Saturday 11 July 1663

Up early and to the Dock, and with the Storekeeper and other officers all the morning from one office to another. At noon to the Hill-house in Commissioner Pett’s coach, and after seeing the guard- ships, to dinner, and after dining done to the Dock by coach, it raining hard, to see “The Prince” launched, which hath lain in the Dock in repairing these three years. I went into her and was launched in her. Thence by boat ashore, it raining, and I went to Mr. Barrow’s, where Sir J. Minnes and Commissioner Pett; we staid long eating sweetmeats and drinking, and looking over some antiquities of Mr. Barrow’s, among others an old manuscript Almanac, that I believe was made for some monastery, in parchment, which I could spend much time upon to understand. Here was a pretty young lady, a niece of Barrow’s, which I took much pleasure to look on. Thence by barge to St. Mary Creek; where Commissioner Pett (doubtful of the growing greatness of Portsmouth by the finding of those creeks there), do design a wett dock at no great charge, and yet no little one; he thinks towards 10,000l. And the place, indeed, is likely to be a very fit place, when the King hath money to do it with. Thence, it raining as hard as it could pour down, home to the Hillhouse, and anon to supper, and after supper, Sir J. Minnes and I had great discourse with Captain Cox and Mr. Hempson about business of the yard, and particularly of pursers’ accounts with Hempson, who is a cunning knave in that point. So late to bed and, Mr. Wayth being gone, I lay above in the Treasurer’s bed and slept well. About one or two in the morning the curtains of my bed being drawn waked me, and I saw a man stand there by the inside of my bed calling me French dogg 20 times, one after another, and I starting, as if I would get out of the bed, he fell a-laughing as hard as he could drive, still calling me French dogg, and laid his hand on my shoulder. At last, whether I said anything or no I cannot tell, but I perceived the man, after he had looked wistly upon me, and found that I did not answer him to the names that he called me by, which was Salmon, Sir Carteret’s clerk, and Robt. Maddox, another of the clerks, he put off his hat on a suddaine, and forebore laughing, and asked who I was, saying, “Are you Mr. Pepys?” I told him yes, and now being come a little better to myself, I found him to be Tom Willson, Sir W. Batten’s clerk, and fearing he might be in some melancholy fit, I was at a loss what to do or say. At last I asked him what he meant. He desired my pardon for that he was mistaken, for he thought verily, not knowing of my coming to lie there, that it had been Salmon, the Frenchman, with whom he intended to have made some sport. So I made nothing of it, but bade him good night, and I, after a little pause, to sleep again, being well pleased that it ended no worse, and being a little the better pleased with it, because it was the Surveyor’s clerk, which will make sport when I come to tell Sir W. Batten of it, it being a report that old Edgeborough, the former Surveyor, who died here, do now and then walk.

34 Annotations

TerryF   Link to this

Sam's "fishy" business at Chatham exposed.

L&M note that he had conducted an extensive correspondence with Commissioner Pett, whose venue this is, about "the progress of the repairs" to 'The Prince' and its launch date. The other Navy Board members may have been out of this loop; but our man would also have wanted - would have been expected by them - to inspect the yard.

jeannine   Link to this

"About one or two in the morning the curtains of my bed being drawn waked me, and I saw a man stand there by the inside of my bed calling me French dogg 20 times, one after another"...How many of us reading this will now double (or perhaps triple) check the locks before going to sleep next time you're away from home! Wouldn't this be freaky to wake up to!

Bradford   Link to this

"the man, after he had looked wistly upon me . . . forebore laughing, and asked who I was, saying, “Are you Mr. Pepys?”

"wistely" [sic] = "wistly, with close attention" (Companion, Large Glossary)

Does Pepys's closing remark mean that he will try to pass off this visitation as a ghost story?

Glyn   Link to this

Checking the pursers' accounts (the purser is the ship's officer responsible for the ship's victuals i.e. food, drink etc).

"Pepys's most important and lasting contribution to the victualling system was a reform of the system of pursery. From (Pepys thought) about 1644, the pursers had been paid in proportion to the number of men on the ship's books, which gave them a powerful incentive to inflate the numbers ... often in league with captains, who pocketed the corresponding wages." - "The Command of the Ocean" by N.A.M. Rodger.

We'll leave Pepys' solution for another time since he hasn't thought of it yet.

dirk   Link to this

"...an old manuscript Almanac, that I believe was made for some monastery, in parchment, which I could spend much time upon to understand. Here was a pretty young lady, a niece of Barrow’s, which I took much pleasure to look on"

What a dilemma! The parchment or the pretty young lady...

dirk   Link to this

“The Prince” launched, which hath lain in the Dock in repairing these three years. I went into her and was launched in her.

Must have been quite an experience. Anyone ever been on board a large ship that's being launched? A 17th c ship? A 17th c ship that's been in dry dock for three years??? There's always the slight possibility that something may go wrong there. 16th & 17th c ships have been known to capsize and sink on being launched -- and this ship has been in for repairs for three years, so it must have been in very poor shape to begin with.

