Friday 11 September 1663

This morning, about two or three o’clock, knocked up in our back yard, and rising to the window, being moonshine, I found it was the constable and his watch, who had found our back yard door open, and so came in to see what the matter was. So I desired them to shut the door, and bid them good night, and so to bed again, and at 6 o’clock up and a while to my vyall, and then to the office, where all the morning upon the victualler’s accounts, and then with him to dinner at the Dolphin, where I eat well but drank no wine neither; which keeps me in such good order that I am mightily pleased with myself for it. Hither Mr. Moore came to me, and he and I home and advised about business, and so after an hour’s examining the state of the Navy debts lately cast up, I took coach to Sir Philip Warwick’s, but finding Sir G. Carteret there I did not go in, but directly home, again, it raining hard, having first of all been with Creed and Mrs. Harper about a cook maid, and am like to have one from Creed’s lodging. In my way home visited my Lord Crew and Sir Thomas, thinking they might have enquired by the by of me touching my Lord’s matters at Chelsey, but they said nothing, and so after some slight common talk I bid them good night.

At home to my office, and after a while doing business home to supper and bed.

34 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

"I found it was the constable and his watch"

watch (n.)
O.E. wæcce "a watching," from wæccan (see watch (v.)). Sense of "sentinel" is recorded from c.1300; that of "person or group officially patroling a town (esp. at night) to keep order, etc." is first recorded 1539. Meaning "period of time in which a division of a ship's crew remains on deck" is from 1585. Sense of "period into which a night was divided in ancient times" translates L. vigilia, Gk. phylake, Heb. ashmoreth.
"The Hebrews divided the night into three watches, the Greeks usually into four (sometimes five), the Romans (followed by the Jews in New Testament times) into four." [OED]
The meaning "small timepiece" is from 1588, developing from that of "a clock to wake up sleepers" (1440). Watchmaker is recorded from 1630; watchtower is attested from 1544.…

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"thinking they might have enquired by the by of me touching my Lord’s matters at Chelsey, but they said nothing"

Interesting ... you'd think these would the last men in the world he'd want to discuss this with, and here he is, stopping by their place in hopes of discussing it. Perhaps he wanted to try to spin things in a positive light...?

Australian Susan  •  Link

I wonder if the Watch have improved any since Shakespeare lampooned them in Much Ado About Nothing - Dogberry and Verges are two of the great comic characters. "(Oh, that I had been set down an ass!" etc.). It seems neither Sam nor the Navy Office keeps a guard dog to bark at intruders and what has happened to the pet dog? Our dogs are up and barking at any intruders - in our case it is either possums on the roof or flying foxes in the trees. I think it is typical of Sam's character that he is the light sleeper and is awakened (or was Elizabeth hiding under the bed? And where was Will?)

Sam is very circumspect about Lord Crew, isn't he? Obviously sounding out what LordC thinks of his son-in-law. Either Crew doesn't know about The Chelsea Slut or is being discreet - not washing family dirty linen in public, even with a cousinly relative.

in aqua  •  Link

Re: Constable be a term that can be used for high or lowest; never a COP cop be 'cop of xx later Cop of T Luv'[14 entrees for the the word Cop].
cold even be a special painting hay on thr cart.
OED: Constable[ME., a. OF. cunestable, conestable (mod.F. connétable = Pr. conestable, Sp. condestable, Pg. condestavel, It. conestabile), repr. late L. comes stabul nus (Ammianus), whence later comesta-, conestabulus: Skeat quotes from a document under date 807, ‘comes stabuli quem corrupte conestabulum appellamus’. Other med.L. forms were comestabilis, conestabilis, etc.: see Du Cange. The early development of the sense, whereby the comes stabuli, from being the head groom of the stable, became the principal officer of the household of the Frankish kings, and of the great feudatories, and the field-marshal or commander-general of the army, had taken place before the word came into English; the development was parallel to that of marshal. The earlier English uses were simply taken over from French.]
1. gen. The chief officer of the household, court, administration, or military forces of a ruler.
2. spec. a. Constable of France: the principal officer of the household of the early French kings, .........
b. Constable of England, Lord High Constable: one of the chief functionaries in the English royal household, with duties and powers similar to those of the same officer in France.
3. The governor or warden of a royal fortress or castle. (Still the official title of the governors of some royal castles in England.)
1633 T. STAFFORD Pac. Hib. xv. (1821) 647 The Constable sued for a Protection and rendered the Castle to Captaine Flower
4. A military officer
5. An officer of the peace. (See Sir J. Stephen Hist. Crim. Law, I. vii. 194-200.) a. generally
H. ELSING Debates Ho. Lords App. (Camden) 143 They went and fetched a cunstable and searched all her howse.
b. High Constable: an officer of a hundred or other large administrative district, appointed to act as conservator of the peace within his district, and to perform various other duties. (Abolished in 1869.)
The office seems to have been originally established for military purposes, to raise the military force of the hundred in case of war or civil commotion; the duties attached to the office became in the course of time more of an administrative character.
[1285 Act
c. Petty or Parish Constable: an officer of a parish or township appointed to act as conservator of the peace and to perform a number of public administrative duties in his district. (Abolished, exc. as incorporated in the County Police system, in 1872.)
a1626 BACON Max. & Uses Com. Law 8 The Lord of the hundred court is to appoint in every village, a petty constable with a tithing-man to attend in his absence.
d. Now, esp., a police constable, a member of the constabulary or police force, a policeman. Chief Constable: the officer at the head of the police force of a county or equivalent district.
1663 BUTLER Hud. I. III. 1368 Quoth Hudibras, Friend Ralph, thou hast Out-run the Constable at last.
c. To spend more money than one has; to run into debt; also to overrun the constable.
a1700 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, Out-run the Constable, to spend more than is Got, or Run out of an Estate.
cop 7 n0uns and 6 verb

