Saturday 22 June 1661

Abroad all the morning about several businesses. At noon went and dined with my Lord Crew, where very much made of by him and his lady. Then to the Theatre, “The Alchymist,” which is a most incomparable play. And that being done I met with little Luellin and Blirton, who took me to a friend’s of theirs in Lincoln’s Inn fields, one Mr. Hodges, where we drank great store of Rhenish wine and were very merry. So I went home, where I found my house now very clean, which was great content to me.

22 Jun 2004, 11:48 p.m. - Josh

Does the plot of Jonson's play incorporate one great hope of alchemy, the transmutation of base metals into gold? Would come in handy for Sam, now and always.

23 Jun 2004, 1:34 a.m. - daniel

what pleasant entry. a little theatre, a spot of wine (or two) and keeping up with the Jones' and at end of day the satisfaction of a tidy house.

23 Jun 2004, 3:02 a.m. - dirk

"The Alchymist" Full text at: Reading through the fist act I found the phrase: "The heat of Horse-dung, under Ground, in Cellars" Does anybody know if this refers to some 17th c. method of central heating previously unknown to me - or just garbage disposal in the cellar?

23 Jun 2004, 3:07 a.m. - vicente

Fortune , that favours fools The Alchemist 1610 prolog" or Fortuna favet fatuis THE ALCHYMISTS; or, Searchers for the Philosopher's Stone and the Water of Life for ben jonson output T H E A R G U M E N T. T_ he Sickness hot, a Master quit, for fear, H_ is House in Town, and left one Servant there. E_ ase him corrupted, and gave means to know A_Cheater, and his Punk; who, now brought low, L_eaving their narrow Practice, were become C_os'ners at large; and only wanting some H_ouse to set up, with him they here contract, E_ach for a Share, and all begin to act. I_n casting Figures, telling Fortunes, News, S_elling of Flies, flat Bawd'ry, with the Stone; Y_ill it, and they, and all in Fume are gone. to rest of the plays etc by BJ P R O L O G U E F Ortune, that favours Fools, these two short Hours We wish away, both for your sakes, and ours, Judging Spectators; and desire in place, To th' Author Justice, to our selves but Grace. Our Scene is London, 'cause we would make known, No Countries Mirth is better than our own: No Clime breeds better Matter for your Whore, Bawd, Squire, Impostor, many Persons more, Whose Manners, now call'd Humours, feed the Stage to rest of the plays etc by BJ

23 Jun 2004, 3:11 a.m. - vicente

Dung is Muck. Bacon said money is like Muck, it should spread around or like dung will blow up if heaped up. Remember waste was the sauce of gun powder.

23 Jun 2004, 10:56 a.m. - Xjy

"Abroad all the morning about several businesses" Interesting countable use of the word to mean "pieces of business". Wonder when it became uncountable in this sense. Anyone like to check?

23 Jun 2004, 12:56 p.m. - PHE

Horse dung for heating? Very interesting dirk. A websearch shows: Dried dung has often been used for heating by burning. Using its fermentation heat is far less common, but the following link shows that it was traditionally used in gardening - an idea resurrected at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall. Relevance to Pepys's? - that the idea leads one to wonder whether the practice of storing 'domestic' waste in the cellar contributed in anyway to home warming.

23 Jun 2004, 4:18 p.m. - Frank G

"Horse dung for heating?" My father, when I was young, used to cultivate mushrooms in our then roomy cellars. One of the most sought-after ingredients for healthy mushrooms appears to horse dung. Could Sam have been in any way involved with mushroom cultivation, or would that be anachronistic?

23 Jun 2004, 5:10 p.m. - Bob T

Horse dung for heating? I don't know what this "was traditionaly used in gardening" stuff is all about. Last week I spread four sack loads of "road chesnuts" as they used to be called, on my Wife's garden. If it is allowed to age there is no smell. Anyway, it came from my Wife's favorite horse Chocolate, so it was perfect in every way. I'm sure that Martha would have approved :-)

23 Jun 2004, 5:34 p.m. - Ruben

Horse dung for heating? It is so natural to use manure for different purposes. not only Chocolate chips in the fiels and champignon. In South America and in India horse manure is being used (with a gassifier) to produce gas and electricity. In India and some parts of China you let dry the manure, put it in your sack and take it with you as fuel to prepare your tea. In other parts it is used, combined with mud to make huts. Then they are those beetles that use dung to keep their eggs warm...

23 Jun 2004, 7:21 p.m. - vicente

M_ uch Company they draw, and much abuse :---left out sorry!

23 Jun 2004, 8 p.m. - vicente

Every thing was recyled, dung was spread around. Note: Dung wharf next to Puddle dock Stairs down from St Andrews Wardrobe.

23 Jun 2004, 8:04 p.m. - Ruben

Dung Gate in Jerusalem's Old City

23 Jun 2004, 9:07 p.m. - Sjoerd

The "Equi clibanum" that precedes the dung line apparently means something like "horses oven".... ?

23 Jun 2004, 10:17 p.m. - Jesse

"to the Theatre, "The Alchymist," which is a most incomparable play” Almost fifty years old I wonder if it already was considered a ‘classic’ or merely a popular part of the standard repertoire?

