Monday 21 December 1663

Up betimes, my wife having a mind to have gone abroad with me, but I had not because of troubling me, and so left her, though against my will, to go and see her father and mother by herself, and I straight to my Lord Sandwich’s, and there I had a pretty kind salute from my Lord, and went on to the Duke’s, where my fellow officers by and by came, and so in with him to his closet, and did our business, and so broke up, and I with Sir W. Batten by coach to Salisbury Court, and there spoke with Clerk our Solicitor about Field’s business, and so parted, and I to Mrs. Turner’s, and there saw the achievement pretty well set up, and it is well done. Thence I on foot to Charing Crosse to the ordinary, and there, dined, meeting Mr. Gauden and Creed. Here variety of talk but to no great purpose. After dinner won a wager of a payre of gloves of a crowne of Mr. Gauden upon some words in his contract for victualling. There parted in the street with them, and I to my Lord’s, but he not being within, took coach, and, being directed by sight of bills upon the walls, I did go to Shoe Lane to see a cocke-fighting at a new pit there, a sport I was never at in my life; but, Lord! to see the strange variety of people, from Parliament-man (by name Wildes, that was Deputy Governor of the Tower when Robinson was Lord Mayor) to the poorest ‘prentices, bakers, brewers, butchers, draymen, and what not; and all these fellows one with another in swearing, cursing, and betting. I soon had enough of it, and yet I would not but have seen it once, it being strange to observe the nature of these poor creatures, how they will fight till they drop down dead upon the table, and strike after they are ready to give up the ghost, not offering to run away when they are weary or wounded past doing further, whereas where a dunghill brood comes he will, after a sharp stroke that pricks him, run off the stage, and then they wring off his neck without more ado, whereas the other they preserve, though their eyes be both out, for breed only of a true cock of the game. Sometimes a cock that has had ten to one against him will by chance give an unlucky blow, will strike the other starke dead in a moment, that he never stirs more; but the common rule is, that though a cock neither runs nor dies, yet if any man will bet 10l. to a crowne, and nobody take the bet, the game is given over, and not sooner. One thing more it is strange to see how people of this poor rank, that look as if they had not bread to put in their mouths, shall bet three or four pounds at one bet, and lose it, and yet bet as much the next battle (so they call every match of two cocks), so that one of them will lose 10l. or 20l. at a meeting. Thence, having enough of it, by coach to my Lord Sandwich’s, where I find him within with Captain Cooke and his boys, Dr. Childe, Mr. Madge, and Mallard, playing and singing over my Lord’s anthem which he hath made to sing in the King’s Chappell: my Lord saluted me kindly and took me into the withdrawing-room, to hear it at a distance, and indeed it sounds very finely, and is a good thing, I believe, to be made by him, and they all commend it. And after that was done Captain Cooke and his two boys did sing some Italian songs, which I must in a word say I think was fully the best musique that I ever yet heard in all my life, and it was to me a very great pleasure to hear them. After all musique ended, my Lord going to White Hall, I went along with him, and made a desire for to have his coach to go along with my cozen Edward Pepys’s hearse through the City on Wednesday next, which he granted me presently, though he cannot yet come to speak to me in the familiar stile that he did use to do, nor can I expect it. But I was the willinger of this occasion to see whether he would deny me or no, which he would I believe had he been at open defyance against me. Being not a little pleased with all this, though I yet see my Lord is not right yet, I thanked his Lordship and parted with him in White Hall. I back to my Lord’s, and there took up W. Howe in a coach, and carried him as far as the Half Moone, and there set him down. By the way, talking of my Lord, who is come another and a better man than he was lately, and God be praised for it, and he says that I shall find my Lord as he used to be to me, of which I have good hopes, but I shall beware of him, I mean W. Howe, how I trust him, for I perceive he is not so discreet as I took him for, for he has told Captain Ferrers (as Mr. Moore tells me) of my letter to my Lord, which troubles me, for fear my Lord should think that I might have told him. So called with my coach at my wife’s brother’s lodging, but she was gone newly in a coach homewards, and so I drove hard and overtook her at Temple Bar, and there paid off mine, and went home with her in her coach. She tells me how there is a sad house among her friends. Her brother’s wife proves very unquiet, and so her mother is, gone back to be with her husband and leave the young couple to themselves, and great trouble, and I fear great want, will be among them, I pray keep me from being troubled with them. At home to put on my gowne and to my office, and there set down this day’s Journall, and by and by comes Mrs. Owen, Captain Allen’s daughter, and causes me to stay while the papers relating to her husband’s place, bought of his father, be copied out because of her going by this morning’s tide home to Chatham. Which vexes me, but there is no help for it. I home to supper while a young [man] that she brought with her did copy out the things, and then I to the office again and dispatched her, and so home to bed.

19 Annotations

Pedro  •  Link

Cock Fighting.

Cock fighting had strong claims to being the period's most widespread sport. Annual open contests for high stakes were mounted at the Cockpit Royal in Hyde Park, where the season began just after Shrovetide. Cockfighting ranged across the social classes from the rougher style of cocking described in the song 'Wednesday Cocking," where a dispute between rival Black Country colliers and nailers led to a fight in which the two birds were trampled to death to the Cockpit Royal. In the mid-range socially were country gentlemen breeders. Contests between country gentlemen were often geographically based with one area playing another in tournament style process of elimination.

