Monday 22 September 1662

Up betimes among my workmen, hastening to get things ready against my wife’s coming, and so with Sir J. M., Sir W. B., and Sir W. P., by coach to St. James’s, and there with the Duke. I did give him an account of all things past of late; but I stood in great pain, having a great fit of the colic, having catched cold yesterday by putting off my stockings to wipe my toes, but at last it lessened, and then I was pretty well again, but in pain all day more or less. Thence I parted from them and walked to Greatorex’s, and there with him did overlook many pretty things, new inventions, and have bespoke a weather glass of him. Thence to my Lord Crew’s, and dined with the servants, he having dined; and so, after dinner, up to him, and sat an hour talking with him of publique, and my Lord’s private businesses, with much content. So to my brother Tom’s, where Mr. Cooke expected me, and did go with me to see Mr. Young and Mr. Lull in Blackfryers, kindred of Tom’s mistress, where I was very well used, and do find things to go in the business to my good content. Thence to Mr. Townsend, and did there talk with Mr. Young himself also, and then home and to my study, and so to my lodgings and to bed.

31 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

Did he put his wet socks back on his wiped feet? No, don't answer that, it's bad enough.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

What exactly does Sam mean by a "a great fit of colic" in this instance? Is it "wind"? Or something else?

Interesting use of "catched." And how strange to us, with our modern knowledge of health, that he would think he could catch cold by removing his stockings...

Terry F  •  Link


"waves of pain in the abdomen that increase in strength, disappear, and return; usually caused by a stone blocking a bile or urine passageway or an intestinal infection"…

Would this have been what Sam means?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Colic OED 1. A name given to severe paroxysmal griping pains in the belly, due to various affections of the bowels or other parts; also to the affections of which such pains are the characteristic symptom.

Amongst other quotatons: 1528 Paynel Salerne's Regim. Ciijb, The colike+ingendreth in a gutte named colon.

Suggests that gas pains were called colic.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam is always frightened of passing another stone from kidneys to bladder - the pain of bowel cramps would worry him in case it led to a stone being passed. He always associates this with getting cold or chilling his insides as happened when he was a student, drank very cold spring water when hot and passed a stone. But surely I am not the only one here who was not yelled at when a small child by their mothers: "Come inside and get your coat on! You'll catch your death of cold!" And my husband remembers being told by a friend of his mother's not to drink cold drinks on a hot day else he would get "a fog on his stomach" Whatever that may be.....

dirk  •  Link

"but I stood in great pain, having a great fit of the colic"

See yesterday's entry:
"...and I [dined] with Mr. Fox very finely".

Could it be that this "fine" dinner was prehaps less fresh than it should have been - and Samuel is now suffering from indigestion, or even a mild food poisoning?

The word "finely" may refer to "seasoned" meat - a little too seasoned?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Wonderful site, JWB! We can now imagine Sam with this instrument in his study. He does rather love gadgets, doesn't he? We had the temptation to buy a "tweezer" not long ago and one gets the impression that, given, unlimited resources, he'd like a lot more things like this. If he was of the 21st century, he'd be the one in the pub on Friday after work, showing you his new PDA/phone with great enthusiasm.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Catched versus caught - were both in use at this time??

Douglas Robertson  •  Link

Catched versus caught - were both in use at this time??

Yes, and "Catched" is the older form of the past tense. Being a Latin-derived verb (from captare, meaning "chase") "catch" took an -ed (or weak) for its past-tense form by default, and was only subsequently assimilated to the strong-verb pattern by analogy with certain Saxon-root verbs (e.g., perhaps, "teach") whose stems also ended in "ch."

Xjy  •  Link

catched vs caught
The pattern verbs - teach-taught, reach-raught (Chaucer, Shakespeare) weren't strong but a different class of weak verbs (strong verbs had ablaut past tenses - bind-bound, weak verbs had a dental affix with t or d). A similar distinction is found in Swedish today. The past didn't end in -ed but -de or -te. So reach became "regularized", teach stayed as it was, and catch was irregularized ;-)

andy  •  Link

hastening to get things ready against my wife's coming,

time to clean up the pad!

