Wednesday 10 June 1663

Up and all the morning helping my wife to put up her things towards her going into the country and drawing the wine out of my vessel to send. This morning came my cozen Thomas Pepys to desire me to furnish him with some money, which I could not do till his father has wrote to Piggott his consent to the sale of his lands, so by and by we parted and I to the Exchange a while and so home and to dinner, and thence to the Royal Theatre by water, and landing, met with Captain Ferrers his friend, the little man that used to be with him, and he with us, and sat by us while we saw “Love in a Maze.” The play is pretty good, but the life of the play is Lacy’s part, the clown, which is most admirable; but for the rest, which are counted such old and excellent actors, in my life I never heard both men and women so ill pronounce their parts, even to my making myself sick therewith. Thence, Creed happening to be with us, we four to the Half-Moon Tavern, I buying some sugar and carrying it with me, which we drank with wine and thence to the whay-house, and drank a great deal of whay, and so by water home, and thence to see Sir W. Pen, who is not in much pain, but his legs swell and so immoveable that he cannot stir them, but as they are lifted by other people and I doubt will have another fit of his late pain. Played a little at cards with him and his daughter, who is grown every day a finer and finer lady, and so home to supper and to bed. When my wife and I came first home we took Ashwell and all the rest below in the cellar with the vintner drawing out my wine, which I blamed Ashwell much for and told her my mind that I would not endure it, nor was it fit for her to make herself equal with the ordinary servants of the house.

32 Annotations

tel   Link to this

When my wife and I came first home we took Ashwell and all the rest below in the cellar with the vintner drawing out my wine, which I blamed Ashwell much for and told her my mind that I would not endure it, nor was it fit for her to make herself equal with the ordinary servants of the house.
What is this all about? It makes no sense to me unless it is a reference to the wine that he recently discovered to be missing - and, if it is, why blame Ashwell?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...we took Ashwell and all the rest below in the cellar with the vintner drawing out my wine, which I blamed Ashwell much for and told her my mind that I would not endure it, nor was it fit for her to make herself equal with the ordinary servants of the house."

This is a surprise...Mary Ashwell, teacher, musician, and lady's companion. The last person I would have thought would be up to grabbing a few glasses of Sam's best (I would hardly think the maids,etc would have come down simply for the entertainment of watching wine drain out of a cask, so obviously they were sneaking a few cups). Do we here have a explanation for the mystery of the vanishing claret?

"Ashwell?!"

"Mr....Hic, hic...Peeps, sir?" Hic-hic... "Wes wuz courious...curious to see hows dey take da wine outta da...Hic...Big, big one and gets it intada little, wee, wee, wee one. Sir."
Hic-hic.

***

"You seem very pleased with yourself, madam." Sam frowns at a beaming Bess as they climb upstairs to bed.

"Vindication, sir." Gleam in those lovely French eyes. "'Tis wonderous for the spirit. In fact, one might even say it makes one feel like..." Wicked gleam...

"Bess. If you say, dancing..."

***

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Tel, they grabbed a few while the vintner drained the cask for wine for the elder Pepys at Brampton. But it may suggest, as I noted just now, an explanation for what happened earlier.

I'm actually amazed Sam isn't immediately going ballistic and accusing the group of theft.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Perhaps the restraint means he's remembering the times he's helped to raid my Lord's or the King's wine cellar.

Pedro   Link to this

“nor was it fit for her to make herself equal with the ordinary servants of the house.”

Why would Ashwell be below the ordinary servants?

Pedro   Link to this

“with the vintner drawing out my wine,”

Have I missed something here? Would this imply that Sam does not just store bottles of wine in the cellar, but actually brews the wine with the help of the vintner?

John M   Link to this

"When my wife and I came first home we took Ashwell and all the rest below in the cellar"
I read 'took' as meaning Sam had ordered the household into the cellar. But if you substitute 'caught' for 'took' it makes sense. Ashwell's position in the household is rather ambiguous - admonished for being with the servants - but never the equal of Elizabeth.

TerryF   Link to this

John M, to construe "took" as "caught, seized, apprehended" makes sense of the whole passage.
Shame on Ashwell, who should be "above" such behavior, to lower herself so!

