Thursday 1 August 1667

Up, and all the morning at the office. At noon my wife and I dined at Sir W. Pen’s, only with Mrs. Turner and her husband, on a damned venison pasty, that stunk like a devil. However, I did not know it till dinner was done. We had nothing but only this, and a leg of mutton, and a pullet or two. Mrs. Markham was here, with her great belly. I was very merry, and after dinner, upon a motion of the women, I was got to go to the play with them — the first I have seen since before the Dutch coming upon our coast, and so to the King’s house, to see “The Custome of the Country.” The house mighty empty — more than ever I saw it — and an ill play. After the play, we into the house, and spoke with Knipp, who went abroad with us by coach to the Neat Houses in the way to Chelsy; and there, in a box in a tree, we sat and sang, and talked and eat; my wife out of humour, as she always is, when this woman is by. So, after it was dark, we home. Set Knepp1 down at home, who told us the story how Nell is gone from the King’s house, and is kept by my Lord Buckhurst. Then we home, the gates of the City shut, it being so late: and at Newgate we find them in trouble, some thieves having this night broke open prison. So we through, and home; and our coachman was fain to drive hard from two or three fellows, which he said were rogues, that he met at the end of Blow-bladder Street, next Cheapside. So set Mrs. Turner home, and then we home, and I to the Office a little; and so home and to bed, my wife in an ill humour still.

22 Annotations

Stefan  •  Link

I've been laughing my head off at this one. Such vitriol over a humble pasty!

Betty  •  Link

Come on - does Sam have no idea why Bess is out of humour?

And it may have been a humble pasty, but a humble pasty that stinks would definitely put me in a bad mood or something much worse.

Bradford  •  Link

"a damned venison pasty, that stunk like a devil. However, I did not know it till dinner was done. We had nothing but only this, and a leg of mutton, and a pullet or two."

I look forward someday to a complete treatise, based on their recurrent appearances in the Diary, on "Pepys and the Venison Pasties."

Does he mean he had no idea venison was what was in the thing till after eating it, and having to be told? Three meat dishes, however.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Yes, but it's a damned vension pasty.

"Bess! Don't that pasty!! It's..."

"Too late, Pepys! Ah, ha, ha, ha!!!" Penn sneers...

"Never again will you have a quiet moment with an uncomplaining wife!!"

Well...I wouldn't exactly say...Uncomplaining...Sam thinks. Eyeing Bess' foaming at mouth.

"My vengeance upon you at last!! Ah, ha, ha, ha...Huh...Pepys, stop her, she's heaving on my Indian rug."

Arrrhhhh!!!... Howl...

"Come along Bess, a little physick should cure all. Penn, beware the fate of the wizard and witch!"

"Eh, prove it's not just food poisoning..." Penn sneers. Lord, the stench from that damned thing...Hardly worth the revenge.



"Bess, now I'm going to undo the chains and Jane will take out the gag if you promise to behave for our dinner guests."

"ARRRRGGGGGHHHH!!! NO MORE KNIPP!!!..." howling shriek...Jane hastily replaces gag.

"Well, I was going to take us all to a play later but if that's the way you'll behave."


Wave to Jane to remove gag...

"I'm better now, Sam'l." angelic smile.

"Unless Knipp is there tonight..." darkening glower...

"Bess, the woman works there. Now tell the demon within to mind her manners or we stay home and I go to the office. As it is, I do have plenty of work to do. In fact, might be the best thing if..."

"I can hold her to a sulk speechwise if you keep me chained so I don't kill her." hopeful tone.

Hmmn...Well...Not that much different than usual.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"that incomparable poet and virtuous man, my very dear friend, and was greatly deplored"


Inflected Form(s): de·plored; de·plor·ing
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French deplorer, from Latin deplorare, from de- + plorare to wail
Date: 1559

1 a : to feel or express grief for b : to regret strongly
2 : to consider unfortunate or deserving of deprecation

Mary  •  Link

the stinking venison pasty.

Has Pen's cook been trying to settle some domestic score, or did pasty come from a bakehouse? Venison does, of course, have to be hung before it's cooked but it sounds as if this meat was allowed to go over the top ( the weather has been very hot recently, as Pepys has told us). Perhaps the cook took a chance on baking improving the 'high' nature of the meat, but without success.

Ruben  •  Link

" in a box in a tree, we sat and sang, and talked and eat"
a gazebo in the woods? a house like a Robinson family house? a room below a tree branch?
Native English Speakers: please, translate to other words.

Mary  •  Link

"in a box in a tree"

This native English speaker is also puzzled by this phrase.

The Neat Houses were situated just west of today's Vauxhall Bridge and were the small houses of a number of market-gardeners who had their busineses there. L&M notes that this patch had been used as an area of entertainment since Elizabethan times. However, L&M remain silent on the nature of the box.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"damned venison pasty that stunk like a devil"
There should be some diarrhea coming,better drink lots of ale.

Bradford  •  Link

It sounds like a treehouse, haunt of many an American juvenile, which would certainly be a Neat innovation in pleasure-garden development.

Ruben  •  Link

You can find the Neat Houses place in the John Rocque map (1746) near the cartouche. In the map we see that 80 years later the place was still completely in the open lands around the city.

Ruben  •  Link

"Mas vale tarde que nunca"
"Better late than never"
I just now looked at the annotations of Aug 19 1661 and found Mary and Glyn and others that annotated a lot of interesting details about the Neat Houses.

cum salis grano  •  Link

Population growth or the great real-estate deals were more favourable in New England rather than old England, thus although London grew, it needed better transportation so that people could travel to their hunting grounds, the majority do not want to commute more than an hour per trip, thus those with autogiros can live father afield.
Thus Harrods would be in the boonies, so a nice day at play, was to go to see your carrots grow, or watch people who need meds.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Blow-bladder Street... Hmmn...Sure leaves nothing to the imagination.

Fern  •  Link

Can't you just see Sam chuckling to himself as he writes this entry?

cum salis grano  •  Link

maybe, just maybe, the 'prentices got their "futebal" sheep's bladder,and blew it up with aire there?
Where aire ye be, let the aire go into the bladder.

Mary  •  Link


Traditionally it was a pig's bladder, rather than a sheep's bladder, that was used for football. Understandably such footballs did not last very long in play, but it was not until the 19th century that an ingenious shoe-mender devised a system of covering bladders with strips of leather so that harder-wearing footballs became available.

cum salis grano  •  Link

I stand corrected, to play soccer as kids we would use anything that could roll and fly even a dirty sock filled with dried grass.

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