Annotations and comments

Gerald Berg has posted 413 annotations/comments since 4 March 2013.


About Thursday 23 May 1661

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Parish boundaries. Not that different today with gangland boundaries throughout the world. The punishment today for overstepping your border could be somewhat more severe however. Tithes are of an entirely different order also.

About Wednesday 8 May 1661

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Not to be indelicate, but I would be fairly upset if my wife came home looking like she'd just been in a hockey game. The only thing that would forbear my remarking on it is how upset she would be for having had it done; let alone me sticking my finger in the wound! Having said that, there is no indication that Sam said anything about it to her. So coming at it again: Is there a difference between drawing or pulling a tooth? Google unhelpful on the point.

About Friday 3 May 1661

Gerald Berg  •  Link

This is the Wheatley version of the diary. I take it as a given that any sex acts are axiomatically emended to Wheatley's specifications. That is -- no mention of sexual functions whatsoever but by way of ellipsis. So rest easy and let not your mind wander salaciously until L&M gives the go ahead. At which point -- have at it. Please.

About Monday 22 April 1661

Gerald Berg  •  Link

"made myself as fine as I could..." Neither complaint, nor vanity? Proudly I suppose.
"them that rid..." Curious past tense. Good riddance?

About Saturday 20 April 1661

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Christo well points out the swap of New Amsterdam for Surinam but wrongly calls it a bad deal. Considering New York was lost to the British in 1776 and Surinam was ceded by the Dutch in 1954 not so bad at that.

About Monday 18 March 1660/61

Gerald Berg  •  Link

RE: Mrs. Davis. The problem is that sometimes you will find a person that more than willing to live a miserable life. If that person happens to be your neighbour you have a true dilemma. Once engaged with this type of person it becomes a question of who is the more capable of living most miserably. One cannot win! That neighbour should be feared lest they discover your fear. I think of Mrs. Davis as that type of person by the way she cut Pepys off from the leads. No talk, all fiat.

About Friday 1 March 1660/61

Gerald Berg  •  Link

By Hic Retearius' reckoning we should then talk of Pepys in relation to China and India only! All else handily fail the 5% ruling. Forget the cultural affinities that some tiny Commonwealth country might share with relation to English habits. Haughty reasoning I think. But hey, I am from a country that is a mere rounding error in the population contest.

About Tuesday 22 January 1660/61

Gerald Berg  •  Link

I curious about how spelling is arrived at via the shorthand. Presumably COUNCELL was written in shorthand so how was it interpreted into a strange (to my eyes at least) spelling such as it is? Why not COUNCEL?

About Saturday 19 January 1660/61

Gerald Berg  •  Link

The tense in this entry is confusing me. When SP said he met Venner and Pritchard on a sledge I assumed they were alive. Yet SP adds that they along with two more were hung today. Does that mean they were all sledge dead? If they were D&Q'd that would make for one disgusting sight!
As for cruelty. Last week I read about an execution in Ohio that didn't work out as planned. Gasping and convulsing for 1/2 hour before the final expiation. Now we hide our gruesome, vengeful nature with well worn pieties on judicial justice. SP and cohorts skip the pretend. They were not embarrassed by their need for vengeance.

About Wednesday 9 January 1660/61

Gerald Berg  •  Link

FIne. SP was brave. Now let us all find a new word for the truly brave.
Fine. SP was trained with firearms. Which means he had sense not to have the material to arm a gun lying around. That's the best of training!
I think Sam had to make a show for lively hood. So he got out his rusty sword with pistol club and made an appeal to competence. Here we are behind the mask.
I like his character and love the way he writes! No more so then when reading the diarist excerpts from various other authors cited in the annotations over time. Much appreciated!

About Monday 10 December 1660

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Tax avoidance. My advice is don't. I don't know how it works in other countries but in Canada citizens are responsible for all taxes owed. This is whether or not the tax man is in error. So, if they fail to collect or you are unaware that further taxes are owing matters not one bit. Once the error is noticed, you will owe all back taxes PLUS interest compounding. RevCan interest rates are entirely usurious. The worse beyond this is once flagged, they never forget you. Got a down in the office with nothing to do? Let's do you will be their motto.

About Tuesday 27 November 1660

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Let me get this straight. David tries a shake down on Nabal and foolishly Nabal tells the henchmen to take a hike. Abigail realizes the mistake and tries to make amends. David likes the way she handles herself and sure enough Nabal winds up dead a few days later. Like we're supposed to believe God killed him? Then Abigail cuts the only deal a widow in her situation can and marries the local creep. Good thing she had her looks! God be blessed. Then again, Nabal was from that low life Caleb clan so it was all for the better anyways. What a terrible story and lousy moral!

About Tuesday 20 November 1660

Gerald Berg  •  Link

French music. It was the age of Jean-Baptiste Lully and musically France would never be the same. A genuine superstar and all the rage at Louis' court. England must have sounded a tad provincial in this regard. Lully might deserve his own reference page.

From Wikipedia:
By March 16, 1653, Lully had been made royal composer for instrumental music. His vocal and instrumental music for court ballets gradually made him indispensable. In 1660 and 1662 he collaborated on court performances of Francesco Cavalli's Xerse and Ercole amante.[5] When Louis XIV took over the reins of government in 1661, he named Lully superintendent of the royal music and music master of the royal family. In December 1661 the Florentine was granted letters of naturalization. Thus, when he married the daughter of the renowned singer and composer Michel Lambert in 1662, Giovanni Battista Lulli declared himself to be "Jean-Baptiste Lully, escuyer [squire], son of "Laurent de Lully,

About Saturday 27 October 1660

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Funny when SP said "buying of things for my house" I assumed things like furniture, kitchen ware and all. But with expenses of that sort I guess books is what he meant!

About Thursday 18 October 1660

Gerald Berg  •  Link

A poultry demise.
Here in Toronto up until the mid 80's in Kensington Market one use to be able to select a live chicken from the caged front window of the Portuguese butcher and then have it promptly executed at the back of the store. The piece de resistance was the blow torching of the residual feathers from the newly plucked and gutted carcass. On a hot, humid Toronto summer day -- if you had the misfortune of walking past the always open door at that precise moment -- the reeking blast of what smelt like burning hair would nearly knock you off the sidewalk!

About Wednesday 17 October 1660

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Re: The Closet
Having had the benefit of watching Amanda Vickery's excellent At Home with the Georgians the ultimate bonus of the closet ( as I recall) was that it was a place for absolute privacy. That is the servants were forbidden entry.

About Monday 15 October 1660

Gerald Berg  •  Link

I have to disagree with Mary House statement:
" I don't find this to be a great difference at all. We watch daily atrocities on television and then cheerfully resume our mundane activities."

Walking into your local butcher shop in no way compares to visiting an abattoir.
It is one thing to having inadvertently "seen" a viewing of grotesque violence via the tube and another to experience the actual event. The idea trivialises the reality of horror.

About Thursday 27 September 1660

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Pepys does nothing but gripe about his workers and then somebody here ALWAYS has to concur by saying it was ever thus. I've let it pass without concern but as this is the single comment made today let me try a different formulation for once.

Pepys probably pays his workers as little as possible and expects maximal results from them. Along with these maximal results he expects materials of the highest quality to be used for the cheapest price attainable. I am sure he feels he deserves it.

So to reformulate: Everybody is the workers friend until it is time to pay for one yourself. At that point they are to be suspected of being shifty, lazy and out to cheat you. It was ever thus.

About Tuesday 18 September 1660

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"Those Post-horses will seem too slow,
though they should fly as swiftly as the gods,
when they ride behind that postboy,

Henry Fielding Tom Thumb the Great