Wednesday 11 September 1661

Early to my cozen Thomas Trice to discourse about our affairs, and he did make demand of the 200l. and the interest thereof. But for the 200l. I did agree to pay him, but for the other I did desire to be advised. So from him to Dr. Williams, who did carry me into his garden, where he hath abundance of grapes; and did show me how a dog that he hath do kill all the cats that come thither to kill his pigeons, and do afterwards bury them; and do it with so much care that they shall be quite covered; that if but the tip of the tail hangs out he will take up the cat again, and dig the hole deeper. Which is very strange; and he tells me that he do believe that he hath killed above 100 cats. After he was ready we went up and down to inquire about my affairs and then parted, and to the Wardrobe, and there took Mr. Moore to Tom Trice, who promised to let Mr. Moore have copies of the bond and my aunt’s deed of gift, and so I took him home to my house to dinner, where I found my wife’s brother, Balty, as fine as hands could make him, and his servant, a Frenchman, to wait on him, and come to have my wife to visit a young lady which he is a servant to, and have hope to trepan and get for his wife. I did give way for my wife to go with him, and so after dinner they went, and Mr. Moore and I out again, he about his business and I to Dr. Williams: to talk with him again, and he and I walking through Lincoln’s Fields observed at the Opera a new play, “Twelfth Night” was acted there, and the King there; so I, against my own mind and resolution, could not forbear to go in, which did make the play seem a burthen to me, and I took no pleasure at all in it; and so after it was done went home with my mind troubled for my going thither, after my swearing to my wife that I would never go to a play without her. So that what with this and things going so cross to me as to matters of my uncle’s estate, makes me very much troubled in my mind, and so to bed. My wife was with her brother to see his mistress today, and says she is young, rich, and handsome, but not likely for him to get.

39 Annotations

Glyn  •  Link

"after my swearing to my wife that I would never go to a play without her."

I had wondered why he was taking Elizabeth to so many plays. I suppose he was given an ultimatum: "either stay at home with me, or if go out then you must take me with you". At least he hasn't yet started taking her to the pubs and taverns, where all the barmaids know him.

RexLeo  •  Link

" mind troubled for my going thither, after my swearing to my wife that I would never go to a play without her."

It looks like P has pretty active conscience mostly keeping him on reasonably straight and narrow path.

Pauline  •  Link

"...hope to trepan and get for his wife."
Trepan / Trapan
trans. verb. To catch in a trap; to entrap, ensnare, beguile.
References: 1656 BLOUNT Glossogr., To Trepan, or rather trappan (from the Ital. Trappare or trappolare, i. to entrap, ensnare, or catch in a gin) in the modern acception of the word, it signifies to cheat or entrap [etc.]. 1658 SIR H. SLINGSBY Diary (1836) 431, I see that I am trepan'd by these two fellows. 1664 BUTLER Hud. II. III. 617 Some by the Nose with fumes trappan 'em, As Dunstan did the Devil's Grandamm [= Grannam].

From OED. FYI: I access this database free and online as a member of my county library. Just have to keep a rather long member number handy for getting into the guts of the web site.

Pauline  •  Link

" mind troubled for my going thither, after my swearing to my wife that I would never go to a play without her."

Perhaps Elizabeth was with him at the play yesterday. And the ingenious woman sitting near him was ingenious in flirting with Sam though he was accompanyied by his wife????

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" mind troubled for my going thither, after my swearing to my wife that I would never go to a play without her."

Perhaps Elizabeth was with him at the play yesterday. And the ingenious woman sitting near him was ingenious in flirting with Sam though he was accompanyied by his wife????