24 Jun 2004, 12:52 a.m. - Hic Retearius

Chocolate's chips What a great thread! To further expand everyone's diminished knowledge in this area: the casting of the great bells used in change ringing requires expertise and great care in the preparation of the moulds. For each pour, the structure of the bell mould must be lined inside and then the lining shaped to produce the exact internal and external profile of the bell. The lining must also be able to receive and retain the impressions which will become the embossed decorations and the lettering of mottos, dedications and invocations one sees on the outsides of bells. The coating must be capable of withstanding instant immersion in molten bell metal without flaking off the structure, without crazing and must retain the detail required to make the lettering legible. It is a demanding application. It sounds like a specification requiring the latest "engineered material" or an aerogel. In fact, the mould lining mixture that meets these requirements was used in Sam's day and still is. It remains a compound of certain clays and sands, chopped straw and, still in 2004, a large measure of horse manure.

24 Jun 2004, 1:21 a.m. - Australian Susan

Dung & darkness In the context of the play, the horse dung comes up when Subtle is berating Face. He reminds Face that had it not been for the "education" (of a dubious nature) which he, Subtle, had given Face, he would be in very dark places. Two examples are given: the "equi clibanum" (clibanum = "oven; earthen/iron vessel w/small holes/broad bottom for baking/serving bread;") and an "Alehouse darker than deaf John's" Both of these comparisons have lost their allusive value today. Anyone know what they would have referred to? "deaf John's" sounds proverbial.

24 Jun 2004, 3:23 a.m. - dirk

Dung etc. I found at least two 17th/18th c. uses of horse manure for heating. (1) In alchemy - so that's probably why it comes up in Jonson's play: "If you would make a heat with horse dung, the manner is this, viz., make a hole in the ground. Then lay one course of horse dung a foot thick, then a course of unslaked lime a foot thick, and then another of dung, as before. Then set in your vessel, and lay around it lime and horse dung mixed together. Press it down very hard. You must sprinkle it every other day with water. When it ceases to be hot, then take it out and put in more." From: John French - "The Art of Distillation. Or, A Treatise of the Choicest Spagyrical Preparations Performed by Way o' Distillation, (etc)”, London, Printed by Richard Cotes and are to sold by Thomas Williams at the Bible in Little-Britain without Aldersgate, 1651. Full text: (2) To keep the temperatures “temperate” in cellars used to store ale or Malt Liquors: “(…) in Winter time, when the Weather is frosty, shut up all the Lights or Windows into such Cellars, and cover them close with fresh Horse-Dung, or Horse-Litter; but ‘tis much better to have no Lights or Windows at all to any Cellar” Source: THE LONDON & COUNTRY BREWER (1736), Chapter XVI

24 Jun 2004, 3:33 a.m. - vicente

Great work Dirk. In summer time we did keep foods in an eathern cellar cool by using Hay. To keep potatoes and other roots from spoilage, we used an earthern mound [clamp]over said veggies and dug them out when required. Moist hay etc. left unattended had a habit of overheating and bursting into flames. Mucking out is great fun?

24 Jun 2004, 3:51 a.m. - vicente

Dirks refs: a must read for all chemist old and young and as for how to get pickled see the last one it appears to be a his and her bath:

24 Jun 2004, 4:04 a.m. - vicente

A picture of vegetable storage clamp

24 Jun 2004, 4:15 a.m. - vicente

PHE: There are many old fuddy duddy methods of heat and cooling that can be investigated and used to save modern dependance of fuels and also recyleable. My father use to use old disguarded clear sheeting to lay on over his seedlings [ be frost free and very warm] so that he could be the first to have early spring veggies.

24 Jun 2004, 4:34 a.m. - Australian Susan

The Alchemist Getting back to the play: I think it is clear (pun intended) that Dirk's reference to shutting out all light, thus making it a very dark place is what Subtle is getting at in this simile. He is making out that Face without benefit of Subtle has a mind and intellect as dark as a cellar prepared for heating with horse dung or, and we haven't ferretted out the meaning of this yet people - still more work to be done - "an Alehouse darker than deaf John's" Anyone know what this is?

24 Jun 2004, 4:37 a.m. - vicente

"deaf John's" sounds proverbial.” I do believe it is a typical London perverseness like with a moaning voice Mona Lott sayeth “‘tis being so cheerful that keeps me a goin’” or “It’s so dark in here that I cannae think straight.”

25 Jun 2004, 4:08 a.m. - vicente

"an Alehouse darker than deaf John's” here is virgils version “Non canimus surdis, respondent omnia sylvae:” preach not the deaf, only the trees will sigh. poem X [10] Publi Vergili Maronis

25 Jun 2004, 6:39 a.m. - Ruben

Dung: This is a disgression: Whilst browsing the internet I ran across some of the sayings of Will Rogers. .. thought I'd share one of them with you "Never kick a cow chip on a hot day."

25 Jun 2004, 5:47 p.m. - upper_left_hand_corner

Hic Retearius -- The connection you make is not as unknown as you might think: "What's brown and sounds like a bell?"

25 Jun 2004, 6:10 p.m. - Nigel Pond

The "dung discussion" reminds me of a great expression from the north of England: "Where there's muck, there's brass"

23 Jun 2014, 4:17 p.m. - Gerald Berg

Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev has a spectacular scene sequence involving the casting, raising and ringing of a bell. Been a long time since I had watched the scene -- pre internet -- and here it is on youtube! From around 18:40 mark and runs to around the 40 min. mark. Was great to see it again!

23 Jun 2014, 9:24 p.m. - Tim

Poor 'Little Luelin'. Can't seem to rid of his nickname...