Tuesday 26 March 1661

Up early to do business in my study.

This is my great day that three years ago I was cut of the stone, and, blessed be God, I do yet find myself very free from pain again. All this morning I staid at home looking after my workmen to my great content about my stairs, and at noon by coach to my father’s, where Mrs. Turner, The, Joyce, Mr. Morrice, Mr. Armiger, Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, and his wife, my father and mother, and myself and my wife.

Very merry at dinner; among other things, because Mrs. Turner and her company eat no flesh at all this Lent, and I had a great deal of good flesh which made their mouths water.

After dinner Mrs. Pierce and her husband and I and my wife to Salisbury Court, where coming late he and she light of Col. Boone that made room for them, and I and my wife sat in the pit, and there met with Mr. Lewes and Tom Whitton, and saw “The Bondman” done to admiration. So home by coach, and after a view of what the workmen had done to-day I went to bed.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Eric Walla  •  Link

Sam being a bit of a devil this Lenten season, eh?

You can just see the non-meat-eaters squirming in their chairs.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"a great deal of good flesh which made their mouths water"
Having fun with the vegans again, eh, Sam? Tsk, tsk.
Puts me in mind of Albert Finney sucking and slurping chicken bones in Tom Jones.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

he and she light of Collonell Boone, that made room for them;
My guess is that the word light is used in the following sense from the OED:
"light, v
II. To descend. Cf. alight v.1
10. To have a particular place of incidence or arrival.
... d. Of persons. to light on or upon (or †of): to happen to come upon, chance upon; to meet with or discover, esp. unexpectedly or by accident; to come across, whether as the result of search or not.

1687 Sedley Bellamira, If I light of him I'll tear his goatish eyes out."

It seems like a pretty rare usage (with the word "of") so I'm surprised it's not cited in the OED but the quote they got was a good 'un

Emilio  •  Link

"After dinner Mrs. Pierce and her husband and I and my wife to Salisbury Court"

Here's one of those rare occasions that Sam mentions having his wife along at a play. Also the third time this month he's been to see The Bondman, no doubt with Betterton playing the lead once again. Perhaps Sam suggested the play so he could share the experience with his wife and friends? Betterton's popularity is especially impressive when you realize he has acted for less than a year at this point.

vincent  •  Link

light (6)vi ME lighten fr. OE lihtan; 1:dismount;2: settle, alight akin [to a bird lit on the lawn]3: to fall unexpectedly 4: to arrive by chance: to happen upon [lit on a solution] [to attack ] {in my salad days; which was a popular expression, I lit into him, leaving him bloody}

Judy Stocker  •  Link

I have a feeling Sam was feeling pretty good in celebration of 3 years after "the stone". You couldn't blame him for being a devil with the others eating "flesh". What a tease!

garbo  •  Link

Are you supposed to give up meat for lent? I thought you could give up anything. What is he doing that's bad in any way?

dirk  •  Link


Re - Garbo

Nowadays there is general agreement among most churches that what you say is acceptable for Lent. (Although the Orthodox churches used to be more severe on this matter - wonder if they still are?) Up to something like 50 yrs ago however "keeping Lent" was far more rigid. In principle that is - some people didn't necessarily take it all that seriously, although social sanctioning was strong. You were expected to fast. This meant only specific types of food were allowed, the most important issue being that you shouldn't eat meat (replace it by fish) - with a possible exception for sundays (we haven't quite cleared up on that yet).

And of course you shouldn't lead anybody into temptation by praising the meat you had earlier, in front of people who are trying earnestly to stick to their fast.

For further info on Lent, browse thru the background info. You'll find a lot more there.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"she light of Col. Boone"

To LIGHT upon, to fall or settle upon, to meet by Chance, to happen.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

On 18 May 1660 Sam wrote:
"we light by chance of an English house to drink in"

Jackie  •  Link

At the start of this Lent, he was piously promising to cut down on eating flesh and congratulating himself when he ate fish. Now he's happily teasing others who are avoiding eating flesh during Lent.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This is my great day that three years ago I was cut of the stone,"

This is Stone Feast -- which is beyond the ecclesiastical calendar --
L&M: The feast was held this year at his father's house, his own being disarranged by workman. The Turners were always guests of honor, since it was in their house that the operation had been performed.

Third Reading

LKvM  •  Link

All this talk about eating "flesh" is somewhat disconcerting. In looking up the etymology of "meat" I found: "The word "meat" was commonly used in 16th/17th century England in the way that we now use the word "food."
We have seen examples of that use of "meat" for "food" in Sam's writings and in today's "sweetmeats."
Further, it was only during the 19th century that "meat" was used for what Sam calls the "flesh" of beef.

徽柔  •  Link

"cut of the stone" means Sam's surgery to remove bladder stones? No anesthetics.Worth celebrating.

Scube  •  Link

"No anesthetics." Raises a question if they knocked him out with alcohol or some other substance. Probably posted earlier, but apologies if I missed it. Also wonder at the survival rate for such surgeries back then. Guess they didn't keep records on that sort of thing, and no malpractice insurance!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"No anesthetics."

Over the next 8 years there will be many discussions about what pain killers were available. I consolodated many of them into a long post in the OPIUM section of our Encyclopedia:

No they are not spoilers: Pepys has a stone feast every year, so every year we confront the same awful realization of how much courage having this operation took.

And you did click through on "cut of the stone," didn't you ... more gruesome details there.

And you're right: No malpractice insurance, because 99 per cent of what the doctors did would be considered malpractice today. You were better served by the apothocaries and herbalists, and that could be an adventure too!
But you can die of the stone as well as from the operation to remove it. Take your pick.

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