Or perhaps the vow came after he staggered home from the Dolphin the other night (Monday) to find Beth in a sour mood demanding to know where he’d spent the dinner hour and the afternoon and evening.

language hat  •  Link

Lest anyone be misled by Pauline's Blount citation, his etymology is not accepted; the OED says:

A word of obscure and low origin, prob. originally a term of thieves' or rogues' slang. ... The earlier spelling of the n. was trapan, probably formed in some way from TRAP n.1 or v.1 The change to trepan, seen first in the vb., may have been due to association with TREPAN v.1 ['To operate upon with a trepan'] (a much earlier and well known word), of which TREPAN v.2 may have been supposed to be some sort of fig. application.
No F. trapan or trapaner in this sense is recognized by Littr?, Hatz.-Darm., Cotgrave, Godefroy. Nor is there any reason to connect trapan with OProv. trapon 'sorte de pi?ge', nor with It. trapanare = TREPAN v.1

vicente  •  Link

"hope to trepan": there be I thinking, slice the top of head off, and fiddle with the grey matter. How wrong can one be: I thought that it be from the Greek to auger;Another way of saying, pulling the wool over ones eyes. Put a thought in to the brain and convince the poor lass that he is the love of her life. Balty being the sly one that he is, would get his Sister to do the dirty work.

Pauline  •  Link

Lest anyone be misled by Pauline's Blount citation
It was copied and pasted from the OED. I considered quotation marks, but couldn’t think that that was how we had done OED lifts from the past, so I just said “from OED.”

Noun form (of the verb meaning copied above) from OED:
1. A person who entraps or decoys others into actions or positions which may be to his advantage and to their ruin or loss. Also applied to an animal (quot. 1686).

First entries (n. and v.)
“1.A surgical instrument in the form of a crown-saw, for cutting out small pieces of bone, esp. from the skull.
2.A military engine formerly used in sieges: ? for boring holes in walls. Obs.
3. A boring instrument for sinking shafts. (Usually treated as F., trépan.)4. attrib., as trepan hole, a hole made in a bone by a trepan; trepan saw, a saw of the form of a trepan, a crown-saw.”
“trans. To operate upon with a trepan; to saw through with a trepan, as a bone of the skull. Also absol”

So the figurative application would be something like Balty is going to mess with her head to trap her into marriage.

Lauguage hat, why do I find the Blount quote in OED without the disclaimer that you find for it in OED?

vicente  •  Link

He did not like the play because of the last act and he be remembering yesterday.
"When That I Was And a Little Tiny Boy"
But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day
But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day. ...."
V i

Pauline  •  Link

figurative..mess with her head
or unfiguratively, as vincent noted while I was typing, saw off the top and poke about in the grey matter.

vicente  •  Link

The theatre then, had the same problems that a disco-tech has to-day, unattached females that are free to check out future prospects or short term earnings. So Liza, she not be without knowledge of the REAL world, would behave the same way, if a modern hubby was off to the disco by himself or with the ladds. "...after my swearing to my wife that I would never go to a play without her..."
If Mistress Eliza was on one side of Sam and Mistress twinkle eyes on tother,she may have had a good conversation but she was a testing out our Sam under her comforter too. 'Tis my guess, Girls do so like a challenge to get a man away from be ringed one.

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

trepan and get for his wife..
Simmer down you sparring etymologysts!
I visited the Blount citation and tend to support Pauline's interpretation here.
'Course Vincent states it the most eloquently as always: Sam is evidently tongue in cheekily suggesting that the only way his wife's brother Balty (as fine as hands can make him.. hmm ) can get this fine young lady he appears to be besotted with for his wife, is to get his sister (Sam's wife Elizabeth) to visit her (via the Frenchman who also happens to be her servant) and then somehow drill a hole in her head!
Sam's humour is not only earthy but sometimes obtuse.

Mary  •  Link

"his servant, a Frenchman"

Perhaps this is the French footman who had the feathers the other day? If so, Sam's suspicions are laid to rest and he gives Elizabeth leave to go with him and Balty to visit the charming young lady.

Lovely description of Balty, "as fine as hands could make him." But handsome is as handsome does, my lad.

Pedro.  •  Link

"He did not like the play because of the last act and he be remembering yesterday."

Obviously Vincente is referring to the rain, and not to the toss-pots (remembering last Monday the 9th). Although our Sam sometimes has a drunken head he can certainly hold his ale!

A toper; one habitually given to strong drink; a drunkard.

Lawrence  •  Link

Mary, I think you're right, that's the french footman that got Sam worried the other day, but wht didn't Elizabeth put his mind to rest then, why keep Sam in the dark? still he know's now!