Tom Burns  •  Link

"but I stood in great pain, having a great fit of the colic"

I have noticed numerous references in the diary to Sam’s digestive problems, ranging all the way from mild discomfort to vomiting. I’m sure this is due to the lack of refrigeration at this time. Food preservation during this era was likely limited to salting and drying and these processes are far from perfect. Fresh foods had to be eaten quickly, before they went off, and I daresay people ate many things that we spoiled 21st century denizens would turn up our collective noses at.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

He's anxious to have things perfect against Bess' return...Sweet but no doubt he'd insisted he could handle all problems while she was away. "Just trust all things to me, Mrs. Pepys, you know I shall have all well in hand..."

Terry F  •  Link

"[I] have bespoke a weather glass of [Greatorex}"

Does this means he has asked Greatorex to make one especially for him?

"hastening to get things ready against my wife's coming”

Methinks “against” can be a pun for us! Was it so for Mr. Pepys?

Jeannine  •  Link

"Hastening to get things ready against my wife's coming"........

Growing up one of my friends came from a family with a military and exacting father and a very laid back, non-housework type mother. When the dad walked through the door each day at exactly 6:00 sharp, the house was to be spotless and dinner on the table. This was NOT negotiable. Sometime in the afternoon, the mom put something in the oven to bake for dinner. In the meantime kids would be playing all over, toys would be everywhere, they'd go off to the beach, come home all wet and sandy, etc. The house always looked like a cross between an explosion in a laundromat and a toy store.... But, every day at 5:55 pm sharp an alarm would sound and every person in that house would go on a rampage to hide the mess anywhere--toys in the refrigerator, school books in the dryer, stuff shoved under beds,toys in laundry hampers, etc. Where ever you could hide the mess you threw it and went to the next mess. Someone would always be doing the countdown, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and then dad would walk in the door to a happy quiet family sitting at the table each night.

For anyone who has entertained, the same thing usually happens --alot of last minute details and running around and then trying to greet your guests looking relaxed and refreshed.

So, as the countdown for Beth's return begins to close in , it will be fun to watch our Sam getting ready and working through the final details of house preparation. Will he stress out? Will he lose it at the workmen? Will he get "actively" involved and clean something himself? Stay tuned for the next episode in "Countdown to Elizabeth"........

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Will he ask what Ferrers said during his visit? Will Elisabeth's answer suffice? Will a certain prominent...(clubbed over head at this point by wife to avoid spoiler).

However I'm really dying to see her new "closet"...Is it a study, a true "room of her own"? Has Sam crossed the threshold of the man liberated? (Don't answer that) Did he just agree to it to keep her out of his closet? Will it lead to profound changes in his attitude towards his "poor wretch"?

"By God, Bess only a girl of your brains and brio can handle the job of organizing seamen's relief..." Sam bangs inspired hand on desk of Bess' new closet. "Visiting our poor fellows' families while they're at sea, making reports to the Board on ideas for their aid, assisting in planning medical care for our heroic fellows... And it would be a marvellous chance for us to work together."


Oh, well.

Jacqueline Gore  •  Link

Robert, I will bet $5 you'll never be able to contain yourself that particular spoiler the next ___ years.

(By the way, doesn't Bess already have three careers-wife, bad poet, and vampire slayer?)

Keep whacking him good, Ms. Gertz.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I think Sam's desire to have everything finished by the time his wife returns is evidence of his particular type of personality and accords with his desire to have Naval procedures working correctly - he is irritated by sloppiness of all kinds, tardiness, untidiness, laziness and general incompleteness. I don't think he is getting everything finished before Elizabeth returns just because of her. Also, the room of her own thing is more to do with general family status: Sam can then boast of his being wealthy enough for them to have such a room in the house just for her - and compare their household with the Battens's and Penn's maybe.

Pauline  •  Link

boastful Sam?
I don't see this. In his diary he writes freely of his pride in how he has made the best of his good fortune and intelligence by being a quick study as to how advancement works and what his opportunities are and the politics of it all. So he may seem boastful in his private writings, but I see no evidence of a personality that is other than willing for the evidence to slowly proclaim his worth. I also hold that his wife is dear to his heart (though fiesty in her own right), and he would take pride in providing her with a room of her own for what it means between them, as well of the sense it gives him of conforming to (arising to) his station in life. I also think he has a very strong esthetic sense that gets very involved in these renovations--a "knowing" of how best things should be arranged to be pleasing and beautiful.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Spot on about the aesthetic sense - you can appreciate that even today looking at Sam's bookcases and books and remember that the cases made to his own design and he had the books bound to his directions uniformly. I probably was being too hard on him too about the status awareness.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I really do think Bess' closet matters, particularly if it's intended as her own study and sanctorum...That Sam would make a point of including it in his plans says something important about him and their relationship.

