dictionaries
A 1694 French Dictionary (also searchable)
If you'd like a copy of the raw data for this book, or the various search scripts (implemented as Perl CGI scripts), please email me
http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cotgrave/

David A. Smith   Link to this

"(God forgive me) did please myself by strength of fancy"
If there were any doubt that our boy Sam is writing for himself and only for himself, it has been put paid by this little bit that Wheatley elided.

mary   Link to this

Shrove Tuesday fritters

This looks like an earlier version of the pancakes that many households still make on Shrove Tuesday (at least, in England).

Barbara   Link to this

Mary, this Shrove Tuesday we enjoyed pancakes which I might (were I not too modest) have described as "the best that ever I eat in my life".

As the diary continues, and Pepys writes more of his intimate life, the Wheatley version will seem so prudish compared to the L&M one.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"did please myself by strenght of fancy" forgive me if I am being dense but was SP masturbating in bed? if so his wife must have been in deep sleep.

Rich Merne   Link to this

Yes, old Sam was indeed, to give it it's crude term, jerking off, but it appears that she had her own 'chamber', so presumeably wouldn't have heard this one. I think though, that she would have been well aware of his singular(sic) habits anyway. I think that possibly they did sleep together, they used either or. Can anyone throw light on this last bit.

Rich Merne   Link to this

My own correction; possibly when they did sleep together, they used either or chamber etc.

tc   Link to this

...did please myself...

Poor Sam; yesterday he heard the story about the faux doctor Blurton that started his mind down randy avenues. Today spent around so many women: Mrs. Turner, The., Joyce, Lady Jem, Tom Pepys' lady, the young country Segnora, his Valentine even. And his wife is unavailable, out of action, sorry, "being indisposed"; and then a couple of quarts of wine... the pressure just built up so much he had to...take matters into his own hands.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"by strength of fancy with the young country Segnora"
Folks, young Sam is but 28, the missus is indisposed with a bad case of ellipses, and he and Elizabeth may either sleep apart or venture abed at different times. I cannot imagine Elizabeth would have any notion that late at night he might twitch anything other than his pen ...

Barbie   Link to this

What are they throwing at their cocks?

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"indisposed with a bad case of ellipses"

Excellent! David, you've provided me with a new excuse/catchphrase :-)

Susan   Link to this

THROWING AT COCKS.In the Hogarth picture (see my added link above) it is really not clear just what is going on with the cock in the picture and someone seems to be holding it down, which means he seems likely to get hit by whatever is being thrown! Another "fun" pastime in that age was to hang a goose up by its legs, grease the neck,and get people to ride past it pulling the neck as you went past. The winner, who got to keep the goose, was the person who first pulled the head off.

dirk   Link to this

"What are they throwing at cocks?"

People would throw sticks and stones at a cock that was tied down by its leg. Whoever managed to knock the bird unconscious, was allowed to take it home (and presumably eat it).

Susanna   Link to this

Cock-Threshing

This was an old medieval sport practiced on Shrove Tuesday, and still popular in Pepys day. A Dutch tourist in 1663 will describe the practice as:

"In London one sees in every street, wherever one goes, many apprentice boys running with, under their arms, a cock with a string on its foot, on which is a spike, which they push firmly into the ground between the stones. They always look for an open space and, for a penny, let people throw their cudgel from a good distance at the cock and he who kills the cock gets it."

Why kill the cocks? Because eggs and meat are about to go off the menu.

Other fun traditions of Shrove Tuesday included cock-fighting, football, eating pancakes, tossing dogs in the air, and, under the Stuarts, apprentice riots.

The city of London banned throwing at cocks in 1704. But it continued, just out of town, well into the 1760s.

dirk   Link to this

Cock-Threshing

Re - Susanna

Just one remark: killing the *cock* will not do away with the eggs.

I seem to remember (but I can't find it on the internet) that there was an old legendary story connected with cock-threshing. It was something about a night raid against the Vikings (presumably in King Alfred's time), and the attack was spoiled by some cock's crowing. The Vikings woke and were able to defend themselves. Cock-threshing would be a sort of ritual symbolic revenge against the cock.

I don't think this is based on anything historic, but it's a nice story.

vincent   Link to this

Dirk and Susanna, I like the two versions, but Susanna's version appeals to my sense of making an extra buck [pennies] on the side. Unfortunately the practice also appeals to the mans in humanity; instincts of cruelty to animals or defensless beings.

Grahamt   Link to this

Charging for stoning the cock:
This is like selling £1 lottery tickets for a £10 bottle of whiskey. As long as you sell 11+, you are in profit. Charging a penny-a-throw for a shilling cock would make you a tidy profit as long as the punters were sufficiently drunk to miss a few times.

language hat   Link to this

wants to say "that there," even though in fact he is saying "those, there,"

No, he wants the plural — he’s implying a word like “monthlies” (in today’s French it would be règles, whichh would require the feminine “celles-la,” but I don’t know what 17th-century usage was).

Susanna   Link to this

Yes, the story about the cocks and the Danes is an old one, probably ahistorical, used in the 18th century to justify the continuing practice of cock-threshing. Others in that day held that they tortured poultry in memory of St. Peter's denial of Christ, or because the cock is a symbol of France.

(There is an interesting chapter on Shrovetide traditions in Ronald Hutton's The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain.)

And killing the cock won't do away with the eggs; but it will cut down on the number of chickens you have to feed during a period when you're not supposed to be eating either eggs or flesh.

vincent   Link to this

Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of Portugal is the rooster: the saxon word, googling, will bring many unmentionables to the screen, use rooster.

http://njfolkfest.rutgers.edu/portgrup.htm
This is the story of a barnyard fowl that changed the destiny of a chief Apostle
http://www.actsion.com/ROOSTER.htm
The legend of the rooster originated in the town of Barcelos, in the Minho region of northwestern Portugal.
Probably many side issues associated with the rooster, one, besides the the wake up call, another the double savings of getting pennies,& a very cheap dinner and the owner saving on grub, even though it was the left overs, scraps, grubs and seeds etc.,even a political one[symbols substituting for deep political thought].

Patricia   Link to this

Mrs. Pepys seems to have regular periods, she was having this problem last January 27th. This must mean she was well-nourished, whatever the deficiencies of their diet by modern standards.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Hogarth's First Stage of Cruelty
The print and narrative description https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Stages_o...

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