Annotations and comments

Mary K has posted 1,129 annotations/comments since 9 March 2007.


About Friday 24 October 1662

Mary K  •  Link

A passing thought - could the mustard here refer to mustard greens? (Called collard greens in the USA I believe). It would perhaps be easier to cover a dish of tripes with mustard greens ( a kind of brassica) that with dried mustard.

About Friday 15 May 1668

Mary K  •  Link

"did shew me her closet..."

If one was invited to see the treasures and curiosities that such a closet housed, it was considered only polite or de rigueur to add something equally interesting to the collection. Presumably Pepys had not expected to be granted the honour of this private view, and so went unprovided.

About Saturday 9 May 1668

Mary K  •  Link

The Duchess of Monmouth' injury.

Were they perhaps still dancing the Volta at court?

About Sunday 3 May 1668

Mary K  •  Link

If it is French that is fractured here, I would suggest the verb foutre, one of the meanings of which can today be translated as to screw. Or f**k if you prefer.
In modern French the verb has a very wide variety of meanings, some much more pungent than others.

If it's actually fractured Spanish, I can't be of much help beyond speculating (from context) that there is/was a similar verb and/or usage in Iberia.

About Tuesday 26 February 1660/61

Mary K  •  Link

"by strength of fancy"

Sam isn't masturbating, he's doing exactly what he says - exciting himself sufficiently by simple exercise of concentrated imagination to achieve the same result.

Spoiler alert :
On a later occasion he was able to repeat this feat whilst staring at a pretty young woman in church during a Sunday service.

About Tuesday 21 April 1668

Mary K  •  Link


Perhaps not often heard now, but it's not so long ago that one might ask for the reckoning when wanting to pay a restaurant bill. The reckoning is generally the accumulated total of a number of items.

About Monday 13 April 1668

Mary K  •  Link

Let's not forget an earlier unofficial "Poet Laureate" John Skelton (1460 - 1529) who earned the title after taking his degree in rhetoric at Cambridge. He was Court Poet to Henry VII and also "scolemaster" to Henry VIII in the king's youth. Sometimes dubbed Helter-Skelter Skelton his verse is written in short, lively lines (Skeltonics) that echo the rhythms of ordinary speech. Great fun.

About Did the Puritans ban Christmas dinner?

Mary K  •  Link

According to a historian's comment heard recently on BBC Radio4, banning of Christmas feasting arose originally out of a coincidence of dates. During the Commonwealth, it happened that one Christmas Day fell on a Wednesday and Wednesdays were already established as prescribed Fast Days. Thus no Christmas dinner in that particular year - and the more zealous Puritans took this as a precedent that no Christmas Day should be celebrated with feasting in any future year.

I did not catch the name of the historian alleging this origin for the banning, so cannot vouch for it's authenticity, but one can see how it might have evolved in this way, particularly if urged by the Puritan 'great and good'.

About Tuesday 23 April 1661

Mary K  •  Link

Presumably the faggot had no symbolic significance, but was just used to keep breeches and knees from being soiled by the inevitable wet and dirt on the ground in Axe Yard.

About Monday 30 December 1667

Mary K  •  Link

John Dolben

Installed as Bishop of Rochester in 1666, where he remained until 1683, when he was translated to York as Archbishop.

About Tuesday 24 December 1667

Mary K  •  Link

the question of pockets.

Anyone with a keen interest in the history of pockets might wish to try the following:
"The Pocket: a hidden history of Women's Lives - 1660 - 1900" by B. Burman and A. Fennetaux.
Yale University Press 2020.
NYT Art book of the Year.

About Saturday 21 December 1667

Mary K  •  Link

Good to hear that Elizabeth's cheek is somewhat assuaged this morning. Perhaps it was that poultice that did the trick. As late as the 1940s our family GP prescribed a warm Kaolin poultice for relief from a persistent, chesty cough and it appeared to help.

About Friday 22 November 1667

Mary K  •  Link

"neither hath, nor do ........"
Pepys demonstrates the the classically taught rhetorical Rule of Three, still in use today in our law courts; "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth". He was originally a grammar school boy, after all.

About Saturday 19 October 1667

Mary K  •  Link

"which is the first time I ever sat in a box in my life..."

Perhaps the first time that he ever officially (having paid the full price) sat in a box thus. On the earlier occasion it sounds rather as if he chanced to get carried in as part of a larger group without having set out to do any such thing.

It can happen. My husband and I once got similarly carried in to a Papal address in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican and had to extricate ourselves by ignominiously climbing out over a balustrade before the ceremonies began. We had simply been propelled forwards by other, eager participants in the occasion and assumed by the security personnel to be part of an authorized party.