Thursday 25 April 1661

All the morning with my workmen with great pleasure to see them near coming to an end. At noon Mr. Moore and I went to an Ordinary at the King’s Head in Towre Street, and there had a dirty dinner. Afterwards home and having done some business with him, in comes Mr. Sheply and Pierce the surgeon, and they and I to the Mitre and there staid a while and drank, and so home and after a little reading to bed.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Susan  •  Link

Most intriguing! *What* is a "dirty dinner" ? And is "rending" an error for "reading"? If not, what does this mean too?

Vicente  •  Link

Dirty Dinner, 'tis like a rotten dinner, [not fit for the rubbish 'eap] 'tis my take. I do even think that an ordinary could be very ordinary sort of meal.

Pauline  •  Link

Dirty Dinner
And perhaps unappetizing leftover odds and ends indifferently slopped together and served. Cleaning up after the Coronacion and a throbbing head with which to do it. A kind of "hash"?

When a "dirty dinner" comes your way, you will immediately recognize it.

daniel  •  Link


perhaps the dirty dinner causes one to "rend" before bed!

dirk  •  Link

"dirty dinner"

Searching around for this on the web, I found the term seems to have survived in college lingo (?).

I found the following description - which says it all, I think:
"It's quick and mostly fool-proof - plus very little clean-up."

dirk  •  Link


Transcription error most likely - maybe somebody with the L&M can help us out here. In the Wheatley edition "and after a little reading to bed" occurs a couple of times, whereas "rending" only once (in this entry).

A shorthand error by Sam is very unlikely, I think, as the vowel "a" would not have been written as a seperate sign, and "n" would.

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary for today:

"went to the Society where were divers Experiments in Mr. Boyls Pneumatique Engine. We put in a Snake but could not kill it, by exhausting the aire, onely made it extreamly sick, but the chick died of Convulsions out right, in a short space:"

(probably the vacuum was not very vacuum!)

Mary  •  Link

L&M confirm 'reading', not 'rending'

Rich Merne  •  Link

Pneumatique snake;

How does extreame sickness manifest in a snake. Just wondering; does it throw up, roll it's eyes or stagger? I dont think snakes can stagger. Maybe, in lieu of staggering, it behaved like Pope's "needless alexandrine".

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

Rich - you mean 'dragged its slow length along' ?

Rich Merne  •  Link

You have it Jenny!

Vicente  •  Link

"dirty dinner" Dirk, thanks for the memory of getting somert quick and simple. The phrase does come back to me " Mum, get me something quick & dirty, Please", says moi rushing around with me head off, meaning whatever you have available now, don't go to any bother, I've got a game to go to.

Vicente  •  Link

Re: "rending", Dirks rendition does seem to make the best sense. Not ripping up somert in violence as the missus is away and may no delousing to night. So wot did happen to the 'ired 'elp, just him and the boy maybe?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"dirty dinner"it could also mean something that was touched by that monkey that they used to have;by the way what has happened to that monkey? could it be that SP was so upset about the creature that he avoided thinking about it let alone mention it in his diary?

tc  •  Link

All the morning with my workmen with great pleasure to see them near coming to an end.

I assume Sam is just hanging around the house watching the men work. Lucky workmen. In my trade (yacht rigging) we have a rule: work is charged at the regular rate, unless the customer watches the work being done, in which case it is double the regular rate. If the customer helps (or tries to help) with the work, it is triple the regular rate.

Sweat equity is a fine thing, unless one doesn't know what one is doing and just gets in the way!

I sense Sam has an appreciation for tradesmen (even if they are working "foreign"), men who have mastered a skill, men who work with their hands. Maybe that's natural for a tailor's son, no matter how grand his station in life may have become.

And hopefully, too, perhaps Sam has learned from the Petts to appreciate good workmanship.

Vicente  •  Link

the D.D.: A. De Araujo it was at the local ordinary{cafe- fixe pris } every one had been caught up in all that pomp and pomposity that they forgot to do their KP duties etc. 'Twas like "Here matey here is a couple of crusts" type of deal.
the Simian, probable gone the way of all pets or maybe he ran away to be with an street organist.

M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

Monkey on premises (let's hope not)

Wouldn't you love to be a set of workmen trying to get a job done with a resident monkey larking about!

Rich Merne  •  Link

"dirty dinner";
Everyone's in on the act. Here's mine. In Paris once as a young man, being *bruk*, but having a book called "paris on a dollar a day". Picking the restaurants on this basis was a never to be forgotten nadir of DDs

Hic retearius  •  Link


What a great series of diary and blog entries. Fluency in reading Sam's diary must rank with Shakespeare as compensation and more for being saddled with this scabrous mongrel of a language.

This old netter is sorely tempted hereafter to spell coronacion that way as a secret sign to the Pepys cognoscente!

Pauline  •  Link

to spell coronacion that way as a secret sign to the Pepys cognoscente!
Yes! I felt that tug too.

(After all we have been through in these 16 months, why this word? Some critical mass has been reached?)

Vicente  •  Link

"coronacion" wot's wong with the spellen. 'Tis veddy clear "coron = crown; acio[n] the action, doing, official duties ,.. wat's wong with dat, good old latin straight from St Paul's school of Latin. Officially ',tis middle English [coronacion] to be spelt later by those who like the French version "Coronation" better.

Second Reading

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘coronation, n. Also ME coronacioun, ME coronatyown, coronacyone, ME–15 coronacyon, coronacion, (ME corenacyon, 15 cronation, 16 corronation) < Old French coronacion < Latin corōnātiōn . . ’

Third Reading

Jeremy Buck  •  Link

' dirty dinner'
Nowadays, 'dirty burgers' appear on several restaurant menus in the UK, generally a burger with a lot of toppings and relishes. And many supermarkets sell 'dirty fries' fries with a topping or two..cheese, bacon bits, etc

James Little  •  Link

I do wonder if after spending time with his workmen he was not as clean as normal and had learned from them the concept of a ‘dirty pint’ , which is a beer after work before you clean up? It is still in common usage today in the uk

徽柔  •  Link

' the King’s Head' is named after Charles I's head?

Keith Knight  •  Link

The usage of 'King's Head' as a pub name pre-dates this era. Pub and Inn names were made compulsory in 1393 and there would probably have been versions of the King's Head / King's Arms from that point on.

There's an informative article about the subject here -…

'The Royal Oak' is about to become a popular name...

徽柔  •  Link

Thanks for the information, dear Keith Knight ~

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