Monday 25 May 1663

Up, and my pill working a little I staid within most of the morning, and by and by the barber came and Sarah Kite my cozen, poor woman, came to see me and borrow 40s. of me, telling me she will pay it at Michaelmas again to me. I was glad it was no more, being indifferent whether she pays it me or no, but it will be a good excuse to lend her nor give her any more. So I did freely at first word do it, and give her a crown more freely to buy her child something, she being a good-natured and painful wretch, and one that I would do good for as far as I can that I might not be burdened. My wife was not ready, and she coming early did not see her, and I was glad of it. She gone, I up and then hear that my wife and her maid Ashwell had between them spilled the pot … . upon the floor and stool and God knows what, and were mighty merry making of it clean. I took no great notice, but merrily. Ashwell did by and by come to me with an errand from her mistress to desire money to buy a country suit for her against she goes as we talked last night, and so I did give her 4l., and believe it will cost me the best part of 4 more to fit her out, but with peace and honour I am willing to spare anything so as to be able to keep all ends together, and my power over her undisturbed. So to my office and by and by home, where my wife and her master were dancing, and so I staid in my chamber till they had done, and sat down myself to try a little upon the Lyra viall, my hand being almost out, but easily brought to again. So by and by to dinner, and then carried my wife and Ashwell to St. James’s, and there they sat in the coach while I went in, and finding nobody there likely to meet with the Duke, but only Sir J. Minnes with my Lord Barkely (who speaks very kindly, and invites me with great compliments to come now and then and eat with him, which I am glad to hear, though I value not the thing, but it implies that my esteem do increase rather than fall), and so I staid not, but into the coach again, and taking up my wife’s taylor, it raining hard, they set me down, and who should our coachman be but Carleton the Vintner, that should have had Mrs. Sarah, at Westminster, my Lord Chancellor’s, and then to Paternoster Row . I staid there to speak with my Lord Sandwich, and in my staying, meeting Mr. Lewis Phillips of Brampton, he and afterwards others tell me that news came last night to Court, that the King of France is sick of the spotted fever, and that they are struck in again; and this afternoon my Lord Mandeville is gone from the King to make him a visit; which will be great news, and of great import through Europe. By and by, out comes my Lord Sandwich, and he and I talked a great while about his business, of his accounts for his pay, and among other things he told me that this day a vote hath passed that the King’s grants of land to my Lord Monk and him should be made good; which pleases him very well. He also tells me that things don’t go right in the House with Mr. Coventry; I suppose he means in the business of selling of places; but I am sorry for it. Thence by coach home, where I found Pembleton, and so I up to dance with them till the evening, when there came Mr. Alsopp, the King’s brewer, and Lanyon of Plymouth to see me. Mr. Alsopp tells me of a horse of his that lately, after four days’ pain, voided at his fundament four stones, bigger than that I was cut of, very heavy, and in the middle of each of them either a piece of iron or wood. The King has two of them in his closett, and a third the College of Physicians to keep for rarity, and by the King’s command he causes the turd of the horse to be every day searched to find more. At night to see Sir W. Batten come home this day from Portsmouth. I met with some that say that the King of France is poisoned, but how true that is is not known. So home to supper and to bed pleasant.

25 Annotations

TerryF   Link to this

"my wife and her maid Ashwell had between them spilled the pot . . . . upon the floor"

L&M: "my wife and her maid Ashwell had between them spilt the pot of piss and turd upon the floor"

and they had a fun time cleaning it up (potty jokes about whose turd, etc.).

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Your Majesty, your Majesty! Forbear that miserable horse's turd of a stone and gaze upon this!" Sam eagerly pulls out his cherished stone box, bowing deeply. Charles eyeing the little man waving box...Oh, yes...Sandwich's busy beaver little cousin from the Naval Office...

"A stone, eh?"

"Cut from me in '58, your Majesty." look up from the bow.

"Hmmn...Not quite so good as the horse's. Now there was stone...Still..." kind eyeing of the somewhat disappointed Sam. "A very handsome one, no less..."

