Saturday 3 October 1663

Up, being well pleased with my new lodging and the convenience of having our mayds and none else about us, Will lying below. So to the office, and there we sat full of business all the morning. At noon I home to dinner, and then abroad to buy a bell to hang by our chamber door to call the mayds. Then to the office, and met Mr. Blackburne, who came to know the reason of his kinsman (my Will) his being observed by his friends of late to droop much. I told him my great displeasure against him and the reasons of it, to his great trouble yet satisfaction, for my care over him, and how every thing I said was for the good of the fellow, and he will take time to examine the fellow about all, and to desire my pleasure concerning him, which I told him was either that he should became a better servant or that we would not have him under my roof to be a trouble. He tells me in a few days he will come to me again and we shall agree what to do therein. I home and told my wife all, and am troubled to see that my servants and others should be the greatest trouble I have in the world, more than for myself. We then to set up our bell with a smith very well, and then I late at the office. So home to supper and to bed.

28 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

"We then to set up our bell with a smith very well"

Methinks this "smith" the Pepys's used to hang their bell is not a workman, but is a tool or a hanger?

OED anyone?

Matt Lee  •  Link

droop -- To lose spirit or courage. We today might say mope or depressed.
smith -- could mean that they shaped a piece of metal or wire themselves to hang the bell

Eric Walla  •  Link

That's what Will needs! A bell! His spirits will pick up in no time, each time he hears that bell and has to tromp up the stairs to do his master's bidding.

Can't you just picture the glee with which Sam is installing this "paging system?" And what joy he'll get trying it out, over and over and over and ...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So the move was in part to get Hewer away from the maids...Paradise Lost, eh Will?

in aqua  •  Link

Bell dothe toll for thee. "...abroad to buy a bell to hang by our chamber door to call the mayds..."
[Tis when I larnd to why one never said wot they tort.]
One of my upscale Relations, had a bell puller in all of the upstairs rooms and in the larder, kithchen and maids parlor, be a chorus of bells each with its unmelodic clang, And the poor frustrated Servant would mutter on each clang giving vent before tripping up the well worn path to the see the clanger, then sweetly smile and say "Ma'am thee rang".
Of course, the poor dear had to be a mind reader and be prepared.
So I can feel for Sam's merry maydes having to put up with latest in hi teq communication equipment.
Naturally there be 'ding dong' who be in the well.
[soon there be the dumb waiter when maydes become to dear to troop up with evenings offerings.]

in aqua  •  Link

"...We then to set up our bell with a smith very well,..." I be a guessing but the bell be located downstairs where the action be, connected to a long wire thru the floor/ceiling and a puller / yanker be near the rested body that requires service. "tis why a smithy be needed to install this hi tecq gear.
A few wheels and cogs, brackets to make the installation a work of art.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Urged by Hewer, a perturbed Sam investigates Bess' admittedly strangely intense enthusiasm for her new "red room"...

Wasting no time with minor dithering as to rights of privacy while Bess is out visiting the aged ps.

"What's that, Hewer?" Sam eyes a box Will has hesitantly opened.

"A lot of papers, sir. With writing..." he holds one up, Sam glancing over.

Hmmn. Please, not another letter...Of course that one was rather...

"...'Drudgery and no plays make Bess a dull girl.'...Is that all it says?"

"Just on that page, sir. This one's different." Hands over tied bundle of pages.

Hmmn. "... 'A Critique of Pure Reason' by Elisabeth Pepys. 'Reason'? Elisabeth?"

"It's rather good, sir."

"What's that?" Sam grabs at another...

Hmmn. "Civilization and Its Discontents" by E. Pepys." Sam staring at the pages.

"And that?" he points to the next in Will's hand.

Hewer reads, "...'The Sickness Unto Death' by Elisabeth Pepys. Oh, sir? This box over here seems to contain novels."


"Yes. Say, this one called 'Pride and Prejudice' seems quite nice..." Hewer chuckling as he reads.

"Give me those!"

