Friday 11 December 1663

Up and abroad toward the Wardrobe, and going out Mr. Clerke met me to tell me that Field has a writ against me in this last business of 30l. 10s., and that he believes he will get an execution against me this morning, and though he told me it could not be well before noon, and that he would stop it at the Sheriff’s, yet it is hard to believe with what fear I did walk and how I did doubt at every man I saw and do start at the hearing of one man cough behind my neck. I to, the Wardrobe and there missed Mr. Moore. So to Mr. Holden’s and evened all reckonings there for hats, and then walked to Paul’s Churchyard and after a little at my bookseller’s and bought at a shop Cardinall Mazarin’s Will in French. I to the Coffeehouse and there among others had good discourse with an Iron Merchant, who tells me the great evil of discouraging our natural manufacture of England in that commodity by suffering the Swede to bring in three times more than ever they did and our owne Ironworks be lost, as almost half of them, he says, are already. Then I went and sat by Mr. Harrington, and some East country merchants, and talking of the country about Quinsborough, and thereabouts, he told us himself that for fish, none there, the poorest body, will buy a dead fish, but must be alive, unless it be in winter; and then they told us the manner of putting their nets into the water. Through holes made in the thick ice, they will spread a net of half a mile long; and he hath known a hundred and thirty and a hundred and seventy barrels of fish taken at one draught. And then the people come with sledges upon the ice, with snow at the bottome, and lay the fish in and cover them with snow, and so carry them to market. And he hath seen when the said fish have been frozen in the sledge, so as that he hath taken a fish and broke a-pieces, so hard it hath been; and yet the same fishes taken out of the snow, and brought into a hot room, will be alive and leap up and down. Swallows are often brought up in their nets out of the mudd from under water, hanging together to some twigg or other, dead in ropes, and brought to the fire will come to life. Fowl killed in December. (Alderman Barker said) he did buy, and putting into the box under his sledge, did forget to take them out to eate till Aprill next, and they then were found there, and were through the frost as sweet and fresh and eat as well as at first killed. Young beares are there; their flesh sold in market as ordinarily as beef here, and is excellent sweet meat. They tell us that beares there do never hurt any body, but fly away from you, unless you pursue and set upon them; but wolves do much mischief. Mr. Harrington told us how they do to get so much honey as they send abroad. They make hollow a great fir-tree, leaving only a small slitt down straight in one place, and this they close up again, only leave a little hole, and there the bees go in and fill the bodys of those trees as full of wax and honey as they can hold; and the inhabitants at times go and open the slit, and take what they please without killing the bees, and so let them live there still and make more. Fir trees are always planted close together, because of keeping one another from the violence of the windes; and when a fell is made, they leave here and there a grown tree to preserve the young ones coming up. The great entertainment and sport of the Duke of Corland, and the princes thereabouts, is hunting; which is not with dogs as we, but he appoints such a day, and summons all the country-people as to a campagnia; and by several companies gives every one their circuit, and they agree upon a place where the toyle is to be set; and so making fires every company as they go, they drive all the wild beasts, whether bears, wolves, foxes, swine, and stags, and roes, into the toyle; and there the great men have their stands in such and such places, and shoot at what they have a mind to, and that is their hunting. They are not very populous there, by reason that people marry women seldom till they are towards or above thirty; and men thirty or forty years old, or more oftentimes. Against a publique hunting the Duke sends that no wolves be killed by the people; and whatever harm they do, the Duke makes it good to the person that suffers it: as Mr. Harrington instanced in a house where he lodged, where a wolfe broke into a hog-stye, and bit three or four great pieces off the back of the hog, before the house could come to helpe it (it calling, and that did give notice to the people of the house); and the man of the house told him that there were three or four wolves thereabouts that did them great hurt; but it was no matter, for the Duke was to make it good to him, otherwise he would kill them. Hence home and upstairs, my wife keeping her bed, and had a very good dinner, and after dinner to my office, and there till late busy. Among other things Captain Taylor came to me about his bill for freight, and besides that I found him contented that I have the 30l. I got, he do offer me to give me 6l. to take the getting of the bill paid upon me, which I am ready to do, but I am loath to have it said that I ever did it. However, I will do him the service to get it paid if I can and stand to his courtesy what he will give me. Late to supper home, and to my great joy I have by my wife’s good advice almost brought myself by going often and leisurely to the stool that I am come almost to have my natural course of stool as well as ever, which I pray God continue to me.

