Annotations and comments

GrahamT has posted 454 annotations/comments since 9 January 2003.


First Reading

About Saturday 9 March 1666/67

GrahamT  •  Link

Re: "difference between socks and stockings "
socks short (below the knee) stockings long (over the knee)
Nowadys, men wear socks, women wear (nylon) stockings (and socks)
As Sam wore knee-breeches, he would wear stockings to keep his calves and knees warm and socks as extra warmth for his feet.
I see many be-skirted women on the commute doing exactly the same in this cold weather.

About Monday 4 March 1666/67

GrahamT  •  Link

"I did ‘hazer tout que je voudrais con’ her" is approximately
"I did do all that I wanted with her" so it is still left to our imaginations just how far that is.

About Sunday 24 February 1666/67

GrahamT  •  Link

When I was growing up in the north of England in the 1960's, the clap and the pox where still the usual names for gonorrhoea and syphilis respectively. (Easier to say and to spell too.)

About Friday 4 January 1666/67

GrahamT  •  Link

Re: Isaac's balls.
As he is a dancing master, could the balls refer punningly to dances, as in Court Balls?
They would certainly help " to spend away long nights,
And to keep good wits together.", with the women dancers "Made up with fan and feather".

About Wednesday 28 November 1666

GrahamT  •  Link

It was meant tongue-in-cheek Paul. I can't help thinking though, that Pepys would be just as astounded at a light metal (aluminium is not avialable for another 150+ years# spirit level with three bubbles for vertical, horizontal and arbitrary angles, and all for small change - and he would be able to understand the principals.
A modern mobile phone, in contrast, would be indistinguishable from witchcraft for 17th century folk. #Disembodied voices, music from the ether, words writing themselves on a glowing mirror, etc. all guaranteed to get you burnt at the stake)

About Monday 5 November 1666

GrahamT  •  Link

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Treason and plot seem to be on the agenda again in 1666, but with arson replacing the gunpowder. Blamed on the same papish conspirators though.

"Wednesday come se’nnight" = "A week come (next) Wednesday"

About Saturday 27 October 1666

GrahamT  •  Link

"...some ugly knives, like poignards, to stab people with, about two or three hundred of them were brought in yesterday to the House, found in one of the house’s rubbish..."
Weapons of Mass Disembowelment?

About Wednesday 8 August 1666

GrahamT  •  Link

"and told me that having come to a certain number of vibrations proper to make any tone, he is able to tell how many strokes a fly makes with her wings"
I believe he could if he knew the frequency (number of vibrations proper) of the string, but how did he measure the frequency of the string in the first place?
I couldn't understand this so I investigated.
Apparently Hooke came up with a novel method in 1672, but he must have used the 1648 method of Mersenne at this time. This required a string long enough to be able to count the vibrations (so several seconds per vibration) then shortening the string (by fingering like with a violin/guitar) until the tone matched the one to be measured. The ratio of the shortened string to the original is then the same as the ratio of the high frequency to the lower counted frequency.
Hooke must have realised just how clumsy and inaccurate this method was as he invented a much neater way.

About Thursday 12 July 1666

GrahamT  •  Link

The City to Uxbridge, then back via Paddington to Lisson green is quite a trip. It is at least 35 miles, plus another 2 back to Whitehall. And all this after 3 pm, then back to work. The coach must have gone at quite a trot.
I am not a horseman, but I estimate at least 3-4 hours, though I am sure watering the horses and other stops must have extended that.
His excursions through Shoreditch, Hackney and Kingsland are much shorter, by distance, but he writes about them as though they are The Grand Tour and yet doesn't mention the distance covered here for the sake of a few kisses.
I assume from the lack of French and Spanish that it didn't go further than kissing.

About Monday 9 July 1666

GrahamT  •  Link

When I read about this varnished paper I thought it was to be varnished after printing to protect the print - like modern laminating - but it seems this is blank or lined paper.
In which case it must be for pencil (or charcoal), as water or oil based ink wouldn't bind to the surface and would smear. Modern glossy printing papers have a layer of gelatine, gypsum, or other absorbant material to hold the ink.
Perhaps the idea is to write on the unvarnished side then fold it so that the varnished side protects the contents when sealed along its edges.
I like Andy's idea of all us Pepys readers experimenting by varnishing sheets of paper over the weekend.

About Friday 6 July 1666

GrahamT  •  Link

Re: "Perhaps on some subconscious level at least Sam does fear God’s justice for these poor men"
Probably not. These men are fighting for "God and Country" so, although he is upset that they are not getting their fair dues, he probably believes it is their proud fate to fight and die in defence of their homeland.
Does anyone think the various officials that sent conscripted men to die in their millions in the two World Wars, Vietnam and other modern conflicts, feared God's justice?
I don't imagine that Robert McNamara - the "Architect of the Vietnam War" - thought he would burn in the fires of hell for the 60,000 young Americans that died in Vietnam, nor would Pepys for his small part in the impressment of men for defence against the Dutch.

About Saturday 7 July 1666

GrahamT  •  Link

Re: "Property could not be robbed."
No, but it being 1666, we will soon see there are other ways to lose property.

About Wednesday 27 June 1666

GrahamT  •  Link

As Hooke is talking about the size of a beast of burden, doesn't handfull here equate to the modern Hand used to measure horses, i.e. 4 inches? So , "5 yards long wanting a handfull. 2 yards & an handfull high. 3 yards & ... one handfull girth) "
would be 14'8"(14foot 8inches ) long, 6'4" high, 9'4" girth (4.47m x 1.93m x 2.84m)
Of course, he could be using it in the same way as we use "a bit", so a bit less than 5 yards long and 2 and-a-bit yards high, which is a bit (handfull?) vague for a scientist.