Wednesday 5 October 1664

Up betimes and to my office, and thence by coach to New Bridewell to meet with Mr. Poyntz to discourse with him (being Master of the Workhouse there) about making of Bewpers for us. But he was not within; however his clerke did lead me up and down through all the house, and there I did with great pleasure see the many pretty works, and the little children employed, every one to do something, which was a very fine sight, and worthy encouragement. I cast away a crowne among them, and so to the ‘Change and among the Linnen Wholesale Drapers to enquire about Callicos, to see what can be done with them for the supplying our want of Bewpers for flaggs, and I think I shall do something therein to good purpose for the King. So to the Coffeehouse, and there fell in discourse with the Secretary of the Virtuosi of Gresham College, and had very fine discourse with him. He tells me of a new invented instrument to be tried before the College anon, and I intend to see it. So to Trinity House, and there I dined among the old dull fellows, and so home and to my office a while, and then comes Mr. Cocker to see me, and I discoursed with him about his writing and ability of sight, and how I shall do to get some glasse or other to helpe my eyes by candlelight; and he tells me he will bring me the helps he hath within a day or two, and shew me what he do. Thence to the Musique-meeting at the Postoffice, where I was once before. And thither anon come all the Gresham College, and a great deal of noble company: and the new instrument was brought called the Arched Viall,1 where being tuned with lute-strings, and played on with kees like an organ, a piece of parchment is always kept moving; and the strings, which by the kees are pressed down upon it, are grated in imitation of a bow, by the parchment; and so it is intended to resemble several vyalls played on with one bow, but so basely and harshly, that it will never do. But after three hours’ stay it could not be fixed in tune; and so they were fain to go to some other musique of instruments, which I am grown quite out of love with, and so I, after some good discourse with Mr. Spong, Hill, Grant, and Dr. Whistler, and others by turns, I home to my office and there late, and so home, where I understand my wife has spoke to Jane [Should be Bess P.G.] and ended matters of difference between her and her, and she stays with us, which I am glad of; for her fault is nothing but sleepiness and forgetfulness, otherwise a good-natured, quiet, well-meaning, honest servant, and one that will do as she is bid, so one called upon her and will see her do it. This morning, by three o’clock, the Prince —[Rupert]— and King, and Duke with him, went down the River, and the Prince under sail the next tide after, and so is gone from the Hope. God give him better successe than he used to have! This day Mr. Bland went away hence towards his voyage to Tangier. This day also I had a letter from an unknown hand that tells me that Jacke Angier, he believes, is dead at Lisbon, for he left him there ill.

  1. “There seems to be a curious fate reigning over the instruments which have the word ‘arch’ prefixed to their name. They have no vitality, and somehow or other come to grief. Even the famous archlute, which was still a living thing in the time of Handel, has now disappeared from the concert room and joined Mr. Pepys’s ‘Arched Viall’ in the limbo of things forgotten … Mr. Pepys’s verdict that it would never do … has been fully confirmed by the event, as his predictions usually were, being indeed always founded on calm judgment and close observation.” — B. (Hueffer’s Italian and other Studies, 1883, p. 263).

18 Annotations

Ding   Link to this

"...and the little children employed, every one to do something, which was a very fine sight, and worthy encouragement. I cast away a crowne among them"
Different attitude to children working than we have today, and Sam feeling generous to boot!

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"God bless you Mr. Poyntz...I'll bet you break their little joints."

"God bless you, Mr. Pepys, you're sure to beat them on their seats."

Haw, haw...

"More fine claret sweated by the blood of our dear little charges, Pepys?"

"Don't mind if I do, Poyntz."

"Yes. We must get to our discussion of how my little laborers' nimble fingers could provide the Navy with cloth...At bargain rates. And colossal profits."

"Indeed..." Hmmn...Shame I couldn't have dumped...Enrolled...My infant niece in such a cheap...er, fine establishment.

"Mr. Poyntz, sir!"

"What?!"

"Sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!!"

"More?!!"

***

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...Mr. Cocker to see me, and I discoursed with him about his writing and ability of sight, and how I shall do to get some glasse or other to helpe my eyes by candlelight; and he tells me he will bring me the helps he hath within a day or two, and shew me what he do."

Uh-oh. Perhaps the secret of (spoiler) Sam's eye trouble is revealed.

Martin   Link to this

For all the hellbent preparations for war with the Dutch mentioned the other day, Sam has not contributed much today. His day is frittered away on a fruitless search for Bewpers for flaggs, lunch with the dull old fellows, and a three-hour demonstration of the Arched Viall. Meanwhile, what has De Ruyter been up to?

JWB   Link to this

"1601 An Acte for the Reliefe of the Poore consolidated and replaced a variety of previous legislation and aimed at:

Establishment of parochial responsibility, with churchwardens or overseers (from two to four in number, depending on the size of the parish) allocating relief.
Suppression of begging.
Provision of work.
Use of county Houses of Correction for vagrants.
Setting to work and apprenticeship of children.

