Monday 1 July 1667

Up betimes, about 9 o’clock, waked by a damned noise between a sow gelder and a cow and a dog, nobody after we were up being able to tell us what it was. After being ready we took coach, and, being very sleepy, droused most part of the way to Gravesend, and there ‘light, and down to the new batterys, which are like to be very fine, and there did hear a plain fellow cry out upon the folly of the King’s officers above, to spend so much money in works at Woolwich and Deptford, and sinking of good ships loaden with goods, when, if half the charge had been laid out here, it would have secured all that, and this place too, before now. And I think it is not only true in this, but that the best of the actions of us all are so silly, that the meanest people begin to see through them, and contemn them. Besides, says he, they spoil the river by it. Then informed ourselves where we might have some creame, and they guided us to one Goody Best’s, a little out of the towne towards London road, and thither we went with the coach, and find it a mighty clean, plain house, and had a dish of very good creame to our liking, and so away presently very merry, and fell to reading of the several Advices to a Painter, which made us good sport, and indeed are very witty, and Creed did also repeat to me some of the substance of letters of old Burleigh in Queen Elizabeth’s time, which he hath of late read in the printed Cabbala, which is a very fine style at this day and fit to be imitated. With this, and talking and laughing at the folly of our masters in the management of things at this day, we got home by noon, where all well, and then to dinner, and after dinner both of us laid down upon the couch and chairs and to sleep, which I did for an hour or two, and then to the office, where I am sorry to hear that Sir J. Minnes is likely to die this night, or to-morrow, I forgot to set down that we met this morning upon the road with Mrs. Williams going down to my Lord Bruncker; we bowed without speaking one to another, but I am ashamed at the folly of the man to have her down at this serious busy time, when the town and country is full of people and full of censure, and against him particularly. At Sir W. Batten’s my Lady tells me that she hears for certain that my Lord’s maid of his lodging here do give out that Mrs. Williams hath been fain of late to sell her best clothes and jewels to get a little money upon, which is a sad condition. Thence to the office, and did write to my Lord Bruncker to give me a little satisfaction about the certainty of the chain’s being broke, which I begin to doubt, and the more from Sir W. Pen’s discourse. It is worth while to read my letter to him entered in my letter book. Home in the evening to supper, and so pretty betimes, about 10 o’clock, to bed, and slept well. This day letters are come that my sister is very ill.

20 Annotations

Michael L  •  Link

A "sow gelder"? I didn't grow up on a farm, but I thought a sow was a female, and gelding was what you did to a male. Am I missing something, or is Sam?

Terry Foreman  •  Link


One whose business it is to geld or spay sows.

c1515 Cocke Lorell's B. 4 Here is gylys Iogeler of ayebery, And hym sougelder of lothe bery. 1530 ALSGR. 273/1 Sowe geldre, chastrevx detrvyes. 1596 NASHE Saffron Walden Wks. (Grosart) III. 169 Vpon euerie stage hee hath beene brought for a Sicophant and a Sow-gelder. c1614 FLETCHER, etc. Wit at Sev. Weapons IV. ii, Why thou sawcy issue of some travelling Sow-gelder, What makes love in thy mouth? 1654 WHITLOCK Zootomia 131 They never use any of this stuff to their Sow-gelder, or Farrier. a1722 LISLE Husb. (1757) 407 A sow-gelder that had cut for me, cut four pigs for a neighbouring farmer. 1749 FIELDING Tom Jones IV. viii, Old Echepole, the sowgelder. 1820 SHELLEY d. Tyr. I. 70 Call in..Moses the sow-gelder. 1857 BORROW Romany Rye xvii, Two respectable-looking individuals, whether farmers or sow-gelders, I know not.

b. In references to the horn blown by the gelder to announce his arrival at a place.

1604 MIDDLETON Father Hubburd's T. Wks. (Bullen) VIII. 73 Winding his pipe like a horn..which must needs make him look like a sow-gelder. 1621 BURTON
Anat. Mel. III. ii. III. iii. (1651) 472 There needs no more..but a cryer to go before them..or for defect a Sowgelder to blow. 1673 [R. LEIGH] Transp. Reh. 135 You are disturb'd with the tooting of a sow-gelders horn. 1711 ADDISON Spect. No. 251 4 The Sowgelder's Horn has indeed something musical in it, but this is seldom heard within the Liberties.

Hence sow-geldering vbl. n.

1664 BUTLER Hud. II. i. 718 Semiramis..Who..laid foundation Of Sow-geldering operation.



b. To extirpate the ovaries of (a female), to spay.

1557 TUSSER 100 Points Husb. liii, Geld marefoles. 1607 TOPSELL Four-f. Beasts (1658) 521 The female also is gelt or splayed. 1621 BURTON Anat. Mel. III. iii. IV. ii. (1651) 623 The Lydians used to geld women whom they suspected. 1862 J. WILSON Farming 36 It seems to have been the 'geld fillies' as well as colts. 1869 in Lonsdale Gloss.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

First time I've seen Sam refer to 9:00 a.m. as "betimes"!

Love this quote, too: "Besides, says he, they spoil the river by it."

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Todd, I think that "9" has to be a mis-scan. I noticed the same thing. Yesterday he was up at three AM and didn't call it "betimes," nor say how sleepy he was as a result. Perhaps someone can check L&M?

I also shared Michael L's confusion about the term "sow gelder." Thanks to TF for clearing that up.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Paul is right if L&M are: they have "4 a-clock".

