Saturday 25 October 1662

Up and to the office, and there with Mr. Coventry sat all the morning, only we two, the rest being absent or sick. Dined at home with my wife upon a good dish of neats’ feet and mustard, of which I made a good meal. All the afternoon alone at my office and among my workmen, who (I mean the joyners) have even ended my dining room, and will be very handsome and to my full content.

In the evening at my office about one business or another, and so home and to bed, with my mind every day more and more quiet since I come to follow my business, and shall be very happy indeed when the trouble of my house is over.

35 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

Pepysians will be gratified that when one Googles "neats' feet," this passage on this site leads the list. For vintage information on how to prepare them---"neat" aka "the common domestic bovine (Bos taurus)"---check out this cookery book:…

Beer would seem the beverage of choice with this mustard dish. (One wonders how much Pepys has on hand.)

Jeannine  •  Link

As a follow on to yesterday’s comments about what the Queen was doing while her husband was involved with Lady Castlemaine ……Davidson reports that “It was in the latter part of October that Catherine began to write letters (page 154-155). The significance of these letters was interesting. First, Charles allowed for her to write them, and if open to a literal interpretation could be seen as more “evidence” of his leaning towards Catholicism. Second, [spoiler not related to Sam] these letters would come back and used against Catherine as accusations during the Popish Plots. Davidson states:
“The burning desire of her heart was to reconcile Portugal with the Papal power, and obtain it’s recognition as a kingdom from the Pope. To so devout a Catholic as herself it must have seemed intolerable that the country that she loved so dearly should remain under the ban of the Church. So on October 25th she wrote to the Pope, and sent her own almoner to Rome with the letter.

Very Holy Father,
The very special respect that I have for the person and for the position of Your Holiness forces me not to deffer any longer giving you these marks of my obedience which have always been my intention since my arrival in this Kingdom, and it is to that end that I now send Master Bellings, who will assure Your Holiness of the veneration I have for you, and the inviolable attachment which I have and will always have to the throne you occupy so worthily. I beg of you not only to give credence to what he shall tell you on this subject, but also to listen willingly to him on what he shall tell you of the state of the Church and the realm whence I have come, and in that which is specially concerned in the prayer he will pray you to make for the state I have entered. I hope that in making your serious reflection on this, you will bring the necessary remedies to the ills which threaten it, and that you will believe that I am with submission,
Your Holy Father,
Your very devoted daughter, C.R.

On the same day she wrote to Cardinal Ursine (probably Orsini)

My Cousin,
Amidst the joy which I have reason to possess I can no longer avoid being sensibly touched by the strange state of the Church, both in the realm of the King my brother, and that here. Nobody knows better than you what it is in Portugall, for you have so generously undertake its protection , but I can tell you that I fear very greatly the evils which he will follow the displeasure of the King my lord and husband, and of his ministers if the court of Rome persists him in refusing him the favour he asks for his relative Monsigneur D’Aubigny, my grand almoner. I trust Master Bellings whom I send to assure His Holiness of my obedience, and to expound to you all these things liberally, and I beg of you to give him entire belief. …”

Jeannine  •  Link

And if you're looking for someother delightful way to dine on neat's feet...
"Neat's Foot or Cow Heel.- The feet are mostly sold so nearly cooked as only to require a warming-up; but the substance of neat's feet consists of so little else besides gelatine and bone (the oil, strong in flavour, being extracted in their preparation), that we consider them more fit to enrich other dishes - soups, stews, fricassees, &c.- than to be served as a dish by themselves.
Neat's Foot with Parsley Sauce.-Warm up or finish cooking your neat's foot in as little water as may be. When ready to serve, make sauce with a little of the liquor, flour, butter, chopped parsley, and a dash of vinegar. Pour this over the foot, and serve."


A vegetarian lifestyle is probably looking pretty good to alot of you right now...

