Saturday 1 November 1662

Up and after a little while with my workmen I went to my office, and then to our sitting all the morning. At noon with Mr. Creede, whom I found at my house, to the Trinity House, to a great dinner there, by invitacion, and much company. It seems one Captain Evans makes his Elder Brother’s dinner to-day. Among other discourses one Mr. Oudant, secretary to the late Princesse of Orange, did discourse of the convenience as to keeping the highways from being deep, by their horses, in Holland (and Flanders where the ground is as miry as ours is), going in their carts and, waggons as ours in coaches, wishing the same here as an expedient to make the ways better, and I think there is something in it, where there is breadth enough. Thence to my office, sent for to meet Mr. Leigh again; from Sir H. Bennet. And he and I, with Wade and his intelligencer and labourers, to the Tower cellars, to make one tryall more; where we staid two or three hours digging, and dug a great deal all under the arches, as it was now most confidently directed, and so seriously, and upon pretended good grounds, that I myself did truly expect to speed; but we missed of all: and so we went away the second time like fools. And to our office, whither, a coach being come, Mr. Leigh goes home to Whitehall; and I by appointment to the Dolphin Tavern, to meet Wade and the other, Captn. Evett, who now do tell me plainly, that he that do put him upon this is one that had it from Barkestead’s own mouth, and was advised with by him, just before the King’s coming in, how to get it out, and had all the signs told him how and where it lay, and had always been the great confident of Barkestead even to the trusting him with his life and all he had. So that he did much convince me that there is good ground for what we go about. But I fear it may be that he did find some conveyance of it away, without the help of this man, before he died. But he is resolved to go to the party once more, and then to determine what we shall do further. So we parted, and I to my office, where after sending away my letters to the post I do hear that Sir J. Minnes is resolved to turn part of our entry into a room and to divide the back yard between Sir W. Pen and him, which though I do not see how it will annoy me much particularly, yet it do trouble me a little for fear it should, but I do not see how it can well unless in his desiring my coming to my back stairs, but for that I shall do as well as himself or Sir W. Pen, who is most concerned to look after it.

29 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

"the convenience as to keeping the highways from being deep, by their horses, in Holland (and Flanders where the ground is as miry as ours is), going in their carts and, waggons as ours in coaches, wishing the same here as an expedient to make the ways better, and I think there is something in it, where there is breadth enough."

If anyone else thinks there's something in it, and can explain it as to make it clear, many of us would be grateful.

Pedro   Link to this

“and Flanders where the ground is as miry as ours is”

Fitting that Sam should mention this on the first day of November, some 250 odd years before we should loose so many men in those miry “Flanders Fields”.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

miry:
boggy,marshy,mucky,muddy,quaggy,sloughy,swampy.
cf:wordreference.com

Terry F   Link to this

Is Oudant proposing elevating roadbeds, which Pepys finds promising "where [the right of way has] breadth enough" to make that possible?

A.Hamilton   Link to this

“the convenience as to keeping the highways from being deep"

It is puzzling. One thought: perhaps Oudant is proposing separate parallel tracks for carts, coaches etc. (which make the miry roads deeply rutted) and men and horses, and that Pepys thinks it would work "where there is breadth enough" in the right of way.

dirk   Link to this

"the convenience as to keeping the highways from being deep"

I think the main point here is that roads that are not hardened in any way tend to deepen when used a lot, eventually becomming "hollow". Such hollow roads get filled up with water when it rains, and become "miry", soggy.

This argument may imply elevated roadbeds, although this is not explicitly mentioned here. It would certainly imply doing something against further "hollowing" - presumably by making the roads harder and less susceptible to wear.

CGS   Link to this

It be called "ruts"["...keeping the highways from being deep...] made by cart wheels for those that have never suffered the mud, mud, glorious mud,... and ruts they be . As younster we used to use our old nag to drag them their foreigners from London town [fancy horse scary noise jalopeys] out of the ruts, as the ladies did not enjoy mucky feet.The roads,other than the Roman leftovers had no firm foundations and each local rural council were responsible for the upkeep and as London town did not like pay a decent pay for goods there be none left over for maintainance after graft.
Note at this time the main routes followed the engineered highways of the 1200 years before.

chris   Link to this

There were tales from France around this time (Diary of St. Simon, I think) of highway drownings from capsized coaches on country roads.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Roads -- "The Condition of England"

Below is a link to the section "Difficulty of Travelling — Badness of the Roads" in Macaulay's famous Chapter III "The Condition of England in 1685." The whole chapter is one of the great glories of English expository prose that can be wallowed in quite swinishly, even if not of his Whig persuasion.

http://www.strecorsoc.org/macaulay/m03e.html

Linda   Link to this

In Paris, there is an area called the Marais, meaning swamp, which, being on the Seine, was once very marshy. The well known street, Rue du Rivoli, now lined with hotels and gift shops, was once an elevated road through this area. It is interesting to walk around there and think of the marshy mess it once was before the priests in the area filled it in and built it up. I often imagine what the narrow winding streets were like in the area as well without paving or sewage systems.

Mary   Link to this

"in Holland and Flanders"

The L&M note here glosses this proposal as as suggestion that carts and wagons should harness their horses to work abreast, like coach-horses, rather than in tandem as was the usual habit in England. Such a stratagem might, in time, bring about a lessening of the rate of deterioration upon any given road, but would be unlikely to produce spectacularly improving results.

