Wednesday 23 March 1663/64

Up, and going out saw Mrs. Buggin’s dog, which proves as I thought last night so pretty that I took him and the bitch into my closet below, and by holding down the bitch helped him to line her, which he did very stoutly, so as I hope it will take, for it is the prettiest dog that ever I saw.

So to the office, where very busy all the morning, and so to the ’Change, and off hence with Sir W. Rider to the Trinity House, and there dined very well: and good discourse among the old men of Islands now and then rising and falling again in the Sea, and that there is many dangers of grounds and rocks that come just up to the edge almost of the sea, that is never discovered and ships perish without the world’s knowing the reason of it.

Among other things, they observed, that there are but two seamen in the Parliament house, viz., Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen, and not above twenty or thirty merchants; which is a strange thing in an island, and no wonder that things of trade go no better nor are better understood.

Thence home, and all the afternoon at the office, only for an hour in the evening my Lady Jemimah, Paulina, and Madam Pickering come to see us, but my wife would not be seen, being unready. Very merry with them; they mightily talking of their thrifty living for a fortnight before their mother came to town, and other such simple talk, and of their merry life at Brampton, at my father’s, this winter. So they being gone, to the office again till late, and so home and to supper and to bed.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Maurie Beck  •  Link

of Islands now and then rising and falling again in the Sea

When I first saw this, I thought, "and dragons too."

Upon further consideration, though, if one were to go to Nias, an island off the Sumatran coast, where the 28 March 2005 earthquake struck, there is evidence of 2-3 m of uplift and subsidence along the Great Sumatran Fault. This fault has ruptured repeatedly in the last few thousand years and I'm sure English merchant ships and mariners would have often run aground from incorrect maps of the Indonesian Archepelago.

cape henry  •  Link

"...which is a strange thing in an island, and no wonder that things of trade go no better nor are better understood." It's difficult to write about Pepys sometimes because the word "remarkable" gets tiring to read or think. But here we have as succinct a statement of his own understanding of expertise and competency as I have seen in the diary to date. Obviously, we see it in his behavior over time, and get glimpses of it from his criticisms of people and situations, but this is a straightforward observation.

Terry F  •  Link

"by holding down the bitch helped him to lime her"

so transcribe L&M the bitch-rape....

Terry F  •  Link

limed and smiling

I retract 'raped': this bitch is 'proud' (in season for mating).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So let me understand this, Samuel. It's weird and disturbing when Bess tries it...But when you do the "assist" it's ok?

"Mr. Pepys? I brought you Sir William Warren's new contract...Oh, Lord!! Not again!!!" Hewer runs, covering eyes.

Bess looks in... "So the little man did his duty at last?"

"He gave his all. We shall see soon enough if she proves worthy." Sam nods, patting the exhausted but content Buggins dog.

"You know you really have to have a talk with Will..." Bess notes, looking after the vanished Hewer whose cries of anguish can still be heard fading in the distance.

"And what does that crack about 'proving worthy' mean?", hard glare.

Xjy  •  Link

Re what Maurie B says about Indonesia, does anyone know if merchant ships of the time would sail down the west coast of Sumatra instead of through the Straits of Molacca? My hunch is that they wouldn't. A western approach to Java, say, might be safer via the deep ocean. Any ideas?

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Ships going to Java would follow a bee's line from Cape the Good Hope, so would cross the deep ocean. The west coast of Sumatra was savage and not much visited in those days.
The famous (in Holland) Captain Bontekoe lost his ship on that coast by running on an uncharted rock and reached Batavia after a long journey in a ship's boat.

alanB  •  Link

Is there no end to this diarist's abilities? Off to work: mate the dogs. No reading up or discussing with others as to how it should be effected (or perhaps there had been some night practise and the passage has been deleted?)
Interesting use of the term lime. In farming, liming the soil is synonymous with fertilizing.

Bradford  •  Link

"So, Mr. Pepys," said Madam Pickering, once she and the young ladies had settled themselves, "give us, as you so often do, a full account of your doings this day."

---from Horace de Rigueur's historical romance, "Pepys's Progress" (1862).

Pauline  •  Link

"...their merry life at Brampton, at my father's, this winter."
Second mention of the good time the young ladies had at Brampton (where they stayed in December when there was small pox at Hinchingbrook).

This says something about the goodness or charm of the elder Pepyses and Pall that hasn't been clear in the diary. (Although in the early months of the diary when they were still in London, they did seem a busy household inviting friends and relatives for evenings and meals and being invited. Very social, having a good time, well liked. )

Pedro  •  Link

"good discourse among the old men of Islands now and then rising and falling again in the Sea,"

The discourse could also be of the old fishermen and Whalers from the grounds around Iceland?

An Island Is Born (Surtsey)...

"It was indeed a remarkable event that they would witness a small part of over the course of that morning: the formation of a brand-new island."…

PHE  •  Link

Disappearing and reapperaing islands.

There was a famous one that appeared near Sicily in 1831, and then disappeared again. It nearly appeared again in 2002. See link:…

Rod McCaslin  •  Link

"and good discourse among the old men of Islands now and then rising and falling again in the Sea"

Might this not be the result of the inability to measure longitude accurately? Islands appear where they are not supposed to, and disappear where they are expected to be?

Rex Gordon  •  Link


"Lime" was also a euphemism for semen. There are several such usages in Shakespeare. See, for example, the Pyramis and Thisbe burlesque in A Midsummer Night's Dream. (It helps to picture Snout in his Wall costume, which he would not have worn for the rehearsal in the forest, but would have had on for the performance at court: the "chink" in the wall would have been between his legs ... similar to the Nurse's remark to Romeo, that whoever marries rich little Juliet will have the chinks.)

