Friday 22 August 1662

About three o’clock this morning I waked with the noise of the rayne, having never in my life heard a more violent shower; and then the catt was lockt in the chamber, and kept a great mewing, and leapt upon the bed, which made me I could not sleep a great while. Then to sleep, and about five o’clock rose, and up to my office, and about 8 o’clock went down to Deptford, and there with Mr. Davis did look over most of his stores; by the same token in the great storehouse, while Captain Badily was talking to us, one from a trap-door above let fall unawares a coyle of cable, that it was 10,000 to one it had not broke Captain Badily’s neck, it came so near him, but did him no hurt.

I went on with looking and informing myself of the stores with great delight, and having done there, I took boat home again and dined, and after dinner sent for some of my workmen and did scold at them so as I hope my work will be hastened.

Then by water to Westminster Hall, and there I hear that old Mr. Hales did lately die suddenly in an hour’s time. Here I met with Will Bowyer, and had a promise from him of a place to stand to-morrow at his house to see the show. Thence to my Lord’s, and thither sent for Mr. Creed, who came, and walked together talking about business, and then to his lodgings at Clerke’s, the confectioner’s, where he did give me a little banquet, and I had liked to have begged a parrot for my wife, but he hath put me in a way to get a better from Steventon; at Portsmouth. But I did get of him a draught of Tangier to take a copy by, which pleases me very well. So home by water and to my office, where late, and so home to bed.

52 Annotations

First Reading

T, Foreman  •  Link

"I did get of him a draught of Tangier to take a copy by"

Sounds at first like an exotic drink, but an L&M note says: "Sandwich had done a drawing of Tangier roads, November 1661. A copy survives in BL, King's Maps, CXVII 77. Pepys's copy had not been traced."

Q. re "Tangier roads": are we talking the harbor or what's onshore?

Bradford  •  Link

"road," first definition (Merriam-Webster): "a place less enclosed than a harbor where ships may ride at anchor---often used in pl.; called also roadstead".
Isn't Hampton Roads a famous instance of this? (Memory may mislead me about the name.)

In the "Shorter Pepys," the L&M transcription happily informs us, concerning the falling coil of cable, that "it was 10000 to one it had not broke Capt. Bodily's neck" [sic].

T, Foreman  •  Link

Hampton Roads is indeed named after a {nautical) roadstead.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

The rainstorm, the cat, the falling cable -- a lot of startle in the early day!

Sam leaves the storehouse. Man descends through trap door."Sorry Cap'n. Hope I didn't shake you up. I was told to drop the cable to put the idea in that nosy Mr.Pepys's head that being too inquisitivre isn't safe."

language hat  •  Link

"which made me I could not sleep a great while"
Fascinating syntax. Today we'd put it in the negative: "which kept me from sleeping for a long time."

dirk  •  Link

"I met with Will Bowyer, and had a promise from him of a place to stand to-morrow at his house to see the show"

A slight SPOILER ?

Tomorrow there will be a triumphal parade of barges on the Thames...

Linda F  •  Link

Recently, SP was delighted with progress on the house, but now calls the men in to scold them in hopes that they will finish more quickly. That doesn't work today, and it's difficult to believe it did then. Even if these are naval employees, it would seem that they are not SP's in the same way that his household staff are.

T, Foreman  •  Link

"I took boat home again and dined"

likely "alone" again, with no wine; then at 'em (his workmen in this case), then off again to work, perhaps whistling?

Australian Susan  •  Link

The behaviour of cats has not changed in 300 years: if one of ours needs to get out she does the "great mewing" act and the leaping on the bed - if that fails we get the "knocking things off the bedside table". I have been known to try and ignore her whilst clutching spectacles, watch and alarm clock under the covers. She then starts chewing the phone cable......
If Creed lodges at a confectioner's and is wont to eat a lot of "little banquets" (small meals of exquisitely prepared sweetmeats in this context), he will become a stout fellow: no one was shamed into aerobics in those days. If you were stout it meant you could afford lots of food and were wealthy, which was something to be proud of. Think of all those Ruebens beauties - bet they had all had many "little banquets" !