Sam grabs the new box, trembling now as he thumbs through. Hmmn. "...'Middlemarch' by E. Pepys...'Ulysses' by E. St. Michel?" Pulls off string, reading... "Holy!"

Thank God she had the sense not to use my name...

Wait a bit. That's me talking about metempsychosis.

"This one's different, sir." Hewer has yet another packet in hand. "A treatise, I believe... 'Towards A Theory of the Mechanical Motions of the Heavenly Spheres.' by E. Pepys. Oh, it's dedicated to you, sir. See?"

Sam grabs... "To my dearest husband with thanks for the globes and astronomy lessons..."

He drops the packet...Shaking with terror now at the hideous revelation.

"Hewer? Do you know what all this means?" Waves at the scattered papers...

"Mrs. Pepys may have a bit too much time on her hands, sir? There's even more here than in your journals, sir."

"No, you dolt! It means Mrs. Pepys...My poor wretch...Is a..." Gulp.

"Genius." Hollow-eyed stare of terror.

"Congratulations, sir. I always thought Mrs. Pepys rather..."

"You bloody stupid moron! This is the most awful nightmare that can befall a seventeenth century male looking to advance in governmental circles! Do you know what'll happen should any of this reach the world?! Hewer?!"

Will deeply engrossed in chapter one of a fascinating work entitled "The Feminine Mystique".


in aqua  •  Link

Droop by OED: verb be in use, the noun comes later:
[ME. drupe-n, drowpe-n, a. ON. drúpa to droop, hang the head, etc., deriv. wk. vb. f. ablaut series dreup-, draup-, drup-: see etymological note to DROP n.]

1. intr. To hang or sink down, as from weariness or exhaustion; to bend, incline, or slope downward. Of the eyes: To be bent downward, with the eyelids lowered.
a1300 Cursor M. 16064 Iesus stode als a lambe, His hefde druppand [v. rr. drupand, droupande] dun.
c1386 CHAUCER Prol. 107 Hise arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe.
2. To sink, go down, descend. Now only poet.; of the sun, day, etc.: to decline, draw to a close.
1667 MILTON P.L. XI. 178 Laborious til day droop.
3. To sink out of sight; to crouch or cower down; to lie hidden. Obs.
4. To decline in vital strength and energy; to sink in physical exhaustion, languish, flag.
b. transf. and fig. To flag, fail, decay.
5. To flag in spirit or courage; to become dejected, dispirited, or despondent.
1513 DOUGLAS Æneis IV. Prol. 158 To droup like a fordullit as.
1633 P. FLETCHER Poet. Misc. 86 Why droop'st, my soul? Why faint'st thou in my breast?
1709 STEELE Tatler No. 159 5 Must my Terentia droop under the Weight of Sorrow?
6. trans. To let hang or sink down; to bend or incline downwards; to cast down, lower, turn towards the ground (the eyes or face).
b. nonce use with out: To express by drooping. 1605

in aqua  •  Link

The Forger or Smith the guy that will make any iron piece. I dothe thinke it be a gent[known as smitty] that uses his 'ammer to put in to shape the required brackets to mount this piece of communication hi tech device for summoning service, no dial tone required or area code, thereby saving vocal codes. For someone that be needed on the same floor , one would use a nice little hand tinkler.

OED [Common Teut.: OE. smi .. = OFris. smeth, smid (WFris. and EFris. smid, NFris. smet, smer, smas), MDu. smit (smet), smid (Du. smid), MLG. (and LG.) smid, smed, OHG. smid, smit (MHG. smit, smid-, G. schmied...schmid), ON. smi r (Icel. smi ur, Norw. smid; MSw. smi er, smidher, etc., Sw. and Da. smed); Goth. smi a (in aizasmi a coppersmith) differs in declension. The relations of the stem are doubtful. The original sense was app. craftsman, skilled worker, in metal, wood, or other material, and this general use still remains in Icelandic.]

