Sunday 4 June 1665

(Sunday). Up and at my chamber all the forenoon, at evening my accounts, which I could not do sooner, for the last month, and, blessed be God! am worth 1400l. odd money, something more than ever I was yet in the world. Dined very well at noon, and then to my office, and there and in the garden discoursed with several people about business, among others Mr. Howell, the turner, who did give me so good a discourse about the practices of the Paymaster J. Fenn that I thought fit to recollect all when he was gone, and have entered it down to be for ever remembered. Thence to my chamber again to settle my Tangier accounts against tomorrow and some other things, and with great joy ended them, and so to supper, where a good fowl and tansy, and so to bed. Newes being come that our fleete is pursuing the Dutch, who, either by cunning, or by being worsted, do give ground, but nothing more for certain. Late to bed upon my papers being quite finished.

17 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Howell, the turner,...did give me so good a discourse about the practices of the Paymaster J. Fenn that I thought fit to recollect all when he was gone, and have entered it down to be for ever remembered."

Methinks what Mr. Howell had to say about the dealings of John Fenn, Paymaster to Sir George Carteret, the Navy Treasurer, is not very flattering. And sure enough, L&M note that Pepys's record, in which he "entered it down to be for ever remembered", says that Howell figured Fenn made £12,000 a year, not counting the profits from the victualing business; and Pepys supposed this was with Carteret's knowledge.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Fowl and tansy? For Mum Pepys perhaps, but it's nice to think Bess might be showing her boy special consideration at a nerve-racking time.

dirk  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin's diary

"God good in manifold mercies, my son Thomas with me, and all my children in health blessed be god, cast the skirt of grace over them. the season hot and dry to wonder. pastures burn and the land sins. the guns mention a great fight yesterday. this day god good in the word let it be a word of grace"

CGS  •  Link

Tansy be associated with Shrove-Tuesday and merry making.

CGS  •  Link

fowl [foul- obs spelling] be any winged food.

[Com. Teutonic; OE. fu{asg}el, fu{asg}ol, fu{asg}ul str. masc. = OFris. fugel, OS. fugol (Du. vogel), OHG. fogal (MHG. and Ger. vogel), ON. fugl (Sw. fogel, Da. fugl), Goth. fugls:{em}OTeut. *foglo-z, fuglo-z; usually believed to be a dissimilated form of *floglo-, fluglo-, f. flug- to FLY; cf. the OE. adj. flu{asg}ol ‘fugax’, and the form flu{asg}las heofun in the Rushworth Gloss. Matt. xiii. 32, rendering volucres cæli; the Lindisf. gloss has fle{asg}ende, the Wessex gospel fuhlas.
The forms containing x are from the Cotton MS. of the Cursor Mundi; perh. miscopied from an original which had {ygh} (or possibly {th}).]

1. a. Any feathered vertebrate animal; = BIRD n. 2 (q.v. with note attached). Now rare exc. collect.
{dag}b. In narrower sense: Winged game. Obs.

1646 EVELYN Mem. (1857) I. 252 Sometimes we shot at fowls and other birds: nothing came amiss.

4. a. The flesh of birds used for food. Now only in the phrases fish, flesh, and fowl, etc. b. In narrower sense: The flesh of the ‘barn-door’ or domestic fowl.

Margaret  •  Link

My Cornish grandmother would serve "fowl pie" -- I suppose she thought it would be dishonest to call it "chicken pie" when the bird in question was an adult.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

While it may be safe to assume that no news is good news, Sam's apparent total disconnect from the life at home is striking. Not a word as to how Bess and Mum are getting on or even a complaint about the expense, which must be considerable-though perhaps Sam is embarassed to note even to himself that he's spending far more on his own silk suits than on Mother and Bess. Of course, right now Sam is probably far more anxious than he cares to let out, awaiting the outcome of the battle and his own fate.

It appears Bess has been a trooper by the few indications we get, doing all she can to keep Mom happy and out of Sam's hair and judging by the lack of home crisis news, keeping a lid on matters domestic.
No plague news either, but we ought to be hearing more once the war news settles. It's curious though, Sam, who normally fears prostitutes and their diseases so dreadfully, should at a time when plague is rising, start picking up "flowers"-even if he knows these women fairly well, though the failure to name them suggests otherwise-he must be aware the risk is growing. It seems almost as though he's become so panicked over the war situation that with Bess less available, Mom probably sleeping with her, he's desperate for physical comfort even to taking greater risks of detection and possibly worse.