And Sam is no sailor. Just think back of his experiences on board of the vessel that brought Charles II back to Britain...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Despite the probable smiles and smirks of a few old salts as "Capt" Pepys...Pardon me, Admiral Pepys took his position on the Prince for the launch by now he probably knows the ship far better than its captain.

in aqua cum sene sale   Link to this

Sam did not have a hair to worry about as the basin started filling with Tems water, not like now, seeing a boat run down planks and one plank snaps, this be no 'enry VIII ship over loaded to the gun whales with London's fopps.
See a previous over loading of supplies and supernummeries.
"was by a gust of wind sunk down to the bottom. Twenty men drowned."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/12/09/
"we back to the ship, and going did see a man almost drowned that fell out of his boat into the sea, but with much ado was got out"
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/05/25/

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"Commissioner Pett (doubtful of the growing greatness of Portsmouth by the finding of those creeks there)"
Can anyone explain this? Why would the creeks diminish the importance of Portsmouth? Or is this another case of "doubt" meaning 'suspect'? OED does not include such a meaning in its entry for "doubtful".

TerryF   Link to this

The creeks at Portsmouth

L&M say the Navy Board had ordered the creeks "to be used for 4th-, 5th-, rate ships", presumably expanding the reach of Portsmouth yards.

doubtful

dubious
1548, from L. dubiosus "doubtful," from dubium "doubt," neuter of dubius "doubtful," from duo "two," in the sense of "of two minds, undecided between two things." O.E. also used tweo "two" to mean "doubt." http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=doub...

i.e., methinks Commissioner Pett is worried.

TerryF   Link to this

Hence his design for a wet-dock on St. Mary Creek.

(neglected to add that).

Australian Susan   Link to this

I took the wet dock plan to mean that Pett wanted to ensure that plans for a wet dock which would take the better rated ships was got under way before someone with control over the purse strings decided that using the creeks at Portsmouth would suffice for repairs. Or that Pett was worried about work passing from Chatham/Woolwich/Deptford to Portsmouth, with subsequent loss of employment around his area.

Pauline   Link to this

“Commissioner Pett (doubtful of the growing greatness of Portsmouth by the finding of those creeks there)”
I took it as "no doubt at the growing greatness of Portsmouth...." Pett developing a creek within his domain to compete with Portsmouth for the King's investment and for retaining supremacy as the center of shipbuilding.

Pauline   Link to this

"...he intended to have made some sport..."
Sam may think he has a good ghost story to tell Batten, but the joke may be on him that he hasn't tumbled to the meaning of the hand on the shoulder and the wistly look.

Pauline   Link to this

Ah, ASusan,
You typed faster than I did.

in aqua cum sene sale   Link to this

The Petts like all Tycoons, want all the work under their control: Publick funds [Royal funds] to go through his honey dewed hands rather than some upstart in Portsmouth makeing a bigger profit from cheaper labour. Pett has just refurbished a nice ship of line, and the accounts be skimmed, not unlike latter date making the latest and greatest for the salvation of the land and for this altruistic endeavor receive enough funds to live well.
Their be no ipos to soften the skim rate.

in aqua   Link to this

Young men in their cups have always loved to upset the betters with mean tricks . After a particular long two days of duty, I be sleeping soundly when I be woken when I was ask to buy a nice Battleship. My side arm, not be tucked into my waisteband, ready to settle the offer.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

old Edgeborough, the former Surveyor, who died here do now and then walk.

"Sir William telling me that old Edgeborrow, his predecessor, did die and walk in my chamber, did make me some what afeard, but not so much as for mirth’s sake I did seem. So to bed in the treasurer’s chamber"
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/04/08/

Michael Robinson   Link to this

The above from a note in my copy of Wheatly; not my observation.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

What a dilemma! The parchment or the pretty young lady…

Dirk, in my experience parchments are by far the easier to decipher!

Benvenuto   Link to this

Does Pepys’s closing remark mean that he will try to pass off this visitation as a ghost story?
Maybe more that he will tell it so that it at first seems to be a ghost story, to get his listeners' flesh creeping nicely before the bathetic reveal.

GrahamT   Link to this

I wonder if Tom Wilson remembered, or was told about, Pepys' previous stay in the Treasurer's bed, where he had been afeared of Edgeborrow/Edgeborough's ghost walking the room?
Maybe the story about him thinking Pepys was Salmon, was just an excuse to frighten the wits out of a visiting bigwig (in clerk terms).
Perhaps it is Wilson who will have the funny story to tell in the morning, about Sam being struck dumb and "starting, as if I would get out of the bed". Sam obviously thought he was being attacked by a ghost or a madman ("fearing he might be in some melancholy fit") at the time, and showed that fear.
Salmon's fellow clerks will also no doubt "[fall] a-laughing as hard as [they can] drive" at the retelling.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"So he screamed like a young girl and hopped out of bed like a thousand furies were after him and then you realized it was but our little Pepys?"

"Aye, sir." Tom Willson sighs. "Sir Will, I'm truly sorry, sir. It was meant to be a bit of fun with old Salmon, sir."

Batten eyes Minnes trying to keep a straight face...

"Oh, I'd say it was, Tom. It definitely was."

