Thursday 8 October 1663

[Continued from yesterday. P.G.] … So, keeping myself warm, to the office, and at noon home to dinner, my pain coming again by breaking no wind nor having any stool. So to Mr. Holliard, and by his direction, he assuring me that it is nothing of the stone, but only my constitution being costive, and that, and cold from without, breeding and keeping the wind, I took some powder that he did give me in white wine, and sat late up, till past eleven at night, with my wife in my chamber till it had done working, which was so weakly that I could hardly tell whether it did work or no. My mayds being at this time in great dirt towards getting of all my house clean, and weary and having a great deal of work to do therein to-morrow and next day, were gone to bed before my wife and I, who also do lie in our room more like beasts than Christians, but that is only in order to having of the house shortly in a cleaner, or rather very clean condition.

Some ease I had so long as this did keep my body loose, and I slept well.

21 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

"my constitution being costive"

cos·tive, adj.
1. a. Suffering from constipation.
b. Causing constipation.
2. Slow; sluggish.
3. Stingy.

[Middle English costif, from Old French costeve, past participle of costever, to constipate, from Latin constipare; see constipate.…

MissAnn  •  Link

Am I correct in believing that the scene is: Sam, Elizabeth and all the mayds in Sam's chamber whilst Sam gets the flatulence out? Charming! Surely the WorkPlace Relations Commissioner should be put on notice that this is how the Pepys treat their staff. Thankfully things have changed, especially in the colonic flushing field, which no doubt Sam would benefit from. A total review of the Pepys diet is well and truly called for, maybe an introduction of a variety of vegetables and grains, boiled water, and a little less meat, wine, ale, beer, etc. No wonder his alimentary canal is blocked so regularly.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

more beasts than Christians

I haven't got the numbers, but am willing to aver that the great majority of the world's population at that time (& subsequently) were not Christians. Another example of English exceptionalism? ("We happy few." Or as the RAF recruiter in Beyond The Fringe suggests, "There are far too many.)_

in aqua  •  Link

Miss Anne. Only Elizabeth be subject to the winds of the Leader, the Maids {how many? }be cleaning all from cellar to Bellfry , I wonder why such industry. Orders from up Hi?.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam and Bess keeping vigil in Sam's study...I imagine like Sam, Bess was worried it was stone-related.

Greater love hath no woman than that she should sit up with her hubs awaiting loud confirmation that he's ok...

Of course it was also a good place to avoid the cleaning hubbub and a staff not only fatigued from the cleaning duty but hounded by that #@$%! new bell.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Seriously it's only a short time from Bess' sudden collapse and, at least for Sam, near-death experience during their recent trip together. She probably is anxious to show her concern for him in return...

"Bess, are you quite sure about this?"

"Sam'l, it's an old cure from France. My mother did it for Papa all the time after he showed it to her. And she for him."

"But I took Mr. Hollier's powder..."

"So this will help...You have to admit it makes sense."

Hmmn...Sam looks at the bare feet playing with his bare stomach...

Lovely bare feet...

"I suppose..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The Mutiny on the Seething Lane...

Knock on the chamber door...


"Mr. Hewer? Come in, come in." Bess nervously opens door to let Will in. Shutting hastily as a large pot comes flying against the closing door. Horrid shouts of anger from the dark hall.

"Mr. Hewer! What are those dogs of maids about now!" a fuming, somewhat bloated Sam cries from his couch of costive pain.

"Sir. The maids are demanding to be allowed to head for their beds, sir. And they..." hesitating...

"They wish to return to their beds, Mr. Hewer?! Flog the treacherous traitors still the blood runs, Hewer!! Tis the only way to deal with such scum, boy!"

"The only way..." Bess firmly nods.

"But sir...The ladies..."


"They're...Bigger than me, sir. I think they might get the whip away from me, sir."

"He's right there, Sam'l." Bess nods.

"Hewer, you worthless coward! Go below and restore order like a clerk of the Naval Office or I shall have you stripped of your post, boy!!"

"Make them mind, Will." Bess insists, more gently.

