Annotations and comments

Al Doman has posted 33 annotations/comments since 30 May 2013.

The most recent first…


Second Reading

About Tuesday 12 February 1666/67

Al Doman  •  Link

@Phil: another scan error near the top:

"in reference to the publick arid his private condition."

Probably should be

"in reference to the publick and his private condition."

About Tuesday 8 January 1666/67

Al Doman  •  Link

@SDS: the link you posted is Google Israel (.il top level domain). The language looks like Hebrew, which is read right to left and might explain why previous and back are apparently "reversed".

About Wednesday 7 February 1665/66

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson:
If you've hit your thumb with a hammer many times, what makes you think Liz would do any better? (grin, duck & run)

Seriously though, in those days nails had a square cross section (not round), and typically with a square head. Four sharp edges on both. If the nail went in further than expected and trapped his thumb under the head, or if it folded over from being struck at an angle, any of those edges could do some damage. Crush & cut, rather than just crush injuries you might get with round section wire nails.

No tetanus shots back then...

About Monday 4 December 1665

Al Doman  •  Link

@San Diego Sarah: When fed "hermosa mohers" Google Translate suggests "hermosa mujeres", Spanish for "beautiful women".

If true, that doesn't shed much light on their occupation...

About Sunday 16 July 1665

Al Doman  •  Link

@Phil C:

By "carried" my first thought was "escorted". If the bride & groom are under the same roof there might need to be a formal process to tuck them in to their separate chambers and prevent any possibility of hanky-panky. The escorts of the groom (and my guess, the bride as well but Sam wouldn't see that side) would ensure that proprieties were observed.

About Thursday 4 May 1665

Al Doman  •  Link

Pop culture reference to the Diary:

The movie "Tully" opened in North America on Friday, May 4th. In it one of the characters, when it's time to retire, says "And so to bed" - and explains that it's an often-used phrase in this Diary!

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)

About Friday 28 February 1661/62

Al Doman  •  Link

@Sasha Clarkson: mod +1, insightful ;)

I think to experience this diary to the fullest, one must have a certain empathy with our hero.

As for "Who amongst US would be equipped to survive in Restoration England?", that's easy - Chuck Norris :)

About Sunday 12 January 1661/62

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson: probably because her real or perceived failings aren't affecting him (or to a lesser extent, his wife) in the eyes of others.

Pepys' entire household depends on him. He has zero job security and is almost completely dependent on the patronage of others such as Sandwich. His reputation is absolutely crucial to retaining the various positions he holds and the associated income(s). If for any reason he falls from favour his whole dependent household would suffer, not just him. His wife and staff understand that, in their bones. They're all part of Team Pepys.

A maid being lazy sounds like an internal matter. A sharp word may or may not suffice; a reminder that she's in a decent household with improving prospects and that she can be dismissed with a poor (or no) reference. If she's a good maid but has broken the best serving dish through carelessness, what punishment might the team decide?

External matters: far more serious. Suppose a maid were to sass a distinguished visitor? Looks bad on Sam. If she steals a loaf of bread? Hopefully Sam can square it with the merchant and spare her the potentially harsh justice of the day:… . But you can be sure she'd still face some private punishment at home.

Sam wisely keeps a very close eye on his wife and her interactions with other women of their acquaintance. Also on Will Hewer, who to some extent is acting as his agent in some matters - that's why Sam sometimes has strong reactions to seemingly trivial "infractions".