Tuesday 13 January 1662/63

So my poor wife rose by five o’clock in the morning, before day, and went to market and bought fowls and many other things for dinner, with which I was highly pleased, and the chine of beef was down also before six o’clock, and my own jack, of which I was doubtfull, do carry it very well. Things being put in order, and the cook come, I went to the office, where we sat till noon and then broke up, and I home, whither by and by comes Dr. Clerke and his lady, his sister, and a she-cozen, and Mr. Pierce and his wife, which was all my guests. I had for them, after oysters, at first course, a hash of rabbits, a lamb, and a rare chine of beef. Next a great dish of roasted fowl, cost me about 30s., and a tart, and then fruit and cheese. My dinner was noble and enough. I had my house mighty clean and neat; my room below with a good fire in it; my dining-room above, and my chamber being made a withdrawing-chamber; and my wife’s a good fire also. I find my new table very proper, and will hold nine or ten people well, but eight with great room. After dinner the women to cards in my wife’s chamber, and the Dr. and Mr. Pierce in mine, because the dining-room smokes unless I keep a good charcoal fire, which I was not then provided with. At night to supper, had a good sack posset and cold meat, and sent my guests away about ten o’clock at night, both them and myself highly pleased with our management of this day; and indeed their company was very fine, and Mrs. Clerke a very witty, fine lady, though a little conceited and proud. So weary, so to bed. I believe this day’s feast will cost me near 5l..

35 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

"a great dish of roasted fowl, cost me about 30s."

No, I will not be cajoled into remarking that there was no doubt a little price-tag attached to each item.

"I believe this day’s feast will cost me near 5l."

Let's see, how much does that work out to, per head? 12s 6d?

daniel   Link to this

So my poor wife

so Sam is aware of her plight, He simply writes it down by and by.

Australian Susan   Link to this

"So my poor wife"
This reads as though he is carrying on from the previous day's entry - after the appearance of anger - whether or not the household really belived in his wrath, it was had its desired effect.
Sam is very pleased with everything: the house finally is finished, it is clean and tidy, the food is excellent and well-prepared (he even hired in a cook) the company harmonious and the entertainment sufficient. He makes me want to have been there.

Dave   Link to this

and my own jack, of which I was doubtfull . . . .

What, or who, is Sam's "jack"?

Terry F   Link to this

The jack in question seems to be a hanging-jack or spit to hold meat whilst it is turned over a fire.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Luverly description of the house and its lay out.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Dear me! 5 Quid! [be 20 meals at a nice Ordinary in Hampstead near the home of that Odist, Keats, 300 years later]I could have a maid and a boy for a year on that, of course food be extra.

matthew newton   Link to this

..this days feast will cost me nearly £5..
in what way was this said?
Is Mr.P.boasting about how much he can afford or moaning at the cost?

matthew newton   Link to this

..my room below..my drawing-room above..my chamber being made a with-drawing chamber..
does anyone have information on house plans? How whould Pepys house have been designed inside?

Glyn   Link to this

The Jack is a part of the oven that rotates the meat mechanically - perhaps by clockwork or some system of weights (or maybe putting the dog on a treadmill?!), and Sam was worried that the meat would be too heavy to either hold it or rotate it properly. Sam and Elizabeth bought the equivalent of a very high tech oven for their last home and brought it with them when they moved.

Note that neither Elizabeth nor her women are good enough cooks to be trusted with this special meal - a specialist cook has to be called in.

Is this party something that Pepys has arranged to entertain his wife? His six guests don't seem particularly influential from a business viewpoint.

Glyn   Link to this

Oh, I see that Pepys, Clarke and Pierce were shipmates on the expedition to bring the King back in 1660. So they had plenty of things to reminisce about.

Jay   Link to this

Dear Pepysians,

A group of three of us, two here in Vermont (Barre and Peacham) and one across the border at Sutton, Quebec, began the diary a fortnight ago. We are thus exactly three years behind you. We are in email contact, and plan to meet for a meal about once a quarter to add to the fun. I am reading Latham/Matthews (and your annotations), another is reading Wheatley in hard copy, and the third is reading online here exclusively.

But I have so much enjoyed, even just so far, all of your annotations that I wanted to write ahead and thank all of you for all of your diligence and wit, and the smiles and enlightenment I have enjoyed in the process. I suspect too that it will be fun to come across this very note when I get here three years hence.