"Aye, sir...Ma'am." Will sighing, heads off out the door. Which Bess immediately closes behind.

Lord, I pray Mr. P has his damned motion soon and things simmer down, Will shakes head...Else we're all doomed.

Immediately receiving what had been the rotting remains of yesterday's supper in the chest from the direction of the stairs.

"There's for you, Will Hewer. You treacherous lap-dog. Spoke brave enough long and loud in bygone days, did you now!" a voice calls.

Will moving to get the whip out of his pocket... "Back to work you wretched creatures! Mr. Pepys will have order in his house!!"

"Breath down Mr. P's comin' great fart!!"

"Ladies! Please!! Just doin' me job here!!!"

"We're goin' to bed! And tell His Flatulence the cleanin' "so needful for a man in his position" can wait to finish tomorrow!!"

"You said it, me girl!!" another voice cries.

"To bed, girls!!" the first voice calls.

"Ladies?!!" Will brandishes the whip feebly...

"Will? Care to come on and join us?" a voice calls.


(I of course stole the "get the whip away from me" from Bertrand Russell's classic remark regarding Nietzsche.)

DrCari  •  Link

Poor Sam. As modern-day physicians will attest, kidney stones can at times create discomfort mistaken for gas pains.

Xjy  •  Link

Bertrand R, Nietzsche, Robert G, and whips

Robert Gertz on Sun 13 Nov 2005, 3:12 am

",,,too great liberty for my family…"

Bertrand Russell once said of Nietzsche’s infamous little remark "thou goest to woman, do not forget thy whip" from Fred’s most popular book, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra". "He kept away from women. He knew a woman would get the whip away from him, so he kept away from women."

Another version of the quote is "… nine women out of ten would get the whip away from him, and he knew it, so he kept away from women …" (History of Western Philosophy)

tonyt  •  Link

The agony column by Virginia Ironside in today's edition of The Independent (UK)invites comment on the following dilemma:
'Dear Virginia,
Even though I am married ...,I can't stop visiting prostitutes. My wife knows nothing of this. I'm so ashamed-about my oppression of women and the duplicity.... Does anyone know how to break free from this? I don't need to be told how despicable I am. I know it already.
Yours sincerely,"Sam" '

(No! The actual pseudonym published is "Eric".)

Anyone giving advice on this which is published in next week's column will receive a box of Charbonnel et Walker champagne truffles.

jeannine  •  Link

"my pain coming again by breaking no wind nor having any stool. So to Mr. Holliard"
Gee,I've been away for a few days and have to catch up-have we already come to the Diary entry where during Mr. Holliards medical examination of Sam's rectum he discovers the missing bell????

MissAnn  •  Link

"My mayds being at this time in great dirt towards getting of all my house clean, and weary and having a great deal of work to do therein to-morrow and next day, were gone to bed before my wife and I, who also do lie in our room more like beasts than Christians..." - I thought this sentence was saying that the mayds were gone to bed early in Sam's room and that the mayds were laying like beasts rather than Christians - but it seems others see it a different way.

Well, hasn't Jeannine set the scene - can't wait for the missing bell to turn up.

I too have been away on holidays for the past week and have enjoyed catching up with the Diary and annotations. (Suggestion: don't have a walking holiday with a 15 year old boy - your legs and feet cannot keep up with him and you will be exhausted and actually wish you were back at work!)

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"keeping myself warm"

Pepys's self-congratulatory account in 1677 of how well he dealt with colic:
' And this soe certaine, and orderly, that I never have a fitt thereof but I can assigne the time and occasion of it, as alsoe of its Cure, Namely; Soe Soone (and not before) as I can break wind behind in a plentifull degree....The preventions which I use...are the keeping of my feet warme, and my Stomach full.' (Per L&M footnote)…

Pepys did not review today's Diary entry for the 1677 survey of his health.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

No one answered Miss Anne or In Aqua about why there was so much cleaning going on. Last Saturday night/Sunday morning there was a very heavy rain, and the house and cellar were flooded ... which of course includes The House Of Office for two families. Pepys gave us no specifics beyond it was nasty ... so he went to church twice and never mentions anyone cleaning up. Apparently the water in the cellar has subsided so things can be put to rights. It's not just the smell of Pepys' flatulence Bess, Will and the maids are putting up with!

