Saturday 25 July 1663

Up and to my office setting papers in order for these two or three days, in which I have been hindered a little, and then having intended this day to go to Banstead Downs to see a famous race, I sent Will to get himself ready to go with me, and I also by and by home and put on my riding suit, and being ready came to the office to Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten, and did a little of course at the office this morning, and so by boat to White Hall, where I hear that the race is put off, because the Lords do sit in Parliament to-day. However, having appointed Mr. Creed to come to me to Fox Hall, I went over thither, and after some debate, Creed and I resolved to go to Clapham, to Mr. Gauden’s, who had sent his coach to their place for me because I was to have my horse of him to go to the race. So I went thither by coach and my Will by horse with me; Mr. Creed he went over back again to Westminster to fetch his horse. When I came to Mr. Gauden’s one first thing was to show me his house, which is almost built, wherein he and his family live. I find it very regular and finely contrived, and the gardens and offices about it as convenient and as full of good variety as ever I saw in my life. It is true he hath been censured for laying out so much money; but he tells me that he built it for his brother, who is since dead (the Bishop), who when he should come to be Bishop of Winchester, which he was promised (to which bishoprick at present there is no house), he did intend to dwell here. Besides, with the good husbandry in making his bricks and other things I do not think it costs him so much money as people think and discourse. By and by to dinner, and in comes Mr. Creed. I saluted Mr. Gauden’s lady, and the young ladies, he having many pretty children, and his sister, the Bishop’s widow; who was, it seems, Sir W. Russel’s daughter, the Treasurer of the Navy; who by her discourse at dinner I find to be very well-bred, and a woman of excellent discourse, even so much as to have my attention all dinner with much more pleasure than I did give to Mr. Creed, whose discourse was mighty merry in inveighing at Mr. Gauden’s victuals that they had at sea the last voyage that he prosecuted, till methought the woman began to take it seriously. After dinner by Mr. Gauden’s motion we got Mrs. Gauden and her sister to sing to a viall, on which Mr. Gauden’s eldest son (a pretty man, but a simple one methinks) played but very poorly, and the musique bad, but yet I commended it. Only I do find that the ladies have been taught to sing and do sing well now, but that the viall puts them out. I took the viall and played some things from one of their books, Lyra lessons, which they seemed to like well. Thus we pass an hour or two after dinner and towards the evening we bade them Adieu! and took horse; being resolved that, instead of the race which fails us, we would go to Epsum. So we set out, and being gone a little way I sent home Will to look to the house, and Creed and I rode forward; the road being full of citizens going and coming toward Epsum, where, when we came, we could hear of no lodging, the town so full; but which was better, I went towards Ashted, my old place of pleasure; and there by direction of one goodman Arthur, whom we met on the way, we went to Farmer Page’s, at which direction he and I made good sport, and there we got a lodging in a little hole we could not stand upright in, but rather than go further to look we staid there, and while supper was getting ready I took him to walk up and down behind my cozen Pepys’s house that was, which I find comes little short of what I took it to be when I was a little boy, as things use commonly to appear greater than then when one comes to be a man and knows more, and so up and down in the closes, which I know so well methinks, and account it good fortune that I lie here that I may have opportunity to renew my old walks. It seems there is one Mr. Rouse, they call him the Queen’s Tailor, that lives there now. So to our lodging to supper, and among other meats had a brave dish of cream, the best I ever eat in my life, and with which we pleased ourselves much, and by and by to bed, where, with much ado yet good sport, we made shift to lie, but with little ease, and a little spaniel by us, which has followed us all the way, a pretty dogg, and we believe that follows my horse, and do belong to Mrs. Gauden, which we, therefore, are very careful of.

27 Annotations

TerryF  •  Link

"inveighing against Mr. Gauden's victuals" - so L&M

"which I find comes [a] little short of what I took it to be" - L&M

"so up and down in the closes, which I know so well"

n. 5. Scottish & British regional. A narrow lane or alley.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 1978

jeannine  •  Link

"which I find comes little short of what I took it to be when I was a little boy, as things use commonly to appear greater than then when one comes to be a man and knows more"..sadly the truth-places that were so big and impressive when one was young don't always look the same when you add a few feet to your height and years to your experience.

But on a happier note.."and among other meats had a brave dish of cream, the best I ever eat in my life" --glad to see Sam is back to having "the best xxxx I've ever eaten" once again!

Jon-o  •  Link

"Fox Hall" makes me think of a lost chapter of Wind in the Willows...

daniel  •  Link

"among other meats had a brave dish of cream, "

Could this be clotted cream or some sweetened dish? an ordinary bowl of cream makes Sam sound a bit feline.

TerryF  •  Link

A poem by By Sir John Mennes and James Smith (Pt 1)

To a friend upon a journey to Epsam WelL

SIR, though our flight deserves no care
Of your enquiry, where we are;
Yet for to put you out of doubt,
Read but these Lines, you'l smell us out.
We having at the Mazard din'd,
Where Veal and Mutton open chin'd,
Hang on the Shambles ; thence we pace
To Putney's Ferry : Coomes old Chase
We next pass'd o're, then to the town
Which name of King doth much renowne ;
Where having supp'd we went to bed,
Our selves and Cattell wearied.

Conteining severall select Pieces of Poetique Wit.
The Second Edition,
By By Sr. J[ohn] M[ennes] and Ja:[mes] S[mith].
LONDON, Printed by J.G.for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold at his Shop, at the Signe of the Anchor in the New Exchange, 1656.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Seems a little sad that a fellow like Sam who had so many good mates only a couple of years ago can now find no better than Creed, a man he heartily distrusts, to show his favorite boyhood place. Still, I suppose John is a good conversationalist and reasonably good company.