Mary  •  Link

Why keep Sam in the dark?

Elizabeth has difficulty in interesting Sam in promoting Balty's career. (viz. her tearful, bedtime pleas on August 27th). Perhaps she didn't wish to alert Sam to the fact that another plan was afoot until there was some reasonable, third-party assurance (from the servant) that there was a decent chance that the idea of this marriage was not pure moonshine on Balty's part and that the matter might come off.

J A Gioia  •  Link

him to Dr. Williams, who did carry me into his garden, where he hath abundance of grapes

so my idle off-topic question of yesterday is answered promptly on topic. much to like in today's episode. note how the cat-dispatching dog seems to interest sam more than les affairs de balty.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"how a dog that he hath do kill all the cats.....he will take up the cat again and dig the hole deeper....hath killed above 100 cats"
Sam, do not believe in tall tales, the owner is obviouly a jerk who suffers from Munchausen Syndrome,and is very proud of his dog.

JWB  •  Link

Dr. Williams's dog
Think we've found cause plague four years hence. Killed all the cats, that killed all the rats, etc...

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Dr William's dog
or maybe the buried cats fertilized the garden and that would explain the "great gooseberrys as big as nutmegs"

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"his servant,a Frenchman"
I dont think is the same one with the feathers, SP would have said so if it was.

Pauline  •  Link

the French Connections
I agree with DeAraugo that this French servant seems to not be the French Footman with Feathers. Given all the worry Sam has given this thread we are trying to follow, it seems like he would have indicated it was the same man.

On the other hand: the thread begins (Aug.30) with Elizabeth running into Somerset ("a pretty man") at Drury Lane--someone who knew her in France, someone who likely also knew Balty. Sam avoids being introduced to Somerset.

On Sept.2, Elizabeth runs into Somerset at the exchange and he gives her a bracelet with rings.

On Sept.5, the Feathered French Footman stops her and gives her a message and makes an arrangement that Sam "can't tell what it is".

On Sept.6, Elizabeth goes in the morning to fulfill the arrangement to meet with someone--I assumed Somerset. It could have been Balty.

Today Balty shows up and we find him amidst a scheme he wants his sister to support.

We may have two French threads here getting tangled together, or they may be warp and woof of the same design.

Ruben  •  Link

"his servant, a Frenchman"
I think like A. De Araujo that today’s servant is not the same person as the “French footman with feathers” from 5 days ago and my argument is:
1) Sam knew who Balty’s servant was. Then he would have said so.
2) I think that feathers in the hat were improper or strange apparel for a servant. For this reason Sam wrote it down. He would not forget this footman in 5 days, would’nt he?
3) not an English expert but I think that if Sam knew the servant he would have written “his servant, the Frenchman” and not “his servant, a Frenchman”.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"100 cats"
I also think Sam is hearing tall tales here! But if at least some cats were buried by the dog, they would help the gooseberries - people used to bury deceased ponies in their grounds outside the forcing houses for grapes to improve them (18th century).
French servants
I agree with Ruben here - if he knew the servant to be his brother-in-law's, he would have said "the" not "a". Knowing what we do of Balty, however, having an outlandishly dressed servant would be in character!

vicente  •  Link

Cats be for the mice, that be nice; Cats not be hounding Rats, as some rats be as big as the cats. Dogs be for rats not the cats. All those terriers love the sport of keeping outsiders out of the owners land, be they cats or rats and other pesky vermin. Of course the ladies to do think lap dogs should not spoil their decor by chasing neither cats no rats.
Cat to dog population be 5 : 1. or dogs be 40,000 and Cats ye trip over, acording to Defoe as reported by Liza Picard p 181 Rest: Lond:

jamie yeager  •  Link


the usage "to trepan [someone] into marriage" appears as late as 1925 in ford madox ford's "parade's end" tetralogy v. 2, "no more parades"

john lauer  •  Link

What "...200£ and the interest thereof.”?
I don’t find an earlier reference to it, relating to Trice.

