Monday 21 July 1662

Up early, and though I found myself out of order and cold, and the weather cold and likely to rain, yet upon my promise and desire to do what I intended, I did take boat and down to Greenwich, to Captain Cocke’s, who hath a most pleasant seat, and neat. Here I drank wine, and eat some fruit off the trees; and he showed a great rarity, which was two or three of a great number of silver dishes and plates, which he bought of an embassador that did lack money, in the edge or rim of which was placed silver and gold medalls, very ancient, and I believe wrought, by which, if they be, they are the greatest rarity that ever I saw in my life, and I will show Mr. Crumlum them. Thence to Woolwich to the Rope- yard; and there looked over several sorts of hemp, and did fall upon my great survey of seeing the working and experiments of the strength and the charge in the dressing of every sort; and I do think have brought it to so great a certainty, as I have done the King great service in it: and do purpose to get it ready against the Duke’s coming to town to present to him. I breakfasted at Mr. Falconer’s well, and much pleased with my inquiries. Thence to the dock, where we walked in Mr. Shelden’s garden, eating more fruit, and drinking, and eating figs, which were very good, and talking while the Royal James was bringing towards the dock, and then we went out and saw the manner and trouble of docking such a ship, which yet they could not do, but only brought her head into the Dock, and so shored her up till next tide. But, good God! what a deal of company was there from both yards to help to do it, when half the company would have done it as well. But I see it is impossible for the King to have things done as cheap as other men. Thence by water, and by and by landing at the riverside somewhere among the reeds, we walked to Greenwich, where to Cocke’s house again and walked in the garden, and then in to his lady, who I find is still pretty, but was now vexed and did speak very discontented and angry to the Captain for disappointing a gentleman that he had invited to dinner, which he took like a wise man and said little, but she was very angry, which put me clear out of countenance that I was sorry I went in. So after I had eat still some more fruit I took leave of her in the garden plucking apricots for preserving, and went away and so by water home, and there Mr. Moore coming and telling me that my Lady goes into the country to-morrow, I carried my wife by coach to take her leave of her father, I staying in Westminster Hall, she going away also this week, and thence to my Lady’s, where we staid and supped with her, but found that my Lady was truly angry and discontented with us for our neglecting to see her as we used to do, but after a little she was pleased as she was used to be, at which we were glad. So after supper home to bed.

37 Annotations

Alan Bedford   Link to this

"...hath a most pleasant seat..."

In this case: "A place of abode or residence, especially a large house that is part of an estate: the squire's country seat." (American Heritage Dictionary)

Terry F.   Link to this

Cocke's wife and Sandwich's are very angry today, both ostensibly over social slights: perhaps it's the weather.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

So we now know who runs the swaggering Capt Cocke's home. And have an insight into how our boy handles domestic incidents.

Now me, in my home... (Cuse me, the Missus is calling-she gets upset if she has to wait.)

Seriously, it's a plus to Sam's credit (Coming right now, honey!) that he views Cocke's surprisingly calm behavior as "wise".

Poor Lady Jemina, it must be pretty lonely for her to be so upset at Sam and Bess. She doesn't fit in easily at Charles' libertine court, I imagine.

Terry F.   Link to this

"Thence to Woolwich to the Rope- yard; and there looked over several sorts of hemp, and did fall upon my great survey of seeing the working and experiments of the strength and the charge in the dressing of every sort; and I do think have brought it to so great a certainty, as I have done the King great service in it:"

Put the goods to the test and see for yourself how they stand up: introduce this man to the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"hath a most pleasant seat..."

Who can resist stealing from Shakespeare, eh Sam? Does the air recommend itself to your senses?

Speaking of irresistible things...

"My love...Clerk of the Acts Pepys comes to dine with us today."

"And leaves...?" Ms. Cocke eyes her husband...Former secret dark-house candidate for the C-O-A position...

"After dinner...Of course." Cocke insists...Just a trace of hesitation.

"Would that you could bear but a part of my mind in the matter, my love. And your Mr. Pepys (Dumb name she notes) would not be leaving us after dinner...Except in a pine box."