Getting a bit lonely on the upper rungs, eh Sam?

TerryF  •  Link

The moral of the Mennes-Smith 'drollery' is that the famous curative powers of Epsum Wells's waters have chiefly purgative value, Hard to believe Pepys, bibliophile that he is, is wholly unaware of this and other satyrs of the Comptroller of the Navy in his youth.

salsus purgatio  •  Link

Dose of salts after the race when thy bob be lost. Spas be just newly discovered relatively speaking

Bergie  •  Link

"So we set out..."
One sentence, 209 words. Sam sounds breathless here. How many people these days could write a sentence that long with nary a grammatical slip?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

he went over back again to Westminster to fetch his horse.

All the river crossings (Vauxhall & Clapham are on the south bank) are taking place by boat or ferry -- in Pepy's day there was no bridge upstream of London Bridge till Kingston.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

{Spoiler} Pepys and Clapham

Gauden's house was later purchased by Will Hewer and is where Pepys spent his final years.

See about 1/3 way down page -- para ?13 on:

The house does not survive but there are a Gauden Road and Lane off Clapham High Street.

Benvenuto  •  Link

a little spaniel by us, which has followed us all the way
What a lovely image! -- I hope this shaggy dog story has a happy ending.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Perhaps from tomorrow's entry...

"Up early and did breakfast upon some good boiled meat though we were somewhat concerned to find the little spaniel of [Mrs.] Gauden's had left us."

("Enter, Monsieur, pull up a chair...And meet Farmer Page, best housekeeper in town.

Forget about inns, all them of crooks...You know Mr. Pepys, how all guests they rook.

Though the ceiling's low, you'll sleep well inside and no expense is spared till you're sat-is-fied.")

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Sir John Mennes, wit


What a great find. Any more up your sleeve?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Terry's sleeve

Ah! Now that I've lookd up the gentleman's background entry, I see that you do!

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"played very poorly,and the musique bad,but yet I commended it"
Sam is not"frank"
"a little spaniel by us which has followed us all the way.....and do belong to Mrs Gauden,which we,therefore, are very careful."
Sam is a notorious dognapper,methinks he did it twice before!:)

language hat  •  Link

"the best I ever eat"

I think I mentioned this a couple of years ago, but it can't hurt to remind people that this formerly standard past tense is pronounced "et."

Bradford  •  Link

So did many in the American South and Mid-South, down to the generation which started dying out in the 1980s. C. 1960, in a Georgia hospital, an orderly looked at writer Flannery O'Connor's dinner tray and observed, "You sho ain't et much."

Lurker  •  Link

Two "in my life"s here, both positive:

Some cream and some architecture.

Terry  •  Link

is still in common usage in parts of the UK - including here in Essex.

Roger  •  Link

It's amazing how much Sam can manage to fit into each day.
He makes light of the ride itself, almost like a throw away line. The route will have taken him through my home town of Sutton on his way to places I know well,.. Banstead, Epsom and Sutton. These days there are 37 sets of traffic lights through suburbia on this route through Lambeth, Brixton, Streatham, Mitcham, Sutton and thence to Banstead. Today it takes at least an hour to go the 19 miles. I wonder how long it took on horseback. I would have just LOVED to see how things looked in those days. My gt-grandfather told me of MILLIONS of people making there way by foot and cart to the race days at Epsom, making today's Derby Day tame by comparison. I'm not sure what this 'famous race' that Sam refers too is, as the Derby is in June and he referred to it's predecessor last month methinks.

language hat  •  Link

"'Et' is still in common usage in parts of the UK"

Sure, and doubtless in parts of the US as well. But I think it's uncommon enough that the point is worth mentioning for those who aren't familiar with it.

Harvey  •  Link

“‘Et’ is still in common usage in parts of the UK”
"Sure, and doubtless in parts of the US as well. But I think it’s uncommon enough that the point is worth mentioning for those who aren’t familiar with it."

Thanks Language Hat... it's been 30 years since I've heard "Et" in New Zealand, and then from a UK refugee, I had thought it was just careless speech.

Grahamt  •  Link

Et is certainly not unusual in the north of England. (it is normal everyday speech), Listen to Stanley Holloway's recording of "Albert and the Lion" to hear it in the vernacular. "Yon lion 'as et our poor Albert..." There is probably a Beatles' song containing it but I can't think of one at present.

Pedro  •  Link

25th July is St. James's Day.

An old English saying...

"Who eats oysters on St James's Day will never want."

Obviously after Sam's Tlme?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In France, it is not the oyster that is eaten, but the scallop -- named "coquilles St.Jacques" -- "shells of St. James" -- in his honor.

The Spaniards hold St. James in the highest veneration, and if their history was to be believed, with good reason. At the battle of Clavijo, fought in the year 841 between Ramiro, king of Leon, and the Moors, when the day was going hard against the Christians, St. James appeared in the field, in his own proper person, armed with a sword of dazzling splendour, and mounted on a white horse, having housings charged with scallop shells, the saints peculiar heraldic cognizance; he slew sixty thousand of the Moorish infidels, gaining the day for Spain and Christianity. The great Spanish order of knighthood, Santiago de Espada—St. James of the Sword —was founded in commemoration of the miraculous event; giving our historian Gibbon occasion to observe that, 'a stupendous metamorphosis was performed in the ninth century, when from a peaceful fisherman of the Lake of Gennesareth, the apostle James was transformed into a valorous knight, who charged at the head of Spanish chivalry in battles against the Moors. -- Chambers' Book of Days

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