Mary   Link to this

"my coming to my backstairs"

L&M reads:" unless in hindering my coming to my backstairs.." which makes a deal better sense than "in desiring my coming to my backstairs.."

Xjy   Link to this

This entry a mess!
The most miry prose Sam has written so far!!

language hat   Link to this

"I myself did truly expect to speed"

"Speed" here has its original sense: 'To succeed or prosper; to meet with success or good fortune; to attain one's purpose or desire' (OED). Cf. Bunyan: "Wouldst thou be a man that would pray and prevail? Why, pray to God in the faith of the merits of Christ, and speed."

language hat   Link to this

"This entry a mess!"

I disagree, though it would of course be more immediately intelligible (like other long entries) if it were paragraphed. But it's only got a few sections, each clear in itself:

1) "Up and after a little while with my workmen I went to my office, and then to our sitting all the morning."

2) Highways: "At noon with Mr. Creede, whom I found at my house, to the Trinity House... Among other discourses one Mr. Oudant, secretary to the late Princesse of Orange, did discourse of the convenience as to keeping the highways from being deep... and I think there is something in it, where there is breadth enough."

3) Digging for gold: "Thence to my office, sent for to meet Mr. Leigh again; from Sir H. Bennet. And he and I, with Wade and his intelligencer and labourers, to the Tower cellars, to make one tryall more... But he is resolved to go to the party once more, and then to determine what we shall do further."

4) The Minnes saga: "So we parted, and I to my office, where after sending away my letters to the post I do hear that Sir J. Minnes is resolved to turn part of our entry into a room... but for that I shall do as well as himself or Sir W. Pen, who is most concerned to look after it."

Clear now? (And does the Tower story remind anyone else of Geraldo Rivera's letdown with the "buried treasure"?)

Bradford   Link to this

"carts and wagons should harness their horses to work abreast, like coach-horses, rather than in tandem"

It's been so long since I plowed the back 40 with the old pair of mules that I've forgotten the distinction between "abreast" and "in tandem." They both sound like side-by-side to me.

Geraldo follows in a noble tradition, does he not, L. Hat, and no doubt will not be the last of his line.

A Hamilton   Link to this

tandem, OED:
(examples ommited)

1. a. A two-wheeled vehicle drawn by two horses (or other beasts of draught) harnessed one before the other.

b. transf. A pair of carriage-horses harnessed one before the other. Also fig.

Jeannine   Link to this

Langauge Hat, too true, but, Geraldo...UGH! He's from the school of better to remain silent and thought a fool then to open one's mouth and remove all doubt......At least after looking for fool's gold Sam won't end up doing news reports from hurricane locations and telling us it's windy out! He will still have a life, a career and the ability to report vis a vis the diary with style.

language hat   Link to this

tandem:
This comes from a scholarly joke; in the OED's words: "L[atin] tandem 'at length' (of time) used punningly."

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"and so we went away the second time like fools"
Geraldo Rivera never felt like a fool, even when he was kicked out of Iraq.

Clement   Link to this

Digging in the cellar.
Geraldo will no doubt find this reference on his weekly google search for his own name, and now include citation of his "work" on the "prestigious Pepysdiary.com" site.
The misadventure at hand reminded me more of "The Red-headed League" by Conan-Doyle. At least Bennett, Wade, Pepys and co. could be laying sewer pipe so the excavation wasn't a complete waste (no pun intended...well, maybe).

Australian Susan   Link to this

Princess of Orange
Charles's aunt, who died whilst celebrating his Restoration.
See http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/person.asp?Li... for portraits.
***
Sam's house
The wonderful engraving (to which there is a link in yesterday's entry) makes much sense of what Sam's house (and the others looked like), but does it mean that the narrow way around the mansard windows (have a look at the picture) is the walk round the leads Sam frequently refers to? Rather narrow and unsafe and insalubrious.

Terry F   Link to this

Walking on the leads

Aussie Susan, I took it that the surface in question was the flat one on the very top, but I don't know exactly where the (now closed) access was....
http://www.pepysdiary.com/static/img/indepth/20...

Terry F   Link to this

Phil, posting dittography due to the rejection of the first due to "malicious content"
--
well perhaps -- you can see how much less offensive the second post is.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Malicious? Well, 'tis obvious - abbrieviating Australian to a mere colloquial "Aussie" Tsk. Tsk.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Seriously - I took the building in the middle of the picture with the flat bit on top to be the actual offices and the surrounding U shaped section the houses and I thought the access to the "leads" was from the houses somehow onto the roofs of the houses? The descriptions we get from the Diary don't seem to square up with what we are looking at.

dirk   Link to this

"The descriptions we get from the Diary don’t seem to square up with what we are looking at."

Susan, might 1666 have something to do with this?

CGS   Link to this

The "leads" be that lead [led] part of the roof that seals the wall to roof and allowing water to go down the guttering [water] thereby being rather narrow [3-4 feet]. Flat roofs where not a good feature in the inclement weather of the London, rooves would rot away very quickly. There would be a walkway for many uses, besides peering in to ones neighbours private affairs.

Australian Susan   Link to this

[Spoiler Alert]
I thought the Navy Offices were not burnt down until well into the 18th century?

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