1595 SHAKES. John IV. ii. 193, I saw a Smith stand with his hammer (thus) The whilst his Iron did on the Anuile coole
1651 Early Rec. Dedham, Mass. (1892) III. 179 Whensoever the said shopp shall be no longer vsed for a *smithes shopp.., then it shall be remoued out of the high way.
verb 1. trans. To make, construct, or fashion (a weapon, iron implement, etc.) by forging; to forge or smithy.
b. To fashion articles out of (iron, etc.); to forge or hammer into an implement. rare.
c. To deal with by heating and hammering; to hammer or beat (a blade, etc.) on an anvil.
2. intr. To work at the forge; to practise smith-work. Also fig.
1. One who works in iron or other metals; esp. a blacksmith or farrier; a forger, hammerman.
[an aside]
smiter 1. a. One who smites, strikes, or buffets; a beater, striker.

in aqua  •  Link

Sam be evolving, ["...with a smith very well,...] getting rather upper middling, has cash, no longer needs to bargain or fratenise with thems that beat things into place.
Pen ups plow shares.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" troubled to see that my servants and others should be the greatest trouble I have in the world, more than for myself."

And others? As in dissatisfied, edgy wife, displeased father, troublesome mother and sister, restless brothers, philandering, heedless patron?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"We then to set up our bell..."

Sounds like both Pepys took comfort and pleasure in installing the new paging system. Unlike a certain neighbor, Bess need no longer stoop to crying for the maid loud enough for all to hear for several blocks.

Martin  •  Link

"bell with a smith"
Is it possible the "smith" is actually an external clapper or tolling hammer, derived from "smite, smitten"? That OED definition provided by Aqua mentions "smiter", a beater, striker -- did Sam alter that into "smith"? Sam says "we" (Bess and he) put the thing up -- it was "by the chamber door", not somewhere remote -- it doesn't seem like it needs a third person to help out. If it just needed a bracket, he could have picked one up at Home Depot (or the smith's shop) and nailed it up himself. (Remember he can drill peepholes in walls, too.)

language hat  •  Link

Is it possible the "smith" is actually an external clapper

No, "smith" in English is only a person.

Martin  •  Link

"smith" in English is only a person.
Yes, but Pepys was only a person also, who occasionally twisted other words. And his shorthand occasionally gets mistranscribed. So I still like "smiter"/striker as what was intended, rather than a blacksmith showing up to install a bell as part of a threesome.

Martin  •  Link

One more thought:
Could it be a "bell with a smith", that is, an external clapper in the form of a smith with a hammer, sort of like one of those mechanical banks? Yank the cord and the smith hits the bell.

in aqua  •  Link

'Is it possible the "smith" is actually an external clapper'?????
Samuell did not want to use word clapper. On the street it not be said in polite company, so it be called a Smith, neither did he want to call it a clanger as too many clangers be dropped at the yards, nor did he want to use the word ringer as there be too many dead ringers.
So he was waiting for a more musical word to replace a tapper .
Just because the word as used here, did not make it into other literature, does not excluded this use by Sam of the word Smith for a banger.
Many words that be misused will never make it to a status of a Malaprop, hoover or crapper.
At this time there be only a few publishers of reading materials, books, or scandal[not seditious or salacious]and the freedom of press was limited to those that paid the tax of monopoly, so verbal clangers rarely showed up in top 10 best sellers. Thereby only in the late 1600's did new meanings or shades of meanings becoming available to the Hoi poli along with dropped 'aitches and lost g's..

A. Hamilton  •  Link


Does L&M enlighten? I see no trouble in the text to supposing a workman helped.

