Monday 13 October 1662

Up to Hinchingbroke, and there with Mr. Sheply did look all over the house, and I do, I confess, like well of the alteracions, and do like the staircase, but there being nothing to make the outside more regular and modern, I am not satisfied with it, but do think it to be too much to be laid out upon it. Thence with Sheply to Huntingdon to the Crown, and there did sit and talk, and eat a breakfast of cold roast beef, and so he to St. Ives Market, and I to Sir Robert Bernard’s for council, having a letter from my Lord Sandwich to that end. He do give it me with much kindness in appearance, and upon my desire do promise to put off my uncle’s admittance, if he can fairly, and upon the whole do make my case appear better to me than my cozen Roger did, but not so but that we are liable to much trouble, and that it will be best to come to an agreement if possible. With my mind here also pretty well to see things proceed so well I returned to Brampton, and spent the morning in looking over papers and getting my copies ready against to-morrow. So to dinner, and then to walk with my father and other business, when by and by comes in my uncle Thomas and his son Thomas to see us, and very calm they were and we to them. And after a short How do you, and drinking a cup of beer, they went away again, and so by and by my father and I to Mr. Phillips, and there discoursed with him in order to to-morrow’s business of the Court and getting several papers ready, when presently comes in my uncle Thomas and his son thither also, but finding us there I believe they were disappointed and so went forth again, and went to the house that Prior has lately bought of us (which was Barton’s) and there did make entry and forbade paying rent to us, as now I hear they have done everywhere else, and that that was their intent in coming to see us this day. I perceive most of the people that do deal with us begin to be afraid that their title to what they buy will not be good. Which troubled me also I confess a little, but I endeavoured to remove all as well as I could. Among other things they make me afraid that Barton was never admitted to that that my uncle bought of him, but I hope the contrary.

Thence home, and with my father took a melancholy walk to Portholme, seeing the country-maids milking their cows there, they being there now at grass, and to see with what mirth they come all home together in pomp with their milk, and sometimes they have musique go before them.

So back home again, and to supper, and in comes Piggott with a counterfeit bond which by agreement between us (though it be very just in itself) he has made, by which I shall lay claim to the interest of the mortgage money, and so waiting with much impatience and doubt the issue of to-morrow’s Court, I to bed, but hardly slept half an hour the whole night, my mind did so run with fears of to-morrow.

41 Annotations

First Reading

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Pepys v. Pepys

The plots thicken.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Sir Roibert Bernard

Smooth old counsellor. Makes Pepys feel better than his cousin Roger did about a bad case that he will anyhow have to settle!

Bradford  •  Link

Nine maids a-milking, and they shall have music wherever they go, and a counterfeit bond that is very very just just in case. . . .

"A Word of Encouragement" for our Sam:

"Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive.
But when we practice quite a while,
How vastly we improve our style!"
---JR Pope, 20C British poet,
updating Scott's "Marmion"

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

A melancholy walk, and a melancholy entry...

I feel sorry for Sam today. It's never a good feeling to have to go to court, even when you do have all your ducks in a row, and he's got the added pressure of significant doubts about his ducks. Plus, as Mr. Hamilton points out above, there's the complication of it being an interfamily affair.

Nix  •  Link

"Counterfeit bond" --

Is it possible that Samuel is not describing a forgery or fraud, but is referring to a "counter bond", which Black's Law Dictionary identifies as a bond of indemnity ("in old practice")? The usage would seem to fit the context.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

A melancholy entry

Yes, Todd. I think Pepys deepens the feeling of melancholy with his observation -- could it be envious or rueful? -- about the merry milkmaids that he and his father pass in their heavy walk.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... counterfeit bond which by agreement between us (though it be very just in itself) he has made..."

Forgery, fraud and conspiracy with perjury to come no doubt; this does seem to lie beyond even the darker shades of gray.

Stolzi  •  Link

Happy the milkmaid,
with no property and finance worries (but not much money either), and a relatively small chance of catching the dread smallpox, if so be she has had the cowpox.…

Her main worry is the squire or lusty young gentleman whose eye may light upon her... see Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles."

Pauline  •  Link

'lusty young gentleman '
Perhaps providing the 'musique' that goes before them?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"seeing the country maids milking their cows there"
This fantasy about milk maids and farmer's daughters was still going on in the 19th century;see Gilberts and Sullivan Patience.

dirk  •  Link


I tend to second Nix's suggestion: counterfeit = French "contre fait" = "made to counter" -- but the real expert on this might be Language Hat.

hugh  •  Link

No, he means fraudulent. Read the entry from two days ago.

