Wednesday 17 February 1663/64

Up, and with my wife, setting her down by her father’s in Long Acre, in so ill looked a place, among all the whore houses, that I was troubled at it, to see her go thither. Thence I to White Hall and there walked up and down talking with Mr. Pierce, who tells me of the King’s giving of my Lord Fitz-Harding two leases which belong indeed to the Queene, worth 20,000l. to him; and how people do talk of it, and other things of that nature which I am sorry to hear. He and I walked round the Park with great pleasure, and back again, and finding no time to speak with my Lord of Albemarle, I walked to the ‘Change and there met my wife at our pretty Doll’s, and so took her home, and Creed also whom I met there, and sent her hose, while Creed and I staid on the ‘Change, and by and by home and dined, where I found an excellent mastiffe, his name Towser, sent me by a chyrurgeon. After dinner I took my wife again by coach (leaving Creed by the way going to Gresham College, of which he is now become one of the virtuosos) and to White Hall, where I delivered a paper about Tangier to my Lord Duke of Albemarle in the council chamber, and so to Mrs. Hunt’s to call my wife, and so by coach straight home, and at my office till 3 o’clock in the morning, having spent much time this evening in discourse with Mr. Cutler, who tells me how the Dutch deal with us abroad and do not value us any where, and how he and Sir W. Rider have found reason to lay aside Captain Cocke in their company, he having played some indiscreet and unfair tricks with them, and has lost himself every where by his imposing upon all the world with the conceit he has of his own wit, and so has, he tells me, Sir R. Ford also, both of whom are very witty men. He being gone Sir W. Rider came and staid with me till about 12 at night, having found ourselves work till that time, about understanding the measuring of Mr. Wood’s masts, which though I did so well before as to be thought to deal very hardly against Wood, yet I am ashamed I understand it no better, and do hope yet, whatever be thought of me, to save the King some more money, and out of an impatience to breake up with my head full of confused confounded notions, but nothing brought to a clear comprehension, I was resolved to sit up and did till now it is ready to strike 4 o’clock, all alone, cold, and my candle not enough left to light me to my owne house, and so, with my business however brought to some good understanding, and set it down pretty clear, I went home to bed with my mind at good quiet, and the girl sitting up for me (the rest all a-bed). I eat and drank a little, and to bed, weary, sleepy, cold, and my head akeing.

23 Annotations

Pedro  •  Link

"an excellent mastiffe, his name Towser, sent me by a chyrurgeon."

The chyrurgeon, a frequenter of various hostelries such as the Trumpet, the Bell Tavern and King's Head at Lambeth marsh, certainly had a sense of humour!

Pedro  •  Link

Mastiffs, fighting dogs.

From the Book of Days...

Elizabeth took especial delight in seeing the courage of her English mastiffs pitted against the cunning of Ursa and the strength of Taurus. On the 25th of May 1559, the French ambassadors 'were brought to court with music to dinner, and after a splendid dinner, were entertained with the baiting of bears and bulls with English dogs. The queen's grace herself, and the ambassadors, stood in the gallery looking on the pastime till six at night.' The diplomatists were so gratified, that her majesty never failed to provide a similar show for any foreign visitors she wished to honour.

(and in the reign of King James)
Afterwards, a different lion, a male one, was brought into the arena by himself, and a couple of mastiffs were let in upon him; by which he was fiercely attacked, but with little effect. 'A brended dog took the lion by the face, and turned him upon his back--but the lion spoiled them all; the best dog died the next day.'

Michael Robinson  •  Link

to Gresham College, of which he is ... one of the virtuosos

John Creed was elected and admitted a Fellow of the Royal Society, December 16th. 1663.

Wheatley edn. note

Terry F  •  Link

"He being gone,...more money. And out of an impatience...."

So L&M, reading a "full stop" in the MS where Wheately had none.

Cactus Wren  •  Link

I wonder if "the girl",
whose sitting up you so take for granted, was as "weary, sleepy, cold" as you were, Sam?

Australian Susan  •  Link

English mastiff information
I have a friend who has one of these dogs: they are *enormous*.

Re the girl sitting up.
Presumably this happened every night and Sam only remarks on it because of the extreme lateness. Yes, indeed, very cold and wearisome for her. Wonder what time she had to be up the next morning?

Xjy  •  Link

Mastiff and Masts

This is the ultimate mastiff pic:

And for once Sam lets us glimpse his own bulldog side, getting his teeth into the mast problem. He doesn't understand it, so he wrestles the beast down, till he's cold and tired, and his body and head are aching. He's proud and dogged and just refuses to be beaten on his home turf.

You can imagine his more easy-going colleagues seeing this Towser among them and wondering how to navigate the line between teasing (to get that funny snarl from him) and goading (see pic...)

Bryan M  •  Link

Sam's late night

It wasn't just the intellectual challenge that kept our lad up so late. He had his reputation at the office to maintain.
From 14 December: "Commissioner Pett did let fall several scurvy words concerning my pretending to know masts as well as any body, which I know proceeds ever since I told him I could measure a piece of timber as well as anybody employed by the King."

Bryan M  •  Link

Towser ??

Could it be that some one is having a lend of Sam?

"and in the afternoon to Westminster hall, and there found Mrs. Lane ... and off to Stangate and so to the King's Head at Lambeth marsh, and had variety of meats and drinks, but I did so towse her and handled her" (5 August 1663).

Bryan M  •  Link

Sorry Pedro. I should have followed your link.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So father-in-law Alex seems to have abandoned the plan to go fight the Turk?


Creed a virtuoso...

Bet Sam will be working to see that he catches up to Creed in this area. How did John pull that off anyway?

Glyn  •  Link

We're pleased to meet you Towser.

I think that Towser should be in a sub-set of the English language for words that are only used for dogs' (and perhaps cats') names - the only other word that I can think of is 'Fido'.

Tom  •  Link

Don't forget the Cajun alternative spelling for "Fido", which is, of course, "Phydeaux".

JWB  •  Link

Taken for granted...

If she weren't sitting up for Sam, do you think she would be any less weary, sleepy or cold? Think Wayneman.

language hat  •  Link

"my head full of confused confounded notions"

That last sentence is a condensed short story, if not an entire novel. Well done, Sam, and I hope your head feels better tomorrow.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Sam? Were those papers you brought in last night at 4am really important?"

"What?" a bleary-eyed Sam stares at Bess.

"I'm afraid the new dog got into them and..."

Bradford  •  Link

But math at 3AM is not likely to be accurate, if this sequence is the prose analogue:

"met my wife at our pretty Doll's, and so took her home, and Creed also whom I met there, and sent her hose,"

No doubt the last word is an editorial error for "home," but did Sam both take and send her home?

ruizhe  •  Link

Perhaps, but he could also have meant to say that Creed sent his wife hose (as a gift).

Mary  •  Link

Towser, Fido and Rover?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Xjy - yes, that is one very scary dog, but it is *not* an English Mastiff!!!!

Australian Susan  •  Link

He's a French Mastiff! Ha! Can't trust these continentals..........

Ruben  •  Link

"my wife, setting her down by her father's in Long Acre, in so ill looked a place, among all the whore houses, that I was troubled at it, to see her go thither"

The Earl of Peterborough, Governor of Tangier was living from 1665 to 1674 in Long Acre.
It could not be that bad, me thinks...

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