Wednesday 6 March 1660/61

At the office all the morning. At dinner Sir W. Batten came and took me and my wife to his house to dinner, my Lady being in the country, where we had a good Lenten dinner.

Then to Whitehall with Captn. Cuttle, and there I did some business with Mr. Coventry, and after that home, thinking to have had Sir W. Batten, &c., to have eat a wigg at my house at night. But my Lady being come home out of the country ill by reason of much rain that has fallen lately, and the waters being very high, we could not, and so I home and to bed.

37 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"6 March 1660" Has Daniel Defoe been born yet? Could not find exact date.

Conrad  •  Link

Daniel Defoe was thought to have been born in September or at least towards the end of the Summer of 1660. No exact date has been recorded.

vincent  •  Link

"...But my Lady being come home out of the country ill by reason of much rain that has fallen lately, and the waters being very high, we could not..."
also recorded by the Rev Jossyln march 3 all of East Anglia, It seems
"document 70012955
March: 3. God good to us, my family somewhat better, ...... a great flood this day. god good in the word, my heart panting to be good. yes blessed be god who helps me to say. I am not wicked...."

vincent  •  Link

Oh! Samuel. That sermon[last Sunday] seems to have worked, no meat , no alcohol, no thoughts unchasted, no music, no French Novelettes. After seeing the floods. I wonder, did Noah come to mind?

vincent  •  Link

No mention of stories of Mare Nostrum and Souks and Harems. "with Captn. Cuttle"

Paul Chapin  •  Link

my Lady
I suspect from the context that the Lady mentioned here is Batten, not Montagu.

David Duff  •  Link

Yesterday someone suggested the possibility of us all getting together in London. What a splendid idea! And wouldn't it be fun choosing a suitably, Pepysian dinner menu? (Personally, I'd pass on the oysters!) And the arguements over what time to eat it!

Perhaps it had better wait awhile for the dollar to regain its strength in order to encourage our American friends to come because their comments from over there, are always very welcome over here.

Hic Retearius  •  Link


We are developing into a little community, David, and it would be fine to meet in a year or two in London centred on a dinner for our host. A "Pepys' London" tour would be part of the object, of course. Air fare is not expensive these days and it would give us all something to aim at. The idea would not be to "confine" diners to a Pepys menu but to have the dishes there for inspection by all and sampling by those adventurous. There is certain to be a house in London able to put on such a dinner. The existing Pepys group would be the place to begin enquiries. The members would understand our interest and would have the necessary local knowledge of the restaurant scene in London.

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

"6 March 1660" Has Daniel Defoe been born yet?
OK .. I probabably shouldn’t be asking this, and risk being rejected by this magnificent assemblage of cognoscenti for daring to do so, but I am a big boy and can risk the cudgels (and have long felt that you won’t learn if you don’t ask) so here goes: just what is the relevance of the first two annotations to today’s post?

Laura K  •  Link

b hutton's question re defoe

I was wondering the same thing myself. But I was figuring out how to ask it in Latin. ;-)

L/50 [Hic R: I like that! I think I should start signing off as "50".]

Ruben  •  Link

Those interested in Pepys food may have it, but my first destination in London would be a tour through those places still standing (we still have to read about the plague and the fire), and to Magdalene College and may be the country house of SP's Lord. A walk from the City to the shipyards.
Then I would suggest Madame Tousaud to present us with a "Pepys Experience" alike the "London Experience" I saw some years ago and liked so much.
I heard there is a new old style theater were we may recreate some of the plays SP liked (summarized!)...
Those who cannot wait, may begin to live 1600 lives: wear shoes that point the same (no left and rigth in those days!). Never take a medicine made by a pharmaceutical company, buy magisterial formulas made of the tail of an ox, pearls dissolved in vinegar and the like. From time to time take a purge. Drink only alcoholic drinks, never drink water or milk as they are probably contaminated. If you need an operation do not ask for anesthetics or antibiotics. Ask your surgeon (this man has no medical degree) to wear his best suit and not something sterile. Remember that your surgeon will wash his hands AFTER the operation, but not before. Discard your glasses. (SP needed glasses but they were not available yet).
Do not use radio, TV, phone and the like.
Remember the WC is a cold, smelly, no running water cabinet OUTSIDE the house were you live.

