Pooping With Mr. Pepys, Part 2
The Diary of Samuel Pepys is a unique record of life in the 17th Century. Pepys (1633–1703) was an English civil servant who recorded his day-to-day activities from 1660 to 1669. During that time, he witnessed the restoration of the British monarchy; the Great Fire of London; the plague epidemic of 1665; and the second Anglo-Dutch war -- all of which he wrote about from his own perspective.
More important to this site, he also detailed more mundane things: his entertainments, his eating, his drinking, his sexual misbehaviors, and his pooping.
The diaries are so frank that an unexpurgated edition wasn't published until the 1970s. Reading it makes one understand how poop was as much a concern then as it is now; perhaps more so, considering the lack of modern plumbing and modern medicine.
Below you will find the second installment of a number of excerpts about life in the 17th Century that 21st Century PoopReporters will surely find fascinating. Be sure to read Part One first if you haven't already.
4 October 1663
6 October 1663
Thence home by water in great pain, and at my office a while; and thence a little to Sir W. Penn, and so home to bed. And finding myself beginning to be troubled with wind, as I used to be, and with pain in making water, I took a couple of pills that I had by me of Mr. Hollyards.
7?8 October 1663
They wrought in the morning and I did keep my bed; and my pain continued on me mightily, that I keeped within all day in great pain, and could break no wind nor have any stool after my physic had done working. So in the evening I took coach and to Mr. Hollyards, but he was not at home; and so home again. And whether the coach did me good or no I know not, bat having a good fire in my chamber, I begun to break six or seven small and great farts; and so to bed and lay in good ease all night, and pissed pretty will in the morning, but no more wind came as it used to do plentifully, after it once begun, nor any inclination to stool. 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. Hollyard 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 11 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.
9 October 1663
And I did keep my bed most of this morning, my body I find being still bound and little wind, and so my pain returned again, though not so bad; but keeping my body with warm clothes very hot, I made shift to endure it; and at noon sent word to Mr. Hollyard of my condition - that I could neither have a natural stool nor break wind, and by that means still in pain and frequent offering to make water. So he sent me two bottles of drink and some Syrrop, one bottle to take now and the other tomorrow morning...... I did drink one of them, but it was a most loathsome draught; and did keep myself warm after it and had that afternoon still a stool or two, but in no plenty nor any wind almost carried away; and so to bed. In no great pain, but do not think myself likely to be well till I have a freedom of stool and wind.
10 October 1663
Up; and not in any good ease yet, but have pain in making water; and some course I see I must take, besides keeping myself warm, to make myself break wind and go freely to stool before I can be well - neither of which I can do yet, though I have drunk the other bottle of Mr. Hollyards against my stomach this morning. I did however make shift to go to the office, where we sat; and there Sir J. Mennes and Sir W. Batten did advise me to take some Juniper water, and Sir W. Batten sent to his Lady for some for me, strong water made of Juniper. Whether that, or anything else of my draught this morning did it, I cannot tell, but I had a couple of stools forced after it and did break a fart or two; but whether I shall grow better upon it I cannot tell......This evening Mr. Hollyard sends me an electuary to take, a wallnutt quantity of it, going to bed; which I did. Tis true, I slept well and rise in a little ease in the morning.
11 October 1663
...all the day within doors, I finding myself neither to fart not go to stool after one stool in the morning, the effect of my electuary last night. And the greatest of my pains I find to come by my straining to get something out backwards, which strains my yard and cods, so as to put me to a great and long pain after it, and my pain and frequent desire to make water; which I must therefore forbear...After supper to bed as I use to be, in pain, without breaking wind and shitting.
12 October 1663
Up (though slept well and made some water in the morning as I used to do) and a little pain returned to me and some fears; but being forced to go to the Duke [of York] at St. James, I took coach, and in my way called on Mr. Hollyard and had his advice to take a glister...Anon, about 8 a-clock, my wife did give me a Clyster [enema] which Mr. Hollyard directed, viz., A pinte of strong ale, four ounces of Sugar, and two ounces of butter. It lay while I lay upon the bed above an hour, if not two. And then, thinking it quite lost, I rose; and by and by it begun with my walking to work, and gave me three or four most excellent stools and carried away wind - put me into excellent ease; and taking my usual wallnutt quantity of Electuary at my going into bed, I had about two stools in the night - and pissed well. Voided some wind.
13 October 1663
And so rose in the morning in perfect good ease, but only strain I put myself to shit, more than I needed. But continued all the morning well; and in the afternoon had a natural easily and dry stool, the first I have had these five days or six, for which God be praised; and so am likely to continue well, observing for the time to come, when any of this pain comes again: 1) To begin to keep myself warm as I can. 2) Strain as little as ever I can backwards, remembering that my pain will come by and by, though in the very straining I do not feel it. 3) Either by physic forward or by clyster backward, or both ways, to get an easy and plentiful going to stool and breaking wind. 4) To begin to suspect my health immediately when I begin to become costive and bound, and by all means to keep my body loose, and that to obtain presently after I find myself going to the contrary.
15 October 1663
Up; I bless God, being now in pretty good condition, but cannot come to make natural stools yet; and going to enjoy my wife this morning, I had a very great pain in the end of my yard when my yard was stiff, as if I strained some nerve or vein, which was great pain to me.
31 October 1663
Myself in pretty good health now, after being ill this month for a week together. But cannot come to shit well, being so costive, that for this month almost, I have not had a good natural stool; but to this hour am forced to take physic every night, which bring me neither but one stool, and that in the morning as soon as I am up - all the rest of the day very costive.