Monday 2 September 1661

In the morning to my cozen Thos. Pepys, executor, and there talked with him about my uncle Thomas, his being in the country, but he could not advise me to anything therein, not knowing what the other has done in the country, and so we parted.

And so to Whitehall, and there my Lord Privy Seal, who has been out of town this week, not being yet come, we can have no seal, and therefore meeting with Mr. Battersby the apothecary in Fenchurch Street to the King’s Apothecary’s chamber in Whitehall, and there drank a bottle or two of wine, and so he and I by water towards London. I landed at Blackfriars and so to the Wardrobe and dined, and then back to Whitehall with Captain Ferrers, and there walked, and thence to Westminster Hall, where we met with Mr. Pickering, and so all of us to the Rhenish wine house (Prior’s), where the master of the house is laying out some money in making a cellar with an arch in his yard, which is very convenient for him. Here we staid a good while, and so Mr. Pickering and I to Westminster Hall again, and there walked an hour or two talking, and though he be a fool, yet he keeps much company, and will tell all he sees or hears, and so a man may understand what the common talk of the town is, and I find by him that there are endeavours to get my Lord out of play at sea, which I believe Mr. Coventry and the Duke do think will make them more absolute; but I hope, for all this, they will not be able to do it. He tells me plainly of the vices of the Court, and how the pox is so common there, and so I hear on all hands that it is as common as eating and swearing. From him by water to the bridge, and thence to the Mitre, where I met my uncle and aunt Wight come to see Mrs. Rawlinson (in her husband’s absence out of town), and so I staid with them and Mr. Lucas and other company, very merry, and so home, where my wife has been busy all the day making of pies, and had been abroad and bought things for herself, and tells that she met at the Change with my young ladies of the Wardrobe and there helped them to buy things, and also with Mr. Somerset, who did give her a bracelet of rings, which did a little trouble me, though I know there is no hurt yet in it, but only for fear of further acquaintance.

So to bed. This night I sent another letter to Sir W. Pen to offer him the return of his tankard upon his leaving of 30s. at a place where it should be brought. The issue of which I am to expect.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro.  •  Link

"there are endeavours to get my Lord out of play at sea, which I believe Mr. Coventry and the Duke do think will make them more absolute; "

Which Duke? Coventry is private secretary to the Duke of York, but yesterday Captain Holmes had said that both the King and the Duke of York do love Sam's Lord, and the King's brother would appear to be pretty absolute already.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"the Pox"
In this case I think it is meant Syphilis,not Small Pox.

Lawrence  •  Link

Fancy Elizabeth bumping in to pretty boy Somerset again and excepting tokens of effection, I wouldn't like it either Sam, although he was giving out baulbles himself the other day.

Pauline  •  Link

"... the pox is so common there..."
Although this links to small pox, it probably means syphilis. Called 'the great pox' at the time, and not yet called syphilis.

Lawrence  •  Link

Wasn't it treated with Mercury, I've heard that Henry viii died of this, though some dispute it because there is no Mercury bills in his house hold accounts at the time.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"though he be a fool ... will tell all he sees or hears"
Ah, the (inner) voice of discretion.
Sam here reveals that he appreciates the value of silence, and correspondingly, the value of knowing who will repeat what. Mr. Pickering will find himself ever more popular, until one day (I speculate, no spoilers please!) his tongue will wag too merrily, and down he will go ....

Australian Susan  •  Link

"the pox"
This was the great dread for loose living men - that they would end up having sex with someone who was "poxy" and thus contract the disease themselves. Mercury was used to treat it, but of course, killed them faster than the syphilis. It is fear of this, I think, which makes Sam cautious in his amours. Mainly he goes in for what used to be called "heavy petting" or indulges in mutual masturbation. Actual penetration was known to be how you got the pox and so best avoided.

Glyn  •  Link

Very good judgement David! People who want to avoid finding out if David A. Smith is an accurate judge of character should NOT click on Pickering's name! (But don't worry if you do, because it's several years away.)

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"The Pox"
Few minutes with Venus and an eternity with Mercury.

Pauline  •  Link

" young ladies of the Wardrobe..."
Almost as if he is claiming them from Elizabeth, but probably just "my" as in "my lord" and "my Lady".

Pauline  •  Link

"but yesterday Captain Holmes had said that both the King and the Duke of York do love Sam's Lord”
Pedro, yesterday Holmes also said he could “(by his own confession to me) that can put on two several faces, and look his enemies in the face with as much love as his friends”.

That Sam is getting reports about Sandwich’s power two days in a row says something is afoot. Maybe only rumor and speculation.

I took “which I believe Mr. Coventry and the Duke do think will make them more absolute” to mean that Mr. C and the Duke of York would rein in Sandwich’s powers to make their own more absolute. Let’s hope they’re too busy eating and swearing to actually plot this.

Louis  •  Link

"the master of the house is laying out some money in making a cellar with an arch in his yard, which is very convenient for him."

