Wednesday 6 August 1662

Up early, and, going to my office, met Sir G. Carteret in coming through the yard, and so walked a good while talking with him about Sir W. Batten, and find that he is going down the wind in every body’s esteem, and in that of his honesty by this letter that he wrote to Captn. Allen concerning Alderman Barker’s hemp. Thence by water to White Hall; and so to St. James’s; but there found Mr. Coventry gone to Hampton Court. So to my Lord’s; and he is also gone: this being a great day at the Council about some business at the Council before the King. Here I met with Mr. Pierce, the chyrurgeon, who told me how Mr. Edward Montagu hath lately had a duell with Mr. Cholmely, that is first gentleman-usher to the Queen, and was a messenger from the King to her in Portugall, and is a fine gentleman; but had received many affronts from Mr. Montagu, and some unkindness from my Lord, upon his score (for which I am sorry). He proved too hard for Montagu, and drove him so far backward that he fell into a ditch, and dropt his sword, but with honour would take no advantage over him; but did give him his life: and the world says Mr. Montagu did carry himself very poorly in the business, and hath lost his honour for ever with all people in it, of which I am very glad, in hopes that it will humble him. I hear also that he hath sent to my Lord to borrow 400l., giving his brother Harvey’s security for it, and that my Lord will lend it him, for which I am sorry.

Thence home, and at my office all the morning, and dined at home, and can hardly keep myself from having a mind to my wench, but I hope I shall not fall to such a shame to myself. All the afternoon also at my office, and did business. In the evening came Mr. Bland the merchant to me, who has lived long in Spain, and is concerned in the business of Tangier, who did discourse with me largely of it, and after he was gone did send me three or four printed things that he hath wrote of trade in general and of Tangier particularly, but I do not find much in them. This afternoon Mr. Waith was with me, and did tell me much concerning the Chest, which I am resolved to look into; and I perceive he is sensible of Sir W. Batten’s carriage; and is pleased to see any thing work against him. Who, poor man, is, I perceive, much troubled, and did yesterday morning walk in the garden with me, did tell me he did see there was a design of bringing another man in his room, and took notice of my sorting myself with others, and that we did business by ourselves without him. Part of which is true, but I denied, and truly, any design of doing him any such wrong as that. He told me he did not say it particularly of me, but he was confident there was somebody intended to be brought in, nay, that the trayne was laid before Sir W. Pen went, which I was glad to hear him say. Upon the whole I see he perceives himself tottering, and that he is suspected, and would be kind to me, but I do my business in the office and neglect him.

At night writing in my study a mouse ran over my table, which I shut up fast under my shelf’s upon my table till to-morrow, and so home and to bed.

40 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F.  •  Link

" Mr. sensible of Sir W. Batten's carriage; and is pleased to see any thing work against him.”

L&M note: “Batten was chairman of the governors of the Chatham Chest; Robert Waith the Navy Treasurer’s paymaster. The affairs of the Chest were now about to be investigated….. “

dirk  •  Link

"Mr. Edward Montagu hath lately had a duell with Mr. Cholmely"

Note how both parties in the duel survived. That seems to have been the rule rather than the exception. Duelling rules were such that all that required was "to draw blood". Duelling weapons were specifically constructed to be less lethal than others (pistols that had a lower precision than standard, etc).

Recently a sociological theory has been developed by Douglas W. Allen and Clyde Reed (2002) that claims that duelling at this point had evolved into some kind of ritual to establish that you belonged to higher status social classes, but was not (any more) supposed to be lethal. Lots of dead noblemen through duelling would have deprived these classes of many valuable elements, who had sufficiently proved they belonged there by participating in the duel - at that point there was no need for them to actually die.

Of course accidents could happen, but the number of deaths appears to have been only a very small ("acceptable") percentage.

Terry F.  •  Link

Duelling? Here in Dixie 'old times are not forgotten."

Kentucky's Oath of Office

I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of .... according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God."…

Terry F.  •  Link

(There are no "cods" in that ellipsis, in case you're curious.)

Pauline  •  Link

"...he fell into a ditch, and dropt his sword..."
Sounds quite humiliating. Perhaps he will follow Lady Castlemain's husband into that monastery in France.

language hat  •  Link

"going down the wind"
That is, declining, going downhill. OED:

down (the) wind.

a. In the direction in which the wind is blowing; along the course of the wind. Also down-wind (attrib.), situated in this direction,

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Trayne was laid"
I assume that this is a metaphor referring to a train or trail of gunpowder carefully poured out to act as a fuse for an explosion of a barrel or other larger amount of gunpowder.

"Shut up fast"
Anyone know why Sam did not simply flatten the rodent with a convenient book? Why leave it until the morning? Mice are not hard to kill. Odd. Or am I missing something? This isn't a euphemism is it which DW missed and failed to render as dots.........?