To that matter it will be interesting to see what Sam and Bess embark upon as joint projects in the future. While it's unfair to ask too much of our 17th century boy, it may be too hasty to completely dismiss that "threshold of liberated man" thing just yet.

Ms. Gore, I'll take that bet...

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

“ there with him did overlook many pretty things, new inventions, and have bespoke a weather glass of him”

(Evangelista Torricelli invented the first mercury barometer in 1644. The word “barometer” itself did not come into use until around 1665 and is generally attributed to Robert Boyle.)

TORRICELLIAN Instrument, A glass tube or pipe of about three foot long, and a quarter of an inch bore, sealed or closed by fire at one end, and quite filled at the other with quick-silver; which unsealed end, being stopp’d with the finger, is thrust down into some quick-silver contained in a vessel; and then the finger being taken away, and the tube set upright, the quick-silver will run out or descend till it remains in the tube of the height of between twenty eight and thirty one inches, leaving an empty space in the upper part.
The quick-silver being thus suspended or hanged up, will encrease or lessen its height in the tube, according as the weather alters for dry or wet; and being put into a frame with a plate of divisions, shewing the several degrees, is called a Mercurial Barometer, or quick-silver weather-glass.
---New Universal English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1760.

Bill  •  Link

There is an encyclopedia entry for thermometer to which further mentions of weather glass are directed. (Sam will get his weather glass next March.) An annotation from "in Aqua Scripto" there agrees with me that the weather glass was a Torricelli mercury barometer.


Louise Hudson  •  Link

Todd Bernhardt wrote: "Interesting use of "catched." And how strange to us, with our modern knowledge of health, that he would think he could catch cold by removing his stockings..."

There have been strange ideas about how we catch cold right up to the 20th and even 21st century, despite what we know about colds and other communicable diseases. People still say you'll catch a cold if you get a chill or have wet clothes on. Not sure that in this day and age we'd think we could catch cold by taking our stockings off, but who knows? Maybe in those days with no central heating taking off one's stockings would allow the feet to get very cold and cause a chill and it wouldn't be so easy to warm them up again. Colds were probably more prevalent then than now, and how would they know what caused them? Haven't we all heard someone say, "You'll catch your death of cold' even today? We probably shouldn't criticize people's ideas of 500 years ago by today's standards, especially when so much of our own knowledge is not nearly as advanced as it should be.

GrannieAnnie  •  Link

"a great fit of colic...from wiping my toes" Our boy Sam may have had acid reflux and sliding hiatal hernia pain with which can come and go especially after bending over to dry ones toes with a full tummy. (He ate "very finely" yesterday.) Today the medical advice for sufferers is: "Wear loose clothing. Anything that presses on the stomach can aggravate hiatal hernia symptoms. When your stomach is full, avoid bending over or lying down. This increases abdominal pressure and makes heartburn more likely. Do not bend over or lie down for two to three hours after eating."

Gerald Berg  •  Link

From Henry Fielding's Tom Thumb the Great (1725):

King Arthur: I feel a sudden Pain within my Breast,
Nor know I whether it arise from Love,
Or only the Wind-Cholick. Time must shew.

john  •  Link

@GrannieAnnie: Methinks Pepys had gas cramps brought on by anxiety at having the house ready. As to the use of the word nowadays, colic is still used in reference to horses and babies with painful gas cramps.

Mary Ellen  •  Link

Not sure what is causing his abdominal discomfort. However, I have yet to hear of any version of portion control. I wonder how much food was acceptable to be eaten at a given meal. Did a person just eat whatever there was available? Sometimes I suspect he overate to the point of discomfort, which in itself could have led to stomach cramps.

Liz  •  Link

I think it has been established now that getting cold lowers the body’s resistance to illness (something I’ve believed for years - or else a considerable number of coincidences have occurred)…

Third Reading

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