Annotations and comments

Sasha Clarkson has posted 480 annotations/comments since 16 February 2013.

The most recent…


About Saturday 24 October 1663

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Uncle Thomas is lucky, both that Sam is relatively relaxed about his forgery, and the time he lived in. Forgery, and uttering forgery (Passing off a forged document as genuine) were currently only Common Law offences. In the following century, after the founding of the Bank of England, Forgery and Uttering became felonies subject to capital punishment under what became known as the "Bloody Code".

About Wednesday 21 October 1663

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Of course Sam is merely following Biblical instructions:

"Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."
1 Timothy, chapter 5, verse 23 (King James version).

About Monday 19 October 1663

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Yes - words like "carriage", deportment, "attitude" etc have always had a double meaning: physical and to do with mental intention.

About Sunday 18 October 1663

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Mrs Pembleton's 'good jewel at her breast' may not indicate that being a dancing master pays, but that she herself comes from a well-off family, and that they help keep him too.

Anyone who has walked around the area of Seething Lane cannot but notice the large number of churches within very easy walking distance. Before the Great Fire, there were 96 parishes in the "square mile" (actually 1.12 sq mi) of the City. So it's not unnatural that Sam looks with suspicion at Pembleton's apparent conversion to St Olave's. Of course, Pembleton *may* have been looking for introductions for more work or better social connections.

About Saturday 17 October 1663

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Sam may get annoyed with Will sometimes, but he's a loyal boss, and will protect him against attack - especially if there's any whiff of it being a proxy attack against himself. Remember that the Blackborne connection has been used against Will, and Sam, too.

About Monday 12 October 1663

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"some fears" : given the every-day ubiquity of mortality, rather litotic I suspect!

I am impressed that Pepys was able to function at all: having been an ulcerative colitis sufferer for almost 30 years, I have experienced (the non-renal) half of Sam's symptoms from time to time. When that end refuses to function, it's as though one's consciousness is removed from one's brain to the back passage: very little else matters.

About Sunday 11 October 1663

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"my wife forebore to make herself clean to-day, but continued in a sluttish condition till to-morrow."

I take the use of the word "sluttish" as purely descriptive, possibly slightly ironic, but not judgemental. The OED defines the original meaning of the word as "dirty and untidy in dress or habit".* I don't get the sense that Sam was being in any way critical of Elizabeth: he usually lets us know if he's annoyed or upset. He's just observing that that despite it being Sunday, they made no effort to recognize the Lord's Day, as, in addition to Sam's internal disorder, they both wanted to finish the ordering of the house to their joint satisfaction.

*The first attested use of "sluttish" is actually of a man, by Chaucer in 1386: "Why is thy Lord so sluttish?" As the centuries have passed, the word has become more offensive than descriptive, but its meaning in Pepys' time depended upon the context.

As for the comment: "But apparently Sam wants them to boil water and carry it up two flights of stairs to make Elizabeth a bath so she looks fine for him???", one should beware of rushing to judgement based upon an anachronistic misreading of language followed by a specious extrapolation of desires which were neither expressed nor hinted at. Following this by the general sexist comment "Typical man", adds nothing to our understanding or appreciation of the diary and the history it reveals!