Saturday 11 October 1662

Up betimes, and after a little breakfast, and a very poor one, like our supper, and such as I cannot feed on, because of my she-cozen Claxton’s gouty hands; and after Roger had carried me up and down his house and orchards, to show me them, I mounted, and rode to Huntingdon, and so to Brampton; where I found my father and two brothers, and Mr. Cooke, my mother and sister. So we are now all together, God knows when we shall be so again. I walked up and down the house and garden, and find my father’s alteracions very handsome. But not so but that there will be cause enough of doing more if ever I should come to live there, but it is, however, very well for a country being as any little thing in the country.

So to dinner, where there being nothing but a poor breast of mutton, and that ill-dressed, I was much displeased, there being Mr. Cooke there, who I invited to come over with my brother thither, and for whom I was concerned to make much of. I told my father and mother of it, and so had it very well mended for the time after, as long as I staid, though I am very glad to see them live so frugally.

But now to my business. I found my uncle Thomas come into the country, and do give out great words, and forwarns all our people of paying us rent, and gives out that he will invalidate the Will, it being but conditional, we paying debts and legacies, which we have not done, but I hope we shall yet go through well enough.

I settled to look over papers, and discourse of business against the Court till the evening; and then rode to Hinchingbroke (Will with me), and there to my Lady’s chamber and saw her, but, it being night, and my head full of business, staid not long, but drank a cup of ale below, and so home again, and to supper, and to bed, being not quiet in mind till I speak with Piggott, to see how his business goes, whose land lies mortgaged to my late uncle, but never taken up by him, and so I fear the heire at law will do it and that we cannot, but my design is to supplant him by pretending bonds as well as a mortgage for the same money, and so as executor have the benefit of the bonds.

42 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

"a little breakfast, and a very poor one, like our supper, and such as I cannot feed on, because of my she-cozen Claxton's gouty hands."

"Gouty" means, as one might expect, "swollen, tumid" (Companion, Large Glossary). It is well-documented how Pepys hated food to be served with hands that were dirty, or a on a plate unclean enough to show a thumbprint (Percival Hunt, in his essays, details this quite modern aversion well). But swollen hands, unlike the dainty ones he may admire on other women, seem an odd and unfair reason for being put off your feed. And since he wished to impress Mr. Cooke at his parents' house, why did he not see to the dinner himself beforehand?
As for his plotting---"my design is to supplant him by pretending bonds as well as a mortgage"---maybe savvier minds than I can explain how he hopes to get away with what sounds to the uninitiated like dishonesty.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Even allowing for Sam being in a bad mood after an uncomfortable journey, poor food, tight boots, etc, this shows an unattractive side of him.
His metropolitan snobbery, his desire to impress Cooke while approving his parents' frugality and his proposed dishonesty towards another relative, all give the impression of a spoilt and self-centred young man. Although I suppose you have to respect his honesty about himself. Let's hope his humour is restored soon.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"why did he not see to the dinner beforehand" Sam, like many men even now, just expects that that is woman's work and details he need not concern himself with, unless it goes wrong.
Sam's distaste at the hands of the relative reminded me of Chaucer's description of the Cook in The Canterbury Tales' Prologue:
"A Cook they hade with hem for the nones
To boille the chiknes with the marybones,
And pourdre-marchant tart and galyngale.
Wel koude he knowe a draught of London ale.
He koude rooste, and sethe and broille and frye,
Make mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
But greet harm was it, as it thought me,
That on his shyne a mormal [weeping tumour] hadde he.
For blankmanger, that made he with the beste."
With reference to the discussion yesterday on old English word survivals in the US, note that Chaucer uses the word "broil", to mean grill in modern UK English, but in the US, it is still used in this original way, isn't it?

maureen  •  Link

Hang on! If the gouty hands were in fact severe arthritis it is possible that Paulina did not have sufficient movement to prepare anything delicate or anything which required strength or acurate slicing and chopping.

We are in the seventeenth century, remember, when for a housewife-type person it wasn't shop until you drop but carry on cooking until you keel over!

We have seen Pepys at times very demanding of Elizabeth and completely oblivious as to whether he is making unreasonable demands or she has the means to perform as he thinks she should.

Bob T  •  Link

broil?, to mean grill in modern UK English, but in the US, it is still used in this original way, isn?t it?

I've heard it used this way in Canada, but usually it was in "posh restaurants". Even the word grill is not used much any more, because the majority of people don't "grill" food.

