Monday 19 November 1660

(Office day). After we had done a little at the office this morning, I went with the Treasurer in his coach to White Hall, and in our way, in discourse, do find him a very good-natured man; and, talking of those men who now stand condemned for murdering the King, he says that he believes that, if the law would give leave, the King is a man of so great compassion that he would wholly acquit them.

Going to my Lord’s I met with Mr. Shepley, and so he and I to the Sun, and I did give him a morning draft of Muscadine. And so to see my Lord’s picture at De Cretz, and he says it is very like him, and I say so too. After that to Westminster Hall, and there hearing that Sir W. Batten was at the Leg in the Palace, I went thither, and there dined with him and some of the Trinity House men who had obtained something to-day at the House of Lords concerning the Ballast Office.

After dinner I went by water to London to the Globe in Cornhill, and there did choose two pictures to hang up in my house, which my wife did not like when I came home, and so I sent the picture of Paris back again. To the office, where we sat all the afternoon till night. So home, and there came Mr. Beauchamp to me with the gilt tankard, and I did pay him for it 20l.. So to my musique and sat up late at it, and so to bed, leaving my wife to sit up till 2 o’clock that she may call the wench up to wash.

49 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

At last the household is back in the old routine and it's time for the monthly wash (which is normally always held on a Monday rather than a Tuesday - they are a day late) of the family's sheets, etc. Jane the teenage servant girl is getting up very early to get the water boiling, and she and Elizabeth will be busy working hard all day. Sam will not be welcome, and normally makes himself scarce.

For previous times that this has happened, see 11 and 12th of March…

and 16th January…

It's an important regular event, but obviously not recorded in the months when Pepys was at sea and had servants to clean his clothes, or when Elizabeth was living out of London, or when they were moving house.

Do we imagine that the builders have left the house clean enough for washing now to take place?

Glyn  •  Link

But why couldn't Elizabeth get a couple of hours sleep before waking Jane? Don't they have men who are lamplighters so are on a regular nighly patrol, or guards, willing to knock on the windows and "knock them up"?

Or grandfather clocks with striking alarms?

Glyn  •  Link

"The Treasurer (Sir George Carteret, i.e. one of Pepys' bosses at the Navy Dept) ... is ... a very good-natured man; and, talking of those men who now stand condemned for murdering the King, he says that he believes that, if the law would give leave, the King is a man of so great compassion that he would wholly acquit them."

Is Carteret one of those people who, being good-natured themselves, think that other people would feel and act in the very same way? Or is this an accurate prediction about King Charles? And to whom is he referring anyway? Were other people still in danger of trial and execution at this time? Or was Carteret talking about freeing people from imprisonment?

Glyn  •  Link

Pepys somehow fooled or tricked the Treasurer (Sir George) back in July, although I'm not sure how or why:…

He seems to like him now though.

vincent  •  Link

Glyn ... "knock them up"? maybe the meaning has changed since my youth?

vincent  •  Link

"...And so to see my Lord's picture at De Cretz, and he says it is very like him, and I say so too…”
was this about the copy of the original or the copy of the copy ?
“…I went thither, and there dined with him and some of the Trinity House men who had obtained something to-day at the House of Lords concerning the Ballast Office…”
So! He does keep secrets [or does he not Know?]
Ballast office! Any guess (or facts)of the function? For ships sailing empty ? Most ships would have trading merchandise not needing make up weight , but as every “Item” that is salable requires government [King and allies] approval for the Monopoly {private or publick}. Makes one wonder what this office was about, [growth of government?]

vincent  •  Link

"..After dinner I went by water to London to the Globe in Cornhill, and there did choose two pictures to hang up in my house, which my wife did not like when I came home, and so I sent the picture of Paris back again. To the office, where we sat all the afternoon till night..." I would like to know about the one that he kept ?
He got one for the "Mrs" and she made her views known, [never shop for the house without the "she who must be obeyed along"]. Was our man in a sulk? I keep forgetting dinner was lunchtime [Noon] but he did stay till night.Also he chose the wrong day to do "sumeert" nice, she with her hands all lathered up, he was lucky, he did not get dumped into the pot of dirty linen.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

The Ballast Office was located in old Trinity House which in those days stood on the west side of Water Lane.

And yes, they seem to have been in charge of regulating the companies that supplied ballast to ships leaving the harbor. They seemed to have functioned along the lines of a "fair weights and measures" office.

Ruben  •  Link

Or grandfather clocks with striking alarms?

grandfather clocks depend on a pendulum. This invention is from the year 1658 by Huygens, a Dutch. In SP days a clock was a very expensive and not very reliable curiosity.

Judy Bailey  •  Link

"...up to wash." And for a moment I thought they were actually going to wash themselves!

I know they do not wash often, but did people wash at all? Were there no occasions that cleanliness was desired?

