Monday 13 February 1659/60

To my office till noon, thence home to dinner, my mouth being very bad of the cancer and my left leg beginning to be sore again. After dinner to see Mrs. Jem, and in the way met with Catan on foot in the street and talked with her a little, so home and took my wife to my father’s. In my way I went to Playford’s, and for two books that I had and 6s. 6d. to boot I had my great book of songs which he sells always for 14s. At my father’s I staid a while, while my mother sent her maid Bess to Cheapside for some herbs to make a water for my mouth. Then I went to see Mr. Cumberland, and after a little stay with him I returned, and took my wife home, where after supper to bed.

This day Monk was invited to White Hall to dinner by my Lords; not seeming willing, he would not come. I went to Mr. Fage from my father’s, who had been this afternoon with Monk, who do promise to live and die with the City, and for the honour of the City; and indeed the City is very open-handed to the soldiers, that they are most of them drunk all day, and have money given them. He did give me something for my mouth which I did use this night.

42 Annotations

First Reading

Keith Wright  •  Link

For herbalists and hypochondriacs, the canker was first mentioned on the 9th.
The "Mayo Clinic's Book of Family Health" says that the cause of "aphthous ulcers" isn't clear; occurrence may be hereditary, due to repeated injury, to stress (as Lynne D. noted before), or possibly to dietary deficiencies--iron, B12, or folic acid. (Maybe a foodie can tell us which fruits or vegetables have been mentioned so far.)
Whether even modern medications help cure the affliction, or just mitigate the symptoms until the little beggar runs its course (usually 7-10 days), is a nice point. . . .

paul beard  •  Link


Do not eat chocolate, peas, cereals, peanuts, beer, gelatin or raisins. They contain arginine and the virus needs a certain amount of arginine to grow. You might try limiting these foods if you are prone to cold sores and eliminating them during a breakout.

Pepys and I share canker sore troubles (I used to get them regularly but watch my diet more now) and kidney stones: I just had my third one removed.

Lysine tablets would clear up the cankers: the jury is still out on what causes stones to form.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Minor Characters
CATAN -- no entry for her in Robert Latham's index volume to the diary. Perhaps he uses a different spelling.
PLAYFORD, John -- bookseller and publisher working at the Inner Temple.
CUMBERLAND, Richard (d. 1718) -- At school with Pepys at St. Paul's and Magdalene. Pepys saw him in church on 5 February but didn't say hello.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

A canker from pease porridge?

That mention of peas in Paul Beard's annotation above brought to mind the pease porridge Pepys supped with his wife on 1 February.

From then until the 9th, when we first read about the canker, seems like a long time, but if the Pepyses' pease porridge is anything like pea soup, then it tastes better on subsequent days.

Nine days still seems like a long time without refrigeration (oh, that's right -- it's winter). And you know what they say in the old rhyme: "Pease porridge hot/ Pease porridge cold . . ."

David Quidnunc  •  Link

John Playford, not so minor . . .
Phil has a page up for him, and
Roger Miller has an interesting annotation there:…

Emilio  •  Link

Kidney stones
Having had a couple of these myself (of the kind NOT requiring surgery, fortunately), they form naturally as certain substances reach saturation point in the bladder, at which point some of the excess crystallizes to form stones. They can be jagged or smooth, small enough to pass naturally or much too large. The body has various ways to prevent crystallizing from happening, the best of which of course is to keep a nice high ratio of fluids to solids in the urine. Drinking lots of water and not going to excess with substances, such as alcohol, that tend to dehydrate you are thus the best ways for those susceptible to prevent stones.
What contributes to stones depends on what the stone is made of. The most common ones (and my own particular ones) are made of calcium oxalate, which can form relating to eating lots of dairy products (rich in calcium) and lots of meat or green leafy vegetables (increasing oxalate levels) can be triggers, while vitamin A or the B-complex vitamins can help prevent them. The sheet of foods to watch out for that my doctor gave me contained most foods except onions, though, so the most important things for prevention seem to be drinking lots of fluids and keeping a balanced diet of many types of food.
This said, there are also various non-dietary conditions that can contribute to stones as well. For me, though, the dietary stuff has been most important (I knew I'd been drinking a lot of alcohol and relatively little water before my last stone, so I wasn't too surprised when it arrived). The NIH has quite a detailed site on stones here:….

gerry  •  Link

Catan is transcribed Catau in L&M and is described "Catau (Kate) Sterpin a maidservent to Elizabeth Pye of New Palace Yard".

