Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Louise Hudson has posted 60 annotations/comments since 9 November 2013.
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About Wednesday 20 November 1661
"my Lady Wright being there too, whom I find to be a witty but very conceited woman and proud"
I wonder if he would describe an opinionated man as conceited and proud?
About Monday 18 November 1661
Too bad there was no Alcoholics Anonymous in Pepys' time. They would have told him that there is no difference between being merry amd being drunk and that alcoholics try to fool themselves that way all the time. Come on Sam. Up on your feet: "My name is Samuel Pepys and I am an alcoholic."
About Saturday 16 November 1661
Chancery Court in Pepys' time mst have been like Chancery Court in Dickens' time, which Dickens wrote about in Bleak House. Apparently not much had changed in Chancery Court in the approximately 200 years between Pepys and Dickens.
"At the novel's core is long-running litigation in England's Court of Chancery, Jarndyce v Jarndyce, which has far-reaching consequences for all involved. This case revolves around a testator who apparently made several wills. The litigation, which already has taken many years and consumed between £60,000 and £70,000 in court costs, is emblematic of the failure of Chancery. Dickens's assault on the flaws of the British judicial system is based in part on his own experiences as a law clerk, and in part on his experiences as a Chancery litigant seeking to enforce copyright on his earlier books. His harsh characterisation of the slow, arcane Chancery law process gave memorable form to pre-existing widespread frustration with the system.
About Monday 4 November 1661
Not in Sam's day, surely.
About Tuesday 5 November 1661
"After dinner, I having drunk a great deal of wine, I went away, seeming to go about business with Sir W. Pen, to my Lady Batten’s (Sir William being at Chatham) . . ."
"seeming to go about business"? Was Sam so inebriated that he didn't know whether he was going about business or not?
I wonder at the state of his liver.
Marrow is usually spread on bread.
About Sunday 3 November 1661
"which pleased me much to see my condition come to allow ourselves a dish like that"
Having a chicken to eat was probably something most of the population of London never experienced. Even in the US some 300 years later, in 1928, Herbert Hoover ran on the campaign pledge: "A chicken in every pot," which implied that the majority of the population didn't get chicken.Of course, many didn't get it after he was elected, either, for at least another 15 or 20 years.
As for toilet paper, anything might have been used, including a rag left near the latrine that everyone else used.
About Tuesday 29 October 1661
". . .we met at the Dolphin, where other company came to us, and should have been merry, but their wine was so naught, and all other things out of order, that we were not so, but staid long at night . . .
"Wine so naught" doesn't seem to have been naught enough for Sam to make an early night of it. Naught wine being better than none, apparently.
About Sunday 27 October 1661
Given that Sam knew so many people and had a large extended family, and with people dropping like flies as they did in that era, it's hard to imagine his wife ever out of mourning. Also, I wonder, didn't men also wear mourning clothes? Sam doesn't mention whether his own clothing "has grown so old" that he's ashamed to go to church.
About Tuesday 22 October 1661
Considering the state of medical knowledge, biology and hygeine at the time, it was a miracle if anyone made it to 50. Infant mortality was extremely high, too, bringing down the average age of mortality. Diseases, infections, devastating injuries with no effective treatment. It's a wonder anyone survived to adulthood.