Annotations and comments

3Lamps has posted one annotation/comment since 19 March 2023.


Third Reading

About Saturday 17 March 1659/60

3Lamps  •  Link

As an Army officer with over 20 years' service and multiple overseas deployments, this week's entries have been amazingly familiar. Pepys' needing to prepare what he will take, organise his will, make accommodation arrangements for his wife, store his furniture, arrange payments of bills in advance, all while still attending to the duties of his new job, are exactly what happens today day prior to a long-term military deployment. Indeed, the scenes are so familiar that my spouse and I have felt melancholy at times this week while reading the diary, such is the extent to which it has reminded us of the nature of our own partings.

Interestingly, two aspects of this preparation to depart seem to have significantly changed in the last 360-or-so years. First, my own spouse has much more of a say in what her own living arrangements will be while I am away than Elizabeth Pepys did, informed as she was of what her living arrangements would be only after Sam had made them. If I tried to do things this way with my spouse, I may well not have one for much longer! Second, the time required and complexity of making arrangements for bill payments, storage of furniture, wills, etc., seems to be much longer and have many more bureaucratic steps these days. I wish I could do these things as easily as Sam did, though I say that noting that perhaps he simply did not record the details of any paperwork he may have had to complete. These aspects aside, the human and emotional elements of Pepys' immanent departure upon a potentially dangerous overseas trip show remarkable consistency with what one experiences today.

This is my first annotation on the diary, and my first reading of it (I have been doing so daily since the start of the third reading). Thank you so much Phil for creating such a beautiful website, and to all those who have posted annotations over the past 20 years. The history captured in the annotations, especially those from 2003, is as historically fascinating as the diary itself.