Australian Susan  •  Link

Do we get the impression that Creed really does not want to part with his parrot?

Pauline  •  Link

The Parrot
Sounds like Creed quickly diverted the gleam in Sam's eye by extolling the virtures of those available from Steventon.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"...there I hear that old Mr. Hales did lately die suddenly in an hour's time…” another change in expressions ? dead before he died?

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Where be the Catt when there be mice?

T, Foreman  •  Link

"there I hear that old Mr. Hales did [recently] die suddenly in an hour's time" — yet not the “late Mr. Hales” etc.: be this any help? (not to Mt. Hailes [sic], of course…)

Jacqueline Gore  •  Link

Ah, ha! Robert Gertz, we have the source of your little fictional incident,eh? But where is Sherlock Coventry to solve the mystery?

Now I'm beginning to wonder about the Duke of Buckingham :)

Miss Ann  •  Link

"But I did get of him a draught of Tangier to take a copy by, which pleases me very well." - wouldn't our boy just love a photocopier? No doubt the draft of the map of Tangier will be laboriously copied by hand, I wonder if he will do it or will it be delegated to one of his clerks?

"I went on with looking and informing myself of the stores with great delight" - is there no end to Sam's need to poke his nose in everywhere? What would the workers of today make of him?

T, Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Creed [and I] walked together talking about business"

Another atriding seminar with Sam, the quintessential peripatetic.
"Peripatetic may sound like something you don't want to catch, but it actually refers to someone who moves around a lot."…

Xjy  •  Link

Sam Bossy-Boots - "sent for Mr Creed"
Summoning Creed, scolding the workers, he's really getting into his stride as a man of authority. I'm willing to bet his appearance (presence) changed a lot over the past few months (since the funeral at Brampton, say) from diffident, exploratory young man to more commanding self-assured not-so-young man. Maybe the Roman transition from adulescens (still growing) to iuvenis (prime of life).

tony t  •  Link

'10,000 to one it had not broke Captain Badily's neck'.
This seems a surprisingly scientific way of expressing the operation of chance in an age so dominated by religion. Was '10,000 to one' an expression in general use at the time or was it something Pepys had picked up (unconsciously perhaps) from his mathematical lessons with Mr Cooper ?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Wonder how Creed enjoys being "summoned". It wasn't so long ago that he'd come over rather abruptly to have Sam help with milord's accounts.


Nice of Sam to think of Beth but I wonder if she'll appreciate a parrot for a return home gift.

As to Sam's poking about probably the reaction of the workers at Deptford, etc is the time-honored one...They make fun of him behind his back, some sneering at him, ready to magnify each flaw and misstep. However, if he listens to them and delivers over time, the better and capable come to respect him and his sincerity. As he does seem to listen and obtain results, the portents are favorable.

Australian Susan  •  Link

In a previous life as a Social Worker, I was once taken aback when visiting the family of a small child with severe hearing difficulties when the mother told me they had a "very pathetic" teacher for the lad. Turned out she had been visited by the local Peripatetic Teacher of the Deaf. After a while and many confusions later, the Local Authority changed her title to "Home Visiting" Teacher. Sorry, off-topic, but I wonder what happened to such children in Sam's time? Did they all get labelled as idiots?

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Coil of rope.
Fifty years ago, I was running small teams of guard dogs and handlers who were posted in various army camps (in Cyprus).
It was standard practice in a new camp to lie in wait for the inspecting officer at night and frighten him with a snarling animal. They never bothered us after that.

Stolzi  •  Link

"die suddenly in an hour's time"

I take this to mean that old Mr. Hales' death was quite unexpected; he seemed well, then he "took sick," was perhaps escorted to bed, and an hour later he was gone.

Stolzi  •  Link

"I had liked to have begged a parrot"

Interesting grammar again. I wondered whether this meant "I would have liked to have begged a parrot", or whether it meant "I almost begged a parrot," as in the idiomatic "I like to have died!"

Then it occurred to me that perhaps the idiom has been derived, over the years between, from the form Sam uses.