Stolzi   Link to this

Sugar and wine and a "great deal of whay"

My stomach hurts just thinking about it.

in Aqua scripto   Link to this

Wine be in casks large, it be tapped to make smaller barrels [barrelettes], glass bottle only be good for a short duration [decanting] [not able to put a good cork in it ]. Also by having a Vintner over, he would be able to do a little mixing to enjoy wine to the taste and if tres sec[k] [sack], add a little sucre like one does with Rhine wine that be grown on sunless days.
Miss Ashwell be telling MR Pepys to do this and trying to run the show , over stepping the line as she be enjoying with a little buzz?

dirk   Link to this

Sugar and wine...

... was quite a normal combination at the time -- both with red and white wines, but most likely white, and most likely imported German Riesling type wines, which were a favourite at the time. Although these wines are naturally "sweet", sugar was sometimes added to make them even sweeter.

Bradford   Link to this

On first reading the scene seems inscrutable. Pepys takes them all down to the cellar, then tells Ashwell she should not lower herself ("make herself equal") to the level of the ordinary servants---but neither does he like her getting above herself. Yet it appears she is there at his behest.

A possible solution:

"When my wife and I came first home we *took* Ashwell and all the rest below in the cellar with the vintner drawing out my wine," &c.

This verb---"took"---seems to be the problem for us modern readers. There is an old sense of "to take" as meaning "to catch in the act of" doing such and such---"taken in burglary" or, to get Biblical, the woman "taken in adultery."

If Samuel and Elizabeth came home and FOUND Ashwell and the other servants in the cellar watching the vintner draw off and bottling the wine, perhaps the conundrum is explained. Could someone with L&M verify the transcription of this verb?

Bradford   Link to this

By the way, have we met the little man accompanying Captain Ferrers before? If so, who he?

TerryF   Link to this

Bradford, L&M suggest perhaps Emanuel Luffe, a German.

7 December 1661: "This morning comes Captain Ferrers and the German, Emanuel Luffe, who goes as one of my Lord’s footmen...." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/12/07/

ellen   Link to this

Perhaps Sam was scolding Ashwell for acting at a level with the ordinary servants rather than a step or two above them.

jeannine   Link to this

"When my wife and I came first home we *took* Ashwell and all the rest below in the cellar with the vintner drawing out my wine"

Bradford --In regards to "took" L&M says the same but has an asterick after the word "wine" and the note reads "MS. 'wife'"
Perhaps they are saying the sentence should read:
"When my wife and I came first home we took Ashwell and all the rest below in the cellar with the vintner drawing out my wife....."

Still not totally clear to me what Sam means here.

Roy Feldman   Link to this

"the whay-house"

I love the idea of an establishment that just serves whey -- not because I'm a big fan of whey myself (I probably wouldn't even know it if I saw it), but because I love off-beat specialty stores. I live in New York, and it's full of such stores: for example, bakeries that only make cupcakes.

What I'm wondering is whether a "whay-house" is the 17th-century equivalent of a specialty store that would only be found in a big city like London, or if instead it was a common feature in that period of all towns above a certain size. Any ideas?

in Aqua scripto   Link to this

"wife or wine ": Sam still has a buzz when he jots down the event.
Vitner was there to draw down wine.
Pecking order be of the utmost, a very fine line.There be previous problems of Ashwell and the Mistress. Ashwell may not have to say 'Mistress'a or do a dip to acknowledge the Alpha female who be Beta to the Alpha MALE.
And of course, coursing with the rest of the staff, Heaven forbids. Wealth as it grows and gets heady, jiggles people into line. 'Tis why there was a revolution and there be the Shakers, Quakers and the Levellers that still be be a growling and Bunyon be pacing his cell writing one of the most read books. People be separated in station of life not by brains, but by the Lucre accumulated.
Ashwell be one of 22% of females that did not require an X to mark her agreement to wot be ritten, so had cause to feel a little conceited [no, not self]but she still did not have enough cash to go and tell Alpha males to take a long walk of a short landing.

dirk   Link to this

"whay"

Whey was becoming a fashionable drink just around this time. Before, it had been used mainly as pig food -- and of course people living in the countryside will have been familiar with it as a (very refreshing) drink. In the mid 1600s whey-houses became increasingly popular -- obviously this was above all a city thing, as country folk were already familiar with this drink.
[Also have a look at the background info.]

Paul Chapin   Link to this

The cellar scene
From the collective wisdom above, especially Bradford and IAS, here's the scene as I see it: Sam and Bess come home and find everybody in the cellar, Ashwell included, watching the vintner draw the wine (for reasons explained by IAS). Sam is peeved that Ashwell is associating with the servants in this way, because she is supposed to be a rank above them.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

You come home after a long day and all your employees are standing in your recently looted wine cellar watching the professional wine expert you called in tap and mix the wine, almost certainly looking to taste a cup or two or three. Leading the group is your wife's assistant left more or less in charge, who is supposed to be a professional and at least to your understanding setting an example to the junior employees.

