Annotations and comments

Robert Harneis has posted 8 annotations/comments since 7 November 2013.

The most recent…


About Monday 7 September 1663

Robert Harneis  •  Link

dirk on 8 Sep 2006 "Are there any pictorial references to the Pepys house fully furnished?" Sorry to be so slow in commenting dirk - hope you are still with us. I recommend a visit to Flamsteed House, the home of the Astronomer Royal built in 1675, in the Royal park at Greenwich. I imagine Pepys would have visited it after the Diary ended. Well worth a visit anyway.

About Wednesday 26 August 1663

Robert Harneis  •  Link

"I went by water to White Hall, where the Court full of waggons and horses, the King and Court going this day out towards the Bath"

What a wonderful picture of what travel meant in those days - water and/or horses. An old school master told me that when he was young all the great London railway stations smelt of dung from all the horses needed to bring goods to and from the trains.

About Monday 3 August 1663

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Terry: 'Sat close' - Doesn't it also imply without all the 'entourage' that were always around with big ears and bigger mouths but that Sam often does not mention, like Will or 'the boy' or the junior officers of the yard?

About Wednesday 28 January 1662/63

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Terry Foreman: "The House of Lords today is concerned that the King might exercise arbitrary power in religious matters" Is it not more that Charles was an untypically well travelled and tolerant man and in particualr wanted to help Roman Catholics, whereas the Lords and Parliament generally were a bunch of insular bigots?

About Tuesday 27 January 1662/63

Robert Harneis  •  Link

'perfectly capable of holding two opposing concepts in his mind at once' with all due respect to Scott Fitzgerald it is the perfect description of great hypocrites and most of the political class in the West who spend their time talking about 'our values', lecturing all who still listen to them on Human Rights whilst at the same time bombing the hell out of some country that has done something they don't like.
Back on subject... almost - corruption - my old boss told me a long time ago, it's simple really "a bottle of whisky is a present, a case is a bribe." Pepys was a worldly man of his time, except that he was passionate about efficiency for the navy and he cared about people less fortunate than himself as the record shows. Perhaps his great good fortune was growing up under rule of the very efficient Oliver Cromwell.
Finally mixing with great men. In his day it was about the only way there was to get ahead however brave, clever, efficent and honest you were.

About Saturday 27 December 1662

Robert Harneis  •  Link

12 year olds can function as adults if they have to. They are physically weak and therefore especially vulnerable. Christopher Robin David Williams is far from being alone in his grim childhood. As late as the 1950s, in France Germany and Switzerland, and elsewhere no doubt, children, either orphaned or too numerous, were placed in farms and sometimes slept in the hay in the barn. They were often beaten and suffered all the usual abuses. I have known some of them in later life. They were clearly marked by their experiences. Some were strengthened by what they had undergone and lead successful adult lives. Beating of course was common place in schools until recent years, particularly in expensive English ones. I have come to believe, on no scientific basis, that children are better treated in societies where birth control has limited the numbers. They are thus less of them so they are more appreciated and hopefully less likely to be born to feckless parents... hopefully. Sam seems to me to have been a pretty good master considering his power over his servants, particularly for those days.

About Tuesday 6 November 1660

Robert Harneis  •  Link

"for the sale of two ships by an inch of candle (the first time that ever I saw any of this kind), where I observed how they do invite one another, and at last how they all do cry, and we have much to do to tell who did cry last."

I have attended a property auction by a French notaire using a set of three candles like birthday cake candles that burn for about a minute each and the auction ends when two are burnt without a bid. It is stil quite common practice. There is an explanation in French on Wiki and a footnote from a learned 19th Century tome explaining all about it. The simplest way to make sure the candle goes out after a minute is to cut the wick at the appropriate place. The Pepys version sounds a lot more dodgy and open to 'interpretation' in favour of one or another bidder.