Saturday 10 October 1663

Up, and not in any good ease yet, but had pain in making water, and some course. I see I must take besides keeping myself warm to make myself break wind and go freely to stool before I can be well, neither of which I can do yet, though I have drank the other bottle of Mr. Hollyard’s against my stomach this morning.

I did, however, make shift to go to the office, where we sat, and there Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten did advise me to take some juniper water, and Sir W. Batten sent to his Lady for some for me, strong water made of juniper. Whether that or anything else of my draught this morning did it I cannot tell, but I had a couple of stools forced after it … but whether I shall grow better upon it I cannot tell.

Dined at home at noon, my wife and house in the dirtiest pickle that ever she and it was in almost, but in order, I hope, this night to be very clean.

To the office all the afternoon upon victualling business, and late at it, so after I wrote by the post to my father, I home.

This evening Mr. Hollyard sends me an electuary to take (a walnut quantity of it) going to bed, which I did. ‘Tis true I slept well, and rose in a little ease in the morning.

17 Annotations

TerryF  •  Link

"I had a couple of stools forced after it and did break a fart or two;"

Wheatley can deal with "stools" and "wind," but not "fart," "piss" or "shit" - some of the seven words George Carlin once said could not be said on TV in the US ("tits" is another); L&M transcribe what they find writ.

TerryF  •  Link

Juniper berries

"---Medicinal Action and Uses---Oil of Juniper is given as a diuretic, stomachic, and carminative in indigestion, flatulence, and diseases of the kidney and bladder. The oil mixed with lard is also used in veterinary practice as an application to exposed wounds and prevents irritation from flies.

Spirit of Juniper has properties resembling Oil of Turpentine: it is employed as a stimulating diuretic in cardiac and hepatic dropsy.

The fruit is readily eaten by most animals, especially sheep, and is said to prevent and cure dropsy in the latter.

The chief use of Juniper is as an adjuvant to diuretics in dropsy depending on heart, liver or kidney disease. It imparts a violet odour to the urine, and large doses may cause irritation to the passages. An infusion of 1 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water may be taken in the course of twenty-four hours."

Hiplew  •  Link

Is "strong water made of juniper" gin?

TerryF  •  Link

Hiplew, nice nose - indeed, 'tis!

"It is the berries that give gin its distinctive aroma. Although first made in Holland, Gin was popularized by the English. It was the drink of the working class and they brought to the US. The majority of Gin sold in the US is Dry."

Just whisper "vermouth".....

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Poor fellow...As humorous as his condition may be, after so many days it is becoming serious.

Gin, eh? Well at least he'll be a lot more comfortable.

"Oh, my..." Sam gasps with blessed relief...And release.

"'The Moor...I know his trumpet'..." a relieved Bess teases.

Brian  •  Link

I hope the "strong water made of juniper" proves a useful tonic . . .

Pedro  •  Link

Juniper berries and Mother’s Ruin.

Some information from Flora Britannica by Richard Mabey…

The oil extracted from the juniper has an ancient reputation as an abortifacient (which may have echoes in the Victorian belief in the effectiveness of gin for the same purpose). In Lothian, in the medieval period, giving birth “under the savin tree” was a euphemism for a miscarriage or juniper provoked abortion. Until at least the mid 1980’s juniper pills (still on the market in 1993) were being advertised as the “Lady’s Friend” in the small ads in ladies’ journals.

Some contributions to the survey…

“…120 years ago the berries were collected by families who travelled from Weardale, who would grind the berries down to flavour bread and cakes.”

“The local limestone hill, Arnside Knott (Lancashire) provides us with juniper berries to cook with venison. Used whole they give a bitter, crunchy bite to savouries.”

Tom Burns  •  Link

It seems as if cures for the colique are second only to those for the hiccups...

Martin  •  Link

The dirtiest pickle
How does the house keep getting so filthy? Back in August Sam told us it was a disaster, but would soon be all cleaned up. Mid September it seemed to be in good shape ("all well" upon return from their excursion). Now it's a mess again. Can't get good help, it seems.

Don McCahill  •  Link

I'm wondering if all these potions Sam is taking are binders that add to the problem, rather than helping. Were prunes available then?

mary mcintyre  •  Link

must be my literary bent, but I am seeing parallels between the state of the house and the state of Sam's GI tract -- great disorder & discomfort in both, and Sam tries to console himself that all will come right... just a few days more...

jeannine  •  Link

Were prunes available then?"

Not sure if prunes were “dried” at that time, but did find the following quote from “Pepys At Table.” (The book also had a contemporary recipe for Pea Soup, which would have most surely done the trick!)

The authors (Driver & Johnson) explain that
"One puzzle about the diet of the prosperous English people in the second half of the seventeenth century is its relative neglect of vegetables and salad stuffs, even after a half a century of intensive development in the craft of gardening (much of it learnt from the Dutch). Evelyn, again, who wrote a whole book on the topic (Acetaria, a Discourse on Sallets) was far more enthusiastic then Pepys. The latter's frequent Diary references to food seldom mention greenstuffs, and his set-piece dinners often sound rather like the all-meat meals which travellers in the Périgord still sometimes encounter at old-fashioned country restaurants.

It is quite possible that Pepys ate roots and greens without caring about them enough to mention them. It is equally possible that he thought them bad for him. His digestion, though otherwise robust, was noticeable subject to wind and colic, and this was precisely the effect expected at the time from vegetables, not just from the tubers such as the Jerusalem artichokes and sweet potatoes (which preceded into English diet the types of potatoes now familiar). It is also considered inadvisable to eat vegetables and even much raw fruit.

However in Pepys time social cachet was attracted to exotic fruit rather then to vegetables. …One bill from Leonard Gurles’ nursery in Whitechapel lists twelve varieties of peach, two of nectarine, eight of plum, eight of pear, three of cherry, three of apple, two of apricot, and one of quince. …Fruit of this kind was a highly acceptable present, because –like venison and other game that so many of Pepys; feasts depend upon –it did not normally reach the main London markets.” (pages 9-10)

TerryF  •  Link

Prunes are dried plums, but perhaps fruits weren't dried, eaten only in season because prized for their aesthetic appeal, as has Pepys reported himself subject to on occasion?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Fruit in the 17th Century diet

"What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head ;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine ;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach ;
Stumbling on melons as I pass,
Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass."

Andrew Marvell
From "The Garden,"
composed circa 1650 but
not published until 1681

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"but had pain in making water"
It is so obvious that it has to do with the urinary tract; now I understand why patient education is so important,and also taking a good history; the flatulence is probably caused by the RX.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

No, I don't think so ... it sounds as if the "pain in making water" he mentions is related to his straining so hard to empty his bowels, which of course hurts his stone incision. See tomorrow's entry (11 Oct) for more details.

Cum grano salis  •  Link

"...and go freely to stool before I can be well..."
This simply means 'go to the little room' or as was said many years ago went to the Jacques, now it be the loo.

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