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.

31 Annotations

First Reading

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.)

Second Reading

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.ht…
It is worth a read

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Trainbands were companies of militia in England or the Americas, first organized in the 16th century and dissolved in the 18th. The term was used after this time to describe the London militia. http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclo…

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/1… and http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1…

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)

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

red herring

Some research published in 2008, a few years after the first reading of this passage makes the case that the phrase "red herring" with the figurative meaning of something that distracts from the question at hand dates only from 1807 (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red…). (And the whole idea that red (smoked) herrings were used to fool the hounds was disproved by Mythbusters in 2010.)

So Sam's "by the same token" (which DID have the same meaning back in 1659 as today) does not seem to be connected to the red herring. More likely, it's just an inelegant usage by Sam expressing the contradiction that his boot was mended but not mended.

Ensign Tom  •  Link

Re: Matt McIrvin March 1, 2003 above:

“… 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.”

If Pepys had taken ship and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to southern New England, he would have found certain areas of the countryside that resembled the Royal Forest he was then passing through, where the First Nations peoples had managed their forest lands for the same purpose of attracting deer. In the spring and fall, the people would set grass fires on their hunting grounds to kill saplings and burn any accumulated brushwood while leaving the mature trees unharmed. The result was a landscape of extensive grassy meadows interspersed with sheltering groves of trees, just the type of natural setting favoured by deer. From William Cronon’s 1983 book, “Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England”.

About two centuries later, when Catharine Parr Traill arrived in Upper Canada to make her home with her husband Thomas in the countryside near present day Peterborough, Ontario, she found not a dense primeval forest, but open areas of rolling grassland with scattered stands of oak and pine, “giving a sort of park-like appearance to this portion of the country.” An American farmer explained that, “… these plains were formerly famous hunting-grounds of the Indians, who, to prevent the growth of the timbers, burned them year after year; this, in the process of time, destroyed the young trees, so as to prevent them again from accumulating to the extent they formerly did. Sufficient only was left to form coverts; for the deer resort hither in great herds for the sake of a peculiar tall sort of grass with which these plains abound, called deer-grass, on which they become exceedingly fat at certain seasons of the year.” From Catharine Parr Traill’s 1836 book, “The Backwoods of Canada: Being Letters from the Wife of an Emigrant Officer”.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"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."

My reaction to this use of the description 'canal' is that this path was sunken -- many old roads in the UK are well below the level of the land around them, because of centuries of usage. Often these pathways have hedges on either side, so when it rains, it acts like a river or a drain, and you can't see anything when you are down in it.
Later some roads or driveways were dug down on purpose so they did not spoil the view from the country house (an 18th century technique called a Haha).

Canals have been around since ancient times, even if the Brits didn't build any until the end of the 17th century, so Pepys would have been familiar with the word. http://www.historyworld.net/wrldh….

He seems to have used a couple of homonyms today.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"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"

"Pepys, your hat looks like it's been through the wars."

"Uh, yes, it was wet out there. But it was an old one anyways."

"Buy yourself a new one, cousin. Here's 5 shillings for taking care of my Jem. I saw some very cavalier ones on a sale at the Plough today. A man is judged by his hat these days."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

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

Seems to me that tomorrow, or whenever Pepys catches Mr. Sheply sober, he'll quietly remind him that it needs to be repaired since he broke it. There must be locksmiths running around Whitehall Palace who can do the job. That leaves it up to Sheply to pay for it -- or discreetly hide the expense in My Lord's accounts.

If that doesn't work, a quiet word to Sandwich might get Shepley fired, but would get the job done.

Log in to post an annotation.

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