John N  •  Link

In the US mid-west 'broil' is the usually used word in place of the British 'grill'. Electric and gas stoves have a 'broil' control. A 'grill' is usually an outside barbecue grill. Just another example of American English coming from older roots than British English.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "broil"

In my American experience, to broil means to heat something from above as it sits on a slotted pan, so the juices can drip away. Grilling, in my experience, heats from below, and the juices drip down (usually onto the heat source).

I'm with Bradford -- could someone with access to L&M or some other source of knowledge explain exactly what Sam's plotting for Piggott?

JWB  •  Link

Swap mortgage for bond?
Well if I were Piggott, I wouldn't go for it. He might end up owing double. Perhaps Sam'll offer vigorish.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... my design is to supplant him by pretending bonds as well as a mortgage ..."

I am not a specialist in pre C 19th English law of wills trusts and estates but hope the following summary of some assistance.

In the C 17th. Law (i.e. common law) and equity were separate rather than fused systems of rules applied respectively by the Common Law and Chancery Courts; in turn Wills were proved and executed in a separate system of Prerogative Courts with civil law procedure, Doctor's Commons for the Diocese of London the Province of Canterbury.

In so far as I understand the cryptic note it would seem that Pepys' strategy is to pretend the existence of bonds, an Equity or Chancery matter, which would pass to the executors under the will and then be distributed by them under the terms of the will. If the transactions are mortgages they will pass outside the will and be enforceable directly against the land by operation of law. Land held by any form of tenure will also pass by operation of law to the "heir at law," as determined by the Common Law rules for the particular tenure, and not be conveyed to and through the executors under the terms of the will. Recall Pepys' anxiety some time back when the tenure documents and releases for the Brampton lands held in copyhold could not be found following the death.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks, Michael! It's a complex topic, which you have elucidated very well. I feel much more inside Sam's mind-set and world view in this matter now.
On the subject of being divided by a common tongue [ :-) ] when I say grill, I mean heated from above in a stove. Heated from below (to me) is barbecuing and usually done outside. I'm at the time of year, when cooking and eating starts to move completely outside here. Too darn hot.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Sam be Like most, will try to use the law for a loop hole. 'Tis why the Bard did say "**** all Lawyers"
But thanks Michael Robinson, for the niceties of Common Law. Thanks to Cromwell, some new Laws be written latinized Saxon.
Please keep us on the right side of the Canon Law too if ye can.

Pauline  •  Link

"...very well for a country being as any little thing in the country..."
Meaning: as nice, for a country person, as any other small country manor?

GrahamT  •  Link

Broil vs Grill:
As far as I am aware, broil in American is the same as grill in English. Broil, for me, means to cook meat in a closed container over heat, similar to the American pot-roast - a term that is taking over here in Britain from broil. There were obviously no gas or electric grills (broilers?) in Chaucer's time, so he could have meant it in the current British sense.
btw, a broiler hen is one too old and tough for roasting (or grilling) but is slowly broiled (pot-roasted) to tenderise it. Hence the insulting slang for a woman past her prime - an old broiler.

GrahamT  •  Link

"Just another example of American English coming from older roots than British English."
This is nonsense, British and American English come from the same roots, therefore, neither can be from older roots than the other. American English split from British English in Elizabethan times and both have evolved separately but interdependently since. Up until the begining of the 20th century, American English was still influenced by British English, but since (perhaps started by Hollywood, and hastened by the end of the British Empire) the traffic has been in the opposite direction.
This Urban Myth about US English being "older" than British English started when someone compared hillbilly english against London English, and found some words in hillbilly that had fallen out of use in London. A similar comparison of, say, west country, or Yorkshire English against D.C. English would show that UK English was "older" than US English. Obviously neither claim is true.
What is amazing is that after 500 years of separation, the two Englishes are still 99% mutually understandable - at least in the Standard forms. Slang and dialect are another story.

Red Kelly  •  Link

Non-English people may be interested to know that English stoves usually come with a separate small section which is for grilling (broiling) only. You don't need to have a special broiling pan; instead you just put food directly on the rack in this section and grill it from above. They used to be standard but I notice the posher, modern ovens don't seem to have them as often.

I'm glad to know "broil" is found in Chaucer - a good comeback when the next person makes fun of my Americanisms in the UK. I don't suppose he used the word "faucet" as well?