1647 London Corporation of the Poor set up to:

Erect workhouses and houses of correction
Enforce laws against vagabonds
Set the poor to work"

http://users.ox.ac.uk/~peter/workhouse/timeline...

The 1601 Act for the Relief of the Poor
http://users.ox.ac.uk/~peter/workhouse/poorlaws...

Cum grano salis   Link to this

"fruitless search for Bewpers for flaggs" Neigh not fruitless, ribbons be the essence of Military life, every element of fighter mobs need summert waving in the wind to show life be wonderful, 'tis why old Men love ribbons to cover chests. Bewpers,'tis the place to rally around as the fog of war be flowing over the rumbles of cannon.
So our Mr Peeps be needing bits of new rags for each of the purloined ships and ships that be encouraged to change sides, so the bewpers be wanted to show that they duly have been welcomed.

Cum grano salis   Link to this

I dothe thinke it be the first mention of eye problem and candle power "...discoursed with him about his writing and ability of sight, and how I shall do to get some glasse or other to helpe my eyes by candlelight; ..."

Ivo   Link to this

"...the new instrument was brought called the Arched Viall, where being tuned with lute-strings, and played on with kees like an organ, a piece of parchment is always kept moving; and the strings, which by the kees are pressed down upon it, are grated in imitation of a bow, by the parchment."

Would this "arched viall" perhaps be some kind of hurdy-gurdy?
http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com/cgi-bin/res...

Pedro   Link to this

"So to Trinity House, and there I dined among the old dull fellows,"

Little did Sam know at the time that in 1685 he would become Master of the Old Dull Fellows.

Bradford   Link to this

The "arched viall" is a form of the "sostenente piano" known as the Geigenwerk, and to describe it accurately here is the "New Grove Dictionary of Music" (1980), 7:217:
"Name (Geigenwerck) given by Hans Haiden to an instrument of his own invention, probably the most successful and certainly the most influential of all bowed keyboard instruments," designed in hopes of producing a sustained sound, like a violin or an organ. Haiden had a working version by 1575, and an improved one by 1599; the pamphlets he published about it in 1605 and 1610 were quoted by Praetorius in his 1618 "Syntagma musicum," ii (2/1619), providing "the only surviving picture of the instrument, which resembled a rather bulky harpsichord". Maybe someone can find this woodcut online? It looks like five hurdy-gurdy insides of various lengths inserted into a harpsichord case.
"At various times Haiden used gut or wire strings, with parchment-covered wire strings in the bass. The bowing action was provided by five parchment-covered wheels against which the individual strings (one for each note) could be drawn by the action of the keyboard. These wheels were turned by means of a treadle. Haiden claimed that the instrument was capable of producing all shades of loudness, of sustaining notes indefinitely, and of producing vibrato." A 1650 Spanish instrument apparently built to Haiden's specs "is in the Instruments Museum of the Brussels Conversatory." Thank you, Edwin M. Ripin, upon whose account one could hardly improve.

Bradford   Link to this

I neglected to mention that the "New Grove" article on the sostenente piano cites this very entry by Pepys, linked to the Geigenwerk description, assuring us that this is like the instrument he saw. ("Yes, very like a whale!")

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Thanks, Bradford.

Pedro   Link to this

On this day...

Holmes sails homeward from Cape Verde.

Pedro   Link to this

Meanwhile, what has De Ruyter been up to?

De Ruyter had passed between Cape St. Vincent and Cape Cantin on the 27th September, and my guess is that at this point he has reached somewhere near Ad Dakhla.

Jonathan Addleman   Link to this

I've never heard the term 'Arch Viol' before, though it certainly sounds like a Geigenwerk to me. Modern attempts to build geigenwerks are few and far between, but http://homepage1.nifty.com/obuchi/index-e.htm does have some examples. He has built a few of the instruments, and the latest versions sounds, well, a lot better. :) It certainly doesn't live up to the hype of a keyboard instrument with the expressivity of a violin/viol but it's showing potential! I hope it doesn't take as long to tune as the one Pepys saw!

Australian Susan   Link to this

Wonderful site, Jonathan! Thank you! Now we can see and hear what Sam saw and heard!

Bradford   Link to this

Beyond one's wildest hopes, Jonathan! Akio Obuchi's incredible determination, matched with painstaking craftmanship, have indeed created an instrument which looks like the Geigenwerk depicted in Praetorius's book. It is boggling to think how many hours of work (and frustration) have gone into this still fractious musical anomaly; but how wonderful that we can hear it, all these centuries later!

Pedro   Link to this

John Evelyn 5th October.

To our Society. There was brought a newinvented instrument of music, being a harpsichord with gutstrings, sounding like a concert of viols with an organ, made vocal by a wheel, and a zone of parchment that rubbed horizontally against the strings.

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