Annotations and comments

Louise Hudson has posted 473 annotations/comments since 9 November 2013.

The most recent first…


About Saturday 27 July 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

“Charles owned only four children by Lady Castlemaine-Anne, Countess of Sussex, and the Dukes of Southampton, Grafton, and Northumberland. The last of these was born in 1665. The paternity of all her other children was certainly doubtful. See pp. 50,52.”

How in the world could they establish paternity in those days before they even had so much as blood typing? Was it all decided by opinion? Why was the paternity of all of Lady Castlemaine’s children “doubtful”? Doubtful to whom. Was that based solely on the opinion or doubts of the King? How bloody convenient!

About John Unthank

Louise Hudson  •  Link

There was a boy in my high school graduating class (in New Jersey) whose name was Unthank. I thought it was an unusual name at the time but I never looked into its origins. it's interesting to know that it's prevalent in the North of England. I have never come across the name other than that one boy, and, of course, in Pepys' diary.

About Friday 5 July 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

“ I am vexed to hear that Nan Wright, now Mrs. Markham, Sir W. Pen’s mayde and whore, is come to sit in our pew at church, and did so while my Lady Batten was there. I confess I am very much vexed at it and ashamed.”

Why are women called whores but men are not when they are doing the same thing? Sam is “vexed” about someone he sees as a whore sitting in his pew but he has no problem with a whore of a different color sitting there.

About Friday 21 June 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

It has long been theorized by linguists that Appalachian English is a remnant of Elizabethan English and that Shakespeare would feel right at home in the Appalachian hills. For an explanation and examples go here:

For audible examples:

You can find many scholarly articles on the web by doing a search for Appalachian, Elizabethan language.

About Thursday 20 June 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

“Our gold”. This makes me wonder what would have happened to the gold and money Pepys had accumulated if Elizabeth had outlived him. In those days nobody thought of “his” money automatically going to the wife when he died. I doubt she even knew how much he had. He could will his fortune and even household goods to other people. Even if he left most of it to her, would she know have known how to handle it? Would he have likely designated a male relative or friend or colleague to handle it for her? Whom might he have chosen? I don’t remember him mentioning writing a will in his diary.

About Saturday 8 June 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Robert Gertz:
"So to the office, we all sat all the morning, and then home to dinner, where our dinner a ham of French bacon, boiled with pigeons, an excellent dish."

Caught fresh outside, no doubt...

Oh, well, with disaster a stone's throw away, might as well enjoy a good boiled pigeon.

It wasn't unusual to eat pigeons in Pepys’ time and up to the present day, though now they’re called squabs. Remember “Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie”? That was apparently good eats.

About Tuesday 28 May 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

“If we are to credit the following paragraph, extracted from the “Morning Post” of May 2nd, 1791, the virtues of May dew were then still held in some estimation; for it records that “on the day preceding, according to annual and superstitious custom, a number of persons went into the fields, and bathed their faces with the dew on the grass, under the idea that it would render them beautiful” (Hone’s “Every Day Book,” vol. ii., p. 611). Aubrey speaks of May dew as “a great dissolvent” (“Miscellanies,” p. 183).—B.”

Nothing has changed in 363 years! The fountain of youth just costs more. Results are about the same.

About Monday 20 May 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Sam—and most men of his time and class—knew he could keep his “indiscretions” secret. He knew his male friends would never say anything against them and the women he was assaulting (by today’s standards) would never reveal anything because they wouldn’t be believed. If any did speak up they would be roundly condemned by Pepys, his cohorts and the larger society. Their reputations would be ruined, they would be shunned by society, and their husbands or fathers excoriated for not keeping control over them by any means possible. Similar conditions for women continued well into the 20th century. “Me too” didn’t come around until the 21st century. Two substantial feminist movements, though they both managed to advanced women’s rights, didn’t have much influence on men and their infidelities or outright assaults by today’s standards.

About Saturday 18 May 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Considering how servants were treated in 1667 it’s no wonder they get drunk. Sam claims affection for them but it doesn’t stop him from batting them around on a regular basis when he’s displeased, and his wife often does the same with his encouragement.

About Saturday 4 May 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Cape Henry“ As for "undecent," TF, not sure it's a typo, but I like it.You are correct, I think, about the migration of the prefix, though it is a bit selective: some things remain unexplained.”

Given the state of spelling in the 17th Century, I imagine that almost anything was acceptable and most words were spelled phonetically. Even Shakespeare was a bad speller, often spelling his own name in different ways.

About Thursday 11 April 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

✹New since your last visit
Terry Foreman on 12 Apr 2010 • Link

"my Lady Jemimah’s chamber, who is let blood to-day"

L&M note she was pregnant.


Sounds more like blood letting than pregnancy. Or possibly menstruation. I cant imagine how it would relate to pregnancy unless she was having a miscarriage. Maybe they did blood letting on pregnant aristocratic women back then. I wouldn’t be surprised, seeing that blood letting was so popular back then.

About Saturday 6 April 1667

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Pepys speaks of mourning for his mother. Did he even mention in the diary when she died? If he did I missed it. Seems strange for a man who wrote down every event of his life and many inconsequential details—but the death of his mother doesn’t get so much as a mention.

About Tuesday 12 March 1666/67

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Paul Chapin

"This day a poor seaman etc."

“The anecdotal approach to social problems, still very much with us, as politicians exhort the use of private charity to solve problems that result from poor public policy, and try to justify their arguments by recounting stories of individuals rather than accounting for society at large.”

Very astute observation.
plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

About Tuesday 12 March 1666/67

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Paul Chapin

"This day a poor seaman etc."

The anecdotal approach to social problems, still very much with us, as politicians exhort the use of private charity to solve problems that result from poor public policy, and try to justify their arguments by recounting stories of individuals rather than accounting for society at large.

Very astute obervation.
plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

About Monday 25 February 1666/67

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Lay long in bed, talking with pleasure with my poor wife, how she used to make coal fires, and wash my foul clothes with her own hand for me, poor wretch! in our little room at my Lord Sandwich’s; for which I ought for ever to love and admire her, and do; . . .”

But, alas, he doesn't love and admire his “ poor wife” enough to keep his hands (and other body parts) to himself when a comely woman is nearby and available. There’s apparently a limit to Sam’s love and admiration.

About Friday 15 February 1666/67

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Cum salis grano: “Yep, history is rarely remembered, even recent events fade into nothing.Jam yesterday [good old days rarely the pain], jam tomorrow [win the lottery], no jam today [whatever].Failure to know or remember history is the down fall of many, while others use it to prosper.”

The problem is that most written history focuses on the big things, wars, businesses, building cities, trade, the wealthy. Hardly any focuses. on the common man, like the sailors who weren’t paid. Any history of the common man is passed on orally, often by families, almost never by historians. It’s not for lack of trying that ordinary people don’t remember history. Much of it gets lost, overlooked and misinterpreted over generations and little was written down. Who knows what happened to many of the ordinary people who were barely surviving that Pepys talks about? Only those who managed to live lives of some comfort and were able to get some education could afford to think about history, and literacy rates were abysmal.

“The literacy rate in England in the 1640s was around 30 percent for males, rising to 60 percent in the mid-18th century.”

Education in the Age of Enlightenment - Wikipedia

That means the vast majority of people in England were illiterate in Pepys’ time and it took another hundred years for the literacy rate to reach a paltry 60%. So 40% of the population were illiterate at the mid 18th Century. A good proportion of the “literate” were probably only semi-literate. How could they possibly know or remember history? Only the relatively well-off, like Pepys, could use history to prosper.