Friday 17 August 1660

To the office, and that done home to dinner where Mr. Unthanke, my wife’s tailor, dined with us, we having nothing but a dish of sheep’s trotters. After dinner by water to Whitehall, where a great deal of business at the Privy Seal. At night I and Creed and the judge-Advocate went to Mr. Pim, the tailor’s, who took us to the Half Moon, and there did give us great store of wine and anchovies, and would pay for them all.

This night I saw Mr. Creed show many the strangest emotions to shift off his drink I ever saw in my life.

By coach home and to bed.

26 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

"strangest evasions to shift off his drink"
Per L&M: Evasions not emotions
“It was often customary for each member of a drinking party in turn to propose and pay for a toast: to ‘shift it off’ was to miss one’s turn … John Creed, as a Puritan, may have objected to toasts on priciple.”

On the other hand he may just have been tight with his money.

The change from "emotion" to "evasion" presents an interesting case for the OED. They may have been lead astray into creating a whole new sense for the phrase "shift off" by the Wheatley interpretation. I think L&M has the better case for a simple instance of meaning “c” below but again it's all in the short hand.

“19 Shift off

b. colloq. To get rid of the effects of (drink).
1660 Pepys Diary 17 Aug., I saw Mr. Creed show many of the strangest emotions to shift off his drink I ever saw in my life.
[Note that’s the only quotation under this meaning.]
c. To evade, turn aside (an argument); to evade fulfilment of (a duty, a promise).
1577 tr. Bullinger’s - Let vs not lye, nor goe about with subtiltie to shifte off the othe that once we haue made. 1674 Hickman Quinquart. Hist - The calling of a Councel had been shifted off by Leo the X. a1768 Secker Serm - Many of them shift off the Subject, as well and as soon as they can. 1774 Reid Aristotle’s Logic - Conceiving that he intended to shift off his second payment.”

Danski  •  Link

The Companion entry that languagehat has added to Creed's notes in the "People" section seems to bear out his tight-fistedness (Creed's, not lh's!). In any case, Sam's eyebrows have been raised sufficiently for him to make special mention of his behaviour. Although they are supposedly friends, they are also in direct competion for Montagu's favour; perhaps a little of this rivalry is creeping in here.

vincent  •  Link

I rather like the idea of skinflint. I have met so many who would participate in the imbibing but kept the lid on their purse so tight that no light got to the money that the moths were having a field day.

chip  •  Link

Pepys can never mention Creed but find some fault or deficiency with him. I think there is more than rivalry here. He genuinely dislikes the fellow. And not the least for his parsimony. Are sheep's trotters what they seem to be? Pepys seems ashamed by the fare he is forced to offer.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

a great deal of business at the Privy Seal
just yesterday SP noted that he'd hit a lull and we speculated that it was tailing off.

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Yep, trotters are boiled sheep feet and I think it's a regional delicacy - at least it was in the 1860s for the costermongers….

Grahamt  •  Link

Pig's trotters are still eaten in Britain and France, but this is the first time I have come across sheep's trotters

David Duff  •  Link

My first nervous venture into this erudite comments section but I too am fascinated by the sheep's trotters. Anyone know of anywhere they are served today? Has anyone tasted them?
David Duff

gerry  •  Link

I too had never heard of anyone eating sheep's trotters but googling it gives a number of recires from around the world.

brad W  •  Link


Don't know how much credence to lend this source, but didn't Granny Clampitt used to threaten to serve people "pickled pigs feet" on TV? The few times I've had a chance to check some of the Beverly Hillbillies' outrageous-sounding Appalachain habits against authentic sources, they've been verified as true. I was floored the first time I heard an erudite English literature teacher pronounce "victuals" correctly.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: a great deal of business at the Privy Seal

Yep, Paul, mea culpa for basing my assumption on a single data point. Seems as if he'll make some money off the Privy Seal post yet.

As for pig's feet, pickled or otherwise ... they're easy to find in here in Northern Virginia, right outside Washington, D.C., along with some even more unsavory fare (pork brains, anyone?) that my 7-year-old son delights in pointing out to me whenever we shop together. Haven't seen any sheep trotters, though...

maureen  •  Link

Pigs trotters readily available here in central London - for home cooking and in restaurants.