Pauline  •  Link

Uncle Robert and talking big and leaving a mess
Uncle Robert was verbally clear in his intentions, but made a mess by having his papers in disorder. Very gray area this had led Sam into--even the black of fraud.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I feel sorry for all the people who get orders and counter orders about who to pay their rents to! Must be very unsettling for them. And now it looks as though Sam sold a property without having proper title to it ("Barton was never admitted...etc")
What is it with men and milkmaids? Is it watching them squeezing the teats? Or the arm actions? (like that of harp players who are always suspect in their reasons for choosing that instrument within the Jane Austen canon) Deary, deary me.
Now, of course, there were all those lusty farm lads cutting the corn with scthyes and sickles (wonderful sweeping actions there) which Elizabeth would have witnessed in the harvest time past whilst staying at Brampton...........

Australian Susan  •  Link

No adverse comments on the beer today - maybe Sam is just too anxious about it all. Note his remark about the lack of sleep - he is obviously writing up from notes. Amazing how he 'gets into the moment' though.
Yes, we need LH to tease out the meaning of counterfeit here. Is Sam really about to commit perjury?

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Regular and modern"
Desire for classical symmetry - Hinchinbroke would have been rambling and not appealing to those wanting more of a Grecian look to their buildings.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Lost of important papers that may be ate by mice have changed history. When relying on frail memories[ wot be said may not be heard that way], that will keep many a family in a tizzy, the paper trail be so impo[r]tant. tis wot keeps the local legal beaver in business.

Pauline  •  Link

"...I do, I confess, like well of the alteracions..."
It's not Brampton House, by a long shot. The "I confess" seems an acknowlegement that the differences are vast, and Sam's interests are in the high pan of the scale. As well, a competitive spirit in decorating is probably being voiced. Compare our background information photos of the two "estates". Easy in London to think of the altercations being made to the two estates in the same breath, but here is reality.

Xjy  •  Link

Milkmaids - the White Whip
In Sweden pre-WW2 the slavery of milking (ungodly hours, freezing conditions, every day, unrelenting, vulnerable to the pox, TB, rape) was known as the White Whip (Vita Piskan). Literary monument to this in the works of novelist Ivar Lo-Johansson, for instance.
The work involved milking 12-25 cows three times a day.
03.30 - 06.30 Morning
10.00 - 12.00 Noon
15.20 - 18.30 Evening
In the summer it could take up to 3 hours to walk to and from the pasture where the cows were grazing.

chris  •  Link

The "cup of beer" reminds me of something in Anthony Burgess' book on Shakespeare. Because the water was very non-potable, the regular thirst was regularly quenched with beer or ale. Hence, much of the population were permanently half tipsy. Could this still apply in Sam's time?

R  •  Link

cup of beer
As the alcohol contain, in Pepys time, was very low, they were no problems while driving your car.
For more on this, see the exhaustive and excelent background information.

Pedro  •  Link

"a melancholy walk to Portholme"

On July 14th 1661 the walk was very pleasant?

"and in the evening my father and I walked round Portholme and viewed all the fields, which was very pleasant."…

Is it the court case that has brought about this melancholia, as is in dejection, or "indulgence in thoughts of pleasant sadness?"

Tomalin when telling on this remark says that Sam's view of the countryside "Veered from between condescension towards the poverty and ignorance of ordinary rural people and occasional bursts of appreciation of the scenery and the quiet life that could be lived there."

language hat  •  Link

my uncle's admittance:
This is a technical term in copyhold law; here's the OED definition and citations (and note that they somehow missed Pepys' use, which would antedate their oldest cite by almost 80 years!):

c. spec. in Law, into a copyhold estate. The act by which the copyholder is put in actual and legally recognized possession.
1741 T. ROBINSON Gavelkind vi. 98 Who dies before Admittance. 1768 BLACKSTONE Comm. II. 370 Admittance is the last stage, or perfection, of copyhold assurances. 1809 TOMLINS Law Dict. s.v. Copyhold, The consent of the lord to the surrender shall be adjudged a good admittance. If the steward accept a fine of a copyholder, it amounts to an admittance. But delivering a copy is no admittance.

language hat  •  Link


No, I'm afraid this means exactly what you think it does: 'Forged, not genuine, spurious.' I've defended Sam frequently against the application of anachronistic moral standards, but this was a Bad Thing even in the seventeenth century. For shame, Sam. Do you need the money that badly?

Stolzi  •  Link

More on milkmaids

No, Pauline, I imagine some village fiddler or piper providing the musique. Or one of the small consorts who (Mr Hardy tells us again) as late as the 18th or early 19th century provided the music in church. It would be below the status of a gentleman, however young and lusty, to play for the milkmaids.

Xjy, unless you mean THE pox, as in v.d., cowpox was a small price to pay for immunity to smallpox.

Glyn  •  Link

Someone here wrote a great and understandable explanation of these court cases - can anyone tell me where they are on this site?