Pauline  •  Link

What "200£ and the interest thereof."?
John, the information from L&M Companion about the inheritance problems Sam is dealing with here come under the reference to Sam’s Uncle Robert: Background/People/Pepsy, Robert. As the various aspects of getting the estate finally settled over the coming two years pop up, we need to remember where this information is.

Pedro.  •  Link

Dogs, cats, rats and the plague.

Many years ago, as lads, we used to fish in the cut (canal) next to an incinerator. We packed up before dusk and watched the wild cats catch and chase rats among the rubbish. So searching for info I found that cats were often used as "ratters"
But it appears that whilst catching prey does not present a serious health risk for the cats themselves - it can be a serious risk for other members of the family - including humans and pets which are susceptible to the infections e.g. dogs.
So perhaps Dr.Williams’ dog was doing everybody a favour! But if the dog burried them so well, how would he know how many he had caught?

David Ross McIrvine  •  Link

As far as I am aware, no one has a complete record of the modified version of this play that Sam sees tonight; i.e. it is not entirely clear what D'Avenant "did" to *Twelfth Night* when he *did* it.

language hat  •  Link

Lest anyone be misled by Pauline's Blount citation

Pauline: Sorry if I left the impression I was somehow blaming you; of course you were quoting the OED, and it just seemed too clumsy to say “the Blunt citation contained in Pauline’s OED quote” — but now I wish I had! No offense meant, and it’s the most natural thing in the world for a 17th-century etymology to be unfounded! But you’ve slipped from one word to the other, and Bullus has followed you astray. There is no relation between trepan ‘trap’ and trepan ‘saw into a skull,’ they are two completely different words (like bear ‘carry’ and bear ‘large hairy mammal’), and there is no question Sam is using the former. So all attempts to turn this into some sort of surgical metaphor are doomed to failure.

As for “why do I find the Blount quote in OED without the disclaimer that you find for it in OED?” — I found it in the noun entry (trepan, trapan, n.2).

Pauline  •  Link

"you've slipped from one word to the other”
I can see now that it was pretty unclear that I was intentionally slipping back to the “first entries” (n1 and v1) when I was making the connection for the “fig. application” of that meaning to the second meaning (n2 and v2), the meaning in this diary entry. That is, connecting sawing out a small section of the skull to get to the brain TO entrap or bequile; and thinking about how these kinds of connections are made, “mess with her head” presented itself as an obvious modern phrase that makes such a connection. Plus it allows the annotator who has just learned to access the OED for fun and sport and help in reading the diary to continue to have fun with that reading.

Josh  •  Link

How big would a garden need to be to bury 100 cats in and leave any room for berries? Perhaps "a hundred" is figurative for "a great man," like "a mort of dead cats" would mean a great many. I will not cite the obvious Pythonism. Oh, if you insist:
"I spent all morning burying the cat."
"All morning to bury a cat?"
"It wouldn't stay still."
"It's not dead then?"
"No, but it's not at all a well cat."
---Think of it this way, Phil: perhaps the OED 3004 edition can find a use for it.

language hat  •  Link

the annotator who has just learned to access the OED for fun and sport

Pauline: By all means enjoy the wonderful OED, the best sport in the world! And thanks for taking my nitpicking gracefully...

Kevin Peter  •  Link

"...after my swearing to my wife that I would never go to a play without her."

This just goes to show that Sam doesn't report absolutely everything that happens to him: just the stuff he feels is important enough to write in his diary.

He must have swore to his wife not to go to the play without her sometime earlier, but we didn't hear about it until now. It makes me wonder what other interesting things he never bothered to write down.

Bill  •  Link

"So from him to Dr. Williams"

Dr. Williams's house was in Holborn.
---Wheatley, 1899.

Bill  •  Link

"have hope to trepan and get for his wife"

To TREPAN (some derive it of [Greek word], a crafty Beguiler; others derive it of Trepany in Sicily, where some English Ships being friendly invited in, in Stress or Weather, were afterwards detained, contrary to the Assurance given them) to ensnare or decoy.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"as fine as hands could make him"

This phrase is a new one to me but it seems to have been a common one at the time.

These are as fine as hands can make them, il ne se peut rien faire de mieux
---A short dictionary English and French. G. Miège, 1684.

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