Wednesday 9 December 1668

Up, and to the Office, but did little there, my mind being still uneasy, though more and more satisfied that there is no occasion for it; but abroad with my wife to the Temple, where I met with Auditor Wood’s clerk, and did some business with him, and so to see Mr. Spong, and found him out by Southampton Market, and there carried my wife, and up to his chamber, a bye place, but with a good prospect of the fields; and there I had most infinite pleasure, not only with his ingenuity in general, but in particular with his shewing me the use of the Parallelogram, by which he drew in a quarter of an hour before me, in little, from a great, a most neat map of England — that is, all the outlines, which gives me infinite pleasure, and foresight of pleasure, I shall have with it; and therefore desire to have that which I have bespoke, made. Many other pretty things he showed us, and did give me a glass bubble, to try the strength of liquors with. This done, and having spent 6d. in ale in the coach, at the door of the Bull Inn, with the innocent master of the house, a Yorkshireman, for his letting us go through his house, we away to Hercules Pillars, and there eat a bit of meat: and so, with all speed, back to the Duke of York’s house, where mighty full again; but we come time enough to have a good place in the pit, and did hear this new play again, where, though I better understood it than before, yet my sense of it and pleasure was just the same as yesterday, and no more, nor any body else’s about us. So took our coach and home, having now little pleasure to look about me to see the fine faces, for fear of displeasing my wife, whom I take great comfort now, more than ever, in pleasing; and it is a real joy to me. So home, and to my Office, where spent an hour or two; and so home to my wife, to supper and talk, and so to bed.

13 Annotations

jean-paul  •  Link

I have not find anything in my OED copy defining a "bye place" (cf. "…a bye place, but with a good prospect of the fields"), but a Google search reveals that in the old days, some high-floor room of a house would often be named as such, because people would wave goodbye to their departing guests from its window. Is it in this sense that Pepys is using it? (Today, the balcony has to do for it!)

jean-paul  •  Link

Sorry about the double post, pressing the "Post" button sent my Safari browser into never-ending spinning-wheel mode twice. Good idea i checked with Chrome!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Bye n.
1. A thing not directly aimed at; something which is a secondary object of regard; an object by the way, etc.; as in on or upon the bye, i. e., in passing; indirectly; by implication. (Obs. except in the phrase by the bye.) "The Synod of Dort condemneth upon the bye even the discipline of the Church of England."

Mary  •  Link

a bye place.

I take this to mean that the chamber is in an out of the way location, perhaps reached by unconventional means. e.g. by an outside stair at the back of some larger building or in a secluded corner off an alleyway.

Chris Faulkner  •  Link

a bye place, but with a good prospect of the fields; ...
Oh my, to have had a camera back then and to see now the view as it was. This is now one of the most built upon areas in the world, does anyone know how far it is to a real field now? (places like Lincoln's Inn Fields don't count)

languagehat  •  Link

"a bye place"

I agree with Mary's analysis.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Did Pepys use his new hydrometer to justify a pub crawl with his new coach?

Has anyone an idea about what is meant by SP "having spent 6d. in ale in the coach, at the door of the Bull Inn, with the innocent master of the house, a Yorkshireman, for his letting us go through his house,...."?

Nate  •  Link

Terry, could it be reach the privy without going through the inn?

Jenny  •  Link

"letting us go through his house.."

Possibly they took a short cut in the coach through an alley way or yard which belonged to the Inn.

Mary  •  Link

letting us go through his house.

Jenny's thought chimes with mine. An inn-yard was an integral part of the establishment, not to be used by all and sundry as a short cut.

sue nicholson  •  Link

There was a Bull Inn on High Holborn (Ogilby and Morgan's map 1676) and there are plenty of examples in the diary of Sam using the "house of office" at an inn when needed. So the route is: leave Mr Spong's chambers, coach goes up to the top of Chancery Lane, right into High Holborn and the Bull is the first inn on the left. Into Bull Inn yard, quick jug of ale and visit to facilities behind inn then back down Chancery Lane to Hercules Pillars on Fleet St.
Speaking as a Yorkshire woman I'm disappointed Sam didn't record exactly what the landlord said.
"Excuse me, my man, could my wife and I use the bathroom?"
" Aye, sithee. Will that be one pint of ale or two?"

sue nicholson  •  Link

Looking at the Ogilby and Morgan map of1676 as indexed by John Fisher and Roger Cline in the "A-Z of Restoration London", there was a Bull in just round the corner from Mr Spong's chambers. You go up Chancery Lane, Right into High Holborn and the the Bull Inn Yard is first inn on your left.
Time for a quick pint and use the bathroom then back down Chancery Lane to Fleet St and a meal at Hercules Pillars.
As a Yorkshire woman I'm disappointed Sam didn't record the conversation with the landlord !
"The house of office? Aye, sithee, it's just through there sir. Now, will that be one pint of ale or two?"

Glyn  •  Link

The Bull was one of many inns along Bishopsgate, and according to one writer: "each had its approach through a low archway into a cobble-stone yard with galleries on three sides fenced by wooden balustrades, behind which were rows of bedchambers". It was on the main road north out of London and was a recognised coach starting point and terminus. There's more information on its own page.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.