Bergie  •  Link

Broiling and grilling

On the West Coast, U.S., to broil food is to cook it under a heat source; to grill food is to cook it over the heat source. (A grill, of course, is a grate, on which the food sits.) Both are dry-heat methods. A few unusually well-equipped home kitchens have grills. Otherwise, grilling occurs outdoors (barbecue) or in restaurants.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"Kill all the lawyers"

Highly recommend "In the Shadow of the Law," new novel by Kermit Roosevelt.
Faced with a Bhopal-like disaster in Texas, a corporate official tells his underling, "...the first thing you do. You call all the lawyers."

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Guilty conscience

Relevancy of "call all the lawyers": What Sam has been doing as he weighs his "business." Although in his case it is "call on all the lawyers," to include Mr. Moore, Cosuin Roger and Uncle Talbot. Wonder who planted the bond/mortgage dodge in his mind?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

What with the "frugal" lifestyle and all, no wonder poor Bess found Brampton uncomfortable... One hopes Sam simply means his parents could afford to entertain Mr. Cooke and their fair-haired success story better but choose to live cheap which he approves of when he's not around to suffer from it. It would be rather disgusting to find he stiffs them in support yet expects them to lay out a month's expense money on him and his friend, however useful Cooke may be to his father's claim.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"though I am glad to see them live so frugally"
Well, that didn't keep Elisabeth from putting on some extra pounds while she was there.

Jeannine  •  Link

"Brampton visit".
Sam is only "home" a very short time and it's already uncomfortable not only in terms of the legal issues, but the people/social ones also. Tony's comment is insightful as Sam has been living a higher class lifestyle and perhaps growing somewhat intolerant of his extended family's country ways. Hopefully his actions did not reflect his diary entry and he outwardly was able to show some graciousness for the hospitality and food. Robert G's comments add another dimension altogether. If Brampton is such an unpleasant environment for him then to send one's wife there for 2 months seems rather insensitive and perhaps could carry a flair of "it's good enough for her, but not for me".
Hopefully it's just the stress of the legal issues and aching feet that have jolted him out of good humor as even his Hinchingbrooke visit with the Lady didn't seem to break the spell.

D. Robertson  •  Link

"Pretending bonds": Could it be that "pretend" is used here in an archaic transitive sense, as a synonym of "claim," according to which the legitimacy of the title of the claimant would not held necessarily to be at issue? Not that this would make us any wiser on the question of how Sam intends to turn one thing into two, but it would give us cause to think him less of a very rogue in this affair.

language hat  •  Link


This is from a Latin verb meaning 'stretch forth, hold in front, put forward,' and in premodern English had a range of meanings reflecting the Latin ones. Since we often 'put forward' claims and ideas without much foundation, being human all too human, the idea of fakery became more and more prominent and now has taken over, but in Sam's day it was not a necessary component, and we have no way of judging what he means in this instance without more information. Here's a selection of OED senses and citations:

2. To bring or put forward, set forth, hold out, offer for action, consideration, or acceptance; to proffer, present; to bring (a charge, an action at law).
[...] 1569 Reg. Privy Council Scot. II. 30 Without prejudice of the said Gilbertis actioun.. that he may have, pretend, or move, aganis the airis. 1594 CAREW Huarte's Exam. Wits xii. (1596) 198 God.. had pretended a remedie in that behalfe, which was.. Manna. [...] 1621-3 MIDDLETON & ROWLEY Changeling IV. ii. 91 To that wench I pretend honest love, and she deserves it. 1653 HOLCROFT Procopius II. 55 Women.. offered their breasts; but the child would not take womans milk, neither would the Goat leave it; but importunatly.. pretended to it her own. So that the women let it alone, and the Goat nursed it. 1690 LEYBOURN Curs. Math. 345 When there is an Aequation pretended like aa+ba+ca = -bc, present judgement may be made.