Mary  •  Link

Lamplighters, grandfather clocks etc.

The lamplighter on his regular rounds had to wait for the arrival of street gas-lighting to become a feature of town life. Then he would make his rounds at dusk and dawn, not at 2 a.m.

Grandfather clocks were to become more affordable by people 'of the middling sort' during the 18th century, partly as a result of specialist manufacturers of their movements becoming established. Movements made in London, Birmingham etc. would be sent around the country to other towns, small and large, to be fitted into locally made cases.

A grandfather clock is not of great use as an alarm clock; its regular strike tends to be absorbed into the normal household sounds, and one ignores its chime unless one is specifically keeping an ear open for it.

It may have been possible to engage the watchman to wake a household at a particular time on a regular basis, but was probably not a feasible solution for occasional demands, such as the day of the household wash. Surely Elizabeth would not have propped her own eyelids open until 2 a.m. if there had been another solution available.

Vera  •  Link

So, no clocks, no 'knocker-upper'
(FYI - some one who knocks on the door to wake you up)
so how does Elizabeth know when its 2 am?

I have some hazy (poss. inaccurate) memory about using candles that burned for a given time - would she have used something like that? Anyone know??

Peter  •  Link

"Two peoples separated by a common language".... Many years ago, before I knew better, I offered to knock up a female American acqaintance in order to be sure of meeting an early appointment. Much hilarity and embarassment ensued.

Mary  •  Link

Clocks and watches

There could have been either a small, table clock in the house, or a watch.
The first domestic, table clock is thought to have been made c. 1490 and the first watch c. 1510. Around 1587 the watchmaking trade was establishing itself in Geneva and in 1610 the glass cover was introduced to protext the watch's hand or hands.

What there will not have been is a grandfather clock striking the hours, as the pendulum-controlled clock has only just been invented (see note above).

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

Elizabeth could have woken the maid and then gone to bed herself until the water was boiling, which would take some time in a big copper out at the back of the house probably.

Matthew  •  Link

Weren't there watchmen shouting "2 o'clock and all is well", etc.?

Alan Bedford  •  Link

Muscadine would have been wine probably made from the muscadine grape, which would have been found in the southern colonies in North America - the Carolinas, primarily. Details at:…

Nix  •  Link

"Vinum muscatum . . ." --

Can one of you able scholars translate this line? Or is the Shakespeare quatation a translation (doesn't look like it to me)?

Mary  •  Link


Another term for muscatel. According to L&M glossary, this was a name that could be applied to any sweet, strong wine and was not always reserved strictly for muscatel.

My Latin is very rusty and 'moschi' is not a classical term, but this looks as if it means, 'Muscat wine, which resembles/recalls the scent of (?) musk'.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"which my wife did not like when I came home, and so I sent the picture of Paris back again"
Fully sympathizing with Sam, I laughed out loud at this one: he picks something, she doesn't like it, he promptly returns it. If he's a smart husband, he will neither be ruffled nor let it show if he is. (His state of ruffle probably depends on how long he's been married.) Some of us have learned in such situations always to remind the vendor that the purchase may be returned for credit ....

Glyn  •  Link

Doesn't it seem like the type of compromise typical in married life. He comes home with 2 paintings for the new house, which he obviously likes - she hates both of them. So they agree to keep one and send the other back.

Glyn  •  Link

so I sent the picture of Paris back again

Hang on a minute, after thinking about David's comment, my brain cell is beginning to warm up.

Why would Elizabeth particularly object to this painting? Presumably it isn't a painting of Paris, France but of the classical person of that name?

Isn't he most famous for judging some sort of beauty contest between three beautiful naked women (I really don't remember). So could it be that Sam came back with some 17th century pornography as a present for his wife, and Elizabeth refused to give it house room?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

One way to tell time at night before clocks were invented was by the cock's crow; see the Gospels when Christ said that Peter was going to betray him before the third cock's crow.

Peter  •  Link

Picture of Paris. I immediately assumed some kind of cityscape.... but could it be the man? (i.e. a scene of the judgement of Paris)

melinda trapelo  •  Link

"One way to tell time at night before clocks were invented was by the cock's crow”
As a former chicken owner, I can tell you that they will crow whenever they feel like it, no matter what time of day! They DO crow more when the sun first rises, but that doesn’t stop them from doing it any other time!

Kevin Peter  •  Link

It's quite true that roosters not only crow at dawn, but really any time they are awake. My parents' rooster crows all day long.

