Annotations and comments

Mary K has posted 1035 annotations/comments since 9 March 2007.

The most recent…


About Monday 25 June 1666

Mary K  •  Link

Just possibly kumquats ( if stock had been obtained as a curiosity from a traveller to far eastern lands) but hardly "most likely." Kumquats were largely unknown in Europe before the middle of the nineteenth century.

About Friday 25 May 1666

Mary K  •  Link

Whatever mileage is postulated, isn't it more likely that the Pepys's followed their normal pattern for similar evening outings and engaged a cab?

About Friday 25 May 1666

Mary K  •  Link

the air of Hackney ...

...would indeed have been refreshing after the air of London. It was a countrified district most notable for the smallholdings that supplied fresh produce to the city. Since Tudor times Hackney had been favoured as a location for substantial country houses and in Pepys time, although most of the aristocrats had moved on, the merchant class had taken to the area. The village boasted a notable tavern (The Mermaid), a bowling green and other country pleasures.

About Sunday 20 May 1666

Mary K  •  Link

Samuel's own coach.

He doesn't have a coach of his own at this date so that particular question doesn't arise.

About Tuesday 15 January 1666/67

Mary K  •  Link

Candle auctions

And let's not forget the candle-and-pin auction which is still held once a month in Horncastle, Lincolnshire at the Black Swan on South Street. In this ancient variant, a pin is pushed through a candle and the candle lit. At the point where the melting wax causes the pin to fall, the last person to bid wins the auction.

About Monday 16 April 1666

Mary K  •  Link

Pannier Alley is close to Paternoster Square (centre of the book trade) and a good step from the Navy Office. Much more convenient to see whether one of your regular booksellers might not be able to provide a small loan against future trade with a good customer.

When Pepys set out on his walk he might not have been sure that his ruled papers would be ready for collection and payment on that particular day. Hence lack of cash in pocket?

About Wednesday 21 March 1665/66

Mary K  •  Link

..and that my Lord Ashley did snuff and talk as high to him ...

Can't you just see that dismissive, nose-raised sniff? It's these little contemporary comments that bring the diary so vividly to life.

[ OED to snuff: to express scorn, disdain or contempt by sniffing.]

About Wednesday 14 March 1665/66

Mary K  •  Link

Wanton turns

Not necessarily "on the pull." Could be interpreted as "as the fancy took me." Wanton can have light-hearted, playful, frolicsome connotations. e.g. wanton tresses.

About Tuesday 6 March 1665/66

Mary K  •  Link

"my house happened to be mighty clean..."

The sort of statement that might be construed as passive-aggressive nowadays.

About Wednesday 28 February 1665/66

Mary K  •  Link

Perhaps Samuel was having a particularly self-indulgent day before Lent gets going in earnest. His self-denying vows may seem more important during a self-denying season.