Thursday 8 November 1660

This morning Sir Wm. and the Treasurer and I went by barge with Sir Wm. Doyley and Mr. Prin to Deptford, to pay off the Henrietta, and had a good dinner. I went to Mr. Davys’s and saw his house (where I was once before a great while ago) and I found him a very pretty man. In the afternoon Commissioner Pett and I went on board the yacht, which indeed is one of the finest things that ever I saw for neatness and room in so small a vessel. Mr. Pett is to make one to outdo this for the honour of his country, which I fear he will scarce better.

From thence with him as far as Ratcliffe, where I left him going by water to London, and I (unwilling to leave the rest of the officers) went back again to Deptford, and being very much troubled with a sudden looseness, I went into a little alehouse at the end of Ratcliffe, and did give a groat for a pot of ale, and there I did …1 [give a groat for a pot of ale and there I did shit. – L&M] So went forward in my walk with some men that were going that way a great pace, and in our way we met with many merry seamen that had got their money paid them to-day.

We sat very late doing the work and waiting for the tide, it being moonshine we got to London before two in the morning. So home, where I found my wife up, she shewed me her head which was very well dressed to-day, she having been to see her father and mother.

So to bed.

22 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and I found him a very pretty man"I wonder what did SP found so pretty about Mr Davy! Was it his clothes?his house?his beautiful eyes?or some inner beauty?

Sjoerd Spoelstra  •  Link

"for the honour of his country which I fear he will scarce better"
Apparently the yacht was not english, so probably it is the dutch made yacht "Mary", gift from the city of Amsterdam, that was mentioned on August 15th.
(… )

According to "Ships of the world" this refers to Peter Petts' yacht "Katherine". If that is the case i don't get the "honour" remark.
(… )

The "Mary" was used in three Anglo-Dutch wars and sank in 1675 near Holyhead.
In 1971 "... two groups of divers from the British Sub Aqua Club independently discovered the wreck site. Among the artifacts recovered were six English and two Dutch bronze guns, coins from the reigns of Elizabeth, Charles I, and Charles II, gold lockets, and various wares in silver and pewter."

cheska  •  Link

"...and being very much troubled with a sudden looseness, ".... "and there I did [sh*t] 1" From the footnote comment, along with getting to know Sam so well thru his writings, seems most likely he had diarrhea. Would alcohol and the way Sam imbibes in the stuff, cause such 'looseness' ? But now Im wondering if public houses had publick toilets in the 17th c.

vincent  •  Link

"...went back again to Deptford, and being very much troubled with a sudden looseness, I went into a little alehouse at the end of Ratcliffe, and did give a groat for a pot of ale, and there I did . . . 1 ..." Walnuts again, and looking for a "HoO" sorry loo.

vincent  •  Link

"pretty man": 'tis a common phrase today: asked and one gets Pretty Good:
Latin-pretium meaning worthy or of value? -ME -artful,tricky,sounding nice but don't be deceived? The artful dodger type?

vincent  •  Link

From: Sjoerd : "According to 'Ships of the world' this refers to Peter Petts' yacht 'Katherine'. If that is the case i don't get the 'honour' remark.”
Pett had not seen one let alone build any, at this time.…
I removed the brackets:
I do beleive that when Pett saw this Dutch offering, He was a bit envious and went out of his way to “Out do” the ship builders of Holland.
It created a new industry.
from site “…But the idea of pleasure yachts had taken hold, and four yachts of similar design - though of deeper draft and without leeboards - were ordered from the Royal Dockyards in 1662-63. Pepys described Katherene, designed by Peter Pett, as “one of the finest things that ever I saw for neatness and room in so small a vessel.” Other yachts soon followed, and by 1686, twenty-six had been commissioned. …” The merry monarch and brother had fun racing up and down in the “jag of the day”

Mary  •  Link

The Deptford yacht.

It's the sight of a foreign built yacht, 'one of the finest things that ever I saw for neatness and room in so small a vessel' that pricks Pett's pride in English shipbuilding and makes him determined to uphold his own country's honour by showing that an Englishman can build a vessel at least as good.

The 'Ships of the World' site quoted looks misleading.

Sjoerd Spoelstra  •  Link

The site of the "Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam" has this to report on the building of the yacht "Mary".

"While decorating ships for rich or influential people no costs or trouble were too much. In 1660 Amsterdam ordered a yacht as a present for the English king Charles II. For the gilding alone 983 "booklets" of gold foil were used, which would have cost the equivalent of 15 years salary for a VOC-ships captain!."

You can't help wondering if all this gold was still in place when the little ship was sent out in the Irish Sea in search of privateers, with 6 extra guns. The second hand "jag" looses its shine quickly !…

language hat  •  Link

"and I found him a very pretty man":
This is not the modern sense ('good-looking'), but an earlier, broader one, definition 3 in the OED (which includes this sentence among the citations):
A general epithet of admiration or appreciation corresponding nearly to 'fine' in its vaguest sense, or the modern 'nice': excellent, admirable, commendable; pleasing, satisfactory, agreeable. a Of persons: Having the proper appearance, manners, or qualities of a man, etc.; conventionally applied to soldiers: Brave, gallant, stout, war-like (chiefly Sc.). pretty fellow, a fine fellow, a 'swell', a fop: common in 18th century.