They don't, however, crow at night when they are asleep, so this would not be a good way of keeping track of time.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

According to

knock up
1. Slang, To make pregnant.
2. Chiefly British, To wake up or summon, as by knocking at the door.
3. Chiefly British, To wear out; exhaust.

vincent  •  Link

Time: 'Tis the bells that tell the story. The sand glass is set for half hour turning. A nice job for the watchman and with his dinger he does hit the bell. It being a navy place to keep those old Salts awake.'Twas 4 bells she listen'd for.
Warming the Bell" or "Flogging the Glass"
Old Naval synonyms for being early for an appointment or doing anything earlier than had been arranged. The phrases originate from the days when watches at sea were measured by a half-hour sand-glass; each time the glass was turned the bell was struck denoting the time. In those more leisurely days, measurement of time to the nearest half-hour was sufficiently accurate for much of life's affairs, in fact "near enough for a sailing ship".


history of time
slinging of hammock…

vincent  •  Link

'Vinum muscatum quod moschi odorem referat.'
muscat wine because it smells return
it to the people of moschi[a Caucasian tribe ] ‘tis my take.
ref:Moschi , ōrum, m., a people between the Black and the Caspian Seas, [Mela, 1, 2, 5; 3, 5, 4; Luc. 3, 270; Plin.]
Cornelius Tacitus, Annales book 13, chapter 37
Other versions: in English
tuncque primum inlecti Moschi, gens ante alias socia Romanis, avia Armeniae incursavit. (5.70)…

Barbara  •  Link

Kevin Peter: another English use of the phrase "knock up" is the practice period before a tennis match.

vera  •  Link

Re Time keeping: Ah Brain now in gear
Of course, Elizabeth and Sam may have had an Hourglass! found an interesting link re keeping time in the past :…

vera  •  Link

Barbera: Re. your Tennis definition,
I think it almost qualifies as Kevin Peter's No 3!!

language hat  •  Link

Picture of Paris
I assumed this was the classical figure, as suggested by Glyn; it doesn't seem to me very likely to have been a cityscape.

vincent: Not sure if you're joking, but "moschi" is exceedingly unlikely to refer to a Caucasian tribe here! Mary's got it right; it's about the scent of musk.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "Two peoples separated by a common language"

Peter, not to worry — the first time my mother and father went to London, they had just finished a big dinner with some friends in a fancy restaurant when the waiter came by with the dessert cart, to ask if she’d like some. “Oh, I couldn’t,” she exclaimed. “I’m stuffed!” As you say, much hilarity and embarassment ensued…

And, as for differences in language and perception, the whole Paris thing is a good example of how this can happen even when the words have similar meaning on both sides of the Atlantic … LH, I assumed the Paris painting was a cityscape, and Elizabeth had wanted it sent back because it was poorly done. After all, she knows what the city looks like, while Sam doesn’t …

Jackie  •  Link

Anybody who has been involved in politics will also recognise "knocking up" as something done to alert voters to the fact that it's Polling Day and persuade them to vote.

An American friend of mine once assisted in this process and the look on her face when told to go and know up a few voters was a picture.

stewart cavalier  •  Link

Why get their muscat grapes from Carolina when it's existed in Europe since at least the Ancient Greeks ?

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the Trinity House men...had obtained something to-day at the House of Lords concerning the Ballast Office. "

Lords: Mountjoy versus Trinity House, concerning the Ballast Office.…

Upon hearing the Counsel of the Executors and Assigns of William Mountjoy Esquire deceased, Plaintiffs; and of the Masters and Wardens and Assistants of The Trynity House at Deptford Strand, Defendants, this Day at the Bar, concerning the Order of this House, dated the 13th Day of June last past:

It is ORDERED, by the Lords in Parliament assembled, That the said Order is hereby continued, for the quiet and peaceable Possession of the Lastage and Ballast Office; this House declaring, that the said Order shall not prejudice or determine the Right on either Side, but to be for the quiet Carrying on and Performance of the Service belonging to the same; the Right and Title whereof this House leaves to a Trial at Law.

Bill  •  Link

MUSCADINE, a rich kind of wine, of the growth of Provence and Languedoc, in France.
---The Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. T.H. Crocker, 1765.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Interesting Bill :) This gets curiouser and curiouser - and it just goes to show that one must be careful to distinguish historical and contemporary usage.

My two volume "shorter" OED was helpful though not conclusive, so I got the magnifying glass out for my "Compact" version of the full one. Although of "obscure origin", it seems that the word "muscadine" was originally used in English for all wine made from muscat grapes. The first reference quoted was from a Rutland MSS of 1541: "for a galon and pynte .. of Muskadyne". Today's entry from Pepys is also cited.

I would guess that the American wild grape now known as muscadine was so named because of similarities in character to the muscat family. However, I suspect that any supposed connection to Muscadet is a red herring. The first time I ordered Muscadet, expecting it to have the fragrance and character of Muscat, I was greatly disappointed. It seems to be misnamed. The appellation is 20th century, and the grape variety, Melon de Bourgogne, is genetically unconnected to the muscat family.

Bill  •  Link

Sasha, I think you're exactly right. "Similarities in character" transferred the name to grapes in the New World.