David G  •  Link

Sam's condition probably was related to his kidney stones. Feeling bloated is a common symptom when a stone is going to pass. It's surprising that Holliard didn't know that.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

The horror! The horror! Unnameable pain and gag inducing filth emanating from the nether reaches of house and body. Ahh, homelife 17th century style!

mountebank  •  Link

"Pepys gave us no specifics beyond it was nasty ... so he went to church twice"

Whenever I see on ellipsis on the page my automatic thought is that there's some juicy rudeness missing and I wonder what it is.

Incognito 123  •  Link

Pepys mentions "The disease makes us more cruel to one another than we are to dogs". Why is this? What's cruel?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I was reading up on gargoyles this morning, and since this post regards floods, the information belongs here as much as anywhere:…
Both ornamented and unornamented water spouts projecting from roofs at parapet level were a common device used to shed rainwater from buildings until the early 18th century. From that time, more and more buildings bought drainpipes to carry the water from the guttering roof to the ground and only a few buildings using gargoyles were constructed. This was because some people found them frightening, and sometimes heavy ones fell off, causing damage.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Talking about smells, the Museum of London's Docklands is planning a new exhibition. Some highlights from their press release:

"The smells of damp wood, sea air, tobacco and maybe just a soupçon of human sweat will waft through a gallery for an exhibition telling the hidden stories of what was once the world’s busiest port. ...

"Staged at the Museum of London Docklands, it will tell 200 years of stories that will range from seafaring phrases that have filtered into everyday English language use to the historical dependence of London’s docks on the sugar trade and slavery.

"The curator, Claire Dobbin, also wants visitors to experience the smells workers would have inhaled day in, day out – as she herself has been doing.
“My office smells very much like the docks because I’ve got all the samples here,” she said. “I’ve learned that you become accustomed to the smell of a room in about seven seconds. You adjust quite quickly. I don’t notice it until I go out and come back in and think, ‘oh, it smells like a warehouse in here.’”

"The scents section at the show will evoke the docks themselves – wood, sea air, sweat – as well as a tea warehouse and the home of a dock worker: “The smell of a coat drying by the fire, the smell of tobacco,” said Dobbin. “Younger people don’t remember when so much of London smelled of tobacco.”

"One section will describe how seafaring and dockland words and phrases have filtered into common usage. Examples include ‘sling your hook’, ‘tie up loose ends’, ‘fathom something out’, ‘like the cut of someone’s jib’ and ‘crack on’ – the crack being the cracking sound from when a sail is released for a boat to go faster.'

And one other sentence: "Another [exhibit] is a pot of ambergris, which was highly prized and used in perfumes. Dobbin explained: “It is essentially whale poop.”"

Nowhere does the article mention tar, and I recall that smells pretty strongly from having my roof attended to -- or fish, about which I need say nothing.

But of course, there was also the smell of fresh bread being baked, something I remember with joy from my childhood.

Pepys' London, and anywhere with a port and dockyard, smelled a lot different from the one we enjoy today.…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

More about gargoyles, with pictures of the most grotesque:…

The word “gargoyle” has its roots in the French word “gargouille,” which translates to “throat.”

Gargouille is also associated with an old French legend featuring a dragon named La Gargouille. This fearsome creature had a long, twisted neck, a gaping mouth with powerful jaws, terrifying eyes, and massive wings. It lived in a cave near the River Seine and wreaked havoc on the nearby town of Rouen. Eventually a Christian priest named Romanus defeated the dragon, and its head and neck were displayed at the village entrance as a warning. This legend inspired the carving of dragon heads on buildings and water spouts, leading to the creation of the gargoyles we see today.

Many people mistakenly believe that gargoyles and grotesques are the same thing.
While grotesques encompass all decorative architectural creatures, gargoyles always have functioning drainage conduits.
Thus, not all grotesques are gargoyles, but all gargoyles are grotesques.

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