Roger Miller  •  Link

I'd never heard of sheep trotters either but on googling I found several references including this section from Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor (1861) 'OF THE PREPARATION AND QUANTITY OF SHEEP'S TROTTERS, AND OF THE STREET-SELLERS.'…

Not exactly gourmet fare!

john lauer  •  Link

brad, I don't know what "correct" is any more, but:
"The modern pronunciation of victual, (vitl), represents an Anglicized pronunciation of the Old French form vitaille, which was borrowed into English in the early 14th century. The modern English spelling reflects the fact that in both French and English the word was sometimes spelled with a c, and later also with a u, under the influence of its Late Latin ancestor victualia, meaning 'provisions.' The word is now occasionally spelled vittle rather than victual, but in either case the pronunciation is (vitl)." -AHD.
Pardon the lack of (helpful) symbols in the above quote.

Sam Sampson  •  Link

Trotters, both Pig & Sheep
Should be easily available anywhere in New Zealand. Probably most folk only get "Shanks", ie, no hoof attached. My 'Personal Source' provides the full-blown article - the gelatine contained is great for making "brawn". He'll also send any "liver & lights" components needed for Haggis. Methinks he can produce much the same tucker as SP's butcher would.

Paul B  •  Link

Victual or vittle:
I wonder whether the word "victual" is the derivation of the English Black Country term "Bostin' Fittle", which means good food.

Grahamt  •  Link

Today, the organisation that represents British pub landlords is called The Licenced Victuallers (pronounced vitellers) Association. I understand Australia has something similar.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

SHEEPS-TROTTERS, the Feet and part of the Legs of Weathers, Sheep, &c. of which they make excellent Food, and to have a side Dish of Sheeps-Trotters farced, let the Trotters be well Scalded, and afterwards Stew'd in some good Broth, with a little Parsley and Chibol, taking Care that they be not over-done. As soon as they are taken out, let the Foot be cut off, leaving the Legs, the Bones of which must be taken away, and the Skins spread upon the Table or Dresser, in order to be stuffed with a little of the Farce of Croquets, or some other, and rolled one by one : Then when you have laid 'em in a Dish, and sprinkled 'em with a little melted Fat, they must be neatly breaded on the Top, and brought to a Colour in the Oven. When they are colour'd, let the Fat be drain'd from them, and let the side of the Dish be rubb'd with a Shallot, pouring a little Ragoe upon them, or a Mushroom-Cullis, before they are serv'd up Hot to the Table.
Sheeps-Trotters, may also be drest with White Sauce, Frying them in Lard, with fine Herbs, young Chibols, Pepper, Salt and Nutmeg: The Sauce must be thickned with the Yolks of Eggs, and Rose Vinegar, Garnishing the Dish with the Trotter-Bones fry'd in Paste and Parsley.
---Dictionaire oeconomique. N. Chomel, 1725.

Bill  •  Link

To Shift off. To defer; to put away by some expedient. Rogers.
---A Dictionary Of The English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1756.

...but by various Illusions of the Devil they are prevailed on to shift off the Duties, and neglect the Conditions on which Salvation is promised.
---Nineteen sermons. J. Rogers, 1735.

Dick Wilson  •  Link

One may buy pigs feet at the local supermarket, as well as at specialty butcher shops, year round. They are frequently served on New Years Day in the Southeastern US, with collard greens.

Bill  •  Link

Not at my house!

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘trotter, n. Etym: < trot v. compare medieval Latin trotārius . .
. . 3. Usually pl. The feet of a quadruped, esp. those of sheep and pigs as used for food . .
. . c1560 J. Lacy Wyl Bucke his Test. (Copland) sig. B.i, For to make the Trotters of the Bucke. Take the fowre fete and skalde them ..and that ben the Trotters.
. . 1872 M. Jewry Every-day Cookery 72/2 Perfectly cleanse and blanch the trotters.’

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a great deal of business at the Privy Seal"

We are still in heavy in a regime change in which every agency is staffing up anew -- think a party change in Washington, D.C, -- and every job change or new job appointment requires a certification by the Privy Seal.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Bill's Trotters recipes seem quite advanced for Elizabeth (aged 20) and her maid, Jane Birch (aged 13) to be preparing in their new kitchen. Perhaps they were not expecting company, and were experimenting?

Better get a real cook, Pepys, if you're going to be bringing company home.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys confessed he had not been following the news/rumors recently. Rev. Ralph gives us an idea of what was brewing in his diary notes today.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sir Heneage Finch MP reports to the Commons on his conference with the Lords about the Bill of Indemnity and Oblivion -- they appear to me not to want to do this.

One part of Finch's speach I found impactful:
"It is true, he said, the Thrones of Kings are established by Judgment and Mercy: But Mercy had been shewn already; and nothing remains now, for Support of his Throne, but Justice:
And therefore his Lordship concluded this Point with Advice; "Let the Wickedness of these Men fall on their own Heads; but let the Throne of our King be established forever."

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