Mary K McIntyre  •  Link

tony t, don't think the "10000 to one" is a mathmatical reference, but rather, a gaming one!

nix  •  Link

"very pathetic" --

Wonderful story, AusSus. I suppose they would have been labeled "dumb" -- in the original sense. In a poor family, put out on the street to beg. In a rich family, locked up in the tower, perhaps?

T, Foreman  •  Link

"a surprisingly scientific way of expressing the operation of chance in an age so dominated by religion."

Perhaps the odds tony cites are gaming ones, but it is apropos to recall that we are in the century of the emergence of a methematized geometry (by Descartes) and physics (by Newton -- soon). Thomas Hobbes had written a materialist philosophy during the British civil war: Hobbes' man is a creature hormonally driven toward the "sociably antisocial" minglings and tenuous defensive impulses that lift him toward what might be called "rationality" " that cunning by which we are able to survive in this world. For Hobbes, ethics is that practical thinking directed toward selecting means to attain ends " it is what is most useful. It has adaptive and survival value. (Is that a bit of what we are seeing in our Sam?)
There was an international community of natural philosophers in correspondence with one another, including Pascal (who dies this year), Spinoza, and in England the charter members of what has become The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge.
“The seventeenth century in Europe saw the culmination of the slow process of detachment of philosophy from theology.”…

T, Foreman  •  Link

Oops, for "methematized" read "mathematized" -- guess my head is into the plague that good friends in law enforcement are fighting.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"a gaming one" The games of chance were in full vogue at time by those that had a private income or enjoyed sincure positions [no work]. My guess it be ["it was 10000 to one" (3 X top annual income of an Earl) 10000 quid would be the 10 lives of life savings by the hoi polloi ] said by the man of the street without benefit of church or school.

Maurie Beck  •  Link

aerobics in those days

One didn't have to be shamed into aerobics in those days because people walked about far more than today, unless perhaps they were fawned on aristocrats with labdogs, carried in palanquins.

T, Foreman  •  Link

Re the scientific revolution of the 17c

The impetus for the change was surely the work of Francis Bacon, whose "works establish and popularize an inductive methodology for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method. Induction implies drawing knowledge from the natural world through experimentation, observation, and testing of hypotheses" -- exactly what SP has been doing with cordage, etc. -- Pepys will join the Royal Society in 1664, and be President of it 1684-1686.… This was not yet science as we understand it; e.g., "In the context of [Bacon's] time, such methods were connected with occult trends of hermeticism and alchemy."…

Martha R.  •  Link

Deaf people in the 17th century

European scholars have recognized deafness as different from idiocy since at least the 15th century; see this website from the National Association for the Deaf:…

The first school for the deaf was started in France in the 18th century, but individual children were tutored at least 100 years before that. Based on the years I spent working with deaf people in the U.S., not all of whom had formal education, training in sign language, or hearing aids, people born deaf but without other disabilities probably stayed at home, may have learned some kind of trade by observation, and communicated with family via some kind of "home sign language". Which isn't to say some didn't end up as beggars or prisoners in a tower. It is possible that a big city like London had a "deaf community" whose members had some kind of shared sign language. Probably there were many people who became deaf after learning language, since there would have been more diseases leading to high fevers and subsequent brain damage than we see now. They may have to some extent acted as go-betweens for the "born deaf" community.

tc  •  Link

The Falling Coil of Cable

Todd E. may have hit the nail on the head, so to speak, in suggesting that the close call with the falling cable may not have been an accident, but a not-so-subtle hint to get the busybody fops out of the Storehouse so some work can get done...

Such behavior continues today, albeit perhaps not so threateningly- in our spar-building shop, when visitors, big-wigs, or other important muckety-mucks come sniffing around the shop floor, the lads crank up the noisiest welders and grinders in the place to try and drive the interlopers away through sheer volume. If they can't talk, can't hear, they usually go away.

T, Foreman  •  Link

Very interesting info on the deaf, Martha R: I read on the site you provided: "The 1680's was the time when Scottish tutor George Dalgarno taught deaf students to speak, lipread and fingerspell. He said fingerspelling was a better way to communicate.”
To what extent do you think his techniques might have been known in London’s “deaf-town,” — which I find a very great liklihood — and supplement the work of the “become-deaf” intermediaries?

