Annotations and comments

Louise Hudson has posted 185 annotations/comments since 9 November 2013.

The most recent…


About Saturday 22 August 1663

Louise Hudson  •  Link

People in Pepys' time believed a lot of old wives takes about food. They thought tomatoes were poisonous, too. There was good reason to be wary of acid foods on lead pewter plates. But having no knowledge of modern science, there were a lot of superstitions around, some reasonable, some not. If someone they know got sick and died after eating a particular food, they would reasonably blame the food. There were no reliable agencies to check the safety of food back then and few could read. It was every man, woman and child for him or herself--and people died like flies.

About Friday 21 August 1663

Louise Hudson  •  Link

£3,000 in 1663 would have an approximate standard of living value of about £414,000 in 2016. What household today would have £414,000 worth of linens?

The way Jinny was treated was the normal "foster care" system in London then. Orphans were little more than pests and were expected to earn their "keep." The mortality rate would be shocking to anyone today. They were certainly worth less than a few linens.

About Thursday 20 August 1663

Louise Hudson  •  Link

If the girl was " a parish child of St. Bride's . . . Recommended by the church warden," surely she could be found. Sam could have at least complained to the warden about his poor "recommendation." Good help may have been hard to find back then but it's even worse here and now. We can't hire children, not even lice-ridden orphans, so the supply is thinner than ever.

About Thursday 6 August 1663

Louise Hudson  •  Link

"Black" wasn't used to mean African, necessarily, but Italian, Spanish, Greek or other dark-haired and olive-complected people. I've heard English people even today refer to olive-skinned people as "black." But the woman was described by Sam as "a daughter of Mr Brumfield", so I can't imagine what he actually meant by black. Did Mr Brumfield have a "black" wife?

About Tuesday 4 August 1663

Louise Hudson  •  Link

I think that most married people in those days before birth control expected to have children. Not only would the couple expect them but so would the extended family. It was probably rare and disconcerting when a young, seemingly healthy, couple did not produce children on a regular basis. Their knowledge of biology would have been scant, and I can imagine both Sam and his wife wondering why babies had never appeared. Women of that time didn't have much else to do, childless women usually lending a hand to family members who had more than they could handle. Though it's true that Sam doesn't write much about it, most likely he assumed pregnancy and childbirth were women's business. It would be interesting to know how Liz felt about it. I expect she felt a great emptiness in her marriage and her life.

About Tuesday 28 July 1663

Louise Hudson  •  Link

I can understand that Sam doesn't want to take on further responsibility for the boy, but he has a very hard heart, indeed. Surely he could have thought of something besides complete rejection of Wayneman and his sister who was trying her best to save him and threw herself on Sam's mercy.

About Thursday 23 July 1663

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Dirk wrote:

Interesting to note how much difference a comma can make too...

As in Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss

About Sunday 12 July 1663

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Re Josselin's vs Pepys' weather reports. It's true, Pepys may have been in an area where it wasn't raining. I find that many English people will call it a "a fine day" as long as it isn't raining at the moment.

About Saturday 11 July 1663

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Jeannine wrote:

How many of us reading this will now double (or perhaps triple) check the locks before going to sleep next time you're away from home! Wouldn't this be freaky to wake up to!

For us, yes, but not so much for Pepys and his cohorts, seeing how they flop in any bed that's available and even share it with one of a very odd assortment of people. Not sure they had locks on the doors--or even doors. Sam probably wasn't as suprised or shocked by clerk standing at his bed as any of us would be, though he was apparently taken aback by his words. If the clerk had just crawled in beside him, Sam might not have thought twice about it.