Sunday 22 December 1667

(Lord’s day). Up, and my wife, poor wretch, still in pain, and then to dress myself and down to my chamber to settle some papers, and thither come to me Willet with an errand from her mistress, and this time I first did give her a little kiss, she being a very pretty humoured girle, and so one that I do love mightily. Thence to my office, and there did a little business, and so to church, where a dull sermon, and then home, and Cozen Kate Joyce come and dined with me and Mr. Holliard; but by chance I offering occasion to him to discourse of the Church of Rome, Lord! how he run on to discourse with the greatest vehemence and importunity in the world, as the only thing in the world that he is full of, and it was good sport to me to see him so earnest on so little occasion. She come to see us and to tell me that her husband is going to build his house again, and would borrow of me 300l., which I shall upon good security be willing to do, and so told her, being willing to have some money out of my hands upon good security. After dinner up to my wife again, who is in great pain still with her tooth, and there, they gone, I spent the most of the afternoon and night reading and talking to bear her company, and so to supper and to bed.

20 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...this time I first did give her a little kiss, she being a very pretty humoured girle, and so one that I do love mightily."

The scent of tragic doom in the air...

Sigh. I see a black moon arising.

I see trouble on the way.

Heaven...

"No...No...Noooo..." shaking Bess portrait by Halys spins wildly.

"Bess...It was over three hundred years ago. A bit late now for predestination. And you'll damage your Halys portrait spinning it like that. He said he wouldn't do another."

Eric Walla   Link to this

Interesting that he should word it thus. "First kiss" indicates the intention to follow it with more to come. Has he been struggling with this since their first meeting and now decided to cross that fateful line?

Ruben   Link to this

"an errand from her mistress, and this time I first did give her a little kiss, she being a very pretty humoured girle"
Cheaper than a tip...

djc   Link to this

Not a 'first kiss' but

"and this time I first did give her a little kiss"

So he gave her a kiss by way of greeting before hearing what the import of the errand was.

Possibly, as the Diary was not always written up every day, he is reflecting on this occasion being of note.

Phoenix   Link to this

"... by chance I offering occasion to him to discourse of the Church of Rome, Lord! how he run on to discourse with the greatest vehemence and importunity in the world, as the only thing in the world that he is full of, and it was good sport to me to see him so earnest on so little occasion."

I've observed this kind of unexpected and passionate outburst and watched the amusement some people find in it. That amusement seemed to reveal a certain shallowness and/or smug superior. Two attributes not altogether foreign to Sam.

Claire   Link to this

Can anyone tell us about "dentistry" during this period?

I am surprised they do not have someone in to pull the abcessed tooth. Somewhat of an ordeal without anesthesia, but surely better than the many days of suffering Bess is enduring.

john   Link to this

This whole Willet matter is most confusing and disturbing to me. Was it not common at the time to send out your children as servants in the houses of others? Was it also common to expect them to be molested?

Mary   Link to this

17th century dentistry.

There were no dentists in London at this time that we would recognise as dentists. Barbers (later barber-surgeons) were resorted to, as were 'operators for the teeth" who might ply their trade in a local market or at a fair. The first book written about dentistry in English would not be published until the mid-1680s

There seems to have been some reluctance to extract teeth. Oil of cloves could be used to deaden the pain of a carious tooth and it was recognised that the cleaning of one's teeth, notably to remove plaque, was a desirable practice. Cavities were popularly thought to have been caused by the action of a 'worm.'

As regards Elizabeth's abscess, Pepys has called in a practising surgeon to consult on the matter and he has, wisely as it happens, decided not to extract the tooth or to rush in with a lancet to relieve the painful pressure. [Modern dentists, of course, will not remove a badly abscessed tooth until the infection has been reduced by the use of antibiotics].

Poor Elizabeth; she must have been in agony whilst waiting for the abscess to burst. I wonder whether the history of Algiers was really enthralling enough to take her mind off the pain.

Claire   Link to this

Thanks, Mary.

My personal childhood experience--a painfully abcessed tooth called for an immediate root canal (which of course was not an option in the 1660s.) I do not recall, but I imagine that was followed by a course of antibiotics. Another reminder that we are lucky, medically speaking, to be living in the 21st century.

nix   Link to this

And now . . . dentistry! There seems to be no end to the interesting things to be learned on visiting this site. It has been a bracing start to most of my days for coming up on -- can it be? -- eight years.