Many thanks,
Jay
Barre, VT

Bradford   Link to this

The stray thought occurred that this might be Pepys's "festival" to commemorate the cutting of his stone in 1558, but that isn't until March 26th. Reserve the date now.

stolzi   Link to this

I believe that he thinks it was expensive, but he thinks it was worth it.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

"poor wife"

because she rose early? And could it be Pepys uses the term not just as an endearment, but to diminish the importance of the unattractive way he berates her? (From last night, "But I appeared very angry that there were no more things got ready against to-morrow’s feast, and in that passion sat up long, and went discontented to bed." )

A. Hamilton   Link to this

A very burgherlijk meal
Or haute bourgeois. Is there an equivalent
in English for this sort of self-gratifying display? The fowl must have been a rarity; equivalent modern cost would be in excess of $130 for the one dish. Perhaps that includes the cook's wages? Total cost of meal $65 per head; no mention made of drink which was probably included. I hope "poor wife" was pleased.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Lucky Bess...

Got to get up at five to buy his Clerkship's fowls and the rest...

Got to deal with all the arrangements including some fussy new cook hired for the occasion...

Had the pleasure of Mrs. Pierce's company, a woman she's rather jealous of...

Not to mention getting to watch Sam leer at his female guests all evening, until he and the boys retired to his room and left her with la Pierce and the Clerke ladies...

Hope the card play was fun...

jeannine   Link to this

Robert, and to add to the role of "Lucky Bess" it appears that Sam didn't even pick up any juicy gossip from that man of total discretions and well kept secrets himself, Mr. Pierce! She won't even get to share in some good dirt while she's cleaning (or perhaps overseeing the cleaning) up the mess! Life was so tough in those times!

Josh   Link to this

Yes, Stolzi, Sam gets two pleasures: to lament the expense and what it deducts from his net worth; and to bask in the knowledge that he can afford it. Call it a Value Added Emotion.

Nix   Link to this

Lucky Bess --

In comparison with her usual lot this is an improvement: company, and a caterer to run the kitchen, and Samuel seems to be keeping his complaints about the cost to himself and his diary.

I'm wondering if this is sort of a housewarming, to celebrate the recent completion of the remodeling? Or is there some other event going on that I have missed?

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

"...So weary, so to bed. I believe this day’s feast will cost me near 5l....." He be chuffed, as this be an anniversary, and the good Fortune to indulge himself, his Wife and some good friends with a good repast, and shoot the breeze, for those that have had the opportunity to do same [after living in a garret], will know the joy. For others it be the norm , no big deal. But Sam dothe like to keep track of those pennies, he be wise, those that don't, usually end up in Newgate or Bridewell. [ so easy to spend wot thee dothe not have]
Horace:
"O cives, cives, quarenda pecunia primum est;Virtus post nummos."
Oh people,people, whereby money is first; virtue be later

Pegg   Link to this

Poor Bess, indeed. One hopes it's just style and not substance of speech, but I see too much *my* and not enough *we* in here. Did Poor Bess wear her new dress? Yup, I'm still cross with him, even if Bess isn't!

Kilroy   Link to this

Glyn, regarding Jacks to turn meat spits over fireplaces.

I saw these before, dirven by a turbine in the chimney. Didn't realize they had a name. But sure enough a little search found this page http://www.journalofantiques.com/Sept02/hearths... that provides a good summary of what was needed before the convience of the oven.

At first I'd say that Sam had the fan in the chimney version. But a "clock" version (more like a wind-up contraption) would make more sense in a single family house.

R. O. Curtis   Link to this

So the cook in question is not Susan?
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/12/31/ takes the trouble to point out that, though she has apparently been hired as a "cook maid," she is "... a pretty willing wench, but no good cook."

Australian Susan   Link to this

My namesake seems to be OK for ordinary cooking, but not for special occasions.

jeannine   Link to this

"My namesake seems to be OK for ordinary cooking, but not for special occasions." ...According to my extensive research, nowdays the namesake for every aspect of domestic dumping from high end fancy party prep to low end caring for sick pets and all in between seems to be simply "hey mom". How much more efficient we are today when one name has replaced all of those maid names.......

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

"Burgherlijk" and "haute bourgeois"; re A. Hamilton's remark: two words from Dutch resp. French. Isn't it remarkable that there may be no exact English equivalent for this.

