Tuesday 28 February 1659/60

Up in the morning, and had some red herrings to our breakfast, while my boot-heel was a-mending, by the same token the boy left the hole as big as it was before. Then to horse, and for London through the forest, where we found the way good, but only in one path, which we kept as if we had rode through a canal all the way. We found the shops all shut, and the militia of the red regiment in arms at the Old Exchange, among whom I found and spoke to Nich. Osborne, who told me that it was a thanksgiving-day through the City for the return of the Parliament. At Paul’s I light, Mr. Blayton holding my horse, where I found Dr. Reynolds in the pulpit, and General Monk there, who was to have a great entertainment at Grocers’ Hall. So home, where my wife and all well. Shifted myself,1 and so to Mr. Crew’s, and then to Sir Harry Wright’s, where I found my Lord at dinner, who called for me in, and was glad to see me. There was at dinner also Mr. John Wright and his lady, a very pretty lady, Alderman Allen’s daughter. I dined here with Will. Howe, and after dinner went out with him to buy a hat (calling in my way and saw my mother), which we did at the Plough in Fleet Street by my Lord’s direction, but not as for him. Here we met with Mr. Pierce a little before, and he took us to the Greyhound Tavern, and gave us a pint of wine, and as the rest of the seamen do, talked very high again of my Lord. After we had done about the hat we went homewards, he to Mr. Crew’s and I to Mrs. Jem, and sat with her a little. Then home, where I found Mr. Sheply, almost drunk, come to see me, afterwards Mr. Spong comes, with whom I went up and played with him a Duo or two, and so good night. I was indeed a little vexed with Mr. Sheply, but said nothing, about his breaking open of my study at my house, merely to give him the key of the stair door at my Lord’s, which lock he might better have broke than mine.

26 Annotations

Emilio  •  Link

At Paul's I light

This would be 'alight,' per the OED,

1. To spring or jump lightly down from (of obs.) a horse; hence, To dismount from a horse or descend out of a conveyance.

c. 1000 AElfric Gram. xxx. sec. 3 191 Dissilio, ic of alihte. 1530 Palsgr. 420/2, I alight downe of a horse. a1674 Clarendon Hist. Reb. III. xiv. 404 His Majesty alighted out of his Coach.

Laura Brown  •  Link

By the same token

Is Pepys using this phrase in a different way than a modern writer would use it? It seems that way from the context. I thought perhaps it was an elaborate pun referring to the phrase "red herrings" earlier in the sentence, but that didn't make much sense either. I did check the dictionaries on the reference page, but didn't find any meanings besides the familiar one.

Derek  •  Link

Mr Blayton. Does anyone have more information on Mr Blayton who seems to have been encountered - almost by chance? - about Ware on 24 Feb, has journeyed with Sam and his father to Cambridge, drunk with him at the Rose tavern on 26 Feb (and possibly accompanied him at other times in Cambridge?), then travelled back to London with him and today held his horse while he went into St Paul's?

On another note, I love the disgruntled tone of 'which lock he might better have broke than mine'!

john  •  Link

Assume that the "red regiment" meant a red uniform...does anyone know what its
composition was? More than one color, oter regiments, in the city militia?

michael f vincent  •  Link

Mr Blayton: he appears for the trip only, was he just keeping a watchful eye?, was he me lords man? any leads?

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Line 6: "rode through a canal"

L&M edition says: "through the Forrest, where we found the way good, but only in one path; which we kept as if we had rode through a KENNEL all the way." [My emphasis]

Perhaps that gives a different idea of what they were riding through on that one path. Liza Picard's "Restoration London" mentions that horse manure was a typical inconvenience on any road. Maybe dog manure as well?

I wonder if this was a bowdlerization or a mistake.

steve h  •  Link

Red herring

A smoked herring. The origin of the proverbial red herring, it seems, came from dragging a smoked herring across a trail to distract hunting dogs. It also comes up in the proverb "Nor fish, nor fowl, nor good red herring," an equivalent fo "neither fish nor fowl."

Mary  •  Link


Kennels in streets have nothing to do with dogs. They are surface drains or gutters, usually formed down the middle of the street with the 'road'surface sloping towards them from either side.

Fred Bacon  •  Link

Canal vs. Kennel

Very interesting point, Mary. On my first reading, I interpreted the canal remark as indicating that the road was well defined. A boat on a canal certainly can't become lost! Its apparent that Sam has a much more literal mind than I have. Now it sounds as though the road was running with water for most of the way. I rather picture the road as being heavily rutted from daily use with those ruts filled with water.

Alternatively, using the idea of a kennel as a sort of gutter along the side of a road, then it may not be flooded so much as filled with mud and litter after the previous rains.

For years, I've wanted to read Sam's diary. I'm glad that I waited until now. This place is like a book club.

