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Todd Bernhardt has posted 946 annotations/comments since 8 January 2003.


First Reading

About Monday 28 October 1667

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Office politics at their worst. Sir William really gives us a good (albeit one-sided) account of what it's like with "Charles in Charge."

About Friday 4 October 1667

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"word is brought me that he is so ill, that it is believed he cannot live till to-morrow, which troubles me and my wife mightily, partly out of kindness, he being a good neighbour and partly because of the money he owes me, upon our bargain of the late prize."

And there, my lords and ladies, do we have Samuel Pepys summed up in one short sentence.

About Gleek

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More info on Gleek, in a definition of "mournival" from Michael Quinion's excellent World Wide Words website ( http://www.worldwidewords.org ) and newsletter. Sam even gets a mention:

Weird Words: Mournival /'mO:nIvl/

A mournival beats a gleek. If we were playing poker, you might well comment equivalently that four of a kind beats three.

We are, indeed, in the realm of card games, though gleek, which takes its name from the threesome group in it, is one you have probably never heard of. People are first recorded playing it in England under that name early in the 1530s, though Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was reportedly fond of it in her youth, which would take it back to the beginning of the century or perhaps a little earlier. In fact, it's almost certainly the same game as the earlier French glic.

It was a gambling game for three players, often called halfpenny gleek, penny gleek or twopenny gleek, whose names refer to the monetary value of each point scored, not the total bet. An English penny was worth a lot at the time, so losing could be expensive - in 1646, the poet and writer John Hall warned that "gleeke requires a vigilant memory and a long purse". Samuel Pepys recorded in his Diary in February 1662, "We played at gleeke, and I won 9s. 6d. clear, the most that ever I won in my life. I pray God it may not
tempt me to play again."

One phase of the game involved declaring any gleeks or mournivals of aces or court cards that you had in your hand, which gained money from each opponent. In penny gleek, for example, a mournival of aces got you eight pence from each of the other two players.

"Mournival" comes most probably from old French "mornifle" for a group of four cards, which may be the same word as that for a slap in the face (which might be the figurative effect of finding an opponent has one). Gleek is also French, perhaps from an older Dutch word that means "like". It's unconnected with the obsolete English word of the same spelling, contemporary with the card game sense, that refers to a joke or playing a trick on somebody."

About Sunday 14 July 1667

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Surprised Sam's belly didn't hurt him after the purgative and then the fresh milk and sour cream...

Great pastoral scene in the middle there.

About Friday 5 July 1667

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LH, given who became king in 1688, maybe the Dutch didn't have their victory snatched away from them after all...?

About Monday 1 July 1667

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First time I've seen Sam refer to 9:00 a.m. as "betimes"!

Love this quote, too: "Besides, says he, they spoil the river by it."

About Saturday 29 June 1667

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Great conversation between Coventry, Penn and Pepys, providing insight into Pepys' later moves against "gentlemen captains." For all Pepys' enmity against Penn, he owes him a debt of gratitude, given that he was the originator of this idea.

About Saturday 22 June 1667

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Wow ... on the 31st, Sam said of Mrs. Daniel that "she is so lean that I had no great pleasure with her" ... I guess he doesn't mind so much after all!

About Friday 14 June 1667

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"The City is troubled at their being put upon duty: summoned one hour, and discharged two hours after; and then again summoned two hours after that; to their great charge as well as trouble."

Could someone please explain? I'm not sure what/whom is meant by "The City" in this instance. Thanks.

About Sunday 9 June 1667

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re: a note of envy?

I don't think so, Andy. Sam, at least, gets things done before debauching his women. The courtiers don't, hence the note of contempt (IMO, anyway) in his voice.

"and there met with a gentleman, Captain Aldrige, that belongs to my Lord Barkeley"

I wonder whom Sam "belongs to" in others' eyes? Sandwich, certainly (or maybe not, anymore?) ... Coventry? Carteret? James?

About Monday 27 May 1667

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Excellent -- Sam relishes the 17th-century equivalent of a Western's bar-room brawl ... you can almost hear the player piano jangling away, and the beer mugs and tables crashing, as our boy totters on his stool, trying to keep above the fray.

About Quire

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In modern-day publishing, the older meaning of quire is now referred to as a "signature" -- usually a grouping of 4, 8 or 16 pages.

About Sunday 26 May 1667

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Great entry! Love the scene in the church ("and what with that, and sleeping, I passed away the time..."), and his explanation of his attitude toward building at Brampton is very enlightening about his relationship both with his uncle/cousin and "my lord."

About Saturday 25 May 1667

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re: having the chamber wiped up

I think we're overcomplicating things here, folks. Yes, there's an off chance that he's talking about flageolet hygiene, but given that he talks about having his chamber a "little wiped up" right after mentioning bedtime, I think it's far more likely he's talking about having one of the maids do a quick cleanup in his bedroom before he went to bed.