Bradford  •  Link

"they will fight till they drop down dead upon the table . . . whereas where a dunghill brood comes he will, after a sharp stroke that pricks him, run off the stage,"

In movies one sees cockfighting done in a cockpit, spread with sand; here we have both a table and a stage---can someone clarify? Surely cheap prints survive depicting the scene.

"One thing more it is strange to see how people of this poor rank, that look as if they had not bread to put in their mouths, shall bet three or four pounds at one bet," &c.

Ah, Sam, come down to our country "party store" the night before a Powerball Lottery drawing (a multi-State effort that can run into the millions), and you'll see stranger sights.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"After dinner won a wager of a payre of gloves of a crowne of Mr. Gauden upon some words in his contract for victualling."

That'll teach Mr. Gauden (and Creed) that, if nothing else, Sam knows his contracts.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" wife having a mind to have gone abroad with me, but I had not because of troubling me, and so left her, though against my will, to go and see her father and mother by herself..."

Sometimes, Samuel I have trouble understanding how Bess manages to restrain herself from sliting your throat at night. But I suppose you disembled your annoyance and made a great show of generously allowing her to visit the aged ps alone.

Alas, poor Balty...Your n'er-do-well Gallic charm wearing a bit thin with the Missus, eh?

On the other hand, seeing you and your unhappy wife's predicament probably is a major factor in keeping Bess tolerant of Sam's workalcoholic, insensitive ways.

jeannine  •  Link

"and so left her, though against my will, to go and see her father and mother by herself,"
One of the things that I found when researching Elizabeth's life is that at times her parents lived in such squalid conditions that she would go to visit them but would not allow Sam to know where they lived and/or to accompany her. She was probably very ashamed about their dire poverty. Although Sam doesn't want her to be with him today, he may not be pleased with the alternative of her visiting the folks in what may be an undisclosed destination.

C.J.Darby  •  Link

Merry Christmas, Sam and Elizabeth and all you annotators, for making my lunch hours interesting, particularily Robert Gertz. I eagerly await "The secret life of Samuel Pepys"

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Shoe Lane ...

Stow places Shoe Lane in the ward of Faringdon Extra, or Without, "the farthest west ward of this city, being the twenty-fifth ward of London, but without the walls ... Now without Ludgate lieth the south end of the Old Bayly, then down Ludgate hill by Fleet lane, over Fleet bridge, up Fleet street, by Shoe Lane, Fewtar's lane, New street, or Chauncerie lane, and to Shire lane, by the bar on the right hand; and from Ludgate on the left hand, or south side, by Bride lane, Water lane, Croker's lane, Sergeant's inn, and the new Temple, by the bar; all which is of Faringdon ward, as is afore showed."

Merry Christmas to all!

Martin  •  Link

The Cockpit by Hogarth
Modern cockfights, where still legal in the U. S., are usually held outdoors in a fenced area with birds and onlookers at the same level (try Google Images "Cockfight"), but in Pepys' time the birds were on a raised, indoor stage.
Though it's a century later, the scene is nicely captured in a Hogarth print, here:
Note that the cocks are up on a table which appears to be at least waist-high. The audience is actually in the cockpit which surrounds the stage. Shakespeare used cockpit in the same way in Henry V to refer to the audience area surrounding the stage, or to the entire theatre (the first Drury Lane theatre was called the Cockpit; it was built for cockfighting and converted to a theatre):
But pardon, gentles all,
The flat unraisèd spirits that hath dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object. Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Outlawed here in New York but it is not rare for the Police to find clandestine ones; now if only the other carnage could be outlawed.

Jacqueline Gore  •  Link

Now if we could just get Robert to finish it, CJ. I was just getting into the villainous vampire Buckingham and his aide Dr. Hooke when he paused for the last few months.

Robert, how about some more after you finish the Christmas Carol story here? I wanna see Bess strut more of her Slaying stuff.

language hat  •  Link

"took me into the withdrawing-room"

Here we see the original of the later phrase "drawing room," which has confused so many -- no drawing involved!

Bradford  •  Link

Thank you, Martin, for explaining the strange conjunction of table + stage. Hogarth never lets you down.

My, the spirit of the season must be drawing people elsewhere, with so few remarks on such a rich passage! So I'll spoil it for you if you're playing catch-up by saying Captain Ferrers Returns---tomorrow!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Now why would dear old Will Howe have leaked the letter to Ferrers whom Sam seems to assume would immediately inform milord?

"My Lord, I am sure Pepys didn't mean to spread rumors throughout the City that you were cavorting with a cheap slut and neglecting your duties to the King. However..." solemn sigh. "It might be that a more discreet man is needed in his position of responsibility. Some one who has been daily close to you these last years and will strive to properly protect your honor. I would suggest Creed but he is more useful to you as your confidential agent out and about."

Cactus Wren  •  Link

Sam, anybody who gossips TO you, will gossip ABOUT you.
(And am I the only one who regrets Our Diarist's failure to note the titles of those Italian songs, "the best musique that I ever yet heard in all my life"?)

Michael Robinson  •  Link

... to see a cocke-fighting at a new pit ...

From Wheatley's note:-
There is a farthing token of "Samuel Clever at Cock Pitt Court in Shooe Lane" ("Boyne's Tokens," ed. Williamson, p 741) This cockpit had been famous long before Pepys' day. There is an anecdote of Sir. Thomas Jermyn (who died in 1644) and his sending a dunghill cock neatly trimmed to this cockpit, which was little to his credit, in Thomas's Anecdotes and Traditions," 1839 (p.47).

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