4. To give oneself out as having (something); to profess to have, make profession of, profess (a quality, etc.). Now always in a bad sense: to profess falsely, to feign (some quality).
[...] 1563-4 Reg. Privy Council Scot. I. 256 Nane of his liegis pretend ignorance heirin. 1629 MASSINGER Picture IV. ii, That comfort which The damned pretend, fellows in misery. 1654 FULLER Two Serm. 37 Leastwise they seemingly pretended it [real piety]; and Joshua charitably beleeved it. [...] 1740 GRENVILLE in Johnson's Debates 4 Dec. (1787) I. 79, I do not pretend any other skill in military affairs, than may be gained by casual conversation with soldiers.

b. esp. To profess or claim to have (a right, title, power, authority, or the like); to claim. Obs.
[...] 1523 FITZHERB. Surv. 17b, Where a man pretendeth a tytle and after releseth in the court. 1658 BRAMHALL Consecr. Bps. v. 133 Where the Bishop of London never pretended any Jurisdiction. 1667 in 10th Rep. Hist. MSS. Comm. App. v. 44 Notwithstanding any priviledge hee may pretend as being our servant.

5. To put forth or lay a claim to (a thing); to assert as a right or possession; to claim. Obs.
[...] 1622 MABBE tr. Aleman's Guzman d'Alf. II. 39 He hath no reason to pretend the Diamond. 1680 MORDEN Geog. Rect., Japan (1685) 427 At this day the Hollanders pretend all Trade at Japan.

6. To put forward as a reason or excuse; to use as a pretext; to allege as a ground or reason.
1456 SIR G. HAYE Law Arms (S.T.S.) 191 The resoun that thai pretend is this. 1532 TINDALE Expos. Matt. v-vii. vi. 67b, Hyrelinges wil pretende their worke and saye: 'I haue deserued it, I haue done so much and so much and my laboure is worth it'. 1560 J. DAUS tr. Sleidane's Comm. 339b, Thou canst not hereafter pretend the name of the Turkishe warre. 1600 E. BLOUNT tr. Conestaggio 27 At this time the Irishmen rebelled.. pretending the libertie of Religion. 1654 GATAKER Disc. Apol. 54 When I pretended mine unfitnes for such a place and imployment.

7. To put forward as an assertion or statement; to allege; now esp. to allege or declare falsely or with intent to deceive. (A leading current sense.)
c. with simple obj. To allege the existence or presence of.
[...] 1655 FULLER Ch. Hist. IX. vii. What ever was pretended to the contrary, England at that time flourished with able Ministers more then ever before. 1668 HALE Pref. Rolle's Abridgm. bjb, Men not much acquainted with the study.. pretend two great prejudices and exceptions against the study of the Common-Law. 1710 BERKELEY Princ. Hum. Knowl. I. �52 To pretend difficulties and inconsistencies.

language hat  •  Link

"forwarns all our people of paying us rent"
i.e., forbids them to pay rent. OED:

To prohibit, forbid. With double obj., or obj. of the person and to with inf. or from.
[...] 1583 GOLDING Calvin on Deut. xxvii. 163 He forewarneth vs here to make any vndergods or meane gods. 1606 HOLLAND Sueton. 67 He prohibited and forewarned them the companie of strangers. 1690 SHADWELL Am. Bigot III, This wicked Duenna.. has forwarn'd her the house. 1708 S. SEWALL Diary 8 Sept. (1879) II. 236, I meet the Workman by Mr. Pemberton's Gate, and forewarn him from making of it.

celtcahill  •  Link

It isn't that American English has older roots - they are the same age - but that various areas and varying with isolation have retained them. There are areas of New Jersy and New England and the South where American English continues a midlands accent and structure of the 16-1700's. There has been some recent work on this with a Shakespeare play in it's original accent. Not to mention Australia which does much the same, only more so.

celtcahill  •  Link

I wanted to mention too, that gout - like all connective tissue disorders - also gives a rash that causes flaking of the skin and errythema that can be unpleasant to observers.

celtcahill  •  Link

So, 'pretend' in the sense of 'make an offer', not 'fake' ?

D. Robertson  •  Link

Thanks, language hat, for clarifying the absolute unclarifiability of Sam's use of "pretend" in this entry.

Nix  •  Link

Pretended --

This discussion may also touch on the term "pretensed", defined thus in Black's Law Dictionary:

"Pretensed Right or Title. Where one is in possession of land, and another, who is out of possession, claims and sues for it. Here the pretensed right or title is said to be in him who so claims and sues for the same."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"pretending bonds as well as a mortgage"

Pepys' note here is cryptic as have been his prior notes on the whole matter. What I think we do know from prior entries to date is that, following the death, documents were found to be very disorganized and some/many had been lost; that some of Pepys' counsel as executor have been giving him advice that in the circumstances the executors' claims against the heirs at law may not be as strong as they would wish; that other lawyers consulted have given him answers he is not happy to hear, with the suggestion that litigation might not ultimately be a fruitful or successful approach to the problem for the executors; that some private discussions between the lawyers for the parties have been taken place.