Aqua  •  Link

I dinae want to harp but Mrs Harper "'as bean" 0 for 2, so far. Jinny came and went, staid long enough to get a good rub down, the Cook Mayde tried but went home to Muther, after all that lye that she used.
With Balty and his leftovers [casteoffs?], sorry friends, that his sister cannot abide for long, and now the musical chairs of up and down the stairs the maydes do go.
Jane where Art thou?
For those of us that have suffered the pangs of overzeaous Masters/Mistresses can have some empathy for those that a farthing can do that keeps the crums a coming.
When thee are at the beck and call of those have a purse whether thee be a mayde or in the debt of the King thee can suffer.

MissAnn  •  Link

"This morning, about two or three o’clock, knocked up in our back yard" - now I had to read this sentence a couple of times because being "knocked up" in Australia certainly has another meaning.

Aqua  •  Link

"in Australia certainly has another meaning." It has a similar conitation on Tems street too, the vicars will quickly get the victim to the altar if they can find someone to pay the tab.

GrahamT  •  Link

To knock-up, meaning to awaken by knocking on the door or window is still current, though old fashioned, British English.
The "knocker-upper" was a man who tapped on the window in previous times to awaken people for work, in the days when alarm clocks were an expensive luxury.

Terry Pratchet writes affectionatly about the city constables and watch in most of his Discworld series. "Guards! Guards!" being the one where they are the centre of the action.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"I do hope you'll be noting, sir, that I and me good watch here..." nod to good watch, both nodding back... "...Are not of the sort ye see at one of the playhouses in Mr. Shakespeare."

"Certainly not, Constable. Now if you'll excuse Mrs. Pepys and me."

"Yes, sir. But, might I be asking, sir. About the back yard door, sir?"

"Obviously someone left it unlocked, Constable."

"Aye, sir. That is true, sir. And me nephew Little Digman here, sir..." Digman, anything but little at six feet, nodding shyly... "Did suggest the same thing, sir. But, sir. I see here in my list of reports about nightly incidents, sir. That you did report the theft of a silver piece...And..." Eyes sheet, lips forming words. "A cloak...Some time back, sir. Also, more recently, it seems some wine was taken, sir. And we've been special charged to watch your place since, sir."

"Oh, yes. Well, that was very good of you, Constable. But I am sure this was an accident. Now, if you'll excuse us."

"Yes, sir. But you see, sir. This coming after two previous thefts on the premises, sir. Cause for concern, sir."

"Aye, concern, sir." Little Digman chimes in.

"Digman. He will ever be talking, sir. A good lad, sir. My sister's boy, sir and we hope will do well. But he will be talking, sir."

"Yes..." Sam can't resist... "He comes not near you..."

"Oh, thank you, sir. As to the back yard door, sir."

"I'll secure it, Constable. And counsel my people to take extra care."

"That would be wise, sir."

"Sam..." Bess yawns...

"Mrs. Pepys must be off to bed, gentlemen. Good night, Constable."

"A pleasant night, sir. Don't be forgettin' to secure the door, sir."

"No, Constable."

"We'll be round again, sir. Have no worries."

"I would expect so of the watch, Constable. Good night."