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"it raining as hard as it could pour down"

What does Sam (and others) do in situations like this? Do they all have rain-gear that they wear over their clothes? Certainly they're not using umbrellas...

jeannine   Link to this

"What does Sam (and others) do in situations like this?"
Todd,they get wet, very wet....

language hat   Link to this

"after he had looked wistly upon me"

wistly (OED):
With close attention; intently.

a1500 Gest of Robyn Hode ccccx, Robyn behelde our comly kynge Wystly in the face. [...] 1613-16 W. BROWNE Brit. Past. II. v. 435 What time the new-cloath'd trees by gusts of winde Vnmou'd, stand wistly listning to those layes. 1641 H. L'ESTRANGE God's Sabbath 23 If you look wistly upon Calvines words, you shall find him not repugnant to what I have here delivered. 1675 N. LEE Nero III. i. 23 Do you know me, Sir? Look wistly on me. 1724 S. KNIGHT Life J. Colet 54 He look'd wistly upon me, to observe whether I spoke in jest, or earnest.

Bradford   Link to this

A very old and rare word, to be sure, unknown even to the o. & r. wordmongers amongst us.

What a pity Balty was not with Sam on this French Dogg occasion.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: they get wet, very wet...

No doubt. :-)

That said, are there any 17th-century clothing experts out there that know how Sam & Co. protected their clothes, periwigs, etc., from the rain? Did they have rain garments, umbrellas, or...?

TerryF   Link to this

Umbrellas may have been available, but likely not for Pepys

"Starting in the 16th century umbrella became popular to the western world, especially in the rainy weather of northern Europe. At first it was considered only an accessory suitable for women." http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bl...

TerryF   Link to this

On umbrellas from John Evelyn

"The general use of the parasol in France and England was adopted, probably from China, about the middle of the seventeenth century. At that period, pictorial representations of it are frequently found, some of which exhibit the peculiar broad and deep canopy belonging to the large parasol of the Chinese Government officials, borne by native attendants.

"John Evelyn, in his Diary for June 22, 1664, mentions a collection of rarities shown him by one Thompson, a Catholic priest, sent by the Jesuits of Japan and China to France. Among the curiosities were 'fans like those our ladies use, but much larger, and with long handles, strangely carved and filled with Chinese characters,' which is evidently a description of the parasol." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasol#17th_Century

jeannine   Link to this

Umbrellas--From the Book, "Richer Than Spices" by Gertrude Thomas (it's a book about Queen Catherine's Dowry and how it changed England)..talking about the early years of the 18th century, "But the umbrella, which had first been noticed in England among Catherine's Portuguese possesions, was still an "exotic" novelty. Originally built for shade (Latin 'umbra') in its native India, the climate of England changed it from a bit of elegance into a large oiled-silk necessity. Yet as a sunshade, it persisted as feminine allure" (p. 152)

Pedro   Link to this

For the demise of The Prince and Lord Sandwich see background...

http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/2462/

Nix   Link to this

"doubtful of the growing greatness of Portsmouth" --

Pauline's reading of the situation seems to be correct: Pett was pushing the wet dock to assure his Chatham shipyard's continued supremacy.

OED:

5. Full of fear or apprehension; apprehensive. Obs.

1548 HALL Chron., Edw. IV (an. 14) 233b, Privilie enformed of ye French kinges doubtfull imaginacion. 1579 SPENSER Sheph. Cal. May 294 Home when the doubtfull Damme had her hyde. 1603 KNOLLES Hist. Turks (1621) 79 All this great fight the Constantinopolitanes beheld, with doubtfull hearts. 1723 DE FOE Col. Jack (1840) 156, I am doubtful that you may not believe. 1791 BURKE Corr. (1844) III. 253, I hear things which make me doubtful and anxious, though not afraid, absolutely.

Aqua   Link to this

Strange, Tarpaulins where readily available at this date, for keeping drays, ships hold and leaking roofs dry from rain. Sailors wore them at sea to prevent being drenched, unfortunately there appears to no costumier to lead the drenched ones to dry location, reminds me of turkeys, when it rains they just let themselves be soaked unless thee round them up and send them with a swosh into the barn or other safe house.
I cannot believe that they did not have some sort of ground sheet, however unglamourous it be, Old sack cloth, doused in a tar, stiff, it may be.
“it raining as hard as it could pour down”,

OED 1. a. A covering or sheet of canvas coated or impregnated with tar so as to make it waterproof, used to spread over anything to protect it from wet. Also, without a or pl., canvas so tarred; sometimes applied to other kinds of waterproof cloth.
1605 B. JONSON Volpone IV. i, On the one [wall] I strain me a fair tarpauling, and in that I stick my onions, cut in halves.
a1625 H. MANWAYRING Nomencl. Naval. (Harl. MS. 2301), Tarpawling, is a peece of Canvas that is tar'd all over to Lash upon a Deck or Grating to keepe the Raine from Soaking through.
1626 CAPT. SMITH Accid. Yng. Seamen 30 A trar-pawling [sic] or yawning.
1652 ASHMOLE Theat. Chem. Brit. Prol. 12 To Hang a Presence Chamber with Tarpalin, instead of Tapestry.

Log in to post an annotation.

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