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a damned noise"

Is this the first time Pepys has sworn in his Journall?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Besides, says he, they spoil the river by it." An early environmentalist as well as governmental critic.

I imagine the mystery "average Joe" critic disappeared in a "tragic accident".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Say it ain't so by the way about Sir John, Sam... There's many a man I'd rather lose than our "stiff-bearded" Shakespearian scholar.


Yeah, I know... And couldn't be more pleased.

But Sir John deserves a little kindly thought, kicked around as he so often is in the Diary.

Phoenix  •  Link

"It is worth while to read my letter to him entered in my letter book."

To whom is he addressing this referral? Seems an odd expression for a private journal. Or as a reminder to himself.

JWB  •  Link

Plain speech from a plain man and a visit to Goody Best's would have sent me "away presently very merry" too, re-assured that at bottom the country is in the best of hands.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"This day letters are come that my sister is very ill."


"Another long one...Hmmn? Pall was ill today?" Bess eyes entry.

"This critic called today's 'a brilliantly detailed analysis of the pulse of a countryside in...' What? What do you mean, Pall ill today?" Sam, puzzled. Scans entry.

"I never wrote that. Why would I write that?"

"It says it right here...But I don't remember her being ill."

"Where's the new text copy of my diary..."

"Which one? You have ten of each edition." Bess eyeing shelves.

"Printers make mistakes...I like to check. And this looks like...Ah, ah...Look, look my original manuscript for today. No mention of Paulina."

"How could it have gotten in there?" Bess stares.

"Let me see..." scans latest edition. "My God...Bess, something about Pall's been added to several entries this year."

"But how? Why?"

"I know why...." grim stare.

"Not that thing for the BBC?"

"Oh, yes that thing for the BBC..."

"She got those added to the latest edition?"

"My sister has her ways." pulls out heavenly version of cell phone. "Paulina!!"

"Ask her how she did it. I have some great ideas for additions about me." Bess, eagerly.

Ralph Berry  •  Link

"..droused most of part of the way to Gravesend.."

Is'nt that the most descriptive language, one knows just how it was!

cum salis grano  •  Link

“It is worth while to read my letter to him entered in my letter book.”

This is the office vault copy.
Official correspondence, there were always "carbon copies" enscribed by the the most junior clerk now done by scribe xerox,or scribe senor scanner.

arby  •  Link

Terry, Sam called someone "a very wind-fucker" recently, if memory serves. Does that count as swearing?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

arby, Our Boy was quoting Batten's view of Holles, so methinks it doesn't.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The "damned" is an expletive, and it's that I wonder's unprecedented.

He writes it here (as though uttered), a city-dweller cursing as he's waked by a ruckus of some sort -- one "between a sow gelder and a cow and a dog" -- he raves blindly.

Fern  •  Link

"Besides, says he, they spoil the river by it."
Bearing in mind that the river was a highway, this is the equivalent of the local council undertaking emergency roadworks outside your house before you can get your car out of the garage.

nix  •  Link

Goody Best --


[Shortened from GOODWIFE, as hussy from housewife.]

1. a. A term of civility formerly applied to a woman, usually a married woman, in humble life; often prefixed as a title to the surname. Hence, a woman to whose station this title is appropriate. goody-madam: a lady who has risen from a lower rank.

1559 Will of J. Eltoftes (Somerset Ho.), Goody Wilkes [Ibid., Goodwyff Wylkes]. a1625 BEAUM. & FL. Lover's Progr. V. iii, So goody agent? And you think there is No punishment due for your agentship. 1638 FORD Fancies III. ii, I doe confesse, I thinke the goodee-madame may possibly be compast. 1664 WOOD Life (O.H.S.# II. 15 To gooddy Gale for mending my stockings, 6d. 1708 F. FOX in Hearne Collect. 3 July #O.H.S.# II. 117 Goody Vesey my bed~maker. 1708 T. WARD Eng. Ref. #1716# 156 Fame, a busie tatling Guddy. 1736 Disc. Witchcraft 26 We now hear talk of this old Gammar, and that old Goody. 1764 O'HARA Midas I. ii, Pray Goody, please to moderate The rancour of your tongue. 1798 WORDSW. #title# Goody Blake and Harry Gill. 1801 BLOOMFIELD Rural T. #1802# 6 Well Goody, don't stand preaching now. 1882 M. E. BRADDON Mt. Royal I. iv. 109 Two or three village goodies.

transf. 1591 SPENSER M. Hubberd 1213 Soft Gooddie Sheepe #then said the Foxe# not soe.

¶b. = GOODMAN 4.

1583 STANYHURST Conceites in Æneis, etc. #Arb.# 136 Wheare rowed earst mariners, theare nowe godye carman abydeth.

2. U.S. At Harvard College, a woman who has the care of the students' rooms #Hall College Words#.

1827-8 Harvard Reg. #Hall College Words#, His friend the Goody, who had been so attentive to him during his declining hours. 1859 O. W. HOLMES Prof. Breakf.-t. viii, The late Miss M., a ‘Goody’ so called, or sweeper. 1893 W. K. POST Harvard Stories 79 There are many individuals that make up the university population of Cambridgeunofficial members. There are the..goodies. 1902 J. CORBIN American at Oxford 12 The scout is in effect a porter, ‘goody’, and eating-club waiter rolled into one.

Hence goodyship, the personality of a goody.

1663 BUTLER Hud. I. iii. 517 The more shame for her goody-ship, To give so near a friend the slip.

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