Wednesday 21 January 1662/63

Up early leaving my wife very ill in bed … [de ses Mois – L&M] and to my office till eight o’clock, there coming Ch. Pepys1 to demand his legacy of me, which I denied him upon good reason of his father and brother’s suing us, and so he went away. Then came Commissioner Pett, and he and I by agreement went to Deptford, and after a turn or two in the yard, to Greenwich, and thence walked to Woolwich. Here we did business, and I on board the Tangier-merchant, a ship freighted by us, that has long lain on hand in her despatch to Tangier, but is now ready for sailing. Back, and dined at Mr. Ackworth’s, where a pretty dinner, and she a pretty, modest woman; but above all things we saw her Rocke, —[?? D.W.]— which is one of the finest things done by a woman that ever I saw. I must have my wife to see it. After dinner on board the Elias, and found the timber brought by her from the forest of Deane to be exceeding good. The Captain gave each of us two barrels of pickled oysters put up for the Queen mother.

So to the Dock again, and took in Mrs. Ackworth and another gentlewoman, and carried them to London, and at the Globe tavern, in Eastcheap, did give them a glass of wine, and so parted. I home, where I found my wife ill in bed all day, and her face swelled with pain. My Will has received my last two quarters salary, of which I am glad. So to my office till late and then home, and after the barber had done, to bed.

34 Annotations

First Reading

Australian Susan  •  Link

Pickled oysters

Does this mean that Sam had to deliver the barrels to the QM? Or is this a side-present out of a larger consignement of oysters for the QM? Is the Captain hoping for future commissions to get F of D timber?

Terry F  •  Link

"my wife very ill in bed *de ses Mois"

It's that time again.

Terry F  •  Link

"above all things we saw her Rocke, —[?? D.W.]—"

L&M Select Glossary says this means "distaff", i.e. the staff on which wool or flax is wound before spinning…

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn dined with Coventry today...

"Dined at Mr. Treasurer's of the Household, Sir Charles Berkeley's, where were the Earl of Oxford, Lord Bellassis, Lord Gerard, Sir Andrew Scrope, Sir William Coventry, Dr. Fraser, Mr. Windham, and others."
(Evelyn's diary)

Miss Ann fr Home  •  Link

Terry F, darling, never in all my years has my face become swollen at "that time of the month", my guess is that our poor Bess has a tooth ache. It's painful just to think of what root canal work would have been like in those days! Do any of our on-line friends have knowledge of dentistry through the ages?
Sam really has a stressful day today. Notwithstanding the stresses of the day he still has a good word for, and fine appreciation of, Mrs Ackworth - he certainly knows what he likes in a woman, that's for sure.

Australian Susan  •  Link

So a Rocke is a distaff.
Sam says Mrs A's was "one of the finest things done by a woman that ever I saw". So I now take that to mean that Sam watched her spinning from her distaff, presumably using a simple weight and doing the pull, drop and spin method with the fingers (not using a wheel)to produce thread and that it is hand-spinning which Sam wants Elizabeth to take up. Wonder if he will mention her reaction to this in the Diary? Can't say it seems much of a thrilling occupation to me.......

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

I dothe believe that Mistress Eliza be a wanting to use her grey matter, not her muscles on a making our Samuell a long woolen waiste coate.
re:"... her face swelled with pain..." I dothe believe Miss Anne be of the correct assumption, not too far back, Eliza, she went to have her teethees cleaned. The next stepp be to the apothecary for a herbe or off to the local wise woman to tie a bit of string and yank.
For some insight of Teeth cleaning , Liza Picard has two pages on the subject, Pages 130-131 [Restoration London] on dental hygene, or her Elizabethian anecdote on Elizabeth I and her dental problems. P146-147 Elizabeths London.
'For mere Toothache try grey worms breathing under the wood or stones having many feet and when they be touched do they cluster together like porkenpickes...pierced together with a bodkin... and then put into the tooth that aches, alays the pain' [quoted from John Hollybush, A most Excellent and Perfect Homish Apothecary...London 1561.].
See there be a simple solution.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"Pickled oysters"