Lawrence  •  Link

Didn't the Tudors where glasses Ruben?

Roger Miller  •  Link


\Wigg\, Wig \Wig\, n. [Cf. D. wegge a sort of bread, G. weck, orig., a wedge-shaped loaf or cake. See Wedge.] A kind of raised seedcake. ``Wiggs and ale.'' --Pepys.…

Pauline  •  Link

a wedge-shaped loaf or cake
This puzzled me. A "wigg" as a slice of cake/loaf cut from a whole round (begining at the center) and therefore wedge-shaped. Or a cake/loaf meant to be cut that way. But a loaf or cake baked in this shape seems somehow unlikely (special wedge-shaped pan? formed by hand into a wedge?).

Susan  •  Link

Would just like to point out that some of us live in Australia - airfares MUCH more expensive!
Someone said that a "wigg" was a term still used in Staffordshire for a tea cake or tea bun. Well, I was raised in Lichfield and my husband in Stoke-on-Trent and neither of us have ever heard of that expression.
Different names for different types of bun, cake, bread, roll etc. are some of the most resilient regional words which have survived in an increasingly homogenised English. What to ask for in a bread shop is one of the first things you learn as you move around the UK. Pepys was a Londoner, with Cambridgeshire overtones. Surely he would have used either London or Cambridgeshire terms for such an article. Anyone out there from rural Cambridgeshire know of a tea cake or tea bun with currants being called a wigg??

Pauline  •  Link

Susan, let's assume some "consideration"
Like free ale for breakfast daily and free takes at the oyster barrels for anyone doing a crowfly in from more than 4,798 miles away from London. That'll sit at least you and me and vincent up prettily!

Josh  •  Link

Why ask if Defoe's been born by this point in history?* To align him properly vis-a-vis his fictitious-but-reads-like-reportage "A Journal of the Plague Year" which Pepys will get around to recording come 1665.
Lacking a better place to put it: here in the States the Johns Hopkins University Press has just issued "The Great Plague: The Story of London's Most Deadly Year," by A. Lloyd Moote and Dorothy C. Moote (384pp, 20 ills.). "The interwoven narratives of Pepys and other witnesses," says historian Roy Porter's blurb, "give a wonderful feel of London's tensions." Cf.:…
The L&M Companion has a terrific ten-page overview, pp. 328-337.
*Or for the other likely reason, beguilingly known as "Idle intellectual curiosity." Full marks!

Nix  •  Link

Back to the original question:

Has Defoe been born yet?

Yes, he has -- remember, this is 6 March 1661. The 1660/61 dating has to do with an old numeration convention that was much discussed in the early part of LAST year -- that is, 1659/60.

Birdie  •  Link

Pauline, re: A wedge-shaped loaf or cake. Sam is referring to a "sandwich". We would have called it a "mountagu" if it had been invented a few years earlier.

Mary  •  Link

More wiggs.

The word is first recorded by the OED in 1376 in the Guildhall Rolls, referring to a kind of bread. In 1688 a wigg is defined, "Wigg is White bread, moulded long ways and thick in the middle". Several of the quotations seem to imply that wigg was especially regarded as Lenten fare; it is several times recorded as being accompanied by ale, and there is one reference (1660) to 'the risings of beers' being used as the raising agent for the baking of wigg.

The last citation in OED is from the writing of Mrs. Humphrey Ward in 1888.

upper_left_hand_corner  •  Link

Pauline, just where are you located?

I'm in Seattle, Washington, which is 4799 miles away from London according to your link. So if not in the same city, we must be on nearly the same parallel (if London were the north pole).

And I suppose I'd get another 15 miles or so with the airport being south of the city ...

In any case I approve of the distance requirement and the items for consideration. Let's throw in a Sandwich too to honor "my Lord".

Ruben  •  Link

I do not want to spoil anything but SP, one day in the future, will end writing this diary because of his fear of becoming blind. However, he never lost his sight.