"Mrs. Cocke." Cocke looks about carefully. But not so shocked as all that...

"We'll say no more about this business. Mr. Pepys hath honored me of late and I would wear those honors a while, not sully them before even having a chance to profit."

dirk   Link to this

"in the garden plucking apricots"

Apricot (Prunus armeniaca) - a relatively new fruit in Britain:

"the history of the apricot can be summed up as follows: Asian native, Greek import, Roman cultivar (...) The Romans gave it the botanical name it bears today because Armenia was a renowned source of the fruit. They also called it malum praecocum, meaning "early-ripening apple" (...), which eventually morphed via the Moors into the English "apricot" (Arabic al-birquq, (...) to Spanish albaricoque ). The apricot arrived in England during the reign of Henry VII or Henry VIII (...)"

http://www.efn.org/~bsharvy/edible1.html

Pauline   Link to this

"...by and by landing at the riverside somewhere among the reeds, we walked to Greenwich...."
I like this.
Seems so peaceful, and the walking in gardens and eating of fruit.
In the midst of angry women and his house open to the rains.
These have been too extraodinary days.

Terry F.   Link to this

Eats fruits and leaves.

dirk   Link to this

Eats fruits, takes some, and leaves.

Terry F.   Link to this

"But, good God! what a deal of company was there from both yards to help to [bring the head of the Royal James to the dock], when half the company would have done it as well. But I see it is impossible for the King to have things done as cheap as other men."

Was anyone else startled by the expostulation, "good God!"?

How sagacious the last sentence is -- and/but it doesn't apply only to the British head of state.

dirk   Link to this

"Up early..."

Monday 21 July (British calendar):
Sunrise Time: 04:22 hours
Sunset Time: 19:51 hours

Calculated from:
http://www.sci.fi/~benefon/sol.html

Terry F.   Link to this

ah, dirk, Lynne Truss' punctuation didn't work

Mary   Link to this

"what a deal of company was there..."

L&M notes that the Navy Treasurer had later to pay £1.16s for two barrels of beer for the Deptford workmen who came to help dock and shore up the vessel.

Mary   Link to this

"ate some fruit ...ate some more fruit....ate some still more fruit"

I doubt that Sam will need any physique tomorrow.

Pedro   Link to this

"great number of silver dishes and plates, which he bought of an embassador that did lack money,"

The Portuguese Ambassador is still busy collecting the dowry!

Terry F.   Link to this

"a great rarity, which was two or three...silver dishes and plates..., in the edge or rim of which was placed silver and gold medalls, very ancient, and I believe wrought, by which, if they be, they are the greatest rarity that ever I saw in my life"

Can anyone envision this "great rarity" or maybe "greatest rarity that ever [he] saw in [his] life"? And what is "very ancient" (old? as in "The Ancient Mariner") to Sam in this case?

(Thanks for the context, Pedro!)

Tom Burns   Link to this

But I see it is impossible for the King to have things done as cheap as other men.

Although I don't think the workmen would have left the King's house open to the rain for a week or more...

A/ Hamilton   Link to this

But I see it is impossible for the King to have things done as cheap as other men.

We still pay dearly for our symbols of sovereignty. I have heard that in our time, when faced with a stringent budget, the Admiralty has been heard to suggest that the latest budget guidance from MOD/Treasury will require laying up the royal yacht. (The U.S. equivalent has the Interior Department threatening to close the Washington Monument.)

Stolzi   Link to this

the expostulation, "good God!?"

What struck me about it was that Pepys writes in his speaking voice, complete with interjections, swear words, call them what you will. This, in spite of the fact that he was having to transform it all into shorthand as he went along. And this is the magic that keeps us reading him: the voice of a living man, across the centuries.

Stolzi   Link to this

The silver and gold medals

I am wondering if a word has been left out here. Seems to me the passage would make more sense if it read

" in the edge or rim of which was placed silver and gold medalls, very ancient, and I believe wrought by [Greeks? Romans? Babylonians? Phoenicians?] which, if they be, they are the greatest rarity that ever I saw in my life,"

Though Greek or Roman medals were not the rarest things in the world at that time. Unless the passage is correct as it stands, and he means "silver and gold ...wrought" - as in "wrought iron"? Would that process, used on silver or gold, be a rarity? I don't know enough about metalwork to say.