38 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

foil, net into which game is driven.
(Select Glossary)

This seems to be an inference. Perhaps the OED does more?

Bradford  •  Link

"he appoints such a day, and summons all the country-people as to a campagnia;"

Italian for "campaign," says the Glossary to "The Shorter Pepys." My understanding of this passage is that the hunters set fires to drive game into a confined space where a "toyle" is set ("snare, net into which game is driven," dating from 1529; Companion, Large Glossary). Quelle sport!

And just where lies this fabulous land of Quinsborough, which seems to border upon Cockaigne, where fish leap from brooks into frying pans and cooked poultry grows on the trees? Aha---"The Shorter Pepys" says it is Konigsberg (insert umlaut/diaresis over the "o"), East Prussia.

Kilroy  •  Link

toyle, foil or toil (or both)?

I'll leave it up to those with the proper resources. But have found toyle used in links to Macbeth:

"Double, double, toyle and trouble, Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble."

Also, regarding the good advice Sam got from the missus What was he doing before, squatting? Given his medical history, wouldn't that help bring 'the old' pain back?

djc  •  Link

Königsberg, East Prussia, now known as Kaliningrad. [the google map link is in the wrong place --seems dosn't recognise the Kaliningrad at all.]

from SOED:
Toil (OFr toile, teile mod. Toile cloth, linen, web) L. tela weave
A net or nets set so as to enclose a space into which quarry is driven, or within which game is known to be

See for instance
La Tela Real by Velázquez

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...almost brought myself by going often and leisurely to the stool..."

Sounds like Bess persuaded him to cut back on the physick and take his time. A wise girl our Bess...

Sounds rather sweet Sam heading up to dine with the bedridden Bess while she advises him on his troubles. Hope he entertained her with the delightful Quinsborough tales.

JWB  •  Link

"...otherwise he would kill them."

Sounds like Latts & Balts took to the German overlord's love of the wolf much like ranchers take to the re-introduction of Wolves into western US today.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

New wonders from abroad
Today Sam learns that one can preserve food (fish and fowl) by freezing it. Not surprising that this was unknown in England, but I do find it surprising that beekeeping and commercial honey harvesting were apparently also unknown.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

From Wheatley

... "it is most probable that Mr. Harrington had been reading "The Travels of Master George Barkely, Merchant of London," as given by Purchas, vol ii., pp. 625, 627 ... the swallow story is found at p. 626. ... It appears to have been generally believed. ..."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

bought at a shop Cardinall Mazarin's Will

". The cardinal, who throughout his life had given but little thought to the interests of Christianity, seems to have sought pardon by remembering them on his deathbed. The same will directed the foundation of the College of the Four Nations, for the free education of sixty children from those provinces which he had united to France. To this college he bequeathed the library now known as the Bibliothèque Mazarine"

Perhaps this might be the the original prompting for Pepys' own bequest of his Library.

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

What an amazingly insightful post today, imagine how long it took him to write all of this, upward of a thousand words by my count. Like many brilliant people, our Sam exposes an almost OCD tendency with his initial absorption with the writ and his fear of its imminent execution, the terror of hearing one man cough behind his neck, so with a kind of instant self-therapy he immediately enlarges his world as he often does - out and about to discuss the Swedish threat to the English ironwork industry, and then off into a stunning treatise on fish harvesting, frozen fowl, the epicurian delight of bear meat, all in amazing detail even to the marriage customs of the local population of hunters; omigod there's enough data here for a passable university thesis let alone a diary entry.
And then at the end of it all, he calmly returns to the mundane contemplation of the minutia of stool, perhaps wherein lies his genius, did I mention OCD?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

the great evil of discouraging our natural manufacture of England in that commodity by suffering the Swede to bring in three times more than ever they did and our owne Ironworks be lost,...

"The ability of English ironfounders (almost entirey in the Weald of Kent and Sussex) to cast large quantities of light and medium guins had been an important component of English sea power since Tudor times, and it continued throught the seventeenth century. ... The steady fall in the weight of idividual guns of a given calibre was an important factor in making possible the rising number of guns carried by English ships in the seventeenth century."

"The Navy Board bought bar iron only from Sweden, with a little from Spain, America and Russia which it then passed on to British contractors to work up into iron fittings for shipbuilding. The different qualities of iron depended upon the ores from which it was made, and iron from British ores did not have the neadful qualities. In particular only 'Oreground' iron from the Dannemora mines was suitable for steel production. This allowed the Swedish goverenment monopoly the 'Jernkontoret' to maintian a high price. English iron was adequate for pigs of ballast, ..."