Pauline  •  Link

He says "the way was good, but only in one path..."
Then he likens sticking to that path to riding "through a kennel all the way." I too took canal/kennel, used here, to mean a well defined path and assumed this path was fairly clear and dry this day, by report and compared with other paths.

mary  •  Link

More about that kennel/canal

Perhaps the point that Pepys is making is that he and his company had to ride single-file in order to stick to the good, but narrow, kennel-like path, rather than being able to ride companionably abreast.

michael f vincent  •  Link

London through the forest, where we found the way good, but only in one path..
This was Crown lands. Probably only woodland paths (trails) available. we kept AS IF we had rode through a canal all the way"
emphasis mine. To me SP never traveled through a real forest before as most forests had been used up for wood. Heating was being done with soft Newcastle Coal. Thank goodness for royalty needing to hunt game . Even today Epping Forest , Hatfield Broad Oak will give a sense of times gone by.
It is a good desciption of travel thru a forest on a trail (a footpath) lined by trees and undergrowth.

Emilio  •  Link

"as the rest of the seamen do, talked very high again of my Lord"
'Talking high' has a different sense here than Pepys's usual one of "speaking proudly and angrily." Here it seems to mean almost the opposite, "full of praise and high estimation." Here's what the OED says:
2. fig. a. In or to a high position, degree, estimation, amount, price, etc.; to a great extent, greatly; forcibly; strongly.
a 1225 Ancr. R. 352 Heie stod he thet spec of thisse wise! c1340 Cursor M. 7304 (Trin.) For youre richesse to heye ye rise. Satir. Poems Reform. vi. 24 Thocht he war neuer exalted so hie. 1641 French Distill. v. (1651) 113 Rectifie the Spirit as high as you can.
The OED also shows the phrase can have at least one other sense that might be relevant at some point, "to speak loudly." This sense does seem to have almost died out by Pepys's time, though - the last example comes from:
1648 Ld. Herbert Life (1886) 207 You must do me the honour to speak high, for I am deaf.

Matt McIrvin  •  Link

By "forest," did Pepys necessarily mean woodland?


Here it's explained that the royal forests were actually a mixture of different types of land, intended for raising deer; though there was woodland in them, they were never completely wooded. I don't know what the word meant by 1660, though.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

'by the same token the boy left the hole as big as it was before'

I don't understand this - 'by the same token' doesn't make sense to me in this context, and why would the boy mending the boot heel have left the hole as big as it was before? Can anybody else explain it?

Susanna  •  Link

Red Herrings and Boot Holes

I think Pepys means that he had a mistaken belief that the boot-boy would actually fix his broken heel. He was, however, misled by a red herring like the ones he ate for breakfast, and the hole in the heel was "as big as it was before." That's why he uses "by the same token" to link the two thoughts.

Mary  •  Link

The Militia of the red regiment

L & M advise that the City Militia was divided into six regiments of infantry, (called trainbands)distinguished by the colour of their banners: red, blue,orange,white, green and yellow respectively.

mary  •  Link


No, not a typo. These were originally called trained-bands but, as will happen, became reduced to 'trainbands' in everyday speech. This abbreviated form of the term was already in use by 1630.

Martin K. Foys  •  Link

Grocer's Hall
The Grocers dealt in spices, drugs and tobacco, usually in bulk, hence their name (gross-ers). By the sixteenth century the guild had become quite powerful, but by Pepys' time the apothecary trade had broken away, and left the Grocers near ruin, and possibly something of a joke.

Beaumont, in the Jacobean play"The Knight of the Burning Pestle," pokes a great deal fun at George the grocer, a character who exemplifies the pretension of the new middle class, and wishes his servant Rafe, to act the part of a chivalric knight, and that a theatre troup should stage a great spectacle in Grocers Hall.

I wonder what it means that Monck has gone there. Is he consolidating support among the lower ranks of the merchant class?

For a full history, see:

alicia  •  Link

Regarding General Monck, "who was to have a great entertainment at Grocers’ Hall.” The Grocer’s don’t seem to have been completely a joke in 1659/60 - only ten years before, they had put on a pretty good show for
Cromwell and Fairfax [who] were entertained here in 1649: ‘The musick was only drums and trumpets, the feast very sumptuous, no healths drunk nor any incivility passed’. Fairfax was presented with a basin and ewer in beaten gold and Cromwell with £300 of gold plate and 200 pieces of gold..”
(From the web site of the Worshopful Company of Grocers
kindly provided by Martin in the previous post.)

ELeeming  •  Link

It seems a pretty small matter to break into someone else's room. Would the lock have been easy to replace?

Nick Hedley  •  Link

I think that train-band is correct, as in The Diverting History of John Gilpin by William Cowper, although he was rather later (1731–1800)
JOHN GILPIN was a citizen
Of credit and renown,
A train-band captain eke was he
Of famous London town.
see http://www.bartleby.com/41/324.html
It is worth a read

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"General Monk there, who was to have a great entertainment at Grocers’ Hall."

Monck was now made free [a member (as a distinguished person an honorary member)] of all twelve city livery companies in turn: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/03/06/ and http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/03/06/#c2712

The sermon at St. Paul's was by Dr Edward Reynolds, a moderate Presbyterian (sooin to became Bishop of Norwich), much in demand at this juncture as a preacher on state occasions. (L&M footnote)

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