Annotations and comments

Al Doman has posted 27 annotations/comments since 30 May 2013.

The most recent…


About Tuesday 4 April 1665

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson:

"I doubt there were many husband/wife operations in Pepys’ time." Do you have any references or research to back that up?

My gut feel is in those days of zero social safety nets people did whatever they needed to in order to survive. If a wife had skills and enough time to make use of them it would be in the best interest of the couple to make use of them. Linens vendor/seamstress seems plausible to me. Maybe lodging/inn, cook-house or tavern, lots of possibilities. Yes, any such joint venture would be the property (and responsibility) of the husband but that was the way it was then, no amount of complaining today can change that history.

"I suspect Pepys was not the least bit concerned with [Mary Batelier's] sewing abilities."

Bit of a spoiler considering this is her first mention in the diary, but if you'd taken the time to visit her references page you would have found there is no mention of any impropriety up to its end, and Sam periodically buys linens from her. More importantly she ends up befriending he and Bess, and over time becomes a regular visitor to her. As I read it, over time Bess spends much more time than Sam with her - she can thank Sam for the introduction.

Even today it's not a sin for a man to admire a pretty and friendly woman.

About Monday 27 March 1665

Al Doman  •  Link

"...each thinking the other a foole, and I thinking they were not either of them, in that point, much in the wrong,..."

Dunno about anyone else, but that's the best laugh I've ever had from our hero's reminiscences.

Très drôle !

About Wednesday 23 March 1663/64

Al Doman  •  Link

Islands "rising and falling": Hazards that are awash and appear or disappear with the tides accounts for some of this. However, my bet would be that most of the time, ships are simply not where they think they are.

In these days of sub-metre GPS accuracy it's easy to forget longitude was very inexact until the invention of reliable marine chronometers in the mid-18th century: . As a result a mariner could reckon (in the navigational sense) that he's in the same place on 2 different occasions but actually be in 2 different locations. If one is a shoal or island, and the other open sea then islands would "appear" and "disappear".

About Thursday 17 March 1663/64

Al Doman  •  Link

@Nick W: "... For all the advances in medical science that we rely on today I am Grateful."

Indeed. Not to mention the advances in all other facets of life.

In pretty much every way, a middle-class citizen of a first-world country today, has a better life than Charles II had in his day. Off the top of my head I can't think of *any* way Charles had it better.

About Sunday 29 November 1663

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson: "Elizabeth should have insisted..."

First off, there is no "insist". Sam is the boss and has the final say. Yes, Bess can make his life miserable but Sam has proven time and again he's willing to suffer that if he thinks it's necessary for the greater good of Team Pepys.

Women's dress at that time was of great importance to their social status. None would willingly go about in public in substandard dress, let alone to major social events such as Sunday church.

But for the sake of argument, let's suppose that Bess did go to church dressed as you suggest. Other people would have to conclude she'd done something seriously wrong and Sam was punishing her. They wouldn't think she was protesting or temporarily deranged because in those cases Sam would have kept her at home; airing something like that in public would reflect badly on the team and Sam especially.

Bess can't hurt Sam in public without hurting herself as well. If push comes to shove Sam would have to prevent it; it behooves Bess to think things through and not let things escalate to that point.

About Sunday 1 November 1663

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson: it's worth pointing out that most of what we today call "higher math" wasn't yet invented at the time of the Diary (calculus was about to be introduced) so Pepys could hardly be expected to have learned any himself or be in a position to teach it.

Like it or not, women were not considered the equal of men in the 17th century. It took centuries for consensus to reach today's imperfect state; Pepys can hardly be expected to know of or predict that work.

Anachronistically disparaging Pepys' motives is lazy and adds little value to the understanding of the man, his contemporaries or the historical era.

About Tuesday 27 October 1663

Al Doman  •  Link

@SDS: I'm guessing "foul" as in cluttered or messy i.e. the house itself may be cluttered with various clothing strewn about. Not that the maid's clothes are "foul" per se.

A Navy man might refer to a ship's bottom being fouled, or an anchor becoming fouled as it was raised etc. Unexpected, disordered etc.

About Sunday 5 October 1662

Al Doman  •  Link

@Edith Lank:

- "Lay long in bed with my wife": one's imagination should suffice

- "We were friends again" - from time to time Sam has a disagreement of opinion with Liz - in this case whether or not to keep employing Sarah. These could be "spirited" and I for one get the impression Liz could get in a quite a snit if she didn't get her way. Sam uses this phrase to indicate there was a disagreement but it was solved amicably (at least temporarily)