To be fair to Mary Ashwell, she may have thought it wise to keep an eye on the vintner, considering the previous theft. Still, one person would have been quite enough.

dirk   Link to this

"When my wife and I came first home we took Ashwell and all the rest below in the cellar"

"we took A and all the rest below" seems to contradict Paul's idea that they were already in the cellar. To me it looks rather as if Sam just made use of the opportunity that they were all together, on the "scene of the crime" to say what he had to say: both Ashwell *and* the servants will now know where they stand -- and at the same time it should be clear to whoever took the wine a couple of days ago, that Sam's in control again.

language hat   Link to this

"Perhaps they are saying the sentence should read"

No, when the annotation reads “MS. ‘wife’” they're saying the manuscript reading is wrong and they've corrected it.

dirk: As many have said already, "took" here almost certainly means "found, surprised." (If it had the modern meaning, it would read "took... (down) to," not "took... in.")

jeannine   Link to this

Thanks LH, this makes more sense.

Pedro-thanks for the wine recipes --I have this mental picture of Sam stamping grapes in his bare feet and brewing up a batch!

TerryF   Link to this

Wine

"Wine is an alcoholic beverage produced by the fermentation of fruit, typically grapes though a number of other fruits are also quite popular - such as plum, elderberry and blackcurrant. Non-grape wines are called fruit wine or country wine...." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine

Pedro   Link to this

Wine recipes.

Jeannine, I was thinking more of all his staff grinding up the “pinks” in the cellar that they had collected some while back. Of course Sam would have to have the real McCoy, but I’m sure the less well off had their “Home Brew” kits.

http://www.wineworldfdw.com/wine_recipes.html

in Aqua scripto   Link to this

Those that be country bred, would just up and ferment their elderberry, wheat, barley, potatoe, parsnip etc., brews. But the real McCoy will always those wines that the rest cannot afford. If any one has sipped Elderberry, will have enjoyed the kick, along with all those speciallities called Licquers, that be all too delightfull.

TerryF   Link to this

"Brew" in the non-euphemistic or honorific sense

Brew \Brew\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Brewed; p. pr. & vb. n. Brewing.]

[OE. brewen, AS. bre['o]wan; akin to D. brouwen, OHG. priuwan, MHG. briuwen, br?wen, G. brauen, Icel. brugga, Sw. brygga, Dan. brygge, and perh. to L. defrutum must boiled down, Gr. ? (for ??) a kind of beer. The original meaning seems to have been to prepare by heat. [root]93. Cf. Broth, Bread.]

1. To boil or seethe; to cook. [Obs.]

2. To prepare, as beer or other liquor, from malt and hops, or from other materials, by steeping, boiling, and fermentation. ``She brews good ale.'' --Shak.
3. To prepare by steeping and mingling; to concoct.
Go, brew me a pottle of sack finely. --Shak.
4. To foment or prepare, as by brewing; to contrive; to plot; to concoct; to hatch; as, to brew mischief.
Hence with thy brewed enchantments, foul deceiver! --Milton.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
http://www.dictionary.net/brew

TerryF   Link to this

Wine can, of course, be mulled (after fermenting)

Mull \Mull\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Mulled; p. pr. & vb. n. Mulling.]

[From mulled, for mold, taken as a p. p.; OE. mold-ale funeral ale or banquet. See Mold soil.]

1. To heat, sweeten, and enrich with spices; as, to mull wine.

New cider, mulled with ginger warm. --Gay.

2. To dispirit or deaden; to dull or blunt. --Shak.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

***

O, the many things we do and potions we make for intoxication!

Lurker   Link to this

"Wine is an alcoholic beverage produced by the fermentation of fruit, typically grapes though a number of other fruits are also quite popular - such as plum, elderberry and blackcurrant."

...and evidently Dandelion, if you're to believe Bradbury!

Bradford   Link to this

John M., my apologies for not realizing you had offered the "took" = "caught" solution much earlier. I made my "discovery" while writing the post, and didn't check back and see you'd already made the point.

Patricia   Link to this

Dandelion wine: when it works, it's wonderful! We had a '75 or '76 that was full-bodied like sherry and with a tremendous kick--from which we got a delightful girl with hair yellow like the dandelions. Ah, happy memories....

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