Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Louise has posted 10 annotations/comments since 13 December 2013.
The most recent…
About Wednesday 16 January 1660/61
We in the 20th century are so used to clean clothes and clean bodies that we don't think about what sanitation was like 400 years ago. If we were to go back to Pepys' London we'd be horrified at the lack of cleanliness--by our standards--even among the aristocracy. The smell of dirty bodies would be overpowering. Don't forget, it was the era of the contents of chamber pots being thrown out of windows--the only means of sanitation. Baths were nearly unheard of. It was said of one of the queens that she took a bath once a month whether she needed one or not.
"And so to bed" was like saying, "Day is done."
About Monday 14 January 1660/61
Judy Bailey wrote:
"This is apparently quite eye-opening for him compared to his wife's housekeeping habits and slovenliness that he has previously commented on, in spite of her now having two maids."
Of course, Pepys, being a proper English gentleman, would nevert think to lift a finger himself. Wives were in charge of keeping the house neat and clean. Men were apparently incapable of being slovenly--that took a woman.
About Sunday 13 January 1660/61
" the eldest being his wife’s daughter is a very comely black woman."
She might not have been "black" in the sense of African, as most Westerners would today. English people until well into the 20th century had a habit of calling Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, and Indians, among others, "black." Black hair, brown eyes, even slightly olive skin is all it took to qualify as "black".
About Thursday 10 January 1660/61
Kissing his wife. Probably on the hand or cheek. Ladies were unlikely to kiss passionately in public in those days--certainly not the upper classes.
About Tuesday 1 January 1660/61
After supper I sent them home by coach, and I went to my Lord’s and there played till 12 at night at cards at Best with J. Goods and N. Osgood, and then to bed with Mr. Shepley.
I take myself now to be worth 300l. clear in money, and all my goods and all manner of debts paid, which are none at all.
In 2012, the relative value of £300 0s 0d from 1661ranges from £35,950.00 to £7,206,000.00.A simple Purchasing Power Calculator would say the relative value is £35,950.00. This answer is obtained by multiplying £300.00 by the percentage increase in theRPI from 1661 to 2012.
Looks as if he was soung pretty well. Probably closer to the £7,206,000.00 figure.
About Friday 21 December 1660
Sam's Aunt Anne Pepys was not his blood relative. She came into the family when she married Sam's uncle, Robert, so her kidney stone affliction could not have been hereditary from Pepys family, though perhaps from her own.
The Princess Royal was not dead on this day as Sam had heard from the Countess of Sandwich. She died tree days later on Christmas Eve.
About Wednesday 19 December 1660
It was 39 degrees Fahrenheit in Essex on December 19. I'm American, what do I know about Celsius? ;)
It was the middle od December. Cold enough to keep meat cool enough to last a few days, or a week if it was cooked. It is 39 degrees in Essex today, December 19, 2013. The temperature was probably similar in 1660. (Josselin did say it was "very wintery cold, wet weather). Meat would keep as well and as long as it would in a refrigerator today.
About Tuesday 18 December 1660
More likely Pepys was overlooking rather than overseeing the workmen. Oh, well, everyone needs a day off once in a while. He probably felt guilty about it and felt he had to appear busy.
About Thursday 6 December 1660
It looks as if his mother and father are living in separate residences. Does anyone know the reason for this? Unlikely they were divorced since it was so rare in those days. Perhaps just living separately. Does he mention this?