T, Foreman  •  Link

To clarify my Q. about the deaf:
The "likelihood" I find very great is that members of the "deaf community" might have lived in close proximity, so as in effect to form a "town."

Sjoerd  •  Link

I don't know if you have seen this, but Sam's employer Downing has at this point worked with deaf people in the "colonies" and can use sign language quite well.
It is supposed to have started (in Downing, maybe also in Samuel) a preoccupation with cyphers, sign language and shorthand systems.

Also there was a remark about using sign language for communicating with a monkey:…

dirk  •  Link


Think of the advantages of having a deaf servant though in those tumultuous times ...

Martha R.  •  Link

More Deaf History

The first school for the deaf in the United States was started in the very early 19th century. The founder first went to England, didn't like the people he met there (they wanted him to apprentice himself to them for several years to learn their teaching methods), and then went to France, where he was welcomed by Abbe Sicard, who worked at what is generally agreed to be the first school for the deaf. It was founded in 1750. French deaf people already had their own signing system at that time. I am sure English deaf people would have had their own signs as well; those who had been Dalgarno's pupils may have used some of what he taught. However, it's not unusual for deaf people to find formal systems of communication developed and taught by hearing people unwieldy and to not use them among themselves. I would not expect anyone who didn't have a connection with one of Dalgarno's pupils to know much about his communication system.

In my experience deaf people from different countries are remarkably able to communicate in the absence of a shared sign language. Some French deaf people once visited a school where I worked; none of the hearing staff could learn anything about them, but a deaf woman had a couple over for dinner one night and came to work and told us all about them. Some of this is because American sign language derived initially from French sign language, but that's not the whole story.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Visiting big-wigs
My father very rarely talked about any of his war service, but one anecdote recalled being in charge of a forward communications trench and having a visit from a general. The person in charge was just that, even if the visitor was a general: he rather enjoyed getting the general to walk doubled up through a dangerously open patch (or he *said* it was dangerous): the General was large and became gratifyingly red-faced.

Araucaria  •  Link

Deaf sign language.

According to the book "Everybody here spoke sign", there was a community of deaf people in the Kent region who developed their own sign language, and many of them migrated to Martha's Vineyard, bringing that sign language with them. (See the wikipedia entry for the link:…'s_Vineyard_Sign_Language). Others have mentioned Downing's connection to that deaf community.

The abve-mentioned book by Groce has had an interesting modern effect, as one of the contributing influences to the vogue of teaching sign language to infants:…

T, Foreman  •  Link

"In the context of [Bacon's] time, such methods were connected with…alchemy."

The same was still true of Newton, whose “notes on alchemy were originally discovered after [his] death in 1727 but were lost after they were sold at auction in July 1936 for £15 (A$32). / They were found while researchers were cataloguing manuscripts at the Royal Society….[and were on display at the Royal Society’s annual Summer Science Exhibition in London which [began] on July 4 [2005].”…

Pedro  •  Link

Sandwich had done a drawing of Tangier roads, November 1661. A copy survives in BL, King's Maps, CXVII 77.

Ollard in his biography of Sandwich says…

Tangier-The harbour, or rather the roadstead, was not one in which ships would ride in all weathers, but it was generally agreed that a mole could remedy this deficiency.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"...I almost begged a parrot..." may be just another accented slip, part of the great vowel change , 'I bagged another' for 'is stuffed bird collection.
Downing's secrets , that how he caught his victims in Holland [using sign language, he also pretended to deaf so that many a conspirator be fooled to spill some peas] to be put on the gibbet away back.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"that it was 10,000 to one it had not broke Captain Badily’s neck"

I too found this expression interesting and I'm sure the basic idea does come from gaming, though it's hard to imagine a game where this small a chance would appear. The modern mathematical theory of probability dates from the late 1650s when two famous French mathematicians, Pascal and Fermat, worked out the solution to a difficult dice problem.

Note that this year (1662) John Graunt published a work (Pepys noted it in March) that also is an important step in establishing the ideas of probability and statistical inference.