"Very kind of you, sir. Many thanks and a pleasant night. Sir, if you'd not mind I'll be placing Little Digman by the door here, sir. So as to add that bit of extra certainty, sir."

"Fine, Constable. Very good of you."

"Digman, take your post, lad. Where's your lantern, boy?"

"I don't 'ave one, uncle."

"Well, go and fetch one from the house, lad. Hurry now, we'll be waitin' here." Sigh to Sam... "Well...A good lad but a mite slow. And he will be talkin'. I hope you don't mind him, sir...Ma'am."

"Oh, no..." Mighty yawn from Bess...

"Well, we'll be here till Digman fetches his lantern. Don't forget the door, sir. A very good night, sir."

Sam closes door...Eyeing a yawning but grinning Bess.

"A shilling he knocks in ten..."

In three seconds, the Constable knocks...

"Yes, we locked it, Constable." Bess impishly calls.

"Ah...Very good, ma'am. Good night, ma'am...Sir."

"I never said I'd take that bet." Sam notes solemnly as they enter and head upstairs.

"Ow!" whack on arm...

A knock at the door. "Uh, sir."



"Sorry, sir. Thought we heard a cry from within, sir."

"I was hit by...Something. It was nothing, we didn't light a candle. Sorry to have worried you, Constable."

"I see, sir. Just wanted to be sure, given the incident tonight, sir. Cousin Henry here..." nods to Henry. "...Thought it might be an intruder, sir."

"No, Constable."

"That's good to hear,sir. But if you should be wanting us to take a look around the place...?"

"Really not necessary, Constable. Good night."

"Ah. Well...Good night, sir. Ma'am. Oh, sir..."

"We won't forget to lock the door, Contable." Bess grins.

"Very good, ma'am. Good night, sir."

Well...? Sam stares at the waiting Bess.

"Little Digman will need a light. Two shillings." she smiles.

"Lord, they stay any longer and we can invite them to breakfast."

"And you'll cook it. There's the bet." she grins.

"Uh, sir." Knock at door.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"The constable and his watch"
The most famous night watchman of the 17th century methinks was depicted by Rembrandt.

Martin  •  Link

Not quite. The painting you refer to is actually named "The Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch," and depicts a militia company. The "Nightwatch" moniker came along later and derives from the painting's general darkness which resulted from various applications of varnish.

Australian Susan  •  Link

RG - thank you, thank you! I knew you would rise to the occasion - Dogberry and Verges live!
And yes, Terry Pratchett fans, everywhere - a nod to Sgt Colon and Corporal Nobbs, not to mention Commndr Vimes - true inheritors of the Shakespearean mood. Although he gets very Dickensian (in the true sense of being a social commentator) in Going Postal. Sorry, off topic. And yes, does have a book entitled Night Watch.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

The Crewes and the "Chelsea Affair"
"’d think these would the last men in the world he’d want to discuss this with..."
My guess is that Pepys sees Lady Sandwich's family as natural allies in trying to get Lord Sandwich to straighten up. He's too shy to raise the matter with them himself, but if *they* broach it, he can plot with them, perhaps even stage an "intervention."

Bradford  •  Link

"Knocked up" of course carries The Other Meaning in the States too, I would guess starting in the 1940s. Cue comic skit based on the Special Relationship and Misunderstanding One's Common Language.

"I eat well but drank no wine neither; which keeps me in such good order that I am mightily pleased with myself for it" irreverently reminds one of "Raisins keep you regular."

The surprise (pace Mr. Gertz's imaginative repairing of the deficiency) is that Pepys did not try to solve The Mystery of the Open Back Yard Door.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

constable and his watch,

Where, I wonder, was the Navy Office's own resident door keeper?

(I recall such a person existed from Aqua's post of a full staff list for the buildings some time ago -- but I am afraid I can not find same quickly.)

Michael Robinson  •  Link

The Crewes and the "Chelsea Affair"

"…you’d think these would the last men in the world he’d want to discuss this with…"

Perhaps Pepys simply wishes to gague discretely their state of knowledge, or what they are admitting publicly their knowledge is, to be certain that any comments or observations he makes match with the "oficial" family version of a sensitive issue.

dirk  •  Link

the resident doorkeeper

re - Michael Robinson

Yes, there seems to have been such a person -- and I guess this is the background info you're referring to -- but it's Pauline's, not Aqua's.…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

the resident doorkeeper - constable and his watch

Many thanks Dirk.