Max Hadley  •  Link

There is an obscure connection between John Playford and General Monck, mentioned here:…

"The Lord Monk's March was published by John Playford; it's a splendid tune but not very march-like. (The collection it comes from is sometimes dated 1657, while Monk was in Dalkeith, but another tune in it can only have been given its title after the Restoration in 1660). General Monk's March, still used as a Morris dance tune in England, is more martial; this version comes from a much later source, an 18th century manuscript. Probably both tunes commemorate Monck's march on England at the end of his stay, after he decided to back the restoration of Charles II, a decision he reached at Dalkeith at the instigation of his Royalist brother."

The site contains annotations and midi versions of both tunes. Monck's March (the Morris tune) sometimes appears in the variant 'drunk's march'. In this, each dancer starts with a pint of beer which must be consumed during the dance. The final figure ends with each dancer turning the tankard upside down over their head, to prove the point. This variant is, I believe, modern (1970's?)

Glyn  •  Link

Catan is a maid of one of the neighbours. I've never heard the name before; could it be a version of Katie or Catharine?

David Milofsky  •  Link

As a life-long sufferer from cold sores, canker sores, whathave you, I'm skeptical about the role of diet in this affliction. I'm told stress may plan a role and there's no question that Sam's life is stressful at this point. All the same, it does seem that he goes on a bit about something that is after all a rather minor problem. No question he doesn't really have oral cancer since he lived another thirty years, but I'm wondering if this is really a simple canker sore.

language hat  •  Link

It's an old French nickname for Catherine; cf. this translation of Shakespeare ("Henry V" V.ii) from Voltaire's "Art dramatique":
HENRI. Oh! belle Catherine, ma foi, si vous m’aimez fort et ferme avec votre coeur français, je serai fort aise de vous l’entendre avouer dans votre baragouin, avec votre langue française me goûtes-tu, Catau?
[O fair Katherine, if you will love me soundly with your French heart, I will be glad to hear you confess it brokenly with your English tongue. Do you like me, Kate?]
(The Voltaire is here in full:… )

Glyn: “Catan” appears to be a typo in the Gutenberg version.

Phil  •  Link

I'm collecting any typos I've noticed and passing them on to David Widger, who prepared the Project Gutenberg text. I'll add this to the list I have so far. Feel free to email me any if you come across them.

Glyn  •  Link

Apologies, now realized that Gerry had already replied about Catau with much more accurate information.

Dana  •  Link

For an exhaustive look inside canker sores and their faster healing cousin, the fever blister, see….

Mr. Pepys' undoubted hypochondria aside, anyone who has had a canker sore at a strategic point inside the mouth knows that it focuses attention on itself to an alarming degree. I don't wonder that he goes on. A silver nitrate swab would soon put him right, but I doubt the herbalist carries such an item...

Fred Bacon  •  Link

General Monck and the D'Artagnan Romances

I was discussing this site with a friend the other day, when he became very excited at my (Sam's) description of Monck's entry into London, the bonfires and the roasted rumps. It turned out that he was currently reading Alexander Dumas' sequel to "The Three Musketeers" called "The Vicomte de Bragelonne". At least part of the novel deals with Monk and the Restoration. Dumas plays fast and loose with history, but I thought that others here might enjoy it.…

Pauline  •  Link

Project Gutenberg
For all you "superannuated English majors," Project Gutenberg needs volunteer proofreaders. Fun to do and is done by the page, so the time commitment is very flexible--your schedule. Go to the Project Gutenberg website, and the Distributed Proofreaders link is well marked.

Nix  •  Link

Cause of the canker --

Since "beer" is listed as one of the danger foods, wouldn't the scrupulously observed morning draught, and occasional afternoon tavern visit, be a more likely culprit than the pease porridge?

David Quidnunc  •  Link

RE: Cause of the canker

Oh, sure, Nix -- take the EASY route! Where's the challenge in THAT! :)

Keith Wright  •  Link

Back to the Mayo Clinic: if the canker develops a secondary infection, antibiotics may be required---another reason not to envy the past. As a urologist once told me, it's a wonder that everybody at this period didn't have urinary tract infections.