JWB  •  Link

"A chicken in his pot every Sunday" Henri le Grand 1589.

JWB  •  Link


This turner not out in the woods with a spring-pole lathe turning spindles for captain's chairs, but, in that dealt in lignum vitae, assume he maunfactured block & tackle. Pulleys & sheaves in steady demand when fleet active and must have put Howell in regular negotiation with navy paymaster, thus his insider knowledge.

Glyn  •  Link

Sam's worth £1,400? What an amazing coincidence. After I'd deducted all my credit card, overdraft debts etc. that's probably what I'm worth as well :(

Sjoerd  •  Link

Would "a tansy" be a pudding in the sense of a dessert of a pudding as in a christmas pudding ?
The names "cows bitter" and - in dutch - "boerenwormkruid(farmers worm herb) for the "common tansy" do not really inspire culinary experimentation....?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Would 'a tansy' be a pudding in the sense of a dessert of a pudding as in a christmas pudding ?
The names 'cows bitter' and - in dutch - 'boerenwormkruid['](farmers worm herb) for the 'common tansy' do not really inspire culinary experimentation….?"

Sjoerd, here's part of what the English-language Wikipedia says: “Tansy was formerly used as a flavoring for puddings and omelets, but is almost unknown now. It was certainly relished in days gone by, for Gerarde speaks of them as 'pleasant in taste', and he recommends tansy sweetmeats as 'an especial thing against the gout, if every day for a certain space a reasonable quantitie thereof be eaten fasting'. In Yorkshire, tansy and caraway seeds were traditionally used in biscuits served at funerals….According to liquor historian A. J. Baime’s book Big Shots, Tennessee whiskey magnate Jack Daniel enjoyed drinking his own whiskey with sugar and crushed tansy leaf.”

Has anyone posting annotations ever tasted any?

Adam  •  Link

No. But there was a programme on the BBC recently where they ate tansy (and recreated one of Pepys' stone feasts). It's a thin omelette flavoured by the tansy flower, it makes the omelette green. It tastes sweet and then a 'cool-warmth' like peppermint. Too much tansy is poisonous, and even a little too much can make you paranoid and sick.

Having counted his money, he seems to be enjoying the pleasure of food and talking business.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"and have entered it down to be for ever remembered."

SP's lengthy minute in now in print; Robert Latham ed. 'Samuel Pepys and the Second Dutch War. Pepy's Navy White Book and Brooke House Papers,' Navy Records Society Vol 133, 1995. pp. 119 - 124.

The gist is that rather than collecting payment from Fenne, Navy suppliers are directed to the London bankers who discount the bills 18% for cash; Fenne then pays the bankers if not immediately then as soon as cash is available ... In addition Fenne's son, Jack, is taking 2% on payments over 50,000L , not the 0.5 % allowed.

Cactus Wren  •  Link

"The Song of the Tansy Fairy"
Cecily Mary Barker

In busy kitchens, in olden days,
Tansy was used in a score of ways;
Chopped and pounded, when cooks would make
Tansy puddings and tansy cake,
Tansy posset, or tansy tea;
Physic or flavouring tansy'd be.
People who know
Have told me so!

That is my tale of the past; today,
Still I'm here by the King's Highway,
Where the air from the fields is fresh and sweet,
With my fine-cut leaves and my flowers neat.
Were ever such button-like flowers seen,
Yellow, for elfin coats of green?
Three in a row --
I stitch them so!

Pedro  •  Link


In his Flora Britannica written in 1996 Richard Mabey says…

Tansy’s leaves are pungent and bitter and at one time were eaten at Eastertide to kill off the “phlegm and worms “which a Lent fish diet gave rise to.

They were mixed with eggs and flour to make them more palatable, and from the 15th to the 19th Century a “tansye” was a generic term for any omelette or pancake-like dish flavoured with bitter herbs.

The concentrated oil is quite toxic and has been used in treatment of worms and as a abortifacient.

Log in to post an annotation.

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