Susanna  •  Link

Eye glasses are generally held to have been invented in Italy in the late 1200s. An English Spectacle Makers Company dates to 1629 (motto: "A blessing to the aged"). If Sam needed bifocals, however, he would have been out of luck; Ben Franklin won't invent those until 1784.……

Carolina  •  Link

Here in the East of Holland you can get a currant loaf called a krentewegge, the krente(n) part is the currants, so the wegge must be the loaf. I do not know why it is called that. It is a rectangular, loaf shape and quite heavy.

This will probably need moving to the background section, but to cooking or language?
Looking at 16 and 17th century recipes, (I think the site was called godecookery or something, it is in background info somewhere) a couple struck me: One was a recipe for "Conyng" which turned out to be rabbit. In Dutch a rabbit is called a "konijn". The word "coney" is probably derived from it as well. Another recipe called for "eyre" which meant eggs. In Dutch "eieren" is eggs.

So, was wigg a loaf ?

john lauer  •  Link

via infoplease: cony

Pronunciation: (kO'nE, kun'E), [key]
--pl. -nies.
1. the fur of a rabbit, esp. when dyed to simulate Hudson seal.
2. the daman or other hyrax of the same genus.
3. the pika.
4. a rabbit.
5. Obs.a person who is easily tricked; gull; dupe. Also,coney.

dirk  •  Link

eggs & eyren

Interesting to note: the change from plural on -(r)en to plural on -s took place around 1500 - over one or two generations only. The -en plural being the old, natural germanic form. So, eyren to eys (=eggs). The difference in spelling between eys and eggs is misleading: pronunciation would naturally be virtually identical. Cfr. child - children, which never made it to the -s plural. (Language is never consistent!)

Christo  •  Link

'eggs & eyren: The difference in spelling between eys and eggs is misleading: pronunciation would naturally be virtually identical'

Not so: 'egg' is North English, from the Norse, and 'eyren' is South English, from the German and Dutch. This is a rare case of the northern term for a food winning out. The change occurred in the 16th century (Chaucer used 'eyren'); I don't know how or why.

(Egg) n. [OE., fr. Icel. egg; akin to AS. ?g Sw. ?gg, Dan. ?g, G. & D. ei, and prob. to OSlav. aje, jaje, L. ovum, Gael. ubh, and perh. to L. avis bird.…

Mary  •  Link

Christo has it.

Basically London speech, which became the educated norm, and which is largely the language of the Middle English East Midlands dialect, turned its back on more specifically southern forms. To a considerable extent the 'cradle' of modern English can be said to be the intellectual triangle formed by London, Oxford and Cambridge.

Linda Camidge  •  Link


Caxton in the late 15th century wrote about a merchant enquiring at a farmhouse for eggs using the wrong term and (whether genuinely or just through the listener's awkaeardness 'not being undersatood' until a frine supplied the other word. Caxton's point was, "what's a poor printer to do?"

Second Reading

jude cooper  •  Link

Hi, I am one of the many silent Pepys fans who read this page every day. Just like to say how much I enjoy the discussions, and ask to book my place on the Pepys beano in London that you are planning!

Bob Waring  •  Link

Jude, you are going to need a time machine I suspect as the invitation was issued 10 years ago. I wonder how many of the often witty or erudite posters from 2004 still revisit this site?

GrannieAnnie  •  Link

I, too, was disappointed I'd missed the party! And by 10 years, no less!

Perhaps those of us late-comers will have to arrange our own get-together, myself coming from Delaware (USA). Of course inviting the party-goers who left us out in the cold : )

In researching wigge: it appears the Swiss bake an August weggen, a buttery bread, not sweet, but formed to look like the Swiss flag, and who
knows when that custom began.

Mary K  •  Link

Samuel's birthday, February 23rd., falls on a Monday in 2015. Either the Saturday or the Sunday might provide an easier date to keep, perhaps.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Bob Waring: I’m here & intending to go round again as I missed out a large section 10 years ago when I retired. I too am struck by the erudition of the post from my self re eggs of 10 years ago! Scrolling down I was minded to post again on this topic & then saw my post from 2004.

We had a very jolly lunch party to celebrate what Phil had created on May 26 2012 after the annual Pepys church service + lecture at St Olave’s organised by the Pepys Club on the anniversary of his death.

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