Pauline  •  Link

In my family (riddled with these canker sores), we were in pain and fussed and were "cantankerous." The word struck us as rightly derived from the word "canker." But then, we didn't have all this wonderful online access to dictionaries and work-knowledgeable people.

Nix  •  Link

The book exchange --

Very interesting sidelight glimpse of an economy in which transactions aren't standardized. It's hard for us today to imagine haggling over every purchase. That kind of deal is largely limited to buying a house or a car. In Pepys' day (and in most of the world today) it is the norm, not the exception.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

That's not surprising, given the cost of those books!

Compare them to Sam's overall salary of £50, and they’re pretty darn expensive. Sam obviously loved his books.

francesca  •  Link

Aside to all those cankersore sufferers: you've got to try this for your next bout with a mouthsore: go to your nearest chemist and purchase "Bonjela" which comes in a blue tube. Ingredients are: Choline salicylate, cetalkonium choride, and also ethanol, menthol, hypromellose4500, anise oil, sodium sachharin and water. It's made in England, so I always pick up a tube when I visit! (and it smells good too) and now back to your originally scheduled program "The Pepys Show" ;^)

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Couldn't herbs numb the pain?

paul beard  •  Link

Better living through herbalism --
Herbs wouldn't be that helpful unless they healed the canker, ie from the inside, as it were: it's hard to medicate the inside of your mouth, after all. Generally, a bandage is what we use to keep a wound medicated: try and bandage the inside of your cheek ;-)

I have found that lysine and abstinence from known causes works quite well.

M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

Regarding haggling,
I have heard that it was the Quakers who initiated the practice of giving a fair price at the outset and sticking to it.

Glyn  •  Link

"This day Monk was invited to White Hall to dinner by my Lords; not seeming willing, he would not come...(he)promises to live and die with the City, and for the honour of the City."

This is a good piece of intelligence for Pepys to send to Montagu. We know that General Monck is living in the City of London (near Broad Street) and that yesterday his wife moved out of lodgings in Whitehall in Westminster to join him. Presumably he is making it plain that any dispute between the aristocracy and the moneymen in the City will find him supporting the latter.

There must still have been detailed arguments about how to hold the new elections for Parliament. For instance, at present there is a House of Commons but no House of Lords (Cromwell abolished it) so maybe these lords want to bring it back (that's not a spoiler because I have no idea). It's just interesting that Monck is nailing his colours to the mast by supporting the City of London leaders so openly because it was only a few days ago that he was tearing down the walls and arresting them!

tamara  •  Link

fixed prices
I thought that a few very basic items did have fixed prices in this era (or perhaps it began somewhat later). Bread in particular since it was often sold by weight and indeed came to be classified to some degree by price: e.g., a "penny loaf."

Susan Mann  •  Link

Regarding the payment of cash "to boot" by one party to an exchange, even now the amount of cash paid by one party to make an "even" exchange is referred to as "boot", at least under U.S. tax law.

Grahamt  •  Link

To boot:
This phase is used in everyday British English exactly as Pepys uses it, i.e. meaning "besides, as well, additionally"
I hadn't realised that it is only used in legal/fiscal circles in the American English.

j.grahames.  •  Link

"To boot," encore...U.S. usage:
In our family this term is used as you describe, in addition to. Funny how all these little points come up which one never thought of until now.

Esme  •  Link

"...pease pudding in the pot, nine days old" was probably still edible because long ago people cottoned on to one of the ways of keeping food from spoiling -- reboiling it every day or two -- even though they did not understand the mechanism. They had a great need for a repertoire of food-preservation techniques.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"John Playford, not so minor"

Indeed, Quidnunc: L&M note John Playford almost monopolised the publishing of music at this time. The 'great book of songs which he sells always for 14s.was probably Select ayres and dialogues for one, two, and three voyces, to the theorbo-lute or basse-viol composed by John Wilson, Charles Colman, doctors in musick, Henry Lawes, William Lawes, Nicholas Laneare, William Webb, gentlemen and sevants to his late Majesty in his publick and private musick ; and other excellent masters of musick. Wilson, John, 1595-1674., Playford, John, 1623-1686? London: Printed by W. Godbid for John Playford, and are to be sold at his shop ..., 1659.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This day Monk was invited to White Hall to dinner by my Lords; not seeming willing, he would not come. "