What we also know is that the executors' duty would be to argue for the will and its dispositions; that the oral evidentiary rules about the existence and terms of written documents were very different from those of today and only began to take modern form in 1672; that it is possible to plead a transaction has more than one form therefore allowing the creditor a choice of remedy; that in some circumstances taking an assertive stance in litigation can improve the parties negotiating position in private discussions.

To me there would seem absolutely no reason to assume the slightest dishonesty or fraud on Pepys' or the executors' part; merely that he is intending to make the strongest claim possible having been advised that very probably it will not ultimately be successful.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

What we know ... (oversight)

Pepys and we know also that the heir at law has not, so far, enforced his claim directly against Piggott and that Pepys intends to find out from Piggot why this is so.

Might this suggest that the heir at law, despite his emphatic public posture, also has some doubts about the consequences of litigation?

E  •  Link

So the titles of "Old Pretender" and "Young Pretender" (Bonnie Prince Charlie) did not mean the same to contemporary ears as they do to ours? There was a meaning of straightforward "claimant" without any implication of dissembling or fraud? Were that meaning and ours both in sufficently common use to make the nicknames widely-understood puns?

(Slightly off-topic, but they were the son and grandson of one of our players.)

language hat  •  Link

Yes, "claimant" gives a better idea of the meaning at that time. OED s.v. "pretender":

A claimant to a throne or the office of a ruler; orig. in a neutral sense, but now always applied to a claimant who is held to have no just title.
the Old and the Young Pretender (Eng. Hist.): the designation of the son and grandson of James II of England, who successively asserted their claim to the British throne against the house of Hanover.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Speaking of those debts and legacies unpaid, extremely distant cousin Samuel...My lawyer has done some checking and given you never paid my distant ancestor the 3 and 10 you owed her as a bequest in uncle Roger's will.

Adding unpaid interest...

I'll settle for Brampton, thanks.

(No, I am not, so far as I know, a distant relative of Sam...Just pulling his afterlife leg a bit.

Ow!...Distant cousin Bess!)

Australian Susan  •  Link

The word "prevent" used to mean "go before" as in the Prayer "Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favour..." , which is now usually written "Go before us, O Lord..."
"Not to mention Australia which does much the same only more so" Not in my experience!

Ruben  •  Link

"gout - like all connective tissue disorders "
In Pepys days anything swollen and red could be called a gout.
It is only at he end of the XIX century that the meaning circumscribed to a specific disease where uricemia is higher than standard.

Linda F  •  Link

Re: design to supplant by pretending bonds as well as a mortgage for the same money: Cannot pretend (in any sense) to know, but "supplant" stands out. Could a mortgage document have existed showing Piggott's land mortaged in favor of Dead Uncle to secure a debt; yet separate notes (bonds?) executed by P in favor of DU (or "Bearer") and evidencing that debt were missing? Bonds would usually have been presented to demand payment, and only if those were not paid would P's land be subject to seizure? So assuming debt evidenced by notes/bonds lost, is Sam hoping to probe Piggott to see if he admits debt owed and, if so, Sam will pretend to have the lost bonds (and hopes heir-at-law does not) and demand payment from Piggott and issue a release on receiving payment for the estate, thus supplanting heir-at-law who, if the bonds are genuinely lost, as Sam suspects, might otherwise approach Piggott in the same manner, present the mortgage,and demand and receive payment on the debt himself? If so, this is a gamble in the event that heir-at-law does hold the bonds. And cannot be undertaken if P does not admit the debt. Depends on how the mortgage is written: if it is merely what we today would call a secured interest in property, that interest is zero without separate evidence of actual debt secured by the mortgage. Just a thought.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"my design is to supplant him by pretending bonds as well as a mortgage for the same money”

To PRETEND, to use a Pretence, to make as if; to affirm or maintain.
PRETENDED, counterfeit, suppos’d, reputed.
---An universal etymological English dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Let the lawyers, parsons and physicians loose,
To rob and kill the world.

Henry Fielding - Tom Thumb the Great

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I was much displeased, there being Mr. Cooke there, who I invited to come over with my brother thither, and for whom I was concerned to make much of."

L&M: Cooke was arranging a match for Pepys's brother, Tom:…

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