Thursday 23 July 1663

Up and to my office, and thence by information from, Mr. Ackworth I went down to Woolwich, and mustered the three East India ships that lie there, believing that there is great-juggling between the Pursers and Clerks of the Cheque in cheating the King of the wages and victuals of men that do not give attendance, and I found very few on board. So to the yard, and there mustered the yard, and found many faults, and discharged several fellows that were absent from their business. I staid also at Mr. Ackworth’s desire at dinner with him and his wife, and there was a simple fellow, a gentleman I believe of the Court, their kinsmen, that threatened me I could have little discourse or begin, acquaintance with Ackworth’s wife, and so after dinner away, with all haste home, and there found Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten at the office, and by Sir W. Batten’s testimony and Sir G. Carteret’s concurrence was forced to consent to a business of Captain Cocke’s timber, as bad as anything we have lately disputed about, and all through Mr. Coventry’s not being with us. So up and to supper with Sir W. Batten upon a soused mullett, very good meat, and so home and to bed.

18 Annotations

Pedro   Link to this

Mullet today.

Having caught a grey mullet, more by luck than judgement, I can concur with the article in the site below. (Although I believe due to warmer sea temperatures red mullet begin to appear).

“There are three species of mullet in the waters surrounding Great Britain. The thick lipped (happily both the most common and the largest), the Thin lipped, and the rare golden grey...

Consider the pesticides and heavy metals which a mullet has built up in its flesh from many years of sucking mud from the bottom, and in particular from near the outfalls of sewage works. Mullet don't even taste that good, at least not unless prepared and served in those delicious sauces in which the Chinese chefs, in particular, excel.”

http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/Sea-Fishing-Article...

TerryF   Link to this

"mustered the yard..., and discharged several...that were absent"

23 August 1662 Pepys mustered the same Woolwich yard and the next day 30 of the absent were discharged.
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/08/25/

dirk   Link to this

"...their kinsmen, that threatened me I could have little discourse..."

An interesting use of the verb "to threaten" -- I take it this should be read as the gentleman's presence preventing Sam's having more than a "little" discourse. Not that the gentleman actually behaved aggresively. LH ?

Aqua   Link to this

It be a nice delicate way of saying perks Galore. [no credit cards be used, wrong era ] "...believing that there is great-juggling between the Pursers and Clerks of the Cheque in cheating the King of the wages and victuals of men that do not give attendance, and I found very few on board...."

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Cheating the King
In describing this situation in the U.S. today we would say "cheating the government (or Uncle Sam)." Which leads me to wonder, what is the present-day usage in the U.K.? Is there still a reference to the monarch? What about elsewhere in the Commonwealth?

AussieRene   Link to this

Paul, in Australia...in Queensland anyway, it can be called "rorting the system" or "tickling or diddling the Peter".

Pedro   Link to this

Cheating the King.

Sam has used this term on other occasions, and as it is common knowledge that the King does not spend the money prudently, so maybe he uses it in the sense of cheating the “country”?

tel   Link to this

Cheating the King

In the UK it's called cheating the taxpayer - unless it's your fiddle, in which case it's called partial tax recovery.

Martin   Link to this

Soused mullet
The idea seems to be to drown it in vinegar and spices:
http://www.ldcc.com.au/ldcc/modules.php?name=Ne...

Xjy   Link to this

"discharged several"
Power grown so it's a given - no need for extra reflection about it. And all in the service of a more general, higher good, so to say, ie the efficiency of the navy. All in the king's name, of course, but Sam's driven by he knows not what.
The operational aspect to the fore - "ours not to reason why" - "I make them go up/Who cares where they come down/Zat's not my department/Says Werner von Braun".
Hm, just struck me there's a little bit of Xenophon about our Sam... Perhaps the Great Fire is his March Up Country? :-) The thinking official's mercenary who gets his day as commander. Well, sort of...

language hat   Link to this

"threatened me I could have little discourse"

I don't understand this passage; I wonder if there's corruption in the text. I presume the comma after "or begin" is wrong, but that doesn't help much. The OED provides no senses of "threaten" that make sense of it.

Mary   Link to this

"that threatened me..."

The L&M edition reads: "their kinsman, that made me I could have little discourse or begin acquaintance with Ackworth's wife:"

As LH surmised, a corrupt text offered on-line.

Bradford   Link to this

I agree with LH---can someone compare this reading, punctuation and all, with L&M's version? One guesses (as others say) that the presence of this "simple" gent thwarted Pepys's efforts to make up to the missus of the house, but strange he should have such trouble saying so.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

One of these days, Samuel...There's not gonna be a relative in your way...And...

"Mr. Pepys!!"

"Now Mrs. Bagwell..."

"Acworth, Mr. Pepys."

"Oh, right...Sorry. So many names to remember these days, you know. So as I was saying, dear Mrs. Acworth, I know this little alehouse over by London Bridge."

"Sir?! Please...I...William!"

"Mr. Pepys!"

"Uh...Acworth, dear fellow. I was just suggesting to your lovely bride that we three should repair to this delightful little alehouse I..."

"Excuse us a moment, Elizabeth."

"Ah, ha, ha. You know, Acworth I never realized your dear wife and mine are both Besses."

"Yes, sir. Perhaps,sir, if you were looking for something to drink I could interest you in a new cask of amontillado I have in the cellar..."

"Ah..."

aqua   Link to this

Sam remembering how beguiled he be, got swan tied too. [tongue in cheek]
Threatened, it just be, that this gent in all his innocence would not let Sam pay compliments, for every time Sam said "Elizabeth" it is "Mrs Acworth" says the kinsman.
I mean to Say, Lizzzy be such a nice name.

dirk   Link to this

Bradford, here they are:

Wheatley:
I staid also at Mr. Ackworth's desire at dinner with him and his wife, and there was a simple fellow, a gentleman I believe of the Court, their kinsmen, that threatened me I could have little discourse or begin, acquaintance with Ackworth's wife, ...

L&M:
I stayed also, by Mr. Ackeworths desire, at dinner with him and his wife; and there was a simple fellow, a gentleman I believe of the Court, there, their kinsman, that made me I could have little discourse or begin acquaintance with Ackeworths wife; ...

Some of the differences are surprising -- apart from the puctuation, which is editorial anyway:

"at Mr.Ackworth's" vs "by Mr. Ackeworths"

"their kinsmen" vs "there, their kinsman"

Interesting to note how much difference a comma can make too...

Xjy   Link to this

"mullett, very good meat"
Seems like a good example of the transition from "meat" meaning "food" (as "mat" still does in Swedish) to "meat" meaning "meat" (ie animal flesh, but neither fish nor fowl).
The word is derived from the Indo-European root for "measure" [mat/met](as in "meter", Swedish "mäta"). So perhaps "portion" to begin with? Possibly related to chewy gnawing words like "masticate", "mandible", mange, manger, blancmange...

cum salis grano   Link to this

"...and mustered the three East India ..."
those that be interested the tale is at

according to Annuals of the Honorable east-india Company

for clues to the relationship between RN & EIC;
rate of hire was 18L /22L per ton...

http://books.google.com/books?id=ZrYIAAAAQAAJ&p...

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