Now the mystery deepens, it appears the following four people "a doorkeeper, a porter and couple of watchmen" failed to notice the open door before the constable and, I assume, also failed to notice the arrival of the constable and his watch also.

dirk  •  Link

the watch

Logically I can only see a limited number of possibilities:

1. Doorkeeper, porter and watchmen were only on duty during the daytime working hours. Possibly the Constable's watch took over after nightfall. In this case what happened today, is standard procedure.

2. All or some of them failed to do their duty. If this were the case, I'd expect conscientious Sam to say something to this effect in his diary entry.

Personally I'm inclined to go for 1. The reason that Sam doesn't make a scene here, may be that possibly one of his own household (possibly even Elizabeth) may have left the door unlocked.

Australian Susan  •  Link

And where was the little black dog? Hiding under the bed?
Common misunderstandings arise between Australian English and English English as well as between the latter and American English. The word "thong" is an example. Sorry, getting off topic.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I dunno Dirk, from past Samuelian behavior I'd say Sam would be more inclined to make a scene (at least a rant in the Diary if not to the local representatives of Authority) if Elisabeth or a member of the household had done the deed. I would suspect Sam himself is guiltily wondering if perhaps he is responsible...Though in fairness he is usually willing to express anger at himself when undoubtedly to blame. It is odd he's not more concerned, given past thefts.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

It is odd he’s not more concerned ...

He did record loosing his temper with his brother about a key left in a lock.

So we have a bright and wet night, the staff of four MIA &, thanks to Australian Susan, a dog that did not bark ...

over to you Sherlock Gertz ...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam off early, those left behind consider the previous night's events...

"And there was the curious incident of Sam's usual freaking." Bess notes to Will Hewer solemnly as they ponder the mystery.

"But...Mr. Pepys didn't do a thing."

"That was the curious incident."

TerryF  •  Link

the doorkeeper/housekeeper to the Navy Office is William Griffith; but if he did not also tend resident quarters may explain the lack of an immediate hue and cry.…

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

No-one saw Pembleton hiding in the bushes, petting the dog on his knee.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The victualler who seemed to need the most help with his accounts was Alderman Sir Denis Gauden. There's a past Diary entry saying Sir Denis had treated Pepys to lunch at the Dolphin before. Just a guess since Pepys just refers to "him" today.

Jonathan V  •  Link

I know it's late in the game to be asking, but, did Sam have a timepiece? He seems to give a fairly definite accounting of time here. I know there were public clocks by this time, but I can't tell if he is consulting one of those, or just making an estimate. Just curious.

And, re: the Rembrandt painting - I have seen it in person, once, and stood for a good while in awe of it.

Sue Nicholson  •  Link

Griffith was the keeper of the gate into the Navy Office premises ( office, yards, garden and lodgings) keeping watch over the Seething Lane entrance. The gate which was left open and which the watchman had noted, was the back door to Pepys house, on Crutched Friars. There was a yard between the street and the house.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’This morning . . knocked up in our back yard . .

‘to knock up < Late Old English . .
1. trans. To drive upwards, or fasten up, by knocking; spec. in Bookbinding . . ; in Bootmaking . .
1660 S. Pepys Diary 30 Jan. (1970) I. 33 Knocking up nails for my hats and cloaks.

2. intr. To be driven up so as to strike something. to knock up against, to come into collision with; fig. to meet with, come across, encounter.

3. trans. To make up (hastily or off-hand), to arrange summarily.

4. To put together hastily; = to knock together 3 at Phrasal verbs. Also, to prepare (food) quickly (U.S.).

5. To get or accumulate by labour or exertion; spec. in Cricket, to run up (a score), make (so many runs) by striking the ball. colloq.

6. To arouse by knocking at the door. (This sense is not current in the U.S.)
1663 S. Pepys Diary 11 Sept. (1971) IV. 304 This morning, about 2 or 3 a-clock, knocked up in our backyard..I find it was the Constable and his watch.
. . 1973 National Observer (U.S.) 3 Feb. 7/1 Fielding's guide-book considerately explains that a male host may quite casually tell a female American house guest that he will ‘knock you up at 7:30 tomorrow morning’. The term, of course, conveys nothing more than a rapping at the door until one is awakened.

7. To overcome or make ill with fatigue; to exhaust, tire out. (Esp. in pass.)

8. intr. To become exhausted or tired out; to become unserviceable; to break down.

9. trans. To break up, destroy, put an end to.

10. To make (a woman) pregnant; (less commonly) to have sexual intercourse with (a woman). slang (orig. U.S.).
. . 1836 D. Crockett Exploits & Adventures in Texas vii. 97 Nigger women are knocked down by the auctioneer, and knocked up by the purchaser . . '

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