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"Trayne was laid" the bad evidence is stacking up and will blow up and cause some head ake.
The Powers to be, are trying to enron[so sorry] the Wills, because, were be the funds? the cream has been turned to wey and there be no cheese. As noted by Samuell the Sailors are not careing, as there be only the stale biscuits and stale cheese meanwhile the lessors observe the uppers be looking after themselves. [ It has not changed , I’ve yet to see a skinny guy in charge of the stock.]

Mary  •  Link

a trapped mouse.

A frightened mouse moves at amazing speed for its size. No doubt it streaked across Sam's desk and he did pretty well to trap it at all. Now that it's trapped, much better to leave it until morning, when the light will be better and there may be others around to help in keeping it cornered ......... making sure that it doesn't escape again when the temporary trap is lifted will be no simple matter. Perhaps the office cat will be called into service.

Ruben  •  Link

a trapped mouse.

Do we now know that his table had some kind of a lid? A secretaire...

Terry F.  •  Link

"writing in my study a mouse ran over my table"

Is he writing on something that is on his table? Surely not the entry we are reading? What's the layout of "his" (Sir W. Penn's?) place? (Hekpful query, Ruben.)

A. Hamilton  •  Link

a mouse ran over my table, which I shut up fast

Cornered mouse, cornered Batten, who is betraying a panic in his breastie.

Stolzi  •  Link

"Having a mind to my wench..."

More about mice: while the cat's away, they'll play.

Terry F.  •  Link

"writing in my study a mouse ran over my table"

OK, what about this: he is writing on one surface — let us call it a “desk” — and the mouse runs over another that he calls his “table,” which “has some kind of a lid…A secretaire,” as Ruben suggests, which he “shut up fast” so the mouse won’t get into a cubby-hole and eat paper to its little heart’s content.

Samuel does seem to be in “his” space, and he dines at home, where he is tempted to get more service than meal-service of his wench, Jane; but he has been sleeping at Penn’s, so the furniture in the study is likely only “his” de facto, not de jure.

Terry F.  •  Link

We hear the emotions of our Mr. Pepys!

This day was eventful in its way in what he was told -- about which we, his "journal," hear more than what he said in reply; but we do hear what he *felt* in terms perhaps not shared with others, or...?:

He is "sorry" Mr. Cholmely, who "is a fine gentleman...had received...some unkindness from my Lord, upon ['Ned' Montagu's] score;" and is "sorry" "that my Lord will lend" Ned 400l.; and he is "very glad" Ned "hath lost his honour for ever with all people in it" = Schadenfreude; and is "glad" to hear from Sir W. Batten "that the trayne was laid [for him] before Sir W. Pen went."

Can someone explain this this last statement to me?!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...but I hope I shall not fall to such a shame to myself."

I think you mean, Sam, you hope Jane will not allow you to fall to such a shame...Seeing as her "honesty" was the only thing holding you back before. But, to be fair, maybe a little removal from the source of tempation...And perhaps a loving note received from our Bess in Brampton? (where, meanwhile...OW!!!...Stop that, honey!!)
...Has put our boy back on the straight and narrow road of marital fidelity.

Poor (though perhaps not deserving of such sympathy judging by the annotations) Waith...Some must go down while others go up. So, the plot to slowly undercut him by putting another man in his room with him was laid before Sir W. Penn went to Ireland. Hmmn...Interesting. Just about the time Penn tried to cut Sam out of the contracts procedings...And Waith, I believe is paymaster?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The mouse...

My old lab at Yale School of Medicine used to be full of them and shortly after we moved to recently remodelled quarters we had to call in the troops for a mouse hunt as they were threatening to contaminate experiments. To alert my boss to the problem I obtained a rather ratty-looking old toy mouse which I stRATegically placed with laudable effect and I have kept "Cecil" in each lab...Now Atlanta...ever since as a mascot.

Strictly for vengeance I'm sure, a mouse popped up in my own new home a few months ago and eventually I cornered him. He was then aged and willing to go and I gave him an honorable release into the wild.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"… that the trayne was laid [for him] before Sir W. Pen went."

I’m inclined to think that Batten thinks that the plot to replace him was launched by Penn and that Batten does not suspect him (Sam) personally.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I shared a house as a student with two large male students and imnumerable mice (we eventually got a cat). They used to be caught regularly in mousetraps: the simple spring on a board type. (but we had a large expenditure on these as the aforementioned LMSs would simply drop mouse and trap into the dustbin and go and buy a new trap!)Would Sam's household have had such things as made mousetraps? Or did they rely on cats for vermin control? Or did they have ratcatchers then who went round with fierce little terriers to clear houses for a price. Terry F is right about the paper - mice *love* paper, and soap and candles as well as most foodstuffs. And they widdle constantly. Here in Australia, we get possums in our houses, which run round lofts like dogs in climbing boots and get removed by The Possum Man.

Martha Rosen  •  Link

The mousetrap with which we are familiar was patented in the late 19th century. (See…) I imagine there was a hungry cat in the nearest alley, if not in the office. Since the cat, whether alley- or office-, probably lived off hunting, it would reduce the problem of the cat wanting to share the mouse with Sam. The week we brought our newborn son home from the hospital, our cat released a live mouse in the house, presumably to help the baby learn to hunt!