in aqua  •  Link

why did he [Sam] not call it a clapper; "...Going to my lodging we met with the bellman, who struck upon a clapper, which I took in my hand, and it is just like the clapper that our boys frighten the birds away from the corn with in summer time in England..."…
clang, n.
1. a. A loud resonant ringing sound;
5. The name of various contrivances for making a continuous or repeated clapping noise; spec.
a. A rattle used to summon people to church on the last three days of Holy Week (= CLAP n.1 9d);
b. Sc. a rattle used by a public crier (= CLAP n.1 9d);
c. a contrivance for scaring away birds, either a rattle shaken in the hand, or an apparatus with small sails turned by the wind.
1566 in E. Peacock Eng. Ch. Furn. (1866)
43 One Sacring bell, two clappers, one paire of Sensors..wee knowe not what is become of theim.
1660 PEPYS Diary 19 May, We met with the bellman, who struck upon a is just like the clapper that our boys frighten the birds England.
6. A door-knocker. Obs.
1617 MINSHEU Duct. Ling. s.v. Clapper of a doore, because it maketh a noise, clap, clap.
1693 W. ROBERTSON Phraseol. Gen. 338 A clapper of a door, cornix pulsatoria

orig., as in Latin, that of a trumpet, and so still in literary use; but now, most characteristically, the ringing sound of metal when struck, as in ‘the clang of arms’; sometimes also the sound of a large bell.
1596 SHAKES. Tam. Shr. I. ii. 207 Loud larums, neighing steeds, and trumpetts clangue.
The OED be full of bell book and candle and tie thy cat with bell.

So 'wot' did Mr Peeps dong his bell.
oh well it quieter now that Eliza does not have to bell_ow. only pull the cord of dinger.

jeannine  •  Link


Does L&M enlighten?

No luck there AH-there aren't any notes on today's entry in L&M.

language hat  •  Link

"Just because the word as used here, did not make it into other literature..."

This is a counsel of despair. Yes, it's *possible* this is a one-shot occurrence of a particular use that did not get recorded elsewhere, just as it's *possible* that Pepys did not write the Diary at all but that it was cleverly concocted by someone who knew a lot about him and slipped it into his papers... No, that way madness lies. It's highly unlikely that a misreading of the shorthand would have survived into L&M; if you want to argue that, you'd need to do so on the basis of the actual shorthand, if you can get hold of it. Otherwise, we have to explain this on the basis of the normal meaning of the word "smith." There may have been one passing by who Pepys asked to step inside and help him with the bell; who knows? But ignoring the comprehensive record of past use represented by the OED and indulging in ungrounded speculation is not sensible.

Mary  •  Link

Exactly so.

in aqua  •  Link

true: one swallow of word, does not make it summer. The majority of what be said will die still born.

Pedro  •  Link

meaning of the word "smith."

The word is not in my dictionary, but for the meaning of a word would you consult a “wordsmith”?

in aqua  •  Link

Can anyone consult a copy of Nathan Baily 's Dictionarium Britannicum,
Dictionarium Domesticum,
Nathan Bailey (d. June 27, 1742) was an English philologist and lexicographer.
if not that Samuel Jonsons epic piece.

in aqua  •  Link

Having dropped a clanger, I reviewed the idea of how would some one install a
[dinner] bell, there be no modern off the shelf installion kit complete with brackets, screws, nails, rope [hemp or leather ] and where would one get such a noise maker.
I be under the impression that it be Black Smith, whom may even make cannons [same metal] who does forge work for extra cash, that has been doing business with the local Gentry.
Bell be caste in bronze or brass, a clapper, like wise, to which a rope be attached, the bell be hung on a nice fancy bracket [ amphersand shape]
Unfortunately it appears not to have any recognisable musical tone, so that the dog can tune into, and Peeps can have some one gong away on and Peeps plays his Viol.
[Give me a C]
So Smith could be the name of this bloke that sells and installs mayde fetching devices, and his handiwork be known as in stalling a ?
Please L.H. keep thy Smith and Weston holstered.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

I got me a jones for a good etymological argument! :-)

Second Reading

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

The local smith had made a bracket to hold the bell, to be fixed (nailed) to a timber hoist in the lath and plaster wall. In the days before handy men and DIY it naturally fell to him to do the nailing.

No doubt SP could have done this for himself but it would have been infra dig for him as a gentleman to have done so; this would have become a piece of common gossip in the servant network, something he was at pains to avoid as it would lead to a loss of social distance and respect, even to ridicule.

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