Monck was anxious not to associate too closely with the Council of State in this crisis. (Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" promise to live and die with the City, and for the honour of the City"

A special court of aldermen, with Monck in attendance, had been held at Draper's Hall: LRO , Repert. 67, f. 43r. http://discovery.nationalarchives… Possibly Monck's reply to the Council of State was drawn up after this meeting. (L&M note)

Third Reading

Alter Kacker  •  Link

The older I get, the more amazed I am at the sheer busy-ness of Samuel’s daily life.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Alter Kacker -- if he stayed home, Elizabeth would have demanded he help with the laundry, or walk the dog!
So 1. he had an office to go to; he never knew when some money might become available, and he had to get there fast to claim some of it;
2. Mrs. Jem was in his care; she was a responsibility if not exactly paid employment;
3. he was collecting intelligence, for himself and for Sandwich. These were dangerous times; if the windowsmashers were coming his way, better be forewarned and lock up first. If Monck indicated a preference for something or someone, better take note.

If you were in the USA, I bet you were paying attention on January 6, 2021.
We had no idea if copycats would gather elsewhere. That's the most dangerous day I can remember recently. Before that I have to go back to 1969 when MLK and RFK were assassinated, and they closed my office so we could get home before the riots began. Fortunately, people in my area were satisfied by just marching so there was no violence either time near me.

Our advantage is that we can listen to the radio, watch on TV, or get updates on our cell phones. Pepys has no alternative but to seeking out the information.

He's only 27, and all this running around occurs in a fairly small area -- except for John Playford who, "from 1652 until his retirement kept a shop in the Inner Temple, near the church door" which Pepys says was between his home in Axe Yard and his father's on Salisbury Court.
Hhhhhmmmm ... a circuitous route I think, looking at the maps. "No no, Elizabeth -- it's THIS way!" -- "Oh look -- I had forgotten that I wanted a book. I'll just be a minute." Uh-huh.

Will Brooklyn  •  Link

"If you were in the USA, I bet you were paying attention on January 6, 2021.
We had no idea if copycats would gather elsewhere."

*Great* reminder, San Diego Sarah, about what it feels like to live through history in the 21st century.

Allow me:
On January 6, 2021, at 4:30, I was working in downtown Brooklyn. The three of us actually in the office (during that COVID season) were torn between pretending to work and watching the news on my laptop, which I put in the middle of the floor, so we could still social distance....

My daughter was 20 and at home, but my son was 18 and in downtown Manhattan with a girl. (I knew this because when I was texting him, he said "they" instead of naming one of his friends.) I texted him to come home.
"Because it’s getting dark and people get unpredictable during times like this. I’m on the train. I’ll be home in 20 minutes. DC is going to explode in 20 minutes."
"Are you reading the news?"
"Of course."
"It’s getting dark, and they still haven’t cleared the Capitol."

Now we know (in hindsight) that by 4:30, the Capitol was about to be cleared, and the worst of it was over, in terms of the mob at least.

The time before that must have been Biden's victory, in November 2020, when bells rang and there were impromptu parades, and before that (for me at least) was 9/11, but of course everyone in NYC at the time has a 9/11 story, so I won't go into it here....

Ensign Tom  •  Link

Speaking of January 6th and related events, I thought of Samuel Pepys while watching Cassidy Hutchinson give her testimony to the January 6th Committee. I don't know whether or not she kept a diary, but she was just a little younger than Pepys and, like him, was aware than she was living through historic events. These events and the words and actions of the people involved in them obviously registered in her mind and she was later able to recall them in some detail, unlike so many of her White House colleagues who would have us believe their memories are like sieves.

Ensign Tom  •  Link

"... and indeed the City is very open-handed to the soldiers, that they are most of them drunk all day, and have money given them."

I'm sure the tavern keepers and those pursuing other professions in town were just as eager for the soldiers to be given their back-pay as the troops themselves. No sooner do the men have their money than it's gone again, spent on drink and other pursuits.

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