"Does this mean that Sam had to deliver the barrels to the QM? Or is this a side-present out of a larger consignement of oysters for the QM? Is the Captain hoping for future commissions to get F of D timber?"
I dothe think it be part of the Consignment,[ QM dothe not know how many barrels there be, so who is counting] and so the Storekeeper and Sam, can be pickled pink and this is a sweetner for future and now, considerations that the spars and other wooden objects that be received with nary a glance for quality or wood beetles [ they be covered in centapedes just the thing for Mistress Pepis].

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Commendable service from that barber...I wonder if he could have drawn poor Bess' tooth.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"... and she a pretty, modest woman; but above all things we saw her Rocke,..."
I sometimes wonder about our Sam: he may thinking thus:
" And she be a pretty, modest woman but she dothe groove so well." can see the viols now.
Rocke to sway???
Disdaff maybe, but 'pretty' 'modest' dothe give another sense, man before his time.
1. A distaff. Now arch. or Hist.
1607 B. JONSON Entertainm. at Theobalds 32 The three Parcæ,..the one holding the rock, the other the spindle, and the third the sheeres. a1687 H. MORE Cont. Remark. Stories (1689) 424 Once as Alice sat spinning, the Rock or Distaff leapt several times out of the wheel
2. A distaff together with the wool or flax attached to it; the quantity of wool or flax placed on a distaff for spinning.
to rock the cradle to:
1. a. The action of the vb. ROCK1; a movement or swaying to and fro, or a spell of this.
1. a. trans. To move (a child) gently to and fro in a cradle, in order to soothe or send it to sleep. Also in fig. contexts.
1604 SHAKES. Oth. II. iii. 136 He'le watch the Horologe a double set, If Drinke rocke not his Cradle

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thinking about the action of spinning, (see the pictures I found above) it would be quite hypnotic to watch and if the lady had pretty arms (you have to have your sleeves rolled up out of the way), I can see why Sam got fascinated. Similar to the way young ladies took up the harp in the 18th century - it showed off your pretty white arms, slim wrists and nimble fingers. (NB all the harpists in the Jane Austen canon are flirts).

Mary  •  Link

"I must have my wife to see it."

Well, let's hope that Elizabeth appreciates the opportunity that may be offered. Whether it's the distaff itself that she's supposed to admire, or the enchanting motion of Mrs. Ackworth as she spins her thread, I suspect that she may not be quite as overwhelmed by the beautiful sight as Sam appears to be.

Mary  •  Link

her face swelled with pain.

Perhaps the poor woman's face is puffy from crying? Some poor souls really do suffer agonising and incapacitating pain, quite bad enough to provoke tears when no remedy is to hand.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: time of the month

It looks to me as if Terry F was quoting from L&M's unexpurgated version, and so indeed Sam is saying that it was Elizabeth's time of the month. And, as Mary adds, her face may be puffy simply because she's been in pain and crying.

What I'd like to know is, did Mrs. Ackworth TOTALLY Rocke? :-)

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

'...but above all things we saw her Rocke..."
This word be having many meanings to Our Sam, he be well versed, I'm very suspicious that Sam uses "an in" word to cover a whole range of meanings.

St Distaffe be celebrated on Jan 7th and Samuell dothe love his music so, and here be Herrick with
"Partly work and partly play
Ye must, on St. Distaff's day;
From the plough soon free your team,
Then come home and fodder them;
If the maids a spinning go,
Burn the flax and fire the tow.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men.
Give St. Distaff all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good night,
And next morrow every one
To his own vocation"
then there be
The spindle was a short shaft weighted with a stone [rocke] whorl which was used like a suspended spinning top to provide momentum and the downward pull of gravity for the work.
Mythological spinners is the ancient home spun story of a German goddess Holda whose mythogical story led to spinning a yarn to get the unmarried daughter to be un spinned,
hence the use of the word ‘spinster’ for an unmarried woman.
thanks to JWB and spin me a yarn.…

