Annotations and comments

Mary K has posted 1,138 annotations/comments since 9 March 2007.

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About Wednesday 28 April 1669

Mary K  •  Link

Pepys hopelessly lost?

I don't think so. He knows whereof he writes and is making a record for his own benefit of the rumoured machinations involved in the agreement of the secret Treaty of Dover and its probable ramifications. He certainly didn't keep twentieth-century Londoners, whether ancient or not, in mind as potential readers of his private diary in doing so.

About Tuesday 20 April 1669

Mary K  •  Link

I can't think of many instances, either historic or current, of pieces of ordinance being regarded as female - but there is the notable example of "Big Bertha" a super-large piece of artillery employed by the Germans in WW1 and so nicknamed by British soldiers.

About Saturday 29 June 1667

Mary K  •  Link

Don't forget that this all happens in a dream, where "reality" can change from second to second and sometimes innate logic tries to regularise what appears to be happening even as it happens.

About Wednesday 14 April 1669

Mary K  •  Link

"quite according to the fashion"

The fashion is obviously changing. Pepys' reaction to these new-fangled ways is amusing: Creed is apparently not preparing to cut a dash by keeping a coach, but still aims to be in the modern swim with his suppression of any offer of hospitality. Both useful economies?

About Tuesday 6 April 1669

Mary K  •  Link

Shipboard tars.

Common seamen (below the rank of officer) handled plenty of tar on ships in the process of general material maintenance of ropes, sheets etc. and also used small quantities to keep their queues (plaited hair) under control. They undoubtedly smelt of tar and so acquired this nickname. The term Jack Tar uses the word 'Jack' in its sense of 'common man" (cf jack of all trades). 'Jack tar' is first recorded in print in 1709.

If you visit the Greenwich Maritime Museum and are able to see Nelson's jacket, you will observe that the area of his jacket between the shoulder-blades at the back is notably stained much darker than the surrounding cloth. This is where his queue would have rubbed against the cloth. Tar staining?

About Monday 15 March 1668/69

Mary K  •  Link

Handwritten vellum rolls continued to be used for the recording of our laws until 1850, whereafter a change was made to vellum codices (notebooks) and printing. Then in 2017 came the momentous and controversial decision to switch to paper records! (but it was museum quality paper). Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

About Monday 14 December 1668

Mary K  •  Link

Perhaps the seller of the coach had provided horses for the first couple of outings in the coach. You wouldn't want to trust your brand-new coach to two horses who were unused to the work.

About Saturday 7 November 1668

Mary K  •  Link

There is also the point that Pepys has tied himself very firmly to the Duke of York's interest and that does not redound to his general credit with the "opposition" at court - especially not at times like these when the Buckingham "party" appear to be gaining overweening influence with Charles.

About Sunday 1 November 1668

Mary K  •  Link

Would love to see the drawing of the wind-powered sawmill, but there doesn't seem to be any link to it.

About Friday 25 September 1668

Mary K  •  Link

Well, perhaps the boy is also getting some benefit from this, but I imagine the prime object of the exercise is to relieve Pepys's eyes of the strain of reading by candlelight.

About Thursday 10 September 1668

Mary K  •  Link

Sir John Mennes and foundlings.

Mennes is an elderly man (69 at this date and will die in 1671) so, although not impossible, it's unlikely that the child is his own unacknowledged offspring. Indeed, he seems to have no children of his own and will leave his estate primarily to a two nieces and a nephew.

Just possibly the infant(s) literally laid at his door are the children of men employed by the Navy and left at the boss's door on the basis that one begotten "by the navy" should be the responsibility of the navy.

About Sunday 23 August 1668

Mary K  •  Link

Second thoughts on poor Mrs. Pierce's lack of prettiness. Perhaps she's reached that 'fat-faced' stage of pregnancy in which finer features are blurred (temporarily, we hope) as weight-gain accelerates.

About Tuesday 11 August 1668

Mary K  •  Link

Paper tube:correction

That should read the highlighted "tube-spectacle of paper" in today's (11/8/68) entry.

Wherever terms, names etc. are highlighted in the text, clicking on them produces further information, perhaps with reference to an entry in the blog's encyclopaedia of elsewhere within the site.

About Tuesday 11 August 1668

Mary K  •  Link

If you read tomorrow's entry and click on the highlighted "paper tubes" you will find a brief explanation of their size and intended function.

About Thursday 6 August 1668

Mary K  •  Link

Perhaps those perentheses are significant. Much might depend on whether they are original or editorial. If original, they might signify the mention of an unverified (and unverifiable) report. The subsequent mention of the cockleshell found in a dog's gall bladder might be an equally unverified tale adduced in possible support of the voided bullet tale.

If the parentheses are merely editorial they may say more about the editor than about the original recorder of the day's proceedings.