Annotations and comments

has posted 1,110 annotations/comments since 9 March 2007.


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.

About Tuesday 6 February 1665/66

Mary K  •  Link

Exchanging goods at the goldsmith's

This, surely, is the plate that arrived as an unexpected gift recently and was not thought very useful. Now being exchanged for items that are more to Samuel and Elizabeth's liking.

About Tuesday 10 July 1666

Mary K  •  Link

Early pasties and pies.

In the most elaborate of the early savoury pies, the hard-crust pastry case was basically used as a casing to keep the contents well-enclosed (and hence moist) during the baking. It was not primarily intended for consumption.

About Friday 25 May 1666

Mary K  •  Link

non-use of opium in the operating theatre

Perhaps the danger of laudanum etc. having a depressing effect on the respiratory system was recognised earlier than we might think. You do need to keep the patient breathing and a heavy, one-off dose of an opiate might be risky.

About Saturday 6 January 1665/66

Mary K  •  Link

Quite possibly.

One thing you can be sure of is that they didn't suffer from peanut allergy/anaphylactic shock syndrome.

About Friday 5 January 1665/66

Mary K  •  Link

Age of consent.

What may seem to us abhorrently low ages of consent presumably owed their existence to the precariousness of life in general in earlier times and the widespread acceptance that marriage was a financial as well as (sometimes) amiable contract. When family (and hence material) alliances could depend on the requisite marriage being accomplished, better not to take the risk of the female party, at least, dying before the contract was made.

About Monday 18 December 1665

Mary K  •  Link

to dog.

Often found in such expressions as "to dog someone's footsteps". To follow someone as covertly as possible, to trail them, to shadow them.

About Saturday 5 October 1667

Mary K  •  Link

Thy flattering picture, Phryne, is like thee
Only in this, that you both painted be.

John Donne (1573 - 1631).

About Sunday 3 December 1665

Mary K  •  Link

"and as merry as was sufficient"

Now, there's a carefully nuanced assessment of a social gathering.

About Edith Bell (aunt)

Mary K  •  Link

St. Leonard's Church, Bromley by Bow, no longer exists except for some residual ruins, having been hit by a flying bomb during WW2.

About Wednesday 8 November 1665

Mary K  •  Link

"not seeing of Christopher"

This is presumably the "little boy" whose reported illness caused Pepys qualms about the possibility of a case of plague in Mrs. Clerke's house a few days ago. Evidently the subsequent report of the lad's being well again didn't entirely convince Pepys that it had been a false alarm..

About Friday 27 October 1665

Mary K  •  Link

Kent Street may have been renamed Tabard Street, but if you pursue it's line about 150 yards further southeast, you find yourself in the modern Old Kent Road (A2). The Old Kent Road then continues in this same direction until it meets New Cross Road close to the junction with Pepys Road. Nice!

About Sunday 17 September 1665

Mary K  •  Link

The Dowager Countess's question.

The Dowager Countess is of a generation that did not use the term "weekend", which was a relatively recent introduction. She was accustomed to the phrase " a Saturday to Monday". In 1909 the editor of The Spectator was slightly sniffy about the "relatively modern" widespread use of the term "weekend".

About Sunday 28 January 1665/66

Mary K  •  Link

"franked" here may mean "authorised by signature."

e.g. the franking of mail was introduced in England in 1660. The privilege of franking mail enabled the sender to have his mail carried free of charge. This privilege continued to apply to certain government servants, members of Parliament etc. into the Nineteenth Century.

About Sunday 3 September 1665

Mary K  •  Link

Greenwich parish church.

This is a church rebuilt by the famed Nicholas Hawksmoor (not .....worth). Easily visited today from central London by tube and Docklands Light Railway to Cutty Sark.