Annotations and comments

Thomas M. Fiddler has posted eight annotations/comments since 15 February 2024.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About Thursday 20 July 1665

Thomas M. Fiddler  •  Link

"What surprises me very much is how calm he is about all this. He's someone who regularly notes in his Diary every trivial ailment but he genuinely doesn't seemed to have altered his work patterns because of the plague."

I would add that people of Samuel Pepy's time lived much closer to death than we do in our era.

There were few useful medicines, no understanding of asceptic technique, germ theory, no antibiotics or antivirals. No imaging technology aside from rudimentary microscopes. Not to mention a lack of safe surgical interventions as well as high infant mortality.

People knew how to cope despite the manifold dangers that existence presented. Plague or no plague, they knew that life must go on.

About Sunday 25 June 1665

Thomas M. Fiddler  •  Link

In case anyone new (or not) to the diary is confused about Pepy's use of the term 'closet', I might recommend this tome by Danielle Bobker entitled, _The Closet: The Eighteenth-Century Architecture of Intimacy_ from Princeton University Press, ISBN: 9780691198231

Samuel Pepys is directly referenced.

An interview with the author:…

About Friday 7 April 1665

Thomas M. Fiddler  •  Link

"Four was always two syllables (fo-wer) when I was growing up in Lancashire and I assume the spelling reflects the fact that historically it wasn't pronounced identically to 'for'."

It is often pronounced that way here in Southern Appalchia to this day thanks to old Scotch-English-Irish roots.…

About Sunday 12 March 1664/65

Thomas M. Fiddler  •  Link

Photohraphic examples of whiskes along with more detailed information on the fashion trend.

“During the early 17th century, formal neckwear such as ruffs and starched collars needed support. The wide circles of gathered linen that made up the ruffs had to be held up at the back of the neck in order to frame the face properly. Such supports were called by a range of different names: supportasse (a French term), underpropper, pickadil, or rebato (an Italian name). A variety of materials were used to make such supports, including linen reinforced with whalebone, card, and wire. Sometimes straw was even used to create a slightly curved surface.” (199)…

About Tuesday 7 March 1664/65

Thomas M. Fiddler  •  Link

RE: 'Tormentill'

"Blutwurz is a liqueur made from the root of the common tormentil plant (Potentilla erecta), which derives its German name (blood root) from the color of the juice that emerges when the root is cut. The root provided a traditional anti-inflammatory medicine. Today it is still consumed in the form of tea, syrup, cream, or powder. Most importantly, the Penninger company uses Blutwurz as the key ingredient of an herbal liqueur or Bitters that the company produces in Bavaria."…

About Sunday 5 March 1664/65

Thomas M. Fiddler  •  Link

Warden's Pie

Let me see; what am I to buy for our sheepshearing feast? Three pound of sugar, five pound of currants, rice – what will this sister of mine do with rice? But my father hath made her mistress of the feast, and she lays it on […] I must have saffron to color the warden pies; mace; dates? – none, that’s out of my note; nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but that I may beg; four pound of prunes, and as many raisins o’ th’ sun. (The Winter’s Tale 4.3.36-48)