Annotations and comments

Al Doman has posted 21 annotations/comments since 30 May 2013.

The most recent…


About Sunday 29 November 1663

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson: "Elizabeth should have insisted..."

First off, there is no "insist". Sam is the boss and has the final say. Yes, Bess can make his life miserable but Sam has proven time and again he's willing to suffer that if he thinks it's necessary for the greater good of Team Pepys.

Women's dress at that time was of great importance to their social status. None would willingly go about in public in substandard dress, let alone to major social events such as Sunday church.

But for the sake of argument, let's suppose that Bess did go to church dressed as you suggest. Other people would have to conclude she'd done something seriously wrong and Sam was punishing her. They wouldn't think she was protesting or temporarily deranged because in those cases Sam would have kept her at home; airing something like that in public would reflect badly on the team and Sam especially.

Bess can't hurt Sam in public without hurting herself as well. If push comes to shove Sam would have to prevent it; it behooves Bess to think things through and not let things escalate to that point.

About Sunday 1 November 1663

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson: it's worth pointing out that most of what we today call "higher math" wasn't yet invented at the time of the Diary (calculus was about to be introduced) so Pepys could hardly be expected to have learned any himself or be in a position to teach it.

Like it or not, women were not considered the equal of men in the 17th century. It took centuries for consensus to reach today's imperfect state; Pepys can hardly be expected to know of or predict that work.

Anachronistically disparaging Pepys' motives is lazy and adds little value to the understanding of the man, his contemporaries or the historical era.

About Tuesday 27 October 1663

Al Doman  •  Link

@SDS: I'm guessing "foul" as in cluttered or messy i.e. the house itself may be cluttered with various clothing strewn about. Not that the maid's clothes are "foul" per se.

A Navy man might refer to a ship's bottom being fouled, or an anchor becoming fouled as it was raised etc. Unexpected, disordered etc.

About Sunday 5 October 1662

Al Doman  •  Link

@Edith Lank:

- "Lay long in bed with my wife": one's imagination should suffice

- "We were friends again" - from time to time Sam has a disagreement of opinion with Liz - in this case whether or not to keep employing Sarah. These could be "spirited" and I for one get the impression Liz could get in a quite a snit if she didn't get her way. Sam uses this phrase to indicate there was a disagreement but it was solved amicably (at least temporarily)

About Friday 28 February 1661/62

Al Doman  •  Link

@Sasha Clarkson: mod +1, insightful ;)

I think to experience this diary to the fullest, one must have a certain empathy with our hero.

As for "Who amongst US would be equipped to survive in Restoration England?", that's easy - Chuck Norris :)

About Sunday 12 January 1661/62

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson: probably because her real or perceived failings aren't affecting him (or to a lesser extent, his wife) in the eyes of others.

Pepys' entire household depends on him. He has zero job security and is almost completely dependent on the patronage of others such as Sandwich. His reputation is absolutely crucial to retaining the various positions he holds and the associated income(s). If for any reason he falls from favour his whole dependent household would suffer, not just him. His wife and staff understand that, in their bones. They're all part of Team Pepys.

A maid being lazy sounds like an internal matter. A sharp word may or may not suffice; a reminder that she's in a decent household with improving prospects and that she can be dismissed with a poor (or no) reference. If she's a good maid but has broken the best serving dish through carelessness, what punishment might the team decide?

External matters: far more serious. Suppose a maid were to sass a distinguished visitor? Looks bad on Sam. If she steals a loaf of bread? Hopefully Sam can square it with the merchant and spare her the potentially harsh justice of the day: . But you can be sure she'd still face some private punishment at home.

Sam wisely keeps a very close eye on his wife and her interactions with other women of their acquaintance. Also on Will Hewer, who to some extent is acting as his agent in some matters - that's why Sam sometimes has strong reactions to seemingly trivial "infractions".