A few citations from around this time:
1519 Interl. Four Elements (Percy Soc.) 17 Than hold downe thy hede lyke a prety man, and take my blyssyng. 1570-6 Lambarde Peramb. Kent (1826) 217 The Bishop of Rochester stept into the Pulpit, like a pretie man, and gave the Auditorie a clerkly collation, and Preachement. 1649 Bp. Guthrie Mem. (1748) 28 If it had not been that the said Francis, with the help of two pretty men that attended him, rescued him out of their barbarous hands. 1660 Pepys Diary 11 May, Dr. Clerke, who I found to be a very pretty man and very knowing. 1709 Tatler No. 21 p.4 In Imitation of this agreeable Being, is made that Animal we call a Pretty Fellow; who being just able to find out, that what makes Sophronius acceptable, is a Natural Behaviour; in order to the same Reputation, makes his own an Artificial one.

language hat  •  Link

(Not this sentence, actually, but a similar one from last May.)

carolina  •  Link

One groat for a pot of ale ?
That seems very expensive, and only bought because he was "taken short"

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Public Privies in Public Houses
In answer to Cheska, it sounds like, from the way SP writes this entry, that he paid a groat for the pot of ale just so that he could use their "house of office" (privy). I've often been forced to do the same, here in the US, where public toilets are almost unknown in many cities.

Mary  •  Link

..'shewed me her head'...

Female readers will readily appreciate this point. Elizabeth has been to the hairdresser's today and has come away with a really good hair-do. She doesn't always wait up for Sam to get home at night, but this evening she's determined that he shall see her lovely, new look before the arrangement gets flattened and mussed up by the pillow.

Apropos pillows; I have heard it said that, in the 16th and 17th Centuries, it was the custom to sleep in a semi-recumbent position in bed, well propped up by pillows, and that this is why beds of the period often look very short to modern eyes. Does anyone know if this is really so, or just folk-wisdom?

Terry Bishop  •  Link

The Hamlet of Ratcliffe apparently derived its name from 'Red Cliff' - a stretch of red stone on the Stepmey foreshore used as a landing place because it was better than the mud elsewhere. The notorious (for footpads) Ratcliff Highway is now St George's Street, running from East Smithfield to Shadwell High Street. See….

Nigel Pond  •  Link

Re Short Beds:

Don't beds from this period seem short to us because in fact the people of the period were on the whole shorter than we are today?

dirk  •  Link

Short beds

Mary's information is correct. People generally slept in a propped up position. People were somewhat shorter than today, but not that much.

dirk  •  Link

Further to "Short beds"

There were basically three reasons why people preferred to sleep "propped up":

1. They simply learned to sleep like this as little children, and didn't really ask why (very much the same way we all use a pillow nowadays - and never wonder why);

2. Physicians were of the opinion that sleeping this way was healthier "because it kept the blood from running to the brain";
(Think of the huge amounts of food some people consumed before going to bed - the doctors may have been correct here to some degree.)

3. In some cases popular superstition also played a part: sleeping horizontally the way we do nowadays, would have resulted in a position not unlike that of a deceased person. The latter combined with nightmares resulting from a troubled digestion would make people feel very uncomfortable. Digesting the quantities of food I referred to above would have been slightly more comfortable sitting up in bed. (As we all know: don't lie down on a full stomach.)

Mary  •  Link

Sleeping propped up.

Can any physician confirm that a corollary to the above would also be that the elevated position would have had the result of ameliorating or masking any early symptoms of heart-failure or other cardio-vascular disease?

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

I know that my late mother-in-law, who died from congestive heart failure in her late seventies, used to have to sleep propped up because it was just too distressing for her to lie flat, so there may be something in Mary's suggestion.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Commons schedules accompting [sic] work for Pepys?…

Navy and Army Debts.

Resolved, That the Committee to whom the Examination of the Debts of the Navy and Army, and other publick Debts of the Kingdom, is referred, be revived: And that they do speedily examine the Debts of the whole Navy, in Charge before his Majesty's Return to England: And to sit de die in diem: And report the same to the House on Monday next: And Sir Thomas Clegys, who is added to the Committee, and Mr. Spry, are to take care hereof: And Mr. Pryn is also added to the Committee.


Ordered, That on Monday next Consideration be had of the Debts of the Navy; and of the Means of raising Monies for defraying thereof; and other the publick Debts of the Kingdom.

Bill  •  Link

"Mr. Pett is to make one to outdo this for the honour of his country, which I fear he will scarce better."

Sam changed his mind by January.

"with Commissioner Pett to his lodgings there (which he hath for the present while he is building the King’s yacht, which will be a pretty thing, and much beyond the Dutchman’s)"…

BillyPilgriim  •  Link

It would be really interesting to learn how people did cope being caught short. Sam knew to use a loo in the pub

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