Kilroy  •  Link

If you ever lived with mice you would appreciate Sam's feat. Fast little critters.

In his time it would be smarter to leave the trapped beast be. More attractive to the fleas.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Remember Dick Whittingham […
] Cats can catch mice with ease but they have to be taught to kill, by mother cat, no less. Cats do like to pay the rent in captured game.
There be plenty cats around the Navy Office, I be sure.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks for the reminder, dirk - Sam was given a cat last year because they wre "much troubled" with mice. It is either dead/too stuffed with kitchen scraps to hunt/run away/enticed away by those dastardly Battens for their mice problem/a hopeless mouser which is why it was given away in the first place!

Australian Susan  •  Link

Cats and mice again
I am typing this with a (well-fed) cat on my lap: she still catches mice, however, and puts them in the bath to play with as they can't escape up the smooth sides. Hungry cats kill and eat prey quickly. The Navy office was probably riddled with vermin: mice, rats, fleas, lice, spiders, flies.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Will the mouse cheat Fate?

Many an antique cabinet features a mousehole or two. Will the mouse gnaw his way to freedom before sunrise? Or will kind Jane, who can't kill a turkey for dinner, be delegated the responsibility of dispatching it? Lucky mouse, to draw such an executioner. I'd like it to be so. By the way, like Robert, I've caught mice in the house and released them outdoors. One little rascal, however, continually managed to find its way back inside, no matter how far down the street I'd carry it. It lived out its allotted span with us after all.

Terry F.  •  Link

A final take: Sam writes at *his* place, then goes to Penn's to sleep.

Considering the sentence as a whole, with emphasis added: "At night writing in *my* study a mouse ran over *my* table, which I shut up fast under *my* shelf's upon *my* table till to-morrow, and so home and to bed.”

Rex Gordon, I think the shelf (top) has been lowered (“shut”) so as to secure the “table” “till to-morrow” against the mouse that ran *over” and, thank goodness, not *into* it.

As for cats and mouse-traps, I wonder whether the remodeling hasn’t quite disrutped the normal anti-rodent measures of the Pepys’s house.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

I doth forgot, it be wet outside and there would no self respecting mouse that would not miss an opportunity to have some nice fresh cheese [gratis ] and a place to kip out of the wet muddy grounds.
"...remodeling hasn't quite disrutped the normal anti-rodent measures of the Pepys's house…” For Terry F.
Desk surely would have a hinged drop door to keep nosy B’s out of the loop?

Mary  •  Link

Why are we speculating about hinged-top desks?

Sam specifically says that he trapped the mouse UNDER the shelves UPON the table. Sounds as if he has something like a set of free-standing letter-trays that he neatly drops over the mouse, to hold it until morning.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

“while talking with him about Sir W. Batten, and find that he is going down the wind in every body’s esteem”

To go down the wind, faire mal ses affaires. [to do his business harm]
---A short dictionary English and French. G. Miège, 1684.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

The question should be, Is Sam a man or a mouse?

A rat, I think, judging by his plans for his "wench." He should be shut up in a desk.

JayW  •  Link

Loving this mouse incident among all the high drama of office politics.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

I gather when SP speaks of " Who... did yesterday morning walk in the garden with me" he is speaking of Batten but who is he writing this 'reminder' for? Seems an unusual way to write to one's self.

Edith Lank  •  Link

Thanks for the link; I immediately ordered the Sam'l Pepys mouse pad and am seriously considering the coffee mug.
Not much more than a hundred years later, Jane Austen's writing desk was a portable affair that sat upon a table -- if that's any help, mouse-wise.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has

‘wind n. . . 19. down (the) wind .
. . b. fig. Towards decay or ruin; into or (commonly) in a depressed or unfortunate condition, in evil plight; to go down the wind , to ‘go down’, decline. Obs.
1600 P. Holland tr. Livy Rom. Hist. xxxiv. 867 When they saw him downe the wind and fortune to frowne upon him.
. . 1673 W. Cave Primitive Christianity ii. vi. 147 In the time of Constantine when Paganism began to go down the wind.
.. . 1827 Scott Jrnl. 25 Apr. (1941) 45 The old Tory party is down the wind.’

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"So to my Lord’s; and he is also gone: this being a great day at the Council about some business at the Council before the King."

L&M: Presumably a committee meeting; the council register records no council meeting on this day.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Edward Montagu hath lately had a duell with Mr. Cholmely, that is first gentleman-usher to the Queen, and was a messenger from the King to her in Portugall, and is a fine gentleman; but had received many affronts from Mr. Montagu, and some unkindness from my Lord, upon his score (for which I am sorry)."

L&M: Edward Mountagu (Sandwich's first cousin) was Master of the Horse to the Queen, and had accompanied Sandwich on the voyage which had brought her from Portugal. There is a brief account of the duel in PRO, SP 29/58, no. 59.

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