Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Gerald Berg has posted 23 annotations/comments since 4 March 2013.
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About Monday 10 December 1660
Tax avoidance. My advice is don't. I don't know how it works in other countries but in Canada citizens are responsible for all taxes owed. This is whether or not the tax man is in error. So, if they fail to collect or you are unaware that further taxes are owing matters not one bit. Once the error is noticed, you will owe all back taxes PLUS interest compounding. RevCan interest rates are entirely usurious. The worse beyond this is once flagged, they never forget you. Got a down in the office with nothing to do? Let's do you will be their motto.
About Tuesday 27 November 1660
Let me get this straight. David tries a shake down on Nabal and foolishly Nabal tells the henchmen to take a hike. Abigail realizes the mistake and tries to make amends. David likes the way she handles herself and sure enough Nabal winds up dead a few days later. Like we're supposed to believe God killed him? Then Abigail cuts the only deal a widow in her situation can and marries the local creep. Good thing she had her looks! God be blessed. Then again, Nabal was from that low life Caleb clan so it was all for the better anyways. What a terrible story and lousy moral!
About Tuesday 20 November 1660
French music. It was the age of Jean-Baptiste Lully and musically France would never be the same. A genuine superstar and all the rage at Louis' court. England must have sounded a tad provincial in this regard. Lully might deserve his own reference page.
From Wikipedia:By March 16, 1653, Lully had been made royal composer for instrumental music. His vocal and instrumental music for court ballets gradually made him indispensable. In 1660 and 1662 he collaborated on court performances of Francesco Cavalli's Xerse and Ercole amante. When Louis XIV took over the reins of government in 1661, he named Lully superintendent of the royal music and music master of the royal family. In December 1661 the Florentine was granted letters of naturalization. Thus, when he married the daughter of the renowned singer and composer Michel Lambert in 1662, Giovanni Battista Lulli declared himself to be "Jean-Baptiste Lully, escuyer [squire], son of "Laurent de Lully,
About Saturday 27 October 1660
Funny when SP said "buying of things for my house" I assumed things like furniture, kitchen ware and all. But with expenses of that sort I guess books is what he meant!
About Thursday 18 October 1660
A poultry demise. Here in Toronto up until the mid 80's in Kensington Market one use to be able to select a live chicken from the caged front window of the Portuguese butcher and then have it promptly executed at the back of the store. The piece de resistance was the blow torching of the residual feathers from the newly plucked and gutted carcass. On a hot, humid Toronto summer day -- if you had the misfortune of walking past the always open door at that precise moment -- the reeking blast of what smelt like burning hair would nearly knock you off the sidewalk!
About Wednesday 17 October 1660
Re: The Closet Having had the benefit of watching Amanda Vickery's excellent At Home with the Georgians the ultimate bonus of the closet ( as I recall) was that it was a place for absolute privacy. That is the servants were forbidden entry.
About Monday 15 October 1660
I have to disagree with Mary House statement: " I don't find this to be a great difference at all. We watch daily atrocities on television and then cheerfully resume our mundane activities."
Walking into your local butcher shop in no way compares to visiting an abattoir.It is one thing to having inadvertently "seen" a viewing of grotesque violence via the tube and another to experience the actual event. The idea trivialises the reality of horror.
About Sunday 30 September 1660
I think that 'every where foul' refers to smell. Most likely sewage.
About Thursday 27 September 1660
Pepys does nothing but gripe about his workers and then somebody here ALWAYS has to concur by saying it was ever thus. I've let it pass without concern but as this is the single comment made today let me try a different formulation for once.
Pepys probably pays his workers as little as possible and expects maximal results from them. Along with these maximal results he expects materials of the highest quality to be used for the cheapest price attainable. I am sure he feels he deserves it.
So to reformulate: Everybody is the workers friend until it is time to pay for one yourself. At that point they are to be suspected of being shifty, lazy and out to cheat you. It was ever thus.
About Tuesday 18 September 1660
"Those Post-horses will seem too slow,though they should fly as swiftly as the gods,when they ride behind that postboy,Opportunity."
Henry Fielding Tom Thumb the Great