"You mean to say Chancellor Hyde that we, the ambassadors of his Most Catholic Majesty, are being kept waiting whilst your King discusses a horse's and man's bladder stone?"

"His Majesty is of a scientific bent as you well know, sir. I do hope you do not choose to take this as an offense..."

"Certainly not Chancellor. Indeed we are most pleased to learn your King lives up to the reputation all Europe now holds of him."

Bright smile...

Alan Bedford   Link to this

"Spotted fever" - any of a number of tick-borne diseases of the family Rickettsia. In the King of France's case, Mediterranean spotted fever comes to mind.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Spotted fever is also used at this time and later as a common term for meningitis or other meningoccal infection.

"I staid within most of the morning" - reminds me of the time my husband had giardia.......

".....who should our coachman be but Carleton the Vintner, that should have had Mrs. Sarah, at Westminster, my Lord Chancellor’s, and then to Paternoster Row . " Is there something wrong with the transcription of this phrases? Doesn't seem to make sense.

A point was raised a few days ago, but not picked up on, as to what sort of music Pembleton and the Pepyses danced to whilst having the dancing lessons. Would this be Ashwell on the harpsichord? Or would they just count the beats? Or would Pembleton have a little kit (tiny viol) for playing on himself?

Australian Susan   Link to this

I am rather surprised that Mrs Pepys has to empty the chamber pots herself.

TerryF   Link to this

L&M have "they set me down at (and who should our Coachman be but Carleton, the Vintener that should have had Mrs. Sarah at Westminster) my Lord Chancellors, and they to Paternoster Row." Clearer, Susan?

Stolzi   Link to this

I'm surprised
the horse's turd today and the stool yesterday made it past the busy manufacturer of .... s.

Whatever the horse had, it surely wasn't bladder stones.

dirk   Link to this

"things don’t go right in the House with Mr. Coventry; I suppose he means in the business of selling of places"

Does anybody have any idea what this "selling of places" refers to?

Kilroy   Link to this

"voided at his fundament"

This appears to be a polite translation for 'crapped'; No?

And I believe in this case that 'spotted fever' means smallpox.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"sat down myself to try a little upon the Lyra viall, my hand being almost out, but easily brought to again"
What a nice phrase. The feeling will be familiar to anyone who has picked up an instrument after a period of disuse.

E   Link to this

Dirk wonders if anyone has any idea what this “selling of places” refers to?

He could try asking some of the people named in this news story: Scotland Yard to step up inquiry into 'loans for peerages' scandal.,...
(For the sake of the permanent archive, I should explain that the loans are rule-bending secret donations to political parties.)

Actually it is not an exact parallel, as the places referred to in the diary are positions as public officials. We have seen the added benefits (including a blackbird) which come with Sam's job, so it is not surprising that somebody able to allocate a post and someone wanting one might come to a cash arrangement. What is surprising is that there is a fuss -- much of this sale of places was quite open, and purchasing a commission would be the standard route to becoming an officer in the armed forces for some time to come. (I believe that that applied in the infant US too, and don't US senators still have valuable patronage over places at West Point?)

A. Hamilton   Link to this

“selling of places”

Sam has earlier mentioned gossip that Coventry enriched himself by demading a large fee for approving appointments. First mention of this I can find is from the Diary, Sept. 6, 1660:

"At Whitehall I met with Commissioner Pett, who told me how Mr. Coventry and Fairbank his solicitor are falling out, one complaining of the other for taking too great fees, which is too true. I find that Commissioner Pett is under great discontent, and is loth to give too much money for his place, and so do greatly desire me to go along with him in what we shall agree to give Mr. Coventry, which I have promised him, but am unwilling to mix my fortune with him that is going down the wind."

