Annotations and comments

RLB has posted nine annotations/comments since 10 May 2023.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About Friday 1 June 1660

RLB  •  Link

And... that footnote neatly answers my question of two days ago.

About Wednesday 30 May 1660

RLB  •  Link

It keeps surprising me how many different denominations of money Pepys receives. Pounds and shillings you expect, and those at least have fixed proportions between them. But recently he got a sum in florins, and those can't have been the English florin (long gone by 1660) nor the 19th century one, so it must have been a continental florin. And now he receives guilders, which I don't think was the same thing as a florin at the time.

Of course, we too deal in different currencies when we visit different countries, but we don't tend to mix and match them like this! I wonder how much exchange rates varied back then. It must have varied with the gold and/or silver content, but how would your average person know?

About Saturday 19 May 1660

RLB  •  Link

"The child" was born early 1647, so by spring 1660 he's 13 years old. In addition, puberty sometimes (often?) started later in those times. Not always: Mary, Princess Royal, mentioned several times in the last week, was apparently early (or at least tried to be, if Wikipedia is to be believed). But it may well have been reasonable to call Edward Mountagu a child at his age. He certainly wasn't a full-grown man.

About Sunday 20 May 1660

RLB  •  Link

The jawbone and several vertebræ of a sperm whale, by the way, are still in Scheveningen's Oude Kerk.

About Tuesday 15 May 1660

RLB  •  Link

@Sarah: and yet, he... religiously? Faithfully? At any rate, regularly attends services both at home and on board ship. Private services at that, not big church services.

I think he has retained his faith in religion. I'm not sure which form, and we know he has several in his family. What I think he's lost is his faith in *official* religion. But that's another matter, especially now that the Puritans are out.

About Sunday 13 May 1660

RLB  •  Link

I think I agree with Michiel van der Leeuw (first reading).

(First of all, pet peeve: Middelburg is in Zeeland. It is in Holland as much as Swansea is in England. This ought to be corrected in the encyclopaedia.)

But, more to the point, Middelburg is... well, not really *nowhere* near the coast, but certainly in the centre of its island, and not a harbour town. If they'd been anywhere near there, Samuel would have mentioned Vlissingen, which is and was Walcheren's main port, and which, moreover, was well known to the English under the name of Flushing.

Middelkerke in Flanders, by contrast, is slap bang on the coastline. Although it is rather further South than Zeeland, it is quite possible that they reached Belgium late that afternoon, sailed all through the night, and so got to Scheveningen early next morning.

About Monday 14 May 1660

RLB  •  Link

As to "belong", remember that they're on a warship. An officer's subordinates belong to his company, or to his crew. Up to a point, he *can* dispose of them as he wants, certainly to the point of making them sleep somewhere else.

True, Samuel isn't actually a sailor, but I wouldn't be surprised if similar rules held for, and were seen as normal by, civilian personnel on board ship under the command of what was after all the General at Sea. It's a semi-military life, with semi-military rules.

About Monday 9 April 1660

RLB  •  Link

One interesting thing about Nate Lockwood's annotation on corning gunpowder is that this is presumed to be how gunpowder tea got its name. Its small rolled-up, dried leaves resemble the shape and colour of gunpowder corns.

Luckily, it is both healthier and better-tasting than actual gunpowder, particularly when made into Maghrebi mint tea.