Donna   Link to this

"a great rarity, which was two or three...silver dishes and plates", in the edge

Medallions and coins were highly prized and collected by no less than Madame D’Orleans, or “Madame” sister-in-law of Louis XIVth. She and Louis shared an interest in coins with the heads of Roman Emperors. Her husband “Monseiur” was a great collector of art and furnishings. When James II, in exile was in a carriage with Monsieur and his wife, the Duke D’Orleans said to James (by way of royal polite conversation)”..Your Majesty must have a great many fine jewels and monies”.

Mary Beatrice of Modena (his wife Queen Mary) said “Him? Money? I have never known him to have a single coin since I met him”.

Terry F.   Link to this

The U.S. presidential yacht USS Sequoia ("America's equivalent to the Royal Yacht" --London Sunday Telegraph"), sold in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter to demonstrate frugality, was allotted $2 million to be bought back in Fall 2004.

http://www.sequoiayacht.com/
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-11...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"silver dishes and plates ... in the edge or rim of which was placed silver and gold medalls ..."

For a photo of a tankard of the period in a similar style see Harry Bass Jr. Collection Pt III, Lot 2203:-
http://www.harrybassfoundation.org/basscatalogs...

Such silver pieces are not uncommmon and are usually associated with NW Europe and the Baltics. There are a number reproduced in the V&A Ctatalogue of Scadinavian & Baltic Silver.

Mary   Link to this

"a great rarity...."

The L&M edition reads:" ...silver and gold medals, very ancient and I believe writ, which if they be....."

which doesn't leave me a great deal the wiser.

Pedro   Link to this

Description of ancient plates--
“PLATE.” LoveToKnow 1911 Online Encyclopedia. c 2003, 2004 LoveToKnow.
http://24.1911encyclopedia.org/P/PL/PLATE.htm

Bradford   Link to this

Neither of the glossaries ("Shorter Pepys" or Companion) help with "writ," unless it's a peculiar alternate to "wrought."

Like Mary, after the wine and fruit and wine and fruit and apricots (an especial culprit; cf. "Duchess of Malfi"), I kept waiting for the inevitable flight to the house of office.

dirk   Link to this

Silver

The fact that the silver plates etc were obtained from an ambassador suggests a foreign origin - which could be almost anywhere in Europe, from Sweden to Italy. Decorated plates and the like would usually be made of wrought silver (lighter, easier to work, but slightly more fragile), as opposed to cast silver.

The rich Venetian dinner sets of wrought silver, decorated with niello, filigree and precious stones, were very popular throughout Europe at the time.
http://www.mestieriarte.it/ingles_version/prima...

Or maybe Sam is referring to 'cut-card' work, which was imported from France in the 1660s and also used by immigrant Huguenot silversmiths in Britain- this (difficult) technique involves applying patterns cut from sheet silver on to the surface of a vessel or plate.

On 17th & 18th c. silver, and Huguenot involvement, check this excellent site:
http://www.christopherhartop.com/huguenot.html

“The development of complex social rituals in dining was reflected in the many different pieces of silver used for such an occasion. Even the less costly wrought silver and silver plate bought by 'self-made men' (usually wealthy merchants) became symbols of social standing. England produced more of it than any other nation.”
http://www.resnet.wm.edu/~cncash/DW.html

Also worth knowing:
“During the English Civil War, which broke out in 1642, huge amounts of silverware were melted down and converted to coinage to pay the troops. But after the Restoration in 1660 the demand for silverware was so great that the reverse happened. The melting and clipping of coinage became so extensive that the silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their silverware. Instead they had to use a higher standard with the introduction of the Britannia standard in 1697. The standard for silver was raised from 92.5 per cent to 95.8 per cent minimum silver content. The silver coinage remained at 92.5 per cent.”
http://www.teatimeantiques.com/about_silver.html

