Annotations and comments

Louise Hudson has posted 478 annotations/comments since 9 November 2013.

Comments

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.

About Tuesday 22 January 1666/67

Louise Hudson  •  Link

. K. van Marjenhoff wrote: “I don't think Elizabeth is "vexed" out of jealousy. As wife and hostess of the house, she has a right to be annoyed if, as it seems, Mrs. Pierce and company have simply invited themselves.”

I think you’re right. Elizabeth may have been upset because surprise guests were coming for dinner. I doubt Mrs. Pierce invited herself out of the blue, but Sam had invited her along with “the players”—the musicians he heard at the Duke’s house. He apparently he didn’t bother informing his wife that anyone was coming. Even in the 1600s I don’t think anyone would would say, “I will come and dine with you on Thursday next”, with no invitation.” He probably invited the group at the Duke’s and said “Who will come?” Poor Elizabeth. She’s the one who would have had to arrange everything. No wonder she’s “vexed.”

About Tuesday 8 January 1666/67

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Lady Denham. Considering the state of medicine and the knowledge of physiology in the 17th century—the microscope hadn’t been invented yet—and the horrific remedies of the time, any old wives’ tale could be considered “medicine.” “17th-century English life expectancy was only about 35 years, largely because infant and child mortality remained high. Life expectancy was under 25 years in the early Colony of Virginia, and in seventeenth-century New England, about 40 percent died before reaching adulthood.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy#V…. Check out old medical and surgical books if you have the stomach for it.

About Tuesday 1 January 1666/67

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Salting was one of the few ways of preserving food for later consumption before the advent of canning and refrigeration. Pickling is related.

About Monday 24 December 1666

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Larry Bunce provided an interesting and detailed summary of Pepys' eye problems. I feel very fortunate to have lived in the 20th and 21st centuries where we have a good vision correction system. I doubt I could read a word without glasses, which I started wearing in my teens, and the correction has gotten stronger with each passing decade. How awful to have had so little vision help back then, to say nothing of syphilis!

About Sunday 23 December 1666

Louise Hudson  •  Link

How times have changed! (Thank the powers that be). Can any woman on this list imagine being in such a position with a man, especially another woman’s husband, with one’s own husband sitting right there? In my whole long life I have never had a man even attempt to take such liberties with me or anyone else. Yuck!

About Friday 21 December 1666

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Eric Walla: We probably have discussed this before. I get the distinct impression that mother and daughter come to Mr. Pepys, fortified with the rumour if not the knowledge that minor molestation is the price to pay for receiving Sam's assistance. It's downright chilling how matter-of-fact Sam reports the activity.”

I think you’ve unfortunately hit the nail on the head.

About Monday 17 December 1666

Louise Hudson  •  Link

“Spent the evening in fitting my books, to have the number set upon each, in order to my having an alphabet of my whole, which will be of great ease to me.”

If he’d had the Internet there would have been no need for such work. Just a few taps on a keyboard and he’d have the place where the passage appeared, and he wouldn’t even have to touch a book. Every word would be accessible on screen. Who knew?

About Tuesday 11 December 1666

Louise Hudson  •  Link

I’ve always defined homely as plain and unsophisticated. It’s exactly how most of us would describe a celebrity without make-up, designer clothes or marketing hype.

About Friday 7 December 1666

Louise Hudson  •  Link

and there I sat with my cloak about my face, ...I was in mighty pain lest I should be seen by any body to be at a play.

He probably means anyone who knew he had promised to not to go to the theatre and might publicize it, or that he might be seen by someone who would mention it to his wife.

“and mighty good friends with my poor wife”

I think he meant she wasn’t giving him the cold shoulder after their recent contretemps.

About Sunday 2 December 1666

Louise Hudson  •  Link

CGS: who be we????????????????

Sam and Bess, no doubt. His behavior is outrageous, but not so outrageous as to bring a paramour into his house with his wife there.

I also suspect that Sam engages in a lot of fantasy regarding women and that many of his “activities” are all in his mind.

About Wednesday 21 November 1666

Louise Hudson  •  Link

“Here was Betty Michell with her mother. I would have carried her home, but her father intends to go with her, so I lost my hopes. . . . and after supper an hour reading to my wife and brother something in Chaucer with great pleasure, and so to bed.”

What, pray tell, would he have done with Betty Mitchell if he had been able to “carry her home” without her father going with her? His wife was home (he writes that she was home in the evening and he didn’t say she’d been out earlier). Would he have suggested a Ménage à Troi? And what about her brother? For all his supposed management abilities, Sam doesn’t seem to think ahead very well.

About Monday 29 October 1666

Louise Hudson  •  Link

“Sam today answers the question we were tossing around back when he bought the guineas. He bought 2,000 of them and paid the discount as a surcharge.“

Many thanks Paul Chapin for mentioning guineas. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what ginnys were.