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

lime : ? to cement relations???
OED:lime : lime
1. a. A viscous sticky substance prepared from the bark of the holly and used for catching small birds
2:a citrus tree, #3 an ornamental tree [line, lind]
to lime : a :to cement: b: to smear
3: to catch [with lime]:
4: foul defile [obs]
5: to treat [with lime]
5b: to treat land with lime
to lime [wash the building , coat ]
v file or polish

v3: [Of obscure origin; cf. the synonymous LINE v.3]
trans. To impregnate (a bitch). Also pass. and intr., to copulate with, to be coupled to.
1579-80 NORTH Plutarch, Lycurgus (1595) 54 They caused their bee limed..with fayrest dogges.
1607 TOPSELL Four-f. Beasts (1658) 370 A Mastive Dog was limed to a she Wolf. 1674

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

proud,[?prude] { prow }
the normal use of high and mighty
b. spec. Of certain female animals, as bitches, mares, elephants: In a state of sexual excitement; 'in heat'. ? Obs.
1575 ....
1615 tr. De Monfart's Surv. E. Indies 17 To take them [wild elephants]..they make vse of a female, when shee goeth proud, in her heate [etc.].

1-5 prút, 5 prute, 3-5 prout, -e, 5-6 prowte. compar. 4 prottore, -our, 5 prutter, -yr.

1-4 prúd, 4-6 prude, (4-5 prode), 4-6 proude, 4-7 prowd(e, 4- proud. compar. 3 pruder, prudder, 5 prodder. superl. 3 prudest, 4 pruddest, proddest, 5 pruddist.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

line: as in keep the breeding line alive: For those that were use to mucking out, the polite word used by us uncouth in front of wenches would be the mare be covered by his majesty.

SP: "by holding down the bitch helped him to line her"
The OED dothe say line or cover be:
to line
"trans. Of a dog, wolf, etc.: To copulate with, to cover. "

1576 TURBERV. Venerie ii. 5 From that time they beganne to haue bitches lined by that dogge and so to haue a race of them.

1687 DRYDEN Hind & P. I. 179 These last deduce him from the Helvetian kind, Who near the Leman lake his consort lined

To Cover: 6. a. Of a stallion: To copulate with (the mare); rarely of other animals.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I doubt the Montagu girls went to Tom's funeral, so this might have been a condolence call, even though Sam doesn't record it that way. I doubt the Earl and Countess could just "stop by," so sending the girls would make sense ... maybe it's time for Sam to reconsider that postponed dinner party?

Mary K  •  Link

I doubt the Montagu girls went to Tom's funeral as well, not least because women in general simply did not attend funerals; it was "not done." Funeral observance was man's business. This aspect of social etiquette persisted into the 19th century.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

" women in general simply did not attend funerals" -- Mary K, I had forgotten that.

Pepys says, "And being come to the grave as above, Dr. Pierson, the minister of the parish, did read the service for buriall: and so I saw my poor brother laid into the grave; and so all broke up; and I and my wife and Madam Turner and her family to my brother’s, ..." so it reads like at least two women attended. But you are undoubtedly correct about less immediate female members of the family.

Another Diary question which will probably never be answered.

RSGII  •  Link

Re islands rising and falling. Besides the creation of new islands by volcanic activity, e.g. off Iceland, there are areas lke the South China Sea where low lying islands are covered at high tide and visible at low tide. The Chinese have been recently building up some of these. Even worse from the mariners perspective are those that lie just beneath the surface. One of our sister destroyers went aground on one of these unmarked on the charts.

Al Doman  •  Link

Islands "rising and falling": Hazards that are awash and appear or disappear with the tides accounts for some of this. However, my bet would be that most of the time, ships are simply not where they think they are.

In these days of sub-metre GPS accuracy it's easy to forget longitude was very inexact until the invention of reliable marine chronometers in the mid-18th century:… . As a result a mariner could reckon (in the navigational sense) that he's in the same place on 2 different occasions but actually be in 2 different locations. If one is a shoal or island, and the other open sea then islands would "appear" and "disappear".

RSGII  •  Link

Al true. I was a ships navigator in the days of sextants and chronometers and if you knew your position within 5 to 10 miles, you were doing good. But charts also have errors. There are vast areas of uncharted waters with unknown sea mounts and shoals rising to a few feet beneath the surface. I discovered and reported one many years ago in the South China Sea.

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

RSGII: Is the 'sister destroyer' by any chance the USS Frank Knox DD-742? I was on site for a couple of days while they attempted to get her off. Celestial navigation could be difficult in the South China Sea. Coincidently it was said that a new cocktail appeared in Pearl Harbor - the Knox on the Rocks.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

In Trinidad lime also means:
(v) hanging out/socialising in an informal relaxing environment, especially with friends, for example at a party, or on the beach.

RSGII  •  Link

Nate, it was indeed the Knox. Navigation was indeed very tricky in the South China Sea. Often cloudy and the Chinese didn't participate in the crude radio navigation system of the day called LORAN, so it was pretty much as in Pepys time.
I believe it was months before they could get the Knox off the shoal, and then she was scrapped. I knew an officer on the staff of the Admiral that convened the Courts Martials of the Capt and OOD, but never got the whole story. Comparison watch error I heard. Like the Knox on the Rocks bit.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.