GrahamT   Link to this

The closest English equivalent of haute bourgeois is upper-middle class, i.e. those in the professions, (lawyers, academics, etc.) as opposed to trade (middle class)or inherited wealth (upper class)
$65/£40 per head for a meal? Yes that is about right for an upper middle class dinner party, but cheap for a restaurant. I would think Pepys is still firmly middle class, but mixing much more with all strata of society, from peasant to king, than his modern equivalent would.
Of course these fine class distinctions really only came into use in the 19th century. Before that it was "us and them", and Cromwell even tried (unsuccessfully) to get rid of "them".

Australian Susan   Link to this

"Maid names"
Yes, the modern housekeeper (wife and mother) has to do much more than in previous generations. I am the first generation of my family not to have a daily maid, at least. In my childhood (1950s), the greengrocer, grocer, butcher, baker and milkman all delivered (to the back door). Shopping for the house for my mother consisted of paying the monthly bills and ordering. She had a daily maid to clean and a housekeeping allowance from my father, whose income she did not know. This was a world Elizabeth Pepys would not find so different from her own, but I think she would find my world very strange: I shop at a supermarket, do all my own housework, handle all household finances and work too. Household life has changed more in the past 60 years than the previous 300. (OK have to go now and bathe one of the dogs for his dermatitis)

Jenny Doughty   Link to this

Australian Susan - this experience very much depends on your social class of origin. I was born in 1950, and I have known nobody who kept a live-in maid, and very few who even had a cleaner on a regular basis. Only the milkman ever delivered to our house. And yet my father was a works manager in a paint factory, so I suppose we were lower-middle rather than working class. I think in Sam's day the keeping of staff began rather lower down the social ladder even than the 1950s.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

The WWII change the country
as reguards, labour intensive working conditions. The more affluent, no longer had the funds to enjoy the services of houshold/outside help. More people, wanted and got independence from working for other humans.
The War created new needs and offered new ways of getting ones food, shirts and palliasses, provided hard earnt skills, made available by the war needs, allowed many to find talents that schools failed to expose in the masses, as we only needed cannon ,and factory fodder. Many found their forte and skipped away to other opportunties around the globe.
AS I write, the new wealth is now using inexpensive illegal workers to do the work of skivvies.
Employment as a chamber pot emptier, boils down, not to class but to the available 'doe rey me' .

Pauline   Link to this

'Employment as a chamber pot emptier'
Now why didn't I think of such a way of putting it? My friend IAS, you are priceless!

Way back somewhere in my heritage there must have been a maid or two somewhere, but lost in the chamber-pot fog of it all.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Having domestic servants a matter of class, cash, and locale
I want to agree with and expand on several comments with a personal reminiscence. In the late 1940s I was a young child in south Texas. My mother was a war widow with a low-level white-collar job, and we lived in what one would call genteel poverty. We owned our own home, but had no financial reserves at all, living from paycheck to paycheck. Nonetheless, we had a live-in Hispanic maid (for housekeeping, not for child care, which my grandmother took care of).

In retrospect I find this quite surprising. I think there were two reasons for it. First, my mother had grown up in a house with servants, and probably felt it was simply what a well-bred person did (class). Second, we happened to live in a place where there was a pool of people available for such work, the impoverished Mexican-American population (locale). After we moved to California in 1950 there were no more servants.

I agree with IAS that WWII spelled the end of the upstairs-downstairs norm that had prevailed for centuries, probably for the reasons that he cites. However, its "benefits" did not extend uniformly to those on society's margins, at least for some while.

GrahamT   Link to this

Servants:
I would like to agree about WW II being the end of general use of servants. My maternal grandmother and great-grandmother were "in service" (as parlour-maids I think) until they married. This was the norm for working class girls in the early part of last century, often starting work at 10-11 years old. However, my mother left school during the war and worked as a clerk at the local mine - a job that would have been a male preserve before the war. A similar thing happened with my father's sisters. None of my relatives since the war have worked as servants. The use of servants by the middle classes has also disappeared since the war - if you discount au pairs and cleaning ladies!

Patricia   Link to this

"I had for them... oysters,... rabbits, a lamb, and a rare chine of beef... roasted fowl, cost me about 30s., and a tart, and then fruit and cheese. My dinner was noble and enough. I had my house mighty clean and neat; my room ... with a good fire in it; my dining-room above, and my chamber being made a withdrawing-chamber; and my wife’s a good fire also. I find my new table..."
Listen to Sam brag! "I" "MY"! Like HE had anything to do in preparation of the lovely dinner, cleaning the house, laying the fire, etc. etc. Miserable paternalistic, chauvinistic creep, always pointing out the conceit in others, while his own pride soars higher & higher. Mrs. P may have forgiven him for his outburst of a few days ago, but I haven't.

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