Graunt's 'Natural and political observations made upon the bills of mortality'…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys says he went to My Lord's. He usually says he went to the Wardrobe. Does Sandwich live at the Wardrobe, or is it just "the office address" while the family lives at Montagu House?

Bridget Davis  •  Link

These annotations are a joy; I'm sure half of Sam's meanings would be lost on me without you all.

john  •  Link

tc wrote: "a not-so-subtle hint to get the busybody fops out of the Storehouse so some work can get done..."
Some work or some thievery?

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘I had liked to have begged a parrot for my wife’ - I read this as no more than a simple change of tense to how we would say it now: ‘I would have liked to have begged a parrot for my wife’. ‘Liked’ here = ‘lief/leave’ adv. dearly, gladly, willingly [OED] now obs.

Terry Foreman  •  Link


In the 1600s, the court of the Ottoman Empire employed some 40 deaf servants. They were chosen not in spite of their deafness, but because of it. The deaf servants were favored companions of the sultan, and their facility in nonverbal communication made them indispensable to the court, where decorum restricted speech in the sultan’s presence. As Sir Paul Rycaut, an English traveler to the Ottoman court, wrote:

[T]his language of the Mutes is so much in fashion in the Ottoman Court, that none almost but can deliver his sense in it, and is of much use to those who attend the Presence of the Grand Signior, before whom it is not reverent or seemly so much as to whisper.

The deaf attendants taught pages in training to communicate by means of signs. It isn’t certain whether theirs was a fully fledged sign language, though Rycaut suggested that the attendants “can discourse and fully express themselves; not only to signifie their sense in familiar questions, but to recount Stories, understand the Fables of their own Religion, the Laws and Precepts of the Alchoran, the name of Mahomet, and what else may be capable of being expressed by the Tongue.”…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

There's a new book out about how deaf education and artificial language were linked in the 17th century. It's called "Teaching Language to a Boy Born Deaf: The Popham Notebook and Associated Texts" -- by David Cram and Jaap Maat.

They say that before the 1550s it was thought that people who were born deaf were incapable of learning a natural language. Written communication seemed unattainable because the relationship between written letters and sounds could not be established.

In the 1550s, a Benedictine monk in northern Spain named Pedro Ponce de Leon succeeded in teaching reading, writing, and speaking to some profoundly deaf children. He taught them to read and write “indicating with his finger the things that were signified to them by characters.” At the next stage that he “prompting them to make the movements of the tongue corresponding to the characters.” But the techniques stayed in Spain.

In the 1660s two members of the Royal Society acted as teachers of deaf pupils. William Holder and John Wallis saw such teaching as an experiment corroborating their phonetic theories.

Not everyone concerned with teaching language to the deaf agreed that speech should be included. A Scotsman named George Dalgarno, the author of an artificial language meant for universal use, which he claimed was more logical than existing languages. Dalgarno’s project was part of a movement that was partly inspired by a growing awareness of notational systems, like Chinese script.

In the 1660s, the distinction between “real characters” (non-phonetic writing, representing “things”) and “vocal characters” (phonetic writing, representing spoken words) was well-established. For Dalgarno the question whether a piece of writing was “real” or “vocal” depended on the use made of it. His language, or any written language, could function as a character.

Dalgarno wrote a tract on the subject in 1680 (‘The Deaf and Dumb Man’s Tutor”) in which he explained the use of a finger alphabet, by associating parts of the fingers with letters.

Dalgarno did not discuss the teaching of speech to the deaf, probably because he thought the visual alternative was better. However, his visual communication system was tied to languages such as English, and was completely different from sign language.

John Wallis FRS (1618-1703) was a mathematician and pioneer of calculus, and a linguist whose work included the groundbreaking tract on phonetics, De Loquela (1653). He worked for Thurloe cracking codes for the Post Office during the Interregnum -- and worked with Downing who had learned sign language in America, and returned to use it in Holland catching Regicides. Perhaps they signed across the office???

George Dalgarno also wrote:
on Universal Language: The Art of Signs (1661),
The Deaf and Dumb Man's Tutor (1680),
and you can find his Unpublished Papers (OUP, 2001)

For the real review see…...

Third Reading

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