Monday 27 August 1660

This morning comes one with a vessel of Northdown ale from Mr. Pierce, the purser, to me, and after him another with a brave Turkey carpet and a jar of olives from Captain Cuttance, and a pair of fine turtle-doves from John Burr to my wife. These things came up to-day in our smack, and my boy Ely came along with them, and came after office was done to see me. I did give him half a crown because I saw that he was ready to cry to see that he could not be entertained by me here.

In the afternoon to the Privy Seal, where good store of work now toward the end of the month. From thence with Mr. Mount, Luellin, and others to the Bull head till late, and so home, where about 10 o’clock Major Hart came to me, whom I did receive with wine and anchovies, which made me so dry that I was ill with them all night, and was fain to have the girle rise and fetch me some drink.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

was fain to have the girl rise
L&M use "girl" and not Wheatley's "girle". I don't think there was a difference in the shorthand so it's hard to tell why they came to a differing conclusion. An analysis of the Gutenberg shows that Wheatley seems to use this variant about half the time. A short review of the L&M for 1660 indicates that both spellings will be used in the future and, as in this case, more often than not their choice won't match Wheatley’s.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

per L&M "entertain: to retain, employ"

Paul Brewster  •  Link

I did receive with wine and a dish of anchovies
For some reason, Wheatley left out the phrase "a dish of".

Paul Brewster  •  Link

good stir of work
L&M are not sure of this change. They footnote it as "? 'store'". It would be tough to tell the difference in the shorthand but for some reason they make this change in the entries for both today and tomorrow.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Northdowne Ale
per L&M: "Margate Ale: Northdown was in the parish of St John the Baptist."
Captain Cuttance (of the Turkey-carpet and Jarre of Olives) sent him 12 bottles of the same stuff on the 7th of May 1660.…

chip  •  Link

OK Vincent, how many tuppence, ha'penny, farthings and mites in a crown? You missed that one. Watching Pepys worry about his personal worth of a 100L or so, now doubled, and of selling a post for a 1000 pounds or so, sounds as silly as our worrying about tens of thousands of pounds or dollars will to people 300 years hence. That joke of inviting Bill Gates to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The infleciton is different for him.

chip  •  Link

Notice Pepys does not offer the olives or what on earth may be Turkey-carpet? Does Hart bring the anchovies with him or is this something Pepys has lying about the house? Didn't someone give him anchovies recently?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

As a kidney (or bladder) stone sufferer, Sam should not be eating anchovies. They also contribute to gout. One wants to shout back through the centuries to warn him.

vincent  •  Link

Turkish Carpet " Still a prized possession " So many googles to From Constantinople or Istanbul to Kobul and all the other 'STANS ' there are so many sites to pick: and designs.…

Mary  •  Link

The term 'Turkey carpet'
came to be used of carpets of almost any Eastern origin that were highly figured and brightly coloured. In time the term was also applied to carpets of local manufacture that imitated these designs. On finds references to Turkey carpets for the next 200 years and more.

Roger Arbor  •  Link

Good grief! A Half-a-Crown tip! Dispensing such a fortune on the lowest servant in the household speaks of real extravagance.

Chip... a Crown was 5 shillings... 60 pence... you can work out the ha'pence and farthings yourself! Half-a-Crown (I have a few) was also known as two-and-six for obvious reasons!

Frank G.  •  Link

"a Crown was 5 shillings' 60 pence'”

Surely 5 shillings, being a quarter of a pound, is 25 pence in modern cash.

Mary  •  Link

The 5 shilling crown was worth 60d. (60 pence) in old money, but these days 25p. (25 pence) in 'new' money.
1 shilling = 12 pence = 24 ha'pence etc. for Pepys.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"a pair of fine turtle-doves from John Burr"
So far there is no evidence that Sam *solicited* any of these little tokens (Northdown ale, a brave Turkey carpet, a jar of olives), but as they all come from folks concerned with naval matters, we can presume that they will be preceded (or, more likely, followed) by importunings for his favor.
It will take a man of great moral character (and perhaps more punctilio than licentious Sam has so far shown) not to be swayed by such, and a man of rigorous modesty not to come to believe that he is worthy of them solely by virtue of his shining character ....