A. Hamilton   Link to this

but with peace and honour I am willing to spare anything so as to be able to keep all ends together, and my power over her undisturbed

Sam's recovery continues. Fits of jealousy, rationalized away in the interests of regaining control, first over his passions and then over his wife. In the course of which first asks himself why she should be any more moral than he; then gives her benefit of the doubt (as no doubt he would wish for himself); and concludes that by getting her into the country, he will regain his "power over her." -- although this last bit is still shadowed with doubt (from May 21st) "for fear of her running off in her liberty before I have brought her to her right temper again."

language hat   Link to this

"he causes the turd of the horse to be every day searched"

And who wound up with that fragrant job, I wonder? Reminds me of the old joke about the guy cleaning up after the elephant at the circus.

Clement   Link to this

"...don’t US senators still have valuable patronage over places at West Point?"

Not strictly speaking. Application to one of the four Service Academies must begin with a nomination from a member of Congress (House or Senate), the President, Vice President, or the Secretary of a military branch. If one were charging a nomination fee to applicants it would cause a stink worthy of encasing another stone for the King's closett collection.

Speaking of fees, I believe I recall that Sam still draws compensation from Sandwich as a man-about-business for him. Do we know how much?

john   Link to this

Wrote Stolzi: Whatever the horse had, it surely wasn’t bladder stones.

No -- more than likely impaction. (Vide )

Roy Feldman   Link to this

Re: "the fragrant job":

Amen, Language Hat. And exactly for how long did they have to keep up their "aromatic" researches before the King lost interest...?

I laughed out loud when I read Pepys's description of the mission and noticed that it had no specified expiration date. I can just hear Mr. Alsopp's stablehand saying to himself, "Thank goodness the nag is already seventeen years old!"

TerryF   Link to this

Perhaps the horse's 'stones' are enteroliths.

"Enteroliths are concretions composed of magnesium ammonium phosphate crystals around a nidus (eg, wire, stone, nail)."

Click "Enterolithiasis" on the "Cecum and Large Intestine" section of the Merck Veterinary Manual site so nicely provided by John.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"The King of France is sick of the spotted fever"
Most likely Typhus; smallpox very unlikely because it was a well known disease at the time; variole in french; no room for confusion.

TerryF   Link to this

Enteroliths, indeed! and so far a "rarity" in England.

John Evelyn's Deptford gardens were surely not the only experimental fields, but perhaps someone was planting a new grain, alfalfa, and Mr. Alsopp was using it to feed his horse. "A common factor associated with enterolithiasis is the consumption of alfalfa hay, which results in a higher pH and increased concentrations of calcium, magnesium, and sulfur in the large colon." (Merck) Re alfalfa: "Its wide cultivation beginning in the seventeenth century was an important advance in European agriculture."

Fortunately for Mr. Alsopp's stablehand, Roy Feldman's hunch is right: Merck says that "Most horses with enteroliths are ~10 yr old..."

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Strange how names of another era bring out memories."... came Mr. Alsopp, the King’s brewer, ..." When I was earning the Queens Shilling, were were suppllied with pints of Alsop ale which we called 'all slops,' as it was weaker than equae aqua.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Horse's Bowels

The horse cannot throw up - so once they get something wrong inside them it must go all the way through.

Spotted fever

Has anyone actually looked (as I have) in medical dictionaries of the past? I repeat, spotted fever was a common term for centuries for what we now call meningitis or meningoccal disease! Quote from old English medical handbook: "spotted fever: a colloquial term most commonly employed for cerebrospinal fever - (meningoccal meningitis)"

Patricia   Link to this

I love this entry! Can't you just picture Mrs. P & her woman "mighty merry", giggling as they clean up the mess, and the distinguished Mr. Pepys downstairs, taking no notice, but chuckling to himself.

Cum grano salis   Link to this

Stool having many meanings, OED dothe describes a stool,it could have commode installed, thus when removing the pot accidents do happen.

5. a. A seat enclosing a chamber utensil; a commode; more explicitly stool of ease. Also, a privy.
For groom of the stool (stole), see STOLE n.2
1410-1869 [see CLOSE-STOOL]. 1\

Bill   Link to this

There was also a discussion of spotted fever in the annotations of Wednesday 3 July 1661.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.