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Sasha Clarkson has posted 553 annotations/comments since 16 February 2013.

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About Friday 25 March 1664

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Thank you all - especially Terry - for the considerable research and links for today's entry :)

I wondered whether the 'Presbyter John' reference had something to do with the 'Prester John' myth, of a Christian theocrat ruling a mysterious kingdom somewhere in Asia (or possibly Africa). This was part of the background to Umberto Ecco's novel, Baudolino.

About Thursday 24 March 1663/64

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Who owned the Pepys house in Fleet St/Salisbury Court?

We now know that John Sr had a lease on the property from its landlord, Edward Franke, and would go on to sub-let it. A leaseholder has more rights - and obligations - than a mere tenant.

The area was rebuilt after the Great Fire, but it's worth a look on Google Street View. Pepys was brought up right next to St Bride's Church.

About Monday 21 March 1663/64

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"I will remember his carriage to me in this particular the longest day I live."

SPOILER: Sam does look after young John of course - up to a point. After the diary is over, when Pepys, has been promoted to be Secretary of the Admiralty, John is appointed his successor as Clerk of the Acts, but only jointly with Tom Hayter who, one suspects did more of the work, Hayter's performance was good enough to ensure significant further promotion.

About Friday 18 March 1663/64

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

I wonder how the mulled wine was heated? Gently in a cauldron with a lid on I suppose (to stop too much loss of alcohol). There were rather a lot of people for it to be practical to use the red-hot-poker/mulling-iron method.

And *after* heating, they may have added some brandy! :)

About Friday 18 March 1663/64

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"I had real grief for a while .... and ever since, I have had very little grief..."

Here Sam's honesty is invaluable - and typical of the man. The human psyche has defence mechanisms which help us to continue to function when we are in a state of shock. At a funeral, some next of kin arrive at a point of emotional exhaustion and numbness, when they can feel no more. (Some may then start faking it out of guilt - or grief for the grief they've lost.) Making arrangements is itself therapeutic to hide the numbness and feeling of emptiness. When the funeral is over, those really close to the deceased can grieve in peace and quiet, without the attention of the madding crowd.

About Friday 18 March 1663/64

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Consecration is a ritual to declare something holy, performed by a priest or initiate of that religion. In countries with an established religion, consecration may have a legal status. The consecrated object. eg land, icon, water etc is then effectively becomes a religious fetish (in anthropological terms).

Quakers do not perform religious rituals of this nature, and therefore graveyards next to Meeting Houses are not consecrated ground as such, although they will be regarded with respect and perhaps reverence.

About Tuesday 15 March 1663/64

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Mrs Turner had been saying since Jaunuary that Tom was dying; Sam has been in a bit of denial, hence his final shock. What's clear in retrospect is that Tom was suffering from "consumption": symptoms akin to those of pulmonary tuberculosis. Whether it was caused by the tuberculosis bacillus is something we will never know, although it seems likely.

TB often, but not always, runs through families, as with the Brontës, and may also be a secondary infection if something else has weakened the immune system. My father's elder brother died of "galloping consumption" at the age of 16, in 1928. He'd gone to work in the Dorman Long blast furnaces at the age of 12, so whether it was an infection which killed him, or the fumes had wrecked his lungs, or both, we don't know. No-one else in the family had TB, although, in the same year, his younger sister had already died of heart failure following rheumatic fever.

In the Soviet Union, my mother's aunt contracted TB in 1920, but it affected her spine rather than her lungs. She'd just graduated as a pianist and singer from the Kiev Conservatoire, and as she spent the next three years in bed, and several years more wearing a special corset/back brace, that put an end to her musical career. She eventually became an analytical chemist instead and, after many "adventures", died in California aged almost 92.

About Sunday 13 March 1663/64

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Re "want" in the sense of "need", and not "desire"; it's still used that way today, especially in north Britain. I remember my grandmother: "you want a haircut!"