Does anyone else read this as making a cellar underground, beneath his courtyard?

vicente  •  Link

Cellar: I do believe, was any small room /store room for grain or stall,garret or hut or even a hiding place before being relegated to the dungeon or basement,from latin cella,-ae or.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

That the Duke of York and his secretary, the able William Coventry, might have other than absolute affection in their hearts for Lord Sandwich, former hero of the Commonwealth and right-hand man to Oliver, and currently turncoat and traitor to a number of old comrades, is not all that surprising. But then Charles himself, son of an overthrown king, surrounded by former enemies protesting their loyalty, would only be wise to follow Herod Agrippa's advice to new emperor Claudius... "Trust no one...Not your dearest friend, not the wife of your heart...Trust no one..."

Mary  •  Link

"to get my lord out of play at sea"

Sounds a plausible political move; assign Sandwich to 'important' duties at sea with the fleet, thus removing him from the centre of power without inflicting overt humiliation.

Roger Arbor  •  Link

The Pox.... Reminds me of the Puritan refrain of the time. "You do not break the laws of God, you break yourself upon them". (Not sure of the source, I'm still looking)

helena murphy  •  Link

There is nothing as effective as a generous admirer of one's wife to keep a husband on his toes! And Elizabeth's admission of her coming across Somerset and his gift have the desired effect. This development,together with the business of the tankard is worthy of Moliere, and by far more amusing to the reader than the sanctimonious sounding Pickering ,and the movers and shakers of the court.

Bernt Hankel  •  Link

"a cellar with an arch"
Historic German town halls occasionally have a "Weinkeller", a wine restaurant in the cellar, probably because the basement was also where the municipal wine reserves were stored. Possibly London's "Rhenish wine house" is building a similar room for the storage and - with its "gothic" arched ceiling - also for the consumption of wine in a more or less "Rhenish" environment.

JWB  •  Link

After close disasterous 30 Years War mid-century, Germans turned to wine export for hard currency. Chemist Glauber, you may have experienced his salts, published 1661 recipes for wine concentrates to facilitate transport. For pix "brick arch cellar" goto:…

JWB  •  Link

Besser pix -

vicente  •  Link

cellars etc. URL:…
Under the shop was a cellar near the street, 12 ft. 8 in. by 12 ft. (3.86 m. by 3.66 m.), and a cellar further back 22 ft. (N.-S.) by 15 ft. (E.-W.) (6.71 m. by 4.57 m.), presumably under the wider part of the shop; a little cellar with a staircase, 12 ft. 4 in. (E.-W.) by 9 ft. (N.-S.) (3.76 m. by 2.74 m.) probably linked the larger cellars and may have been the small cellar built by Harrison.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"the master of the house is laying out some money in making a cellar with an arch in his yard"

CELLAR, the lowest Part of a Building under Ground.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"how the pox is so common there"

POX, Pustules, exanthematous Eruptions; also the Venereal Disease.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Yesterday: " ... good God! what an age is this, and what a world is this! that a man cannot live without playing the knave and dissimulation."

Today: " ... and there walked an hour or two talking, and though he be a fool, yet he keeps much company, and will tell all he sees or hears ..."

No contradiction here of course, more a demonstration: "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘cellar I. A storeroom, and derived senses.
1. †a. In general sense. A storehouse or storeroom, whether above or below ground, for provisions; a granary, buttery, or pantry. Obs.
. . 1663 A. Cowley Ess. in Verse & Prose (1669) 131 Sellars and Granaries in vain we fill, With all the bounteous Summers store . .

. . c. spec. A storeroom for wine, ale, or the like; (hence) the contents of this; . .

2. a. A room below ground level in a house or other building, typically used for storage. This sense occurs contextually in some of the quots. at 1, and it is impossible to determine at what period the notion of ‘storeroom’ began to give way to that of ‘underground chamber’.
. . 1656 T. Blount Glossographia, Hypoge (hypogæum), a vault or cellar, or such like underground room . . ‘

‘pox . . 1.b . .
1601 H. Clapham Ælohim-triune xi, A third diuell whispers in the eares of some, And straight they slide to house of brothelrie: The pox, the vengeance, burning intrailes come Crying a loud.
1680 J. Bunyan Life & Death Mr. Badman 105 There often follows this foul sin, the Foul Disease, now called by us the Pox. A disease so nauseous and stinking, so infectious to the whole body (and so intailed to this sin) that hardly are any common with unclean Women, but they have more or less a touch of it to their shame.
1700 T. Brown Amusem. Serious & Comical x. 107 The Attorney picks your Pocket, and gives you Law for't; the Whore picks your Purse, and gives you the Pox for't it; and the Poet picks your Pocket, and gives you nothing for it . . ‘

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Eric the Bish found this on a random WordPress website – link below:

“Pothecary, Potticary — Middle English: apotecarie, ultimately from Latin apothecarius “store-keeper” (specifically of spices and drugs — only later came to mean some-one who prepared drugs, an apothecary).”

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