St. Distaff's day the 7th of January. it be called that because the Christmas festival be terminated on the Twelfth day and on the following day the women returned to to their distaffs or other work, it also be called Rock Day, because be called a rock "in old times the used to spin with rocks " [Aubrey. Wilts] lifted from…

All subject to a Macadamian [dis]approval of this un trainded mind.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Following on with the end of Christmas theme: the nearest Monday to January 6th used to be called Plough Monday because it was the day everyone in the countryside got back to work and got the ploughs out. In some parts of England, on the Sunday nearest,old ploughs are bought into country churches to be blessed, sometimes with an early lamb or sometimes (in keeping with modern times) a farmer will drive a tractor to the Church and the priest will go out to the car park and bless the tractor. The Puritans (or Sam's "Fanatiques" or "Presbytyrs")were against Christmas because in medieval and early modern times, it had developed (or degenerated according to your POV) into a fortnight of drunken debauchery in some parts of the country. Many must have approached Plough Monday with hangover symptoms, ploughed decidedly wonky furrows and flinched at any loud noises: such as a wife demanding where they had been the previous night.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Captain of the 'Elias' to Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Henrietta Maria:

"No, no, it was one *barrel* of pickled oysters, not one *load* that was intended for Her Majesty. Someone must have given you the wrong message."

Pauline  •  Link

Mrs. Ackworth
As the sister of influential and above-anything-current-political Commissioner Pett, to be admired without stint.

A "pretty" dinner, a "pretty" woman, outstanding Rocke. Our discerning Mr. Pepys honoring by knee-jerk the sister of the powerful Pett and settling on her amazing Rocke. Which I read as actually very superior.

GrahamT  •  Link

Re: Plough Sunday/Monday:
After the blessing, the locals plough-boys would drag the plough around the village (fortified by a few pints) demanding money or food from inhabitents. If none was forthcoming, the ground in front of the door would be ploughed up, making it difficult for those within to enter and exit over the furrows. (think trick-or-treat)

A.Hamilton  •  Link

So this is why

Sam had dinner last night with Mr. Deane, a sharp-eyed critic of Pett's management of the yards.

celtcahill  •  Link

" Puffy face " edema not uncommon with the monthlies.

Patricia  •  Link

Mrs. P had her last period on Dec. 24th, so it's definitely time for another round. However, there's nothing to prevent one from having a toothache AND menstrual cramps at the same time. Perhaps she stays in bed so she won't stub her toe, as well! (Trouble comes in threes.)

Second Reading

JayW  •  Link

Plough Sunday was celebrated as usual on BBC Radio 4's The Archers this year on 10 January. I assume there are still some real church services somewhere in the country to encourage the scriptwriters to include it again.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Sam doesn't seem to have the least twinge of conscience about spending a whole day at the office, going out in the evening, enjoying the ladies and generally having a good time while his wife is sick in bed, no matter what the cause of her pain was.. Monthies or toothache or something else, he apparently doesn't give her a second thought if there's his "work" to do, fun to be had and ladies to admire. Out of sight, out of mind. He doesn't mention in the diary about being worried about his wife all day and evening, who he has left in great distress. but he does write about Mrs, Ackworth being "a pretty and modest woman" who spins so well. What a guy!

Bridget Davis  •  Link

SPOILER: he lives to regret days like these, when he forgot Elizabeth.

David G  •  Link

Why is Sam having his shave just before bed? Has that happened before?

Mary K  •  Link

barber before bed.

It's more likely that he's had his hair trimmed. Barbers made house calls in the 17th century.

David G  •  Link

That seems unlikely since the barber came just three days before. Shaving must not have been a morning ritual in the seventeenth century.

john  •  Link

DavidG, Look at the entry (and comments) of 25 May 1662 when he starting shaving himself with a pumice stone.

David G  •  Link

I don't mean to harp on this but two haircuts in three days is unlikely. Much more likely is that Sam prefers the barber's metal blade to a pumice stone.

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