Friday 20 June 1662

Up by four or five o’clock, and to the office, and there drew up the agreement between the King and Sir John Winter about the Forrest of Deane; and having done it, he came himself (I did not know him to be the Queen’s Secretary before, but observed him to be a man of fine parts); and we read it, and both liked it well. That done, I turned to the Forrest of Deane, in Speede’s Mapps, and there he showed me how it lies; and the Lea-bayly, with the great charge of carrying it to Lydny, and many other things worth my knowing; and I do perceive that I am very short in my business by not knowing many times the geographical part of my business.

At my office till Mr. Moore took me out and at my house looked over our papers again, and upon our evening accounts did give full discharges one to the other, and in his and many other accounts I perceive I shall be better able to give a true balance of my estate to myself within a day or two than I have been this twelve months.

Then he and I to Alderman Backwell’s and did the like there, and I gave one receipt for all the money I have received thence upon the receipt of my Lord’s crusados. Then I went to the Exchange, and hear that the merchants have a great fear of a breach with the Spaniard; for they think he will not brook our having Tangier, Dunkirk, and Jamaica; and our merchants begin to draw home their estates as fast as they can. Then to Pope’s Head Ally, and there bought me a pair of tweezers, cost me 14s., the first thing like a bawble I have bought a good while, but I do it with some trouble of mind, though my conscience tells me that I do it with an apprehension of service in my office to have a book to write memorandums in, and a pair of compasses in it; but I confess myself the willinger to do it because I perceive by my accounts that I shall be better by 30l. than I expected to be. But by tomorrow night I intend to see to the bottom of all my accounts. Then home to dinner, where Mr. Moore met me. Then he went away, and I to the office and dispatch much business. So in the evening, my wife and I and Jane over the water to the Halfway-house, a pretty, pleasant walk, but the wind high. So home again and to bed.

21 Annotations

First Reading

Australian Susan  •  Link

When I read the word "tweezers", I assumed he was buying something to pluck hairs with, but then he seems to go on to link this with "a book of memorandums" and "a pair of compasses" for the office, so I am rather confused. Enlightenment, anyone?

dirk  •  Link


Some kind of clamp? A giant paperclip?

Bradford  •  Link

Large entry from the Large Glossary of the L&M Companion, given here verbatim for others to further interpret:

TWEEZERS (Fr. étuis): iii.115 a set ('pair') or case of small instruments, which would include tweezers in modern sense: 1654 but Florio, 1611, has "estui . . . a pocket case or little sheath with cizers, bodkin, penknife . . . in it," cf. G. Bernard Hughes, "Elegance of the étui", “Country Life”, 19 July 1973; "to pack up knowledge in a Small case (like a Paire of Twises)" . . . S. Butler, “Prose Observations”, ed. H. de Quehen (Oxford 1979), p. 135

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

the Claim of Sir John Wintour[Winter],back in May see Forest of Deene

mary house  •  Link

tweezers. As he has mentioned a need to improve his knowledge of geography to better conduct business, maybe he's referring to calipers of some sort.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Lydney is on the north bank of the Severn (the Welsh side). It is just opposite and slightly south of Sharpness which was the high point of tidal reach up the Severn. The timbers and iron from the F of D would have then been transported by ship down to the Bristol Channel and away to the Royal Dockyards ar Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham, Woolwich etc. Sam mentions the "great charge" of land carriage. This remained so for many years - sea carriage was always cheaper. Example from literature - Jane Austen has the Dashwood family possessions sent from Sussex to Devon by sea (this is not portrayed in the movie). JA herself had to give up most of her possessions when the family moved from Steventon to Bath as it was too costly to have them transported. In my own family history, one of my ancestors when living in London in the late 18th century used to send his laundry home to Sunderland by ship.

Mary  •  Link

balancing of accounts:the quarter-day is fast approaching

Mary  •  Link

Lea Bayley

(per L&M) By this date, the Lea Bailey was the only well-wooded part of the Forest of Dean, thus both strategically and financially important.

Mary  •  Link

of service in my office.

(again, per L&M). The notebook and compasses were aids to Pepys' study of marine architecture and the measuring of timber.

Australian Susan  •  Link

So, are we to regard "tweezers" and "compasses" as synonyms in this context??

George R  •  Link

"So in the evening, my wife and I and Jane over the water to the Halfway-house".This time he confirms that the Halfway house is the one across the water. I note that there are at least another three on the linked map. They would be Inns between toll stations? but surely Sams time predated the turnpikes??

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Sir John Winter was secretary and chancellor to the queen dowager.