N A M Rodger, Command of the Ocean, pp., 224, 302.

Linda  •  Link

Here is a photo of the truly lovely building that Mazarin had built. I think it is some the more spectacular architecture in Paris. It now houses the Institut de France, where a few men decide which words should go into the French dictionary, trying to keep the language pure.

Roger Arbor  •  Link

I sit here enthralled. What a wonderful entry... yes Bellus H, but what an opportunity for someone's thesis in 2006: "Pepys and his world on Friday, 11th December, 1663" Stunning.

Pedro  •  Link

"Fowl killed in December. (Alderman Barker said) ... as sweet and fresh and eat as well as at first killed"
Obviously a turkey?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...evened all reckonings there for hats..."

Picturing Sam in his beaver.

Gus Spier  •  Link

The recounting of a conversation ... after one man complains about the Swedes, the next goes on to relate stories of the Baltic (bears, wolves, sparrows hibernating under water, apiary). Because why? Because at that time, all that area was either part of Sweden or well inside the Swedish sphere of influence!

Xjy  •  Link

Baltic tales
Lots of jousting going on around the Baltic at the time. Denmark livid at losing its provinces east of the Sound to Sweden. The king of Poland still nursing his (legitimate) claim to the Swedish throne). Russia still without a toe in the Baltic. Sweden the new Great Power there controlling all the Baltic coast but the southern strip of Poland Brandenburg and Denmark. Very squishy.
The stories are all good except for the birds - the thermometer guy Celsius also retails the one about swallows hibernating under the ice (or was it Linnaeus? - one of the Uppsala biggies anyway). Nowadays the deep-frozen meat and fish stories (don't know about the staying alive bit of the story) are OK further north. I've had deep-frozen beef that was just a carcasse thrown into a shed and had chunks sliced off with a chainsaw when needed (this was near Oulu on the northern coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, the northern arm of the Baltic). Stockholm and Helsinki wouldn't be reliably cold enough for this, let alone Kaliningrad.

One of the reasons for Sweden's Great Power status was the way it had been able to ensure that the iron wasn't just mined but also processed into steel in the country (by German and Walloon smiths) and that profits from the whole chain of production were channelled into the state coffers. It paid off its huge debts and was able to make and buy high quality arms and equipment, and fund its war preparations. Once it was on foreign soil fighting its wars, it lived off the land (to the delight of the peasants and landowners in the theatre of war of course) so that bit was bargain basement stuff as far as Swedish finances were concerned. Brought more back in the form of booty than it sucked out.

language hat  •  Link

Courland is not the same as Latvia.
It was a smaller region, nominally a duchy under Polish suzerainty but at this time quasi-independent, with its capital at Mitau (now Jelgava) and its main port at Libau (now Liepaja). Riga and the rest of modern Latvia were in Livonia to the north. "Latvia" is a completely anachronistic term when talking about any period before the twentieth century.

Phil, please fix both the "Quinsborough" link (which should go to modern Kaliningrad) and the "Duke of Corland" link (which should go to Jakob Kettler).

Xjy: Great comment -- thanks!

Bradford  •  Link

Even Samuel Johnson, well over a hundred years later, referred with due seriousness to the belief that flocks of swallows would dive down through the water in autumn to hibernate under streambeds; it was still, curiously, the wisdom of the time.

If you would care to see the panic inspired in wild animals by a mere forest fire, even unexacerbated by hunters on the pounce, this page has (surprisingly) the largest depiction I can find on the Web of "A Forest Fire" by Piero di Cosimo (1462-1521), a painting now at the Ashmolean. Scroll down quite a ways through this well-illustrated essay:

I believe a similar scene also opens Richard Adams's epic "Shardik," from around 1976 or so.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Paul: William The C. used to count behives as an element of Wealth. "... I do find it surprising that beekeeping and commercial honey harvesting were apparently also unknown. ..."
Other more profitable enterprises came to the fore as men dyed and fleeced wooly quadupeds. Bees were no longer a major source of income , unlike the Middle East. Even Sam notes it was not worth having a cow or chickens as it be cheaper to purchase. The economy rules the roost.