Terry F.   Link to this

the expostulation, "good God!? revisited:

while searching for something else I came across one of two previous instances of this:

Thursday 6 June 1661
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/06/06/
Sunday 1 September 1661
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/09/01/

Stolzi, thank you for reminding us that Sam wrote as he spoke — even when he encoded it for the sake of discretion.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Lovely websites, dirk - again! Thanks.
Does anyone (eg language hat) know if the word "medall" as used by Sam meant the same as we know it? Or is it just any round decorative metal object? Or might they be Greek or Roman coins? And could wrought or writ mean that they had words engraved on them?
Also loved Donna's anecdote of Mary and James!
I liked Sam's description of every man and his dog in the shipyards making sure they were part of the docking of the Roayl ship so they could partake of any largesse going. Showing Sam's acute observations.
One more comment on the eats, shoots and leaves: the Australian version applies to the wombat and is "eats, roots and leaves." (comment on the Australian bloke). We await Sam's appointment with the close-stool.....

dirk   Link to this

the expostulation "good God!" - cont'd

The fact that Sam writes in a very direct language like this in his diary - as if he were speaking to someone - means that he must have mastered his shorthand exceptionally well. So well in fact that it allowed him to litterally "speak" on paper, with the same sense of "immediacy"...

I'm almost sure that, if Sam would have written his diary in more cumbersome standard writing (as he does with his office documents), phrases like this would be missing.

dirk   Link to this

Terry,

"With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed" you can produce lots of fruit and leaves to eat (or shoot) :-)

Terry F.   Link to this

Aye, dirk! A play on Lynne Truss' punctuation in the title of her best-selling “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” didn't work — for me.

Terry F.   Link to this

dirk, I get it; sorry: didn't notice the :-)

Robert Gertz   Link to this

In the (sadly) abridged audio book of the Diary, Kenneth Brannaugh does inflective wonders with Sam's "Good God(s)..." You can just hear the relish Sam had in recalling events as he set them down.

language hat   Link to this

silver and gold medalls:

I don't think we can tell which of the possible senses is meant here. The OED says: "In 16th-cent. Europe, Middle French medaille, Spanish medalla, and Italian medaglia were used in learned publications to designate ancient coins, esp. those of Greek or Roman origin"; the definitions in use in Sam's day are:

1. A coin-shaped cast or stamped metal disc with decorative designs (esp. bearing a figure or an inscription) on one or both sides, used for personal ornament, as a charm or trinket, or as a devotional object.

2. a. A metal object, usually of the size and form of a coin, struck or cast with an inscription, a head or effigy of a person, or other device or image on one or both sides; spec. (a) one intended to record, commemorate, or celebrate a person, institution, place, or event; (b) one awarded as a distinction to a soldier, etc., for bravery or other service rendered to a country, etc.
Also, in collectors' use: a coin of artistic or historical interest, esp. one of ancient Greek or Roman origin.

3. a. An image, representation.
b. Something outstanding or out of the ordinary; something of superior quality or value.

dirk   Link to this

"plucking apricots for preserving"

"Apricocks Preserved", a contemporary recipe from: "The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex", 1675

"Let the weight of your Sugar equal the weight of your Apricocks, what quantity soever you mind to use; pare and stone your Apricocks, and lay them in the Sugar in your Preserving- pan all night, and in the morning set them on the Embers till the Sugar be all melted, and then let them stand and scald an hour; then take them off the fire and let them stand in that Syrrup two days, and then boil them softly till they be tender and well colour'd; and after that, when they are cold, put them up in glasses or pots, which you please:"

http://chaucer.library.emory.edu/cgi-bin/sgml2h...

Australian Susan   Link to this

The image of the cross lady in the garden plucking apricots (no doubt with furious intensity) and Sam sidling into the garden to take leave speaking cautiously to avoid having his head snapped off too! Lovely. And so true. How often have I retreated into active household tasks when really ticked off with someone in the household - grooming my long-haired dog is one such task (he's been known to hide under the bed).

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