Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
GrannieAnnie has posted 14 annotations/comments since 6 January 2014.
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About Tuesday 3 September 1661
Ah, poor Mrs Pepys! When I read this it recalled how things were as a close relative slipped into Alzheimers and became "very simple" as Pepys put it. Former easy situations became difficult. I'd say, "Let's all get ready for bed now" which then became a struggle of wills just like dealing with a toddler. Her answer: "I can get ready myself" meant she'd only sit there, and since she could not remember how to take care of herself, we could not go to bed ourselves. Other times she'd seem agreeable and pleasant, but you never knew what might cause a flair-up with this formerly easy-going, capable woman. Very sad for the whole Pepys family.
About Friday 30 August 1661
Agree with Louise: "pretty" would have been a snide remark, especially since Sam was feeling jealous.
It is amazing Sam would write these feelings openly unless, and I think this is his reason, he likes to reread his diary at the end of the year and perhaps learn something about himself, how his viewpoint of situations/people may have changed over the course of a year. A way of charting his own growth of understanding, if you will.
About Wednesday 28 August 1661
And what we wouldn't give for a Selfie of Sam! He would have loved the internet and speedy email and marveled at The Cloud. Except then he wouldn't have had as many excuses to meet his business associates in pubs to drink away the day. It amazes me to think how much time he must have spent hunting for people to accomplish his business though they had runners to do some of the leg work for them. And how slowly international business, even business in the next town, must have run.
About Friday 2 August 1661
Louise Hudson seems to have hit the nail on the head: today we struggle to decrease the interruptions, advertisements, news and noise intruding on our day hardly leaving us clear time to think, where as 1600's folk must have been hungry for news from any source especially when traveling.
Recently I was driving fast through the countryside but came to a hill behind an Amish horse drawn buggy which dropped my speed to a slow crawl since there was no place to pass. I put the car window down to enjoy the horse's clop-clop besides having plentry of time to study the landscape and got to thinking "this speed is the fastest most of the world traveled for centuries." It almost seemed like time had stopped, which was fine for 10 minutes but I'd be craving some sensory stimulation if a long trip was that slow.
About Monday 17 June 1661
About Penn's hippie son: he later used his independent bent well for England when he wrote about and stood up against the inhumanity of persecution. One of his achievements later was handling the "Bushell Case" where he successfully convinced a jury not to subject a Quaker to imprisonment for his faith. Even though the magistrate demanded that the jury change its verdict (!) "Penn maintained successfully that a jury must not be coerced by the bench. This landmark case established the freedom of English juries." Well done, Penn!
About Friday 31 May 1661
Mrs P's problem: no one has used the words "clinical depression" which often manifests itself as anger (especially in men.) Her loss of so many children alone would be ample reason to be depressed and angry as well as seeing her youthfulness dwindle away with much of her life's work carried to the graveyard. And today the doc would surely check for underactive thyroid. Add to that perhaps the hot flashes of menopause were disrupting her sleep leaving her worn to a frazzle. Nursing all those children could have resulted in tooth loss (the saying a tooth lost for each pregnancy was apparently true) which could lead then to malnutrition , only eating foods she could gum. She might have had intestinal parasites causing anemia and fatigue. Or she might have used toxic white lead to give herself a nice pale complection while unwittingly slowly poisoning herself. My guess is she had something biochemically wrong going on, poor thing.
About Thursday 30 May 1661
Early Toilet Paper: Lamb's Ear plants (Stachys) have silvery fuzzy leaves that feel suede-like. I read they were planted along a pathway one would walk at night, say to the outhouse, and the path was well marked in moonlight by the silvery leaves. En route one might pluck a leaf or two for toilet paper which would feel more comfortable than corn husks and cleaner than shudder-shudder a sponge everyone else has used. Ewwww!
About Wednesday 22 May 1661
"If I understand correctly this means "venison pie" in modern English... Must have been a huge pie by all standards - but this was not unusual at the time."
Which brings to mind the world-famous all time biggest: "4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie, when the pie was opened the birds began to sing, wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the King?"
I wonder for which king and which era this political pie was written.
About Wednesday 24 April 1661
"After dinner home, and advised with my wife about ordering things in my house,"Small point but he advises his wife about ordering things in his house, not "in our house."
As I recall, back then the wife had no property rights. Though there were some cases in America where the widow had some rights to do business and make property decisions, perhaps in England also? For example when Richard Warren (a Mayflower Pilgrim) died in the early 1600s, his wife was permitted by the court to make business and property decisions.
About Tuesday 9 April 1661
"the best hand" I'm with Robin: surely this means her handwriting often stated in old writings as something was "written in a neat hand."