Australian Susan  •  Link

I think these letters are indicative of what was being described of Catherine in yesterday's annotations: she was devout, but politically naive. For example, if the Pope were to recognise Portugal as an independent State, this would antagonise Spain and possibly France as well. It could never be a religious concern in isolation. Would Catherine have realised this?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Calves feet today and cow stomach yesterday, with lots of mustard. Is Sam trying to economise in the kitchen? Remember the episode of the breast of mutton (a better dish than feet or stomach) at Brampton. Sometimes one does get the impression that if Sam had been around today, he would have had one of those nasty little leather spade purses carried by niggardly men. Hmm. He'll start counting the carrots in the pantry next.

Jeannine  •  Link

Susan, My guess would have been that she was naive to the politics. She was most likely thinking of Portugal in the religious sense --recognizing it as a Catholic nation, as opposed to the political issues surrounding this. What is most surprising to me is that Charles would permit her to send them, after all she is his wife and the Queen of England. Where Catholicism wasn't welcome and where her husband was the head of English church I can't figure out his motives here.

Pauline  •  Link

neats’ feet and mustard
I first assumed a condiment made from the seeds. Wonder if that was the case in the 1660s? Possibly the greens cooked into a puree (or 'pult") with vinegar, butter? This would be the time of year to be eating such greens.

Pauline  •  Link

"...have even ended my dining room, and will be very handsome..."
As "will" makes this an unended (unfinished) construction in the dining room, I must ask if anyone knows what even-ending is.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Alone in the office with Sam...And the clerks, Mr. Coventry has decided...

It is time.

"Gentlemen, would you mind leaving Mr. Pepys and myself alone for a bit?"


"Early lunch, gentlemen. Excepting you, Hayter."

Mad scramble for the door...Then a careful wending around the usual poor, starving, and...angry...Not to mention quite tough...seamen in the hall.

Sam back in the office, a bit puzzled...Somewhat disturbed by the air of secrecy...

"Pepys, alone as we are." (Hayter looking a bit...) Coventry eyes Sam. "And as I feel you are the one man here I can trust. (Hayter really looking...) Today is the day to reveal all to you."

Lord, please no...Sam sighs inwardly. I knew it when he did that cloak covering thing...

So much for thinking it was my diligence that captivated him...

"Hayter." Coventry turns. "The Key."

Opening a drawer, Hayter presents Mr. Coventry with...The Key...

Which to Sam's surprise fits into the ancient lock of a door never before in his time opened in the office...

"This way, Pepys..." Coventry beckons...Hayter lighting a torch taken from a holder just inside the doorway.

"Mind the steps, my friend. Quite slick."

Hmmn? Secret way to the Duke's House's box seats? Sam wonders, following...

"Today, down here, my friend." Coventry looks back to Sam. "You will learn the deepest secret of His Majesty's Royal Navy."

dirk  •  Link

Two contemporary recipes for neats-foot

From: "The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex", 1675

Calves-foot Pye, or Neats-foot Pye:
Take two pair of Calves feet, boil them tender and blanch them; being cold bone them, and mince them very small, and season them with Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, a little Ginger and Salt, and a pound of Currans, a quarter of a pound of ates sliced, a quarter of a pound of fine Sugar, with a little Rose-water, and Verjuice, stir all together in a Dish or Tray, laying a little Butter in the bottom of the Pye; then lay on half the meat in the Pye; take then the Marrow of three Marrow-bones, and lay that on the meat in the Pye, and the other half of the meat on the Marrow, and stick some Dates on the top of the meat, so close up the Pye and bake it; being half baked, liquor it with Butter, White-wine or Verjuice, and ice it with Butter, Rosewater and Sugar, then set it in the Oven again till it be iced.

