Annotations and comments

Vincent Telford has posted 15 annotations/comments since 10 March 2021.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About Saturday 25 August 1660

Vincent Telford  •  Link

Thank you MartinVT re evidence & conclusion "two weeks, before and after Sam's promotions, certainly shows not only his improved finances, but his strategic approach to the cultivation of relationships." I tend to agree.

I had noticed this rapid change and considered Sam was busy cultivating useful relationships re his future opportunities and work plus Sam very much likes people's company and gaining perceived status.

I wonder how this 27 year old new upstart appears to those he is cultivating. May be some are enjoying being entertained by the young highly sociable, smart and ambitious Mr Pepys and some are impressed with his enthusiasm and abilities; perhaps some feel a little challenged by them.

Second Reading

About Friday 16 April 1669

Vincent Telford  •  Link

'but yet such is fear as to render me full of doubt and disgust'

Sam is a very intelligent extrovert brought up in puritanical times now beginning to enjoy the sexual freedom modelled by the similarly extrovert King Charles II but simultaneously experiencing guilt due to having internalised the repressive religiously driven culture he experienced as young person .. this all creating internal unresolved conflicts in his mind leading to him feeling 'full of doubt and disgust'.

Sam's struggles to deal with the internal forces driving him and the conflicts they cause in his external reality are fascinating because they are recorded so honestly and but all the more so since the action all takes place in 1660s London - another culture and another time - and yet we recognise and identify with so easily Sam, Deb and Elizabeth's points of view and feelings.. that we can with some confidence infer from Sam's private diary entries.

Ultimately Sam, Deb and Elizabeth are human (apes - I would say) just like us just in different circumstances in a different time and place dealing as best as they can with the challenges each day brings.

About Tuesday 30 March 1669

Vincent Telford  •  Link

The higher you rise the faster you fall. Pepys very philosophically handling rumour that he's so competent he may lose his job and so income and balancing that against that he thinks he is losing his eyesight and therefore won't be able to do the job anyway.. he simultaneously happy that Penn is soon leaving and so for now figures in all likelihood he'll still be in his job for a while yet.

Chatting this all over with his wife seems to have put it all in perspective for him; Bess acting as his greatest supporter. Unfortunately for Bess and so ultimately Sam; Sam has recently returned to 'playing away from home', just more carefully now.

About Friday 20 November 1668

Vincent Telford  •  Link

I'd just like to say that in my view this is the best set of annotations I've read from any of the pages of this online diary.

As the saga of the triangle of Sam, Liz and Deb appears to be coming to a close - I like the way various perspectives from reader's experience to date and world view have enriched the reading of today's diary entry ... Sam of course has to be primarily credited with having left behind for posterity this window into his world and Phil Gyford for having set up and continuing to maintain this wonderful online resource ...

I hope Phil is willing and able to continue this work for another 10 year iteration! It seems cheeky to ask Phil for more of this time and skill; I'm fully aware of the level of commitment that involves.

Returning to this saga - it would be so much richer and fairer if we could read Liz and Deb's (and don't forget Will Hewer's and the maids) entries for the same days - but of course I'm just daydreaming - we're so lucky this diary has survived - it's first hand history gives real insight into what is common within human's internal experience across very different times - Pepy's 1660s London and our lives in the 21st century.

About Wednesday 18 November 1668

Vincent Telford  •  Link

'So I could not be commanded by my reason'

Thanks Maurie Beck for the biological perspective. I to think Sam is driven by sexual hormonal and hard coded within our ape brain forces which he only dimly aware of and which he can't restrain himself from following without them incessantly tormenting him.

Deb is possibly happy he has hunted her down as it shows Sam's feelings are genuine and she's not been just used as a sexual convenience; though a bit of hand holding, a kiss, some money, an offer of future support if needed and advice regarding what might be their last meeting was enough Sam!

It's a good job Sam was almost certainly infertile otherwise biology would have taken it course and then there would have been fireworks.

A bit like our current PM; Sam is highly sociable and highly intelligent, ignores social conventions when it suits him, likes a challenge, wants many simultaneous sexual partners, enjoys being the life and soul of the party and enjoys taking risks - in short he's an extrovert who surprisingly wrote it all down in great detail for posterity.

Maybe Sam thinks he might like to examine it all in a future time and/or just gets immediate therapy and clarification from reviewing and then writing down his day's events.

About Wednesday 11 November 1668

Vincent Telford  •  Link

'that I may not have all I have lie in the King’s hands'

Sam is shrewd enough to realise that his now huge portfolio of wealth needs to be well diversified.

[he's now a roughly a self made sterling pound millionaire at 35 - that is by today's standards according to SDS's link,…]

In these hugely uncertain times he is living in he'd do well to buy some gold - which I believe he has done having 2350l in gold which he move to Woolwich during the fire of London on the 5th September 66…

As pointed out above the chaos caused by the fire of London and the plague provides extra opportunities for Sam.. taking bribes and sexual favours re: 'He could wheel and deal, and so long as the invoices in equalled the money out, who knew the details?' works out extremely well financially for Sam.

Indeed if Sam gets his horses and carriage does that not advertise to the world that Sam is living well above his official salary and so draw suspicion? May be no one who matters real cares - everyone in Sam's new circle is on the make.

Our Sam is in modern terms an extroverted wheeler dealer - interesting that he persists so well with recording the details in this diary - even in the middle of his current huge relationship difficulties with his wife - a real quite introverted activity.

Sam has a very wide ranging personality - he is interested in the detail of reading and diary keeping and his work (I guess no distracting internet and TV then so more time) as well as being a highly sociable animal keen to enjoy a party to the full and engage and sustain a huge circle of friends.