Dick Wilson  •  Link

The Treasurer, Sir George Carteret, is a Very Important Person in American History , too. He was (I believe) Lord Proprietor of New Jersey, which he named, and was deeply concerned in the affairs of the Carolinas and Maryland.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The fidelity with which Carteret, like John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton, had clung to the royal cause, gave him also great influence at court. He had, at an early date, taken a warm interest in the colonization of America. In recognition of all the help given to him during his exile in Jersey in the 1640s, Charles II gave Carteret [ born on the Channel Island of Jersey ] a large grant of land previously named New Netherlands, which he promptly renamed New Jersey. With Berkeley, he became one of the proprietors of the Province of Carolina prior to their becoming jointly interested in East Jersey. Carteret County, North Carolina and town of Carteret, New Jersey are named after him, and the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey is named after his wife.

In 1665, Carteret was one of the drafters of the Concession and Agreement, a document that provided freedom of religion in the colony of New Jersey. It was issued as a proclamation for the structure of the government for the colony written by the two proprietors, Berkeley and Carteret.…

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘muscadine, n.1 and adj. Etym: Probably alteration of muscadel . .
1. More fully muscadine wine. Wine made from muscat or similar grapes . .
. . 1542 N. Udall tr. Erasmus Apophthegmes f. 137v, Well fauoured or beautyfull stroumpettes he avoched to bee like unto bastarde or muscadyne.
. . 1656 T. Blount Glossographia at Verdea, A kind of white Muscadine wine, made in Toscany, which is sometimes brought into England in bottles.
1660 S. Pepys Diary 19 Nov. (1970) I. 296 And so he and I to the Sun and I did give him a morning draught of Muscadine .. ‘

‘muscadel, n. Etym: In early use apparently < Old Occitan muscadel . .
1. = muscatel n. 1. More fully muscadel wine. Now chiefly S. Afr. The name muscadel is more commonly used in South Africa than muscatel for wines made from muscat grapes (see note at sense 2). Such wines are usually sweet white dessert wines, though they may be red and are now often fortified.
. . a1616 Shakespeare Taming of Shrew (1623) iii. iii. 45 Hee calls for wine, a health quoth he, as if he had beene aboord carowsing to his Mates after a storme, quaft off the Muscadell, and threw the sops all in the Sextons face . . ‘

ciudadmarron  •  Link

Glyn - The Judgement of Paris, Rubens, 1636…

Perhaps a copy, or work inspired by the Rubens? Although it was painted for the Spanish Court, I don't know what the accessibility was like for likenesses to pop up in London. Other paintings existed of it of course.

I read the entry as Paris the mythological figure as opposed to the city, and would think this the more likely.

Paris was tasked by Zeus with judging the most beautiful of Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. Aphrodite successfully bribed him with the prize of Helen of Sparta and thus precipitated the Trojan War.

Bill  •  Link

And there were probably some scantily-clad ladies involved. Although acceptable in the context of the Judgment of Paris, perhaps the objection arose there.

Third Reading

Louise Hudson  •  Link

I suspect that Elizabeth didn’t trust the maid to handle boiling water right. Imagine what would happen if it boiled over. She was probably too anxious to sleep.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

On His Majesty's leniency: We cannot know what prompted that discussion. Of course 'tis always a good topic to consider among courtiers in the privacy of your coach, and last month's gruesome executions and reeking baskets are still fresh enough - not that direct witnesses are likely to ever forget them - to provide fuel for thought.

In this case we wonder if some little Controversy may not have aris'n on the case of "one Tench", whom Thomas Rugge will record in his summary of the Mercurius Politicus (doi:10.1017/S2042171000000406, page 128) as "the carpenter that made the scaffold and knocked the staples on the scaffold [of] the King' Charles the First". Now Tench "in this month (...) was beheaded". A footnote drawing on the original Mercurius says Tench had been "apprehended and sent close prisoner" to the Gatehouse on November 25, so still in the future, but execution within a week of arrest seems a bit quick in something as momentous as a trial for regicide.

So we wonder if Tench, whose case is notorious enough for Rugge to give it its own subheading in his book, hasn't been macerating for a while already, and become a minor cause célèbre, in this case a test of whether H.M.'s avengers ain't starting to reach a bit too deep with the ax. In a few centuries historian David Farr will say so, noting disapprovingly in a biography of regicide Gen. Thomas Harrison that "Indeed, the 'merry monarch', Charles II, even had one Tench, the carpenter of the gallows for Charles I, executed" (…, page 257). Farr isn't around to disapprove in 1660, but among some folks who are, the martyrdom of a carpenter could even be grist for a few seditious pamphlets, hmm?

On the Ballast Office: The Trinity men having "obtained something" is certainly occasion enough for their buying the next round, for they have been for months in a Furious Battle for the realm's gravel, which it would seem is now being decided; see our little note at… on its opening stages.

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