Annotations and comments

MarkS has posted 38 annotations/comments since 10 April 2013.

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About Sunday 12 October 1662

MarkS  •  Link

@Bridget Davis

In defence of Sam, he was at home with his own parents and family. He wouldn't have acted like that in someone else's house. The beer they were drinking may have been very strong and bitter, so he sent for something lighter and less alcoholic. Also, he had been deep in intricate legal discussions all day, and it may not have easy to suddenly switch to light entertaining conversation.

About Sunday 12 October 1662

MarkS  •  Link

"... Mr. Piggott, who gives me good assurance of his truth to me and our business..."

"Truth" here is used in the older meaning of loyalty, faithfulness. He's saying that Mr. Piggott supports him and his business.
This usage is related to the expression 'to plight one's troth' = to pledge one's loyalty.

About Sunday 23 March 1661/62

MarkS  •  Link

It appears that Sam bore the Pepys family coat of arms quartered with another. Does anyone know what that was?

Pepys says in this entry that the colours of his arms are black, gold and grey. Those are the arms displayed in the 1st and 4th quarters - Sable, on a bend or between two horse's heads erased argent, three fleurs de lys of the field.

But in the 2nd and 3rd quarters he bears what looks to me like Gules, a lion rampant within a bordure engrailed or. Presumably these are the arms of his mother's family?

About Sunday 8 September 1667

MarkS  •  Link

Sorry for the typos. I pressed Post by mistake rather than Preview, and there is no way to edit it later.

It would also help if comments were allowed to have markups like bold, italic and blockquote, as on most blogs.

About Sunday 8 September 1667

MarkS  •  Link

The incident concerning of the prisoner throwing a brickbat at Judge Richardson is recorded in a well-known and quaint piece of Law French, the language of English lawyers at the time.

Apparently the prisonor "ject un Brickbat a le dit Justice que narrowly mist."

"Richardson, ch. Just. de C. Banc al Assises at Salisbury in Summer 1631. fuit assault per prisoner la condemne pur felony que puis son condemnation ject un Brickbat a le dit Justice que narrowly mist, & pur ceo immediately fuit Indictment drawn per Noy envers le Prisoner, & son dexter manus ampute & fix al Gibbet, sur que luy mesme immediatement hange in presence de Court."


"Richardson, Ch(ief) Just(ice) of C(ommon) Bench at the Assizes at Salisbury in Summer 1631. There was an assault by a prisoner there condemned for felony; who, following his condemnation, threw a brickbat at the said Justice, which narrowly missed. And for this, an indictment was immediately drawn by Noy against the prisoner, and his right hand was cut off and fastened to the gibbet, on which he himself was immediately hanged in the presence of the Court."

The story goes that the Judge had a profound stoop, resulting from illness, and he later remarked, “You see, now, if I had been an *upright* judge I had been slaine.”

About Friday 31 May 1661

MarkS  •  Link

I found the statistic that if a man or woman lived to be 30 in 17th century England, their average life expectancy was 59.

No antibiotics or modern pharmaceuticals, and no modern surgery, meant that many conditions that are not life-threatening today were life-threatening then.

About Friday 22 February 1660/61

MarkS  •  Link

@joe fulm

Decisions about where to send ships,etc. are political, not administrative. It's not up to Pepys and his department to decide how to employ HM ships. All armies and navies not actively engaged in war spend most of their time sitting around and waiting, whether today or at any time in history.

On Sam's working hours, the approach is that as long as his gets the job done, it doesn't matter when or how he does it. Sometimes he works late at night to finish something. He usually takes Sundays off, but works six days a week. If necessary, he puts in long hours.

A sentence like "All the morning at the office" in today's entry means perhaps 4-5 hours of solid work. Sam usually doesn't give details of his office work, but that doesn't mean that things are not happening. Even when he is not there, clerks will be continuing to work according to his instructions.

About Tuesday 29 January 1660/61

MarkS  •  Link

The point about catches is that there is a 'hidden' phrase, usually bawdy, which only appears when the overlapping voices combine.

Here are two non-bawdy modern examples to give the idea:

Liverpool Street Station

University of Michigan Men's Glee Club [direct link to mp3]

Keep listening, because the hidden catch phrase only appears towards the end of each song.

About Saturday 19 January 1660/61

MarkS  •  Link

Sam met them when they were being taken to their execution.
The sentence for hanging, drawing and quartering would normally say something like, "...laid on a hurdle and so drawn to the place of execution...". This hurdle is what Sam calls a sledge, a wooden or wattle framework dragged behind a horse.

About Tuesday 27 November 1660

MarkS  •  Link

Tonyel, this is not about our own belief systems, either yours or those of any other modern commentators. Nor do I think this is an appropriate forum to advocate personal convictions about the nature of reality.

This about understanding historical texts, beliefs, concepts, and attitudes - especialy those of Pepys' time, but also those more generally related to it.

Every single writer, from the Middle Ages up to at least the middle of the 20th century, was familiar with the Bible and took it for granted that all his readers were equally familiar with it. So many references and allusions were not explicit. It was expected that readers would simply understand them.

For that reason alone, anyone wanting a reasonable knowledge of Western literature, history or culture should read the Bible at some stage. This has nothing to do with belief. It is a vital historical text for understanding the history of the past.

We couldn't possibly understand ancient Greek literature without having some understanding of ancient Greek mythology. That that doesn't mean that we have to believe ancient Greek mythology. It's the same with the Bible. It's a vital text for understanding the whole of Western culture.

Also, theology played such a pivotal role throughtout Western history that one has to understand some of the theological issues in order to have a good understanding of history.

The biggest single issue in 17th century Europe was the rift between between Catholics and Protestants. How can one possibly understand the history of the times without understanding the details of what the beliefs and issues were?

Even such a 'scientist' as Sir Isaac Newton was a deeply religious Christian his whole life. Newton spent far more time and energy writing about mystical interpretations of the Bible than he ever did on science or mathematics.

It's all very well to say, "Oh, I'm ever so superior in my understanding of reality than they were (at least, in so far as my currently evolved ape-brain allows me to understand the nature of reality at all)". But that doesn't get us anywhere in terms of understanding Western history, philosophy, literature, art, and culture.