Ruben  •  Link

I checked with some apicultural friends of mine concerning he history of the honey industry and found some interesting facts:
England was called by the Phoenicians The Honey Island.
Till the 19 century the system described by Pepys to obtain honey was the one used in most countries. Till this day this is the way to obtain honey in the 3 world. One of my friends was in Ivory Coast (as an agricultural adviser) and that was exactly the way
the local people worked.
The strangeness of this way of obtaining honey in faraway places (in Pepys perspective)stemmed from the more "modern" way of the English farmer that he knew. The English farmer used reed baskets, hollowed trunks that he could move and hollowed ceramics to induce bees colonies.
I got from my friends pictures of this kind of hives but I have no time to open a site for the pictures. The most interesting one is a drawing from 1774 in Germany, were you see exactly what Pepys described.
The only picture I can here annotate is the one from Wikipedia (in Hebrew) with a prehistoric drawing from a Spanish cave (Cueva de Aranias, with an "enie", like in Espania, that does not exist in
English). You can see a woman climbing a tree,etc.
To see Hebrew fonts you need special software, but it will still be Greek for you...probably.

Terry F  •  Link

"You can see a woman climbing a tree,etc."

Just like Winnie the Pooh.

Reuven, great get.

Glyn  •  Link

"and take what they please without killing the bees, and so let them live there still and make more"

Yes, the British did have honey, but I think I've heard that it could only be collected by breaking open the colony and killing the bees at the end of the year (can anyone confirm this?), so any method of keeping the bees alive would be note-worthy. Perhaps they'll invent a better way. And, regarding the earlier thoughts about being derogatory to females, didn't people think that the hive was ruled by a king bee rather than a queen bee?

Great entry today - my favourite bit was imagining Pepys timidly looking both ways, and behind him, before crossing streets to avoid being arrested - great stuff.

Terry F  •  Link

Or properly ראובן.

Eric Walla  •  Link

Yes, fine entry today. This is about my favorite type, with a clear image of Sam sitting in a coffeehouse eagerly absorbing whatever tale comes his way, be it factual, anecdotal or nonsensical.

But even more, a fine day for annotations! Well done, folks!

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Bee, honey,hive, such a common subject that it be assumed that every one [of consequence] knew, beehive hairdo's
Beehive 1. An artificial receptacle for the habitation of a swarm of bees; a beehive.
Originally made, in a conical or dome-like form, of straw or the like, but now often a square box, constructed with movable compartments or other arrangements for the removal of the honey.
1634 S. R. Noble Soldier V. iii. in Bullen O. Pl. I. 333 Religious houses are those hyves where Bees Make honey for mens soules
1593 SHAKES. 2 Hen. VI, III. ii. 125 The Commons like an angry Hiue of Bees That want their Leader, scatter vp and downe
5. Something of the shape or structure of a beehive: a. A head-covering of platted straw. b. A capsule or case containing many cells.
1597 SHAKES. Lover's Compl. 8 Upon her head a platted hive of straw. 1665 HOOKE Microgr. 155 Microscopical seeds..For first, though they grow in a Case or Hive often~times bigger then one of these..being not above part of an Inch in Diameter, whereas the Diameter of the Hive of them oftentimes exceeds two Inches. Ibid. 188 Whether the seed of certain Bees, sinking to the bottom, might there naturally form itself that vegetable hive, and take root.

Does anyone have access to the Doomsday book that have references to the villages and their wealth in beehives?

Pedro  •  Link

"Mr. Harrington told us how they do to get so much honey"

It is not surprising that Sam would take an interest in bees and honey.

Pedro  •  Link

They make hollow a great fir-tree, leaving only a small slitt down straight in one place, and this they close up again, only leave a little hole, and there the bees go in and fill the bodys of those trees as full of wax and honey as they can hold; and the inhabitants at times go and open the slit, and take what they please without killing the bees, and so let them live there still and make more.

Sam, remember those holes bored in the office?

Brian  •  Link

Kaliningrad cold enough to reliably freeze meat? This was the era of the Little Ice Age, perhaps things that were possible in the 17th century are no longer possible today.

Cactus Wren  •  Link

Ruben (and anybody else who may ever need one):
the ñ is Alt+0241.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Captain Taylor came to me about his bill for freight"

A bill for carrying goods to Tangier in the William and Mary (£278 15s.) with charges for demurrage for 46 days (£73 17s.). Warrants for payments were issued from the Navy's Treasury on 28 November. (Per L&M footnote)

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