Roger Arbor  •  Link

As one who loves a 'decent ale' I wonder if one might still obtain Northdown Ale, or something like it?

John Richards  •  Link

The vessel of Northdown Ale SP records would have been stoneware, probably saltglazed with a face moulded on the shoulder, commonly known as bellarmines. There were also leather drinking vessels called bottels, used in the 16th and 17th century. Glass bottles only became popular after the glass tax of 1847 was lifted.

Francis Cobb was the only brewer mentioned in Margate by Peter Mathias in his The Brewing Industry in England 1700-1830, which is a bit late. He was a navel contract brewer.

CAMRA's Good Beer Guide makes no reference sadly to a Northdown brew. Mind you - after this - a micro brewery will probably start brewing it again!

Paul L  •  Link

Northdown Ale
A bit of googling suggests that Northdown is a type of hop and is used in a number of ales.
A company called Broughton, based in the Scottish borders, mentions a Northdown Ale in their specifications list… but doesn't say much more about it.

Glyn  •  Link

I don't think the half-crown was a gratuity as such, more like a payment to say sorry that Pepys could not offer him a job (i.e. entertain him) in his household.

Incidentally, has anyone worked out how much stuff Sam has been given this month? - it seems a huge amount.

vincent  •  Link

I am sure Glyn answer is correct, Severance (guilt) payment. A maid got each week 9d 1/4, so the Kid gets 6 weeks and 4 days pay: how many? get a months severance when laid off or redundated.

john lauer  •  Link

turkey carpets
must have been what my grandfather sold as 'oriental rugs' in the dry-goods/ general store in the midwestern US more than 100 years ago.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

SMACKS, small Vessels with one Mast which attend Men of War in carrying the Men or Provisions on Board.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

About 40 Years ago one --- Prince of this place drove a great Trade here in brewing a particular Sort of Ale, which from its being first brewed at a place called North-down in this Parish went by the name of North-down Ale, and afterwards was called Mergate Ale. But whether its owing to the Art of brewing this liquor the dying [?] with Inventor of it, or the humour of the Gentry and People altering to the liking the Pale North Country Ale better, the present brewers vend little or none of what they call by the name of Mergate-Ale, which is a great disadvantage to their Trade.
---The history and antiquities ecclesiastical and civil of the Isle of Tenet in Kent. J. Lewis, 1723.

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

Yeah, wine and anchovies at 10 p.m. would not make for a good night's sleep, especially after previous libations at the Bull Head.

Sam Ursu  •  Link

Hold on a minute! You mean to tell me that someone gave Pepys TWO turtle doves as a present and NOBODY is going to mention the 12 Days of Christmas song? What??

Also, this is the first I've ever heard of anyone ever giving someone (who isn't a spouse or close family member) birds as a present - that's quite a "gift" considering how much upkeep and equipment you'd need to maintain them. And who has a spare birdcage lying around the house?


PS - the "!2 Days of Christmas" song was published in 1780, which makes me wonder just how long the tradition of giving people birds as a gift was around.

Betty T.  •  Link

Thank you @Sam Ursu - my thoughts exactly! I'm glad not to be the only one singing "12 Days of Christmas" in my head at the end of August. I am wondering though if the two doves were meant for immediate consumption, so no need for maintenance.

RM  •  Link

Alas, the Northdown hop mentioned above by Paul L is a 20th century hybrid developed in the 1960s as a bittering hop for English character ales, and better able to resist disease. It was released for commercial use by the brewing trade in 1971. It is used in one of my favourite London ales, Fuller's E.S.B., but that's as close to Pepys as it gets.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... about 10 o’clock Major Hart came to me, whom I did receive with wine and anchovies, which made me so dry that I was ill with them all night, ..."

Someone who goes to the trouble of finding you, and drops in at 10 at night, must have come for a reason, Pepys. But your -- self-inflicted -- dispepsia take over the Diary. Shame on you.

Did he bring a secret letter from Sandwich?
Did he want a job?
Was he hoping you were out so he could see Elizabeth?
Did he bring a command from the Duke of York to be at a meeting at 5 a.m. at Whitehall?

You are so frustrating sometimes!

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