Xjy  •  Link

Thanks, Bradford! That "étui” meaning makes a lot of sense — neat case full of shiny instruments on a velvet bed… expensive… professional…drool…

Maybe someone could quote the OED for us. Skeat gives a crystal-clear account of the word’s development.

“A surgeon’s box of instruments was formerly called a *tweese*, whence small surgical instruments were called *tweeses*, a form afterwards turned into *tweezers*, and used of small nippers in particular”

“Etymology quite clear; “estuy” (OF small case) became “etwee” then “twee”, then “twees”, then “tweeses”, and lastly “tweezers”, which might be explained as ‘instruments belonging to a “tweese” “

Complicated by the double plural, the first one a plurale tantum referring to a set of instruments in a box, from the box itself, and the second one taking the name of the set as a new singular for a part of the set, subsequently remoulded to imitate “scissors”.

When the name of the box and set fell out of use, any old use of the word would be assumed to refer to the modern instrument.

Hence our surprise…

Harry  •  Link

a true balance of my estate

I have often wondered how Sam sets about doing this, particularly in June when the French go through a similar process to file their annual estate tax return (ISF: Imp?t de Solidarit? sur la Fortune). This involves totting up all one’s assets, property at current value, investments at market, cash, and valuables at an arbitrary 5% of the valuation of all other assets, less the total of all liabilities (including last year’s income tax and this year’s estate tax). I assume that Sam only considers monetary assets and liabilities and that he omits property (does he own any yet?) and valuables such as his musical instruments, his books, his fine clothes (and those of his wife) and his paintings, all of which could have a resale value.

Martin  •  Link

See photo of a green etui near the bottom of this page:…
This seems similar to what Sam has bought. It lacks compasses, but it includes an "aide-memoire" -- rewriteable ivory notebook with stylus -- what Sam calls "a book to write memorandums in". See similar items on that site on p. 2, p. 7, and a larger aide-memoire on p. 8.

J A Gioia  •  Link

tweezers - oed

"1. A set or case of small instruments"

today's entry is given as the second example of usage.

also tweeze, tweezer, and tweezer-case have nearly identical definitions listed.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Lovely picture, Martin. What we are talking about then is "toys for boys"? 17th century must-haves? Like the latest PDA?

I think this has been a wonderful teasing out and discovery of what this portion of the entry has been about. Thank you one and all - very illuminating & entertaining.

Martin  •  Link

The PDA analogy is very good, given that it includes the ivory "notebook" with stylus. Not much RAM in there. Let's see if he uses it.

JWB  •  Link

Synecdoche & reverse synecdoche = syncdoche. Wasn't it Thurber who defined as "Thinger of the thing contained?"

Second Reading

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

’tweezer, n. < tweeze n., or twees, tweeze plural of twee . .
1. A case of small instruments; an etui, a tweezer-case. Obs.
1654 E. Gayton Pleasant Notes Don Quixot iii. vii. 111 His as attractive as..his Plaister-box (if he be a Chyron too) or if not, as his Tweezer.’

‘tweezers, n. < An extended form of tweezes, plural of tweeze n.
1. A set or case of small instruments. Also a pair (= set) of tweezers . Obs. rare.
. . 1662 S. Pepys Diary 20 June (1970) III. 115 Bought me a pair of tweezers, cost me 14s . .

2. a. Small pincers or nippers (orig. as included in the contents of an etui) used for plucking out hairs from the face or for grasping minute objects. Also a pair of tweezers.
. . 1654 E. Gayton Pleasant Notes Don Quixot iii. xii. 156 Mr. Barber with his Razor or his Tweezers, could not be so expeditious.
a1704 T. Brown Lett. to Gentlemen & Ladies in 3rd Vol. Wks. (1708) ii. 124 His Eye-brows are fair, but over large,..I mean, when the Tweezers have not play'd their Part . . ‘

‘tweeze, n.< Aphetic* < etweese (1657) = etuys , etuis , plural of etui n. See also twee n.1 The form-history in English is not quite clear, but apparently the plural form etuis, etwees was taken also as singular and spelt etweese, and this aphetized to tweese.
A case of small instruments, an etui; also pl. instruments kept or carried about in a small case. Occas. a pair (= set) of tweezes .
[1611 R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues Pennarol de Chirurgien, a Chirurgians Case or Ettuy; the box wherein he carries his Instruments.]
1622 J. Mabbe tr. M. Alemán Rogue (1623) ii. 130 Whether shee would buy a very fine paire of twizes which we..had cut from another gentlewomans girdle..having ground and whet them..and fitted them with a case . .

* The gradual and unintentional loss of a short unaccented vowel at the beginning of a word; as in squire for esquire, down for adown, St. Loy for St. Eloy, limbeck for alimbeck, 'tention! for attention! ‘

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