Mary  •  Link

explanation of these court cases.

Try Background - People- Robert Pepys.

kilroy  •  Link

Happy the cows!
I've only thought of cows being milked in their barn.

I've never considered permitting the cows to go about as they please. And require the milk gather to act much like a calf in the field.

I wonder if the milk tasted better?

Mary  •  Link

Milkmaids needed muscle.

Last night's BBC TV programme on the practical side of 17th century farming made it clear that a milkmaid would need strong hands and forearms. The cow in question, an elderly lady who has had many calves, was said to have teats like leather and that milking her was like squeezing squash-balls in your hands. Butter-churning also required a ood deal of muscle (arms and shoulders).

A good milkmaid clearly needed much more than just a pretty face and clean hands.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The Toms...

"Uncle Tom, nephew Tom, my brother Tom..." Pepys nods to the group...


"Uncle Tom...Tom..." Tom nods.

"Tom..." Tom nods.

"Thomas, Tom...You know Tom." John eyes his relations more coldly.

"Of course I know Tom, John."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The criminal act...

Sam's in a desperate sit here...His pleasant country seat for retirement, not to mention Dad and Mum's home now that Tom has the shop and house are at risk. And the Toms are certainly not playing softball here, putting the screws to all the local tenants. Sam knows Uncle Robert wanted him to have the place and he is to that extent justified in fighting back as he can. Still, fraud is fraud...

"And is it not true, Mr. Pepys, that this document signed by you and your tenant is in fact a fraud and forgery?"

"Ah...Ummn...I never saw that document before, sir."

"Sir..." stern frown...

Coventry watching from the back shakes head in sorrow...A potentially brilliant career lost over a two-bit property.

"And he's a Papist to boot..." a well-hidden young Tom hisses from the crowd in the rear.

Second Reading

arby  •  Link

If "kilroy" is still here, yes, the milk does taste better when the milk cows are put out to pasture after winter. It would have a higher cream content, and taste much richer and more flavorful. Even the color of the cream changes to some extent, depending on the grasses and forbs available. Some feed, like the first growth of winter wheat in spring, can lend a distinct off flavor to the milk too, as well as turning the cream a pale yellow.

Mary K  •  Link

In these homogenized days, milk looks and tastes the same throughout the year. When I was young ( late forties/early fifties) winter-time milk took on a slightly thin, blue-ish appearance and only regained its proper creamy colour and flavour once the cows were out to grass again in the spring.

GrannieAnnie  •  Link

I only milked a cow once and was surprised at how much warmth came off the cow and what a slithery rich texture milk straight from the cow has compared to pastuerized milk.

Sam delighted me with his details about the milkmaids' carefree walk. He took time to paint himself (or us) a lovely word picture. Of course he was always hyper-alert to women near him so not surprising he'd document his experience.

With all his interests he never spoke of painting, did he? Yet he writes comments like a painter might to remind himself of a future subject to paint.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

WR to the "lusty young gentlemen".

Ahem. That would be different kind of flute and a different kind of milk.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

I really love that phrase he uses on occasion: "then he went away again". A glimpse of how it appeared to a person back then. No one goes away again now.

He used a variant today also: "forth".

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED offers:

‘counterfeit adj. . . II. 5. . . b. Of writings: Forged, not genuine, spurious.
. . 1532 T. More Confut. Tyndale in Wks. 579/1 Knowe whiche wer the verye true scripture of God, and which wer scriptures countrefet.
1655 T. Stanley Hist. Philos. I. iii. 116 Panetius believes them to be his own, not counterfeit.
1788 J. Priestley Lect. Hist. iv. xxx. 224 To distinguish those that are truly ancient and genuine from such as are counterfeit . .

. . B. n. 1. A false or spurious imitation. . . c. A writing, etc. that is not genuine; a forgery.
. . 1624 T. Gataker Discuss. Transubstant. 109 Citing (besides some of his owne counterfaits..) a saying of S. Chrysostome.
1712 J. Arbuthnot John Bull Still in Senses iii. iii. 15 He has the original Deed..the others are Counterfeits . . ‘

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Thence home, and with my father took a melancholy walk to Portholme, seeing the country-maids milking their cows there, they being there now at grass, and to see with what mirth they come all home together in pomp with their milk, and sometimes they have musique go before them."

L&M: Cf.… and n. Also cf. Dorothy Osborne's description of a similar scene in Bedfordshire (May 1653; Letters, ed. Perry, pp. 86-7): 'I walk out onto a common...where a great many young wenches keep sheep and cows, and sit in the shade singing of ballads. I go to them and compare their voices and beauties to some ancient shepherdesses that I have read of....I talk to them, and find they want nothing to make them the happiest people in the world but the knowledge that they are so.'

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