My best holiday wishes and thanks to Phil Gyford and to the many annotators who have made this such a fascinating journey.

RICHARD D. GIVENS   Link to this

I echo the thoughts of "nix". A wonderful way to start the day Happy Holiday's all.

lancelot   Link to this

dentistry. wow.

as for the little kiss, I'm more curious about how Sam uses the word "mightily" elsewhere. That's the adverb unlocking the sentence.

Ruben   Link to this

When treating a dental or maxilar abcess (we do not know exactly), today's dentist will prefer you take an antibiotic, if possible at least some hours before the intervention and a few days after.
The reason is that the probably result of any dental intervention is a bacteremia (bacteria circulating in the blood). This can result in infection of an heart valve or other niceties like an abcess in the brain.

I cannot but emphasize the concept prevalent in Pepys time, used by Mr. Hollier 48 hours ago: "defluxion of humours".
This is the famous theory of the Humours. Wikipedia says:
"Humorism, or humoralism, is a discredited theory of the makeup and workings of the human body adopted by Greek and Roman physicians and philosophers. From Hippocrates onward, the humoral theory was adopted by Greek, Roman and Islamic physicians, and became the most commonly held view of the human body among European physicians until the advent of modern medical research in the nineteenth century.

The four humors of Hippocratic medicine were black bile (gr. melan chole), yellow bile (gr. chole), phlegm (gr. phlegma), and blood (lat. sanguis)."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Hmmn...I wonder if Hollier felt it wise to verify his utterly correct political/religious credentials in front of his increasingly important best client?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

If I were French, Spanish, Dutch, etc ambassador a man like Hollier would be a prime recruit for spy work. Not so well-established or socially connected to be immune from the temptations of steady pay yet likely (judging by Sam's and Jane Turner's confidence in him ) in the confidence of a number of well-placed adminstration officials. Easy access to a number of households and offices; no one surprised to find him lurking about late at night.

Eric Walla   Link to this

Yes, I tried that angle, but expected a line structured around "first the kiss, then the ..." Thus I guess he just truncated it with the assumption ... etc.

In other words, a diary entry, not literature. I've got to keep with the flow here ...

cum salis grano   Link to this

"...Was it also common to expect them to be molested?..."
John.
molesting in a sexual way an idea that came much later.
b. spec. To harass, attack, or abuse sexually.
1889 Jrnl. Anthropol. Inst. 18 386 It appears that the crew of an English barque..provoked the natives by molesting their women. 1938 Mississippi Valley Hist. Rev.

For Women, the only resort to unwanted attentions was a hat pin, which usually would get them further punishment, society has evolved from Cave man days but barely, women and children had to endure and still do in segments of the world accept unwanted attentions.

language hat   Link to this

"That amusement seemed to reveal a certain shallowness and/or smug superior."

Perhaps you might turn the same jaundiced eye on your own reaction; are you not being smugly superior to those who do not share your sobersided approach? I myself have often felt Sam's quiet amusement at another's passionate involvement in something of no great interest to me; this does not mean I look down on the person, and I am perfectly capable of understanding that someone else will have a similarly amused reaction when I start going on about Russian history or avant-garde jazz. Life is not a black-and-white affair, and it becomes much more bearable if you can approach it with a smile.

"Was it not common at the time to send out your children as servants in the houses of others? Was it also common to expect them to be molested?"

Yes and yes. Those were hard times (and, as csg points out, they still are in many places).

nix   Link to this

My mother (a raging left wing feminist all her life) told me that when she entered the work force, in the 1930s, women office workers expected to get their bottoms pinched occasionally, and didn't really think twice about it. She was much more offended by low wages than by off-color jokes and passes from bosses -- though she never ran into them at a 17th-century level, I'm sure.

Phoenix   Link to this

"Perhaps you might turn the same jaundiced eye ...etc."

Language hat this is not the place for personal aspersions but I do feel a response is in order. How you react to others and they to you is your affair and rightly so. However, far from being smugly superior, when I see people bemused by another's weakness or clumsy social skills my heart is engaged, especially if they are unaware of being laughed at. And I have little tolerance for those who do it. If that is viewed as 'jaundiced' so be it.

I stand by the observation that Sam is at times shallow and smug.

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