Annotations and comments

Mary K has posted 986 annotations/comments since 9 March 2007.

The most recent…


About Sunday 22 May 1664

Mary K  •  Link

Dr. Johnson commented more weightily on cucumbers.

"It has been a common saying of physicians in England, that a cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing."

About Monday 23 May 1664

Mary K  •  Link

a trip out for Elizabeth.

It's late May in the south of England, the weather is getting warmer, the streets, paths and byways provide cleaner walking (despite today's sudden and unexpected rain) and a little trip down the river likely to be more appealing than a chillier trip in earlier months of the year.

About Tuesday 3 May 1664

Mary K  •  Link

I cannot be the only wife for whom this little vignette recalls memories of the many times one has had to take a gravy- or sauce-besplattered tie to the dry cleaners. At least Sam's bands won't have been made of silk.

About Sunday 1 May 1664

Mary K  •  Link

"playing as it were leisurely..."

Perhaps treating the whole trip down the river as if it were simply an outing for pleasure UNTIL Deptford is reached and work calls for Samuel's attention. Presumably he was killing two birds with one stone - a call at the yard, preceded by a nice little outing for Elizabeth.

About Saturday 16 April 1664

Mary K  •  Link

my wife and Besse gone over the water......

At various points over the years annotators have referred to Elizabeth Pepys as "Bess" - jokingly adopting a familiar diminutive of her Christian name. The fact that the maid is called Besse by Pepys could lead one to infer that if indeed Elizabeth ever acquires a diminutive name from her husband, it is probably not Bess. Whether either Samuel or Elizabeth habitually used any kind of 'pet' names for one another remains a moot point; it was most common for married couple to address one another simply as "husband" and "wife".

(By the 18th century we find couples addressing one another as "Mr. X....." or "Mrs. X...." and this fashion persisted well into the 19th century, particularly in the case of wives addressing their husbands).

About Wednesday 6 April 1664

Mary K  •  Link

"the other side of the water"

This will surely have been Southwark, the other side of the Thames from the City of London. In the mid 17th century it was still an area with a very dubious reputation; somewhere where an unwanted child could easily be "lost." As well as its continuing popularity as an area for bull-baiting, bear-baiting etc. (and the concomitant activities of gambling, thuggery and robbery) it was also viewed by the city authorities as a "nest of fanatiques" much favoured by foreign immigrants of uncertain political aims. In 1664 there was a proposal that a new bridge should be constructed across the Thames so as to enable the soldiery more rapid access to the south bank of the Thames for the quick suppression of "sectaries."

About Wednesday 23 March 1663/64

Mary K  •  Link

I doubt the Montagu girls went to Tom's funeral as well, not least because women in general simply did not attend funerals; it was "not done." Funeral observance was man's business. This aspect of social etiquette persisted into the 19th century.

About Wednesday 23 December 1663

Mary K  •  Link

I made up to the mourners.

I don't think that this is anything to do with professional mourners. Pepys is explaining that, once the 'show' part of the transportation of the corpse had been accomplished, Pepys approached (made up to) the chief persons mourning the deceased who were about to leave London and start their lengthy journey to Norfolk for Edward's burial there.

He had not approached them personally before this; it was more important to get the order of coaches, questions of precedence etc. settled rather than offering personal commiserations.

To make up to someone: to approach them with a degree of deference, caution, hesitation in order to introduce oneself, deliver a private or personal message or greeting. It is a careful move, coloured by circumstance.

About Thursday 17 December 1663

Mary K  •  Link

Edward Pepys widow

This lady is a member of the Walpole family - a very well known and long established Norfolk family. Perhaps she is in Norfolk and the news of her husband's illness and death is taking time to reach her.

Incidentally, I suspect that the earlier reference to her being "handsome" may well refer to her family status as well as to any physical attributes.