Annotations and comments

has posted 75 annotations/comments since 11 May 2013.

The most recent first…


About Thursday 16 April 1668

mountebank  •  Link

I'm not enjoying this style of diary so much. The narrative is built around his expenses and likewise comes across as a series of transactions rather than the flow of a lively and interesting life.

I do hope that normal service will resume soon.

About Sunday 12 April 1668

mountebank  •  Link

Sometimes one just loses one's diary mojo. It is a repetitive task and is work, even if there's pleasure in it. I'm wondering whether with much of his household (ie "family") away, at the moment for Sam life just seems rather flat and he's not inspired to put great effort into his diary.

My very longstanding, and very Pooterish, diary has gaps like this. One thing I know from my own experience is that putting entries into my diary is rarely a faithful daily activity but is more a fits and starts thing based on notes I create either on the day or in the next day or two.

About Wednesday 25 March 1668

mountebank  •  Link

One could read "Petition of the poor whores, bauds, pimps, and panders, to the most splendid, illustrious, serene, and eminent lady of pleasure, the Countess of Castlemaine" as being a terrific bit of leg-pulling relating to how Castlemaine is perceived.

About Monday 23 December 1667

mountebank  •  Link

"he hopes that the kingdom will escape ruin in general, notwithstanding all our fears, and yet I find he do seem not very confident in it"

Hearing the worsening news in the UK over the past week and particularly today with tier 4 to be substantially expanded, I can't help feeling these words echoing today.

Merry Christmas everyone. Let's look forward to a much better year in 2021.

And as ever, thanks so much for providing this great site to us Phil.

About Sunday 24 November 1667

mountebank  •  Link

BBC Radio 4 are currently broadcasting a programme giving a historical perspective on the Fire Courts:

"Jonathan Freedland looks at the huge backlog of legal cases caused by this year's COVID pandemic and compares it to the backlog caused by the Great Fire of London in 1666."

About Sunday 17 November 1667

mountebank  •  Link

That fits nicely James Morgan.

"It must have been very difficult to really understand what was going on in the world, even for someone in Pepys' elevated position in the government."

This immediately made me think of what's been going on in the US over the past couple of weeks.

About Thursday 24 October 1667

mountebank  •  Link

I came back to this entry to make exactly that comment William Mearns!

I've been trying to get to see SSAI for ages. Looks like I'll be waiting a while longer.

About Thursday 24 October 1667

mountebank  •  Link

That youtube link clarifies to me Pepys' comment "it do so far outdo a trumpet". It is certainly a trumpet-like sound.

About Sunday 13 October 1667

mountebank  •  Link

Thanks SDS, it looks like what I was missing was an understanding of all the different components of the trip. I had a look elsewhere to convert 20l into something more graspable and it looks like it's around 2 years' wages for a labourer.

About Sunday 13 October 1667

mountebank  •  Link

"evened with W. Hewer for my expenses upon the road this last journey, and do think that the whole journey will cost me little less than 18l. or 20l., one way or other; but I am well pleased with it"

Am I missing something or is that a considerable amount of money for 1667? If it's as large as it appears, it shows that travelling as a leisure activity really was a thing only for the most very privileged.

About Thursday 10 October 1667

mountebank  •  Link

By the time we got to "so W. Hewer and I out again about midnight" I was *howling* at this. In the past I've accused Sam of not doing humour but he's (inadvertently) proved me wrong here.

About Thursday 29 August 1667

mountebank  •  Link

"that would have sold his King and country for 6d"

It's interesting to see the phrase "would have sold X for sixpence" being used by Sam. It's still occasionally used these days although is on the way out.

About Wednesday 14 August 1667

mountebank  •  Link

As an echo of the discussion in the annotations about Elisabeth and the whitster, I'm reading "The Mirror & the Light" and my eyes lit up at the chapter "The Bleach Fields" and particularly this exchange between Cromwell and his daughter Jenneke:

"They went out to the fields ... I mean the ... raamhoven - the bleach fields?"

"Ah," he says, "not bleach fields, you mean the tenter-grounds. Where they pin out the cloth to dry."

Before anyone asks, the ellipses do not signify any rudery.

About Monday 29 July 1667

mountebank  •  Link

A mega entry indeed.

"One thing extraordinary was, this day a man, a Quaker, came naked through the Hall, only very civilly tied about the privities to avoid scandal"

Here's the Coronavirus version:

"A man has been spotted strutting down Oxford Street in London wearing a face mask fashioned into a teeny G-string. Mate, I don't think that's how you're supposed to wear them."…

About Tuesday 18 June 1667

mountebank  •  Link

"but *why* is Peg Pen doing what she does? She has a reputation to lose. Most odd. And I don't think any of us regard Sam as Adonis Personified and Irresistible to the ladies, which makes her behaviour seem to me even more strange."

"Good RG entry on Peg et al. He's just an charmer." I agree with Robert Gertz on this point too. Sam does seem to be attractive to a wide range of women for whatever reason(s). Even though he clearly has a predatory side. I suspect it might be part of his genuine general curiosity, if he was able to show interest in the lives of the women as he was chasing, that might have added to his charm. If you look through the diary you'll find many examples of him engaging in conversations with women (often with an agenda). I do wonder if this was rather atypical of his time.

It's tempting to split people, and men, into nice ones vs bad ones, but it's seldom that simple.