Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Sasha Clarkson has posted 131 annotations/comments since 16 February 2013.
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About Saturday 14 September 1661
'Fumifugum': John Evelyn's book about the problem of air pollution in London, with suggested causes and remedies.
About Thursday 12 September 1661
In fact, the prank upon the admiral proves to be a "storm in a tankard", and blows over pretty quickly; even if there was a pause, Sam is soon socialising with Penn and his family again. Indeed, over the course of the diary, it is obvious that Penn enjoys Sam's company and they are often together.
I don't think it helpful to make comparisons with Japan, a different culture with different social norms and command structures: such a prank would not have been played there.
About Monday 9 September 1661
It's a huge company gone to drink at Penn's expense: even Comptroller Slingsby. There must have been quite a few happy to take him down a peg or two, even if Sam is now starting to have pangs of conscience.
About Sunday 8 September 1661
Interesting and nice that, despite the rain, there's no mention of anger, from either Sam or his Elizabeth, that Doll was asleep.
About Friday 6 September 1661
It occurs to me, that as Sam's ma also suffered from bladder stones (according to Wikipedia), that this might help account for her less than cheerful disposition as she got older?
Elisabeth died of typhoid fever in 1669 after a short period of illness.
Given Sam's life-long problems with (hereditary) bladder stones, I doubt that he would have lived as long as he did (70 years) if he had also suffered from a venereal disease. Some philanderers were luckier and/or more careful than others.
About Monday 2 September 1661
Yesterday: " ... good God! what an age is this, and what a world is this! that a man cannot live without playing the knave and dissimulation."
Today: " ... and there walked an hour or two talking, and though he be a fool, yet he keeps much company, and will tell all he sees or hears ..."
No contradiction here of course, more a demonstration: "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"
About Friday 30 August 1661
Sam is not of course "writing his feelings openly". It's a personal diary in shorthand. One keeps a personal diary to help remember both what was important: events emotions etc, and maybe a snapshot of trivial detail, perhaps decades later.
Apart from the probable jealousy, Sam could not afford to socialise with the Somersets, financially or politically. As Beauforts, being descended from John of Gaunt, they were high aristocrats, and were also prominent at court; but they also had papists and priests amongst their number, and so were politically toxic, certainly in the 1660s.
About Sunday 25 August 1661
"Good for Pall"?
The choices for everyone in the seventeenth century were harsh: if you didn't inherit money, it was work or starve. If you thought you were too good to work, you'd better have some unearned private income. Was Pall inherently "better" than any of Pepys' housemaids? I think not. Was she more deserving than Sam's wife? I'm sure that if Pall had been so pleasant that Elizabeth had wanted too keep her, Sam would have acquiesced. Sam records his disagreements with his wife: there were none over Pall.
Although Papa Pepys was of yeoman stock, with aristocratic connections, he was merely a tradesman, and not overly successful: the family couldn't afford passengers. This might well have been a bitter pill for poor Pall to accept: as a companion to Elizabeth, she would have had glimpses of the pampered lives of the Pepys' aristocratic relatives. She may well not have understood that part of the reason for Sam's success was that HE was not too proud to kow-tow when necessary.
Back to reality: Pall was already 21: ie, of an age to be married or to work. Even in the 21st century, no-one would claim that she had a fundamental right to be housed and maintained in leisure by the relative of her choice: "if you don't like the rules of the house. move out and fend for yourself" would be the choice now. In Pepys' day it was even starker.
The other problem on the horizon is setting Sam's brother Tom up to be independent and carry on the business. Tom is older than Pall, but there are many difficulties ahead there too.