Hashes of Neats-feet, or any feet, as Calver, Sheep, Deer, Hogs, Pigs or Lambs:
Boil them very tender, and being cold, mince them small, then put Currans to them, beaten Cinamon, hard Eggs minc'd, Capers, sweet Herbs minced small, Cloves, Mace, Sugar, White-wine, Butter, sliced Lemon or Orange, sliced Almonds, grated Bread, Saffron, Grapes, or Barberries, to serve them on fine carved Sippets.…

dirk  •  Link


"All mustard is made in relatively the same way. The seed must be crushed, its hull and bran sifted out or not depending on type of mustard being made. It then may or may not go through further grinding and crushing. A liquid such as water, wine, vinegar, beer, or a combination of several of these liquids is added, along with seasonings and perhaps other flavorings. The mustard is mixed, in some cases simmered, and then cooled. Some mustard is aged in large containers before it is bottled..."…


"There is a popular belief that the City of Durham was the home of English mustard. This mustard story began in 1720 when a lady named Mrs Clements, a resident of the City discovered a new way of making mustard. Previously mustard had been used as a condiment, but only in it's roughest 'wholegrain' state. Mrs Clements decided to grind the seed in a mill and pass it through the various processes used for making flour. This process she kept 'secret' for many years.

During her life, Mrs Clements supplied the principal towns and cities of England with her mustard. She was particularly successful in London where King George 1st declared his fondness for her product. This was as good as bestowing a Royal Warrant and Mrs Clements success was assured. As this astute businesswoman was a resident of Durham, her condiment became widely known as Durham Mustard. Indeed, at one time, it was said that nearly the whole of the County was covered in mustard seed."…

Australian Susan  •  Link

On reading through the recipe dirk found - YUCK. A nauseating mixture of the sweet and the savoury - stomach churning. In the miasmic queasiness induced by reading this, I notice two strange words: "ates" and "Sippets" . Is "ates" just "Dates" with a missing "D" ? Is a "sippet" a type of plate?
Really good info about mustard, but I do wonder if Pauline's surmise might be right about Sam actually eating a puree of the leaves?

dirk  •  Link


Susan, you're right about the "ates" - that should be Dates.

Sippets are elsewhere referred to as "Sippets of French-bread ... laid round the Dish".

As to the mixture of "sweet" and "savoury", that may be less strange than one might think. It's still done on the continent with some dishes (even occasionally with game), although it seems to be less popular in the English cuisine.

dirk  •  Link

Recipes - cont'd

By the way, note that this is not poor man's food. Sam is not trying to economize. When you look at the recipes, keep in mind that these were written for "gentlewomen" - and that some of the ingredients wouldn't have been exactly cheap.

Tastes may differ, but this would have been fairly standard or even classy (not low grade) fare.

Pauline  •  Link

“sweet” and “savoury”
At a wedding this past weekend, among the 'favors' a chocolate sprinkled with rock salt. Many comments about the uniqueness and yumminess.

Dirk's contribution above sounds worth a try to me. Anyone keeping track of this fabulous menu for when we finally meet? Say at the half-way point of the diary when I come with sturgeon and the venison for the pasty?

dirk  •  Link

Pauline, ever tasted Mexican chicken in chocolate sauce?

Pauline  •  Link

Dirk, no. But open to anything gustatorial.

GrahamT  •  Link

Sweet and savoury... seems to be less popular in the English cuisine:
What about:
Pork and apple sauce?
Lamb with mint?
Turkey with cranberry sauce?
Cheese or gammon and pineapple?
Sweet and sour pork?
(not all strictly English, but happily adopted)

Benvenuto  •  Link

"I must ask if anyone knows what even-ending is."

Maybe, making the ends (of the room) even?

Red Kelly  •  Link

I read the "even ended" just as it is in modern English: These workmen have actually ended their work in the dining room. It "will be" very handsome because there's some finishing work to be done (even if it's just moving the furniture back in). Just like when you paint a room now you say "This will look great!" when the painting's done. (Or "terrible", depending on your painting!)

However, now I'm curious as to whether "even ended" is some technical joining term. Does anyone know if this is likely?

George R  •  Link

"However, now I’m curious as to whether “even ended” is some technical joining term. Does anyone know if this is likely?" As one who was a joiner and spent some years restoring and rebuilding antique oak panelling, I can't say I ever came across this term.
My reading is "the joyners have even now ended their work". There may still be the paynting to be done as oak panelling was usually painted. Much of the early pieces that I came across had paint in the grooves. We used various stains and polishes to make the new bare wood look "old" to the modern taste.

chris  •  Link

Neats' Foot
The other day I went to a Nigerian restaurant here in the London Borough of Newham and had as a starter what they called 'salad'. They were reluctant to serve this to me as they thought I wouldn't like it. It turned out to be boiled neats'foot and was a bowl of grisly and meaty bits served up in a gelatinous base which had lots of pepper was spicy and ok!!

Martha R.  •  Link

More on mustard…
has several medieval and other recipes for mustard, including one from The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby, Kt Opened. 1669:

"The best way of making Mustard is this: Take of the best Mustard-seed (which is black) for example, a quart. Dry it gently in an Oven, and beat it to a subtle powder, and searse it. Then mingle well strong Wine-vinegar with it, so much that it be pretty liquid, for it will dry with keeping. Put to this a little Pepper beaten small (white is the best) at discretion, as about a good pugil, and put a good spoonful of Sugar to it (which is not to make it taste sweet, but rather quick, and to help the fermentation) lay a good Onion in the bottom, quartered if you will, and a race of Ginger scraped and bruised; and stir it often with an Horseradish root cleansed, which let always lie in the pot till it have lost its virtue, then take a new one. This will keep long, and grow better for a while. It is not good till after a month, that it hath fermented a while."

Pretty snappy, I would guess. I wonder if you would have tasted anything except the mustard!

language hat  •  Link

Mexican chicken in chocolate sauce

If done properly, mole sauce should not taste like chocolate -- it adds to the complexity of the texture and flavor but isn't intended to overwhelm.

Terry F  •  Link

Mexican chicken in mole ["MO-lay"] sauce

Indeed, language hat, my favorite Mexican cook occasionally used coffee or even Coca Cola in hers, depending on what she had at hand.

Bradford  •  Link

I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it.

Gentle translation:
"They have finally finished my dining room, and in times to come it will be seen to be very well-done."

Pedro  •  Link

Catherine…that she was naive to the politics.

I don’t think that we can assume that Catherine was naïve to politics. Taking the letters received by Catherine from her mother, I think that the Queen is well aware of the politics in Portugal. We have seen that she has made her decision to accept Castlemaine, and fulfil her role in the marriage treaty as far as her country is concerned.

As for English politics, her mother has advised her to take note of her Godfather, the Ambassador de Melo. He is a very skilled and wise politician as far as Portugal is concerned, having dealt with Charles I and II, Cromwell and other European leaders. Davidson and others have noted that the Queen does not like writing letters, shown by the unfortunate lack of replies to her mother, and therefore the letters quoted by Jeannine are probably written with the prompting of F de Melo.

Maybe de Melo used Catherine’s desire (“To so devout a Catholic as herself it must have seemed intolerable that the country that she loved so dearly should remain under the ban of the Church”) to influence the writing? Spain at this time had a strong influence on Rome, but the Vatican enjoyed the ability to play one country against the other.

Why did Charles allow her to write the letters?…if there was any chance of peace between Spain and Portugal, less money would be needed in providing security as promised in the Treaty, and more in his own pocket?

Second Reading

arby  •  Link

I forgot to mention, Sam is quoted in that article, of course.

Edith Lank  •  Link

"I say it's spinach, and the hell with it" is the punch line from a cartoon back in the 1930s -- okay, maybe the 40s. I wonder if Bradford is still alive -- he or she made that comment in 2005.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re ‘even end’: nothing in OED so George R’s reading on 26 Oct 2005 seems to be correct.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"All the afternoon alone at my office and among my workmen, who (I mean the joyners) have even ended "

L&M: Sc. just ended.

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