Annotations and comments

Sasha Clarkson has posted 237 annotations/comments since 16 February 2013.

The most recent…


About Saturday 26 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

As the old rhyme goes:
(From Richard Gordon's Doctor In The House.)

Caviar comes from the virgin sturgeon;
Virgin sturgeon - very fine fish.
Virgin sturgeon needs no urgin':
That's why caviar's a very rare dish.

About Friday 25 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Very amusing Robert! :)

BUT, sorry to be a pedant, the word "closet" was certainly not in use in Sam's time in its modern sense, and I doubt that the word "republic" was used either in the context of the Commonwealth or Protectorate.. Does Pepys use it even once in his diary? I also suspect that the word "denounce" didn't come into general usage until the Terror of the French Revolution. Avoiding anachronism in an historical context is really important.

It's also worth the reminder that discussing past allegiances would have been considered bad taste - especially in the aftermath of the recent executions. Penn, Batten, the Petts, Sandwich had all worked for the other side. Of Pepys closest working colleagues, only Sir George Carteret had an unblemished record as a Royalist - and, at least in the early days of the Restoration, HE was rather resentful of perceived former enemies. Remember that he tried, via Sandwich, to get Pepys to sack Will Hewer because of his connection with Robert Blackburne.

About Tuesday 22 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

I'm sure you're right Mary :)

According to one source quoted by Wikipedia, the cost per person of travelling by coach was a shilling for every five miles. Today's distance by motorway is about 75 miles, but the coach may well have used a more circuitous route. Anyway, it would not be unreasonable to estimate the cost of the coach as £2 per person for the return trip - 20 day's wages for the hypothetical carpenter!

About Tuesday 22 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

£88 for 10 nights away, for 7* people, cost approximately 36 shillings per person per day, including the clerks/servants. Price comparisons are difficult, because patterns of spending were very different. But consider that a skilled craftsman, like a carpenter, might be paid 2 shillings per day: a comparable figure today might be £100. So, in modern money, from the point of view of the carpenter, the cost to the public purse of this jolly would have looked like £88 000, (more than £10 000 per person) rather than £88 - and they still shared beds!

The senior person on the trip was Sir George Carteret, Treasurer to the Navy, so there shouldn't have been any problems about approving the cost, but if he didn't bring his wife, that would have set the example for the others. I wonder if Sir George shared a bed?

* or 8, if Sir George brought a servant.

About Saturday 19 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Although Sam has witnessed executions before, this time he chooses merely to observe the arrival of the condemned into the City, drawn on sleds. (Aldgate is some considerable distance from Tyburn.)

About Friday 18 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Unlike many, including some teachers of my own childhood, Sam doesn't enjoy cruelty. If he were to beat Elizabeth, it would certainly trouble him enough to mention it in his diary, because what troubles him he DOES record.

There is no more point in hoping for Sam to be a 21st century man than there is expecting Lord of the Rings to be a work of socialist realism. The diary is important precisely because it IS a (remarkably frank) record of attitudes and behaviour in a very different era.

About Wednesday 16 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

The above comments by Cumgranissalis are misleading. Hayter is an experienced official employee of the Navy Board, though subordinate to Pepys. Will Hewer is employed by Pepys in a personal capacity, with a status very similar to an apprentice, probably not unlike a modern intern in some ways. At this early stage of his career (he is barely 20) Will is likely to be involved in many things without being specifically mentioned.

About Saturday 12 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

It should be remembered that although the Sir Williams are senior in terms of age and naval experience, they are not Pepys' bosses. They all report directly to Sir John Mennes as Comptroller of the Navy, and informally to Sir George Carteret, who as Treasurer of the Navy controlled the purse strings and was close to the King and Duke.

About Saturday 12 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Batten "What are you fussing your head over now young Pepys? You're spending far more time in the office than your predecessors did!"

Pepys: "I'm looking over the vitualler's account Sir William. I'm sure the rogue is cheating us!"

Batten: "Take it from me Pepys, in my experience no one above us is interested in these things: the Duke won't thank you."

Pepys (sanctimoniously) : "But it's our duty to save his Majesty's money Sir William!"

Batten: "His Majesty won't care about a few hundred pounds on the Navy, when he's lavishing thousands on that Palmer whore - and Sir Denis is an old friend of mine!"

Pepys: "Sir - you are unreasonable!"

Batten: "And you're an interfering upstart dammit!" (He flounces out, slamming the door.)

Pepys sighs and puts the papers away - for now.

About Friday 11 April 1662

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Re Glyn's guess about the morning tide: according to my sources, it's about 2½ days since the new moon, which would mean that high tide in Deptford would be about 4-5 am. It would also be a spring (high) tide, so by 7am the ebbing tide would be perfect for giving the ships a good boost out of the Thames estuary.

High and low tides in any location can be timed by the phase of the moon. In Pembrokeshire, where I live, high tide is 6 o'clock ish at the new and full moons, at 12 ish at the half moons. The tidal range at new/full moons is 2-3 times that of half moons. The differences are less dramatic on the Thames.

Tide graphs for any registered port in the world can be found at the link below: