Annotations and comments

James Morgan has posted 52 annotations/comments since 21 October 2015.

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About Friday 4 January 1666/67

James Morgan  •  Link

Mr Isaac the dancing master seems to have been active from 1675-1715 when he retired according to the text cited above. So if the ballad text is from 1661 it seems it is not the same Mr. Isaac.
I also think that the practice of dancing masters hosting balls developed in the 18th century as they developed schools for teaching dance. In Pepys era they seem to be hired to teach or lead dances in private homes or the court.
So I think "Isaac's balls" refer to something other than dance balls.
English Country dancers today still dance Mr. Isaac's Maggot that is from Playford's 1695 edition of the English Dancing Master. (A "maggot" is slang of those times for a brainwave or a strikingly different idea and employed in a number of dance titles of the era. The idea was that this odd and different and possibly brilliant idea came from having an actual maggot gnawing at the brain.

About Sunday 23 December 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump and the me-too movement just in the last few years, it doesn't seem like our modern mores are very different from those of Pepys times. A few days ago the diary mentioned Parliament reprimanding an MP who raped the daughter of his Parliamentary opponent. So exposure had some limited effect then as now.

About Thursday 20 December 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

Thanks Michael for the lovely description of the maypole. These were indeed grand monuments, and should not be confused with the smaller beribboned Victorian ones. Those had to be much shorter to make the ribbons practical. The earlier generations danced around them without ribbons and the maypole was a center village or town marker left up all the year.

About Monday 17 December 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

I think in some place earlier he indicates Mercer is homely though with very fine breasts, so less temptation and more proximity to Mrs Pepys, plus apparently plenty of other attractions available. It is nice that Elizabeth and Mercer have mended their differences. Perhaps the mercurial Elizabeth can be charming when she wants to be.

About Thursday 6 December 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

Thinking of Mr. Gunning's comment "It is strange to think Sam needed duress considering how people always feel so much better after having a hot bath or at least a good 'clean' with warm water.", I think this might just be something we learn to like. Little children and pets clearly don't take naturally to bathing, and some people are just as happy roughing it as they are bathing.
I imagine Sam is quite in keeping with the practices of his day, and has obviously not been subjected to modern advertising campaigns for perfumed soap.

About Margaret Lowther (b. Penn)

James Morgan  •  Link

The birthdate of 1636 for Margaret, William's daughter, seems suspicious. As Vincente noted in 2004, Wm Penn was born in 1621 and would have been 13 in 1636. Vicente gives her birthdate as 1651, which seems much more plausible.

About Wednesday 21 November 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

Betty is visiting her mother, and I assumed Samuel meant to carry her to her home with her new husband, and have some flirtation on the way, but her father, perhaps picking up on this intention, decides to take her home himself.

About Thursday 15 November 1666

James Morgan  •  Link

The link to the Wikipedia entry for Corante is informative. In Baroque musice it is normally partnered with an Alemande, but since that didn't happen at this ball, the succession of slow elegant Corantes might well be tedious. Per the entry the Italian corante is faster than the French one, so these are probably the French type.

The court often danced English country dances popular with the middle class, and these spread throughout Europe during this time. In 1662 Pepys describes the King dancing Cuckolds All Awry. Glancing through the diary entries, most of the time Pepys or his wife dance are probably the country dances, though the dancing master Pemberton may have been teaching them some of the court dances as well as the more refined country dances, so that they could appreciate the finer points of the Court dances.
English country dance is still popular today, along with it's it's descendent contra dancing. See for a list of US affiliates that offer it.