I think Sam, ironically, is actually naturally a very honest person - intelligently wheeler dealing his best in the very uncertain turbulent time and place he happens to have been born within - he is wheeler dealing corrupt - perhaps everyone is around him - but simultaneously genuinely concerned about the state of the nation and in his particular area with the Navy's finances and the Navy's dwindling ability to pay the sailors and supply the ships.

Life was often short and brutish in the past - Sam is keen to experience it to the full while he can.

About Monday 9 November 1668

Vincent Telford  •  Link

Btw it's lucky for Sam (and Elizabeth) that Sam has managed to bluff his wife with only half the story re: 'knowing that if my wife should know all it were impossible ever for her to be at peace with me again, and so our whole lives would be uncomfortable'.

Note that Sam is fully committed to living out his life with Elizabeth.

Sam was taking a considerable risk in keeping this diary even if it was written in code. In the deeper future Elizabeth might get these pages translated; presumably Sam thinks this is extremely unlikely or simply that he enjoys taking a risk.

Elizabeth must know he keeps a diary or is he constantly furtively updating it when no one is looking and then hiding it away?

About Monday 9 November 1668

Vincent Telford  •  Link

My reading is that Sam has lost both his own peace of mind and that of his wife, Elizabeth, who he remains solidly attached to; all over his infatuation with 18 year old Deb Willet.

Sam is presumably 'playing away' because he is not getting much satisfaction at home plus Deb Willet is in the same condition and so given the opportunity sparks flew and nature took its course.

I note Sam's 'relationship' with his all seeing God (and now us via reading his diary that he ultimately deliberately left to posterity) is pretty light, he does not seem that concerned about what God sees, just figures God will forgive him for being as he is. In this way Sam is very honest with both himself, his God and finally us.

Deb Willet's peace of mind is also lost so there will have to be some sort of resolution within this household, presumably Deb Willet will have to go? She is no longer a companion for Elizabeth and is the source of overwhelming tension in the household.

A bit surprising Deb Willet doesn't go of her own accord, maybe she feels attached to Sam or has few other options at the moment and because of lack of experience is a bit bewildered.

About Wednesday 4 November 1668

Vincent Telford  •  Link

Yes Sam is keeping his wife well informed of the possibility that the show - their lifestyle - funded entirely by his income - may hit the rocks whilst at the same time Sam is optimistically funding an upgrade to their current lifestyle - a private coach and horses and a substantial refurbishment of their home.

My feeling is that he's lowering Elizabeth's expectations and sensibly figuring out a plan B in order to reduce his own anxiety about possible negative outcomes in the future and to reduce the pressure on him of Elizabeth's otherwise high expectations.

About Wednesday 4 November 1668

Vincent Telford  •  Link

'My wife and I spent much time this evening talking of our being put out of the Office, and my going to live at Deptford at her brother’s, till I can clear my accounts, and rid my hands of the town, which will take me a year or more, and I do think it will be best for me to do so, in order to our living cheap, and out of sight.'

Is Sam in serious debt - but has only just realised it - avoiding contact with those he owes money to? Maybe he has cash flow problems - rich but not easy access to cash to pay of up and coming debts?

He always seems to be doing well with his job's under hand dealing potential after all he is doing up his place and shopping around for a carriage that presumably would involve costs looking after the horses to pull it.

Have I missed something? - what has caused this sudden change of plan to flee the city and 'rid my hands' of it plus live cheaply and out of sight - so no theatre going then or chasing after shop ladies, buying books, having friends around to dinner, showing off the newly furnished house he's currently buried in dust doing up etc.

Is he just anticipating a relatively new possibility that has emerged that he may soon lose his employment and is merely planning for that eventuality?

About Monday 16 October 1665

Vincent Telford  •  Link

This very day Sam wrote and had sent with instuctions to the person taking the letter .. this letter that has survived to this day:…

Samuel Pepys to en:John Evelyn, 16 October 1665
The text reads:

I entreat you to consider this letter about/ ye prisoners, & what ye Bearer shall inform you/ touching the sicke men./ Yr. most humble servt./

S. Pepys

About Betty Martin (b. Lane)

Vincent Telford  •  Link

Mrs Martin according to Claire Tomalin 'took a cheerful, pagan view of sex and its possibilities' and her Sister Doll Powell was presumably of a similar attitude and disposition, both very much liked Pepys & were two of Pepys several sexual mistresses through out this diary. Of course sisters generally do talk to each other, often in an intimate way and so they may well have many times compared notes re Pepys and their personal relationships and multiple interactions with him.

About Saturday 6 July 1667

Vincent Telford  •  Link

Re: Phoenix comment above - Mrs Martin according to Claire Tomalin 'took a cheerful, pagan view of sex and its possibilities' and her Sister Doll was presumably of a similar attitude and disposition, the difference (re the attacker Captain Vandena) is that they both very much like Pepys & were two of Pepys several sexual mistresses through out this diary. Of course sisters do talk to each other, often in an intimate way and so they may well have many times compared notes re Pepys and their personal relationships and interactions with him.

Pepys in this time of this diary seems to be handsome (according to his portait), young, rich, confident, very intelligent and something of a charmer - his attitudes to women and sex (Re: Pepys understanding of consent) could definitely do with updating to the early 21th century but Pepys lived in the late 17th century and persumably shared the attitudes of almost all around him, that being the culture of his time and place; this diary gives us now insight into what those attitudes commonly were (thought perhaps I am assuming they were common then), something that might otherwise have been lost.